I rode all night and got to Paris early in the morning, knowing I couldn’t just storm into the bar, let alone that damn facility in the back of the building. I knew the best thing to do was just be patient. Which wasn’t really one of my strong suits.
Cutting across Rue Danielle Casanova I ran until I hit Rue Louis le Grand. I looked down the quiet street and saw nobody out and about at this time. I knew that the creatures liked to work in the night hours, but going in at this moment was just crazy.
A little café sat on the corner of the Rue. It was the perfect place to observe the bar. It wasn’t not too far way and I could get to it within seconds. Walking up to the counter, I ordered a black coffee and a sweet sticky pastry that looked really good, and blended into the surroundings.
No one came or went from the bar. For two and a half hours I sat there pretending to read the paper, eat my food, sip my coffee, in hopes that I would get some glimpse of what might be going on.
The large scaffolds that went all down Rue Louis le Grand had workers all over them. They scurried around fixing the old buildings, and sometimes I thought I would see someone getting close to the entrance of the bar, but they would turn away, walking under the scaffolds.
The morning foot traffic was calming down. Fewer people were entering the café, the morning commuters had all gone to wherever they needed to be. The employees at the café were getting ready for the lunch rush.
It was time for me to move on and find a new place to scout from. Now that the rush was over, staying any longer at the café would start to look suspicious. And even though I didn’t smell any creatures around there at the moment, I knew that couldn’t last forever.
I looked down at the paper that I was folding to put away for someone else to read, when an article caught my eye.
“Brutality on the Banks of the Thames.
Several nights ago there were four murders on the banks of the Thames. To the constables these seem to be random persons that the killer or killers have targeted… Whether men or women, what color or creed, to the investigator it makes little sense. Two victims had their throats slit, one was brutally raped with a severe beating, while the last one looked as if she had been set afire. The constables are asking for the help of the community with any information that could help their investigation. If anyone was near that area during that time, please come forward …”
The chair being pulled away from the table caught my attention. “I see old habits are hard to break, aren’t they?” Lennox asked, as he lifted my coffee cup from the table, taking a sip.
Folding the paper up, I shrugged my shoulders. “I guess I’m not really a ‘plays well with others’ type of girl. You should know that by now.”
“I do know that, that’s why I followed you. You’re going to need help on this one…you do know that, right?” he asked me. He took another sip, then placed the cup back in front of me. “Why do you always get black coffee? At least put a splash of cream in it.”
Taking the cup back into my hands, I gazed at him. “Lennox, quit trying to make me forget why the hell you’re here, and just how in the hell did you find me, anyway?”
He just smiled at me, crossing his arms over his chest, stretching his long legs out and crossing them at the ankles. “The corner shop,” was all he said, but I knew exactly what he meant.
“Shit, I was right… I thought someone was over by the window. That was you?” I leaned on the table, putting my face in my hand. “My nerves were shot. I didn’t even think about you following me, which is why I thought it was just my imagination playing tricks on me.”
“Since when are your instincts not dead on, Molly. And I didn’t follow you, it was a lucky coincidence that I happened to be where you were. You really should give up smoking, such a disgusting habit. Such a beautiful woman should never have something ugly hanging from her lips,” he winked.
“But I’m glad that you were off last night. Because you know, it would’ve been a real pain in my ass to try to find you otherwise.” He sat up and leaned on the table, his voice softer but more demanding. “But even though I know you don’t like to work with people, and I know that you didn’t want to be around the guys who made you, it really surprised me that you left. The maturing isn’t going to stop because you’ve got things to do. You don’t know what’s going to happen to your body right now.
“But more importantly, you knew I had your back if anything happened. More importantly, what did that ass Marcus say to make you leave?” he whispered harshly.
I couldn’t look at him. So much had happened and this wasn’t a conversation I was going to have right now. “It wasn’t what he said, Lennox.” My head was still in my hand, shaking back and forth. No, I wasn’t going to give in an inch. It wasn’t any of his damn business; I really don’t know when I became such a pansy-ass.
I grabbed the pack of cigarettes from my pocket, getting ready to leave. “I really don’t want to talk about it, okay? I’m not playing any more games. I just want to solve what the hell is going on, get Georgie, and go home! If that’s what you want, then fine, come help me. But if it’s not and you’ve got some hidden agenda happening, then stay the fuck out of my way!” hissed.
I walked out the door and took my first drag of my smoke and looked down the street; I needed to find a place to sit for a while, when suddenly Lennox was by my side.
His hand wrapped around my waist. “I’ll do anything you need me to do, Molly. I will protect you from anybody who tries to hurt you. We’ll figure out the rest when everything here is said and done with.” He whispered in my ear.
I knew he meant what he said, but at this moment all I wanted was to complete this task on my own. Heaving a big sigh, I nodded in agreement.
We headed down the street very casually, looking like two normal people amongst many. Lennox wore his glamour to hide his appearance; he looked like a young man with mid-shoulder black hair pulled back into a ponytail. His skin had color to it now and there were no scales with feathers protruding out of them.
The street was full of people bustling around shopping, eating, heading to work. The construction workers climbed up the scaffolding, pulled up material from the ground, yelled at each other over the tops of the roofs to the street level. It was a great place to get lost among the crowds.
Making our way into a little alcove style building in front of the bar, Lennox and I sat waiting. No one came to the bar, no one left the bar, and I had a gut feeling that something really bad was happening in there at that very moment. The feeling of dread wouldn’t go away as we watched the front door.
I stood up and walked over to the other side of the street and by the front door as if I was a regular passerby. My ears heard nothing, no talking, or cleaning, getting ready for the day, and if anything like that was going on I would have heard it through the walls.
I continued to walk down a little way where I found the alley to get to the back of the building. It looked different in the late afternoon, but I remembered how to get to my goal.
Standing by a garbage dumpster, I saw two men by the back door. It looked to me like they were guarding it. The last time I was here, Philip and I had no problem getting in. So I wondered what had changed so drastically in two days that it warranted armed guards.
Lennox came up behind me, seeing the men guarding the door as well. “They put someone outside the doors tonight; didn’t you say last time you snuck in easily? It looks like just a wolf, but I can’t quite tell the other…?”
I closed my eyes, taking in a deep breath. “Fay, he’s a fay. Why doesn’t that surprise me?” I said dully.
“I’ll dispense of them,” he offered, starting to vanish. But I grabbed his arm before he did. “We don’t know what’s going on in there. I’m not a hundred percent sure if it’s something awful, and I don’t want anyone harmed just on assumptions,” I told him.
I wasn’t an over-anxious one for killing. If they had it coming, well then they deserved the pain I was about to inflict; some might even wish that I would just kill them. But I never could take anyone’s life, even if it was just the creatures, whom I thought were the most heartless things imaginable.
He sank back down next to me. “What do you suggest we do then?” he questioned. And that was an excellent question. I was just about to answer him when the door swung open.
A big man walked out of the building. He was very tall and built like a warrior. But there was something else about him, I knew him from somewhere. That’s when it hit me; he was the man that Justice and I had run into at the wife swap place.
I remembered him…the infamous Irvington West. The first of the MMs. I couldn’t smell anything coming off him, and that was the strangest void.
I watched him walk towards us, and Lennox grabbed me, hauling me back into a darkened corner of the alleyway. He pulled me to the ground, holding me with one hand and the other hand over my mouth as he spoke to me. “Just stay still,” he whispered.
The vivid pictures my mind would create using the smells around me simply weren’t there. It was like someone had erased my canvas and all that was left was a blank slate. Mr. West walked on by, not even noticing us, and as he did I noticed that same feeling of a void where he should be.
I could smell Lennox, the garbage in the corner of the tunnel, a passerby with a cup of coffee, the smell of paint in the air. Hell, I could even smell the wolf and the fay standing at the door thirty feet way. But if I weren’t watching Mr. West pass by me at that moment, I wouldn’t even know he was in front of me. Which was a very, very bad thing. He was a blind spot to me.
The two guards were deep in conversation with each other. Now would be the best time to get into that building, catching the two guards unaware.
Taking Lennox’s hand away from my mouth, I whispered to him: “I might have a hard time sensing a male mixer near us. It seems they might be invisible to me. But I’m thinking this could be our best chance to get in there. I didn’t see any cameras last time I was here, so we should be cool to go through the door without anyone knowing we’re here.”
“Now aren’t you glad that I up and followed you here?” He chuckled in my ear
“I’ll rush the wolf, you take the fay.” I said evading the question. He gave me a nod as we both stood up quietly.
Putting three of my fingers up, I quietly counted down to one. On the last count Lennox became a gust of wind, bursting from the tunnel and moving towards the men.
I ran towards the wolf, who was caught off guard as his friend fell to the ground without a word. He only saw me for a split second before my hand caught the side of his face. My inky fingers found their way to the veins in his head, taking the life out of him, making him faint and scrambling his thoughts as well. He should be out for a very long time. Neither of them had made a sound when we attacked, which hopefully was going to work in our favor.
Lennox grabbed the fay, picked up the wolf and tipped them into the dumpster.“This should keep the coast clear for us. Let’s just hope no one realizes they’re gone.”
When we crept back to the door he looked down at me with a sad anxious look, then dissolved through the door. It took longer than I thought it would for him to unlock the door on the other side. I was on guard, looking for anyone to notice me, and keeping my ears open to anyone coming towards me. I was just about to open the damn door myself, when Lennox came back through the door and placed his hand on mine.
I couldn’t see him, but he whispered in my ear. “There’s lots of people here. We need to be quick…and careful. Our goal here is to see if Georgie is in there. I suggest that we get our asses in there to see if any of the Council are in there, too. Then we get the hell out and call the others.”
His voice became harsh, and worried. “Do you understand, Molly? Don’t go in there deciding to be a one-woman army…even if you do find something. We need to make sure everyone is safe and that includes you.” He warned.
We were going to find a hell of a lot in that building, that was why he came out to talk with me. I could feel it in my bones; this was going to be a nightmare of the worst kind. And the sickening feeling was becoming stronger. Like when you’re watching a horror film and you know the monster is going to pop out and scare the shit out of you, but you’re not quite sure when it will happen.
Twisting the knob, I slowly opened the door just enough to see what was happening around the area. A woman walked by in scrubs, looking down at a clipboard. I closed the door a little as she passed.
After the coast was clear I smoothly opened the door, and made my way into the large area that looked so sterile in its light blue and gray colors. There were only two chairs in the room, with halogen lights casting a sickly glow overhead.
Three hallways, one on the right and two on the left, were the only things that I noticed. And of course in the very back of the room was a door that led to the bar.
We needed to find some sort of proof that this was actually one of the places that was using the mixers as science experiments, where the innocent mixers were indeed being raped and murdered. And of course make sure George was nowhere in this building.
Lennox was in back of me as we crept down the hall. Even though he was transparent I could sense his presence.
The air was washed clean of any scent, like the void that the MMs themselves caused, and for a moment I was disoriented in my directions. Then I got a small thread of something, but it was so faint. It was like trying to touch something that was just beyond reach.
If they wanted to cover up the scents of creatures going in and out of there, they did a great job. That is unless you threw me into the mix; my senses were much more heightened than the normal creature or mixer.
On one side of a hallway, I saw a little alcove with a medical cart in it. Taking a look around, I focused on the environment around me. Making my way behind the cart I took a long cleansing breath, settling my emotions and letting my senses explore.
It was difficult because there was nothing for me to grab onto. So I pursued the subtle thread of the only smell that I had found. Lennox’s scent came over me first. Pushing past him I found that thread, letting my mind weave its way through the hall, up some stairs, down another hall to a door.
Even though the door was shut, I knew this was where that scent was coming from. Letting my senses take over, I reached for that scent, trying to get it to come to me, pulling it in to give me an idea of what was behind that door. That’s when it hit me. Philip, that scent was Philip’s!
I shot up, not caring if anyone was near us, and ran at full speed for that door. If I ran by people I really couldn’t tell, my only thought was getting to Philip. Whatever was happening around me was inconsequential, and I’d let Lennox handle it.
Twisting the handle to see if it was locked, it clicked, and I slowly pushed the door open. Philip was on a metal table in the middle of the room. His legs and torso had been strapped down and his right arm was extended out. A rubber tube was coming out of his arm, and from the looks of it they were taking blood from him. I ran over to him, ripping the tube out.
“Philip. Philip, can you hear me? I need you to wake up, baby.” I turned to Lennox, who had followed and was in shock, looking at all the things around us. “What the hell were they doing to him?” I questioned.
Lennox came over to me and looked down at Philip. “They bleeding him. But it looks like they were saving the blood, that’s very strange.”
They were draining him? He was thirsty. That’s why he wasn’t waking up. I looked over at Lennox, who was looking at me now. “Give me your knife,” I told him.
“No, if you do that you’ll make yourself weak, and who knows what that could trigger.” He growled.
Rolling my eyes, I shoved my hand towards him. “Give me the damn knife. I’ve been drinking blood since I’ve been in England. So I’m much stronger than I once was,”
“And that’s supposed to make me feel better?” he said, still staring at me.
“Yes, I’m well fed and in control. Now give me the damn knife before I come and take it from you!” I whispered harshly.
"I will not anyone harm you... that includes him." He growled.
“He’s mine, Lennox. I will not leave without him. If they come in here I will die to protect him. Please don’t make me choose between the two of you.” I begged.
The hard line of his mouth never left as he handed me the knife. “Thank you,” I whispered, unable to look at him.
“You’re welcome. Now let’s get him up and us the hell out of here.”
The knife went to my wrist and sliced through my flesh like butter. With one hand I opened Philip’s mouth and placed my now bleeding wrist over it.
Lennox kept an eye on the door as I tried to get Philip to wake up. “We need to hurry,” he whispered.
“Philip, I need you to wake up,” I told him in a low voice as I shook his shoulder, hoping he would hear me. I looked back at the door, then at Lennox with concern.
My wrist was snatched faster than a cobra strike. Sharp teeth sank into my flesh, causing me to let out a small scream of shock. I was totally caught off guard by Philip waking up and gnawing my wrist like an animal.
There was no pleasure in it. It hurt like a son of a bitch, and it took every ounce of willpower not to wound him severely to get him to unlatch from my wrist. With big urgent gulps he drank, taking more than was good for me. I tried to soothe him, get my wrist away from him quietly without him ripping out the artery. “Philip, please, it’s me. I need to you to stop, sweetheart. You’re taking too much.”
I didn’t even know if he heard me, but my body was reacting from the blood loss. My stomach started to turn, and I wasn’t sure what was worse, the nausea or the faint feeling. Something was going to have to give, I just wasn’t sure what.
Lennox stood back, letting me handle Philip while he looked after the door. But he looked at me, and seeing that I was trying to fight Philip off, he reached out and punched Philip in the head to get him to release me.
With a grunt he let go of my wrist. Blood was running down his chin as he looked at Lennox. His eyes were lost in a haze; only now did he really take notice of what was happening around him. But it was a little late for me, as my legs started to give out.
“Son of a bitch!” Lennox hissed, catching me by the back of my arms before I hit the floor. He looked back at Philip, still on the table. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”
“I didn’t know.” He groaned, sitting up. “I truly had no idea what was happening.” Philip snapped, running his hands over his face.
Lennox pulled me to my feet. “Can you stand?” I nodded, then he looked over to Philip. “How about you, you had more than your fucking share of her blood. You should be right as rain,” he said, pissed.
Philip put his feet to the floor, and stood. “I should be fine,” he said, his accent so heavy it was hard to make out. But maybe it was my mind playing games on me. “We should leave. With her vein cut open, anything that has fangs will be able to smell her,” he told Lennox.
His eyes grew large, realizing a little too late what I’d just done. “Shit, let’s get the hell out of here,”
It had slowed, but my wrist was still bleeding pretty well. “Wait! I need to stop the bleeding.” My mouth went to my wrist to lick the wound closed, but instead I threw up green bile. Lennox grabbed me by the waist and Philip took my wrist and licked it clean, stopping the blood flow.
He opened the door, checking to see if the coast was clear. Then looked back at Philip and nodded. We hurried down the hallway, Lennox still helping me run. Philip was in back of us, apparently not yet on his game. I figured we’d find out more of what happened to him when we got out of there.
But as we ran my body started convulsing. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get sick again or if I was having some sort of seizure, but I think he had just about drained me of my blood. Lennox’s words to Philip were laced with menace. “I should have just taken her and left you there to rot in that room.”
Philip didn't say anything, and I was to weak to fight the accusation. We slowly made our way down the stairs, and when we reached the bottom Philip went in front of us, scoping out the area.
I saw his back stiffen, then he turned back to us. He looked me in the eyes and his shoulders fell in defeat. His hands went up before he went around the corner. Lennox and I looked quickly at each other, knowing what was happening but just not quite ready to face it. I was going to be useless; my only hope was that there was only one person in the hall and Lennox could overtake him.