Halfway to the Grave

Page 53

"It's in my car," he cut me off. "Right down this way."

He almost skipped down the alley. At the other end of it was an even more derelict street.

"This way," he sang out as I followed more slowly, looking around to see if there were any more dead men walking near him. "Right here, chickie."

The vampire held open his car door and beamed at me. Obligingly, I crouched down to look inside.

The blow was expected, but it still hurt. I fell forward into the passenger seat as a normal person would, letting my limbs go limp. The vampire giggled and swung my legs inside, slamming the door. Another tee-hee-hee later and we were off.

I was slumped next to him. He didn't pay any attention to me, but kept snickering as he drove. It was annoying. I had PMS and a test this morning. Boy, had he picked the wrong girl.

Without warning, his car was rammed from behind. The sharp impact provided the perfect distraction for me to pull my silver out of my boot. He let out a loud squeal as I plunged it into his chest, missing his heart deliberately, but close enough to get his attention.

"Shut up, chirpy!" I snapped. "Pull over, or you'll get rear-ended again. And if that happens, you can guess where this blade will end up."

The shock on his face was almost comical. Then his eyes flared.

"Take your hands off me!"

"Don't waste that glow on me, buddy, it won't work. You've got about three more seconds to pull over, or it's nighty-night for you."

Behind us, Bones revved his engine for emphasis. Another collision would send the silver straight through his heart, and he knew it.

I didn't glance away as we came to a stop and Bones opened the driver's door.

"Well, Tony, how goes it?"

The vampire wasn't laughing anymore. "I don't know where Hennessey is!" he shouted.

"Right, mate, and I believe you. Kitten, if you'll drive? He and I are going to have a talk."

Bones maneuvered Tony into the backseat. I got behind the wheel and adjusted the mirror so I could see them.

"Where to?"

"Just around, until our mate Tony here tells us otherwise."

We left the bashed-up other car on the side of the road. It was one of Ted's that he didn't have a use for. A chop-shop owner was turning out to be a pretty handy friend.

"I don't know anything, I'm just trying to make a buck," Tony tried again.

"Liar." Pleasantly, from Bones. "You're one of Hennessey's, and don't tell me you don't know how to contact him. All vampires know how to reach their sire. Just for your miserable existence, I should kill you. Pretending to sell drugs to addicts and then green-eying them into thinking they've gotten what they paid for-you're pathetic."

"Asshole," I agreed.

"He'll kill me." It was a whimper.

"Not if he's dead, he won't, and you're as good as that now yourself. What do you think Hennessey will do if he finds out you let yourself get captured? Think he'll look kindly on how you were peddling your wares for me to find you? He'll forgive you because he's such a good bloke, right? He'll rip your bloody head off and you know it. I'm your only hope, mate."

Tony looked to me as if for help. I held up my middle finger. Well, what did he expect?

He turned back to Bones. "Promise me you won't kill me and I'll tell you everything."

"I won't kill you unless you refuse to talk," Bones answered brusquely. "And if you lie to me, I really won't kill you, but you'll want me to. Count on it."

There was a coldness to his tone that reminded me of when I'd been in Tony's shoes. Yeah, Bones could be pretty scary.

Tony began to talk. Fast. "Hennessey's been real secretive about his location lately, but if I need something, I'm supposed to go to Lola. I have her address-she's in Lansing. She and Hennessey are pretty tight. If she doesn't know where he is, she'll know who does."

"Give me her address."

Tony rattled off the information. Bones didn't bother to write it down, but maybe that was because he still held the dagger in Tony's chest.

"Kitten, get on the I-69 and head north. We're going to Lansing."

It was a three-hour drive. Bones got exact directions from MapQuest on his cell phone, remarking how he loved modern technology. We walked the last half mile, parking Tony's car in a nearby grocery store lot and taking him with us. Bones held the knife next to him with a malevolent smirk, commenting that if he even squeaked, he'd end him. As we approached, I saw Lola lived in an apartment complex also, albeit much snazzier than mine or Charlie's. It was five a.m., and where was I? Skulking around another apartment building. I hoped we'd be done in time for me to take that exam. I could just imagine my excuse to the professor if I missed it. But honestly, I had to find a bad vampire! Somehow I didn't think it would fly.

"Her car's not here," Tony whispered, taking Bones's threat seriously and keeping his voice down.

"You can tell from one glance, aye?" With heavy skepticism.

"When you see it, you'll understand," Tony replied.

Bones put a finger to his lips as we got within a hundred feet of the place, indicating with hand signals that Tony and I were to stay put while he checked the building. I resisted the urge to give him the same fingered version of my opinion I'd relayed to Tony earlier, but consoled myself with the knowledge that watching the perimeter was important. And if I heard any subsequent brawling, I was close enough to jump in on it.

Bones slinked around the far side of the building and then disappeared. Minutes ticked by, stretching into an hour. Bones still hadn't come back, but I didn't hear any sounds of fighting, so I assumed he was perched somewhere also. The sun would be up soon, and my crouched position, holding Tony at knife point, was getting uncomfortable. A kink started in my back, and irritably I realized I'd never make that exam.

I was about to find a softer part on the ground to sit on when I noticed the car pulling up. Well, score one for Tony. He was right. You would notice that one, even at a glace.

It was a screaming red Ferrari, and the woman who'd just parked it wasn't human. I crouched lower. The shrubs provided adequate cover, and from the small hill we were on, I had a clear view of her. She had short black hair, and from her features, she was Asian. Her car, outfit, and even her purse were all high-end, big-ticket items. Everything about her shouted money.

She had gotten about a dozen feet from the entrance to her building when Bones stepped into view. Apparently he'd been waiting out of sight inside the doors. She tried to run, but he pounced, cutting her flight to freedom short.

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