It was a dark and stormy night. Oh, we could call it an ebon shell broken by the occasional argent slash of lightning. We could say the swirl of the cloak of night, drenched and scattering everywhere her liquid refuse as she marched heedlessly across the sky. Or we could tell how the clouds were dark and heavy as they lavished their libations on the earth, the silent darkness split on occasion by the herald of lightning and its crack of thunder.
But the occupants of the car speeding through the storm weren’t particularly interested in poetry or the storm for that matter. The man behind the wheel, tall and almost as dark as the storm outside, excepting his shock of red hair, but if you were honest, his skin was more white than dark but the black suit he wore along with something about his nature made him seem dark complexioned to the casual observer, glanced at the dashboard as his companion turned up the heat.
“Still cold?” he asked, his Irish brogue almost as thick as his hair.
The woman nodded, her long brown hair cascading off her shoulders unbidden. She withdrew back under the scarlet blanket she was draped in, her hazel eyes focusing on the unrelenting dark outside. “Yes, I can’t seem to get warm tonight.”
“I told you to let me go. That drenching is going to be your death.”
She laughed, “If only. Besides, we have two meetings tonight and you don’t need to smell – well, you know.”
“They’ll live.” He replied huffily. “Anyway, we should be there in a few… What?”
The woman was sitting up straight now. “Where are we?”
“Just off Lexington, near that restaurant you like, why?”
“I… drat it, turn back. I can’t feel it any longer.”
He didn’t bother to argue or even sigh. This was his lot in life, or what passed for life, anyway.
Three tours around the block later, they were once again back on course. Whatever she’d felt, she hadn’t been able to sense it again and she wasn’t inclined to discuss what she thought about it, either.
Two meetings, four stops, another swim, and six calls to 911 later, the car sped once again back to its point of origin. The night, eventful, had not been fruitful and she was again swathed in the blanket and cranking up the heat.
“Would you please at least quit diving in after every idiot that jumps in the lake?” he grumbled.
“I let you help, didn’t I?” She smiled mischievously.
“Help? Is that what you call dragging the wet lot of you out of the water? You do know he can swim, right?”
“Can, yes – was going to, didn’t look like it, did it? He panicked, is all. I couldn’t very well let him drown…”
The man shook his head, “This is worse than the time you… Now what?”
“Are we in that same area?” she asked, now sitting bolt upright.
The dawn was breaking over the Manhattan skyline. He glanced down the street to his right, “Aye, it’s the next block.”
Manhattan’s early risers rarely see two people in evening wear getting out of a car in front of a restaurant. It’s the time of day when the night owls are creeping back to their haunts, not coming out of them. The woman wore a gown from a much earlier day. Not the usual nightclub fare but the swirls of ebony silk and velvet would be right at home at a castle feast.
Neither of them paid any heed to the stares she was getting. She strode with a determined air toward the building and disappeared into the doorway, the man on her heels. Inside, the staff ogled but made no attempt to stop the pair as they made their way straight to the back stair and began to climb.
Six floors made no appreciable impact on either climber. No whisper of a heavy breath, but she stopped and cocked her head as if listening to some unheard voice. He merely waited until once again she moved, this time down the hallway to the last door on the right.
Both were past the stage where they surprised easily, and weren’t alarmed at the open doorway or the blood speckled carpet in its front hall. The disarray of sheets and bedding and the furniture laying in unusual poses told an old tale. The interesting part was that there was no one in the room, alive or otherwise. That part was new.
Once again in the car, a sensible change of clothing, an anonymous call to 911 and a stop through a drive through having all been completed, he turned to her, “I dinae understand – no body?”
“New wolf.” she answered, between bites. “It fled – the progenitor was already long gone. I think I felt it leaving earlier. Not sure.”
“Do we look for it?”
She shook her head, “No point, I’d have to be right on top of it to sense it now. We’ll have to come back at the full moon. Hopefully, it’s a local…”
“As you like then. What about that matter at the sanctuary? I thought you were going to go there as well?”
She shook her head, “No, no time now. I have to get back to Russia. This afternoon, once I’m gone, why don’t you drop by and get a full report?”
He stared at the roadway ahead, “You dinae need me to do that. You already…”
“Just go, please. Tres will probably welcome the company.”
He didn’t bother to protest or even sigh. No use to that – whatever was in that tiny, annoying female brain of hers was going to stay there for the moment. What she thought he might accomplish that Tresmayne and an entire company of slayers hadn’t, he had no idea.
“Do you have the number? Never mind, I’ll call Tres…”
He listened silently to her side of the call as he drove. Sometimes, like just every blasted day, she could be the most insanely annoying, cryptic, pain in the backside…