In the center of the chaos, she spotted Dirk. He bled from several wounds and was weakening. Three bodies littered her floor. The fourth man was bigger and stronger than anyone she’d ever encountered before. He wasn’t human, nor was he fully vampire. A Dhampir, a human and vampire hybrid. Strong and agile as a vampire, they weren’t susceptible to the silver, although a bullet or stake in the heart would certainly kill them.
Dirk faltered, wavering as he fought the Dhampir. Drawing her pistol, Rafaela aimed carefully, not rushing. Dirk had the Dhampir nicely distracted. Taking a deep breath, she fired, hitting the man in the center of his forehead. He fell backward, landing on the couch, his blood soaking the fabric as his arteries and veins emptied his body of blood.
Roaring, Dirk lunged for the man, his fangs sinking into the bloody stump that had once been his head. He drank deeply from the still quivering body. Rafaela looked away. She didn’t like seeing him like that, but knew he had to feed in order to heal. Once he was done, the two of them bathed and dressed before loading everything they could into Rafaela’s Jeep.
Once that was accomplished, Dirk turned the gas on full as Rafaela poured lamp oil on the staked, beheaded bodies. Without a backward glance, she lit a match, igniting an entire book, which she tossed over her shoulder. The lamp oil took flame nicely, leaving a fiery trail behind her as she strutted across the porch and down the steps. With a whumph, the gas inside exploded into a fireball, that quickly consumed the house.
They drove away rapidly, putting as much distance between them and the cabin as they could before the fire department arrived. Rafaela glanced back once, fondly.
“I’ll miss that old place. It’s been in my family for nearly sixty years.”
“I’m sorry you had to burn it, my love.”
She shrugged, pressing the accelerator further down. “It happens. Next time, remind me not to allow my property to be rented.”
Dirk chuckled. “Obscure rule, but handy. I’m surprised you hadn’t thought of it before.”
“No one ever came after me there before. How the hell did they find us?”
“I’m not sure. I ported there. That can leave a trail, though minimal. You have to know what you’re looking for.”
“I drove, but I was careful.” She shook her head. “So few people even know it exists.”
“Do your werewolf friends?”
Rafaela paused, thinking. Had she ever told Claudette? “Oh, God, yes. She and her family came up for a vacation once, years ago.” She risked a glance at Dirk. “Do you think?”
He nodded. “I’m sorry, my sweet. I didn’t tell anyone about them, but, their existence was bound to be known.”
“Why now?” She concentrated on the road, fighting back the sorrow that chilled her heart.
“One of those vampires you killed at my crypt was the daughter of a vampire lord.”
“And you couldn’t share that bit of information with me?”
“I didn’t know! I swear to you, I would have warned you, had I known. I didn’t put it together until they attacked us. That Dhampir you slaughtered, was his son.”
“His daughter was a full vampire?”
He nodded. “At her request, I turned her. Then you came along.”
“Dammit! We’re in a pickle. Me for killing them, you for helping me.”
Dirk laughed loudly. “A pickle, Ella? Really? My love, I’d say we are squarely fucked.”
Rafaela chuckled, then laughed. She couldn’t deny that he spoke the truth. “Mama did try to keep me from swearing.”
“As did mine. It never took.”
“Nope.” She came to a crossroads, turning right.
“Where are we going?”
A glance at her rearview mirror showed the orange flames and billowing smoke.
“Good thing it snowed. Might slow the fire a little—I hope.”
Dirk gave a longer, appraising look out the back window. “Perhaps a shade. Not much. That was a hell of a blaze we lit.”
At the next crossroad, Rafaela took a left. She couldn’t see the fire anymore. Shivering, she drew a deep, shuddering breath.
“I thought most Dhampir became Hunters?”
“Not always. Some, like the woman, will become full vampires. Others don’t. They believe that the original Hunters were Dhampir who mated and gradually formed their own race. I don’t know if that’s true, but your abilities and mine are strangely similar.”
“It’s entirely possible.”
“You don’t deny that your people could once have been vampire kin?”
“Why not? There are bound to be common roots somewhere. Whatever the case, our people will always be at one another’s throats.”
Dirk chuckled. “Quite literally. Nice shot on the Dhampir, by the way. Thought the bugger had me.”
© Dellani Oakes 2105