The shower was hot. And the bed was uncomfortable. But I closed my eyes and prayed I didn’t die in my sleep. Of all the nights I wanted to see those blue eyes. I wanted to see his smile. I didn’t want to have a nightmare. I didn’t want to go off into the darkness and feel the razor sharp tentacles flay my skin. I wanted him to touch me – remind me I’m alive.
I drifted into the emptiness and there was a glimmer of the room I was always in. In the vagueness of my dream I knew that room. I remembered where I’d seen it before. Not the dream version. The room was once where I’d gone to see Margo. Filled with toys and paintings and things for a kid to do while they waited, and they observed the child.
The thought woke me from my slumber and I wondered how I could dream of the room before I saw it. Had I been in the room before. I sat up and sighed. I didn’t know but now I knew the nightmare would come. I could feel it lingering in the air.
I went for a run. A long very tiring run. And then I passed out on the uncomfortable bed without a thought.
I woke with my back bloodied – but still alive. I was a live.
I got back on the road and moved on with my life. I had a vampire to hunt. I grinned at myself, my own thoughts. I wasn’t going to kill her. She’d done nothing wrong, but I wanted to find her. I wanted her to know I was just as good as she was. I wanted that prestige to hunt Il Cane and succeed. I wouldn’t succeed if I tried to kill her but that wasn’t my goal.
I drove for two more days. Texas was a large state it seemed like I’d be in it forever. Louisiana had been mostly a blur having traveled it with vampire venom coursing through my veins. Mississippi and Alabama were nothing compared to that. And then another long trek through Florida to the far coast of the peninsula.
Dangberg was a strange place. All the sidewalks were shaded with awnings and parks all had large tents attached to them. I stopped at one of the parks and got out to stretch my legs while I figured out where the best place to start was. In the middle of the large tented area was a rock with a plague. “The Founding of Dangberg.” It went on to tell about the vampire founders. I nearly laughed.
There was a point in my history lessons where we did a little bit on the founding of America. The first settlers had brought with vampires – the boat trips over had been catastrophic at first until Venatori started coming across on each one killing all the vampires. It made sense that this was where they’d say Cari Giovanni was. She had come with the council to the New World, leaving most of them behind with a new Enforcer and bringing Il Cane with the transplants. They were said to have settled far and wide. Salvador Einor settled in the south in an undisclosed location. Desmond Vallejo was centered right in New York City. Every Venatori knew his name but none had seen him. And Dimitri Vallejo – no relation – went out into the wilderness that was the West.
The town was founded by a vampire and the awnings catered to the myths of the town. The vampires were playing tourist attraction. Come be bitten by the vampire bug. I shook my head in disbelief. I’d gone hunting a vampire for using media to attract food, and here was a whole town doing the same thing. But it had been here since the founding of our great country. I scoffed. The vampires were here and now I only had to find them.
I did what any tourist would do. I went into the closest coffee shop I ordered a tall coffee black and flirted with the barrista. He was cute, a little shy, but a quick smile, and a graze of him hand and he wasn’t beating me down so I kept going. I stood at the pick up counter out of the way and talked to Scott. “So if I wanted to see a true vampire where might I go?”
Scott looked at me with a smile and he brushed his fingers against his neck pulling his collar up a little higher. He was a letter. I smiled. He’d know where I could find a vampire. “I can show you.” He said, “After my shift is over.”
Hook, line and sinker. I smiled. “I’d love that. So while I wait for you to get off.” I smirked at my words. “Where is the best hotel around. Where I can sleep like the dead until you stop by?”
He blushed a little but he pointed across the street. “The B&B across the street is far enough away from the clubs, that you won’t hear the noise, but close enough you can walk home without too much trouble.”
I grinned at him as I placed my hand on his after he’d set down another customer’s drink, “So when you get off, ask for Nox at the front desk. I’ll let them know Scott will be stopping by.”
He nodded and blushed. “Okay. I should get back to work.”
I nodded. “You should. I’ll see you later.” I winked at him and walked out of the cafe with a certain sway because I knew he was watching me.