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Affliction (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 22) Laurell K. Hamilton 2022/8/5 16:54:17

My phone rang, and it was Ted Nugent's 'Bad to the Bone,' which was Edward's ring tone.

'Hey, Ted, what's up?'

'All the older crime scenes that we found today were in Callahan's district almost without exception.'

'Yes, I don't think the sheriff was targeted by accident. Gutterman says that Callahan senior visited the isolated houses regularly, had coffee with them, checked on his older couples, or people with disabilities, anyone he was concerned about.'

'I take it those were a lot of the people who got hit,' I said.

I said, 'Hang on a minute, Ted.' I turned to the cops and nurses with Henry. 'I'm going to take this call. I'll be right back; I have a few questions for you, Mr Crawford.'

'Marshal Blake, you just saved my immortal soul; you can call me Little Henry.'

I smiled. 'I don't know about your soul, I think that was yours either way, but I can't call you Little Henry when you're over a foot taller than me.'

He smiled. 'Everyone calls me that, and I'm taller than all of them.'

I smiled and made a vague motion at him, trying for noncommittal. I went out into the hallway with Nicky trailing behind. We walked a little way away from all the other police to have more privacy. 'I'm back, Ted.'

'I take it you cured Little Henry.'

'Yeah, that's a whole 'nother story, but it sounds like they took Callahan out before he could piece together that they were hitting his people. The vamp's original body has to be in the sheriff's territory, somewhere that the sheriff would have known about.'

'Gutterman says that Al knows the area just about as well as the sheriff,' Edward said.

'Al left to take a phone call, but I can ask him about old mines, caves, anything with a rock wall and a dirt floor.' I told Edward about the vision I'd had with Little Henry.

'I called Al and told him to start making a list of places, but I'll call him again and add your information so he can narrow it down.'

'I love that you already had Al making a list.'

'And you're going to stay and see if Henry has any other information that will help us narrow the list down even further, aren't you?'

'Hatfield and I are making teams to go search the area now. If you want to be in on it, don't take too long questioning your new conquest.'

'Oh, God, Ted, don't say it that way, I worked really hard to not make him another conquest.'

'Sorry, bad joke; question Henry fast and get over here. I'll quote one of your favorite movies, "We're burning daylight."'

I grinned. 'You're one of the few people who knew I had a thing for John Wayne movies until very recently.'

'That one shitty night in the hotel and a marathon on the Western channel makes it hard to forget,' he said.

'Hey, you liked them, too.'

'And the next day when we said we hadn't gotten much sleep, the other cops thought we'd had marathon sex,' I said.

'They wouldn't believe the movie marathon,' he said.

'We're going to be ready to start searching in about forty-five minutes. Will you be ready?'

'Do my best, though I'm down a guard.'

'What'd you do to this one?'

'Nothing,' I said, and let the offended tone sound.

'I'll explain when we're out searching for vampires.'

'That makes sense, but I'll miss having you at my back,' I said.

'Same here, but we really are burning daylight, and I don't mean to go all movie line on you, but I have a bad feeling about tonight.'

'The Lover of Death is spooked now. He has nothing to lose by throwing everything at us.'

'You worried about zombies?' I asked.

I thought about all the bodies we'd found in the house, like a creepy grocery store. Nicky had said you'd need a hell of a lot of zombies to store food like that. 'Yeah, I'm worried about more zombies.'

'Then question Little Henry, and I'll have SWAT meet you at the hospital to drive out with you. Hatfield and I will take our teams and start searching our sections. SWAT will have the map with the locations marked. Let's find the bastard before nightfall.'

'Will do,' I said. We hung up, and I went back to see if Little Henry remembered anything about a room with stone walls and a dirt floor.