Vampire Games (Chapter Thirteen)

It was early afternoon and something was wrong.

I'd been feeling it all day. The forty-five minute plane ride from Vegas to Ontario had seemed like an eternity. Now, driving home from the airport, an inexplicable fear gripped me. Something was seriously wrong.

Except I didn't know what.

My kids, I thought, pressing the gas harder. Something with my kids.

But what?

I didn't know. Not yet.

Having extrasensory perception had its benefits, but also its pitfalls. Being keenly aware that something was wrong, but not knowing what, was, if anything, torture.

A moment later, as the dread in me grew to a fever pitch, my cell phone rang. It was my sister, of course.

My kids.

A car blasted its horn next to me. I jumped, jerking my wheel. I had inadvertently swerved into its lane. It continued honking at me even as I snatched up the phone and made an inhuman sound. A squeak, of some sort.

My kids, of course, were staying with their Aunt Mary Lou.

"Mary Lou," I gasped, pressing the phone hard into my ear. "What's wrong?"

"How – never mind." She swallowed. "It's Tammy."

"What about Tammy? What's wrong?" My voice had reached a very loud, shrill note.

"She ran away, Sam."

I took in a lot of worthless air. I had expected worse, true. Running away wasn't the worst, granted, but it wasn't good either. Tammy was, after all, only ten years old.

"When did she leave?"

Mary Lou explained that Tammy had been grumpy all day, irritable. I nodded to myself as Mary Lou spoke. Yes, I'd been noticing this lately, too, although I had chalked it up to her going through some life changes. My sister had assumed Tammy was in her guest room all day, either reading or on the phone. Later, Anthony came out of the very same room and asked where Tammy was. They searched the house and called her cell phone. Her phone was turned off. And that's when Mary Lou called me.

"Did anyone see her leave?"

"No, but we're pretty sure she went out the back door, then through the side gates."

"Did she take a bike?"

"All the bikes are here."

"Did you hear a car pull up front?"

"No, but we weren't paying a lot of attention to the front of the house."


Although I didn't have access to my own children's thoughts, that didn't mean they completely escaped my extra-sensory perception, which was why I had sensed something was wrong, and why I had seen the dark halo around Anthony last year, when he had been critically ill.

As my minivan's speedometer climbed past 110 mph, I told Mary Lou I would be there soon and hung up. I focused on keeping the minivan from flipping over.

And keeping myself together.