True Slayers: Reckoning, Part Twenty-Nine

We started back while I was still talking to Thompkins. It took me forty-five minutes to work it out with him. Partially because I was being extra cautious and mostly because I scared the crap out of him when I suggested it.

I doubted that the vampire or the doppelganger had had a chance to let Vinnie know they had seen me – for that matter, they may not have known who I was. I should have asked. Well, should of’s aren’t worth much. I figured a better than 70% chance that my secret was still safe. If not, I doubted Vinnie would hang around – he didn’t strike me as the sort that acts rashly. Of course, seeing as he was backed into a corner, that assessment might not hold.

That’s the problem with strategy – unless you happen to really be God you don’t know all the facts and you sure as heck don’t know all the other player’s moves. It comes down to a game of calculated risks and some wise guy is hiding parts of the equation. I didn’t know for certain what Vinnie knew or even what he was likely to do. So far, he’d played about as expected – once I knew enough to have expectations, that is. Tonight was not what I had thought would happen – it was third down on my list – but it wasn’t utterly unexpected, either.

The vampire had confirmed my suspicion – if Vinnie did show, it would be to try to reclaim some of his lost forces. Which meant he was both desperate and convinced I wasn’t around. That was fine as far as it went – but now I wanted him to show his ugly mug. I wanted to out him in a way that would make staying out of my neighborhood his top priority for the foreseeable future. I had an idea that might work but not enough information to be sure it would work.

And Thompkins was right – it could get dicey even with so many slayers available. I wasn’t the danged target – the creatures were. It wasn’t my skin that would be so close to the blade. That alone almost made me reconsider.

But Vinnie wasn’t finished yet – and if he got another shot later on, dicey wouldn’t describe how bad he was likely to get. No, he was a danger to the creatures I was steward for, my family, my friends and just about everything I cared about. Stopping him now could put an end to that threat – failing to stop him could only make it worse.

Now, the question was could we make it work?

Off the phone, I started discussing it with Myers and Schmidt. Schmidt was all in; Myers a bit more reserved. Both had questions and suggestions that helped me a lot. By the time we were two blocks from my building, we had a workable plan.

From the roof top, I could see Chambers in the street arguing with Mrs. Schmidt. Good thing we had a plan, seeing as they had started without us.

It had taken us a long while but my bet was that Vinnie was still focused on Chambers. He had to know the vampire and doppelganger were gone but again, I was betting on his desperation winning over common sense. Vinnie is a user – he needs people or creatures to use. Without them, he is nothing – I figured his buffer needed refilling in the worst way. If so, with a creature so tantalizingly close, Vinnie would probably hang around for another shot.

Schmidt and Myers took off for their respective positions. They weren’t gone a second when the phone vibrated.


“Hey, Jack, I think there are two vampires – that modern and maybe the pseudo-traditional.” Crystal’s voice told me.

“The pseudo is dead. We’re about to try something – could you give me all you got as fast as possible?” I replied.

“Sure, they noticed the vampires but neither got close to the building. There’s at least four more creatures – unknown type – in the area. Not counting the doppelganger – Finley noticed it when it ran off. The creatures other than the vampires seem to be moving into the area and going toward Roland’s building, not yours. That was all I got.”

“Good work. Catch up to Tresmayne. I want you two…”