Halfway to the Grave

Page 75

All I could think of was my grandmother staring in silent accusation and my grandfather slumped on the kitchen floor.

"Get him now, come back for me later. Get him!"

This last was a roar of unbridled vehemence. I wanted that creature dead. Truly, painfully dead. All else could wait.

Decision made, Bones dashed through the room at speeds a car couldn't manage. Bullets were too slow to land on him. In a blink he was gone.

One of the remaining vampires took the initiative and hurled one of my knives at me. The silver was buried high into my thigh, missing the artery by inches. Ignoring the pain, I yanked it from my leg and sent it unerringly into his heart, rewarded with a cut-off squeal of agony.

Suddenly a blast sounded in my ears and I was thrown sideways. When I'd sat up to aim my knife, someone else had aimed at me. Hot searing metal tore into my shoulder as the bullet struck home. Gasping, I felt around for the wound and heard voices nearly on top of me.

"Don't move! Don't move! Hands in the motherfuckin' air!"

A trembling cop stood over me flanked by three others, and their scared eyes swept the bloodbath that was the living room. Slowly I raised my hands, wincing at the shards of pain seizing my shoulder.

"You're under arrest," a panicked officer wheezed, the whites of his eyes rolling in his head. The stench of his fear overwhelmed me.

"Thank God," I replied. All things considered, it was a better ending than I'd expected.

Chapter Twenty-Four

THEY READ ME MY RIGHTS, SOMETHING I didn't pay much attention to, because I didn't need the Miranda warning to know that shutting the hell up was in my best interest. Then, after half an hour of refusing to answer any questions while I was handcuffed to a stretcher in the back of an ambulance, a tall, skinny cop muscled his way through the crowd.

"I'm taking her in with me, Kirkland."

The officer who'd read me my rights, presumably Kirkland, balked. "Lieutenant Isaac? But-"

"Soon this place will be crawling with media helicopters and we need some answers, don't 'Lieutenant' me!" the man snapped.

"Hey, I'm shot here, guys. You know, bleeding and all that," I pointed out.

"Shut up," Isaac said curtly, and uncuffed me from the stretcher. The medical attendants gazed at him in disbelief. Isaac then yanked me by my cuffed hands to follow after him, sending fresh pain through my shoulder. Kirkland gaped, but he didn't say anything. He looked like he couldn't wait to get out of there.

Lieutenant Kirkland shoved me none too gently into the back of an unmarked police car. The only thing official about it was the red flashing light on the dashboard. I glanced around, surprised. Was this usual procedure?

"I'm injured, and you clowns have already been at me for thirty minutes. Aren't I supposed to be taken to a hospital?" I asked as Isaac hit the gas.

"Shut up," he said again, weaving through the maze of police cars around the demolished property.

"Because any good lawyer would totally call this a violation of my rights," I went on, ignoring that.

He glared at me in the rearview mirror. "Shut the f**k up," he replied, drawing out each word.

This didn't feel normal. Of course, this was my first time being arrested, but still. I sniffed the air questioningly. Isaac had a smell about him, but I couldn't place what it was. I wasn't used to diagnosing things by scent.

After several minutes, Isaac was clear of all the activity and on the open road. He grunted as if in satisfaction and then met my eyes in the mirror again.

"What a shame, Catherine. A girl like you, her whole life ahead of her, who throws it all away by getting involved in a white slavery ring. Even killed your grandparents to cover up what you were doing. It's tragic."

"Officer Dickhead," I said clearly, "go f**k yourself."

"Ooh, language," Isaac clucked. "But I'm not surprised, coming from you. You were even going to sell your mother into that kind of slavery, weren't you?"

"You have got to be the stupidest-" I began furiously, and then stopped, taking in another deep breath. Isaac knew too much, and now I knew what that smell was.

Just as Isaac whipped his hand around, I catapulted into the front of the car. His gun went off, but the bullet tore into the backseat instead of me. The car swerved dangerously as Isaac tried to aim again.

I slammed his head into the steering wheel. We lurched onto the side of the road, thankfully empty due to the early hour, and I grabbed the wheel to keep us from crashing. When Isaac looked up seconds later, dazed and bleeding, I had his gun trained on him.

"Pull over nice and slow or I'll splatter your brains all over both of us."

He tried to snatch the gun, but I whipped it across his jaw before his fingers even grazed it. "Do that again, Renfield. See what it gets you."

His eyes widened. I gave a nasty laugh. "Yeah, I know what you are. Pick a name-Renfield, vampire's familiar, bat bitch, whatever. You stink like vampires, and not just the dead ones. When they're shriveled, they have a different smell, who'd have thought? So whose little errand boy are you? Whose pale cold ass were you kissing in the hopes you'd get turned one day?"

Isaac stopped the car. We were already on the side of the road. "You're making the biggest mistake of your life."

I'd jerked the gearshift into park and grabbed his balls before he could even scream. He did, though, as soon as I gave them a hard squeeze.

"Who was it? Who sent you to finish me off?"

"Fuck you."

I squeezed his nuts like they were stress-relieving orbs. Isaac let out a high-pitched shriek that gave me an instant headache.

"Now, I'm going to ask you again, and don't make me angrier. Who sent you?"

"Oliver," came the pained reply. "It was Oliver!"

That wasn't the mayor's name. In fact, it wasn't anyone on our list of human or vampire suspects.

"You'd better make me a believer. Oliver who?"

"Ethan Oliver!"

I froze, stunned. Isaac let out a gasping snicker. "You didn't know? Hennessey was sure Francesca had told Bones."

"Ethan Oliver," I whispered. "Governor Ethan Oliver? He's a vampire?"

"No, he's human. He's just in business with them."

It clicked into place. "He's Hennessey's shadow partner! My God, I voted for him! Why did he do it?"

"Let go of my balls!" Isaac rasped.

I got a firmer grip on them instead. "I'll let go when you make sense, and the clock's ticking. Every minute that goes by, I squeeze harder. You won't have any left inside of five."

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