As soon as they crossed the threshold, Raven released Robin.
Robin screamed with glee and charged at the security guard.
Raven sighed and frowned at his gloves’ fingertips.
The security guard cried out as Robin bit him.
I wonder if I could stitch the holes myself.
The guard’s cries petered into silence.
Robin panted as he went into a blood high.
No. The tips would be all puckered up. It would look truly horrible.
It would be an abomination. I would have to put them into the rubbish bin after working so hard on them.
Such a waste.
The other security guard rushed out of the office. “What’s going on here?”
Raven lowered his hands.
Raven strolled over to him. “Hello, sir.”
Security guard #2 drew his gun and pointed it at Raven. “Stop or I’ll shoot.”
Raven did not stop.
He fired his gun.
He fired several shots – all direct hits.
All of the bullets chinked and chimed onto the floor.
Raven’s smile grew. He stopped in front of the guard.
He aimed the gun at the vampire’s heart and fired.
Raven chuckled. “I suppose I ought to say, ‘Ow.'”
The gun fell out of the guard’s hand.
Raven removed his gloves, folded them, and put them into his coat’s pockets. “Now.” His smile turned gentle as he stroked the other man’s face.
The guard’s anger and fear slackened.
“Why don’t you do me a small favor?”
The guard nodded.
“Very good. Tell me. Where may I find XQ?”
“She’s…” His face twitched as he tried to resist Raven.
“It’s all right. Don’t be afraid. Tell me.”
His face calmed down.
“Very good. Where is XQ?”
“She’s in the recovery room.”
Raven’s heart went momentarily still. “Recovery?” Focus on what’s important. “Where may I find the recovery room?”
“Upstairs. Second floor. Past the elevator. Turn right. Past the nurse’s station. Straight across from the drinking fountain.”
Is she all right?
What have they done to her?
My dear Missy.
“Thank you so much for your help.” He laid his hands on either side of the man’s face. “It would probably be all for the best if you don’t remember any of this.” He closed his eyes.
The memory was right there at the surface – from the moment they knocked on the door all the way to Raven touching his face.
Raven mentally pulled and tweezed at it.
The guard gasped.
The memory was like a slippery splinter. It kept escaping the vampire’s touch and falling back into its allotted spot.
Raven didn’t give up.
The guard whispered, “No. No. No. No. Nononononono!”
But Raven kept trying.
Until, at last, the memory broke free of the man’s mind and floated through brain and bone into the vampire’s fingertips.
Raven opened his eyes and released him.
The guard fell to his hands and knees. He just stayed there, staring at the floor.
Raven rubbed the heels of his hands up against his palms as if there were a layer of mud on them. “Well. That was easy enough.” He turned to his comrade.
Robin was gone.