Mercy Thompson

 
 

Mercy Thompson Book 2 - Page 90


"Then I have no reason to kill you," I told him.

"Then again, maybe you couldn't have killed me," he said, crawling out of the stairway. He moved very slowly, like a lizard who had gotten too cold.

I heard a whimper from behind one of the closed doors next to the bathroom, and sympathized. I wanted to whimper, too.

"I'm not hunting you," I told him firmly, though I stepped backward until I stood in a circle of light at the end of the hallway.

He stopped halfway out of the stairway, his eyes were filmed over like a dead man's.

"Good," he said. "If you kill Andre, I won't tell-and no one will ask."

And he was gone, withdrawing from the hallway and down the stairs so fast that I barely caught the motion, though I was staring right at him.

I walked out of his home because if I'd moved any faster, I'd have run screaming.

Chapter 15

I found another vampire's lair in Paseo, but this time I played it smarter. I drove back at noon the next day when the sun was high in the sky and changed into my coyote self because my nose was sharper when I ran on four paws.

I hopped over the fence and cast about, but whatever vampires did to hide their lairs almost worked. I could find no clear scent around the house, but the car smelled of a female vampire, Estelle.

The third menagerie I found a few days later was Andre's.

He lived in a pretty little house mostly hidden behind a huge pole building. It sat on a couple of acres of land next to the wildlife preserve near Hood Park, just outside of Paseo.

I wouldn't have thought to look out that far since vampires, unlike werewolves, are city creatures. It was only luck that had me test-driving a VW Bus out that way. I pulled over to make a few adjustments and as soon as I got out of the car, I knew that people had died inside that house, a lot of people.

I got into the back of the van to change to coyote.

Either Andre was careless, or he wasn't as good as Estelle or Wulfe because I found his scent all over the property. He liked to sit at a picnic table and look out over the preserve. It was a beautiful view. I didn't see any ghosts, but I could feel them, dozens of them, waiting for me to do something.

Instead, I drove back to the shop and went to work.

If I could have killed him the day Marsilia released him, or even the night I killed Littleton it would have been easier. I'd killed animals to eat them, and because it was the coyote nature to prey upon mice and rabbits. Three times I'd killed in self-defense or defense of others. Cold-blooded murder was more difficult.

An hour before closing I left Gabriel in charge of the shop and drove home. Samuel wasn't there again, which was probably just as well. I sat down in my room and wrote a list of the people I knew Littleton and Andre, between them, had killed. I didn't know all the names, but I included Daniel twice, since Andre had killed him once-and Littleton was responsible for his second death. At the end of the list I put down Warren 's name. Then below it, Samuel, Adam, Ben and Stefan. All of them had been damaged by the sorcerer.

Andre intended to create another monster like Littleton. Could I kill him while he was held helpless by the day?

Stefan couldn't touch him because he was oath bound to Marsilia. The wolves couldn't touch him or a lot of people would die.

If I killed Andre, the only person who would suffer was me. Sooner or later, Marsilia would figure out who had killed him even if Wulfe didn't tell her-and I trusted Wulfe about as far as I could throw him. When she knew, she would have me killed. I could only trust she wouldn't be stupid enough to do it in such a way that Samuel or Adam would get involved: she wouldn't want a war either, not with the seethe poised for rebellion.

Was it worth my life to kill Andre?

Deliberately I recalled the maid's face and the sound of her hoarse cries as Littleton killed her slowly in front of me. I remembered the shattered expression that Adam had tried to hide behind anger in the bright lights of the hospital, and the long days following that night before Samuel had strung two words together. Then there was Daniel, broken and starving, at Stefan's trial. Andre had sacrificed him twice, once for revenge and a second time to see how powerful his monster was.

I went to my gun safe and pulled out both of my handguns, the 9mm SIG Sauer and the. 44 Smith & Wesson. I had to put a linen jacket on over my T-shirt so I could wear the SIG in its shoulder harness. The. 44 would have to ride in the backpack with the rest of the vampire-hunting treasures. I was pretty sure the guns wouldn't do me any good against Andre, but they'd take out any of his human sheep-though if Wulfe's menagerie was anything to judge by, I might not have to worry about Andre's blood donors.

I hoped they'd stay out of the way. The thought of killing more people made me sick, especially as Andre's menagerie wasn't guilty of anything except being victims.

Even with the guns, when I got in the Rabbit, I wasn't entirely certain I was going to go after Andre. Impulsively I turned down Adam's street and drove to his house.

Jesse opened the door. "Mercy? Dad's not back from work yet."

"Good," I told her. "I need to see Ben."

She stepped away from the door, inviting me in. "He's still confined," she told me. "Whenever Dad isn't around to stop him, he goes after the nearest wolf."

I followed her down the stairs. Ben was curled up as far from the doorway as he could get with his back to us.

"Ben?" I asked.

His ear twitched and he flattened a little against the floor. I sat down on the floor in front of the bars and put my forehead against the door.

"Are you all right?" Jesse asked.

Ben's misery smelled sour, almost like an illness.

"I'm fine," I told her. "Would you leave us for just a few minutes?"