Maybe he’ll leave her alone.
Maybe she’ll stay well-locked up in her house.
But she doesn’t know where I am.
What if she tries to call me?
I won’t be there to answer it.
She’ll wonder why I’m not answering it.
She’ll go outside.
His breathing came out in shivers as he remembered the werewolves climbing all over her car.
If that happens again…
If he finds her…
If he traps her, I won’t be there to save her.
He sat against the invisible wall and cried.
If he kills her, what will I do?
He brought his knees up against his chest and wrapped his arms around them.
What will I do without her in my life?
The stagnant scent of wet cigarette ashes drove him up to his feet.
Someone stood on the other side of the bars.
Someone in a hooded brocade dressing gown with a red and purple beaded hawk mask and black corduroy gloves.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“I am Incandesca, Master of Havaton.”
The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. “Havaton. Is that where we are? This place? I’m here in Havaton?”
“Yes. Ambrose Smith.”
He rubbed his forehead. “Well. That complicates matters. What do you want from me? I will not go back to that place. If you take me back there—”
“I don’t know what place you’re talking about, but I do want something from you.” She sighed and pulled out a cigarette pack. “It’s a very simple matter.” She pulled out a cigarette. “It will take you all of five minutes. Four minutes if you’re any good at vampiring.”
“What is it?”
“I just want you to kill Mark Caten for me. That’s all.” She chomped down the cigarette as if it were a celery stalk.
Ambrose chose not to comment on it. “If I refuse?”
She stared at him in silence. The hawk mask concealed her expression. “Why would you refuse? Everyone wants to kill Mark Caten. Even the Pope wants to kill Mark Caten. Dear, lovely Mark Caten.”
I’m standing on a precipice. Saying Yes is the easy way down. Saying No is the hard way out. “What happens if I refuse?”
“I’ll call my dear lovely Mark Caten and tell him that I have a new subject for his new Davisburg project.” She took out another cigarette and held it in front of her as if to admire it. “Dear, dear Mark Caten. Handsome, precious Mark Caten. Mark Caten who must DIE!”
She ate the cigarette with a surprising amount of violence.
“I can’t go back. I can’t. You hear me? I can’t!”
“And he must die in the most painful way possible. I want his eyes to be javelined out of his skull. I want his tongue to be torn out of his mouth, set on fire, and stuffed back in there. I want—”
As she ran through all of his body parts and how she wanted them to be boiled, burnt, and fricasseed, Ambrose zoned her out.
Kill Mark Caten.
This should be a no-brainer.
It would be a pleasure to kill him.
He deserves it.
But do I want to cross that line?
Do I want to go back to being a killer on command? Is that what I want to be? Is that all I am?
“As for his genitals, oh! Oh, I have a great plan for that piece of him. I want them to be—”
“What happens after I kill him?”
She mercifully left that sentence unfinished. “What do you mean?”
“Is that it? He’s dead. He’s gone. I’m free to go?”
“Mark Caten dead. Lovely, darling Mark Caten dead.” She clasped her black-gloved hands, smashing the cigarette pack, and pressed them up against her throat. “The absolute love and joy of my life Mark Caten dead.” She paused in her ecstatic fantasizing. “Well. You’d be the new love and joy of my life. Obviously.”
“And I will love you. And I will treasure you. And you and I will make wondrous music together. And beautiful children. And Mark Caten will be dead. Mark Caten. So lovely Mark Caten with his—”
He put her back on ignore.
So, my options are eternal misery in that place or eternal misery as Psycho Woman’s live in lover.
Can I say no to both of them?
His stomach growled.
He smiled as he saw a way out. “I don’t know. I can’t decide on an empty stomach. Let me go hunt and I’ll come back to give you my answer.”
“Can I trust you?”
“Maybe. Maybe not. But if you let me go hunt, it might tip things in your favor.” He licked the edges of his teeth as he checked her out. “Might even give me warm, sentimental feelings for you.”
“Just how warm?”
He chuckled. “As warm as you want.”
The crumpled cigarette box fell to the floor. “And you will kill Mark Caten for me?”
“Maybe. If you let me go hunt, I might be willing to do anything for you. I’m hungry. so hungry.”
She stared at him. Silent and masked. “Okay. I’ll let you go hunt, if I can come with you.”
He laughed. “Uhh, no. Last time I hunted with another vampire, it was a disaster. I hunt alone.”
“You won’t return.”
“Give me a chance, Incandesca. I might surprise you.”
“Say my name again.”
He smiled. “Incandesca.” He said it smooth and gentle as if it were a lead up to a kiss.
She shivered as he knew she would.
Her fingers tapped a mysterious sequence in the air.
The iron barred door in front of him popped open.
“You will return?”
Ambrose approached the open door.
Nothing pushed him back.
There were no barriers.
He walked through the door without a single hitch.
He took hold of her hand. Her natural scent was obscured by the stench of chewed up cigarette tobacco.
He gently teased off her glove, exposing her bare skin. He kissed her hand and slowly looked up at her. “Of course, I will.”
“Ambrose Smith is lovely. Lovely, lovely Ambrose Smith.”
“Of course, I am.” He led her into the cell. “Just stay here for now. I will return.”
He stepped out of the cell and closed the door.
“What are you doing?”
“Don’t worry, Incandesca. I’ll be back.”
He strolled away.