Hildreth looked up at him. “This isn’t real. It’s just another bad dream. That’s all.”
Ambrose bared his fangs. “Are you so certain, hunter? Not that it matters to me. Go on.” He chuckled. “Tell yourself it’s only a dream.” He dug his claws into Hildreth’s shoulders, making him gasp from the pain. “It’s only a nightmare.” His voice softened into a whisper. “And it will all be over soon.”
Ambrose swooped at his neck.
NO! Hildreth slapped the heel of his hand on Ambrose’s forehead and struggled to push him back.
Ambrose’s eyes glazed over and his claws retracted. For just one minute.
That was all the time Hildreth needed. He shoved Ambrose away and instinctively reached behind his back for his Bossman 550. Which was not there.
Ambrose returned to his senses and charged at Hildreth.
And the dance began in earnest.
“Why? Why bother changing me?”
“This is your fault.”
“Are you insane? How is this my fault?”
“That muzzle. That horrible muzzle. You told them to put it on me. I know you did.”
“Oh, yes. I called the police on my cell phone.”
Blocking punch after punch.
“I told them—”
“—if you happen to capture Ambrose Smith—”
“—be sure to stick a muzzle on his slimy face.”
Ambrose shoved Hildreth up against the cell’s bars. “My face is not slimy.”
“That would be a matter of opinion.”
Ambrose scrunched his eyes and shook his head.
“What’s the matter, vampire? Can’t handle the daytime?”
Ambrose snarled at him. “Shut up! I—” His eyes glazed over and his breathing slowed. “I won’t lose to you. I…”
His eyes drifted close.
He shook his head. “I will. I will. I..” He lost his grip on Hildreth and didn’t try to regain it. “You didn’t win this round, hunter. I can s…” He fell to his hands and knees.
“I’d say we’re done here.” Hildreth turned his back on Ambrose and headed towards the cell door. He stopped.
He looked back.
Ambrose was lying on his side, breathing deep, regular breaths.
The officer came up to the door. “Are you okay, sir? I’m sorry. I wasn’t…I lost my focus. I couldn’t—”
“Don’t worry. It’s not your fault. It’s just typical vampire trickery. And don’t worry. I’m fine.”
I know what I must do.
Hildreth walked back to the cot and picked up the muzzle. He contemplated it for a few minutes.
“I can put that back on him, if you wish.”
“No.” He returned to Ambrose. “I can do it just fine.”