~Sequel To Death Hunter~



Author:  UtsSQ

Rated:  Soft R again, maybe NC-17 if it warrants it-adult situations, gore, violence




The house stood alone on the outskirts of town, yellow light glowing from the windows.  Thunder rumbled overhead.  Good.  The storm would cover any noise that the woman made while he did his business.


Not that he had to worry about that this far out in the sticks.  He didn’t know why he’d chosen this one when so many others waited closer to home.  He just knew that he had to have her. 


There were three others with him.  Followers of a sort.  They all knew how he operated, and were completely in agreement with him.  They were superior to these people, and shouldn’t have to hide what they were doing.  Doing this so close to one of those damn hunter lairs was just the icing on the cake.


Of course the real prize would be destroying a hunter or two in their special way.  That  goal was closer than ever.  Especially these hunters, who for some reason were not worried about vampires.  They focused mainly on wolves. A mistake on their part, to underestimate the fangs so completely.


The lights in the house blinked off.  He smiled in the darkness.  It was almost time.  He could almost taste her blood on his tongue. The anticipation was almost better than the kill.


They waited fifteen minutes in silence.  Then fifteen more.  When he was satisfied that the woman was sleeping, he signaled the others. They stealthily made their way to the house.  It was child’s play to open the door.  Some humans refused to be aware of the dangers in the world.  This one was about to learn the hard way.


He led the way upstairs.  From what he’d seen the woman lived alone.  Not that it mattered.  Anyone who got in the way would meet her fate.  It was just easier when there were no complications. 


He pushed open the bedroom door, slowly, making sure to make no noise.  The woman lay under a sheet in deference to the warm night air that wafted through the windows.  They could have entered the house at any time and taken her, but it was too much fun to have them awake to the horror that faced them.


Putting a finger to his lips, smiling as he bade his men to be silent, the man slowly leaned over the woman until he was bare inches from her face.  She frowned in her sleep, her eyes fluttering, as if sensing some change in the room.  She opened her eyes, slowly focusing on the pale face that seemed to float above her in the darkness.

She sucked in a breath to scream.  He was ready, slipping a hand over her mouth.  “Now, now.  Can’t have any of that, dear.” His voice was low and carried a strange accent.  “Be a good girl.  Don’t make me have to hurt you.”  He watched her wide eyes fro agreement.  The girl seemed frozen.  He looked to his men.  “Take her.  Make sure you trash the room.” With that he turned on his heel, leaving the others to deal with the woman.


An hour later, they gathered again, the woman now naked, shivering, unable to speak or even make a sound through her terror.  His men had enjoyed their time with her, but it was over.  It was time for business.


This time there were more fangs with him.  He looked from man to man, making sure they knew what to do.  Satisfied, he lowered his head to the woman’s neck and drank.  One of his men dipped down and sucked at her ankle. Yet another took an arm and began drinking.  Everyone got a turn.  Her body was riddled with punctures by the time they were done.  One of the vampires had even bitten into the soft flesh of one perfectly formed breast. 


The girl was dead, drained of all blood.  The man smiled and nodded to a few of the fangs before him.  They picked the girl up and carried her off, knowing what they had to do.




The ruckus at the front of the house pulled Glen from sleep.  He wasn’t sleeping well anyway and was almost glad of the excuse to get up. He padded downstairs in a pair of gym shorts, not bothering to get dressed.  He wasn’t out to impress anyone at three in the morning. From outside there was a scream.  Concerned finally broke through exhaustion and he rushed through the front door.


This house used to be Taker’s.  He’d left, giving reign of it to Glen and the hunters he supervised.  There used to be dozens of hunters living there, but Glen had urged them to find their own homes.  He and Jack were the only ones who actually lived in the huge house. 

The scream had come from Allison.  She’d been working in the computer lab downstairs, typing up reports, when she’d decided to call it a night.  She stood at the bottom of the porch steps, hands clapped over her mouth, horrified at the sight before her.


Glen’s eyes swept the yard.  There was a huge oak tree that sat to the right of the porch.  There was something hanging from the lower branches, moving a bit in the breeze.


“Son of a bitch…” Glen said it under his breath as he moved past Allison and walked barefoot through the wet grass.  It was a body.


“Shit. Shit.”  He repeated it a few more times, still keeping his voice low.  He remembered that Allison was not a hunter, she was more into doing clerical work.  Glen was glad to not have to deal with anything but what he wanted to.  But Allison was not accustomed to the sight of dead bodies. There was no occasion for it when typing on a computer.


“Go inside with Jack.  Don’t wake him up for Christ’s sake.”  He said it loud enough for her to hear.  “Stop in the hall, call Dave.  Tell him to get here NOW.”  She was already running through the door.  Glen shook his head and studied the body in the weak light from the quarter moon.

A girl.  She couldn’t have been older than thirty, and was probably closer to twenty in Glen’s estimation. Her face was a smooth pale blank in the night air.  The rest of her body…


He sighed and stepped forward.  Whoever had done this had hung her upside down, tying a rope around her feet so her hands dangled against the ground.


Glen dropped to his knees, hating having to look, but wanting to know if they knew her.  This was a personal message, it made sense that they’d kill someone he knew to get it across.


She was a stranger.  There was nothing about her that even looked familiar.  He studied her body, marking every bite mark with his eyes, wondering if he should cut her down now or wait for Dave to make his appearance. 


He heard the door close behind him.  Allison reappearing.  He looked over his shoulder as she moved quickly across the lawn, looking at everything but the dead girl in the tree. 


“Dave’s on his way. Jack is out cold.  I…”  She made a gagging noise.  “I’ve never known dogs to do this kind of thing.”


“Not dogs this time, Alli.  A fang.  A bunch of them from the look of it.”  Glen said softly.  “Get back inside.  I don’t want Jack left alone.  One or more of them might still be out here, looking for trouble.”


She didn’t need to be told twice.  At the thought of facing a fang, unarmed, with nothing but a mostly naked man with her, she was scared.  She knew how dangerous this job was, but it had never really hit her until now.


Glen sighed and studied the rope that bound the girl.  He’d have to haul her down himself, get her out back in the garage, where he and Dave could get a closer look at the wounds on her body.  Then they’d brainstorm to see if they could figure out who the hell would do this, and which nest of fangs would have the balls to actually come after them in this way.




“We’ve hunted fang before.”


Glen had gathered his best hunters in a meeting room in the house, to discuss the problem that had evolved the night before.  Ever since the events that had led to Taker leaving five years ago, they had mostly stuck to hunting dogs.  Glen had developed a bit of an understanding with the fangs.  Most of them were not the bloodthirsty monsters that legends made them out to be.  Every now and then, one would need to be dealt with, but it had been nothing like this.  They hadn’t seen a nest of the things in years, and there were none operating in range of their house.


At least there hadn’t been.


“How long has it been since you’ve gone up against a pack of them?” Fallon asked, leaning forward with her elbows on the table.  She was one of Glen’s best hunters, and his best find of the past year.  Even she had never gone up against a fang on her own though.


“What does that have to do with anything?” Dave asked hotly, meeting her stare with a cold one of his own.


“It has everything to do with anything.” Glen said softly, reminding them all that he was still the head of this group.  “I myself haven’t gone up against a group of the damn things in eight years.  They’re fast, they’re crazy, they’re dangerous.”


“So are dogs.  We manage.” Dave said, making sure to keep his voice even.


“Dogs are easy.  Even in packs.  They have patterns, even if they don’t have a plan of attack.”  Fallon relaxed against the back of her chair.


“Usually they see us coming and go hide.” A young hunter named Randy piped up.  He’d been silent for most of the talk, not sure if he should even be there.  But Glen had demanded.  He sensed the untapped potential in the kid, and wanted his fresh look on this problem.


“I don’t think we can count on the fangs doing that though. If…” The oldest hunter in the room, Rick, stopped himself from finishing.


“If what?” Glen urged.


“It’s nothin’ boss.” Rick’s Texan accent thickened.  He turned a shade of red. 


“It’s obviously something.  If you have an idea, I’d love to hear it.” Glen was not going to let it go.  He had a feeling he knew what the veteran was going to say, and knew he wasn’t going to like it.  But he’d like it on the table before they went on.


Rick sighed.  “I was gonna say…If Taker were here, he’d think of something.  That’s what he did best.  Planning.”  He refused to look up from his hands as he spoke.  “He was a helluva hunter too, but that man could plot his way outta anything.”


“Well, Taker is not here.  Get over it.”  Even though Fallon had never met him, she had heard of Taker.  And she’d heard all about how things had gone down five years ago when Glen had butted heads with a group of dogs called Shadowvein.


“Well, you come up with somethin’, you let me know.”  Rick shoved his chair back from the table and left the room.  Glen waited until the door closed before sighing and looking at the three people left. 


Randy cleared his throat.  “There’s a hunter house in Virginia…” He trailed off.

Glen gave him a minute, then waved a hand. “And…”


Uhm.  Well.  I just heard that all they hunt are vampires.  Maybe we could call them, get their thoughts.”

He sounded embarrassed.  Glen thought it was a good idea.  Fallon remained neutral, her blue eyes not betraying her thoughts.  Dave was livid at the idea of bringing in someone from outside their group to help. 


“Now, Dave…” Glen started.  Dave slapped his hand on the table, pulling all eyes in his direction.


“I don’t like it. I don’t like the idea of some asshole from a thousand miles away coming in here and bossing us around. I think we can deal with this on our own.”

“And I think getting someone from outside is a great idea.  Let’s face it, we’ve talked this til we’re blue in the face.  We haven’t gotten anywhere.  Maybe a fresh mind can give us something to go on.  We’re at a loss here.”  Fallon refused to back down from him.  Glen admired her headstrong nature, but knew she’d have to get that chip off her shoulder if she wanted to stay here.


“It’s not worth arguing over,” Randy stated dryly, cutting off Dave’s response to Fallon’s argumentative speech.


“Let me think about it.  You three go, dig around.  Cool off.  I’ll make some calls and see what I can come up with.” Glen dismissed them before a real argument could erupt.  He did not need that right now.  With a sigh he rose to his feet, to track down a number for this clan of hunters in Virginia.




Dave was still grumbling but he held most of his comments inside as they waited for their new hunter to show up. All they knew was that he was a veritable expert on vampires, and he’d been more than willing to jump in a plane and fly to them at short notice. Fallon had gone to pick him up that the airport.


“So this Sam person, he knows fangs?” Randy asked just to break the silence.


“That’s what they say.” Glen said with a shrug.  To be honest, he was having second thoughts about bringing in an outsider. 


“He’d better.” Was Dave’s only contribution to the conversation.  Rick just stared at the ceiling.  He’d already made his thoughts on the matter clear.


There was a noise at the door.  The hunters looked up expectantly as Fallon entered the room, grinning from ear to ear.


“Boys…I’d like you to meet Samantha.” She snickered.  They’d all thought the hunter was a guy.  She had been tickled when this woman had gotten off the plane and sauntered up to her.  Samantha followed her into the room, looking from person to person curiously.


There was silence for a moment.  Dave shook his head.  “I’m not being sexist here or anything, but I thought we were expecting a guy named Sam.”


“Well, you are expecting me.  Sam is a short form of Samantha.”  Samantha said with a put upon smile.  “Although you may call me Sammy, seeing as how we’re in such an informal situation.”


“Sammy.  Huh.” Randy did not have much to add to that.

Samantha turned out to be quite a looker.  Long auburn hair.  Green eyes. Creamy skin.  The men seemed to be at a loss for words as they stared at her. Fallon cleared her throat. 


“I do believe we have business to discuss.” She said, elbowing Dave on her way past.  Dave kept staring, not even noticing the contact.  Fallon sighed and sank into her seat.

Glen smirked and nodded at Samantha.  “Welcome.  I don’t know how much they told you in Virginia…”


“Practically nothing.  Just that you had a fang problem.” Samantha conceded. 


“Well, have a seat.  We’ll fill you in and let you decide if we have an issue or not.” It only took a few minutes for Glen and the others to get Samantha up to speed. 


“Bold of them, coming right up to your house like that.” Samantha said thoughtfully after a short silence.  “Anybody have a vendetta against you?”


“Only every dog and fang in a hundred mile radius.  None of them are crazy enough to pull a stunt like this.”


“And your people don’t hunt the fangs?” Samantha asked, staring at Glen as if his answer were the most important thing she would hear.


“As a rule, no. We leave them alone unless they are a nuisance.”

Samantha shook her head.  “Seems like the trend in all the houses these days. Vampires living amongst humans.  And occasionally one of them goes off their rocker. Makes them twice as dangerous if you ask me.”


“We agree.  This is the first time in a very long time we’ve even had to think about hunting fangs.” Randy spoke up. He still seemed to be quite enamored of their guest.


“Out of practice, I suppose.” Samantha said thoughtfully.  “Well, it doesn’t matter.  Give me a little time to think, and I’ll figure out something.  I always do.”  She stretched.  “Would one of you take me to a hotel?  It was a long flight.  I’d like to get settled in before I start working.”


Glen motioned with one hand.  “While you’re here I thought it would be best if you stay at the house.  If the vampires are targeting this place, then it’s the best place for your…talents.” He ignored the smirk that Dave shot him.  “Actually I want all of you living in the house again, just until this is over.  No need for phone calls in the middle of the night.”


“Sounds good to me.” Samantha carried a bag with her.  She shifted it between her hands, smiling at the group.  “Does someone want to show me my room?  I’m beat.  I could use a few minutes.”


Glen motioned to Fallon.  She stood up, the grin still on her features as she led the other woman from the room.  When the door shut, Glen looked at the three men.  “Ok.  Stop drooling and get back to work.”

Randy and Rick both laughed and stood to leave.  Dave was the only person not amused.  He waited until they were gone before turning to Glen.  “Are you sure this is the only thing we can do?”


“I’m not sure of anything anymore.” Glen admitted.  He couldn’t hide anything from Dave.  They were best friends.  He was the only person who really knew all there was to know about Glen. 

Glen was almost sorry at Dave’s next words.


“Maybe we should give Taker a call.  Just to see what he thinks.”


Glen stared at the younger man, doing a slow ten count in his head.  “I don’t think that will be necessary.  And you should know better than to even bring it up.”


“Sorry, sorry.  Hey, I was just thinking, you know, being a vampire and all he’d have some good insights…”


“His insights are no longer our concern.” Glen cut him off.


“You just don’t want to see her.  Five years and you’re still stuck on her.” Dave shook his head.  He really did know all the right buttons to push.  That was what years of friendship did.


“I am not stuck on anything.” Glen refused to be baited into an argument.  He rose to his feet.  “I’m going to check on Jack.  Call me when you find out something.” Without waiting for a response, Glen left, wanting nothing more than to hide in his room for a while to sort out his thoughts.




Samantha’s first night in the house was an interesting one.


She’d spent the day going sorting through Glen’s notes on what was going on, studying pictures of the body that had been left in the yard, walking the property trying to get the feel of the place.


She drew quite a few curious stares. It didn’t bother her a bit.  She was used to it. 


After a while she went into town to poke around.  Whoever these fangs were, they were deep underground.  No one had any clues as to who they could be. She was as stumped as Glen and his hunters at the end of the day.


“We’ll have to draw them out somehow.” Was her statement to Glen when she’d tracked him down that evening after dinner.  He was in the back yard, watching his ten year old son play.


“How are we going to do that?”  He moved over, giving her room to sit beside him.


Samantha sighed as she sank down.  “I have no idea.  I mean, there is absolutely nothing to go on.  Why would they hang a body from your tree and not take credit for it?”


“That’s the million dollar question.” Glen said, staring thoughtfully out into the gathering darkness.


“Wanna know what else is strange?” Samantha said after letting him have his moment of silence.


“What’s that?” He looked at her curiously.


“I can’t find another fang anywhere near here, either.  Not even the normal, pretending to be human ones.  There’s usually a few roaming around, especially in good-sized towns.  But not here.  At least, not that anybody’s admitting.”

Glen was nodding his head.  “If they know something big is going down, and they might get caught in the crossfire, they might have gone to ground.”


Samantha was studying him in the fading light.  Truth be told, it was making Glen nervous having her look at him. 


“It’s still the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.” She finally stated.  She shifted her gaze to look at Jack, who was trying to climb one of the trees in the yard.  “Cute kid.”


“Don’t let him hear you say that,” Glen said with a grin. 


“You should keep him close to the house.  Inside the house after dark.  If this is a personal thing, they’ll target him just as soon as they’ll target you.”


“I know that.” Glen said, frowning a bit.  Jack had already been taken from his once.  He’d be damned if it happened again. “I don’t want him to live his life fearing everything.  I’m starting to think I was wrong coming back here.”


“You seem to be doing a bang-up job of the place.” Samantha observed.  It’s better he learns now.  Easier to teach them about these things when they’re young.”


Glen nodded but said nothing.  He had the feeling Samantha wanted to say something, but was holding back.  Of course, he didn’t know her well enough to assume anything about her.  With a sigh he rose to his feet.


“I guess tomorrow we can brainstorm, try to figure out what the hell we’re dealing with.  Jack!” He called his son.  Samantha remained outside on the porch after Glen led his boy into the house.


Samantha was not without hope.  She’d managed to find nests so hidden that her house hadn’t known they existed.  It was just a matter of time before she found this one.  It was being in a new place that was throwing her off.  She hoped going around town today would help her get acclimated. 


She decided to head to bed.  It was still early, but she was tired and had a long day ahead of her tomorrow. Avoiding any of Glen’s hunters, she made her way to her room.  She smiled to herself.  She’d been avoiding Glen’s hunters all day, especially that Dave guy, who seemed to resent her presence.  He’d just have to get over it.  Samantha was intrigued by the house’s problem, and would not leave until her curiosity was satisfied.




Glen was dreaming. 


He was back in that cavernous room Taker had jokingly called the coliseum.  The wolves were howling.  The sound seemed to go on forever.  He wanted to put his hands over his ears and block out the noise.


He felt hands shaking him.  And a voice, a familiar voice…


“Dad!”  Jack was practically screaming in fear.  Glen shot upright in bed, thinking he was still dreaming.  The howling was still going, mournful, urgent.


“Jack…baby…what’s the matter…” He could barely get the words out.  He came fully awake, understanding that he was not dreaming.  Wolves were howling from right outside the house.


Jack had his hands over his ears, his eyes wide with fear. “Make them stop!” As chilled as Glen was by the sound of the animals outside, he knew Jack had to be terrified.  The boy had heard that sounds for over a year when he was locked in the damn hotel.


“It’s Ok, Jack.”  Glen gave his son a reassuring him.  “They can’t get it in the house.  Stay here, let me go check it out.”  He slid from the bed and padded barefoot to the window.  The moon was coming on full, lending an eerie silver light to the back yard.  There were wolves…dozens…hundreds of them.  Some paced.  Others stared at the house, the howling seeming to rattle Glen’s bones.  “What the hell…”


The wolves had never been bold enough to get this close to the house.  Glen couldn’t remember the last time he’d even seen one within a mile.  It struck him, the howling. It was not the same battle cry that had rattled the walls of the hotel.  This sounded frightened, pleading.


“Jack.  I’m going to go downstairs…”


Jack was shaking his head.  He started crying.  “Don’t leave me!”  He flung himself at Glen’s legs.  Glen picked him up, rubbing a hand down his back.


“It’s going to be all right.  You can stay with Fallon while I get rid of them.  Then you can sleep in here with me.” He walked out of his bedroom door, carrying his boy.


Samantha was in the hallway, hair mussed from sleep.  “What the hell’s going on?” She asked as he passed.  Glen just shook his head and held up a finger. 


Fallon was getting her robe on when Glen knocked on the door.  “Sounds like a fucking air raid out there…” She said, not noticing Jack in Glen’s arms.


“I’m going to check it out.  Stay up here with Jack.” Glen put the boy down.  Jack hugged him for a moment, then turned and buried his face in Fallon’s stomach, hands going once again to his ears as the wolves howled once more.


“Go!” Fallon waved, wrapping her arms around Jack.  Glen nodded and left the room.

Samantha followed him down the stairs.  Dave appeared, joining them.  He had a gun.  Samantha looked at him, a wry smile on her face.  “Surely you don’t think that’s necessary.”

Dave looked at her as if she’d lost her mind.  “Are you kidding?  Did you even look outside?”


Samantha rolled her eyes. “Yes I did.  And I’m telling you, the gun is pointless.  They’re not here to attack us. They wouldn’t be making all of this noise is they were.”


Dave huffed but said nothing.  The gun made him feel better.  He thought Samantha didn’t know what she was talking about.

At the bottom of the steps, Glen saw that Randy and Rick were already dressed and standing at the door awaiting his orders.  He looked from person to person.  “I’m going outside.  You all stay here.  If they try anything, you beat them back.  Don’t let them in.”


Randy looked ready to protest but bit it back.  Samantha was the only one who did not look worried.  A smile played at the corners of her lips.  Glen wished he had time to find out what the hell was so amusing.


Instead of asking, he opened the front door and stepped out onto the porch.  There were wolves everywhere.  The closest of them was twenty feet away.  The rest held back, obviously appointing this one their leader.  He was solid silver, his coat shimmering in the moonlight.

They howled again.  Outside, it was even louder.  Glen felt a chill settle into him as it faded.  He let his eyes room the yard.  The wolves stood shoulder to shoulder, packing the property.  They spilled out onto and across the road.  The woods across the street were glowing with their eyes shine.  Perhaps his first estimate had been too conservative.  There were at least a thousand of them, maybe more.


He held up his hands, showing that he was unarmed.  The leader wolf, the silver one, slowly padded forward as if not trusting him.  He was probably wise to do so, but Glen had no intentions of hurting him.  At least not unless the wolf acted first.


The wolf stopped at the steps.  He seemed to be pleading with his eyes.  Glen felt mesmerized as he watched the wolf open his jaws.  Something dropped out onto the porch step.  The wolf looked at him a moment longer then retreated to the rest of the pack.  He barked once, low in his throat.  The other wolves began retreating into the woods across the street.


They moved soundlessly, flowing like oil into the tree line.  In minutes all that was left was the silver wolf.  He huffed at Glen, his whole body shaking.  Glen carefully went down the steps, stooping down to pick up the object that the leader had dropped.


It was a ring.  Gold, heavy, with a huge ruby as the centerpiece.  Confused, Glen looked to the wolf.  He was gone, having disappeared while Glen studied the ring.


“What the hell…” It was the second time he’d had to say that tonight. The ring seemed to pulse in his hand with malevolent energy.  He studied the yard and surrounding woods one last time before turning and going back inside the house. 


“Why did they leave?  What’s going on?” Questions were thrown at him as soon as the door closed behind him.  Glen held up a hand and looked at his hunters, each one looking as confused as he felt.  Except for Samantha, who still had that knowing smile on her lips.


“I believe this is a message meant for you.” Glen held out the ring.  Samantha hesitated before taking it, feeling all eyes on her.  The ring felt alive in her hands.  She barely glanced at it before meeting Glen’s eyes again.


“Damn dogs.”  Was her only comment.  She put the ring in her pocket. The others just stared at her.  “What?”


“Wanna tell us why the dogs would gather…in numbers…to drop off a ring for you?” Dave asked hotly.


“Maybe because I asked them to bring it to me.”  She made a show of yawning.  “I’m going back to bed.”  She turned to leave.


“Hold it…” Dave’s voice carried a warning note.  Glen touched his arm. 


“It’s all right.  Let’s all go back to bed.  I’m sure Sammy will be more than happy to explain this to us in the morning.”


“More than happy.” She echoed, smiling still.


Glen made sure the door was locked then herded his hunters back up the steps.  He was just as confused as the rest of them.  Samantha seemed to know something.  He stopped her before she could go into her room. 


“Does this have anything to do with our fangs?” He asked, voice low.  She nodded, hesitating.


“It could.  I just need a while to make sure.  I’ll tell you in the morning.”  She smiled at him again and shut the door.  Glen sighed and went to fetch his son.  Things in this house just kept getting stranger and stranger.




The next morning Samantha had disappeared.  No one had seen her leave.  Glen was starting to let his temper get the best of him.  He found himself snapping at Dave and Fallon although they had nothing to do with it. Out of desperation, he went outside and wandered in the woods, seeing absolutely no signs of the wolves passing.


He hated not knowing what was going on. He hated that his son was once again in danger and there was little he could do about it at the moment.  Most of all he hated having to put his…and Jack’s…life in the hands of some stranger.  Who at the moment seemed to be having a good time being enigmatic.


Samantha did not show up until after noon, that same strange smile on her face.  She ignored Glen’s angry remarks about her leaving the house, waving him off.  That only served to make him madder.


“Come on.  I wanna show you something.”  She grabbed his hand and pulled him into the conference room.


“I should get the others.”


“No…you were barkin’ up my ass, let me show you what I have.” She reached into the pack she was carrying and pulled out a piece of folded leather.  “First of all…the ring.”  She put it on the table in front of him.  Glen picked it up, making a grimace of distaste at the feel of it. Samantha caught the look and laughed. “Yeah, it’s kinda hard to handle.  Pretty nasty feeling huh?  And that’s not just the dog spit on it either.”


Glen set the ring down.  He watched as she pulled out a small book.  “Bedtime stories?” He asked, a bit of his humor coming back.  His anger was leaving now that he saw she’d been working.


“Don’t you wish... She flipped through the book.  Samantha glanced at Glen to find him eyeing her dubiously.  “What?”


“I thought you were gonna tell me how you happened to get that ring.”


“Well you saw how I got it.” She said, flippant.


Glen huffed a sigh.  “You know what I mean.”


“Well, I got tired of nobody knowing anything about fangs.  So I found me a dog.” She grinned.


“You actually went to one of their nests and talked to those things?” Glen asked, incredulous.


“No.  I met one downtown yesterday afternoon.  His name is Vincent.  He’s an old dog.” She dragged the word out.  “Not crazy like some of them.  I’ve met him before.”


“You’re friendly with the dogs, huh?” Glen toyed with the ring, watching the sun glint off the blood red stone.


“Not at all.  I’d sooner kill him than look at him.  But he had some interesting things to tell me. Number one…the wolves around here are scared.  And not of the hunters.”


“Oh?” Glen raised an eyebrow. “Scared of what?”


“You’ve got some very, very bad fangs in town.  They did some things to the wolves, I didn’t get details, but it’s got them worried.”

Glen couldn’t have possibly been more surprised.  “So they want to help us…hunters?”


“It’s not a matter of wanting to help.  It’s a matter of needing it.  Vincent says that this pack of fangs is like nothing he’s ever seen before.  And if you knew Vincent, you’d know he’s seen a lot. If he’s worried, I’m worried.”


“And the ring?” Glen pressed.  Samantha picked it up and looked closely at it.


“Belongs to the head vamp.  He only goes by the name ‘Father’.  I don’t think anybody but him knows his real name.  He’s a real piece of work too.  He’s over a hundred years old. He fought in three different wars, not for a cause, but just because he liked the death and carnage around him.  He’s been building up for a few years out west.”  She paused and cleared her throat.  “I believe he tangled with your brother at one point about ten years ago. It was messy.  Taker wiped out most of his flock in one night. ‘Father’ managed to get out.”


Glen sat down in one of the chairs and put his head in his hands.  Taker again.  It seemed like everywhere he turned lately people wanted to bring him up.


“Does he not realize that Taker’s been gone for the better part of five years?” Glen asked, feeling momentary hope.  If the vamp didn’t know, maybe the information would make him go away.


“Oh, I would guess he realizes.  He just doesn’t care.”  She rifled the pages of the book. “When you reach a certain point of madness, anything makes sense.”


“Great.” Glen looked at the book.  “What’s that?”


“This…is…well…” She flipped the pages and showed him a picture.  Hand drawn and rough looking, it showed a tall, dark figure standing over a dead wolf.  “Vincent gave it to me.  He said it’s what ‘Father’ has been basing his life on.”  She flipped pages again.  This time she hesitated before turning the book for him to see.  Another hand drawn picture, this one of a woman hanging upside down from a tree.


“Son of a bitch.” Glen muttered, taking the book from her.  “So he’s acting out this book?”  The woman hanging was about forty pages in.  He flipped through the earlier pages.  There were a few more pictures, all of them featuring death.  “So he’s done all this already?”


“It would seem so.” Samantha took the book from him.  “He hasn’t gotten far.  And I was wondering why he would fixate on this place.  The book doesn’t really specify a location.”  She had stopped on a page at the end of the book.  Glen waited expectantly.  “I have to ask you something.”



Samantha glanced at the picture.  “Your brother…”


Glen sighed but waved a hand for her to continue. 


“I’ve heard rumors that he’s managed to have a child.  Is that true? With another fang?”


Glen hesitated.  “It’s true.” He finally admitted.  Although he had not seen Taker’s child, he had heard through the grapevine that it was a girl.

Samantha slowly handed him the book. Glen looked at the picture, feeling a little sick to his stomach.  It depicted a small child, a girl.  She was dead, cut open and bitten dozens of times.  The dark figure once again stood over her, highlighted in rusty red ink.


“What the hell is this?”


“According to the book, he has to find a vampire child to sacrifice.  He seems to think it’ll make him immortal for real.  He has to drink her blood one hundred times before killing her.” Samantha said softly.


“You’re telling me that this vampire thinks he’s gonna live forever and be impervious if he kills a kid? That’s just pure bullshit.”


“You forget.  He’s crazy. He thinks it’s really going to happen.  He’s already gathered a following.” She reached over and turned to the beginning of the book.  There were words in a language that Glen couldn’t understand.  And another picture.  This one showing a veritable army of fangs, each colored totally in black, with the tallest figure sitting atop a horse, leading them.


“What the hell are we going to do?” Glen asked, handing the book back to her.  Samantha rifled the pages again, looking at him with an expression of concentration.


“We have to do something. Now.  Today.” She had stopped and was looking at the book again.  “Part of this says they have to take out a hunter.  A powerful hunter.  At his base of operations.  During the first full moon after the woman in the tree.  That’s tonight.” 


Glen shook his head. Samantha looked at him, a sad smile on her lips.  “I don’t think I need to point out that he’s already targeted this house. We need to get your boy out of here.  That should be your first priority.  Gather up every hunter you can get your hands on.  We can defend the house.  We just have to make sure none of us go out, and none of them get in.”


“This shit never ends.” Glen said on a sigh.  “I swear to God, if we live through this I’m retiring for good.”  This got a laugh out of Samantha. 


“Yeah, well, I’ve said that myself on many occasions.” She tucked the book into the bag.  Glen stopped her from taking the ring, grabbing her hand in his.


“You never said where it came from.” He reminded her, holding onto her hand.


“Oh…well…” She shrugged and pulled her hand away.  Glen watched, amused as she stepped away from him.  “Vincent gave it to me.  I told him I would need something of the fangs so I could get a bead on them. A bunch of wolves found a fang out last night and…well…ten against one, you do the math.  He brought the guy’s ring. Apparently they all wear the same one.”


“And this fang belongs to our group?”


“All signs point to yes.  Like I said, there are no other vampires in business in this town at the moment.  They’ve all headed for high ground.” Samantha picked up the ring, keeping a wary eye on Glen as she did so.  “Take that kid, get him outta here.  I’ll gather the troops and brief them.”

Glen nodded absently as he watched her leave.  He had to figure out a safe place to hide Jack until tonight was over with.  Getting up, he left the room in search of Dave.




To say Glen was nervous was an understatement.


He didn’t know why.  Dave had taken Jack somewhere.  Glen had not wanted to know where. Dave was the only one he trusted to protect Jack with his very life. So Glen felt all right about that.


What he didn’t like was the fact that Samantha had said one of his hunters would die tonight.  That and he had no idea how many fangs they would be dealing with.  He had twenty hunters here, the ones who had experience dealing with vampires.  The rest were in the field or in hiding, which was exactly where Glen wanted them.


He roamed the house, answering what questions he could, making sure everyone was in place. The hunters all seemed ready.  The thought of the hunt brought out the best in all of them, which is what made them so good at their jobs.


It was nearing midnight when he took his place between Randy and Samantha at the front window.  Randy was carrying a shotgun. He had revolver strapped to his hip.  Samantha only had a knife.  It seemed kind of weak in comparison to what others were holding.  She smiled at him when she noticed him looking.


“I’ve never needed more than this.” She said, flipping the knife over in her hands.  The blade was six inches and gleamed dully in the dim light.  Glen had shut off the brighter lights, so they were able to see outside.


“So you’re a mind reader too, huh?” He asked, smiling back at her.  The nerves were fading.  He felt the familiar coldness filling him.  That and a crazy energy that he said came from knowing he was about to have a good fight.


“On occasion.”  Samantha reached into her pocket and pulled out earphones.  He watched as she settled them into her ears.  “What?  I hate hearing them whine when they die.”


Glen chuckled and turned his attention to the window.  Samantha hummed along to her music for a moment.


“I’ll bet your friend is pissed he’s missing the action.” She broke into his thoughts.


Glen glanced at her.  She sounded amused.  Her face was a careful blank.  “He’ll get over it. He knows how important it is to keep Jack safe.”


Samantha nodded. “Good.  It’s nice you have somebody to trust like that.  Hard to find in this business.”


Glen grunted but said nothing.  His eyes went back to the line of trees across the street.  “What the hell are they waiting for?”


“Engraved invitation.  I say we give them one.” Samantha stepped away from the window.


“Where are you going?” Randy asked.  He’d listened with half an ear to their conversation.


“Outside to welcome our guests.” She shrugged.


“They’re out there?” Randy glanced out the window again.


“Of course.  And they know we’re waiting.  Which is why they’re stalling.” She flipped the knife again.  “I’ll go on the porch. You should get a few hunters to come out too.  Keep the majority in the house, though.  That’s where they hope to kill one.” She said this to Glen.  With that she turned on her heel and went to the front door. 


Glen shared a look with Randy.  “All right.  Let’s go.” Randy said with a grin.


Glen was relieved that Randy’s nerves weren’t getting the best of him. He’d worried about it, but it looked like the kid was going to be all right. He motioned to Rick.  The older man changed position, moving to the window that Glen and Randy were vacating.


“It’s a damn fool think to do to go out there.” There was a note of admiration in Rick’s voice.  Glen clapped him on the shoulder.


“You take care of the house. Nobody gets in but us. Nobody comes outside, no matter what happens.”

Rick nodded, adjusting his own shotgun to rest more comfortably in his hand.  “You got it boss.”


“And don’t let Fallon go thinking she’s running the place.”


“Hey.  I heard that.” Fallon said from her position on the other side of the room.  This got a general laugh from the others.  They all knew how bossy Fallon could be when there was a battle at hand.


Glen led Randy to the front door.  He took one last look around, hoping they were as ready as they felt.  Turning he stepped onto the porch to stand beside Samantha.


“Still think they’re out here?” Randy asked, rocking back and forth on his heels.  He was eyeing the trees dubiously, a slight frown of concentration on his face.


“Definitely.” Samantha stepped off the porch and stood in the yard.  “I hope your people are watching the back of the house.”

“It’s covered.” Glen said softly. He thought he saw something moving across the street.  It was hard to tell if it was real or just his imagination.


“Well, I’m tired of waiting.” Samantha strode across the yard, heading for the street and the trees on the other side.


“Sammy…wait!” Glen hissed.  The girl was obviously nuts.  He rushed to catch up, waving Randy back onto the porch. “You’re going to get both of us killed running them like this.”


“Nah.  It’ll confuse ‘em.  They don’t know that we know what we know.” She said with a grin.  Glen rolled his eyes. She was really enjoying herself.


“Or so you think.” He glanced over his shoulder. Randy was hidden in shadow, although to a vampire he would be in plain sight.  He had the shotgun ready. 


Samantha stopped short of stepping onto the blacktop of the road.  “Hey, assholes!  Come on already! We don’t have all night!”


Glen had to laugh at the antagonizing tone of her voice.  If they were going to annoy the vampires away, this girl was definitely the one to do it.


There was a rustling noise from the trees. Samantha heaved a sigh.  “Chicken shits.  I’m tellin’ you, they’ll only got after the elderly, infirm, or sleeping.  Afraid of a fight.”


“Now who’s hoping?” Glen could do nothing but watch as she spun her knife, letting it catch glints of moonlight.


“Forever hoping.” She said softly.  “Oh well.  It was worth a shot.”  She turned and began walking back to the house.


Glen followed, ignoring the trees. “So what’s the plan now?”


“Right about now they’re moving to the back of the house because they think we’re just watching the front.”  As if her words conjured it, there was a loud crash from the rear of the house. Samantha grinned at him and dashed around the corner.  Glen waved at Randy, who rushed to join him.


“Stay on the side.  Get Rick’s attention.  Tell him to move everybody outside, surround the house.  Keep a couple inside in case anybody gets past!” Glen barked orders as he moved.  He could hear Samantha laughing as he rounded the last corner.


There were six of them.  One of them had rushed Samantha.  Apparently he’d underestimated her knife.  He writhed on the ground, blood pouring through the wound on his chest.  Samantha was standing down the others, who stared at her maliciously. 


The back door opened.  Three hunters came out onto the back deck, cocking guns as they moved.  More vampires appeared at the line of trees at the back of the house.  Glen rushed forward, tackling on of the fangs to the ground, gun all but forgotten in his hand.


He was barely aware of the fight going on around him as he killed any fang that came near him.  There was a shout from the side of the house.  The vampires had decided to come at them from all sides, trying to confuse them.


Glen looked around, for the first time in several minutes absorbing everything.  He saw quite a few fang bodies, but thankfully no hunters.  The vampires were still coming from the woods, moving with a scary speed. 


Samantha looked as if it were nothing as her knife flashed again and again in the pale moonlight.  Two vampires tried to rush her together.  She ducked at the last minute.  It was rather comical watching her move circles around the fangs.


Glen got back to work.  Reloading his gun, he began moving to the side of the house where it sounded like Randy had his hands full.  There were ten fangs surrounding him.  He was backed against the house.  With a yell, Glen shoved at the closest vampire, knocking him down.  He avoided snapping teeth and put his gun to the fang’s chin.  Pushing the body off, he was rising to his feet when another fang knocked him back down.


Randy was calmly reloading his shotgun as if there were no vampires five feet from him.  With his first shot he took out the two closest fangs.  The second shot went wide as one of the fangs knocked against him.  Gritting his teeth, angered by the vampire who had touch him, Randy slammed him in the face with the butt of the gun, laughing when the vampire went down.


Glen slowly got to his feet.  More vampires were coming from the trees.  “Holy shit…how many are there?” Randy called over the noise of gunfire and screams. 


“Too damn many.” Glen motioned to him, beckoning him to follow.  “Fall back! Into the house! Fall back!” He shouted, trying to make himself heard over the noise.


His shout was answered by a howl.  The howl was joined by others.  Soon it was a repeat of last night.  Hundreds of wolves howling in unison.  The vampires stopped their attack and looked around, panicked.


Instead of vampires, wolves began pouring from the tree line in waves.  Glen counted fifty before he lost view of them as they attacked the vampires. The hunters all stood thunderstruck as the wolves chased the fangs back into the trees. 


“Regroup.  In the house.” Glen said to the people closest to him.  Samantha had a very satisfied look on her face, as if what had happened was on her agenda.


They were going to have to have a serous talk about this relationship with the wolves she seemed to have.


“Glen…” Fallon’s voice came from the porch behind him.  He turned to face her, dreading her words at the look of sadness on her face.


“No.” He didn’t want to hear it.


“They got Jay. In the front. After the dogs came.” She held the rail and started crying. “We weren’t paying attention. God, I’m sorry, Glen.  I wasn’t paying attention.”


Glen went to her and held her in his arms.  He looked helplessly at Samantha.  All for nothing then.  Their efforts had been for nothing.




“You’re tellin’ me we lost one of ours because the fangs are reading a fuckin’ book?”


Glen had gathered his best in the conference room again.  He sat at the head of the table, rubbing a hand over his eyes, trying to ignore the headache that was coming on.


The outburst had come from Dave.  Samantha had shown them the book and explained her theory.  What she failed to mention was where the book came from.  Glen had asked her not to tell that she’d been consorting with the dogs in town.


“All signs point to yes.” Samantha answered him in a calm tone.


“What’s next?” Fallon asked.  She had the book in her hands, idly turning pages.  “I can’t make heads or tails of this thing.”


Samantha reached for the book.  With a sigh, she skimmed the pages then looked up.  “Three nights of fasting, according to this thing.  They fangs are going to hide while they do it. Not feeding will weaken them too much to go out.”


“So we get a bit of a breather.” Randy’s relief was only momentary. Samantha was shaking her head.

”Until they go out again.  According to this, on the fourth night they go out and gorge themselves.”


“Shit.” Rick made his first comment of the day.  “How many are we talking?”


“I couldn’t get an accurate count last night.  A hundred.  Two hundred.  Any number in between.” Samantha snapped the book shut.


“Fuck me.” Dave said with a laugh.  “So your saying in four days, two hundred fangs are going to go on a blood spree?”


“Basically, yes.” Samantha looked at him.  “Turning vamps during that time is forbidden.  So it’s drain to kill.”


“Is that supposed to be comforting?” Dave snapped at her.


“No.  That’s the information I have.  If you want comforting, I suggest you track down your grandmother.” Samantha refused to be riled by the big man.


Dave muttered something under his breath, but stood down.  He did not want a full blown argument, especially not in front of Glen, who looked like he wished the floor would open up and swallow him.


“At any rate…we have another issue.” Samantha brought the attention back to the problem at hand.  “I’ve been reading forward a bit.”


“Why do I get the feeling that this is not going to be good news?” Fallon asked weakly.  She was mirroring Glen’s pose, rubbing at her temples.


“According to the book, once they have gorged…” Samantha sighed. “It’s going to make them stronger.  Not because of any hoodoo hooey from this book.  Because a gorge from established fangs makes them crazier than they already are.  Their next target is going to be children.”


“Oh God.  Which child? Why would they kill a kid?” Randy’s voice was incredulous. Fangs and dogs both knew that taking a child was strictly forbidden.  For the most part the rules were followed. Every now and then, something happened, but not in years.


“They won’t kill them.  They’ll turn them.” Samantha stated.


“Fuck me.”  Dave repeated himself.  “How long do we have?”


“Seven days. At the beginning of the new moon.”


Glen looked up at Samantha.  She met his eyes.  “How do we stop them?”


“Honest answer here, no bullshitting?” Samantha asked, her voice low.


“That’s what I always expect.” Glen said with a bit of humor.


“We have to kill ‘Father’.  He’s enthralled his followers.  If he’s gone, they’ll disband, confused.  Then they’ll be easy to pick off.”


Glen laughed harshly. “Great.  We don’t even know who it is.”


“Someone does…” Samantha trailed off, looking down at the table.


“I’d like to know who. Let’s face it, Sammy, we’re at a disadvantage here.  Let’s hear what you’re getting at.”


“Your brother knows him.”

There was silence at the table. Glen closed his eyes, feeling the headache come on a little stronger. 


“Taker’s gone.  There has to be another way.”


“Well if you know of one, I’m all ears.” Samantha said heatedly.  “Do you want the turn of two hundred six year olds on your conscience?  Because let me tell you, I don’t. Have you ever seen a kid that turned?”


There were negatives all around.  Samantha focused her eyes on Glen, talking to the group but trying to make him understand.  “They don’t age.  Or they age so slowly that it’s not noticeable.  Kids have their own set of rules.  They don’t know what death is, not really.  He’s going to make an army out of them. Could you kill a child vamp? I’ve done it, let me tell you, it was the hardest fucking thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.  The kid didn’t even know what he was. But it was either that or become his bedtime snack.”


She stopped to take a breath.  Glen stared at her, surprised at her outburst. She was all business now.  Glen looked away, to stare out the window, lost in thought.


“Everyone out except for Samantha.” He said it softly.  The other hunters looked at each other for a moment, then rose to leave.  Dave hesitated, wanting to say something to Glen, but decided he’d wait. Glen was angry, it was obvious to him, and he didn’t want that anger pointed in his direction.

When the room was empty, Glen turned back to Samantha, who rested back in her chair looking serene. 


“You don’t understand the history that I have with my brother.” He said, his tone low. 


“I understand that there are issues.” Samantha said with a nod.


Glen laughed.  “That’s a mild way of putting it.  He did things that were wrong, to me, to my family, to…” He stopped himself.  “I’m supposed to forget that and go running to him for help?”


“In a nutshell, yes.  Because if you don’t we’re going to have bigger things to worry about that your brother’s bad choices in life.” She refused to back down.


“What makes you think he can help?” Glen finally asked after a few minutes of thinking.


“Like I said…this is a fang he knows.  Someone has a vendetta against him.  And the fact that he managed to sire a child…” Samantha shrugged.  “It’s in the book.  He’s the only one who fits.  Unless you want to tell me that Jack is hiding fang tendencies…”


“No, he’s not.” Glen interrupted her.  “I knew Taker’s mistakes were gonna come back to bite him in the ass.”


“Happens to the best of us.” Samantha said with a smile.  Glen stared at her.


“So the wolves last night…” His sudden change of topic did not seem to bother her.


“Settling a score of their own, I suppose.  Vincent does have a copy of the book.  He knew what was going to happen, and when.”  She paused.  “I don’t want to bring it up, but can you imagine…the vampires turning the kids, and the wolves taking it upon themselves to exterminate them before they could finish the change?”


Glen closed his eyes. Samantha was not going to let it go though.


“If you think that in four days it’s going to be a blood bath, wait about a week or so.  That’s what it’s coming down to.  I hate to make you feel like you have to decide now, but you DO have to decide now.  There isn’t much time.”


“Damn it.” Glen muttered.  “I don’t even know if Taker will talk to me. It’s not like I can just phone him up.”


“Then go to him. We need him here, now.”

Glen met her eyes. “You’d better be right about him.”


“When it comes to fangs, I’m always right.” There was no bragging in the statement.  Glen detected sadness.  He lifted an eyebrow.


“I can’t believe I’m letting you talk me into this.”


“I didn’t talk you into anything.  Put aside your anger at him and you’ll see I’m right.”


Glen nodded slowly.  “I suppose I need to get a flight. I want to bring him home as soon as possible, before this massive gorge.”


“That would be optimal.” Samantha said wryly.


“I’m leaving Dave in charge. You might want to head for the hills.”


“I’m not worried about your friend and his bruised ego.” Samantha said with a smile.


“Someone’s going to need to black out the house.  He won’t be able to stay with the sunlight coming in.”


“Consider it done.” She nodded.


“I still think it’s a mistake.”


“It could be.  We won’t know until we try. And Glen…”

He’d risen to his feet.  At the sound of his name, he stopped and looked at her.


“When it’s all over you can go back to harvesting your useless anger.  It’s not lost forever.”

He shook his head and felt a smile tug his lips.  “Who said it’s useless?  It keeps me going.”


“Maybe it’s time you found something else to keep you going.” Her tone was suggestive.  Glen was shocked, but hid it well.


“Was that a come-on?” He asked, that eyebrow going up again.


“I guess we’ll see in a week or so.” She said, in all seriousness.  “You will need something to focus your energy on.”


Glen shook his head and left the room, still feeling like laughing.  He couldn’t believe that Samantha had pretty much propositioned him.  That girl definitely had a few screws loose.




Glen drove slowly, glancing occasionally at the directions he’d been given.


He was way past having second thoughts.  Samantha had rushed him out the door before he’d been able to form a decent argument. 


He missed the turn the first time he passed.  There were no markers, no indication that a house lay beyond the trees, but some hunter friends of his had assured him that this was Taker’s new address.


It was in the very definition of the middle of nowhere.  One hour from the biggest town.  And the town’s population was only five hundred or so.  The next closest city was an hour past that.  This gave new meaning to the word ‘sticks’. 


Glen guided the car through the line of trees, listening as the gravel crunched under the tires.  There was no doubt that they’d hear him coming.  He followed a curve in the driveway and pulled to a stop.  The house was right ahead. He studied it in the pale moonlight, smiling a bit at the tranquility of it.  It was not as big as the house Taker had built for the hunters, but it was close.  Light glowed in all of the downstairs windows.


Taking a fortifying breath, Glen pulled to the house and shut off the engine.  He climbed out and took another look around.


The only noise was the sound of crickets.  For a moment he thought he heard laughter, but dismissed that as his imagination.  Glen took a few steps toward the porch and stopped, feeling an odd prickling at the back of his neck.


“Please tell me you are not here to start trouble.”

The familiar voice sent a shiver down his spine.  Not a bad shiver.  Glen slowly turned to face Christine.  She’d somehow come up behind him without him noticing.  He mentally knocked himself in the head.  She was a vampire now. She could sneak around all day and he’d never see her.


“I didn’t come to start trouble.” He said, letting his eyes drink her in.  Her dark hair was longer.  That was the only difference he could see in her. She smiled sadly at him.


“I take it this is not a social call.”


“I wish it was.” Glen stepped toward her, wanting a closer look to assure himself that she really was all right. 


“I’m not sure Mark would like seeing you here. Visions of a stake through the heart, you know.”

He hadn’t realized how much he missed her sarcastic manner until she said that.  “Mark, huh?”


“It is his name. Now.” Christine sighed and hopped onto the hood of the car. Obviously she was in no hurry to take him inside.


“Is he here?”


She shook her head.  “He’s gone into town.”


“To feed.” It wasn’t a question.  Christine’s smile was more genuine this time.


“No.  Actually to get some school supplies for Lily.”


Glen chuckled.  “Lily.  So the rumors are true.”


“I suppose if there were a rumor, then yes.” Christine crossed her arms over her chest. “What are you doing here Glen?”


He sighed.  “I need some help.  We’ve got trouble.  Big trouble.”


“After all that happened, you would come to him for help?” Christine asked, look of surprise on her face.


“This goes beyond what happened in the past.” Glen stepped closer to her.  He hated it, but he still felt a pull toward her.  An urge to protect her maybe.  He couldn’t explain it.


“He’ll be home in an hour.” She chose to ignore the look he was giving her.  Instead she slid from the car and motioned toward the house. “Come inside. I’m sure you’d like to meet your niece.’


Glen smiled and followed Christine through the front door. A television was playing softly in one room. Christine led him in the direction, pausing in the doorway.


Glen looked in.  Amongst a scatter of stuffed animals and books was a tiny little girl.  She was stretched out on her stomach, chin propped in her hand, watching the television intently.  Her lips were moving along with the song that the children on the set were singing. He felt something inside him melt.  It was an amazing feeling. 


“She hates it when we pull her from her show.” Christine said with a roll of her eyes.  She kept her voice low so Lily would not hear.  “She only gets to watch an hour a day.” There was something sad in her voice. Something Glen could not quite define or pinpoint.


“I don’t want to disturb her.” Glen said, his voice just as soft.


Christine smiled at him.  “I’m sure this one time she won’t mind.  She’s heard a lot about her Uncle Glen.”

Without giving him time to ask about her statement, Christine entered the room.  “Lily.  We have a visitor.  Do you think you can pull yourself from the TV for three seconds to say hello?”


The child sighed and moved, getting to her feet.  She turned and looked at her mother, then at Glen. Her eyes widened.  Glen smiled broadly.  She had her mom’s dark hair and Taker’s green eyes.  She was a very striking child.


“Lil, this is your Uncle Glen.  You remember, we talked about him?” Christine smoothed a hand through the little girl’s hair. 


“I remember, Momma.” A grin lit her features.  Glen felt as if a little more of the ice that had walled his heart in had melted.  Lily ran to him and flung her arms around his legs, hugging him.

Glen laughed and lifted the little one into his arms.  “Aren’t you a cutie pie?” He touched her nose with a finger, getting a giggle.


“You’re as big as my daddy.” She said, stating the obvious.  Glen smiled at her.


“That’s cuz we’re brothers.” Glen hugged her.  “I’m glad to finally meet you, Lily.  I’ve been wanting to for a long time.” He didn’t know it was true until he’d said it. 


“Me too. Momma said you live far away and you’re busy hunting werewolves.” The child’s musical laugh was infectious.  Glen couldn’t help but chuckle with her.


“That’s true.  It keeps me busy.” Glen met Christine’s eyes from across the room.  Lily surprised him, darting her head forward and kissing him on the cheek.


“I’m glad you’re here.” Her voice was soft.  Glen playfully tugged her hair making her squeal.


“Me too, kiddo.” He set her back on her feet, much to her disappointment.  “How about you finish your show, then we can spend some good uncle/niece time together.  Right now I’d like to talk to your mom.”


“All right.” Lily sighed theatrically.  “Is it grown up talk? I hate it when Momma and Daddy have grown up talk. They say I’m too little to hear it.”


“Well, it’s catch-up talk.  And you’ll get plenty of it right after your show goes off.” Glen nudged her chin with his fingers, making her smile again.


Lily went back to her show.  Christine led Glen into the kitchen.  “Coffee?”


“I’ll take a beer if you have one.” Glen was not big on alcohol, but thought he’d make an exception in this case.  “Is she a fang too?  I mean, since you and Ta…Mark are, was she born a vamp?”


Christine got his beer from the fridge before answering.  “She’s something different.”


“Different how?” Glen popped the bottle open and took a few swallows.  He winced at the taste, but it was cold and felt good going down.


Christine sat across from him.  “Sunlight hurts her.  We found that out the hard way a year ago when she figured out how to get the locks on the door open.  She was burned for weeks.” She shook her head.  “She healed all at once though, like flipping a switch.”


“I didn’t see any scarring.” Glen said, frowning a bit.  Vampires were like humans in a way.  Although they could heal faster, they still carried scars and bruises.


“There wasn’t any scarring. One night she was so burnt she couldn’t move, the next night she was waking us up, jumping on the bed.”  It seemed to trouble her a bit.


“What else?” Glen knew there had to be more.


“She doesn’t need to feed.  She’s got fangs.  I’ve seen them a time or two. Hell, she bit me a few times when I was breast feeding her.”


Glen laughed at that.  “But she doesn’t need to hunt?”


“No.  It’s strange.  She eats normal food.  Although she does like her steak extremely rare.  She knows what we are. I’ve asked if she wants to go out with me to feed and she wrinkled her nose and said ‘eww’.  I don’t understand it.”


Glen shook his head, biting his lip, thinking. “So she’s like a fang but not a fang.”


“She’s strong too.” Christine went on.  “Scary strong.”


“She’s so little…” Glen said thoughtfully.


“Yeah, she’s small for her age.” Christine smiled ruefully.  “She and Mark were playing one night, wrestling around.  She broke his hand.  Not by stepping or falling on it.  She squeezed it.  I heard some bones snap.”


“Holy shit.” Glen was at a loss.


“Tell me about it.  She’s very careful how she does things. I think it really bothered her that she hurt her daddy.  She’s learning how to control it on her own.”


“Do you think… Glen paused, gathering his thoughts.  “Will she want to start feeding?  I read somewhere that some people gain psychic powers through puberty.  Do you think it’s going to be like that?”


“I wish I knew. We’re kind of flying blind right now.” Christine laughed.  “Not like they have a vampire book about raising children. I think we’re the ones who are supposed to be writing it.”


“Well, I would…” He didn’t get to finish.  Footsteps thumped down the hall.


“Daddy’s back!” Lily stuck her head in long enough to shout, then was off, running down the hall before either of the adults could react.


“She’s speedy as well.” Christine said with a smile.


“Good hearing too.” Glen was just now hearing the sound of gravel crunching under tires.


“She’s got good eyesight.  She can see a fly a mile away.  Light or dark.” Christine added, rising to her feet. “Are you ready for this?”

Glen nodded slowly.  He thought he was ready to face his brother again.  There was only one way to find out for sure.




Mark climbed out the truck, not bothering to grab the bags off the seat. He counted to ten and there was his girl, running to meet him.


Grinning her swept her up in a hug.  “Were you a good girl for Momma?”


“I’m always a good girl.” She said in exasperation.  She kissed his cheek.  “Did I get more books?”


“Lots of books.  I think I bought out the book store.” Lily wiggled.  Mark let her down.  She leapt into the truck and started shuffling through the bags. “You could wait until we get it in the house, Lil.”


“Dad.” One word could not carry more scorn.

Mark laughed and headed toward the porch, where Christine was standing with her arms crossed.


“She claims she behaved.” He said with a smile.  He leaned down to kiss her. 


“She did.  For a wonder.” Mark could tell there was something on her mind. 


“What’s going on? Is something wrong? Is Lily all right?”


“Fatherhood has made you an alarmist. Lily is fine. Probably emptying the bags into the floor of the truck right now.” Christine smiled.  Mark could tell there was still something on her mind. She met his eyes. The smile faded.  “Glen’s here.”


“What?” He kept his voice low.  “What does he want? We haven’t…”


“No, I don’t think he’s coming to wipe us out or anything.  He said he needs help.”


“Help? From us?”


“More specifically…from you.  I’ll unload the truck.  You go talk to him.  He’s in the kitchen.” Christine stepped off the porch, not giving him an opportunity to argue.


Mark did not move for a minute.  From behind him, he could hear Christine instructing Lily to repack the bags so they could take them into the house.  He did not want to see his brother.  He’d gone five long years without having to deal with the things he’d done in the past.  It looked like it was all coming back to bit him in the ass.


With a heavy sigh, Mark entered the house.  He heard Glen moving in the kitchen, the sound of glass being dropped into the garbage can.  He squared his shoulders and stood in the doorway, looking in at his brother.

Glen turned to face him.  They were silent for a few very long minutes. 




“It’s Mark now.  I’m trying to leave that life behind me now.”


Glen smiled sardonically.  “Kinda hard to do that when the past doesn’t die.  It sleeps.”


“What are you doing here, Glen?” Mark was not in the mood to get into an argument with his brother.  He just wanted to be home with his wife and daughter.  That was all he’d ever wanted, really.


“We have a problem. You might have the solution.”  Glen took his seat at the table.


Mark hesitated.  “If it’s about what happened…”


“It’s not. It’s something different.”


Mark sat across from his brother, still wary.  “How is Jack?”


Glen bit back his automatic response and smiled weakly.  “Good.  All things considered.  It took a while to get him to sleep in his own room.”


Mark hung his head.  “I am sorry for that Glen.  More sorry than you can ever know.”


“I do know.  Doesn’t make it any easier to forget.”


“I was protecting him.  I can’t make you believe that, but it’s true. I wasn’t myself when that was going on, you have to understand that…”


“I do understand.” Glen said softly.  “Is…Was Chris really all that you needed?” He had to ask. 


“She was the start of it.  Getting out of the house was a big part.  Not having to be responsible for so many lives.  Lily was the rest. She’s a miracle.”


“I’ll not argue with that point.” Glen’s smile was more genuine.


“What do you need help with?” Mark asked, bringing the topic around to the reason Glen was there.


“Fang trouble.”


Mark half-smiled.  “I thought you gave up on fangs.”


“Yeah, well.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”


“Any particular fang in particular?” Mark asked, curious.


“We don’t know who it is. Just that vamps refer to him as ‘Father’.”


“Father.  Hmm.” Mark’s expression did not change but Glen had learned to read him over the years.  The nickname was familiar.


“He’s already gathered quite a following. We fought them last night.  Worse is coming…”


“The gorging.” Mark stated flatly.


“You know about that?” Glen asked, surprised.


“I’ve stopped this particular vampire before.  A long time ago.”


“Eight or so years?” Glen asked with a smirk.


“That was the last time I saw him.  Try twenty-two years ago.”


“How come I didn’t know about this?”


Mark shrugged. “Everybody tries to cover it up.  They don’t want anyone to know that fangs almost wiped out an entire town.  We had to go in and kill over four hundred kids.  It’s not something I like to revisit.”


“He’s trying again.” Glen said, gauging Mark’s reaction.


“He’s going to come after Lily. That’s why you’re here.” It was not a question.


“We think so. She is unique.”


“Not completely unique.” Mark said quietly.


“What do you mean?” Glen leaned forward, interested in spite of himself. He felt as if a weight had lifted from his shoulders. This fang was threatening Mark and his family.  Mark would die to protect them.  Even if it meant teaming up with Glen and the hunters one last time.


“Thirty years ago, there was another vamp birth.  Another girl.  It has to be a girl, according to the book.  This fang got all the way to the last step when we managed to cut him down, wipe out the nest.  We saved her.  She disappeared with her father.  I’ve heard rumors that she got killed in a sweep a few years ago.  This ‘Father’ guy ran off, disappeared too.  When we caught up to him eight years ago, he was exclusively turning women, making his own harem.  I don’t think he liked that we destroyed all of his girlfriends.  He went underground again.” Mark looked surprised at his speech.  He was not generally a man of many words.


“He’s going to come after your daughter.” Glen said.


“I know.” Mark sighed. “I’m not leaving Chris and Lily here to fend for themselves. And if I take them with me, I feel like I’m playing right into his hands.”


“We’ll protect her.” Glen assured his brother.


“I hope so.” Mark nodded slowly.


“She’s not going to be bait.  I’d lay down my own life before I let some crazed fang get his hands on her.  You can count on that.”


“I know I can.” Mark was quiet for a minute, studying Glen across the table.  “I always said you were a better man than me.  I guess that just proves it.”


“You’d do the same.”


“As long as I’m not kidnapping your boy and running a pack of wolves, right?” There was humor in his voice.


Glen shook his head. “She’s really changed you.”


“For the better I hope.  Just proves I’m not always wrong.”  Mark grew serious.  “We can leave in an hour.  I want to get there before day breaks.  For obvious reasons.”

Glen nodded.  “I can make arrangements. The house is already being remodeled for you.” He hoped that Dave and Samantha had gotten it done. 


“All right, then.” Mark stood and stretched.  “I’ll go get the girls ready.  You make your phone calls.” With that he left the kitchen.

Glen waited until he heard Mark’s deep voice coming from the living room before walking to the phone.  He hoped they were doing the right thing.  He didn’t want to put Lily in danger, but they had to stop the fangs before things escalated more than they already had.




If Glen didn’t see another airplane for a while, he’d die a happy man.


That was two-three hour flights in the span of twelve hours.  His head was aching.  The highlight was he’d gotten to get to know his niece a bit better on the way. She’d chatted the whole flight, talking about various things, staring out the plane window at the lights on the ground.


It was just past four thirty in the morning when he pulled up to the house.  Glen was tired and knew he wouldn’t get much sleep before he’d have to be up, brainstorming with his hunters. Lily was not showing any signs of slowing down.  Christine explained that was another trait her daughter shared with the fangs.  When the sun broke the horizon, she’d be yawning and complaining that it was bedtime.


Rick and Randy were in the living room, watching a movie, winding down.  Glen led Mark, Christine and Lily past them and up the stairs. 


Glen was a bit confused.  It looked like everyone was up.  Usually at this time of night, the house was a quiet as it ever got. He kept going, leading them to their rooms at the end of the long hall.


“I’ll give you guys a chance to stow your things.  I need to see what’s gone on while I’ve been gone.”


He left them there and went to seek out Dave, who was in the kitchen eating a monster-sized sandwich.


“Hey, Glen…” He managed to mumble around a mouthful of food.


Glen smiled at him.  “Wanna tell me why everyone is still up?”


Dave rolled his eyes and chewed thoughtfully before answering. “Your resident ‘expert’ suggested we switch to a night schedule, since the fangs won’t be roaming around in the day. It was actually the only decent idea she had the whole time you were gone.”


“Where is Sammy?” Glen said with a chuckle.  “And thanks for not killing her.  I know it was a hardship.”

”She’s downstairs with Jack.  For the most part she’s been keeping him entertained.” Dave took a sip of the soda that was in front of him. “We blacked out the three rooms at the end of the hall, the bathrooms that are attached, and all the rest of the windows are fitted with blackout shades just in case they wanna venture around the house when the sun is up. Did you manage to talk him into coming?” Dave asked belatedly.


“Oh, they’re here.  Upstairs right now, getting settled.” Glen moved to the door.  “I’m gonna go visit with Jack for a little bit, then I’m going to crash. Try not to make too big a mess, would you?”


Glen headed for the basement steps. He could hear laughter and low voices.  With a half-smile he followed the sounds to the training room.  He stood in the doorway, watching as Samantha explained something to Jack.  He was wearing gloves.  There was a weight bag in front of him.


Samantha caught sight of him and grinned.  “Hey, boss.  I’m teaching the kid some moves. He said he was bored.”


Glen nodded and entered the room, grabbing Jack in the quick hug.  “Looks like you’ve been busy.”


“He was nervous about you being gone.  So I told him to take a nap, and we’d stay up all night and wait for you.” Samantha said, ruffling Jack’s hair.  “You wanna call it a night?”


“No way!” Jack grinned at her, then looked to his dad.  “Samantha said she could teach me karate!” He made a noise and pretended to chop Glen in the stomach.


“Not karate, goof.  Muy thai kickboxing. And if you get it wrong again, I’ll stop showing you the moves.”  She shook her fist at him.  Jack laughed.


“Sorry. Check it out Dad, it’s freakin’ awesome!”  Jack went back to the bag and began kicking it with gusto.


“Hmm.  Freakin’ awesome’? Where did he manage to pick up that phrase?” Glen asked with a laugh.


“Don’t look at me.  I don’t think I’ve said the word awesome since fourth grade.” Samantha watched Jack for a minute.  “So how did it go?”


“All right I suppose.  They’re here.  Upstairs getting settled in.”


“They?” Samantha glanced at him.  He looked tired.  He’d have a hard time switching to nights.


“Mark.  Christine and their daughter. He didn’t want to leave them alone.”


“I see.” Samantha shrugged.  “Well, good.  I guess we can rest and get started later on tonight.  I’m sure you’re beat from the flight.” She grinned.  “Flights.” She repeated, stressing the s on the end.


“You can say that again.  And thanks for not killing Dave.  You might not like him, but he’s kind of important around here.”


Samantha waved it off.  “I managed to keep my temper in check.”


“I don’t know how you feel about sleeping in the house with a couple of vampires.” Glen said softly, not wanting Jack to hear.  “You being the fang hunter and all.”


“Oh…I’ll just keep my door locked when I go to sleep.” Samantha grinned.  “Or I could just crawl into bed with you.”


Glen’s eyes widened.  Samantha poked him in the side and walked back toward Jack before he could even begin to respond. She could have stood there all day and gotten no answer.  Glen knew when he was beat.


There was a noise from behind him.  Glen turned to see Mark and Lily entering the gym.  Lily was looking at everything wide-eyed, as if trying to absorb the place.


“She wanted to look around.” Mark said by way of explanation.  Glen nodded.

“You remember Jack.  And that’s Samantha.  She’s our fang hunter.”


Mark made a noise low in his throat but said nothing.  Lily was staring at Jack, fascinated.  “That’s your cousin, Lil.  Glen’s son.  Why don’t you say hello?” Mark urged. Lily hesitated for a moment before her outgoing nature kicked in.  The two men watched as Jack turned to her, a grin on his features.


“Wanna learn how to kickbox?” Was his way of greeting. Lily smiled sweetly back at him.


“Daddy says I’m not supposed to hurt stuff.”


“You can’t hurt it. It’s just a bag full of sand.” Jack punched the bag for effect.  “I’m Jack.”


“I’m Lily.” She was still staring at him fascinated. Mark chuckled and sat on a weight bench, resting for a moment.


“Lil, you can punch the bag if you want to. And only the bag. For right now, anyway.”


Jack seemed to realize there was another man next to his father. He gave Mark a look.  Glen laughed. “You can tell he hasn’t seen you in a long time. This is your Uncle Mark.  Remember him?”


“Not really.” Jack said honestly, making the men laugh.


“I didn’t stop to think what his reaction to you would be…” Glen said, lowering his voice so only Mark would hear him.


“He never saw me at the den.  I only checked on him when he was sleeping.” Even with his tone low, Mark could not stop the note of sadness from entering his voice.  He watched his daughter talk to the woman that was their hunter, a strange smile on his face. “If I had known what it would feel like, I would have never let any of it happen.  I can’t imagine anything happening to Lily.  It hurts.”


“I know it.”

He turned his attention back to the kids and Samantha.  She was explaining the dynamics of a spinning heel kick.  Jack looked fascinated.  Lily looked confused.  After she was done talking, Samantha moved the kids back and showed them how to do it, pivoting on her left foot, letting her right swing out and catch the bag toward the top.  The bag shook on its chain.  Jack was bouncing on his toes, wanting to try.


His first kick was a miss.  He spun all the way around, tripping himself.  Jack caught himself before he could fall, laughing a bit.  Samantha gave him a few pointers, and he tried again.  This time he caught the bag.  He hopped around in triumph. 


“Would you like to try, sweetheart?” Samantha asked Lily.  Lily studied her for a full minute before going to the bag.  She seemed to be lost in thought. “Go ahead, you can’t hurt it.” Samantha urged.


Lily sighed and closed her eyes, then did a perfect imitation of Samantha’s kick.  Instead of just rattling the bag, the move sent it flying backward into the wall.


Samantha pulled her out of the way as the bag swung back toward her.  Lily was looking up at her with big eyes. “Did I do it right?” She seemed worried.


“That was perfect, hon. That would have knocked a werewolf back twenty feet.”  Samantha tweaked the girl’s nose, looking meaningfully at Glen over her head. He mouthed the word ‘later’.  She nodded as if he’d spoken.


“I wanna learn how to do it like that!” Jack said, bouncing around again.  Lily smiled shyly at him. 


“I could show you.  You just have to know where to hit it.” The two children all but forgot about the adults in the room. Samantha moved to stand near the men, eyebrow up.


“She’s got some power for such a little kid.  Is she on steroids?”


Mark and Glen both laughed.  “She’s just Lily.  Don’t challenge her to arm wrestle you.” Mark warned.  Samantha smiled at him. 

”I’ll take it under advisement.”  She turned and watched as Jack kicked the bag again, this time with a little more force.  Satisfied, both children ran to their fathers.


“Did you see me kick, Daddy?” Lily asked, climbing into Mark’s lap. He hugged his daughter, kissing her on top of the head.


“You did a great job.” He said, his voice a low rumble.

”The lady told me what to do.” Lily said with a shrug.


“The lady has a name,” Samantha said with a laugh.  “I suppose you can call me Sammy, since you could probably whoop me in a kickboxing match.” She caught sight of Jack yawning.  With a smile she turned to Glen. “I’m gonna get Jack into the shower, then bed.  I think the party animal has been worked out of him.”


“Thanks, Sammy.  I’ll be up in a bit.”


“I wanna go with Sammy,” Lily was wiggling out of Mark’s arms.  Samantha waited for her, taking her hand. She led the kids out of the room. Mark and Glen looked at each other, both smiling.


“Well, I guess I was worried about Lil feeling left out for nothing.” Mark finally spoke.  Glen shrugged his shoulders.


“Jack wouldn’t let her stay a stranger for long.” He said.  “I think I’m about done in. I’m heading to bed. I’ll see you later on tonight.  We’ll have to sit down and have a talk with everybody.”  With that he turned and left the room.


Upstairs he heard Lily talking animatedly to Samantha.  Jack was already tucked into bed, his arms behind his head, staring up at the ceiling when Glen entered to tell him good night.


He kissed his forehead and adjusted the blanket around his son.  “Did you have a good time while I was gone?” He asked with a grin.


“It was all right.  Samantha said if it’s Ok with you, she’s gonna teach me some more.  She said I could go with her next time she takes a class.” He sounded excited.

Glen did not want to burst his bubble by telling him that Samantha probably wasn’t going to be with them long enough to take Jack anywhere.  She was here temporarily, to help them wipe out the fangs that were making their lives hell.


“Sounds like fun, kid.” Glen ruffled Jack’s hair, smiling at the noise of annoyance.  “I don’t mind if you want to learn how to kickbox.  It’s good exercise.”


“Cool.” Jack’s eyes were getting heavy.  Glen kissed him again and left him to sleep, shutting the door behind him.


With a weary sigh he headed for his own room.  It had been a long time since he’d had to adjust to sleep in the daytime.  He was so tired that he didn’t think he’d have a problem passing out for eight hours. He had another long night ahead of him.  Just thinking about it was enough to hurry him into bed.




Glen woke up around noon, called all his hunters, and told them to take a couple of days off.  He didn’t think he’d need them anyway.  The gorging was still three nights away.


He felt as if he’d gotten no sleep at all.  He was overtired, his mind refusing to shut down long enough so he could get some decent rest. 


Jack was still sleeping soundly when Glen checked him, quietly opening and closing his door.  The only other person awake was Dave, who was a light sleeper by nature.  He was coming out of his room, hair wet from the shower he’d taken.


“Hey, man.  Can’t sleep?” Dave asked amicably.


“I haven’t really tried yet.”


“Go on back to bed.  I’ll take care of Jack when he gets up.” Dave waved him off. 


“I’d appreciate it.”  Glen yawned. “If I’m no up by six, send Jack up to get me.  I don’t want to waste all the light sleeping.”


“You got it.” Dave nodded and continued down the hallway.  Glen sighed and went back into his room.


The blackout blinds were down.  That was part of the reason he couldn’t sleep.  He was used to a bit of ambient light.  Even at night, the moon and stars gave off a faint glow.


With another sigh he stripped off his jeans and T-shirt, then crawled into bed in his boxers.  That was about as much pajamas as he was going to manage, he was so tired.


Glen felt as if he’d just settled into a deep sleep when a noise jarred him awake.  He was disoriented.  The room was so dark he couldn’t see his hand in front of his face.


He didn’t need to see to know what woke him.  The door had been shut.  Softly, but loud enough to bring him all the way awake.  He knew someone was in the room with him.  It was just a feeling he got.  He sat up and looked toward the door, trying to will his eyes to adjust to the darkness.


“Boo.” A throaty voice, right by his ear, startled him. Glen jumped and turned in the direction of the sound.  She was laughing at him for his reaction.  “Wow.  Too much caffeine yesterday?”


It was Samantha.  She was still laughing as Glen felt her sitting on the edge of the bed.  He sighed and scooted over to make room for her to sit. “What time is it?”


“Almost six.  Few minutes til, anyway.” She said.  Damned if there wasn’t still a smile in her voice.


“Where’s Jack?”


“Is that how you greet people in the morning, barking out questions?”


“It is until I get all the way awake.” Glen said, trying not to smile.


“Jack is with Dave.  They went to see a movie. They’ll be back in about an hour or so.  I was just seeing if you were gonna wake up long enough to eat.”


“I’m not really hungry.” Glen said, pulling the blankets up to his chin.  “I could sleep for another hour, though.  Since Jack’s not here anyway.”


“Good call.” He felt the bed shift again.  Samantha stretched out next to him, surprising him.


“What are you doing?”


“I’m scared of vampires, and the lock on my bedroom door is broken. What do you think I’m doing?”


Glen sighed and rolled onto his stomach.  “Don’t hog my blankets.”


“You’re doing a good job of that yourself.  I wouldn’t dream of it.” Her voice was wry.  She still sounded like she was smiling.


“No groping me either.” He mumbled sleepily.  Samantha laughed and turned on her side to face him.


“Damn. Why the hell am I in here then?”


“Beats the hell out of me.” Glen barely got the words out.  He was already asleep.

Samantha lay there for a few minutes, listening to him breath, listening to the general quiet of the house.  Mark, Christine and Lily were still asleep.  All of the hunters were gone, taking advantage of a rare day without work. They might as well be alone.


She got tired of laying in the dark and slowly moved.  She turned from Glen and started to sit up.

Glen shifted in his sleep, turning to face her, and draped an arm around her.  He pulled her back until she was lying against him, nuzzling her hair. “Don’t go, Chris…” His voice was barely a whisper.  Samantha frowned in the dark.  When she was sure he was deeply sleeping, she carefully extracted herself from him and left the room, this time being careful not to make a sound.


In the hallway, before she had time to even think about what Glen had said, Lily appeared.  She was sleepily rubbing her eyes, looking at the door to her parent’s room as if trying to decide if it was a good time to wake them.


“Hey, pumpkin.” Samantha said softly, getting the little girl’s attention.


“Hi Sammy.” Lily’s voice was thick with sleep.  “I’m hungry.  Momma said to wake her up so I can eat.”


Samantha reached down, taking the little girl’s hand.  “I think we can manage some breakfast ourselves.  How about we let Mom and Dad sleep a bit more?”


“Ok.” Lily let herself be led downstairs.  Dave had pulled the blackout blinds before he’d left.  The house had a decidedly gloomy feel.  Samantha let go of Lily long enough to flip on some lights.


They were eating their food when Dave and Jack came in the back door, laughing.  Dave took one look at Samantha and rolled his eyes. Samantha had to grin.


“It’s nice to know I don’t even have to speak to strike a nerve with you.” She said, popping a piece of toast into her mouth.


“Yeah, your presence is more than enough.” Dave admitted.  He reached out and playfully smacked Jack on the arm.  “Gonna wake up your dad now? I think he’s slept enough.”


“He said to wake him up at seven now. He decided he needed an extra hour of sleep.” Samantha said with a smile at Jack.  He grinned back and glanced at the clock. 


“We still have twenty minutes. I’m gonna go on the porch and play with my cars.” Jack had a fairly extensive miniature car collection.


“You stay by the door.  If I look outside and I don’t see you, I’ll freak out. And then when I’ll find you, I’ll kick you into next week.” Samantha said, shaking her fist at him.  Jack laughed at the threat.


“I know the rules, Sammy.  Gosh.”


“Can I go outside and play with the cars?” Lily asked from her perch in the seat across the table.  She’d finished eating, and was drinking the last of her milk.


“I don’t see why not.  Go on, have at it. I have to clean up a little.  We were messy today.”  Samantha started gathering the dirty dishes.  Dave wandered off, muttering something about women.  It was the only word Samantha caught. 


Fifteen minutes later, Samantha peaked out the blind over the kitchen sink.  Jack and Lily were pushing cars back and forth, occasionally running into each other.  The sun was starting to sink on the horizon.  Sunset would not happen for at least another hour.  Given the fact that they had done nothing but sleep all day, Samantha was feeling a bit tired.  And a bit confused.  Glen.  That’s what was bothering her.  There was only one Chris in this house that he could possibly be referring to. And that was Taker’s wife.  She was lost in thought and didn’t notice Glen walk into the kitchen behind her.


“Penny for your thoughts.” To her credit, she did not jump at his voice.


“I don’t think you’d want them.” She said, quirking a half-smile at him.


Glen was eyeing her curiously.  “Something on your mind?”

He was good at reading people.  She’d give him that.  Samantha shook her head. “Not when I can help it.” She smiled, this time making sure it was believable.  “The kids are playing outside. We already ate. So you’re on your own.”


Glen lost interest in trying to figure out what was bugging her.  “The kids?  Plural, the kids?”


“Yes…” Once again, Samantha felt the urge to drag that S out.  “I didn’t stutter.  The.  Kids.  Are. Playing. Outside.” This time she spoke each word slowly. 


“Ha, ha.  I’m slow.  Sammy, Lily can’t go outside.  The sun burns her.”


Samantha made a noise and motioned at the curtain.  “She looks fine to me. They’re playing cars.”


Glen rushed to the window to look.  Lily was sitting on the steps, in the full light of the dropping sun, running a small car up and down the railing.  Jack was behind her, lining the cars up.  Lily’s dark hair seemed to glow in the gold and red sunlight.  If he’d thought she was adorable before, she was an absolute knockout with the sun shining onto her.


“Chris said…” He could not finish.


“Chris said what?” Christine spoke from behind him. Glen turned to look at her.  Samantha was also looking at her with more than just a bit of curiosity. 


“I thought you said the sunlight burned her.”


“The sunlight does burn her.  What are you talking about?”

Glen let the blind drop at the way Christine backed from the small slice of light that entered the kitchen.  That was all it took to remember what she really was now.


“She’s outside.  Sitting on the porch, playing with Jack.”


“You’re fucking kidding right? That’s not funny.  I am not going to go through that again, Glen.  She promised me, no more outside because it burns.” Christine sounded near tears.

Glen went to her and took her shoulders in his hands.  He stared down at her.  “You’re not going to go through it again.  I’m telling you, she’s sitting there, on the steps, soaking up the sunlight.  She’s all right, she’s not burning.”

Christine nodded but in her eyes there was still disbelief.  “Bring her in for me.  I want to see for myself.” With that, not waiting for an agreement, she stepped back into the hallway, out of the way of any rays of the sun.


Glen sighed and looked at Samantha. He had no clue what that look on her face meant.  If he had more time, he’d try to figure it out. He muttered under his breath and went to the door. 


“All right you two.  Time to come inside.” He said, poking his head out, opening the door as little as possible.


“Aww…Do we have to Dad?” Jack had put all his cars in a circle.  Lily was dancing around them, humming to herself.


“Yes.  Lily’s mom is worried about her.  Besides, I think Allison left some homework for you on her desk downstairs.  It needs to get done.”

“Man.” Jack made a face.  He was home schooled for obvious reasons.  Allison had turned out to be a great teacher, better than Glen himself was.  “I thought we were taking a break.”

“We are.  You are not.  Homework.” He softened a bit.  “Get it all done, and I’ll see if Sammy will teach you some more kickboxing.”

Jack’s face lit up.  He threw his cars back into the box he’d gotten them out of.  Through all of this, Lily listened with rapt attention.


“I want to do homework.” She finally said.

Glen smiled at her.  “Honey, I’m sure we can find something for you to do.”


“Why would you want to do homework?” Jack made it sound as if it were worse than ten diseases combined.


“I like homework. I can’t help it that I’m smart.”

Glen laughed and held the door open for the kids to come inside.  As soon as the door shut, Christine was crossing he kitchen to scoop Lily up in her arms.


“Baby…what did we say about going outside in the sunlight?” Christine said as she kissed her daughter on the forehead.  She looked Lily over, studying every bare inch of skin she could see.  There were no blemishes on her at all.  Christine looked at Glen, confused.


“Don’t go out because it burns.  I wanted to go outside.” Lily said as if that explained everything.  She started wiggling.  “I wanna do homework with Jack!”

Christine had no choice but to put her down.  Lily ran after her cousin, who was dragging his feet toward the basement. She looked at Glen again.


“I just don’t understand this.” She said softly.

Samantha was suddenly tired of feeling like she wasn’t in the room.  “You know, if somebody would have…I don’t know…TOLD me, I wouldn’t have let her go outside.”


“You let her go out there?” Christine turned her eyes to Samantha. 


“Yep. She said she wanted to play with Jack, I told her to go play with Jack.” Samantha shrugged.




“Oh, hush Glen.” Samantha waved him off.  “She’s fine.  She didn’t start steaming. So there’s no reason to get all crazy.”


“Crazy? That’s my daughter!” Christine took a threatening step forward, pissed off that Samantha would allow Lily to go outside without her permission.  And without thinking of the consequences.


Samantha rolled her eyes.  “I would stop right there, before you do something I’ll regret.” She cut her eyes at Glen.  “I’m going out for a while.”


“Out? Where?” Glen was confused.  Christine was angry, but it was already fading.  Samantha was in a strange mood, that was for sure.

”Just out.  Maybe I have a date.” She grabbed her keys and went toward the door.


“Wolves again?” He couldn’t help but ask.


“None of your business again.” She said with a hard smile.  “Don’t bother postponing your meeting for me. I’ll be back when I get back.”  With that she slammed out the door. Glen and Christine shared a look.  Christine looked embarrassed.


“I’m sorry, Glen.  I just freak out a little when it comes to Lily.” She stepped toward him. Glen took a compensatory step back.


“Don’t worry about it, Chris.  Sammy will get over it.  She’s been acting weird.” He shrugged.  “I should have told her.”


“No.  She’s right.  Lily is fine.” The confused frown returned. “I just don’t understand how that’s possible.”


“I don’t either.” Glen glanced at the clock.  “I guess I should call Rick, Randy and Fallon and get this thing started.”


“I’ll go get Mark.” Christine turned to leave, but paused. “Glen…”


He did not respond to her, instead Glen picked up the cordless phone and began entering numbers.  When she was gone, he breathed a sigh and summoned his best hunters to the house.




“I still say we haven’t gotten anywhere.  Nobody knows who this ‘father’ guy is, nobody knows where they’re hiding.  It seems to me all the advantages are fallin’ to these damn crazy fangs.”


Rick was speaking.  After a warm greeting for Mark, he’d launched right into his thoughts, which was unusual for him.  Glen knew how frustrated everyone was though, and knew it was the older man’s way of letting off steam.


“So you hunted and fought him but never learned his name?” Randy asked, breaking into Rick’s speech.


“Never bothered to. Back in those days, it didn’t matter.  You found a nest, good or bad, you took it out.  We were just lucky enough to stumble into it in time.” Mark was leaning back in his chair, arm draped casually over Christine’s shoulders.  “I think we need to concentrate on where this gorging is going to take place and try to cut them off there. They’ll be crazy with hunger, yes, but they’ll be weak from not feeding.”


“How do you propose we do that?” Fallon piped up. She’d been unusually quite during their meeting.  She had taken Jay’s death rather hard.  She felt hopeless.


Mark opened his mouth to speak.  Instead of his voice, a clear feminine one spoke up.


“How about the boy’s basketball camp that’s starts in two days?”


All eyes turned to Samantha, who stood in the doorway, neutral expression on her face.


“What makes you think that?” Dave asked, scorn in his voice.


Samantha came into the room and stood between Dave and Fallon.  “Because they’re teenagers.”


Mark was flashing a knowing smile.  “Crazy hormones.”


“Young blood.  They’re also expecting two hundred kids to show up.  All between the ages of sixteen and eighteen.”


“Why are we even listening to you?” Dave asked rhetorically.  Samantha smiled sweetly at him.


“I’ve killed better than you.  Shut your mouth and listen, brain boy. There are no adults at that place.  No cell phones allowed.  It’s being held at the day camp at the lake, so no one is going to be around.  There’s no way to call for help, no one to hear them, no way out of there because they’re all being bussed in.”

”How the hell did you find that out?” Glen asked, a smile tugging the corners of his lips.  Once again, Samantha was coming through for them.  She amazed him.


“Lucky fuckin’ guess.” She tossed a pamphlet on the table.  On it, the name of the camp was spelled out beneath a picture of two healthy looking teenagers shooting a basketball.


“It makes sense.  They’re young, healthy, and let’s face it, at that age they think they’re invincible.  I think she’s right.” Mark nodded at Samantha. She shot him a dazzling smile.


“What if she’s wrong?” Dave asked.


“We could send a few of the hunters to check it out, keep the rest around here to scout.” Fallon offered.   


“Considering how many fangs there are in this pack, do we really want to take a chance on not sending enough?” Randy asked. 


“No.  We don’t.” Glen spoke, leaning forward.  “I’ll not lose another hunter to these assholes.  I say she’s right.  Besides Dave, anybody else want to disagree?”


No one spoke.  Glen nodded at Samantha. “All right. We’ll go with what you say.  I hope you’re right.”


“I’m always right.  It’s one of my more annoying traits.” She tugged Dave’s ear.  He jerked away and glared at her.  “I’ll be downstairs, showing Jack some more moves.  Since I was volunteered to do so.” She did not give anyone a chance to speak.  Samantha turned and left the room.

Glen felt himself redden a bit.  That had been aimed at him, he knew.  He wondered why Samantha was suddenly so pissed off at him.


“Dave…” He finally spoke.  He glanced at Mark, who was nodding as if he already knew the plan.  “Get out to the camp.  Bring me back anything you can get your hands on.  A map.  A list of campers.  We can try to stop a few of them from going. Most won’t listen of course, but we have to do something.”


Dave rose from his seat. “I still say this is nuts.”


“You’re opinion has been made abundantly clear, Dave.”  That was from Christine, who had not spoken during the meeting until then.


“I’m glad.” With a huff he turned to leave.


“Hold up, Dave.” Mark rose to his feet.  “I’ll go with you.  I want to get a feel for this place. I need more than a map to tell me how to do this stuff.”


“Glad to have ya along.” Dave said, leading him out of the room.


Glen looked at the others.  “I suppose that’s it for now.  I’ll go over everything and give you guys a call.  We’ll get together tomorrow night sometime, refine our plan.”


He waited until the room cleared.  Christine was going out to feed. The others were headed home for more rest before everything got too hectic.  Glen hesitated before going downstairs.


He watched from the doorway as Samantha instructed Jack on his hitting technique.  Lily was in the corner, out of the way, imitating everything that her cousin did.  Samantha would help her out if something were too difficult.  The kids seemed to be having a good time.

Samantha noticed him watching and turned to Jack. “All right Jackie Chan.  Freestyle for a bit.  I think your daddy wants to talk to me.”


“Uh oh.” Jack glanced at Glen.  “I know that look.”


“Believe me, I know it too.”  Samantha grinned at him. “He’s too serious sometimes.”


“He needs to learn how to have fun.” Jack stated with a grin.


“He needs a girlfriend and a car and a puppy.” Lily piped in.  Samantha started laughing. 


“You, little one, are silly.”


“She doesn’t even know what we were talking about.” Jack said with a roll of his eyes.


Lily stared at him, scrunching her face up in a frown.  “I do too.  It’s what everybody wants.”


“You don’t want a girlfriend.” Jack emphasized the word.


“Sure I do.  I want plenty of friends who are girls.” Lily was not going to be put out by Jack.


“Oh, geez. Ok, you win.” Jack grinned at her.  “Oh…hey, Sammy?”


“Yes darlin’?” She had taken her cue and walked toward Glen. At the sound of her name, she turned to look at Jack.


“Who is Jackie Chan?”


Glen laughed. Samantha grinned.  It was Lily’s turn to roll her eyes.


“He’s an actor that kicks butt.  I thought you were smart.”


“I am smart.  I don’t watch TV.”


“Neither do I, and I know who he is…” Lily’s voice carried a superior note.


“Good for you. Is he a good guy?” Jack asked, curious.


“I think so. He does a lot of crazy stuff, like jump off buildings….”


The rest of the conversation was lost on Samantha as she walked out of hearing range.  She stopped a few feet from Glen and crossed her arms, waiting.


“Is there a problem?” His smile had faded. 


“You tell me.”


“What are you talking about?” Glen asked, cocking an eyebrow.


“You care about her, don’t you?” It almost wasn’t a question. Glen decided to play dumb.



”Please.” Samantha raised a hand to stop him from speaking.  “Is there something going on between you and Chris?”


She stated it flat out, her eyes never wavering from his.  Glen shifted a bit on his feet, then made himself stay still. 

”Nothing.” He finally answered.  He looked sad. “It’s in the past.”


“Apparently not.” Samantha took a seat on the weight bench that was closest to her.  Glen followed her lead, sitting on the floor in front of her.  “You said her name in your sleep.”


“I did?” Glen was honestly in the dark on that one.


“You did.  You actually called ME Chris in your sleep.” Samantha smiled ruefully.  “I put two and two together.”


“It was a long time ago.” Glen said in way of argument on his behalf.


“Apparently not long enough.” Samantha looked away from him and studied the kids as they played on the exercise mat in the corner. 


“It was over before it ever really started between us.” Glen said softly.  The only person he’d told this to, admitted this to, was Dave. 


“Good.” Samantha rose to her feet.  “I suggest you have a talk with her.  Make sure you’re both on the same page.  You’re not going to think clear until you do.”


“I know it.” Glen dreaded it.  What the hell would he say to Christine? He’d said it all before and she’d chosen to go with Mark over staying with him.


“Don’t be a sore loser either.  She seems happy. Don’t ruin it.”

Glen smirked.  “Reading my mind again?”


“Lucky guess again.” She relaxed and reached over, touching his arm.  “You can’t go forward if you’re stuck in the past.”


“Are you saying…you and me…or…”


“Of course I am.  What the hell else could I be talking about?” Samantha shook her head.  “You really are dense sometimes.  How the hell did you end up running this place?”


“Thanks a lot.” He said with a smile. 


“Wasn’t a compliment.” Was her only statement.


They were silent for a minute, lost in thought.  Samantha cleared her throat and stood up. “If you’ll excuse me, I have a few things to take care of.”


“Wait…” Glen reached up and took her hand. “Will you come to my room in the morning?”


“For what?” She seemed honestly confused.

Glen just looked at her for a moment, meeting her eyes.  “Because I want you to.”


Samantha was silent at that.  She closed her eyes.  “I’ll give it some serious thought and get back to you.” With that she pulled away and left the room.

Glen stared at the empty doorway, wondering what the hell he was going to do.  He did not want to use Samantha to forget Christine, but it felt like that was his goal.  He knew he had to have a talk with Christine, and had to do it soon.  He would be stuck in the past until he did.




It took a couple of days, but Glen finally managed to get Christine alone.


Actually it was Christine who did it.  Early in the morning hours of that gorging day, she sent Mark and Lily shopping.  Jack asked if he could go too.  Glen decided to trust Mark, and let him.


Samantha had been gone since their conversation in the basement.  No one had seen or heard from her, except for one phone call.  She had asked how many hunters Glen had planned for the gorging.  Just a few shy of eighty.  She’d made a noise and said goodbye before Glen could even begin to ask where she was.


Glen had to admit to himself that he was rather disappointed at her sudden departure.  And Jack…he’d been asking about Samantha since she’d walked out of the basement.  Glen had no answers for him. 


The only person who did not care that she was gone was Dave.  His animosity was undefined but strong.  When the others asked about her, he’d huffed it off, saying good riddance.  Glen did not know why they rubbed each other the wrong way. It was just something else he had to worry about.

So now he was alone in the house with Christine, who was in the room she shared with Mark. Glen hesitated outside the door, not remotely knowing what he was going to say.  It was true, he had cared for her, more deeply than he had been willing to admit so long ago.  He just did not know what good it would do to admit that now.


He decided to just forget it.  Samantha was gone.  Christine, Mark and Lily would be out of his life again soon enough.  He could just go on like none of this happened.  That is, if he survived the gorging that night, and their plan to stop it.


Before he could turn from her door, Christine pulled it open from the other side.  She jumped, not expecting him to be standing there. Her hand went to her chest.


“You scared the shit outta me,” She sighed out with a laugh.


“Sorry.” Glen looked at her, a smile on his face.


“Did you need something?” She asked, leaning against the doorframe.  Glen shrugged.


“I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.” He finally said.  Christine studied him for a moment, then opened the door and motioned him into the room. 


“Come on, sit.  We can have a talk.  I can tell there’s something on your mind.” She grinned.  “You could never play poker.  Is it because Sammy is gone?”


“You like to just jump right into it, huh?” Glen asked, avoiding the subject.


“Yeah.  So is it?” She wasn’t going to let it drop.


Glen sighed.  “Kind of.”


“You like her.”

Glen had a moment of déjà vu.  Hadn’t Samantha said that same thing?


“I do.” He admitted.


“So what’s wrong? Was it me?  Did me freaking out make her leave?  I’m sorry, Glen, but you have to understand, that’s my kid.  I’ve seen what the sun can…” She stopped when Glen shook his head.


“It had nothing to do with Lily going outside.”


Christine once again studied his face.  “But it does have to do with me.  Are you going to tell me something I don’t like?  Because I would rather not hear it, at least not until this business is behind us.”


“I think I need to say it before this business really gets going.” Glen said, smiling sadly.


Christine sighed and sat down on the edge of the bed.  “All right.  Have your say.”

Glen hesitated, not sure where to start. “Are you happy?” The question surprised him.  It was not how he had wanted to start this conversation.


She cocked an eyebrow.  “Is that what you wanted to talk about?”


“Could you just answer my question?” He looked at her.  She fiddled with the ring on her finger, thinking.

”Yes.  I am.” She finally admitted.


Glen closed his eyes, rubbing a hand down his face. “Even considering how everything happened…”


“Yes.  Even considering that.” She looked amused.  “He’s not the same person he was Glen.  Getting away from here, it changed him.  Lily changed him.  Hell, I think even I had a hand in it. And he changed me. In more ways than one.”


“Funny.” Glen wasn’t laughing.  “Do you love him?”


“Yes.” She didn’t hesitate that time.  Glen opened his eyes and paced across the room, needing to work off some nervous energy.


“Then I guess that’s all I really needed to know.”


“That’s all?” Her voice was full of disbelief.  “Why don’t you just tell me what’s really on your mind Glen? It would make this go so much faster.”


Glen turned to face her.  “Back then…when everything was happening…”


He paused. Christine impatiently waved a hand, urging him on. 


“I think I maybe might have fallen for you.  Just a little.”


She smiled.  “And…”


“I guess I’ve been holding onto that all this time.” He met her eyes. “I loved you.  You picked Mark over me.  I couldn’t let it go.”


“Glen…” Christine rose to her feet.  Glen made sure to keep distance between them. 


“I think that’s all I wanted to say.  It ate at me for a while.  Still does every now and then. I guess I’m having a hard time getting over it and moving on.  Everyone else managed but me.”


“Glen…” Christine repeated, watching as he paced back and forth.  “Could you please stop that?  It’s making me feel edgy. I always hated it when you walked in circles. Reminds me a of a caged animal.”


Glen came to a halt and smirked.  “Sorry.”


“Stop apologizing to me.” Christine still sounded a bit amused.  “I did not choose Mark over you, Glen. I didn’t know you were even an option. I was a little high on blood at the time.”


“I wish I could have said something that would have stopped you, even though it would mean that Mark would probably be dead and Lily would not even be here.” Glen admitted softly.


“You still feel the same way for me?” Christine kept her voice even.


“I don’t know.  I don’t think so.” He ducked his head, embarrassed.  “Not that that’s something any woman wants to hear.”


Christine laughed.  “It’s all right.  I think I can forgive it.” She moved forward and took one of his hands in hers.  Glen met her eyes again.  “I’m sorry if I hurt you.  I really am.”


“You don’t have to be sorry.” Glen squeezed her hand.  “Mark needed you. I’m glad you saved him, Chris, I really am.  And you’re happy.  That’s all that really matters.”


“Do you know what made me realize that I love him?” She asked, a smile playing on her lips.  Glen shook his head.  “I had a gun with me at that hotel.  I carried it with me out of that place.  I kept it within reach for almost a year before I finally got rid of it. I could have killed him at any time, could have just gotten rid of him and made a new life for myself.  But I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  He was different.  He wasn’t the same person who hired me on here.  And then a few months after that, along came Lily.”


“She’s a miracle.” Glen said, repeating words he’d heard Mark utter.


“That she is. Don’t let her know though. She’s already a bit full of herself.” Christine grinned at the thought of her daughter.


“Mark’s a lucky guy.”


“I’ll agree with that.”


Uhm…” Glen did not know how to say what was on his mind now.


Christine laughed.  “No, Glen, Lily is not yours.  I got pregnant about four months after I left here.”  She grinned.  “It came as quite a surprise to both of us.”


“I knew that.  She’s too young. And she’s got Mark’s eyes.” Glen pointed out, not sure if he was relieved or disappointed. The thought had briefly crossed Glen’s mind, but he’d shaken it off.  “And that wasn’t what I was going to say.”




“I was going to tell you that I was happy for you if you were happy.  That’s all.  I guess I won’t have to kill Mark in his sleep.”


“That will be my job if it ever comes to that.” Christine gave his hand a squeeze and let him go. “How are you feeling now?”


“Better.” Glen said with a smile.  “Better still when Sammy gets back here and I can have a little soul talk with her.”


“I’ll bet. Soul talk my ass.” Christine shook her head.  “She’s a strong hunter.”


“A touch crazed,” He said wryly, heading toward the door.


“That’s not always a bad thing.  Especially considering who she’s dealing with.”


“Was that an insult?” Glen turned to eye her.  Christine was grinning.


“No, an observation from someone on the inside.  I might have to tell her that.”


“Don’t scare her away before I get a chance to sort my life out.” Glen said.


“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Christine watched him until Glen was out the door, a thoughtful look on her face.  She really did hope that talk would help.  She did not like seeing Glen unhappy and alone.  Samantha seemed to offer him something he hadn’t had in quite a while-a challenge. She hoped he was up to it.  Glen needed someone who would keep him on his toes.  Samantha seemed to be the perfect candidate.  Christine just hoped the two hard-headed people would be able to come to the same conclusion.




It was time to go.


Samantha still hadn’t shown up.  Glen hated to go out without her, but knew that they had very little time to set their plan in motion.


He’d called the camp the day before, offering to send the boys to a local amusement park.  The only catch was, they’d have to leave this afternoon to spend the night there, and have all day tomorrow to ride the roller coasters. The camp director had been shocked at the generosity.  The camp was geared to underprivileged teenagers. He jumped at the chance to treat them to a rare weekend at the park.

Mark chipped in, donating quite a bit of money to the camp. The only stipulation was that the boys and councilors had to be gone by six that evening.  The director had been agreeable.  Although he had never seen a fang or dog, he knew what business the brothers were in.  He assumed their use of the camp had something to do with their offer.  He was more than happy to take the kids away for the night.


Glen had instructed all of his hunters to meet at the camp by seven. That would give them almost two hours to refine their plan and set it into motion.  Mark and Christine were already there.  They’d left an hour before dawn so they could be at the camp when everyone else got there.  They was holed up in the camp’s small theater, the only building that was windowless.


Fallon and Randy would be staying at the house, keeping an eye on Lily and Jack.  Although they both wanted to join the fight, they knew that keeping the kids safe was a priority even over the danger their friends were in.


Glen stopped his truck close to the campground, parking at a small overlook at the lake.  If anyone saw his vehicle, they’d think there was someone fishing. That’s what this part of the lake was used for mostly.  He’d instructed his hunters to operate in the same manner.  No need alerting the fangs that they were there until they had to.


He walked into the camp proper, doing a mental count.  It seemed as if almost everyone were there. The theater was just barely big enough to hold them all.  He led the way to the small building, careful when he opened the door so not too much light spilled in.


One everyone was inside, he went over the plan again, Mark adding comments every now and then.  Glen felt rushed.  He hated having so little time to prepare, but would have to deal with it.  He had the best hunters in the world, in his humble opinion.  They would not let him down.


Forty-five minutes until sunset, Glen dismissed all the hunters, telling them to go to their hiding places.  They had decided to split equally into each of the four cabins.  The fangs expected to burst in on sleeping teenaged boys.  They were going to get a surprise.


“I’ll be out as soon as the sun is down.” Mark said, clapping his brother on the shoulder.  Glen smiled at him. 


“It’s been a long time since we’ve fought side by side.” His voice was wistful. 


“Just like old times, little brother.” Mark grinned at him.  Although he was a vampire, he was still a hunter at heart.  He was ready to go. 


“I just hope…” Glen had cracked open the door. He stopped, his eyes falling on a figure moving into the camp from the main road. He was careful to make sure Mark was not getting fried by sunlight as he squinted into the failing light.


“I do believe your girlfriend has finally arrived.”

Dave spoke from right beside the door, giving Glen a smirk.  “She’s not my girlfriend.” Glen said with a roll of his eyes. 


“I don’t blame ya a bit.”


Samantha was looking around, taking the place in.  She was dressed in a pair of black leather pants and a tank top of some stretchy material.  Her knife was lashed to her thigh.  She had a longer dagger tucked under her arm.  It took Glen a moment to notice that she was not alone.  There were dozens of men and women entering the camp behind her.

She made a beeline for the theater. Glen stepped out and closed the door, standing on the steps and watching the crowd come toward him.  Samantha smiled and came to a stop.


“I thought we could use some backup.” Was her simple statement.


Glen wanted to ask where she’d been, but held back.  From the looks of things, she’d kept herself busy.  He studied the crowd in front of him.  Hunters. He’d know that hyped up look anywhere.


“Which house do you come from?” He asked, aiming it at the man who stood next to Christine. He looked to be in his early fifties, his dark hair graying a bit at the temples.


“We’re with Samantha.  In Virginia.” He spoke, his voice a low rumble. Definitely the voice of authority. 

”You came all the way from Virginia to help us?” Glen asked, taken aback.

”No.  We came all the way from Virginia to help Sammy.”  The man corrected, to chuckles and nods from his group.  Glen smirked. 


“We’re glad to have you.” He said, sweeping an arm toward the cabins. “We’re hiding out until dark. When the fangs attack, we plan on getting the jump on them.  Now that you’re here, the numbers are a little more even.”


The man shared a look with Samantha before turning to his hunters.  “You heard him.  Get in the cabins. No sound until the fight starts.” The hunters dispersed, splitting up and heading in different directions.  The older man turned his attention once again to Glen.  “The fangs don’t know you’re here?”


“No.  They’ve been secretive.  They don’t think we can find out things about them.  This was actually Samantha’s idea.” Glen admitted, glancing at her again. 


“You could do worse than listening to Samantha. She has a knack for finding fangs.”


Dave stepped forward.  Samantha raised an eyebrow but did not say anything as he walked toward her.


“I was worried for awhile that we were in over our heads.” He said it to no one in particular.  Samantha sighed and put her hands on her hips, waiting.  “I thought you took off on us.”


“I would never.” Samantha said indignantly.


“I guess I can admit when I’m wrong.” Dave said indulging her. 


“Can you?” Her voice dripped with sarcasm. 


“I could even love you a little after this.” He gestured to the hunters that were retreating to the cabins.


“Cool.  When this is over we can pull a Romeo and Juliet.  Only after you take the sleeping potion, I’ll slip you the poison so you die and I live happily ever after.” Samantha grinned at him. Dave shook his head. 


“I take it back. I wasn’t wrong.” He eyed her.  “You’re still crazy.”


“Crazy is as crazy does.” She gestured.  “Don’t you have a rock to crawl under?”


“Smart mouth…” Dave muttered under his breath.  Glen stepped from the door to the theater, smiling a bit at the exchange between the two hunters.


“We’re ready.” He said softy.  Samantha nodded.  She looked from the older man standing next to her to Glen.


“This is Alexander.  He’s the head of our house.” She introduced the men. Glen nodded at him.


“We appreciate the extra hunters.  It does even out the odds a bit.”


“Believe me, it’s our pleasure.” Alexander adjusted his own knife against his thigh.  “Sammy tells me you have a couple of fangs working with you.”


“Yes.  My brother and his wife.” Glen admitted.  Alexander nodded.


“We’ll be careful of them.  Wouldn’t want anything to happen to your family.”


“Thank you.” Glen smiled.


“We also dropped a few guys off at the house with Randy and Fallon.  Just to be on the safe side.” Samantha spoke, although she did not look at him.


“You’ve thought of everything.”


“I hope so.  We don’t need any mistakes right now.” Samantha glanced at the sky.  It was starting to get dark.


“You never make mistakes, Sam.”  Alexander reached out and touched her shoulder.


Thanks, Pop.” She smiled at the man.

Glen just stared.  Pop? As in father? He looked from Samantha to Alexander, confused.

Samantha finally met his eyes.  “Yeah, he’s my dad.”


“Reading my mind again.” Glen said with a grin.


“Once again, just a lucky guess.” Samantha shook her head.


“We’d better get inside. Can’t make the sunset stop so we can verbalize.” Alexander said, sounding amused. He did not wait to see if they would follow. He turned and headed toward one of the cabins.


Glen and Samantha stared at each other.  “You are full of surprises.”


“It’s the only way to be.” She said, flippant. 


“We need to talk.  When this is over.” Glen said softly.


“Definitely.  When this is over.” She echoed him.  Samantha toyed with the handle of her knife.  “I guess you’re going to tell me I should have called and that I was irresponsible for disappearing.”


“Among other things, yes.” Glen said, moving to stand in front of her.  Samantha looked up at him.


“Well at least we won’t have to discuss that again, huh?” With that she smiled and spun on her heel, heading in the direction that Alexander had gone.  Glen stared after her, shaking his head.  He followed her lead, going back into the theater to wait with Mark and Christine until the fangs made their appearance.


Time seemed to drag.  Night fell.  The hunters had been instructed to turn lights on at dark.  At ten, they shut them off, signaling lights-out for the campers. Glen sat in darkness in the theater, barely able to make out Mark and Christine’s outlines.  They did not speak.  The fangs, if they were near, would be able to hear them.  And of course, Mark and Christine would hear the fangs coming, even through the thick walls of the building.


It was close to midnight when Mark rose to his feet. He signaled with one hand, motioning for them to rise.  Glen could hear nothing but his own heartbeat in his ears.  Mark cocked his head, listening.  Christine was imitating his pose, her head turning first one way, then another. 


Moving slowly in the dark, careful to remain silent, the three of them went toward the door.  Mark still had his hand up, conveying the need to be cautious. 

There was a shout from outside.  Glen did not need fang hearing to pick it up.  It sounded like a fang, yelling in alarm. All at once, Mark was rushing the door, Christine on his heels, her gun in her hand almost before she took the first step.

Glen followed behind.  Already he could hear the sounds of a major fight, hundreds of hunters and fangs yelling, screaming in pain, screeching.  There were a few lamps outside.  They cast a pallid yellow glow over everything, making it seem dreamlike.

Glen grabbed the first fang that crossed his path. He made easy work of him.  That hunter instinct had fallen over him, this time more welcome than before.  He became a machine that killed with gun and hand, a protector of all the people who would have been victims of these insane fangs.


The battle itself did not last long. Maybe thirty minutes.  Time itself seemed to have no meaning as the hunters fought back the fangs.  There were more than Glen’s rough estimate of two hundred.  They came in seemingly endless fashion from the surroundings.  For every one he killed, two more appeared to take its place.


Samantha had both knives in her hands.  She swung around, catching a sneaking fang in the neck with one razor-sharp blade.  He feel to his knees, hands reaching up to his throat, choking.  She grinned harshly and sized up her next target.  From the corner of her eye, she caught the flash of metal. Her father and his sword.  Alexander made this look easy as he swung the blade, skewering two of the fangs at one time.


A vampire jumped at her.  His fingers brushed against her arm.  With a laugh, Samantha put to use some of the moves she’d been teaching Jack in the basement over the past few days. Her knives flashed again and again, the silver-honed edge stained red with fang blood.


One of the fangs had a knife of his own.  They did not routinely use weapons, relying more on their strength to subdue opponents.  This one was different.  He sized Samantha up, switching the blade from hand to hand, circling her.


Samantha was ready for him.  When he charged, she turned, her own knife cutting through the dark with such speed it whistled as it sliced the air.  The vampire lunged, sinking his blade into her stomach even as he fell dead to the ground.


With a cry of pain, Samantha yanked the blade from her skin and threw it on the ground.  Without missing a beat, she turned to find her next target, her eyes flashing wildly in the weak overhead light.


Glen saw Samantha take the knife in her stomach and tried to get to her.  The fangs kept coming, getting in his way, making him stop every two feet to dispatch another one.  He watched in horror as she yanked the knife from her belly and threw it angrily to the ground.  She rejoined the battle as if it had been nothing more than a minor annoyance.

He was almost relieved, but knew she would need assistance after taking a six-inch blade to the gut.  She was probably just running on adrenaline at that time, not feeling the pain of what could be a mortal wound.


Something else was happening that grabbed his attention.  Mark was surrounded by fangs, at least five of them, it was hard to tell from Glen’s vantage point.  Mark looked grim as he fended them off, throwing his gun aside favor of bare hands.


One of the vampires had a gun.  He aimed at Mark’s head, the hammer cocked back, trying to get a clear shot as the big man wrestled with two fangs.  One of them fell, his throat crushed.  The gunman took his shot. He aimed for Mark’s head, meaning to stop the man with one shot.


He did not see Christine coming at him.  Just as he pulled the trigger, she threw her weight into him, jarring his arm. The bullet entered Mark’s shoulder, knocking him backward at the impact.  Mark fell to one knee, the fang he’d been fighting still struggling to get his throat out of Mark’s hand.


Christine saw her husband go down and suddenly the world went red.  Glen watched as she snapped, furiously lashing out at any fang that dared enter a ten foot radius around her and Mark.


Hunters were falling.  But more fangs were accounted in the death toll. The rush of vampires slowed. Glen thought they were finally all on the field.  All except for one, the one they called ‘Father’.  He would not lower himself to feed with his followers. He would seek out his own.  Frustrated, Glen killed another fang.  Then another. 


The howling did not surprise him as much this time.  The sound of a thousand wolves baying at the night stars sent a chill down his spine.  The fangs were looking around, some forgetting that they were in the middle of a fight. The hunters took advantage of the lapse in their concentration.


A few of them escaped.  That was the only thing Glen knew for sure.  Wolves were pouring into the campground, chasing off the fangs who had managed to survive.  Samantha watched them retreat, her hand pressed against her stomach, her skin stained with blood at her wound.


The air was suddenly deathly still, silent.  The hunters looked at each other, grinning at their triumph.  There were a few cheers and high fives, some hugs, many claps on the back.  They had done it.  They had stopped the gorge from happening.

Glen rallied his hunters, herding them toward the theater again.  He gave Dave a meaningful look.  Dave nodded and walked through the campground, estimating a body count. 


Concerned with little else but Samantha’s injury, Glen finally managed to reach her.  She was still standing where she’d been when the fangs had left, her hand still pressed against her belly.  She yawned tiredly.


“Usually a hunter is too pumped after a fight to take a nap.” He said, stopping in front of her.


“Yeah? Not me.  I could sleep for a day.” She grimaced.  Glen worriedly looked at her stomach.

”Let me take a look.”


“No. It’s fine. It’s nothing, really.”


“It’s not nothing.  I saw you take the knife, Sammy.  Let’s see the damage and get you fixed up.” Glen reached out and grabbed her hand, pulling it from her stomach. With his other, he lifted her shirt, ignoring her token protest.

His eyes widened.  On her smooth skin, where there should have been a gaping hole, a jagged slash, there was nothing.  A little blood.  That was it. “What the fuck?”


“I told you, it was nothing.” She said wryly.  Glen was having none of her smart mouth.


“I saw him stab you Sammy.  I saw the knife go in, I saw you pull it out.  I want you to explain to me why there’s no wound.  And I want you to explain it to me right now.”




Mark needed to feed.


The bullet had entered and exited his shoulder cleanly, but it was healing very slowly.  He had not fed before the battle, and was angry with himself for not thinking of it.

For a wonder, there was no shortage of hunters volunteering to be his donor. Mark did not want to feed from someone he knew.  One of Alexander’s hunters came forward, a smile on her face.  She said she didn’t care as long as he didn’t turn her or drain her.  Mark was careful not to do either.


Dave came back with news.  Twelve of his hunters dead.  Sixteen wounded.  And the fang death toll was well over one hundred.  Close to one-fifty by Dave’s estimation. They had almost wiped out ‘Father’s’ entire following.


The surviving, wounded hunters were put on red alert for the night.  There was no telling if the fangs had a back up plan in case this one failed.  Glen told them go into town, to stay vigilant all night, and keep watch on the activity that went on. Alexander’s hunters offered help.  Glen gladly accepted it.


He piled into his truck with Christine and Mark, and headed for home.  Samantha still had questions to answer, damn it, and he was going to get them. When he’d confronted her at the camp, she’d sighed and told him to wait until they were at the house.  She’d explain everything then.


Glen was not going to let her back out of it, either.  There were too many questions involving her.  He’d done as she asked, he’d had his talk with Christine.  Now it was her turn. 


They gathered in the conference room. Christine sat beside Mark, still concerned at how pale he looked.  He was ignoring that concern for the most part.  It was not a fatal shot, he’d be fine once the blood he’d drank had kicked in.  Dave was at the end of the table.  He’d refused to be left out of what he called Samantha’s fairy tale.


Samantha herself had brought Alexander in with her.  Glen did not mind.  He might be able to answer questions too.  Once everyone was settled, Glen looked expectantly at Samantha.  She sighed and looked to Mark.


“You don’t remember me, do you?” She asked, surprising him.


“Should I?” Mark asked, confused.


“I don’t know. It was a long time ago.” She sighed again and looked to her father.  “Twenty two years to be exact.”


‘Wait…” Mark’s eyes widened.  “The nest. That ritual.”


“You got it.” Glen’s expression mirrored Mark’s astonished gaze.  Everyone else just looked lost.  “Let me explain.  This fang, ‘Father’, has tried this before.  He got all the way to the final stage.  The sacrifice of the vampire-born girl child. That kid was me.”


Glen turned his eyes to Alexander.  “You’re a fang?”


“Was a fang.” Alexander said cryptically.  Now it was his turn to draw confused looks.


“I will say…you kind of inspired me to become a hunter.” Samantha continued as if she had not been interrupted.  “I thought I was going to die, and I get saved by angels.  When I was little, that’s what I thought.  You were angels.”


“Trust me, we weren’t heaven sent.” Mark said wryly.


“To a ten year old, yeah, you were.” She paused for a moment.  “So after that, Dad and I went into hiding.  It was easy.  Assume new names.  Kind of rough for a while, after Mom died.” She saw the looks.  “Part of the ritual is the killing of the mother of the child.  The kid has to drink her blood you see, but can’t drink it from her living body.”


“It’s hard to explain.” Alexander said with a nod.


“I’ll get to it.”  Samantha took a sip from a glass of water that was sitting in front of her. “Anyway.  Until I was about eight, I had a lot of fang traits.  I hated sleeping at night.  Sunlight burned me. I had an aversion to most regular foods.” She shrugged. “I learned that as a child of vamps I also had this weird…gift? I don’t even know what to call it.”


“You don’t have to name it, just tell us what it is.” Glen urged.


“Ok.  I went out of the house one day, in the sunlight.  Got burned pretty bad.  Thought for a while I was dying.  Then it just healed up.  A few weeks later, being a slow-learning kid, I decided to try again.”  She paused and smiled ruefully.  “I was nine.  A year before I almost got gutted.”  She glanced at her father again.  He nodded, encouraging her to continue.  “The second time I didn’t burn.  I didn’t even feel hot. It was Spring. Warm but not sweltering.  I went out and played in the yard for hours.  I pretty much forgot about the burning as soon as I went out without it happening.”


“Lily…” Christine said in a low voice. She was looking at Samantha thoughtfully.

Samantha looked at her. “I already guessed she’d been burned once.  I knew it wouldn’t hurt her to go out.” She shrugged. “Sorry if it scared you, but Lil’s not like you, as in the same way that I’m not like you.”


She went on. “I didn’t need to feed.  I had fangs that I learned to sprout on command.  It was great for freaking out the neighborhood kids.” This got a general chuckle.  “At any rate…I’ve learned over the years that once something happens to me, that same thing does not effect me.  Sunlight, for one. I’ve been shot, stabbed, bitten by fangs and dogs.  Once my body rejects the bad, I’m immune to it. Although I have not experimented with taking a bullet to the head.  That seems a bit extreme, even for me.”


“So the knife in the stomach tonight…” Glen didn’t need to finish.  Samantha was smiling at bit.


“I’ve been cut worse.  It takes a minute for the wound to close, which explains the blood.  But I started healing as soon as I pulled the knife out.”


“And you mean our Lily is going to be the same way?” Mark asked, sitting up straighter in his chair. 


“Most likely.  It seems that way.” Samantha shared a glance with Alexander.  “There’s something else…”


“What else could there possibly be?” Dave said with a harsh bark of laughter.


“Plenty.” She grinned.  “As a…well…hybrid, for lack of a better word…and because I have fangs…I do need to feed on occasion.”


Glen closed his eyes, not wanting to hear this. He could not stop her though.


“So you go out and hunt helpless humans like the rest of them? Sorry, Taker, but that’s the truth of it.” Dave said, glaring at Samantha.

She laughed.  “Calm yourself, bud.  You’re neck is safe.  I don’t feed on humans.”


“What the hell do you drink? Cow blood?” Dave asked, his sarcasm lost on Samantha.  She was smiling serenely.


“No.  As gross as it sounds, I do have a predilection for fang blood.  That’s where I go when I disappear for a couple of hours.  I have to find a vampire and take a taste.”

Christine laughed. “I guess that would explain the crazy strength.”


“It does take some power to hold a fang down, especially since they don’t take so well to the tables being turned.” Samantha admitted with a smile.  “It’s different for fang mates, though.  They feed off each other and hardly ever have to go after a human.  If the bond is deep enough, that is.  It’s chemical, and hard as hell to understand.”

Glen saw Mark and Christine exchange a look at that.  His eyes drifted back to Samantha.  “So…”


“So?” She asked, meeting his gaze.


“The wolves?” For lack of knowing what else to ask, he chose to go with the original mystery.  “Why are they helping us?”


“Because…” Samantha shrugged. “Hell, in for a penny, in for a pound right? Victor is my uncle.  My Mom’s brother.  He turned dog the same time she turned fang.”


“You have one fucked up family.” Dave said without venom.  Samantha smiled at him.


“Tell it to somebody who hasn’t lived it.” She looked around the table.  “Anything else?”


“I only have about a million questions…”Glen muttered.


“Me too.” Christine agreed.  Although hers were all Lily-related.  It was a great relief to know she really was not alone, that there had been another child before Lily to have her strange characteristics.


“Ask away.  We only have all night.” Samantha said serenely.


“I don’t even know where to start…” Mark said with a laugh.


“I do. You said that Alexander used to be a vampire. How is it that he’s not anymore?” Glen asked, gathering his thoughts.


“Oh.  That.  Well…” Samantha laughed.  “You know how a vampire turns a human?”


There were nods.  The vamp first had to want to turn them.  That wanting released something in their saliva that infected the human.  The human was drained until near death.  The virus would run rampant, mutating the blood that was recreated over the next several hours.  Then it would increase, and increase, until the human for all intents and purposes died, and the vampire was born.


“Well, I can do the opposite of that.  I can turn a vampire human if I want to.”


Dave laughed.  “Humanity is a virus.  Now I know you’re crazy.”


“Am I?” Samantha stared down her nose at him.  “Dad here was feeding every night, starting to go a little stir crazy with Mom gone.  I had to do something.  And then it occurred to me.  If a vampire wanted to turn a human fang, then I could do the same thing only backward.  Since just about everything I did at that point seemed backward to me.”


“It explains the fangs…” Christine said thoughtfully.


“Oh yeah.  I still have those.” Samantha opened her mouth.  Her canines were stretching, making themselves needle-like and sharp.  She grinned.  Nishe twick huh? Eh shtill fwreaks peeble out.” She shook her head.  The fangs retreated.  “Freaks people out. I never got the hang of talking while they were long.”


There were chuckles.  “So you’re saying you could grab Taker, bite his neck, and make him go un-fang?” Dave asked, still in a state of disbelief. 


“If I wanted to.  Sure.” She shrugged. 


“It wasn’t the same as being made as a fang.” Alexander spoke up from his seat.  He smiled warmly at his daughter.  “I just remember coming home one night, pissed off because something with my feed had gone wrong.  Sam got tired of hearing me bitch. She told me to get over it.  I saw red, tried to attack her.” He shared another look with his daughter, both of them seeming to find it funny.  “I thought it would be easy, you know.  She was just a kid, fifteen years old.  I wanted to kill her.  Then she grabbed me, almost broke my back and sank her teeth into my neck.” He chuckled again.  “I remember laying there, not believing it.  I couldn’t move…” He glanced at the people around the table. “Have any of you heard stories about near-death experiences?”


There were nods all around.  “That’s what it was like.  A few hours after she bit me, I felt like I was bathed in warm, white light.  My whole body was tingling, like I’d fallen asleep and gotten in a weird position.  But it felt so good…and then it felt that way for real, as if I were waking up from a long terrible dream…”


“It’s not all terrible…” Mark said softly.


“No, it wasn’t.” He smiled, thinking of his wife, dead for well over twenty years. 


“Anyway…” Samantha broke into her father’s trip down memory lane.  “There is yet something else.”


“What could it be now? You can fly?” Dave said, intrigued in spite of himself.


“No. Can you? We can toss you off the roof, see if you land straight.” She tousled his short hair.  Dave ducked away from her, grumbling.  “Once I bite a vampire and turn him human, he’s immune to the fangs.  They can bite him all day and he won’t turn.” Once again interpreting their disbelief, the pointed at Alexander. “Trust me, it a theory we tested a couple of times.  Against my better judgement.”


“As you can tell, I’m still defanged.” Alexander said with humor.

They were all quiet for a few minutes, taking in everything they’d been told.  Glen finally spoke. “So what does this do for us in the situation we’re in now?”


“I have no idea. You said you wanted answers.  I gave them to you.” Samantha said with a shrug.


“I suppose you did…” Glen said, feeling a bit numb from information overload.  Samantha had one more thing to add.


“They’re going to try again.” She said, quiet surety in her voice.


“We killed too many of them.  I think they’re done.” Dave said.


“No.  He only needs three for this thing to work. The book says so. This ‘Father’ person just feels safer hiding behind two hundred fangs.  The book also says that if the first moon fails, then the next moon won’t.  And I have paraphrased that because I hate to talk in rhyme.”


“What’s it going to take to get rid of this guy?” Mark said with a frown.


Samantha grinned. “I have a pretty good idea.” She held up a hand.  “But that’s for later.  We all need some rest.  I suggest we get it while we can.  Plus I need to think for a while, and I can’t do that right now. I’m tired from healing.  It kinda takes some of the punch out of me.  I suppose tomorrow night we can talk more, if need be.  That should be time to get some last information that I need.”  She sighed as she finished talking. She really did look tired.


“Ok.  Let’s all get some rest while the hunters are safeguarding the house.” Glen held up a hand to stop Dave’s argument.  “You can either go on patrol or go home and crash.  It doesn’t matter which one.  Just get back here at eight tonight.  Tell Randy and Fallon, too.  I’ll call Rick later on.” Rick was out on patrol.  He would be unreachable for a few hours yet.


“All right, boss…” Dave rose from his seat and left the room.  Mark and Christine followed, wanting to get Lily and spend a little time with her before bed.


“You want to stay here?” Samantha asked her dad, for the moment ignoring Glen.


“I can’t sweetie.  I have to get my guys together for a head count.” Alexander looked at Glen.  “We’ll keep up a secondary patrol, just in case.  I don’t think it’s going to be necessary tonight though.”


“Me either.” Glen stood.  “You are more than welcome to stay, Alexander.”


“I appreciate the offer. I have some things to attend to, though.  I’ll stop by in the morning sometime.  Good night.” Alexander kissed Samantha on the cheek and left the room.


Glen moved until he was standing in front of Samantha. He reached out and rested his hands on her shoulders, looking down into her eyes.  “Do you think you can give me five more minutes? To talk?”

”I’ll be more than happy to talk to you after I’ve had some sleep.  Those fangs aren’t going to do anything else tonight.  Might as well…” Samantha didn’t get to finish.


“Not about work. About…us.”


“There’s an us?” Samantha said with a smile.


“There could be. I feel like there could be.  Hell, I don’t know.  I suck at relationships.”


“You were married.” Samantha reminded him.


“Yeah, but that was a long time ago. I’m rusty at this.” He leaned down and kissed her gently on the lips.  Samantha was too stunned to respond. “Five minutes?”


“You kiss me again, I’ll make it ten…” Samantha said with a smile. She led him out of the room and up the stairs.




“Where are you going?”


Samantha turned to look at him.  “I want to take a shower.” She gestured to her clothes.  Dried blood covered her down the right side.  “It’s kind of gross.”

Glen smiled.  “You’re not going to dodge me.”


“Heavens no.  I just want some clean clothes. And maybe make myself not so damn red.”  She plucked at her shirt.  It was sticking to her stomach.


“All right. I need to find Jack anyway, make sure he knows I’m all right.” Glen huffed a sigh. “Don’t go passing out on me.”


“I wouldn’t dream of it.” With a grin Samantha turned and went into her room.  Glen shook his head and went back downstairs.  Jack was in the basement, listening in as Mark read to Lily.  The little girl was in her father’s lap, looking content and perfectly happy.  Christine was sitting next to Jack, arm slung over his shoulder.


“Hey Dad.” Jack greeted him. They all glanced at him.


“After the overload from upstairs, we decided to simplify with a story book.” Christine said with a laugh. 


“Excuse me.  You aren’t done reading.” Lily brought Mark’s attention back to the book.  There was a definite hint of Christine’s attitude in her voice.  It made Glen chuckle.


“Must be a good story.” Dave’s voice came from behind Glen. 


“I thought you were gone.” Glen said softly, not wanting to interrupt Lily’s story again.


“I was. Fallon and I decided that Jack probably needs a diversion.  I was going to see if he wanted to come to my house tonight.” Dave shrugged.  “Fallon went out and rented some video games.  I thought Jack might be interested.” He smirked at Glen.  “Besides, I thought you might want some alone time with that woman.”


“That woman does have a name.” Glen said with a smile. Dave shrugged.  “You know, she never really did anything to you, Dave.  I don’t understand why you don’t like her.”


“Who said I didn’t like her?” Dave raised an eyebrow at Glen’s amused look.  “Jack!”


Jack turned to Dave, a smile on his face.  “He’s just getting to the good part.” Lily was frustrated at yet another interruption, but held her tongue. 


“Well when the good part is over, meet me upstairs.  We’re gonna have a guy night.”


“Really?” Jack stood up.  Lily started wiggling on Mark’s lap, wanting to follow her cousin.  Mark shushed her, hugging her to calm her down.


“I wanna go with Jack!” She said, her voice raised.

”Lil.  He’s going to Dave’s house.  You get to spend some good time with your Momma and Dad.” Mark’s voice was low. 


Lily heaved a put-upon sigh and scowled darkly.  Christine laughed and shook her head.  “Lily, quit pouting.  You get your way almost all the time.  Right now, I’m getting MY way.  You’re staying here.  Maybe next time, if you behave, you can go out somewhere with Jack.”


“Fine!” Lily threw up her little hands and then crossed her arms over her chest.


“Maybe I should stay here.” Jack offered, keeping his voice to a whisper.  Glen could tell he really didn’t want to.  The thought of having a guy night, especially with Dave, was much too tempting.  Jack thought his Uncle Dave was the shit.


“Just go, Jack.  Have a good time. Don’t worry about Lily, there’ll be plenty to keep her busy.” Christine spoke from her seat again.  She had heard Jack’s offer and was touched, but wasn’t too worried about Lily’s pouting.


Glen hugged his son and watched Dave lead him away.  They promised to be back before dark the next night.  He worried for a moment about letting Jack go outside, especially after what happened.  And it was three in the morning.  Still plenty of night for vampires to go exploring.

He shook it off.  Dave would die before he’d let some fang get his hands on Jack.  Glen took comfort in that.  He announced he was going to bed.  Mark was reading to Lily again, his voice had resumed the warm deep tone he got when he spoke to her.  Christine smiled knowingly at Glen, making him blush.

Glen went back up the stairs, looking down at himself.  He could use a shower himself.  He had not realized how much blood had splattered his shirt.  Or that he had mud all up one leg.  He did not remember how that happened. 


It had been such a long night.  With a sigh he went into his room and tugged his clothes off, throwing them in the floor.  The fight from just hours before seemed to be a lifetime past.  He was tired and bone-deep weary.


He stood in water as hot as he could handle, letting it pound against his skin. He did not try to wash off just yet.  It felt too good to have the hot water splashing against his aching muscles.


Soft hands stroked his back.  Glen jumped at he contact, then relaxed when Samantha laughed. “You act like you’ve had a rough night. Try getting stabbed, then come complainin’.” She picked up the soap and lathered her hands up.  Glen sucked in a breath when she reached out and began rubbing his back with her slippery hands. 


“I thought you were in your own shower.” Glen said, smiling a little as her hands continued moving across his skin.


“I was.  Decided to save water and join you. That is, if you don’t mind.” Her hands slid down his sides, his hips. 


“Yeah, I mind.  Get lost.”

Samantha laughed.  “He’s got jokes.”


“You keep soaping me up, I’m gonna have something else.” Glen stated, his voice a low rumble.


“I’m always interested in something else…” Samantha said with another laugh.  She stepped into him, pressing her chest against his back.  Glen sucked in a breath at the feel of her sliding against him. Her hands moved, coming around his stomach.  Glen held himself still as she continued the slow torture with her hands.  She stopped occasionally to add more soap.  He turned in her arms, facing her, staring at her with passion clouded eyes.


Samantha took him in her hand.  Then her mouth.  Then her body on the floor of his shower.  Glen did not want to waste time going into the bedroom. He wanted her now, here, under the spray of water that fell against their heated skin.


Eventually the water sprayed cold.  Glen took Samantha into his bed, and then he took her again, not caring that the sheets were soaked with water from their shower.  She encouraged him, murmuring his name in the dark, riding him until he thought he would die from the sensations he was feeling.


Finally sated when the sun began climbing the horizon, Samantha helped Glen put dry sheets on his bed. They crawled in together and fell asleep in each other’s arms. 


Glen woke sometime later, once again confused by the darkness of the room.  He reached for Samantha in the dark, frowning at the empty space that his fingers touched.  The bathroom door opened, he heard it and sighed in relief.

”Sorry.  I didn’t mean to wake you up.” Samantha’s voice was a whisper as she rejoined him in the bed.  She snuggled against him.


“It’s all right.  What time is it?” Glen mumbled, nuzzling her hair.


“Mmm…A little after noon.”  She kissed his chest, making him draw in a shuddering breath.


Glen chuckled at his reaction. “And to think, I was just going to lecture you.”


Samantha slapped her hand against his stomach, not hard enough to hurt.  Glen was still laughing.  “I don’t do well with lectures…I’m more of a hands on person.” She proved it, taking him into her hand and giving him a playful squeeze.


Glen sucked in a breath. “Too bad we can’t stay in here forever.” He said it softly, rolling onto his side and pulling her against him. 


“We do have the rest of today, at least.” Samantha hugged him.  “Reality unfortunately has a way of butting its ugly head into every good situation.”


“Tell me about it.” He slid his hands over the bare skin of her back, reveling in her warmth.   “What’s next?”


“Hmm…” Samantha snuggled closer to him.  Her hand rested lightly on his hip.  “Those fangs are going to try to get retribution.  If he got at least three of his guys to gorge, then his plan is still on.” Glen felt her shrug.  “He’ll want to take care of us before they go to the next step.  Hard to make an army of kids when you only have a handful of fangs underneath you. Luckily for us, I know how to find them before they find us.”


“That’s good to know.  But I meant, what’s next with me and you?” Glen poked her in the side.  Samantha laughed.


“Well, first we live through this fang stuff.  Then we go from there.  Do you have a better plan?”


“I’d just make one slight improvement on yours…” Glen murmured, ducking his head and kissing her lips.  His hands stopped their slow exploration of her body and got down to serious business. 


“I can definitely see how we’d need to add this in…” Samantha said with a moan as he began making love to her again.  All coherent thought was lost in the pitch black room as they started all over again.




Glen was starting to consider this is his regular group.


At the fall of night, he and Samantha had joined Mark, Christine, Dave and Rick in the conference room.  Fallon and Randy were out taking care of the kids while the adults talked.  As the youngest hunters, they needed a break from all that had happened so they didn’t burn out.


“I just don’t understand how we’re going to stop ‘em.  Hell, even turnin’ one kid is turnin’ one too many.” Rick was saying when Samantha came into the room.


“Even had to hunt one?” She asked, drawing notice to her entrance.  “It sucks.  And that’s putting it mildly.”


“Miss Sam.  I just wanted to let ya know how impressed I was with you last night.” Rick nodded in her direction.  He knew when to give credit when it was due.  If it hadn’t been for Alexander and Samantha, Glen’s hunters would have been too far outnumbered.


“Don’t mention it, big guy.  I’m just doing my job.” She carried with her a small wooden box.  Samantha took her seat between Dave and Rick, across the table from Mark and Christine.  Glen lounged in his chair at the head of the table, watching her, amused.


“Too bad we can’t hand you a pink slip.” Dave muttered, scooting his chair away from her.  Samantha flashed him a grin, her eyes dancing merrily.


“I don’t think you’ll wanna fire me just yet, sunshine.”


“Oh? And why not?” Dave looked at her, not needing to speak the challenge in his eyes.  He wanted her to wow him by showing them the way out of this mess.  Samantha knew she had the means to do it.


“Just because I said so.” She opened the box and plucked out a small object.  “I think Christine may find this to be especially interesting.” She tossed the glittering object across the table.  Christine was not ready for the throw, nevertheless she plucked the trinket from the air with lazy grace.


“Nice ring.  Looks fake though.  Gaudy ass ruby.” Christine muttered, turning it in her hands.  Mark was watching on, a smile of amusement on his face.  Glen had an idea he knew where this was going.  Although he did not know how Samantha could know that Christine was a seeker.  She could hunt down things just by seeing a picture of them.


“What do you expect? You fangs like your flashy shit.” Samantha said.  The two women gazed at each other, each one smiling.


“I don’t have any flashy shit. Okay, except for this…” Christine waved her hand in the air.  Her wedding band twinkled in the light.  “What am I supposed to do with this? I’m not going to wear it. Just holding it is making me feel queasy.”


“I want you to find the guy who handed it to the guy we took it from.” Samantha stated, keeping it simple.


“How am I supposed to do that?” But her eyes were riveted to the ring.  Samantha shared a look with Glen.


“We’re going to follow you wherever you go.  You’re going to seek the owner of this ring.  That’s going to find our nest.  Then we go in to wipe them out for good. My Dad is waiting in town with his hunters.  Everyone is ready for the final showdown.  Let’s get this shit over with and go back to our semi-normal lives.”


“They won’t be expecting us tonight.  Hell, this ‘Father’ guy thinks he’s still one up on us, even after last night.  I say it’s a damn good idea.” Dave spoke up, shocking everyone by siding with Samantha without an argument.


“Me too.” Rick added his opinion, looking thoughtfully at Christine.  The others might as well have not been in the room. She was still staring at the ring, a look of distaste on her features.


“I’ll call the hunters in.  We can roll in an hour.” Glen rose to his feet.  “Although you could have given us a heads up earlier.” He rolled his eyes at Samantha. 


“I enjoy the element of surprise. It keeps you people on your toes.  Besides…I wasn’t sure until I threw the ring at Chris.” Samantha shrugged.  “I’ll need to call Dad, tell him what’s going on. Keep an eye on her.” She pointed at Christine and spoke to no one in particular.


Mark watched as Christine started moving her lips. No words came out.  She was concentrating solely on the ring, nothing else was getting through.  She suddenly rose to her feet.  Her eyes met his briefly and she smiled a bit.


“I have to go outside.” She said, waiting for him to join in.  Followed by Dave and Rick, they made their way to the porch.

She was quiet for a few minutes, looking from the ring to the night sky.  “They’re close.  A hell of a lot closer than they should be.”


“Moving to attack?” Mark asked softly, hand going protectively around her shoulders.


“No.  They’re in the lair.” She laughed. It was a scary sound in the darkness.  “Only thirty of them.  Compared to what they had before, that seems extremely manageable.”


“Oh, it’s definitely manageable.” Dave said, cracking his knuckles.  “We need to grab our stuff.  Keep her on the porch, will ya?” He said it to Mark.  Mark nodded absently.


Glen soon joined them on the porch.  “They’re on the way.  I’m keeping about ten or so here at the house to watch just in case.”


“Dad’s sending some guys over too.” Samantha spoke from the door, making all three of them jump.  “Time to switch to decaf.  Jeez, you people are jumpy.”


“Are they ready?” Glen asked with a smile.  Samantha met his eyes, her gaze softening in his direction.


“They’re always ready.” She shrugged.  “I just think…”


“The leader isn’t with them.” 

Christine’s voice had taken on a faraway, dreamy tone.  The others looked at her, waiting for more. 


“He left.  He needs to feed.  He has an idea, I don’t know what, but it’s not a good one…”


“Can you see who he is?” Glen asked, more than a bit curious to know what this mysterious ‘Father’ looked like. 


Christine was shaking her head.  “It’s too blurry.  Like looking at things through fog.” She suddenly looked at Mark.  “We shouldn’t leave the house.”


“Why not, baby?” He kept his tone soothing.  Christine seemed to be overtly troubled.

”I don’t know.  I just get a feeling…”


“Mark can stay if you want him to.” Samantha touched Christine’s shoulder. “We’ll need you to help find this nest.”


Christine looked comforted by the thought that Mark would stay behind.  “The kids, you have to watch the kids every second.  That’s what I’m getting.  This guy means to take one of them.  He has no idea that we know, that we’re coming.  He’s pretty confident that we think we’ve already won.”


“I’d sooner die than let him touch Lily or Jack.” Mark said, voice deceptively calm.


“That’s what I’m afraid of.” Christine touched his cheek.  Mark smiled down at her. 


“We’ll be fine.  I’ve gone up against him before.  And I’ll have a couple dozen hunters here.  It should be more than enough to deal with this guy on his own.”


“I hope so.” Christine studied him for a moment longer, then stood on tiptoe and kissed Mark gently.  Glen and Samantha looked at each other, flashing knowing smiles.

There were sounds from the road.  Two cars were pulling in. “That’s our crew.” Glen said, waving.  “We’ll have to brief them on the way.  We need to move, to wipe out this nest before they cause more trouble.”


“What about Jack?” Samantha asked, following Glen toward the cars.


“Randy and Fallon are staying.  I’d trust them with my life.  And Jack’s.  Mark will be here too.  He won’t let anything happen to my boy.” Glen knew it was true. 


“Good.  I don’t want you worrying and getting distracted.” Samantha took his hand pulling him to a stop.  “They’re still dangerous.  They’ve gorged, the few that are left.  They’re crazy.  We can’t go into this thing thinking it’s going to be easy.”


“I’m not.” Glen said, ducking his head.  It was true, for a minute there he had been thinking it would be ridiculously easy.  It was a good thing Samantha reminded him of the danger.  “I just want to be done with this.”


“Me too.” She touched his arm and offered an encouraging smile.  Glen smiled back and went to greet his hunters as they piled from the cars.




Christine led them in a roundabout way, telling Glen to make random lefts and rights, the ring still clutched in her hand. She said it was hard to get a bead on the leader, he was focused on Glen’s house, and he would be there shortly.  He was alone as far as she could tell.  And he was very angry. She tried to ignore the pull back to the hunter house and concentrate on the lair of the fangs.


Glen was driving through town for the third time when Christine had him stop. She climbed out and stood by the truck, looking around.


“It’s here.  Somewhere.” She sounded frustrated. 


“Don’t worry, we’ll find it.” Samantha was unusually serious.  She carried her knife, once again strapped to her leg.  Glen had tried to talk her into taking a gun but she’d looked at him as if he’d lost his mind.


“It’s huge, wherever it is.” Christine’s voice still had that faraway, dreamy quality.  It was eerie sounding in the darkness.


“Forget about the leader.  Try to picture an alter.” Samantha said softly.  Alexander joined them, having climbed from his own car that had been following behind Glen.  He put a protective arm around his daughter.


An alter?” Christine met Samantha’s eyes, a frown of confusion on her face.


“Yeah.  He’d have it set up already.  Getting ready for the final ritual.  It’ll be stone, dark stone, almost black.  There’s going to be a lot of candles.  And knives.  Lots of knives close at hand.”

Glen knew Samantha hadn’t gotten that from any book the fangs coveted.  She’d seen it herself, had almost been a victim of the insane ritual. He had an urge to wrap protectively around her himself.


An alter…” This time Christine’s voice was contemplative. She turned a slow circle then stopped and pointed to the north.  “There.  A warehouse.  Nothing upstairs, it’s empty, they closed it down. But the basement…” A shudder went through her. “They take their victims there.  They don’t bother cleaning up.”


Glen was gazing in the direction that Christine pointed them in.  In the distance was the stark outline of a huge building.  He felt a cold chill trying to work its way down his back.  The fangs were brave, crazy brave, to have their nest so close to a hunter’s house.  Either brave or amazingly stupid.  He chose to believe the latter.


Glen motioned to the rest of the cars that had followed.  Altogether they had fifty, a decent number for the work they were going to do.  Alexander had told most of his hunters to spread throughout the town, just to be on the safe side.  Ten of them had stayed behind at the house.


Dave strolled up to them, hand idly swinging his gun.  “Got it?”


“I think so.” Christine said softly.


“She knows so.” Glen gave her shoulder a squeeze.  “Are you ready for this?”


“To protect Lily? Yeah.  I’m ready to kill the fuckers.”


The men laughed.  Samantha seemed not to hear.  She was staring at the vague shape of the building, a look that Glen could not define on her face.


“All right. Let’s go.”  He raised his voice.  “Total wipe out. Don’t let one damn fang get outta there alive.  We’re going to torch the place when we’re done.”


This came as a surprise, but no one argued.  If they burned the lair down, the leader would not have anywhere to hide when day broke.  It might make him more dangerous. It also might make him more prone to a rushed mistake they could capitalize on.


A couple of Alexander’s men stepped forward. They had torched more than a couple of fang dens in their time.  They would be the ones setting the building alight, waiting until the battle was underway before throwing the first match. Glen was also hoping the confusion of the fire would work to their advantage and make this job easier.


He gave Samantha another look. She grinned at him and unsheathed her knife.  It twirled in the darkness.  “Are you ready for this?”


“The fight or you?” Dave asked, his eyebrow up. 

“Oh, you.” Her voice was mocking.  Glen was happy to see her lose the seriousness that had settled on her.  It had him worried for a while.


“Oh, me is right.” Dave shook his head.  “If we survive this I wanna show you how to really use those knives you have.”


“Yes, great and powerful Master.  I wait with bated breath.” Samantha gave a little bow.  “Don’t make me bite you.  It won’t turn you but it would hurt like a bitch.” She looked back to Glen.  “So are we going or what?”


“We’re going…” Glen smirked and led his group in the direction of the warehouse that loomed in the darkness.




Mark herded the kids, Randy and Fallon into the basement.  The kids were protesting. Usually this was the time of night when they got to watch a movie.  Lily especially was angry at her routine being disturbed.


“Come on, Lil.  You can watch it later.” Jack was trying to help Mark make her understand. Lily was having none of it.  Big tears spilled from her eyes.  It took Mark a moment to realize it wasn’t the television that was bothering her.  She was scared and she didn’t know why.  She was on the verge of a freak-out.


Mark took her into his lap.  He motioned Jack to sit close too.  “Lil…I wanna tell you something.  Just for tonight.  There are some bad people, some vampires like me and your Mom, who are trying to hurt you and Jack.  We’re not going to let it happen.  So I need you to stay here and protect Randy and Fallon.  I’m going to do my best to make sure no one gets in here that isn’t supposed to be here, but you have to be ready.  You got it?”


“Yes, Daddy.” Lily’s green eyes were wide.  “Is Momma all right?”


The tone of her voice was enough to break Mark’s heart.  “She’s fine.  Your Uncle Glen is taking care of her right now.  He won’t let anything happen to her.”


“Good.” Lily blinked tears back, trying to be brave.  “Do you want me to hurt them if they get in?”


Mark laughed.  “Honey, hopefully it won’t come to that.  I’d prefer it if you would let Randy and Fallon handle it.  You hide. Protect Jack.”


“Hey…I don’t need a girl to watch out for me.” Jack protested.  Lily looked at him, frowning.


“And Jack is going to protect you,” Mark stated before the kids could get into an argument.  This seemed to satisfy them.  Mark kissed Lily on the cheek then set her on her feet.  “You be a good girl, listen to Fallon and Randy, do what they tell you. This will all be over, and we can go back to being normal.”


“I miss normal.” Lily said, sounding far too grown up for Mark’s taste.


“Yeah, me too.” Jack echoed her.


Mark just sighed.  He missed normal too, although at this point he was not sure what exactly normal was.  “I need to get upstairs.  I’ll be outside. If you shout, I’ll hear and I’ll come running.”  He tousled Jack’s hair and kissed his daughter one more time, then rose to his feet and left the basement with one last glance at the two hunters who were there to protect the children.


He stepped onto the front porch, looking around.  The hunters were spread out, creating a rough circle around the house.  Mark did not feel better about being there.  Something was wrong, he just didn’t know what it could be.


There was a noise from the side of the house. A shout and the sound of a gun going off.  Mark was off the porch almost before he registered what was happening.


Around the corner there were fangs.  Fifteen or so.  All of them pumped up on the blood they’d gorged on the night before. 


Rick was fighting one back, a grim smile on his face as he took a young fang out. He glanced at Mark.  “They just came runnin’ out of the trees.” He shouted to be heard over the noise of gunfire.  More hunters were rounding the house. 


“I thought he was coming alone.” Mark grabbed a fang who tried to jump on him.  With little effort he snapped the vampire’s throat and tossed him carelessly to the ground.


“So did I.  Don’t worry, we got ‘em.” Rick was moving away, heading toward the knot of fangs and hunters.  They’d tossed aside guns and were using knives and bare hands.


Mark watched for a moment, searching the faces of the vampires, looking for the leader.  It had been a long time, but he could remember the fang’s face.  It would not have changed much.


He had a strange feeling in his stomach.  He felt as though he were forgetting something, something important.  He took a step toward the fight then stopped abruptly. 


“Shit.” He looked at the house.  “Rick!” The older hunter turned to him before he could reach the melee.  “It’s a distraction! Get the men around the house, get a few inside!” Mark called over his shoulder as he ran back around the corner.  That was what had bugged him.  The vampires rushing the hunters, not caring about certain death, should have triggered the thought.  Fearing he might be too late, he crashed through the door and thundered down the stairs to the basement. 




Samantha now led the way, mindless of any nose she was making.  It didn’t matter.  The fangs would know they had company sooner or later.  She preferred sooner. It would rattle them.


The upper floor of the warehouse was dark with meager light from security lamps struggling to do their job.  The place was stacked to the rafters with boxes, cardboard, unmarked.  She glanced around upon entering then went toward the elevator set into the far wall.


Dave was walking behind her, followed by Glen and Christine. The rest of the hunters formed a line, a few staying outside to make sure no fangs escaped.  The two firebugs stayed in the warehouse’s main floor, splashing gasoline on the dry cartons, making a trail to the door.  They would wait fifteen minutes then light it up, hopefully giving the hunters downstairs enough time to get out.


“So we’re just gonna barge in the front door?” Dave asked as Samantha raised the wooded door of the elevator.


“Knock fuckin’ knock.” She said with a grin.  “That’s the plan.”


“Craziness.” But Dave was smiling.  He liked the idea of jumping right in.  After last night, he should have had his fill of fighting fangs.  That wasn’t the case.  He was ready to wipe these assholes out and enjoy a few days of fang free down time.


“That’s what they call me.” Samantha boarded the elevator.  They piled as many hunters in as they could.  About twenty in all. 


“You guys wait up here,” Glen instructed.  “We’ll keep the elevator down in case we need to get out.  A couple of you, look around.  See if there are stairs.  Come down that way if you find them. Keep this elevator clear.”


There were nods. Several of the men began wandering through the massive building, searching for stairs. Samantha pressed the button and the elevator jerked into movement. They didn’t bother with the door.  Better they could just burst out, ready in case the fangs were waiting. 


At the bottom the elevator lurched to a stop.  Samantha and Dave once again led the way, going more slowly this time.  It was not completely dark in the basement.  There were candles everywhere.


At the elevator, the basement opened into a long hallway.  There were a few doors on either side.  The end opened into a large room, which was where the glow was coming from.


“Do you smell that?” Dave asked, his voice a whisper.

Samantha did smell something. It made her feel sick to her stomach.  “I thought it was you.”


“Ha. Funny.” Dave nudged her.  “I smell good.  This smells like rotting…I don’t know what.”


“Yeah. Me either.”


“It’s the victims.  I told you, they don’t dispose of them.” Even though she was a fang herself, Christine sounded sick at the thought. “Just don’t open any of these doors. That’s where they throw them.”


“Consider it done.” Samantha took a few steps.  “Why aren’t they attacking?”


“I think they’re waiting for us to go in guns blazing.” Glen spoke up, staring at the glowing candlelight at the end of the hall.  “I say we give them what they’re lookin’ for.”


“Amen.” Samantha flashed him a grin.  She turned and looked at Dave.  “If you find yourself cornered, just pretend the fangs are me.  Should make killing them a lot more enjoyable.”


“I’ve been doing that since you got here.” Dave cocked an eyebrow. 


“I suppose I’d better keep an eye on you, just in case.” Samantha smiled sweetly and walked on, forcing Dave to follow along. She motioned with her hand, then suddenly rushed forward into the candle filled chamber.


There were fangs.  They stood against the far walls, hissing, waiting for the hunters to attack.  Thirty or so, just as Christine had said.  Glen nodded to Samantha and Dave and they led the charge across the room.


Just as Samantha had said, there was an alter in the middle of the room. It was surrounded by candles, a few of them sputtering as they burned down.  The alter itself was small.  Christine knew it was planned for use on a child.  Her child.  At the thought she once again felt the red hot anger clouding her vision.  Good.  She wanted to be good and angry.


A few of the fangs had guns. The hunters did not care.  They all were operating on auto-pilot at that point, letting the thrill of the hunt take them over.  The fangs fell, much easier than anyone had thought they would.  The hunters thinned their numbers, killing them, not just wanting to send a message. 


A door opened and more hunters spilled into the room.  They’d found the back staircase and had rushed down to join in the battle.  Glen was glad to see them.  Although these thirty had presented no problem, he had a feeling he was missing something.

And then he knew.  The smell.  Christine saying not to open the doors.  He turned just in time to see the six doors along the hallway open.  Fangs spilled from the rooms.  More of the awful smell was released.  There were dozens of them.  So many that Glen could not count them all.


“Regroup!” He shouted, leading his hunters to the middle of the room.  With a sound of disgust, Glen shoved the alter, knocking it over.  The stone hit the floor and shattered.  The fangs cried out in unison, their eyes glowing with anger.


“Wipe ‘em out!” Alexander pulled his sword from its sheath.  His hunters rushed forward, meeting the wave of fangs with an angry energy of their own.


“You heard him.  Get in there before they kill ‘em all!” Dave shouted to the hunters who had gathered around Glen at his command. 


The fangs just kept coming.  Glen killed one, then another, mowing through them with his bare hands.  The gun was lying worthless on the floor.  He saw Dave get jumped, a fang grabbing him around his neck.  Samantha was there, jerking the vampire by the hair, pulling him off of Dave’s back.  Her knife flashed.  The fang lay still, blood pouring from the wound on his chest.


And still they fought on.  Glen took a chance and looked at his watch.  The boys upstairs would be setting their fire at any minute. It was time to start pulling out. He caught Dave’s eye and motioned to his wrist. Dave nodded and grabbed the fang he’d been fighting by the head, twisting his neck until he fell limp to the floor.


“It’s about to get hot in here!  Fall back to the stairs!” Dave shouted.  Glen was repeating the command.  They had to get out, and had to keep the fangs down here so they would burn with the building.


There was a noise from upstairs. An explosion rocked the building.  Everyone dropped to the floor, looking upward in concern.


“What the fuck!” Dave had to shout.  Another explosion sounded over head. Samantha was laughing again.  The fangs were running away, the noise chasing them back down the hallway.


“Didn’t you read the boxes upstairs?” She asked, jogging easily up to where Glen and Dave were standing. 


“No! What the fuck is it, grenades?” Dave covered his ears as another explosion sounded.


“Not quite.  Fireworks!”  She even sounded amused when she was shouting.

”Fireworks! And you didn’t think to stop them from setting them on fire?” Dave asked angrily. They were climbing the stairs, once again leading the hunters.


“Why? I thought you wanted to send these fang boys out with a bang.”


She opened the door.  Flames where everywhere.  The boxes were exploding, their contents overheating and blowing out the sides.  These were not just sparklers and bottle rockets.  These were the big fireworks the town shot off every Fourth of July.


Glen grabbed Samantha and jerked her back as a box exploded in front of them, sending sparks in their direction.  She grinned, loving every minute of the destruction of the warehouse. 


She gestured, motioning for him to follow her.  Samantha led the way out of the warehouse, dodging flames and fireworks until they found the doors in the orange colored light.


The elevator was coming to a stop.  The fangs were trying to get out before the fire spread throughout the building.  Glen shouted for the hunters who had waited outside.  They still had full clips of ammo.  It would be their job to take the straggling fangs out.

Samantha was ducking back into the warehouse before Glen could stop her.  He watched until she disappeared into the smoke.  He shared a helpless look with Dave, then covered his ears as the hunters began firing at the fleeing vamps.


Samantha reappeared a moment later, ducking low as another explosion rocked the building. Glen grabbed her and hugged her, not knowing if he should kiss her or cuss her out.


“I’ll take the kiss, hot stuff.”


“Stop reading my mind.”


“You make it too easy.” She reached up, cupping his face in her hands, and pulled him down to her lips. “I had to make sure everybody got out.” She said as they parted, a little out of breath.


“And?” Glen waited.


“All clear.  I blocked the door.  So the fangs couldn’t come out that way either.”  Something inside the building fell with a crash.  The whole building was shuddering. 


“We should get the fuck outta here!” Dave shouted, speaking to everyone. 


The fangs were either dead or had retreated to the basement once again.  They might as well be dead.  There was no way out of the burning building. One of the hunters dashed into the building, taking a cue from Samantha, and shot the panel that controlled the elevator.  The fangs could not come back up.


The hunters backed from the building, putting a safe distance between them and the fire.  They watched, keeping an eye for escaping fangs, as the building burned to the ground, falling in on itself with another loud explosion.




Mark thundered down the stairs, taking them two and three at a time, cursing himself for falling for the distraction at the hands of the fangs. The first thing he saw was Randy, lying in the hallway, his face pale with pain.


“Ten…ten of ‘em…” Randy muttered when he saw Mark.  He waved the bigger man off when he made to crotch next to him.  “Fallon’s holding them off.  Get in there and help!”

Mark did not need to be told twice.  He flung himself at the locked door to the room where Lily and Jack had been hiding, throwing his shoulder at the door until it all but exploded inward.

He had a second to assess the situation.  Fallon was being held by her hair, inches off the floor, by a familiar figure.


“Donovan.” Mark said his name, suddenly remembering. 


“Taker.  Long time no see.” Although he was older than Mark-fang wise and in age-Donovan liked to pretend he was young.  It was part of the reason he was so insane.  A vampire that could not face his age was doomed to insanity.


“Not nearly long enough.” Mark’s eyes fell on Lily and Jack.  Fangs were holding them.  They did not struggle. They were too scared to do much.  “You know this shit isn’t going to work. It never has.”

“But this time it will!” Donovan’s voice reached a manic pitch and he dropped Fallon to the floor.  She lay there, her head cradled in her hands. “It has to be the child of a hunter! There was a mistranslation.  A hunter turned fang.  I knew exactly who it was referring to as soon as I read it.” Donovan smiled at Lily. The little girl just looked at him, her eyes wide. “This little angel of yours is my ticket to immortality.  I’ll have everything, Mark.  And I can share the power.  I know how to do it. But I have to have the girl.” Donovan turned his attention back to Mark.


“Then taker her.”


Donovan’s eyes widened.  “You would let me walk out of here with your daughter? Knowing what I intend to do with her?”

Mark shrugged. “If it means more power for me, immortality, then do it.  I don’t want to watch.  She is my kid.” He kept his voice low.  He did not want Lily to hear and freak out.


“Of course, you wouldn’t have to watch.” Donovan smiled, lost in the grip of his insanity.  He gestured to the fang that held Lily.  The girl was released. “Come here, child.” Donovan gestured.  Lily shrank back against the vampire who had let her go.


“Go on, Lil.  You’ll have some fun with Uncle Don.” Mark said, catching his daughter’s eyes.  She was on the verge of tears until she got a look at her father’s face.  Nodding slowly, she went forward and let Donovan pick her up.


“There, now, sweetheart.” Donovan hugged Lily, a grin on his face.  Mark didn’t know how it was possible, but he looked even crazier when he smiled. “Is that so bad?”


“No sir.” Lily turned her head and looked to Mark. Mark nodded imperceptible.  He tapped his leg with his hand three times.  Lily was smart.  She would understand.

Jack was looking at Donovan as if he’d rip his throat out.  Mark bit back a smile.  That boy was a born hunter.  Jack glanced at Mark, and Mark made the same tapping motion against his leg. It was Jack’s turn to nod discreetly.


“We’ll be on our way, then.   You can keep your hunters.  We won’t kill them.  That would be rude after the sacrifice you’re making.” Donovan was walking slowly toward Mark and the door.


Mark tapped his leg once. “I’d appreciate it.”


“Her mother isn’t going to understand. You’ll have to speak with her so she doesn’t do anything stupid.” Donovan was still talking.  He was moving cautiously, not trusting Mark or the two hunters who had been disabled, no matter what they said.

Mark tapped his leg the second time.  “I’ll deal with her.  Hell, we can always have another one.”


Donovan laughed.  “This is true.” Lily was staring at her father.  She abruptly turned her head, her face against Donovan’s throat.  “There now, hon.  It’ll be all right.” Donovan was patting Lily on the back. 

Mark tapped his leg the third time. 


Donovan screamed in pain as Lily’s fangs sank into his neck.  He tried to throw her from him, to shove her away, but the tiny girl had his shoulders in a death grip.

The other fangs were frozen for a moment, not sure of what was happening. Jack saw his opportunity.  He jerked free of the hands that were holding him, turning on his heel, using the spinning heel kick that Samantha had shown him.  He caught the fang square in the crotch.  The vampire let out his breath in a scream and bent down, cupping himself.  Jack ran at him, making a noise of rage and horror in his throat as he threw another kick at the pained fang.


The other fangs were realizing what was going on.  One stepped menacingly toward Jack, meaning to grab the boy and hurt him. Fallon stopped holding her head and reached out, grabbing the fang by the legs.  She’d seen Mark’s countdown and had played possum, letting the fangs think she’d been too scared to do more than writhe on the floor.


The fang squealed as he went down. Fallon did not give him time to recover from the surprise attack.  She grabbed his head and twisted, snapping his neck with a shout of anger from her mouth. 


Donovan fell to his knees, Lily still latched to his throat.  Mark stepped forward, the pocket knife he carried in his hand.  Without second guessing himself, he lunged, jabbing the blade straight into ‘Father’s’ eye. Lily let go, dropping lithely to her feet as Donovan fell backward.


She ran to her father, grabbing his legs.  Mark ran a hand over her head.  “We’re not done yet, baby.  Help Jack.”


She did not question him. Mark followed his little girl across the room, knife in hand, ready to end this shit once and for all.


Lily went after the fang that Jack had kicked.  With scary strength she knocked him off his feet then crawled up his body before he could recover. Her little hands wrapped around his neck and she started squeezing.  The vampire tried to buck her off but Lily would not be budged.  He finally went limp beneath her.


Mark fought against two of the fangs, his eyes going back and forth between them.  Fallon was slowly getting to her feet, helped by Jack.  Randy was moving too, crawling to the wall so he could use it to get to his feet.


There were still four more fangs.  Without Donovan to tell them what to do, they were lost.  They tried to run, forgetting about Randy.  He knocked the first one back with a wild punch.  The second lunged at him, his teeth snapping wildly.  He was suddenly jerked backward, shrieking in anger.


Rick had stabbed the fang with one of the swords he’d nicked from the weapon room. With a cry of triumph, he slung the vamp against the wall, then sliced at the back of his neck.


Mark threw his knife at one of the fangs that had him cornered.  It stuck into his shoulder, the handle sticking out and shaking.  The fang howled in pain and backed up, trying to yank the blade out of his flesh.  Mark turned his attention to the other fang before him.  He needn’t have worried.  Lily was sweeping the vampire off his feet, grabbing him around the knees and knocking him forward into the wall. There was a sickening sound of bone crunching as the fang’s neck broke.  Then all was eerily silent as the group stood there, looking at each other.


Mark swept Lily into his arms and kissed her sweet face, laughing with relief.  “Baby are you all right? Once again Lily had tears standing in her eyes.  Mark checked her, making sure she wasn’t hurt. 


“I didn’t mean to hurt them, Daddy,” The little girl sobbed and pressed her face against his shoulder.  Mark rubbed her back, then reached out to pull a shocked looking Jack against him. 


“It’s all right baby.  You did right.  I’m proud of you.” Mark ruffled Jack’s hair.  “You too, kid.  You’re gonna make a hell of a hunter someday.”

Jack smiled weakly.  Lily sniffled and looked at her cousin from the protection of her father’s arms.  “Are you Ok, Jack? I didn’t want him to hurt you.”


“I’m good, Lil.” Jack grinned up at his cousin, some of the startled expression leaving his face.


Mark looked at the rest of the hunters that were spilling into the room.  They were looking at the bodies, hard grins on their faces. “Clean ‘em up, boys.” Rick barked out from his position by the door.  He was helping Randy stand on his feet.  Randy looked pale.  He’d taken a hard hit to the head and probably had a concussion.


“Is that him?” One of Alexander’s hunters toed Donovan’s body.

Mark was nodding.  “That’s him.  Is he dead?”

The hunter was leaning over the body.  He flipped him over.  Donovan’s skin was waxy white, pale.  “He’s dead.  Drained empty.” He looked to Mark, eyes questioning.


“Too bad.  He deserved more.” Mark smiled grimly.  “Take them all out.  Burn them.  Make sure they don’t come back.” Mark cuddled his daughter, his other arm hugging his nephew, as the hunters set about taking care of the mess.   




Glen stood on the porch, watching Jack flip burgers on the grill.  It was after ten, full dark.  The moon hung full in the night sky.  He had the floodlights on so they could see.


Lily circled Jack, talking excitedly.  Mark and Christine had decided to move back into Mark’s house.  They had decided not to go back to full time hunting although Mark did work as a consultant when the case warranted it.


Christine was pregnant again.  That was what Lily was so excited about.  She was one hundred percent sure she was going to have a little brother.  Mark and Christine had no reason to doubt her.  She had Christine’s seeker skills with a bit of a psychic flair. 


Dave had taken over as head of the hunters.  He had a great feel for it, handling it with an ease that Glen admired.  Of course, Dave did not have a child to worry about, so his options were all clear.


Samantha joined him on the porch.  “What’s up, big guy?” She grinned up at him and accepted a kiss.


“Finally up from your nap?” He asked playfully. 


“Hey now, I have to get it when I can.”  She shifted the baby in her arms and smiled down at her daughter.  After the final fight with Donovan and his followers, she’d gone back to Alexander’s for a while, against Glen’s protests.  She said she needed to think.  Fortunately she had always been a fast thinker.


Two months later they were married.  Six months later they were pregnant. 


Samantha gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl.  Jack was the proudest big brother, watching over his little sister protectively.  Little Katie was a year old, but she already showed signs of her mother’s attitude.  She definitely had her mother’s preference to stay up all night.  Even though Samantha had reworked her sleep schedule to match Glen’s.


Katie was waving an arm in the air, eyes lighting up at the sight of her father.  Glen plucked the baby from Samantha’s arms and cuddled her against his chest.  “How are you feeling now?”


“Pretty good.  Dave says he might have a hunt for me.  I don’t know if I believe him.” Samantha said with a laugh.  She and Dave still did not try to get along.  Glen had learned to just ignore their barbs at each other.  It was just how they entertained themselves.


Mark came out onto the porch, smiling at his brother.  “Are they burning those burgers or what?”


“You’re the one who’s supposed to be manning the grill,” Glen said with a laugh.


“I was busy.  When a hormonal woman snaps her fingers, you jump.  She might kill me in my sleep.” Mark said with a grin. 


“I heard that!” Christine called from inside the kitchen.  She came out, carrying a bowl of chips.  Her hand rested against her protruding stomach.  “You try carrying thirty extra pounds, see how hormonal it makes you.” She shoved the bowl against Mark’s stomach, forcing him to take it.


“Now, you two…behave.” Glen chided, kissing Katie on her forehead. He turned his attention back to Samantha.  “I don’t know how I feel about you running off, chasing dogs and fangs. We have the baby to think about now.”


“I know this, chief.  That’s why I think I’ll have to turn him down. Even though the world’s a dangerous place and we’re the good guys.” Samantha stroked her fingers across Katie’s head, tracing the brown curls.  “I don’t want to get rusty.  Two vamp babies and…we don’t even know what to call Katie yet.  Somebody around here better stay in shape.”


“Was that a fat joke?” Christine asked, waving salad tongs in their direction.


“No.  If it was, I was talking about Mark.  He’s put on a little weight…must be sympathizing with you.” Samantha said with a laugh.  Mark frowned and rubbed his stomach.


“Hey now.  Can I help it that I missed regular food?” Mark asked no one in particular.


Mark and Christine had decided after much debate that they would both take Samantha up on her offer to return them to human form.  That was right before Christine had found out she was pregnant. Mark had gone ahead with the plan.  Christine did not want to risk their baby.  She would wait until it was born, then decide if she still wanted to go back to her old self.


At first they had resisted because they said that Lily needed them, that their vampire strength made them very formidable to other fangs and wolves that might target her.  Samantha pointed out that little Lily was getting pretty proficient at taking care of herself.  They could not deny that their daughter was stronger than the both of them. After the events in the basement, Lily had gained a new respect for her power and did everything she could to learn how to control herself. 


Mark and Christine both agreed that if Lily turned out to be anything like Samantha, then she’d be all right, even with human parents raising her.


Lily came running to her mother, kissing Christine’s stomach gently.  “Momma, Nick is hungry.”


“Nick, huh?” Christine ran her hand through her daughter’s hair.  “So that’s what you’re calling him now?”


“He told me that was his name.” Lily rolled her eyes. 


“He told ya, huh?” Mark swept Lily up into his arms.  “I never heard a peep.”


“I can hear him in there.” Lily said with a grin. 


Mark and Christine shared a look.  “She’s got the mind reading thing down.  But I didn’t think babies were capable of coherent thought.” Christine said with a laugh.


“Nick is.” Lily rested her head against her father’s shoulder. “Can we eat now? I’m hungry too.”

”I’ll help you fix your plate.” Jack had come behind them and gestured at Lily.  Mark put her down.  Jack indulgently took her hand and led her to the table.


Samantha looked thoughtfully after the kids and then up at Glen with a sly smile on his face. “Anyway…about why I won’t be going out hunting anytime soon…”


“Uh oh.  I know that look.” Glen said, his eyebrows going up.


“What look would that be?” Samantha said a wink.


“That was an ‘I’m pregnant’ look if I’ve ever seen one.  And I’ve seen it twice now.” Mark said with a laugh.


“How could you tell that from just a look?” Samantha diverted her attention to Mark.


“Is it true?” Glen asked, turning her to face him.  Samantha nodded, the smile still playing on her lips.  Katie giggled at the look on his face.  Glen pulled Samantha in for a kiss, not knowing what to say. Katie patted both their faces, gurgling in baby talk.


“You could have just said you were happy.” Samantha said with he finally let her go. 


“There you go again.” Glen stroked her cheek. “Jack’s going to flip out.”


“I know it. He’ll be hoping for a boy. A little brother this time.” Samantha grinned at him.  “I guess we could ask Lily what she thinks, see if she can get a line on it. It’s good practice for her.”


“You and your training.” Glen said with a laugh.  He kissed Katie on her chubby little cheek.  “How about that kiddo. You’re gonna be a big sister.” Katie kicked her legs, chuckling again as if her father were the funniest person on the planet.  “I swear I think she understands sometimes.” Glen said, looking at Samantha meaningfully.


“It’s possible. Nick can already talk to Lily, so I guess it’s not entirely unheard of.” Samantha rubbed her stomach.  “Now I’m ready to get my grub on.  I’m once again eating for two.  And I guess Christine owes me a fat joke.  I deserve it.”


Glen laughed and led the way down the steps.  He settled Katie in her high chair and looked around, taking in his family.  He’d thought he’d had it all before, a wife, a son, but realized looking at the people around him that he had been missing more than he’d gained.  It was not an insult to Angie’s memory, it was a testament to how her love had changed him in the short time they’d had together.  She was the one who’d given him his first real sense of family.  And now he and Samantha would be forging that road together.