Truva is an excellent cook. Even with the lack of untainted food sources, he can take a little and make a gourmet meal. He can make even a vampire’s tummy rumble with anticipation. Italian mixed with Cajun and Creole influences. An amazing mix of fragrances. The spice. The tomato.
Oh how I long to be human again! I have no problems eating human food when it smells so good. I have abstained from ‘feeding’ out of honor. And I have opted to eat, though eating solves none of my hunger issues.
I know that it is useless for me to do so, but I desire to please my teachers. I try to be as ‘human’ as possible. For their comfort. Not my own. I am their guest.
And meals are where every mission is discussed. McCall merely listens as Truva gives each mission and I question him on the particulars. The What. The Where. The importance of the target.
Tonight is no different. Except I do not question. Truva simply states the mission information with all that already stated. I sit and listen. Just like McCall.
“Any questions?” Truva looks straight at me.
“Nope.” I smile. “I believe you have made everything plain enough.”
“My goodness, I think the child is at a loss of words, Mac!” The false surprise is evident in what he said. Along with the sarcasm.
McCall simply smiles. Then rises from the table. And leaves the room. We stare after him.
“It’s your turn to do dishes, Cristina.” Truva Smiles at me.
“Someday, you will have to teach me how you do that.” I state simply.
“Do What?” He is now unsure.
“Cook such wonderful food.” I look up at him as I pick up the last plate.
“Oh. Sure. Sure.” I think he is surprised I asked.
We are on the move. Darkness is falling fast and it will be hard to see, at least for McCall, our targets. Darkness holds no power over me anymore. No fear. No blindness.
I see everything so clear. Even in the dark. the only thing not clear to me is what I am. I am not fully a vampire. I am definitely not human. I am an outsider. I do not even fit among the shape shifters.
But I fit in this small group of outcasts. McCall. Truva. Grady. Voodoo. Tanaka. And all their small band of allies.
I hunt, therefore I am. I am a hunter. Hated by human and vampire alike. Meddlesome humans tend to end up just as dead as our vampire prey. Humans. Never know when to stay out of the way.
Luckily, there aren’t many out of a night anymore. One can be shot for being out after curfew. And usually, that is what happens. But not to hunters. Sentries rarely take notice of us. we aren’t counted among the living in the cities, so we are ignored.
I turn my attention to our current path. Sadly, we can only go a circuit of about forty miles round-trip. Twenty out, twenty back. Sometimes, we can make a complete patrol of our area, but not often. Mostly, we have our targets. Tonight, we hunt near Baton Rouge.
This means we will be out in the open well into the daylight hours on the return. No twenty mile trip. We will reach our hunting field at about midnight. And home will be at six or after. But we are trying to protect New Orleans.
Baton Rouge. Now one of the bloodiest cities in what had once been the United States. Vampires rule here. Cruel overlords. I have been told that their “king” is called the Impaler. As In Vlad. But his name is not Vlad. Ironically, it is Christophe. Christophe Le Marre. An underling of Jason Kalkolides.
But he is not our target. Not yet. No, we are after his woman. Selene Kalkolides. Jason’s sister.
We have reason to believe she is getting ready to report to her brother on how Christophe is handling things. Even more reason to take her down. If we can disrupt the communication between the two leaders, we will be able to divide and conquer.
Again, McCall has chosen to allow me to work alone on this. He only goes to observe. To make sure I complete the mission without any problems. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Always nice to know that someone has my back.
I close the gap between myself and the city. McCall is right behind me. I hear him gasp in shock. Then I see it. Them.
Three crosses. A mocking of faith. All three, headless. But not the poor saps hung upon them.
I focus upon the victims. A priest. A hunter. And a vampire. I realize that the third is the spy. He is hung there to watch for any trespassers.
I take my gun out of its holster and place a silencer on the muzzle. I take aim. Piff! As the hollow point silver bullet explodes inside his head, his head explodes like a rotten melon. No more spy.
I wait for what seems an eternity. Then, she emerges from the city. Carried upon a litter, she is not alone. I count twenty armed guards. I like these odds. Then I see him.
Who is he? And what is he doing in her litter? I retreat. Back to where McCall awaits. I signal that there is an unexpected second with the target. McCall crawls close enough to take a look. He gasps again.
He signals “elder Kalkolides”. The patriarch. Jason’s father. This was no trip to report back to Jason. This was an outing with her father. Then these executions were for his benefit.
I am angry. But I also know that I am not strong enough to face an elder of the Vampire Nation. Not yet. McCall knows it too.
I Look at him. He signals to worry only about Selene. He will worry about Ari Kalkolides. The father. Dear God, I hope he is good enough to win this fight.