He turned back to Officer White, “I think we’re going to have to go in. Are you going to have to stop us?”
Her lips twitched, hinting at a smile, “No, because there’s a person who may be in danger, and because I got permission from the owner.”
A thought struck me. “How are we planning to get in? I don’t think we should wait for him to open the door. And while we could break it down, I can probably unlock the door. Um… Unless that would be illegal.”
“It’s illegal if you own lock picks with the intent of using them to steal, but since you’ll be using them to assist a police officer in saving a life, there won’t be a problem.” She glanced over at the house, “We should get going.”
That made it sound like she was coming with us. As the local law enforcement representative, it made sense, but she’d already said that she didn’t have any experience with vampires.
Mateo handled it better than I would have. He nodded and said, “Guns won’t do much against them. Do you have a cross?”
She didn’t say anything for a moment, but then said, “No. That works?”
He gave a shrug, “Better than guns, but more for holding them off. Here.”
He pulled a cross on a chain and three jars of holy water from a pouch on his belt. “Use the cross to keep them back and throw the holy water. Be aware that I don’t have much holy water. Don’t waste it.”
She raised an eyebrow but hung the cross around her neck. Then she took the jars of holy water. “Normally, we’re not supposed to wear necklaces because people might grab them.”
She shook her head.
Mateo nodded, “Think of it as a bulletproof vest.”
Holding the cross in her palm, she said, “It covers a lot less than a vest.”
Then she shook her head, “Let’s go.”
Mateo nodded, “Alright. V4, unlock the door. Break it down if you have to. Either way, I’ll go in first, followed by Officer White, and you can take the rear.”
I nodded and we walked across the green lawn, up, the stairs and onto the house’s front porch. Once at the door, I pulled out my picks and started on the door. It wasn’t a difficult lock.
Putting my picks back, I said, “Done,” and opened the door, stepping back so they could go through. Sunlight entered the room without prompting shrieks of pain—which was a kind of good news.
Mateo entered with his rapier drawn and without his motorcycle helmet, face covered only with his blue, silk mask and wearing his broad-brimmed hat.
I followed Officer White in, grateful that a costume themed around engines and riding motorcycles could include almost everything I put into the Rocket stealth suit, plus and minus a few things.
In case vampires could hypnotize me through eye contact, I switched on a composite view made of sonar, infrared, thermal and radar on my helmet’s screen, switching off normal sight. Overall it meant the same shapes, but less detail on textures and more on heat.
The first room turned out to be a lobby with a receptionist desk in the right corner and comfortable chairs and a couch. I hoped that the wooden floor didn’t turn out to be creaky.
Mateo’s rapier glowed in the infrared. Bearing in mind that it generally glowed in the dark, that didn’t surprise me.
“Seeing anything?” I talked a little above a whisper.
Mateo pointed down the hall with his sword. “The presence went that way.”
“Presence?” Officer White checked from side to side as we walked toward the hall.
Mateo stepped around the receptionist’s desk, an ornate wooden model that extended into the walkway. “I don’t know it’s a vampire. All I know is that it leaves an inky spiritual residue behind.”
Pausing only to glance behind the desk, Officer White said, “Hmmn. I can’t say I don’t learn new things on this job.”
Checking my helmet’s near 360-degree view, I was relieved not to see anyone behind us.
We passed the bathroom on the left, but on the right, the hallway opened into a small room with a polished wooden stairway going up to the second floor and down to the basement.
Mateo pointed toward the downward staircase. While the part that went upward was polished and gleaming, the section going downward was not original to the house. It was newer, at most maybe ten years old, and not stained.
We walked down it into the basement, a long, empty room with gray, concrete walls.
The windows, small and next to the ceiling, had been covered with cloth. Old filing cabinets stood next to the walls and tarps what appeared to be old furniture in the middle of the room.
A woman stood on the far end of the room, a stocky, no-nonsense looking woman in her sixties. Between her square jaw, glasses, and her scowl, I could imagine her as a particularly harsh elementary school teacher.
For a second, I thought she might be okay, but then she opened her mouth, revealing long, sharp teeth.