Elsie pulled into Raven’s driveway and parked the car. “I guess we’ll have to help them out.”
Robin snorted as he unbuckled his seatbelt. “You freakin’ wish.” He opened the door with more force than was necessary. “I’m goin’…” His shoulders slumped and the rest of his body slumped as well.
Elsie caught him by his shirt collar before he could fall out of the car. She pulled him back in.
Hildreth sighed. “I’ll take care of the slumbering demon back here if you take care of Scarface Junior.”
“imma not slummmring.” Ambrose mumbled.
Hidlreth chuckled. “You’re going to object about the slumbering part, huh? Okay. Makes sense to me.”
Ambrose tried to stay alert. He tried to open his eyes and focus on his surroundings, but his surroundings were out of control – spinning and tumbling in all sorts of directions.
He gave up and kept his eyes closed.
The scent of raspberry jam and dried wood surrounded him. Engulfed him. Embraced him and carried him away.
“uhhn.uhnn.no.” He shivered. “don’t take me back. don’t take me back there. I can’t. I can’t. don’t. don’t don…”
His day exhaustion claimed him.
Robin saw how Hildreth was carrying Ambrose over his shoulder. He shook his head. “Ain’t no one’s carryin’ me like that. I can make it upstairs just fine on my own.” He stormed into the house, made it past the living room, managed to turn the corner towards the staircase, and stomped up to the fourth step.
That’s when his day exhaustion bulldozed him. He collapsed on the stairs.
Someone helped him up.
Someone with lean, powerful arms.
My ‘sellta’s come home.
Hildreth carried Ambrose into the first bedroom on the left. “This is so weird.” He carried him over to the bed and dropped him onto it. “Here I am putting another vampire to bed. So incredibly weird.”
Elsie escorted Robin into the room. He stumbled along with his eyes closed. His entire body was one curved line that wanted to fall into a mess of scribbles.
She guided him onto the bed.
He opened his eyes a crack. “‘sellta.” He reached for her face. “‘sellta. My pretty ‘sellta.”
“No.” Elsie said gently. “I’m not.”
“Wha?”He tried to raise his head. Only to flop back down. “Where…where…”
“Don’t worry. You’ll see your ‘sellta when you wake up.”
He smiled again and rolled onto his side.
“Go to sleep.”
Robin sighed. “‘sellta. my ‘sellta. my…” He fell asleep.
Hildreth held Elsie’s hand as they walked down the stairs.
Neither one spoke.
They were too deeply lost in their own thoughts to voice any of them.
Hildreth and Elsie buckled up their seatbelts. Elsie spoke first. “We’re doing the right thing, Hildreth. Every night, we are doing the right thing.”
She turned to face him. “We are protecting our city. Every hunter is protecting his or her own city because we must. You know we must.”
“I do, Elsie.”
“If it were possible to co-exist with them, we would make it work. But there are so many vampires out there that take and take and kill. What are we supposed to do, Hildreth? Turn a blind eye to them? Let them kill? Is that right? Is that the right thing to do?”
“I’m not saying it’s wrong.”
“Neither am I.” She sighed and turned the key, starting the car. “But sometimes. Sometimes it’s so hard.”
“I know.” His expression turned sad. “Trust me. I know.”