“You’re not trying hard enough!” April shouted from her hiding place as Faith once again failed to flag down a passing driver.
Faith bit her lip, silently fuming. April was wrong, she wasn’t trying at all. She hadn’t even stuck her thumb out for that one, let alone her leg.
“I think it’s a lost cause tonight April. No one wants to stop. Besides the sun’ll be up soon so we should probably head back.”
“But I’m starving!” April whined.
“You’ll have to have one of those pouch thingies, just to tide you over.
April crawled out from her hiding place. “No.”
Faith sighed. “Just consider it. Mel’s been drinking them and she’s really getting a handle on her thirst. I need to get back to Joy, I can’t leave her with my mum forever, she’ll never forgive me.”
“She’ll be fine. You were.”
“Only because I had Mel to feed and clothe me.” Faith ignored a car that rolled past them, much to April’s exasperation.
“You aren’t even trying!” April stamped her feet. “I’m not drinking Lilith’s slop and you can’t make me!”
“Grow up, April!” Faith growled. “Don’t let your jealousy further cloud your judgement; it’s already shit. He is allowed to have a sister, you know.”
“I’m not jealous of Lilith! I just don’t want to drink that stuff!”
“It’s not natural! We have fangs for a reason and it’s not to drink goop from a juice carton.”
“Fine, but I’m not going to be hunting for you,” Faith shrugged as she walked past her. “If you want to drink from strangers, you can do it by yourself. Try not to end up as roadkill.”
“What? I can’t do it by myself!”
“Well there ain’t no butlers out here, Blondie. About time you started making your own meals,” Faith called over her shoulder as she headed back into the forest.
April frowned at the back of Faith’s head and then climbed out of the bracken towards the roadside.
Faith had barely gone five steps when she heard the sound of a car pulling to a stop followed by April’s sweet voice.
It made her irrationally angry. Of course April would get the very first car to stop.
Faith paused and listened. It was always amusing to eavesdrop on April’s conversations. She was so awkward and vacant sometimes. It was surely only her appearance that kept most people talking to her at all.
Faith could hear April’s voice but she couldn’t make out the words. She could hear a male voice and finally April’s reply. It was followed by the squeal of wheels on tarmac as the car sped away.
Faith laughed to herself and headed back towards the road.
“Not as easy as it looks, is it, Blondie?”
He couldn’t believe she’d beaten him again.
“Are you sure you haven’t played before?”
“Never. Maybe you’re just not as good as you think you are?”
Lilith laughed. “You figured him out quickly.”
“Ha bloody ha,” Caleb said, sarcastically.
Melinda’s phone rang a few times. Lilith bopped along. “I love that song! You don’t seem like the type to enjoy such heavy tunes. If you like that, I’ve got a whole load of music you might want to take a listen to.”
“Ooh! That sounds like fun.”
“Great!” Lilith grinned. “We’ll make a night of it.”
“I’ll bring Faith round too; she loves a tune that she can give herself concussion to.”
“Sure. Sounds like a plan,” Lilith said, her smile wavered only slightly.
Caleb asked, “Who called? Faith again?”
“Probably my mum. She keeps calling me to tell me about things I should go and see on my ‘road trip’. Faith never calls; she’s more of a text girl. Oh no, wait it was Faith.”
Melinda dialled back immediately. Faith answered before Melinda had heard the first ring. “Everything OK?”
“She’s gone! April’s gone!”
“April’s gone? Gone where?”
“I don’t know! I think she got into someone’s car, or they took her. I don’t know!”
“You actually went hunting?! Are you insane?! Where are you?!”
“Don’t shout at me! I’m still at the roadside, near a billboard with a fish on it.”
“A billboard with a fish? Where is that?” Melinda asked.
“About a mile from the bar,” Faith said. “Lots of cars pass by here, it seemed like a good place—“
“I’m on my way—“
“Oh no you’re not,” Lilith interrupted. “The sun’s almost up. Put her on speakerphone.”
Melinda obliged and the room filled with the frantic sound of Faith voice. “She was being such a pain in the ass. I thought it’d be funny to just let her have her tantrum… Fucking hell! What should I do?”
“You need to stay completely calm and head back to the house,” Lilith replied, in her smooth, glacial tone. “Get yourself inside. No point losing you too.”
“We need to find her!” Faith screeched.
“She could be miles away by now. Faith, go back to the house, she might find her way back there. Caleb and I will look for her.”
“How?” Faith asked.
“We can go out in the sun. Did you see this car? Can you describe it?”
“I didn’t see it. But I didn’t hear any doors opening or closing so maybe a convertible or something?”
“OK. Caleb, you head up to… um… the Corner, you can certainly cover more ground than me. I’ll go to Joe’s place and find out if anyone saw anything. Faith, go back to the Davies house, now. Melinda you should head back to Marjorie’s, too.”
Caleb nodded and disappeared in a blur. Melinda didn’t even know he could move that fast.
“I can’t just stay at Marjorie’s,” Melinda sobbed. “I have to help you!”
“You’ll help me by keeping safe. I promise, we’ll find her.”
Faith paced along the verge, running her hands over hair; panic swamped her. Lilith had told her to stay completely calm and head back to the house. Stay calm?! At what point of the conversation had she been calm at all?!
What have I done?!
Almost like he could tell when she was at her weakest, a familiar, swaying figure was making his way slowly along the road towards her.
Will raised his eyebrows at Faith. “You’re whoring now? My lucky night!”
“Fuck off, Will.”
He clutched his chest in mock indignation. “Is that any way to talk to your customers? As I know you’re a half-decent ride, I’ll pay ten simoleons,” he said, reaching for his wallet. “I’m feeling generous. Feel I might be coming into some money.”
“I totalled my truck last night, so it’s your call, Fanny; in that bush or against that tree. I’ll give you an extra simoleon for the inconvenience.” He laughed like it was the funniest thing in the world. “Unless you want to go back to your hovel. What was the address, again?”
Faith looked up at Will’s smug face. The guy just didn’t quit. And he was familiar. Warm.
It would be so easy. So mindless…
I’d make eleven bucks.
No! What am I doing? Why am I even considering this?
The voice came from behind her. It was a slow, smooth growl.
“I suggest you listen to the lady and fuck off, Will.”
Will seemed to freeze on the spot and Faith watched as he turned and staggered off down the road, without another word. She composed herself.
As relieved as she was, she was also rather pissed off that a random man had jumped in to defend her. Like she was some sort of damsel in distress. Which she definitely wasn’t. She’d certainly be giving him a piece of her mind.
All is forgiven.
Apart from being dressed like some sort of pirate, she thought he was achingly gorgeous. And he looked angry, like he was trying to decide whether to savage her, or not. She liked that in a man.
As she stared unashamedly at him, she felt like she was being crushed.
“Thanks,” she mumbled. “He’s always harassing me. He’s such a jackass.”
A cold shiver ran along her spine as he spoke. He hasn’t got a pulse. She watched the smile creep on to his face. “Who are you?” she asked, “I’ve not seen you around.”
She waited for him to ask her name, or to elaborate, but he didn’t. “I’m—“
“Yes. How do you—“
It was almost like someone was trying to turn the pages in her mind. Colours flickered at the corners of her consciousness, she sensed him moving closer. The pressure increasing in her head.
“Intriguing,” he murmured.
“What is?” she asked. “How do you know my name?”
Seth glanced towards the horizon where the early sun was rising. He made a motion with his hand and Faith felt herself turning around; her feet began moving her along the path away from him.
She could feel his eyes following her and then the pressure around her lifted. She glanced back at the empty space where he’d been.
“Intriguing,” she repeated, to herself.