Looking back at him, I said, “I think I just had that same nightmare.”
“So you know it’s a trap then?” he asked, still sounding breathless.
“What do you mean, kid?” Murphy said.
“Someone has already told them that we are coming,” Isidor gasped.
Hearing this, Murphy looked at us and said, “Get your stuff together, we’re moving out.”
While we had slept the day away, more rain had fallen and we sunk into the mud outside the barn. The night sky was now clear of clouds, and was shot with a speckling of stars. The moon sat high, looking bright and perfectly round against the night. Potter was lent against a nearby tree, a cigarette winking on and off in the dark as he sucked on the end of it. He looked alone, and a part of me felt sad for him. A part of me wanted to go to him. I hated those feelings. Looking away, I glanced at Luke who had been watching me. I smiled at him and he winked back.
“This way,” Murphy said, setting off across the fields, a trail of blue smoke wafting from his pipe.
I stole one more quick glance back over my shoulder at Potter, who had stepped away from the tree and was now following us. His hands thrust into his coat pocket and his face looking grim.
Just like a sulky school boy, I thought. Smiling to myself, I began to follow Murphy.
“Hang on!” Luke called out. “I want to check out that farmhouse first.”
“Why?” Murphy asked. “It is not essential to our -”
“I’m starving!” Luke half-smiled.
“Me too,” Isidor said.
Looking them up and down, Murphy said, “Okay, but we’d better be quick. I want to keep moving,” he didn’t sound angry, but impatient. Turning, we followed him in single-file across the field towards the farmhouse.
We crept around the side of the building and ducked along the outside of the back wall. We came to a door and Isidor pointed to a set of footprints in the mud, which headed away across the fields.
“These tracks are fresh. Whoever lives here has gone for the time being,” he said.
“Not another one,” Potter groaned.
“Another what?” Isidor asked, looking at him through the gloom at the rear of the farm house.
Then glancing at me, Potter said, “We’ve already got one Nancy Drew on the team – we don’t need another.”
Ignoring him, I said to the others, “Wait here while I go check out the front of the house.” Before anyone of them could say anything, I was gone.
Peering around the side wall of the house, I could see a small front garden and a path that ran from the front door to a muddy driveway. Slipping from my hiding place, I edged along the front of the house. Peering in through the front window, I could see the house was in darkness. Turning away, I passed a trash can and two rubbish sacks. There was a small car parked outside a small wooden shack. After peering into the car, I turned away and made my way back to the others who were hiding at the rear of the farmhouse. Reaching my friends, Murphy cocked an eyebrow and said, “So? Is the coast clear?”
“For the time being,” I told him.
“What’s that s’pose to mean?” Potter said.
“Shhh,” Luke hushed him. “Let Kiera speak.”
“Three people live here,” I started. “One man and one woman – married – Mr. and Mrs. Kenner. They have a daughter. She’s a toddler – no more than three-years-old. They own two cars. The one out front and another – some kind of four-by-four – a Range Rover, I think. They left in that vehicle about an hour ago. The husband has taken his wife and daughter somewhere – to stay with relatives in all probability. The mother and child will stay – but he will be back and not before too long.”
Clapping his hands slowly together and smirking at me, Potter said, “Very good Miss Marple…is that it?”
Staring back at him hard, I said, “Before they left, the family sat down to a meal which consisted of roast chicken and corn on the cob. Mrs. Kenner uses L’Oreal shampoo and likes to listen to Beyonce. Mr. Kenner reads The Times and has recently started to dye the flecks of grey in his hair…”“Okay, Kiera, I think you’ve made your point,” Murphy said. “Are you definitely sure about what you’re telling -”
“There’s only one way to find out,” Potter said as he shoulder-barged the back door open and stepped inside. Glancing around to make sure we weren’t being watched, we followed him.
“If nothing else, Kiera’s right about that roast chicken,” Isidor said, sniffing the air.
“Potter, have a look around. See if there is anyone home,” Murphy told him.
“I’ve already told you…” I started, looking at Murphy.
“Don’t take it personally,” Murphy said, “I just want to make sure.”
“Like he said, Kiera,” Potter smirked, “don‘t take it personally, the guy’s just having some trust issues.” But before Murphy could say anything back, Potter had disappeared on his search of the farmhouse.
We were in a kitchen with a cooker, fridge, and a wooden table and chairs. I could see a half-eaten plate of food and a knife and fork. To my delight, I saw a cooked chicken, and smiled to myself. It had been half-eaten, and had slices of meat cut from it. It smelt wonderful. My stomach began to rumble and my mouth watered at the sight of it.
Without any hesitation, Luke shot his arm out and tore off one of its fleshy legs. He raised it to his mouth and began to devour it like a ravenous wolf.
“Do you think you should be eating that” I asked him.
Luke made no reply, his mouth was full of chicken, and he had a look of ecstasy splashed across his face. Seeing this, I reached out and ripped the other leg free and rammed it into my mouth. It was still warm and its taste was wonderful. Then Murphy was pulling at it and stuffing chunks of meat into his mouth. The three of us stood there, the meat’s juices running from our chins, as we chomped our way through the chicken. Isidor looked at us, then realising that within moments the chicken would be gone, he started to eat, too.
Potter reappeared in the kitchen doorway and said, “Like she said, the house is empty - you selfish pigs! What about me!” Then elbowing us out of the way, he snatched up what was left of the meatless carcass and began to groan.
“I can’t believe it – you’ve eaten it all!” he said.
Ignoring him, I licked my fingers clean and went to the fridge. Inside I found a bottle of ice cold milk. The chicken had made me thirsty, so I gulped down as much as I could.
Luke appeared beside me and said, “It didn’t take you long to get the hang of this stealing lark, did it?”
“I’m not proud of it,” I said, but my hunger kept my normal feelings of guilt at bay. I handed him the bottle and he raised it to his lips. I watched his Adams apple bob up and down as he gulped from the bottle. When his thirst was quenched, he put the bottle down and I wiped a white, milky moustache from his top lip with my finger. He then passed the bottle to Isidor.
“How are you feeling?” I asked Luke. “Better now I’ve eaten.” “I didn’t mean that,” I said. “Your cravings – for blood?” “It’s not ideal, but the blood we’re taking from those vampires is kinda doing the trick,” Luke explained. “Murphy and I will manage – we have to.”
“What about Potter? Do you think he will get by on just their blood?”
“I hope so,” Luke said, looking at me. “He’s more ferocious than normal – but that’s just him coping with his cravings. As long as there are plenty of vampires for him to rip into – he should be okay.”
Although I didn’t want to come in contact with any more of those vampires, there was a small part of me that hoped we did – for Potter’s sake.
I crossed back over to the table where Potter was gnawing on the bones of the chicken. Murphy was reading a newspaper that he’d found on the kitchen table. Looking up at me I could see concern – no it was more than that – fear on his face.
“Remember those nightmares you had about the London Underground?” he said, handing me the newspaper.
Taking it, I stared down at the thick black headline splashed across the front of it.
Unexplained animal attacks on the Underground!
With my heart beginning to race and my mouth turning dust-dry, I started to read the article.
Hundreds die in gruesome animal attack…
But before I’d got much further, Potter had snatched the paper from me and began to read it to himself.
“What’s it say?” I pestered, but he was too engrossed to make a reply. “You’re such an arrogant jerk!” I hissed, storming from the kitchen. I then found myself in a cozy-looking lounge.
On the far side of the room was a roaring fire – which again only reinforced my theory that Mr. Kenner would be back soon and that he hadn’t gone far. No one would leave a fire burning in the grate if they didn’t intend to return to the house soon. How had the others missed the smoke coming from the chimney? Opposite this was a T.V. and I crossed the room and switched it on. Holding the remote, I flicked through the channels and every one of them was dominated by news stories, each one informing the world of the weird animal attacks that had taken place in London and were believed to spread across the U.K.
Amateur video footage showed images of commuters racing from the tunnels beneath the ground and up onto the streets of London. There was footage of these terrified people being rounded up and escorted away by police officers wearing the same uniforms as the ones that had chased us the night before. I flicked through the channels and stopped when I saw Murphy’s face appear on the screen.
“Come and look at this!” I hollered over my shoulder.
The others rushed into the room behind me and we all gathered around the T.V., as video footage from a helicopter was being played out across the screen. To our shock, it showed us being pursued in the police car that we had taken the night before. The footage showed Isidor firing a weapon out of the back window at the pursuing police vehicles. Then it cut to clips of the police cars crashing and exploding into seething balls of flames. The video footage had been cleverly edited together to make us look like the aggressors.