As we make our first circle, Doc slowly drops back behind me, until he’s on my rear flank by a full fifteen feet. I stop and turn. He freezes in his tracks, but I can hear his gear rattle as he trembles in the dark.
“Come on, Doc, you’re slowing us down,” I whisper just loud enough to wake the dead..
“Don’t worry,” he whispers back, a shakiness in his voice. “I’ve got your six.”
“I’m not going to bite you,” I try to reassure him.
He looks like he’s going to bolt, so I do what I promised myself I wouldn’t do. I use the mesmer on Doc. We lock eyes and suddenly my voice has a direct line into his brain.
His eyes are wide with fear, but he takes a step toward me. Then another. And another. I reel him in with my eyes and my mind. When he’s within arm’s reach, I turn away and schlep onward.
“Now, as I was saying, I don’t want to drink your blood,” I continue. “The truth is, what I really could go for is a creamsicle.”