I sent the picture over to Mateo who watched it on the screen in his helmet.
Mateo deliberately looked away from the vampire. “That makes three different types of vampires. We’ve got proof there are more out there now, but I’d still like to take a trip around the block and see if I can get any hints about where they’re holed up.”
Still watching the head as it floated down the street, I asked, “What about the head?”
Frowning, Mateo said, “I’m thinking that if we follow it, it’ll notice and lead us into a trap. If we make a couple circles around the area, I might be able to notice other signs. And then if we follow orders, we head back to base.”
I had ideas related to that. “Can we stop by a hardware store on the way back? It shouldn’t be too expensive, but you’ve got the credit card. Also, if there’s anything you need to make holy water, we might get some of that too.”
He raised an eyebrow and may have sighed. It wasn’t as obvious under the helmet’s darkened face shield. “Alright. I have the salt I need if you really want to try it.”
“You’re literally carrying a holy sword or something. I’m going to need some help to be effective.”
He nodded, “I get it. I just don’t know if it’ll work.”
Then he pointed toward the street and I followed him out. I don’t know where he was looking, but I used my helmet to look for the flying vampire without looking like I was looking for the flying vampire.
It stayed above the houses on our left, flapping its ears to keep up and then gliding for a little while. It felt like it was trying to keep up, but if it was, it only managed to until we turned left. Then it disappeared behind the trees and houses. We weren’t going more than forty miles per hour, but I supposed that its ears weren’t all that big.
Even vampires had to make some concessions to physics, but given the size of its ears relative to the size of its head, its speed was one of the few.
My helmet’s 360 degree vision allowed me to watch behind us and by the time we made a second turn, I’d decided that even if it guessed our direction, it couldn’t catch us.
Mateo led us in widening circles around the edge of Farmington’s downtown, past the Victorian houses around it, and finally through the neighborhoods surrounding it.
Activating the communicator with my implant, I said, “Are we going in wider circles because you can’t find anything or because you have?”
He didn’t look back as he replied, looking from one side of the road to the other, “Neither. I think I know where they went, but I’m trying not to make it too obvious. Do you remember that house with the sign that said, ‘Hothouse Yoga?’ We’ve gone past the front and back now and I’ve seen trails that seem to lead both to and from it. We may not be able to hit it tonight, but tomorrow we can pull the whole team in and do it when they’re at their weakest.”
I pulled the moments that we’d passed it out of my implant’s memory, seeing nothing more than that it was big, Victorian house with a sign hanging over its wide, pillared, front porch.
There were a few lights on, but nothing that it distinguished it from its neighbors—no leering vampires in the windows or headless bodies on the porch. There weren’t any pumpkins or watermelons to be seen either.
“Alright, then,” I brushed the pictures from my mind and concentrated on the road ahead. “If we’re going in tomorrow, the hardware store visit sounds like a great idea. Farmington’s won’t be open for much longer though…”
Mateo pointed to the right with his hand and we both turned. “Good point. More importantly, it’s not getting any lighter outside.”
I couldn’t argue with that. I could see the light from my headlight on the ground and the red glow of his tail lights. The night could only get more vampire friendly from here.
We weren’t far away from the local Ace Hardware. It was in a small mall off the main road. The clerk and the other customer stared at us and our cart full of hoses, a couple of humidifiers, pipes, and various metal and plastic parts.
She spent a few seconds flipping over the Motor City Heroes credit card when Mateo handed it to her, biting her lip as she leaned over to look at everything we’d placed the belt.
“Is there anything wrong,” I asked.
She shook her head and rang us up.
Within twenty minutes we were back in the base and I was putting things together in the lab.
Mateo stood watching me for a few seconds, finally asking, “How much holy water?”
“Lots,” I said. “As much as you can. You can’t overdo this.”
“Alright. I can’t promise this will be everything you want or if it will work, but I’ll take a shot at it.”
He walked out of the door and within a few minutes, I was no longer there. Physically, I was there, but mentally I was putting things together, one piece after another.
That meant that I had no idea how much later it was when my comm started going off. It wasn’t an emergency alert, but it was “high priority.”
Noting that it was from Working Man and addressed to both Mateo and I, I took the call, noticing that Mateo had beaten me to it. As I picked up, I heard Working Man’s voice.
“We don’t need you to come down here. Stay in the base. They can’t come into the base unless they’re invited. There aren’t enough of you to make a difference and there’s plenty of time for then to capture you on the way to join us.”
Deciding it was better to know, I asked, “What happened? I missed the beginning.”
Working Man grunted, “The local Syndicate L group’s been infiltrated by vampires. We’re regrouping for our counterattack. Stay in the base. We can’t risk losing it.”