“Oh really?” Miss Lansdale asked curiously. “I take it he’s not at school. What does he do for a living?”
“He... He works in business. He runs an efficient team, very good at working with contracts.”
Emily looked as though she was trying to stifle a fit of laughter, which Beth was too.
“He must be older than you. Not too old, I hope. I do wish him the best of luck with getting better.”
With that, Miss Lansdale left, leaving Beth and Emily to giggle quietly. Beth wiped her tears away and smiled.
“Can’t believe you said that,” Emily said, trying to breathe after their fit.
“That it is.”
“Do you know how many of them there are?” Beth asked curiously, feeling much better after crying and laughing.
“Seventeen, I think. There are five of them in the ‘inner circle’ or something like that. It’s a secret association inside a secret association.”
“Who’s in the circle?”
“Robert, obviously, and some vampires called Onyx, Mark, Jay and Thorn.”
“I’ve met Onyx. And Mark, briefly. They seem alright.”
“From what I’ve heard, they’re decent. Well, as decent as trained killers can be.”
Beth pulled up in front of the house. All her favourite teachers had wished her a happy birthday, as well as all her friends. She knew her day was only going to get better.
She got out of the car and opened the front door. The moment she shut it behind her, she heard a voice.
“We’ve been discussing this for almost an hour now,” said Robert from the living room upstairs. “I just want this fucker found and brought to me.”
“And how do you propose we do that?” snapped a voice Beth had never heard before.
“I don’t know, Thorn,” Robert hissed back. “I want a name, aliases, an address, a phone number, anything.”
“I’ve been trying to track the phone signal but it seems to be untraceable, even to our equipment.” That was Onyx.
“This is all pointless; we’re not going to find him!” exclaimed someone.
“How would you feel?” Robert asked sharply.
“Robert’s right, Grim,” Mark said quietly. “How would you feel if this was all about Helen? Because we’d be doing exactly the same thing if this was her.”
There was silence for a little while. Beth walked cautiously up the stairs, wondering whether she should interrupt. As she stood at the top of the stairs, all the eyes in the room turned to look at her. There were sixteen men all staring at her, and it made her uncomfortable to say the least.
“What’s going on?” she asked, looking around at them all.
She recognised Onyx, who smiled, and Mark who nodded respectfully. Beth’s eyes settled on Robert. His hair and clothes were a state. He had been sleeping in them all day after all. He ran his hand through his hair nervously and Beth realised he’d been doing that a lot, from the condition of his hair.