Hildreth ran to the cemetery.
I don’t know if it’s someone’s idea of a stupid joke.
If it is real, I don’t even know how much of a threat they are to her. They sound like a couple of chuckleheads.
But they are vampires.
I can’t take any chances.
The cemetery gates were locked tight.
Hildreth scaled the gate without any hesitation.
What if she’s hurt?
What if she’s dead?
What if she’s been changed?
What if she isn’t here?
What if they meant another cemetery?
He set his feet on the ground one at a time.
A woman breathed on his neck. “You don’t have any money, hunter.”
Hildreth tried to turn around, but she pushed him up against the gate.
“I was really looking forward to the 12,000 dollars.” She dug her claws into his arms. “I need so many things.”
“Need new shoes. New dress. New—”
He struggled to break out of her grip, which made her dig her claws in deeper. “Ah! Blast your spending habits! Where’s Elsie? Where is she? What have you done to her?”
“Oh, what’s the matter, stupiduglydumb hunter? You missing your little giiiirrrrlfriend?”
He stopped moving. I have a bad feeling about this. “Let me talk to Butch.”
“Butch?” She kissed his neck. “Butch isn’t here right now. It’s just you and I. No. OW! Butch! Don’t pinch me like that. It hurts. Butch told me it’s supposed to be you and me. But I think that you and I sound so much nicer. Don’t you?”
His heart sunk. Such a bad feeling.
“You know what? Butch had a boyfriend once. His name was Bill. He was sooo pretty. Yes. I know! Butch says guys can’t be pretty. Only handsome. But I don’t agree with her. Some guys are just pretty, you know?”
“Wait. Bill. Was Bill a vampire too?”
“Oh yes. He was the best vampire. He liked to hang out in this cemetery and he and Butch would—Okay. So, I won’t talk about that. Besides, I don’t think he wants to know.”
“You’re right. I don’t want to know. Where’s Elsie?”
“Bill was wonderful and special and some stupiduglydumb hunter went and killed him. I know it was you and that Pop Tart you have for a giiiiirrrrlfriend.”
“Elsie is not a pop tart. Let me go. Let me see her.”
“Why should I? My Bill is gone because of you, because of her. If I can’t be with the one I love, you can’t.”
“I just want to see her. I want to know that she’s alive, that—”
“That I haven’t stabbed her with my fangs? That I haven’t made myself drunk and high on her blood?”
“Oh, the stupiduglydumb hunter is saying please. How sweet! I wish someone would say please to me instead of to Butch all the time. People think I’m just so dumb, but you know what? I’m not dumb. I’m smart. I’m clever. I will never let you see your girlfriend again.”
Hildreth stared at the bars in front of him. His mind raced. How can I talk her out of this? How can I? She won’t listen to reason. “Do you have a name?”
“My name is Butch. That’s all you need to know.”
“Is your name Samantha Edwards?”
“Samantha Edwards?” She laughed. “Where did you come up with such a name? The phonebook? My name is Alice. No. It’s Butch. Alice is no one. Just a hunter who failed. A hunter who became broken and shattered.”
“I should tear your arms open and let you bleed to death. Or…I could just bite you. Kill you. Change you. No. Not change. I don’t want to change. I don’t! I don’t! Don’t make me change!”
“Okay. Okay. No changing.” He looked up to the sky for inspiration and he found it. “Are you sure you want to waste your time on me right now? Dawn will be here soon.”
“Uh-oh. Dawn brings sunlight and sunlight brings hurt and tiredness and—”
“If you’re still here when the sun rises, I will overcome you. I will kill you.”
She released his arms.
He gasped with relief and turned around.
She regarded him with sadness. “Then, kill me now.”
He pulled out the stake Elsie had attached to his wrist. “Take me to Elsie first.”
She wrung her hands. “Butch will be so mad at me if I do. She’ll pinch me so hard.”
“She won’t. Please, Alice.”
Her hands went still. “I’m not Alice. I am Butch. You stole away the one man who understood me, who loved me. He even loved me. Can you imagine that?”
“If you take me to Elsie, I promise I’ll stake you.”
“And you’ll be with Bill again. That’s what you want, isn’t it?”
Her frown faded. “No. I want to kill you.” She smiled, baring her fangs. “Won’t that be lots of fun?”