Chapter Two Part Two
Leisa sat in an upstairs window seat which overlooked the back lawn handily. She was certain David would be back again today and needed to be ready. She wanted to scare him just enough that he wouldn’t be back to try again for a while.
Logic, of course, suggested that she move again, but she’d only been back for a few months. After eight hundred years, you sometimes got fed up of having to run so often, and it was too soon to leave Haventon again. If she tried she’d be back within weeks. She’d resisted as long as she could this time, perhaps too long, and the damned town seemed in no hurry to let her go again. She had other bolt-holes scattered around the town, of course, but David was being pushed at her by one of her enemies, and the chances were good that moving a few miles wouldn’t put them off her trail. They’d just aim him or someone else at her new place. Best do this on her terms not theirs. Maybe she could finish this or at least pry the poor kid from their grasp.
Perhaps, she should have the lock changed to something more modern and secure. That wouldn’t be a block to hunters. Her long life had taught her that a determined person could get past the most stringent security measures if they wanted, but there was no need to make it easy for them. After she’d got through today, she’d look into that.
She broke out of her reverie when she saw David creeping across the lawn towards the kitchen door, just as she’d expected. She pressed herself against the wall so he wouldn’t see her watching and waited, listening intently until she heard him descending the steps into the cellar. Then, she slipped silently downstairs, closed the cellar door behind him equally silently, and sat down to wait.
David was stunned to find the coffin empty. He supposed she’d had time to flee – vampires often kept more than one house in case they had to move quickly – but he felt certain she was still here. An instinct supported by the fact that her car was still in the drive. She might have abandoned it as well since cars were traceable, but it seemed unlikely. Why wasn’t she in her coffin? Did she have more than one sleeping place in her house? They didn’t need coffins so that made sense, didn’t it? But, what if he’d woken her? The coffin lid had creaked alarmingly when he opened it.
His mouth went dry, and there was a whooshing in his ears from his heart pounding. He opened a flask of holy water and held it in one shaking hand, clutched his crucifix in the other, and began to search the cellar for her new sleeping place.
Even though it had three rooms, it soon became obvious that she wasn’t hiding down there. So, he headed back to the stairs, intending to search the other rooms in the large house from top to bottom.
When he found the door was locked, he dropped to his knees and took several gasping breaths, barely avoiding losing another meal. He banged against the door a couple of times before his training kicked in. If he did somehow break through he’d be thrust into one to one combat with a vampire, and he’d be on the back foot as well. He needed to calm down and think about this.
She hadn’t run, because she knew he’d track her to her new lair. Instead, she’d set a trap for him. Clearly. his prey was more clever than most, but he was not stupid either or without defensive weapons against her. Where in the cellar was most defensible?
He backed down the stairs slowly, keeping the crucifix and flask between him and the door. Once he reached the bottom, he sprinted through the three small rooms into what must have been the coal cellar. The coal dust was long gone, and the whitewashed brickwork was now as scrupulously clean as in the other two rooms. He sat down in the corner near the coal shoot and began to rummage though his bag for the things he needed to make a warding circle. He thought he could manage it even though The Order had only taught him the principles not the practice. He’d had the impression that some of the council thought warding was too close to magic, while others found it a useful tool, and the fudged training was a result. Warding circles were physical barriers based on the vulnerabilities of the supernatural creature being warded against. There was no ritual involved. How anyone could call it magic; then, happily use the same weakness in another context, he didn’t know.
He pulled a blessed rosary from his bag and hung it from a protruding nail over the door, then scattered crushed garlic cloves and wild rose petals on the floor under the lintel, and doused them with holy water.
He repeated the process with the coal shoot, retreated back to the corner, and created a circle in a similar manner. He hunkered down inside the circle, facing the door with his knife and another flask of holy water ready for when she came. This would be a long game. He was trapped and while she couldn’t get to him, all she had to do was wait. He checked his mobile phone, but as he’d suspected there was no signal. The coal shoot was his best chance, but it would be a tough climb and she’d surely have thought of it. He didn’t dare risk it until he knew she wasn’t waiting just outside for him to try it.
He sat staring at the door for what seemed an indeterminable amount of time, though a stolen glance at his watch told him it was only ten minutes. What was she waiting for? Nightfall maybe? Or exhaustion to overwhelm him?
The longer he waited, the more restless he became. He was trying to stay calm, but panic kept rising in his gut, and a voice in his head was whispering that he should attack her as soon as she appeared. Was she trying to provoke him so he would leave the protection of the circle? That would be suicidal.
He couldn’t die here, he just couldn’t. His mother needed him, and he still had to find and deal with Emma and the vampire who’d turned her. Thinking about his lost sister was a mistake. Grief mixed with his terror, and in spite of his resolve, he broke down, hugging his knees and sobbing. He didn’t even realise she was in the room with him until a gentle hand touched his head. There was no time to react before everything went dark.
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