The sound of the front door shutting resonated through the house and Beth fought the urge to get up and run to the stairs. She knew that she had to listen to what Lucius had told her, whether it had been a dream or not.
She went back to sleep, much more easily this time, now that she knew that Robert was home.
When she woke again, the alarm was going off. She turned it off and reached across the bed, feeling nothing. Robert hadn’t come to bed. She got up and went downstairs. All the lights were off so she turned the hall light on. She opened the door to the library and he wasn’t in there. She went to the kitchen, flipping the light switch and gasping at the sight.
Robert was sat at the breakfast bar but was his torso was lying on the bar itself and he was completely unconscious. There were empty bottles of assorted types of alcohol strewn across the bar. It didn’t take her long to piece together the situation.
She hurried over to him, shaking his arm a lot.
“What?” he responded, his voice deadpan and his eyes not opening.
“How much did you drink last night?” she asked, trying to pull him into a sitting position.
He just shrugged and remained lying on the bar. His weapons and coat were on the floor, looking like they’d just been dropped and forgotten about.
She eventually gave up trying to pull him up, just putting her arms around him from behind. Her fingers touched a drying dampness that was too thick to be spilt alcohol. She pulled her hand back and looked at it, her fingers stained with red.
“Robert, you’ve got blood on you,” she whispered.
“I know,” he said, his voice still blank.
“Were you hurt?”
“What do you mean, ‘not really’?” she demanded.
“My arm got sliced.” He held up his left arm, where a bandage was wrapped around his forearm.
“What about this other blood?”
“Not mine,” he said simply.
“Oh,” was all she could think to say. “Whose is it then?”
“Probably a mixture of all the slayers.”
“What happened last night? I’m guessing you didn’t find Thorn.”
“No, we didn’t. We came across a hunter base. Only a relatively small one. We headed in and took them for questioning. There was lots of fighting though.”
“What kind of questioning?” Beth asked suspiciously.
“The interrogating type. Or torture if they really won’t talk.”
“You really torture them?”
“If we have to. They find great delight in doing it to our kind. You’ve seen the type of setup they keep.”
Beth shivered slightly, remembering the memory of finding the hidden basement in that house. The house where they’d discovered the ritual...