Ambrose stopped next to Raven and put his hand on the other vampire’s shoulder. “Hey.”
Raven didn’t respond.
Ambrose glanced at Jeff, who had just finished singing ‘This I Promise You’ and started another song. “Raven.” he said softly. “Let’s give them some privacy.”
“I cannot leave her, sir.”
He gave them one last look before obeying Ambrose.
They walked down the hall.
“Where are you leading me, sir?”
“I don’t know. I’m feeling restless. I need to walk.”
“I see. Must I walk with you, sir?”
“Yes. Jeff needs to have some father-daughter time without any vampires lurking over his shoulders.”
Raven stiffened in disapproval. “I was not lurking over his shoulders, sir.”
Ambrose shrugged. “But you were lurking.”
They turned the corner and walked straight down that hall.
“Barbara took Sarah to her home.”
Raven nodded. “I had figured something of the sort.”
Ambrose side-glanced at him. “What are your intentions with her? She has no voice and she will never be able to regain it. She has no memory of who she is. She can’t remember anything about her family. She doesn’t even know what city she used to live in.”
“I suppose we could search her mind for any residual memories, sir.”
“It’s a bad idea. She trusts us, Raven. Searching her mind would be a gross violation of her trust.”
“Yet, if we explained to her—”
Ambrose stopped and frowned at him. “Any explanation would not be enough. It would scare her, Raven. As soon as she felt you probing her mind, it would scare her. It would destroy her trust in us.”
“How do you know this? Have you already tried?”
“No.” He hesitated. “It’s one of the things I learned on the job when I worked for Mark Caten.”
A nurse’s aid walked past, pushing an empty wheelchair.
“I was Caten’s vampire. His hit man. I followed his orders and he paid me well for my troubles.”
A forgotten memory surfaced.
“There was never any love between Caten and myself. He always was Mark Caten. Always the kind of man you hoped would wind up brutally murdered. But he trusted me. He knew I would always get the job done.”
The memory made him feel sick to his stomach.
“Even if the job involved interrogating a little girl.”
Ambrose stood before the small girl manacled to the wall.
He tilted his head and smiled.
This will be easy.
Raven shifted his weight. “If you do not wish to speak of it—”
“I don’t. Let’s keep walking.”
“I want my daddy.”
“Well. Isn’t that interesting?” Ambrose stooped to her level. “Caten seems to think you know where he is.”
“I want my daddy.”
“So do we.” He shifted into a more comfortable position. “Now, here’s the deal, princess. You be good and tell me how to find your dad and I’ll let you go. You be bad and don’t tell me…” He smiled. “…I’ll reach into your mind and make you tell me. It won’t feel nice. It will hurt.”
His expression turned cold. “I will make it hurt.”
A stubborn expression set on her face. “I WANT MY DADDY.”
He shrugged. “Your loss, princess.”
Ambrose laid his hands along the sides of her face and stared into her eyes.
Her face blanched. “Don’t…daddy…daddy…”
His pupils widened as he tore through her thoughts and memories.
She cried like a lost, frightened child. Her cries broke into terrified screams as he dug faster and memories flew past her mind in a disordered mess. “DON’T DON’T DON’T DON’T DON’T DON’TDON’TDON’TDON’T! STOP!”
He didn’t stop until he found the information he was looking for.
She stared at him with blank, empty eyes. But she kept screaming.
She wouldn’t stop screaming.
So, he silenced her in the only way he knew how.
Her body went limp in his arms.
Her voice went silent as he sailed into a blood high.
Ambrose clenched and unclenched his hands. “I am not that man anymore. I will never be that man again. That is all I will say about it.”
“I understand, sir.”