Raven tapped the pile of papers into a neat stack and stapled them. His thoughts drifted back to his last conversation with Idden and Marcus.
Start a new Bad Vampires Club. He smiled. The more I think of it, the more right it feels. It is what I’m meant to do. Yet, how am I going to start? How can I find bad vampires to save?
He moved on to the next stack of papers. It is a good question. Vampires in this town stay far from each other.
He stapled them together. I’d be vastly fortunate to find one vampire, good or bad, on my nightly prowls. Perhaps I ought to put up a sign. No. A sign would merely attract the local hunter. I will not make that mistake again.
Yet, how else am I to attract them? It isn’t likely that they’ll come stumbling through the door voluntarily.
The front door opened.
Ambrose strode in with a limp body over his shoulder. Barbara and an unknown fey followed after him. He carried the body over to the lobby and dropped it into one of the seats.
The body, a man, slopped and slogged out of the seat down to the floor.
Raven hurried over there. “What happened? Who is this? Why have you brought him here, sir?”
“This here—” Ambrose gave him a light kick. “—is Robin. He’s a vampire. He needs help. Can you help him?”
Raven rolled Robin onto his back and startled when he saw the extent of his injuries. “I don’t understand this.” He touched the scar with a white gloved finger and traced the line down. “This. This shouldn’t be possible.”
“And he has a broken arm.”
“That shouldn’t be possible, sir. What did this?”
“A vampire hunter. Olessa Caten.” said the fey.
Ambrose startled at the familiar last name. “Any relation to Mark Caten?”
“His only child.”
“Why am I not that surprised?”
“How did she do this, sir?”
Ambrose glared at the fey. “You heard him. How?”
The fey sat in the nearest chair. “Experiments.”
“She was trying to find a wood-free way to hurt a vampire.” His face was calm but his voice was rich with misery. “Just in case the world ever ran out of wood, there’d be a way to stop them.”
“What did she do?” asked Barbara.
“A little bit of everything.” said Ambrose. “All to get the results she wanted. He screamed. He yelled. He begged her to stop. He begged for mercy. He begged for freedom. He begged for his life.” His hands curled into fists. “She laughed at him. She wrote notes about her ‘observations’. Her eyes sparkled with each new discovery. With each new scream. With each new hurt. With each…” He marched towards the door.
“Where you going?”
He didn’t answer. He just strode out the door.
Ambrose closed his eyes and resisted the memories, but they came anyway.
Unable to move.
Unable to escape.
Nothing to eat.
“Let’s see what happens if I…”
He opened his eyes.
Barbara touched his arm. “Are you okay?”
“So, you were right about saving him. So, what? So, you win.”
He wrapped his arms across his chest and shivered. “It’s so cold out.”
“Ambrose, look at me.”
“I can’t. You don’t know. I never told you. I just wanted to forget. I just wanted to heal up and forget.” He looked down at her with tears in his eyes. “I’m not broken, Barbara. I’m not. But those memories are still there. They’re still there.”
She hugged him.
He melted into her arms and cried softly into the side of her neck.