“You have to let him go,” Eve said. “I’ll kill you if you don’t.”

The words were fierce, but not the voice. She sounded almost on the verge of the giggles. “You drugged me. You drugged my water.

That was mean.”

“I didn’t want to harm you, Eve,” he said. “You’re what I’m fighting for— humanity. You simply can’t accept the truth. That’s not your fault, but it is dangerous, both to you and to me. You and your friend Claire, you’re not like the rest. You see vampires as humans with a problem— but that’s wrong, very wrong. There’s nothing human left in them.”

“Michael’s still Michael.”

“You’re wrong about that. I see that I have no choice but to prove it to you, Eve. You’re a remarkable young lady, you know— I’ve never seen anyone stand quite so firm on a relationship with a vampire before. It makes me sad. It also gives me hope.”

There was the sharp, musical sound of a desk phone ringing then, and Fallon answered it. He didn’t say much, but what he did say sounded razor- edged and angry. “How? Whose incompetence allowed that to happen? Yes, I’ll want to talk to them. Keep them there. I’m on my way.” He slammed the phone down and cursed in some liquid, fluid language Claire didn’t recognize, but she was sure it was cursing; it had that tone.

“What’s happening?” Eve asked. It sounded like she was trying to stand up, but not managing the job very well. “Michael? Is Mi- chael safe?”

“Let’s go and see him,” Fallon said grimly. “I’ll have some ques- tions for him, and all the rest.”

There was something in those words that warned Claire to get out of the way, and she turned and ran quickly down the corridor to the intersection, whipped to the right and pressed herself against the wall. She made it with only a second to spare before she heard Fallon’s door click open and heard Eve say, in that lazy, almost dreamlike voice, “Where are we going?”


“To visit young Michael, remember?” Fallon said. “And show you that he isn’t worthy of your love. Come on, my dear, let’s have your arm, there you go. How are you feeling?”

“Dizzy,” Eve said. She didn’t sound good. “Did I drink? I re- ally should get home now. It’s late. Claire’s going to worry. She’s a worrier, you know. Claire. She thinks too much. Thinks all the time. I wish she’d just let go sometimes and be . . . you know.

Just be.”

“I’m sure she’s fine,” Fallon said, and Claire gritted her teeth.

What a liar he was— he’d have known exactly what had happened to her at the house, known all about the dead guard, too. He’d know she’d been arrested and taken to the police station. He prob- ably even knew she’d been broken out, and that there were hell- hounds on her trail.

The thing was, no matter how many date- rape drugs Fallon gave Eve, she wasn’t going to get over loving Michael— which meant that she was going to be in even more danger once he real- ized that.

Claire heard footsteps and wondered if she ought to move, but there really wasn’t any place to hide; the door behind her was locked, and running to the storage closet would be noticed. So she stayed very still, held her breath, and listened as Fallon and Eve made their way past her to the corner and then turned left, toward the lobby. Away from her.

Eve was walking on her own, but only just barely; she seemed unsteady in her combat boots, and was holding onto Fallon for support. He seemed happy with that. Claire’s eyes narrowed when she saw that he’d put his other arm around Eve’s shoulders, as if he had the right to do that.

No doubt about it, Fallon intended to do something to Mi- chael; he wanted Eve to have her heart crushed, her love destroyed.

And Claire couldn’t let that happen— but she had no idea how to stop it, either. As Fallon and Eve reached the lobby, she realized that one thing Eve didn’t have on her was her purse, a black coffin-shaped thing with silver studs. Eve loved that purse. She’d never leave it behind, unless she’d been drugged enough to forget it.

Claire backed up and ran as quietly as she could down the hall to Fallon’s office. He hadn’t locked the door— confident of him— and she quickly scanned the room. It was big, which she’d ex- pected; a golden sunrise plaque decorated the wall behind Fallon’s large wooden desk. The whole room was done up in golds and or- anges and browns, tasteful and soothing.

Eve’s black coffin purse lay discarded on the floor next to the visitor’s chair across from the desk. Claire picked it up, checked inside, and found Eve’s car keys. There was a small container of pepper spray clipped on them, for emergencies. No sign of the gi- ant backpack she’d brought, unfortunately; Claire really could have used an arsenal right now, but Fallon must have confiscated it and locked it away. She slung Eve’s purse over her shoulder and went around to the other side of the desk, sat in Fallon’s still- warm chair, and began pulling open drawers. Boring stuff. Office supplies. A few folders, but mostly they were concerned with civic planning and nothing to do with vampires.

There was, however, a locked drawer. Locked drawers were al- ways interesting.

Claire opened the office supply drawer and found a long steel letter opener. She slipped it between the cracks at the top of the locked drawer and tried to pry it open; she managed to get it sepa- rated a bit, but the letter opener was too springy to really work.

A pair of sharp, long- bladed scissors worked much better as a fulcrum.

The lock broke free with a snap, and the drawer slid smoothly open, revealing a whole collection of neatly ranked files. They all had printed labels, and Claire recognized every single name in there.

Every one was a vampire.

She grabbed Amelie’s, Myrnin’s, Oliver’s, and Michael’s and spread them out on the desktop. Amelie’s was thicker than the others, and she quickly flipped through it, looking for clues. What she found instead was history— in- depth history that she’d never seen before, about Amelie’s birth, her death, her resurrection. Her parentage, both human and vampire. A list of all those she’d made vampire in the years after— a long list, but the intervals between making new ones got longer and longer in the most recent hun- dred years, until there was only Sam Glass, and then his grandson Michael.

In strangely loopy, antique handwriting, someone— probably Fallon— had left a note beneath Michael’s name that said, end of line. That seemed ominous.

At the back of the file was a page, all handwritten, with Fallon’s observations about Amelie— strengths and weaknesses. Claire scanned it quickly and felt a real chill crawl over her, because her own name was in it. Under both columns.

Under strengths she was listed as Strong human advocate and al y. That wasn’t how Claire would have described her relationship with Amelie. But under weaknesses, he’d written Amelie shows a great fondness for the girl, and threats to her may be suc es ful in weakening A.’s resolve.

Claire really doubted that, but she also thought it was a very bad thing for her that he might try it.

Michael was in there, too, under weaknesses. Fallon had written, Threats to Michael Glass may prove effective, as he is the only relative of Samuel Glass left in Morganvil e, and her at achment to Samuel is well known.

Definitely ominous.

Myrnin’s folder would have been interesting reading, in the historical section, but she skipped it and went straight for the strengths and weaknesses section. She was in it again, but she’d expected that. Apparently Fallon thought threatening her would get Myrnin in line.

He was probably right on that. Probably.

She didn’t even appear on Oliver’s lists. The only one who did was Amelie . . . as a weakness. Under strengths there wasn’t a per- son’s name at all. Only one word.


Michael’s folder had a red stamp on the front page that said cure.

Claire stared at it, frowning. The stamp had the Daylighters symbol beneath it, and she didn’t entirely understand what it meant, but it didn’t look good, she thought.

She wanted to take all of the folders, but there were too many, and they were too heavy. She just ripped out Fallon’s notes on each person and made a sheaf of paper that she stuck into Eve’s coffin purse. Then she slammed the drawer shut and started to get up.

Something caught her eye as she did . . . another folder, lying in the tray on top of the desk. This one also had a cure stamp on the outside. She pulled it over and found that it belonged to a vampire she knew a little: Mr. Ransom. Ransom was an old, ghostly man who ran the local funeral home.

There were, she realized, little boxes under the cure stamp.

She hadn’t noticed them before. One said voluntary. The other said involuntary.

The involuntary box was checked on Ransom’s.

She opened it, and found the history again, and the strengths and weaknesses analysis page . . . in Ransom’s case, not very informative. He was too much of a loner, hardly interacting with even other vampires, much less humans.

But there was another page, a new one. There was a photo of Mr. Ransom.

He looked . . . dead.

It was a very clinical kind of picture, taken from above; Ran- som’s body was lying on a steel table mostly covered by a thin white sheet. No wounds. He looked old and withered and pa- thetic, and she couldn’t imagine anything that would have kept a vampire lying there like that, being photographed, except a stake in the heart . . . but there was no stake in Ransom’s heart. No wound at all.

He just looked dead.

She flipped the page. It was a medical report, tersely worded.

Subject Ransom received the Cure in the appropriately measured dose as established in Protocol H, as determined by age, height, and weight. After a brief period of lucidity, his mental state rapidly declined, and he lapsed into a comatose state. He roused from this upon three oc asions, indicating significant pain and distres . Recordings were made of his vocalizations, but the language was not familiar to any of the observers.

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