From The Ashes: Chapter Fifteen Of “Bounty Hunter”

“Sounds to me like her abilities bonded with your future sense. What you sent and what was received might not have been the same thing. It may have morphed to show her family trying to kill her.” He looks over at me. “The Mistress Torgue was cruel. Even to her own. She detested her children. Feared them. Imagined that they were going to kill her someday. Your nightmare manifested itself as her family finally getting their revenge. Your command to kill spurred her to do so both in her dream and reality.

“Do not be too hard on yourself. Telepathy affects different opponents in different ways. The next one may kill themselves. Or Their wife. Or their soldiers. Or they might just be so frightened that their minds will break. ”

“So it wasn’t me?” I look over at him.

“No. your dreams and nightmares won’t manifest themselves the same way in the minds of the vampires. It will always manifest their greatest fear. Not yours. They will act upon that fear.” He smiles.

“The sight of what she had done sickened me, though.” I am still trying to find a reason not to se the power.

“You will get used to it. Just remember not to get too interested in what is taking place. Don’t ask for them to open their eyes. then you won’t have to feel this way. Remember. This is a war. No Quarter. No sympathy.” He looks me in the eye.

“No prisoners.” I finish. “Thanks. I feel better. I think.”

“Glad I could help.” He gets up. “I actually came to see if you needed any supplies.”

“Nope.” I smile weakly. “I’m good. Thanks anyway.”

“Just remember to be careful. Do not leave any signatures for them to follow mentally. If you allow them to trace your mental attack, they can turn it against you.” He turns away. “And remember whatever Annabelle told you about this telepathy.”

“She said it caused the user to have a half-life.” I give him a worried look.

He smiles. “Shouldn’t affect you. You are already dead. Half-lives only affect the living.”

“Ok.”

“Well, since you don’t need anything, I will go ahead and leave.” He looks back. I wave as he vanishes.

Then he is gone. Just as quickly as he had appeared. Seems to be his way. I am alone again.

***

I have learned a lot today. About telepathy. About what happens when I resend a dream to another. About myself.

Darkness has begun to fall. It is twilight time once again. I realize I haven’t consulted my list to see where I am going next. Ah hell. I will just see which cities are controlled by them. Time to free some humans.

So far, I have only been taking out fortresses along the borderlands. Just below the wastelands. And above the human-controlled cities. I am hoping that the openings I have made will allow the humans to reclaim some of the territory. And rebuild civilization.

I take out a list of the vampire controlled cities. Topeka. Jefferson City. Kansas City. Las Vegas.

No one controls the upper Midwest. Iowa. Nebraska. Illinois. Ohio. Indiana. Northern Kansas and northern Missouri. Topeka is right on that line.

Topeka is controlled by a vampire Known as Tobler. He is supposed to be extremely cruel. And extremely able as a warrior. One of the ancient ones. Old enough that Tobler is not his original name. But no one remembers that. So they call him Tobler.

I guess it is because he had a thing for chocolate. Especially Toblerone bars. Kalkolides dropped the ‘one’ off the chocolate bar name. and Tobler gained his new name.

But I have a ways to go. I am far to the east of Topeka. But not so far that I can’t make it before the end of a week. I smile. I will make due with destroying the fortresses between here and there while I move that direction.

I am still wanting to send a message. And each fortress I take out, I send it louder than ever. I drive the nail that much deeper. I cause that much more frustration.

I find an abandoned house and stop. I need to formulate a plan of attack. I enter the house and make sure there are no surprises. Then I search for a candle. And light it.

I take out my map. The one I was given by McCall. I take out a homemade pencil. And commence marking off my past targets. The ones I have already taken out.

Looking at the map, I realize that the messenger had made a beeline straight toward Topeka. I grin. Good boy. Lead me right to a ‘governor’. Where else will you take me?

Dahner’s Guard is the next fortress. Then Faladay. And Marych. And Merluch.

The final one is Lysych. And they all answer to Tobler. They are his field units in the war against the free humans. and the unified underground. Which includes The shape shifters, werewolves, Alphas, and Grigori. Most of these, he cannot kill. Only the humans. Just as humans cannot really kill werewolves, alphas, or changelings. Or even the Grigori.

I hear a noise out front. I don’t even take time to snuff out the candle. I merely knock it over and start the house on fire. I slip out the back and am gone before whoever realizes I have gotten away.

I hear curses fill the air as they fight their way out of the inferno. But I am already in the darkness where most cannot see me. I watch from my vantage point as they lunge out of the burning building. They are also now on fire. I smile.

I notice they are a group of vampires. Obviously, Kalkolides has sent them to capture me. Again. Or Tobler. Or one of the other vampire generals. I turn and vanish into the night. Let them stand there and curse. And threaten. I will be long gone before they realize they have missed their chance.

Like the wind, I was there but now am gone. Tomorrow, I will take down Dahner. Tomorrow, I will send a message to Tobler. In the form of the head of one of his generals. But for now, I must make up for lost time.

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