Mateo shook his head, “I don’t know. At the rate that a vampire infestation can grow from what I’ve read, you probably should, but, they choose not to grow at that rate most of the time. They’re not stupid. They know that if they grow too much, they’ll be destroyed. Their best bet is to stay in the shadows.”
Officer White nodded, “I’m looking for a recommendation to pass up the chain. What do you think we should do?”
He frowned. “I think you should talk to an expert in fighting vampires, and that’s not me. V4 and I are going to patrol tonight and if we see any leads we’ll pursue them. We’ll keep you informed of anything we find, but neither of us are qualified to make that kind of decision.”
Looking down toward the ash-covered skeleton, Officer White said, “You could have fooled me. I’ll tell my supervisors what you said—all of it—and we’ll see what they do. Honestly, I’d be surprised if they evacuated the city, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they increased patrols and armed the force with garlic, crosses, and holy water. Don’t you be surprised if you see the best expert they can afford showing up.”
We spent the next thirty minutes, maybe more, giving a statement about what had happened. More police had arrived by then as well as an ambulance.
We were outside by then, standing in the parking lot between the church and the house. I commented to Mateo, “She seems pretty well past the point where anything’s going to help.”
He shrugged, “I think it’s standard procedure if there’s a dead body. I don’t know.”
This was after our statement, but we’d been told to stay in case there were more questions. Officer White and another officer walked out the front door started toward us. As they got closer, they stopped talking.
The other officer stood around six and a half feet tall and was slim like some long-distance runners. He sped up as he got closer, stopping less than a foot from Mateo and leaning in toward him.
Officer White hadn’t kept up. She was about five feet behind him and turning a little red.
The man’s glossy, metal name tag named him, “F. Duford.” Officer Duford didn’t shout, but his voice was definitely louder than casual talking—by a lot.
“You stabbed her and then you incinerated her. I don’t know why you haven’t been arrested. No, I do know. It’s because people around here think that because you’ve got a magic sword that you’re special and better than the rest of us.”
He looked over at me, “Fuck you, too. Designing a super motorcycle shouldn’t mean you’re above the law either.”
Officer White caught up and spoke before Mateo or I could say anything, “I’ve got it all on body cam. He did the right thing.”
“Don’t talk to me, White. How do you know she couldn’t have been cured?” He didn’t wait for an answer before storming off toward the police cars in front of the house.
“That’s not how it works,” she said to his back. He didn’t show any sign of hearing her.
She turned to us, “There isn’t a cure, is there?”
I shook my head, “Not for vampires that I’ve ever heard. I know of a couple of people who caught the zombie plague in New Mexico a few years back. They got cured, but that was a disease. So Preserver, the healer in Los Angeles, could handle it. I’m pretty sure these vampires are supernatural—at any rate holy water worked on them.”
I’d have to remember to tell Amy about that.
Mateo nodded, “He’s right. I’ve never heard about a cure for vampires either. My understanding is that even though the body is still here, the soul is gone and something else is in the driver’s seat.”
She eyed him for a moment before saying, “That is how it worked in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was hoping that wasn’t real.”
“It isn’t in that the corpses don’t turn to dust but the only reason it worked that way in the TV series was that Joss Whedon didn’t want to deal with the question of what to do with all the vampire bodies.”
Glancing over at Officer Duford as he stood next to the forensics SUV, Officer White said, “That might have been nice.”
Mateo grimaced, “The ashes and burned skeleton did look pretty bad. Did he know her?”
“Paula was his mother-in-law.”
Mateo eyed Officer Duford, but Duford noticed and scowled in our direction.
Turning back toward us, he said, “I’d apologize, but I think he needs some time.”
Officer White took a breath, “Don’t. It’s not worth it.”
Not looking in Duford’s direction, Mateo said, “Yeah. V4 and I are going to see if we can’t find the trail to wherever the one that turned her went, preferably before sundown.”
Checking her phone, Officer White said, “Then you’ve got an hour.”