She pointed to the ground. “That’s fresh.”

            “What is?” Keeping to her tracks, he advanced forward until he was directly behind her.

            “That dirt is freshly turned over. Someone’s been digging around where the body was buried.”

            “Maybe another dog, or an animal did it.”

            “Let’s see.” She got down on her hands and knees, and lowered her face to the ground. Immediately the hairs on her head started to rise. Off to her left, she caught the faint gasp, followed by the rapid padding of feet. Jumping up, she took off after the suspect.


            She couldn’t stop to explain, and hoped her partner would try to follow, although she was running at a pace far faster than he could. So was the person, or rather, the vamp she was chasing.

            The perp made a beeline to the subdivision on the other side of the woods. When they hit open air, the vamp’s scent was an invisible arrow pointing directly at them. Saoirse hoped the person wasn’t familiar with the neighborhood. Otherwise, it would be nearly impossible for her to catch up with them.

            Rounding the corner of a house, she finally caught sight of the vamp less than half a block ahead. She poured on the steam. If she was lucky, the vamp’s indecision on which way to go, if they tried to elude her, might be enough to tip this race to her advantage.

            The vamp ducked behind a travel trailer parked in a driveway. Saoirse swerved around it, and something hot and sharp dug into her chest, right above her left breast. Stunned, she stared into the face of the young male vamp. Like her, he wore no cosmetics to cover his pale gray face. His fiery red eyes glittered as he shoved the knife deeper into her, up to the handle.

            “Take that, you whore cop,” he growled.

            Before she could react, he took off again, but there was no way she could follow him this time. The pain grew more intense as her body finally realized it had been violated, and she fell to her knees.

            The buzzing in her pants pocket had to be her partner looking for her, but she couldn’t move her arms to reach for it. Her hands refused to obey, and the ground rose up to smack her in the head. At the last second, she managed to turn sideways just enough to keep from landing on the blade and driving it deeper into her. Her warm blood seeped through her blouse, and shards of agony lanced through her. Breathing was an effort.

            Dimly, she was aware of the fact that the vamp had missed her heart. He hadn’t killed her outright, but if she didn’t receive medical care soon, she could die of exsanguination.

            Somewhere in the background she heard a siren wail. It drew closer, but she couldn’t flag it down. She couldn’t call out for help. All she was able to do was lie there and feel her life blood oozing out, puddling on the grass beneath her.

            Faintly she thought she heard someone yelling her name. A presence, human, appeared behind her, and a young voice cried out, “Over here! Someone’s been stabbed! Is this her? Is this who you’re looking for?” It was a kid.

            Then Jake showed up, dropping down beside her. His face was pasty white with fear. “It’s gonna be okay, Saoirse. You’re gonna be fine.”

            She saw him reach for the knife’s handle and managed to croak, “Don’t…touch it.”

            “I won’t,” he assured her. “I know better than that. You might bleed out faster if I did. Saoirse, did you see who attacked you?”

            “Vamp,” she gasped.

            “I figured.” He gave a low whistle and nervously laughed. “Damn. I knew your kind could run faster, but that was awesome!”


            “Shhh. Save your breath. EMS is on its way.”

            “Go back…to…site. Try to find…what he…was…looking for.”

            He frowned at her. “I will.” He brushed a lock of hair away from her face as he stared at her. Concern etched worry lines around his mouth and eyes. “Don’t die on me, partner.”

            “I won’t. Idiot…missed…heart.”

            She saw him lean over her and closed her eyes. His lips touched her forehead as another wailing vehicle showed up. She was still conscious when EMS techs crossed her field of vision, and she remained awake until they loaded her in the back of the van. It wasn’t until the doors closed, cutting off all sight of Jake, that she finally allowed herself to rest.