True Slayers: Reckoning, Part Twenty-Three

This would be why Jack is better at the planning stuff than I am. I felt like there should be a climax – something should happen. I mean, something I could see. Jack’s theory was the something should happen that got results. He’s right, of course, but my version is more fun.

Also, James mentioned that he and Roland had hidden their tracks pretty carefully – another part of why it took them so long. If they did their jobs well – which of course, they did – then Vinnie shouldn’t’ have a clue as to why his stuff was being outed like that. Jack didn’t want him to know – he didn’t want Vinnie to have an opportunity to retaliate.

On the other hand, this had worked way better than anyone dreamed – Vinnie had his hands full staying out of police custody. The Mistress notified Jack that there were five warrants in three different jurisdictions – and she expected more to come.

To be fair, we couldn’t have known – we didn’t know that much about Vinnie until pretty late in the game. But it seems obvious now – a creep like that still needs to make a living. Vinnie made his living treating other people pretty much the way he treated creatures. An extortion racket using creatures as his muscle. The Mistress said it was very well done – Vinnie used creatures to command creatures – he only had to personally meet the creature once. And he made sure to stay out of the areas where he had his bands working. He was never at risk – but the innocent creatures he used were.

That, however, wasn’t good enough – hey, there are only so many vampires available and evidently, Vinnie had expensive tastes. While he had some impressive command capabilities there are limits to how complex the commands can be – and when Vinnie got greedy he found that he needed to be available to adjust plans as needed. Cell phones convey words – not the command power to enforce those words. What that added up to were some normal people got a look at Vinnie during some of his more complicated shakedowns while he was perfecting those – and those nice people were more than willing to swear out warrants.

Vinnie was very much on the run. Jack doubted Vinnie would be able to figure out who had done this and he certainly wouldn’t be worried about retaliation for quite some time. But Jack didn’t like taking chances – especially with Roland since Vinnie knew he was a programmer. So, tracks were covered and every effort made to keep that tidbit of information a mystery.

Which meant a nice, quiet New York day – no battles, no creatures, not so much as a fuss – nothing on the street where Vinnie had caused so much pain. I couldn’t decide if I should be happy or sad about it. Vinnie was getting his – but knocking him upside the head would have been satisfying, too.

That, of course, is the rub – his weapon might have been unconventional but Vinnie had committed murder – he had murdered Mr. Jenkins just as surely as if he’d used a gun. But you can’t very well go to court with a vampire as murder weapon – or heck, with any mention of vampires at all. That wasn’t fair – Mr. Jenkins deserved justice – but there was no way to get it for him.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking but I”m a slayer, not a murderess. Killing soulless creatures when necessary is one thing; killing human beings is altogether another. I’d gleefully punch the creep out – and it wouldn’t bother me at all for the guy to get the death penalty – but I’m not judge or jury and sure as heck not executioner. Becoming evil just makes more evil – no, not going there.

Jack, I’m glad to say, felt the same way. Okay, he’s actually opposed to the death penalty but he’s not so sure any longer. But the important part – we’re not killers – he got that straight out of the starting gate. And I suppose there is a kind of justice in that Vinnie lost the life he was used to living – but I still felt bad that we didn’t get more for Mr. Jenkins.

Eventually, I’d have to tell Arnie – and I wasn’t looking forward to that at all. He’s a blade and no, not really a person, but still, I felt like we were letting him down. Vinnie was human – that vampire was NOT. It was fair game but we had no way to find it. Nothing that wouldn’t tip off Vinnie to our involvement, at least according to Jack.

I went out on the roof to think. I was tired of watching the drama unfold online – it seemed so impersonal, so remote and removed from all that had happened. I knew Jack had the right idea – I’d known when he told me before he explained it all. But it still seemed wrong. Slaying renegade creatures is our duty – and a vampire that had targeted and killed a man should top the list.

But I didn’t have the brains to reconcile that – if Jack couldn’t, I sure wasn’t going to. Ayami came and sat beside me which gave me an excuse to talk girl stuff and stop thinking about all of this. We had just finished debating how important cuteness was in a relationship – very not – when Daddy sent me a text.

Okay, this was just silly – I mean, seriously, who would know or care – but I’d promised I’d do it Jack’s way. I went down about ten blocks via the roof tops – I have to admit, roof tops are danged convenient compared to black top like back home – and then descended to the street level. Daddy picked me up with Ayami in the car and we three went to see a movie then stopped for ice cream afterwards. Four hours later, Daddy deposited us girls on the sidewalk and I was officially home from my non-existent trip.

Well, now only Jack was in hiding. Jack was due home Wednesday – it wouldn’t be the production that getting him out of the house had been. Officially, his convalescence would be over and life would continue. We were almost finished. Almost all done – Vinnie wouldn’t be sending creatures after anyone for a very long time to come – almost all over.

But it didn’t feel right.