“Fine.” Thomas shrugged, and Dane released Bobby. He collapsed onto the floor, breathing hard.
Even though they hadn’t given me permission, I ran towards Bobby. I grabbed him by the arm and dragged him a few steps back from them. I couldn’t really check on him because I didn’t want to let my guard down, but I stood in front of him.
“Are you a part of a movement?” Thomas asked.
“A movement?” I shook my head. “Like a dance movement? What?”
“Don’t get smart with us,” Samantha narrowed her eyes. “We have no problem killing any of you. It’s all part of our job.”
“Look, I want to answer your questions. I just have no idea what you’re talking about!” I told them as emphatically as I could. “You only speak in riddles. I don’t know what you want from me!”
“We know you and the human are involved with the serial killer, and we have reason to believe that you have a child vampire as well,” Samantha said. “Are you part of the movement to expose vampires?”
“What?” I raised my eyebrow and looked over to Ezra. His expression remained blank, not wanting to give anything away to them, but he had to know something. “I already told you. I’m not involved with the serial killer. I’m looking for him, but I’m starting to think you guys are the killers.”
“Don’t be absurd.” Samantha rolled her eyes.
“We’re here to catch him. It’s what we do,” Thomas gestured to Samantha and Dane. “We keep order in an order-less society.”
Bobby coughed and got to his feet. He stood next to me. I glared at him, hoping he would take the hint and fall back, but he didn’t.
“You guys are vampire hunters, right?” Bobby asked, rubbing his throat. In one synchronized movement, Samantha, Thomas, and Dane looked at him, and I stepped in front of him a bit more so my shoulder shielded part of him.
“They’re more bounty hunters, actually,” Ezra said.
“Bounty hunter is such a loaded term,” Thomas said with exaggerated disdain. “Besides, we hardly ever work on commission anymore.”
“So no one’s paying you to be here?” Ezra took a step closer to us, his arms crossed over his chest.
“We’re doing a service for the community,” Samantha smiled thinly.
“Who called you?” Ezra asked.
“We’re not at liberty to divulge that,” Samantha replied, her tone getting icier.
“But you know several people that have our number,” Thomas grinned. “The Commissioner has always been a big fan of our work.”
“Oh!” Bobby gasped, and then lowered his voice to a whisper. “I told you the police were in on this.”
“Bobby,” I said through gritted teeth.
“Can we just get this over with?” Dane sounded exasperated, and he checked the neon green and pink watch on his wrist.
“Oh my god!” Bobby pointed at him. “That dude is supposed to be a vampire hunter, and he’s got on a fricking swatch! There is no way these guys are for real!”
“Bobby!” I snapped.
“Whatever. I’m just saying this whole thing is messed up,” Bobby insisted.
“If you don’t shut up, I will kill you,” I glared back at him, and he rolled his eyes, but he fell silent. I turned back to the supposed-vampire hunters. “I’ve already told you everything I know.”
“What about the child vampire?” Thomas asked, and I fought to keep my expression neutral.
“The only child vampire we have here is Milo upstairs, and you just kicked his ass,” I said.
I wanted to look over at Ezra to see how he reacted, but I knew that’d give something away. Milo had stopped groaning upstairs, and his bones weren’t cracking, but I couldn’t see him or Jack.
“I don’t know if I should believe you.” Thomas crossed his arms over his chest, staring at me with false contemplation. “I want to, but something about you just screams ‘liar’ to me.”
“I don’t know what I can say to make you believe me,” I told them honestly.
“I tend to think that people are most honest under pressure,” Thomas said, and Dane stepped forward.
“I have already told you everything!” I shouted and put my hands up. I’m not sure if Dane meant to hurt me or kill Bobby or what, but I didn’t want to find out.
“Really?” Thomas asked. “Are you sure?”
“This serial killer, he killed my best friend Jane, and I’ve been hunting all over for him,” I said hurriedly, thinking if I said it quickly it would make it more believable. “I know that the killer is a vampire, that he’s branding the girls, and he wants to get caught. He wants people to know that it was a vampire, but I don’t know why. He knew Jane, but I don’t even know if it is a him. It could be a girl. Or it could be a group. Or it could be… anybody.”
“You don’t know why he wants to get caught?” Samantha looked at me seriously.
“No. I have no idea why,” I said.
Samantha stared at me a moment longer, but my answer seemed to satisfy her. She looked over at Thomas, and finally, he nodded. Dane rolled his eyes and groaned, so I assumed it was good news for us.
“We won’t be wasting any more of your time,” Samantha said shortly.
“Sorry to bother you,” Thomas added.
The three of them turned to leave. Dane hissed at Bobby as he walked past, and Bobby jumped in surprise, then scoffed at himself. As soon as they left out the front door, I ran upstairs to see Milo with Bobby hot on my heels.
Milo was shirtless, slumped against the wall. His eyelids were half-open, and one of his sides was swollen and red, looking strangely lumpy. His left arm hung at an odd angle, and his skin had turned almost purplish around it. The cheek below his eye was puffy and covered in drying blood.
“He’s okay,” Jack said when I fell on my knees next to Milo. Jack was crouched down next to him, watching him.
“Are you sure?” I asked, confused by how horrible a vampire could look after a fight. “What happened to him?”
“Milo? Can you hear me?” Bobby asked. He sat on the other side of Milo, afraid to touch him, and tears filled his eyes.
“You should let him sleep,” Jack told him. “He had a lot of broken bones, and the more injuries he has, the longer it takes to heal. I gave him some of my blood to speed it up, and he should be alright soon.”