Pausing on her mum's number. She clicked ring on instincts but all she got was her answer phone. Her voice sounded so strange after so long. It was silly but she rang it five times just to hear her voice on the answer-phone. She could feel her eyes water a little each time but pushed away the well. She was happy in her new life, but long-past memories of when her mother had been there made her want to keep listening Then the sixth time someone picked up. But it wasn't her mother's voice.
“Zoe, this must be one of the missing children she cried about,” A deep male voice said. Zoe froze, because she knew that voice. She racked her brains but all she found was a terrible fear of what it meant.
“Where's my mum?!” Zoe asked, letting her emotions get the better of her as she panicked.
“Safe, provided you and your brother co-operate. I know the carnivals next destination. I will text you an address. Be a good girl and make sure you and your brother are there.” he didn't wait for her answer before hanging up. They both knew Zoe wouldn't let her mum be hurt. Zoe fought back a panic attack as she tried to figure out why, why on earth anyone would want to track them down. Going to such lengths as to kidnap their mother? Zoe chewed her lower lip before taking off in a run to the carnival. She needed to find Glenn and tell him. The phone buzzed in her pocket.
Keep this between us now dear
The timing sent a chill down her spine. Was the man here, now? Knowing her thoughts and watching her. Or was it just a well-determined guess as to when she'd have that thought? Zoe forced a gulp down her throat and slowed to a jog then a walk as she hit the town's high street. She had to keep it a secret? How on earth was she going to do that? Glenn was probably already wondering what was going on. Maybe even walking from the carnival to meet her half-way. She glanced at the night around her, suddenly a lot more claustrophobic than ever before. She kept walking, forcing one foot in front of the other, telling herself there were no eyes watching her.
“Stop panicking and think,” Zoe whispered to herself furiously. Burying her head in her hands and tearing them through her tangled hair. Feeling strands rip out from the force of it. She gritted her teeth again and tried to think of who she could trust. She knew Glenn would be unhappy with the situation, but prefer her safe to their mum. Could she really deceive everyone? She couldn't just walk into some house with her and Glenn alone and defenceless, she'd need to find a way to trick the others into joining. Elrik shouldn't be be too hard, he seems to care for Glenn – maybe in more than a friends way. Of course Glenn would never believe the idea.
Calvin would go with her anywhere, but she had no way to predict his reaction to the lie. Also he seemed more pre-occupied with finding the other pack and spending time around his own kind. Which was far enough, just meant he wouldn't be around often, and she had no way of knowing when the text would come in. Elrik was powerful, but if it was raining they were buggered – of course she had to promise Wendy that she would never tell Elrik she knew that.
“Crap!” Zoe yelled. Leon, the moment he heard her thoughts the plan was completely and utterly screwed. She'd have to avoid him, which meant avoiding Wendy. And they'd only just become friends like they used to be – when you ignored the glares she sent Calvin's way.
“You'll wake people up with that shouting.” Zoe jumped with enough force to send a nearby rock rolling into the centre of the road. Rowan raised an eyebrow at her and left the crumbling rock fence he'd been leaning on.
“What's wrong? You were thinking so fast it was impossible to pin down an emotion,” Rowan joked, but Zoe could see concern in his eyes. She shouldn't have found that comforting, considering that he'd left the carnival site, at night. She knew he had donated blood, all the vampires did. But how was she to be sure he never went after the occasional human instead? Why else would he be here?
“Nothing.” she'd said it too fast and she saw Rowan's eyes narrow at it. She imagined her heart, beating a mile a minute, he knew she was lying. She hoped the fast beating heart wasn't bothering him in other ways.