“Don’t piss the dog off. He’s quite happy to rip your arm off and watch you bleed. It’s happened before.”
Zeke knelt down beside Aran, touching the dog’s shoulder gently. It whined and pushed itself against him, causing Zeke to throw an arm behind him to stop himself falling over. He asked Aran something in a language that Beth didn’t know, but recognised. It chuffed before leading Zeke off.
“Stay there,” Zeke said as he got up to follow the dog.
After a couple of agonisingly silent minutes – and after Beth had had to put her hand on Caelan’s arm to stop him from having an anxiety attack – Zeke returned, his face one of a bearer of bad news.
“You’d best come and see this. Aran will let you pass,” he simply said before turning back and walking the way he just came.
Everyone followed immediately, even the human police officers, which Beth had completely forgotten about.
The only sound as they walked was the loud footsteps of the humans behind her. She frowned at herself; she was referring to the police as ‘human’, as if she wasn’t. She yet again had to remind herself that she was something different entirely.
“Oh, shit,” Liam muttered as they came across some sort of ceremony.
There was a body in the centre of a circle of black candles. A body too limp to be anything but dead. Beth was sickeningly reminded of the similar ceremony she and Robert had discovered in the home of two vampire hunters.
On the floor in black chalk was a six pointed star. At each point was a candle. Two were black, two white and the ones at either end were blood red. There was a silver chalice sat by the star. Beth didn’t know what the contents were, but Robert’s knuckles turned white as his grip on the door frame tightened. That gave her a pretty good idea. Beside the chalice were herbs of all sorts.
“What the hell is this?” Onyx demanded.
“This is why we called you,” Sergeant Ward said quietly.
“Wait, the dog let you past?” Caelan asked.
“Aran was told to stop any eldritch creature that tried to cross the line. Maverick never considered that the human police would find his new initiate,” Zeke said quietly.
“You mean this guy...?” Elijah trailed.
“He wanted to join the Covenant, yes.”
“But he’s human,” Beth said, unsure of how she knew that.
“Doesn’t matter. What you’re looking at is the conversion ceremony,” Zeke said, standing at the edge of the circle of candles.
“You went through this?” Onyx asked.
Zeke shook his head. “Not exactly. This is the ceremony that turns a human into a vampire, at the same time binding them to the Covenant. It takes months of preparation on the human’s behalf. How long has he been classed as missing?” he asked the officers.
“About three months,” the detective murmured.