Sharon’s Note: I love writing this couple. Even in non-standard situation, I get to show them getting through it as a couple. For better or worse, through werewolves and zombies, for as long as they both walk the earth, because death is flexible. Warning: Don’t judge people until you know them.
“Shhh, don’t cry.” Anice tried to sound as soothing as possible, beckoning with one hand. With the other she lifted up the phone and hissed into it, “How much longer till you get here.”
“According to the GPS I’m like five minutes out. I’m going to hang up now. Spend the time trying to get her to calm down. This works a whole lot better if they’re not freaking out. Ok?”
“Ok.” Anice said, hitting the button to end the call with Jack. Under her breath she muttered, “First I’ve got to get her out of the damn culvert.”
Anice had dealt with bystanders on hunts before. Since the local hunters had allied with the city vampires it had gotten a whole lot easier. Hypnotism was a blessing in the monster Hunter business. Technically she was supposed to call the Master’s office if there was an issue, but Dimitri was on duty as Hunter liaison.
Dimitri wasn’t a bad guy. He was great backup in a fight and knew a plethora of dirty jokes that were old when my great grandmother was born. The problem was Dimitri was a big, scary looking guy who was famous for his lack of patience. Anice was trying to coax a traumatized four year old out of a culvert. She needed a gentler touch, so she’d called Jack.
Getting as low as possible, stomach flat to the dirt, Anice could see the little girl. There was just enough light in the currently abandoned construction sight. She didn’t know where the girl came from, but the poor little thing had let out the most pitiful wail when Anice had beheaded the ghoul and then ran to hide in her little metal rabbit hole. The Hunter had dragged the body out of sight, but she’d yet to convince the little girl to come out.
Jack pulled up in less than the promised five minutes while Anice was still belly down in the bloody mud. As he got out of the car he was resolutely not laughing at his wife. He crouched down next to her to peer into the pipe. “Haven’t managed to talk her out yet?”
“No, I put her in there for safe keeping.” Anice snapped, then closed her eyes. She took a deep breath before speaking again. “Sorry, it’s been a long night. No, I haven’t been able to get her out yet. I could probably just grab her and pull her out, but I don’t want to take a chance on hurting her.”
“Well, I’m here, so let my magic eyeballs do all the work.” Anice snorted, but took his hand when he offered to pull her up. Jack took her place on the ground so he could meet the eyes of the little girl. Extending a hand, he sang to her in Welsh. After about a minute of quiet crooning the girl started to scoot out of the culvert, never losing eye contact with Jack.
“You’re going to have to teach me that.” Anice shook her head, but she was smiling.
“As soon as you agree to become a vampire, sure.” Jack maintained a sing-song tone while carefully getting to his knees. If at any point he lost line of sight with the kid, the compulsion would break.
“Not that,” Anice ruffled his hair as he started to rise slowly in mirror to the little girl. “Welsh. It’s such a pretty language.”
“Yeah. Probably best you don’t learn it from me. I learned from my mother and she told me I had a horrible American accent. Go to sleep now, sweetheart.” The little girl had just gotten to her feet and now started to fall backwards. In a blur of motion, Jack caught her and swept her up in a princess carry.
“What now?” Anice picked up a little green flip flop that had fallen off the girl’s foot when Jack had picked her up and put it back on. “I have no idea where the girl lives or who her parents are. Honestly, who lets a kid this young wonder around a construction sight at the edge of town this time of night?”
“I’ll modify her memory and then bring her to a nearby convenience store or something. The cops can take care of finding her family, and that way if CPS needs to get involved they can handle it.” Jack started walking back to his car with Anice following behind. “Although, babe, you know I am always happy to come out and give you a hand, but why didn’t you call the office?”
“Dimitri’s on duty.” She rolled her eyes.
“What’s wrong with Dimitri?” When Anice opened the back door for him, Jack carefully slid the girl in. “You’ve worked with him before and said he was fine.”
“He’s a big scary guy with a short fuse. He’s great if you have to punch a werewolf, not so great if you have to deal with a scared little girl.”
“You’re making some big assumptions.” Jack straightened up to look at his wife. “Dimitri wouldn’t have the liaison position if the Master didn’t think he could handle all sorts of conditions. I’ve known the guys for over a decade and yeah, he likes to punch things, but he’s also great with kids. When he was alive he had seven of them. Three of them girls.”
Anice crossed her arms and resisted the urge to sulk. “Ok, I didn’t know that. Fine. I’ll try to have a little more faith in your boss’s system.”
“That’s all I ask.” Jack gestured to the passenger side door. “Can I give you a lift to wherever you parked your car?”
“Nah. I have to wait here for the Cleaners. It may take a little while to get this all sorted out with them since I moved the body, so I’ll be home late, but should be back before dawn.”
“Ok. I’ll let you know when the girl is safe in police custody. See you later, and I love you.”
“Love you.” Anice leaned forward to kiss her husband goodbye before turning to get back on her phone. She still had a long night ahead.