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When the werewolf lunged for her, Kit was ready. She sidestepped at the same time she fired her revolver. The werewolf yelped in pain and wheeled around, teeth bared. With the jewel enhancing her second sight, Kit could see the snarling face of a woman flicker over the wolf’s muzzle. She must have changed minutes ago. Kit had no idea that anyone could change that quickly outside their shift time, but she didn’t have too much time to wonder about it, because the werewolf wheeled and dodged. The bullet appeared to have nicked her shoulder; blood splattered against the wall when the werewolf turned. Kit fired again. This time she missed, and the werewolf raced for the door.
Dammit, she was getting away! Kit ran after the fleeing werewolf. She heard claws scratching on the rotting carpet, but in the darkness Kit couldn’t see which way she’d run. Kit turned left and loped to the end of the hall to a bedroom, but it appeared empty. She held her gun out in front of her, trying to see something in the darkness.
A canine squeal of pain came from the other end of the hall. Kit turned back and jogged.
“Melbourne, you missed,” Nguyen said. It might have been reproachful from another vampire, but his inflection was so neutral she couldn’t tell. “You struck her shoulder, not the heart.”
“I was hoping we could interrogate her,” Kit said, lying to save face. A faint gray rectangle marked where curtains covered the window, and she could just barely make out Waterson’s silhouette against it.
“You guys mind if I turn on a light?” Kit asked.
The light flicked on.
Kit winced, and so did the vampires, putting hands over their eyes. Nguyen and Waterson.
Waterson’s nickname was “Rambo Barbie.” She loved guns, knives, and other survival gear almost as much as she liked the color pink. She didn’t have much respect in the Guild yet because she’d only been a vampire for a handful of years, but she’d had military training when she was a human, and Fain spoke well of her, which was enough for Kit. She had long, blonde hair held back in a ponytail, and full make-up despite the fact that the outing called for killing strangers in the dark, rather than impressing cute boys on the beach. She wore black cargo pants and a hot pink turtleneck. Over the turtleneck she had a hot pink cargo vest packed with extra magazines, binoculars, and other paraphernalia from survivalist magazines. The handle of her revolver, peeking above her holster, was powder-coated hot pink, as was her Taser and the second survival knife strapped to her leg.
Nguyen wore a dark brown sport jacket and brown corduroy pants, and had a sword strapped across his back. He had been on squads before, but when she’d pressed Fain for details, he’d shrugged and said “competent” which was enough, she supposed. She’d done a favor for him years earlier, but as they’d never mentioned it, she didn’t know if that was why he’d agreed to go on this rescue mission or if, as she’d suggested to Chong, he did it as a way of buying his progeny a place on a squad.
“That is how you do it,” Nguyen said, gesturing to the dead kidnapper. The werewolf on the floor lay extended on her side, as if she’d been killed mid-leap. An enormous lake of blood oozed out, soaking the carpet to a dark burgundy. A giant survival knife with a hot pink handle extended from the fur-covered ribcage. “Well done, Waterson.”
Waterson put her foot on the werewolf’s chest to extract the knife. Its serrated edge rasped along bone. To Kit’s second sight, the image of a dead woman paralleled the werewolf’s body, jerking with the motion of the knife, then quickly faded. She was becoming nothing more than a dead wolf.
“Too bad we didn’t get any information,” Waterson said, wiping her blade along the werewolf’s fur to clean it. “If she’d been in human form, I might have been able to interrogate her.”
“Two remain,” Nguyen said.
“Where are the others?” Kit asked. “Will they be able to get in?”
“Yes. House smells like you,” Nguyen said.
Waterson laughed. “You know, when Chong said you were going to make the place your own so we could come in, he implied you were going to do magic.”
“It’s a spell,” Kit said. “Sort of.”
“Dog magic?” Nguyen’s voice lilted at the end. Was that an actual joke?
Kit shrugged. “It worked.”
“Yeah.” Waterson grinned. She started to say something else, then froze in a half crouch, holding up her hand. “Car’s coming.”
Kit couldn’t hear anything. Sometimes it sucked to be the only human on an all-vampire squad.
“Chong is on lookout in one of the trees. He texted a few minutes ago and said there’s a car approaching. Eastwick is on perimeter.”
“You want me to go outside and help Eastwick?” Kit asked.
“No.” Waterson said. “Sorry, Melbourne. You’re too noisy. Stay in the house and guard the basement. Is it still locked?”
“Yeah. Deadbolt. Not sure how we’re going to get it open without a crowbar.”
“We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it,” Waterson said. She gestured to Nguyen, and the two vampires slipped out the door.
Like the book, but short on cash? New chapter next week!