Running late on other things, so here’s another snippet from a Work in Progress:
The alarm on my phone woke me. I stretched. Almost no pain in my ribs. While the bone might not be back up to full strength, it was at least knit well enough that it didn’t hurt. That was strange. I healed fast, I knew that, but not that fast.
I glanced at my phone confirming the time. It would be just after sunset in Nashville. I also saw the message indicator. I picked up the phone and dialed.
“Please enter your password.”
I punched in the numbers.
“You have one new message.”
“Yeah, come on,” I said while waiting for the interminable greeting to finish.
Finally, Ware’s voice came on the line. “Ms. Herzeg. I’m afraid I haven’t found anything about the rental car. It is not where you say you left it and it hasn’t shown up in any of the impound lots. If I had to guess, it’s been stolen and stripped by now.”
“Damn,” I said. There went my luggage.
Ware was continuing. “I’d like to meet with you this evening, see if there’s any way we can avoid…” His voice trailed off. Even the hardened, experience police detective did not want to say “another massacre.” I understood that. I didn’t even want to think it.
“Call me after seven. I’ll be able to pick up then.”
The message ended and I pressed the button to delete it before looking at the clock again. Not quite seven. I dialed another number.
“This is Herzeg. I need the boss.”
“One moment, Ms. Herzeg.”
I waited. A moment later I heard Matei’s voice. “Dani.”
He did not say any more.
“They redid the cast on my right arm at the hospital today. I’m at least partially mobile on crutches. Still need the wheelchair for any extended movements but at least I can push myself now.”
“Good. You need to find these vampires.”
“Meeting with my police contact tonight,” I said. “I’ll see what I can find out. Oh, and Boss? He knows.”
“You told him?”
“He worked it out for himself mostly,” I said. “These guys aren’t exactly being discrete.”
“No, they are not,” Matei said, “and that concerns me. We are seeing much the same in the other cases.”
“So I’m…still on my own.”
“You are. Very well, this police officer knows. Tell him what you need to. If he talks, his superiors won’t believe him. And if he becomes a problem, I will deal with it.”
Matei gave a very good imitation of a sigh. He was getting better at imitating humans. “Killing police officers draws too much attention. I will simply alter his memories.”
I shivered. For a moment, I wondered if that would not be worse, to be mind-raped that way. Then I thought of Ware lying in an unmarked grave, pale and blood-drained and decided no, dead was worse.
“I’m sure that won’t be necessary,” I said. “In the meantime, the rental car has vanished. And along with it my clothes and gear.”
“You have a company card,” Matei said. “Use it as you need it. I believe Amazon can offer overnight shipping for any clothes and items you cannot purchase locally.”
“If you’re sure that’s okay.” I could not stop a grin. A shopping spree? On the boss’s nickel?
“We are not hurting for money,” Matei said. “I have been putting a little away for a very long time.”
I blinked and stared at the phone. Had he just copied my “Love at First Bite” joke? He never joked. And he would never make a joke from a vampire parody romantic comedy. Maybe he really was getting better at imitating humans.
Stranger things had happened.