I wouldn’t have needed James’ description to know him. Out on the stoop of his building, sitting there like he’d just lost his only friend – our warlock was definitely out in the open. I kinda felt sorry for him – especially knowing that up until now almost every creature Vinnie had thrown at us was forced into it.
I was on the top of my parent’s building, well away from prying eyes. I had a sense of the vampires and werewolves – not so much the adarna. They were still prowling around, trying to find sign of the lost familiars. That struck me as just stupid – there was only one place they could be. Surely they had to have realized it by now?
It was getting late but wasn’t yet dark. It wasn’t a full moon night which explained why the werewolves didn’t seem to care. The vampires were a bit different. They were getting obviously edgy. I couldn’t tell for sure but I assumed they were pseudo moderns – unlike traditionals they can be out during the day but they pay for it. If they are out during the day, they become extremely lethargic at night. Pseudo Moderns are tough to kill – but it gets a lot easier if they can’t fight back – which is why they don’t want to be caught in the open after dark on a day they have been in daylight.
I got a text from Jack. Ayami had called to say that Vinnie had been in touch. He had ordered her to come and help search, just exactly as Jack had expected. Which also confirmed that Vinnie’s information was from the familiars – otherwise, he would have known Ayami had already been in the neighborhood.
As dusk began to settle, the vampires were getting frantic. They were arguing with one of the werewolves but not getting what they wanted. I sent a text to Jack suggesting that we start with the vampires – and a couple more explaining why. To be fair, it’s a lot to learn so you can’t expect a new slayer to memorize the Compendium in just a few months.
Our text chatter ended and I went downstairs. From the parlor, I could watch as Mama went out. She and Mrs. Myers met near where one of the now miserable vampires was searching a garbage can for the millionth time today. Her phone was on speaker in her pocket – I could listen in. Not great, but I could understand Mama and Mrs. Myers just fine.
“…you finish that cozy?” Mama was saying.
“Yes, my aunt loves them. Otherwise I’d never make one. Just a place for pests to hide, if you ask me.”
“Oh, I know. And this time of year they get so bad! Michael had to call the exterminator this morning.”
“Really?” Mrs. Myers exclaimed, “You just moved in!”
“I know. I am just heartsick over it. Worse, they couldn’t come today – it will be the day after tomorrow. I’m just glad it isn’t bugs – we would be in a hotel, I can assure you!”
Mrs. Myers laughed, “I understand – but for me, it’s mice. Those little, beady eyes just give me the willies.”
“Well, in that case, I’ll bring that tatting thread over to you tomorrow.”
“Oh, you don’t mean!”
“I do – oh, I can’t wait for the exterminator to get here! I may talk Michael into that hotel after all!”
They chatted a little while longer and then Mama went on down the block. She was gone over an hour – long enough to have run several errands. Mama really should have been a spy – I’d have just come back home. But she made sure not to give anyone a reason to question the legitimacy of the conversation.
Once home, she put away her hat and coat and came into the parlor.
“Tatting thread?” I asked.
Mama smiled, “I found a good bit in one of the boxes we had tucked in the closet. Since you swore you’d never pick up a shuttle again, I assumed it would be alright.”
“If that thing is in the box, she can have it too.” I told Mama as she took her seat. “All I managed to make with it was a mess.”
Mama laughed, “It wasn’t so bad for a first attempt. Anyway, since you obviously heard us, how was that?”
“Perf…” I stopped, sensing something odd. I smiled as I got up. “Gotta go to work.” I whispered as I left the parlor.
I could feel it plainly. Definitely a vampire, and now that it was so close, a pseudo modern to be sure. In the basement – it hadn’t braved the backdoor this early in the evening and besides, what it was looking for would be more likely down there.
I slipped out the back and locked the outside basement door. Back inside, I sent Jack a text and took up position by the inside basement door. I couldn’t hear anything but could sense it moving, awfully slowly. Darkness had fallen – and it was feeling the effect. Perfect.
It took a while for Jack to get there since he had to go the long way to avoid being seen. Tresmayne came along – he had to. Jack’s concealment is next to non-existent. He hasn’t really learned how yet. But Tresmayne could probably conceal an army of slayers so it wasn’t a problem.
I let them in the back and showed them to the basement door. Jack went down alone. I heard a faint cry when the vampire knew it was caught and nothing more. An eternity later, Jack came back up and asked me to unlock the basement door. He turned to go back down as I went out.
The vampire moved like it was stuck in molasses as it left the basement. I looked in at Jack who gave me a wicked grin. I got it then – the vampires at least were like shooting fish in a barrel.
Sure enough, it came back with the other vampire and sent it into the basement. I could sense that from the laundry room where I was waiting with Tresmayne. No need to lock the door this time – Jack was already in place.
It took the better part of two hours. The first vampire left and came back with a werewolf. It accompanied the werewolf down – evidently it was more suspicious than the other vampire had been. The werewolf then came out alone and began herding the rest of Vinnie’s creatures into the trap. The adarna was the only one we weren’t sure about – they are flighty by nature – but it too descended into the basement believing it was there to catch mice. Instead, it was the mouse.
Getting them unseen back to Jack’s apartment was much, much more fun – if you define fun as tedious as heck. It took forever to sneak them one at a time several blocks down just to cross the street and then sneak them into Jack’s building. We finally got it done around ten. The whole unhappy lot sat in Jack’s apartment with Jack grilling them like suspects in a detective movie. He got what we expected – only one, the adarna, would have willingly participated in Vinnie’s little game – but even it hadn’t been given that choice.
Tresmayne told us the adarna was a dark gray – but that still made perfect sense. Think birds and shiny things – adarna love getting into messes. It didn’t have any particular malice – it just liked the excitement.
In case you’re wondering, they were all grays – and that too, isn’t a surprise. The majority of creatures are gray. Very few types are naturally black or white. The faodahl is naturally white and the traditional werewolf is naturally black. But color can change – obviously since Tresmayne is a white traditional werewolf – so even naturally occurring colors can shift to gray. Being pure evil is actually as much work as being pure good – and like humans, creatures seldom manage either.
Ayami mewed at the door and Jack got up to let her in. She transformed in the kitchen and came in to give Jack a full report, which took all of two minutes. Basically, Vinnie had pulled the same stunt as before. Jack was a little irked about that – he hadn’t considered that Vinnie might make an appearance to Ayami. If he had, he’d have done things differently, he told us. But it wasn’t anything we could fix now and it was past time for good little slayers who have an English quiz in the morning to be in bed. Jack was managing sleeping arrangements for his new pets as Ayami and I left.
This was the trickiest bit but it turned out Mama had already handled it. Kagome was in our parlor when Ayami and I sneaked in the back way. Mama had already arranged everything with Kimberly’s mom – the cousins would be staying with us for the week.
My Mama is brilliant that way – I hadn’t thought past the weekend.
It was really late so we all headed for bed. Once in PJ’s and having climbed into bed, we caught Kagome up on all the goings on of the evening. That done, we hit the hay.
Sometime after midnight, I awoke as Ayami transformed to leave. I rolled over and forced myself back to sleep. I really have got to ask Jack how he does this.