Blades like Arnie, who’ve drank a great deal of human blood, can be very talkative. But more than just his words, I’d also been able to see what he’d seen. It’s hard on me – it’s not like a movie that’s clear and concise – it’s more like a jumble of painful memories that I have to sort out for myself. That’s what being a sword singer really is – being able to understand the song left on a blade by the blood it has shed. Arnie had shed a lot of blood – it took a while and a lot of energy to sort it all out.
But that gave Arnie the ability to see what had happened the night his master died. Some things I had to figure out – like that ‘other part’ meant another part of the apartment. To a blade, room names don’t mean much. The hard floor had to be the scuff mark in the kitchen.
I was still sorting through it all as Jack led me out of the apartment. I tried not to let on how tired I was now. Fortunately, we ran into Mr Jenkins rather contentious son and daughter which distracted Jack before he noticed.
As Jack was explaining something to me about leaving them alone I was thinking about the creature’s strange behavior after the meal. It had opened its coat and acted like it was laughing. That was weird. Vampires don’t gloat without someone to gloat to and they can’t hear blades like I can so it wasn’t gloating for Arnie’s benefit. Opened its coat…
We reached the landing and it hit me – that thing had dropped its concealment! Almost all creatures conceal themselves so humans can’t sense their presence until its too late. Slayers can sense them even concealed but it varies – a strong slayer won’t notice concealment but a weak one can be affected by it. A weak one and an emerging one! That thing had intended to be noticed but didn’t stay to confront the slayer.
I lost my train of thought as Jack asked me if I would like to stay a while longer and have him walk me home. He would be a bit busy but would make time. I sorted myself out enough to ask why and he mentioned all the work to be done to prepare for the night – evidently they would be housing quite a crowd. I volunteered to help and went to tell my parents while Jack attended to something else.
We were very busy the next few hours. Jack’s apartment was the official ‘boy’s room’ for the night and we had cots and pallets to make up. One kid got upset about sleeping on the floor, which was actually where Jack planned to sleep and I had to calm him down. Turned out he was really scared of bugs, which I could understand – I can kill a vampire without blinking but will shriek like a baby if a spider gets on me. The little guy just needed some reassurance and he was fine.
The kids were piling in and it was late so I said my good byes. For a second, I thought Jack just might, well, a girl can hope, can’t she? But he didn’t and I left his apartment to go get my parents at his parents’ apartment. Daddy was already on the stoop and motioned for me to come as I got down the hall. I glanced back just a tiny peek as Daddy pulled the door closed – would you believe Jack was still standing there, looking at me?
I was so elated that I couldn’t think straight as we crossed the street back to our home. Mama and Daddy planned to watch TV but I headed straight for bed.
I was in bed, just finishing my prayers and about to go to sleep when I sat bolt upright. Jack! He was the first one to find the body because he’d been the one to sense the creature! Of course, it made sense now! The new slayer had to be Jack!
Realization over, I fell back into bed, sound asleep.