Okay, so first of all I went and saw the bean pole. Hallie must have seen him before she left. The scrawny kid just looked at me with jealousy in his eyes and told me he hadn’t seen her. So, I’d go see the other kid, whatever his name was. Jaden or Raven, I can’t remember. He seemed nervous. Maybe ‘cause I was taller than him, maybe ‘cause I was absolutely fuming that it was taking this long to find out which way Hallie and Fang had gone. This kid was all questions. Where were they going? Who was the guy she was with? Was she pregnant and running off to Vegas to get married quickly? I didn’t have time for him. I’m pretty sure I pissed him off by just walking off once he’d told me where to go. The guy who owned the car rental place was oh so helpful too.
“I don’t know, man, peeps just take the cars and go” he said, not looking up from his magazine.
“What car did they take?” I asked, trying to keep a lid on my growing temper.
“A red ‘Stang, I think”.
Okay, so now I knew a little more. They’d gone upstate in a red Mustang. How many Mustangs did you see nowadays, anyway? Once again, if I’d been a smart kid I would have rented out a car instead of deciding to walk.
By the time I made it to Pleasant Valley it had been weeks since I’d left Apollo’s Arrow. Somehow I’d managed to wander up to Chicago then down to Arkansas, back up to Oregon, ended up in Toronto without even realising I’d crossed the border, went back into America and ended up in Phoenix, decided to take a trip to California to see if Fang and Hallie had actually gone there. I had quite a nice chat with Nathalie and C.J., actually. Indy was nowhere to be seen, thank God, and Joséf had pissed off somewhere. Anyway, back to my road trip. From California I headed up and ended up in Iowa, headed East instead of North and ended up in Tennessee, went North to Ohio. Once I hit Ohio I decided to call Tawny and see if she’d worked out any more about Pleasant Valley. The cheeky cow had a feeling it was a few hundred miles North from Apollo’s Arrow. After I’d been to Chicago, Arkansas, Oregon, Toronto, Phoenix, California, Iowa, Tennessee and Ohio, she had a feeling it was a few hundred miles North of sweet little New Jersey. Hold on, she’d said it was upstate so why did I go to Chicago? That’s to the West! God! Humans, don’t have them! I headed back to NJ and headed North. And I was definitely going North ‘cause this time I was armed with a compass. One point for Aya, you star! Er, yeah, so, where was I? Oh right, I remember. I headed North for a couple hundred miles and found one of the one things I didn’t want to see. A totalled red Mustang. Hallie and Fang’s scents were weak inside it but they’d definitely been in the car at some point. There had been some rain lately and it had washed away most of the scent trail. This was going to be difficult.
I lost the scent a few times and I’m pretty sure I went back in time at one point because I walked past some young kid singing for money. That’s not the time travelling bit. Now, if you saw a kid singing for money on the street you’d expect them to sing something modern that most adults would never have heard of. But no, this young sprog, who wasn’t much younger than me (well, you know what I mean), was pouring his heart into a rendition of ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’. It really is something when you hear a kid singing a song from a 1926 musical. I remember the musical it’s from as well. It was from ‘Oh, Kay!’ and I remember going to see it with somebody. Probably a girl, how should I remember? I gave the kid ten bucks for old times sake and carried on trying to find Hallie. I managed to find my way out of the 1920’s and back to the 21st century. Her scent was getting stronger and for some reason I found myself singing the exact same song the kid had been singing. Singing in private was unlike me. Singing in public was nothing like me. Yet here I found myself, following a scent trail and singing my little heart out.
“There’s a somebody I’m a longing to see,
I hope that she turns out to be,
Someone who’ll watch over me,
Although I may not be the man some,
Girls think of as handsome,
To her heart l carry the key,
Wont you tell her please to put on some speed,
Follow my lead, oh how I need,
Someone to watch over me”.
Hallie’s scent was heavy in my nose. It was snowing, that should have been making the scent weaker. No, it was definitely getting stronger. That couldn’t be good news. There was a clearing up ahead, surrounded by a thick line of trees. I made my way towards it, Hallie’s scent getting dangerously heavy. Sat about a quarter of the way into the clearing was Fang. And in his arms was Hallie’s dead body, blood still spilling from her chest. Fang looked up at me.
“You. You did this to her” he said but it wasn’t anger in his voice. It was shame. Shame at me and shame at himself.
“Have you bitten her?” I asked, switching in to medic mode. Tawny didn’t know I’d been a World War II medic and that’s why she dealt with all Hallie’s medical issues.
Fang shook his head. I could tell from the shape of the bloodied snow that Fang had moved her, a huge no-no. I had known she was dead when I saw her in Fang’s arms but I had to make sure. There was no pulse, no heartbeat, no sign of life about her. Fang had let go of Hallie and he now sat watching me work. I had to work out what to do. It would be pointless getting any venom into her because it’d just leak out of her heart once it reached it. Once I’d gotten some venom into her she’d need more blood but I had no way of doing a transfusion. I took a deep breath and cleared my head. If I could seal her heart things would be a lot easier. Then it hit me. As much as I hated Cassadee for turning me, I kept her necklace. None of the others had seen it because I always kept it well hidden but since the day she turned me I’d worn a thin gold chain around my neck and rarely took it off. And that thin gold chain would be perfect for tying up the hole. There was only one problem.
“Fang, I need to tie off the hole in her heart. She’s gonna have to lose the dress” I said, slipping the necklace over my head.
There was no response. Fang was in a trance.
He shook his head and looked more alert. He nodded. I tried to swallow the lump in my throat. I took another deep breath and ripped away material until lay dead and bare-chested in the snow. It didn’t even cross my mind to perv on her. Within seconds my fingers came in to contact with the gooey insides of Hallie’s ribcage. I felt the hole in her heart.
“Fang, I need you to pull the bullet out of her heart. I’d do it myself but I need to keep the hole open”.
Fang did exactly as I told him. The second the bullet, and his hand, were out of the way I tied the necklace in place so it sealed her heart. I told Fang to bite her while I got her heart artificially beating. He’d slipped into his trance again. We didn’t have time for this. I thought of my favourite blood types, bloodfeasts, anything to try and will more venom into my mouth. I bit Hallie’s neck. So cliché, I know, but it’s the easiest access point. I started pumping her heart. The venom was slowly making its way around her system. I bit her a few more times, mostly on her arms, and kept her heart beating. Once the venom reached her heart she’d be able to support her own life again but it had to reach it first. I looked round at Morrigan. The deeply pleased grin on her face had changed. She was still pleased with herself but for a different reason. Before I knew what had happened, she had pulled her hair out. No, not out, off. It was a wig. She pulled the black wig off, exposing the white underneath. And at that moment, her twin entered the clearing.
“Lilith, what have you done?” the real Morrigan growled.