It took me awhile to find my way back – I’d been paying more attention to the creature than to the street names – but I finally got to the building next to Jack’s and climbed to the roof. Unfortunately, broad daylight didn’t improve anything. I found no trace of whatever creature had been here.
I wondered if I shouldn’t have killed that werewolf after all. I looked at the window two stories below. A werewolf could certainly have jumped that distance but Jack’s sister had only said Mr Jenkins was dead. A werewolf’s attack is bloody – surely she’d have mentioned him being torn apart? I didn’t know for sure but I doubted that werewolf was the killer.
I sighed, a bit stymied at the moment. I didn’t know enough about how the man had died to even guess what had killed him. I wasn’t sure how to approach Jack about it or even if it would help. Then there was the possibility of a new slayer being about.
Well, that one I could at least help with, I decided as I climbed back down the side of the building. I wandered about the neighborhood a bit – that would be natural enough for a new girl to do – before crossing back to my side and going home.
After lunch, I made a few phone calls to my new college to take care of a couple last minute matters. That done, I spent an hour finding my address book in one of the as yet still packed boxes littering my room. Then another ten minutes trying to remember the guy’s name. The Mistress had sent me the name and number of a slayer here in New York when she learned I would be moving to NYC. She’d said he was a guide type – just exactly what I needed now.
Ethan Collinsworth. Well, at least it ended in C and not X – I had to find it the hard way. The Mistress’ letter said he would be expecting my call so I wasn’t nervous as I lifted the receiver.
A man answered, “Collinsworth residence.” he announced.
I told him who I was and who I needed to speak with. It took forever but another man’s voice finally came on the line, “This is Ethan Collinsworth. Mistress Crystal?”
I smiled. Yep, he was expecting me, “Yes, Master Ethan.”
“Lovely! How are you finding the big city?”
“Very big.” I admitted. I’ve been to Atlanta but it seemed like a small town compared to NYC. “But the people are nice and I think I’m gonna really like it.”
“Wonderful. I’m glad you called.”
“The Mistress said I should. I actually have something I need to ask you about.”
“I think there may be a new slayer emerging in my neighborhood.”
“Really? What makes you think so?”
I gave him the whole story, including the rather embarrassing fact that I hadn’t killed the werewolf.
He laughed gently as I finished, “Don’t worry about that – you made the right choice. It’s best to hunt at night here – the darkness gives the corpse plenty of time to dissolve undetected before the cops arrive and even if it doesn’t, most creatures don’t look human at night. But more importantly, I think you’re probably right about an emerging slayer. I have wall to wall meetings tomorrow but I should be able to come by Monday and see if I have better luck sensing him or her. Would you like to meet me there?”
“Yes, I’d like that. Would you like to come by my house first?”
“That sounds fine…”
Arrangements made and good byes exchanged, I hung up and stretched. Looking around at the mess that was my room, I decided I’d better get to work on that.
A few hours later, I was on my way to the grocery again. Mama had forgotten ham and mustard when she did the main shopping earlier and Daddy really wanted ham sandwiches for dinner so I volunteered. I noticed a car pulling up to Jack’s building. A couple young boys bounded out of the back as Jack emerged from the front. He glanced my way and gave a friendly wave but was obviously busy so I merely waved back and headed to the grocery.
Jack was out front talking to a couple older guys I didn’t recognize when I got back. Once again he noticed me and smiled and waved. This time, I crossed the street and joined them. Jack introduced me to one of his brothers – Tim, I think – and Mr Jenkin’s eldest son, John, just in from Philadelphia, if I recall correctly.
We chatted a few minutes, John being more interested in why a Mississippi girl would be moving to NYC than in discussing his father’s murder with a total stranger. I let it go – there was a time and place for some things and this wasn’t the time or place for being nosey. I mentioned the trip to the grocery and Jack promised to introduce me at the local deli where he assured me I could get much bettter ham. I smiled wondering if he was trying to get into my good graces or my father’s. Daddy does love a good ham sandwich, after all. With dinner in the bag in my hand, I had to excuse myself much sooner than I’d have liked. I left them still standing on the street as I went home. I had the feeling a certain set of eyes were still watching me as I climbed the steps and I definitely hoped they were.