I think a lot while I drive. It’s one of those times when I can organize my thoughts.
In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the wisest idea to handcuff Red Court vampires and bring them to a police precinct. I had given them a chance to walk away, but they wouldn’t have it. And now they were three, one of their number nothing more than ash in the hospital.
But arriving at the precinct, we had much larger problems. With the coroner on route, things had taken a turn. The officers had restrained the perpetrator, who looked like he was jonesing for another hit. Karina and Rena had him taken away to an interrogation room while I examined the deceased.
I’d heard stories of him. Brave, a bit reckless but dedicated to his cause. John spoke of him over the years, as the young man had been his boss, but I’d not really met the man. When I saw his dead eyes and took his pulse, however, it slammed home that I never would. Not now.
Multiple stab wounds. Massive organ trauma. Time of death for Carlos Ramirez was called off the watch of an officer in the cell.
Rena knelt down and looked him over for any evidence while I worked to get him ready for the coroner. She left the cell with much more purpose than she entered, or so it seemed to me. She stormed into the interrogation room with Karina right behind her.
In no time at all, Rena and Karina brought the junkie out. Karina sent him to be booked while Rena walked to their squad car with me. Karina met us there, frustrated and cursing into her phone. John wasn’t picking up at his house. We were headed to the Tenderloin to find a doctor.
During the ride across town, John called. He was in a panic. The call was short but one thing was clear: Fang was missing. This usually got John “all sorts of riled up” as he explained it. Karina wasn’t happy but dialed another number, and starting speaking in Russian, to which Rena seemed uninterested.
If only she spoke it. I was quite interested when she mentioned her brother Vasily and if he had seen Fang.
When she got off the phone, we had a bit of a chat. She knows how I feel about children in danger. And yet, she insists we talk to this doctor first. I bit my tongue and held back, for now. If anyone was holding Fang against his will, they’d have all too warm a welcome coming.
The clinic was standard fair for the downtrodden district. As soon as we walked in, I saw them. The suffering masses. I couldn’t stand by and not help. Karina and Rena saw about finding this doctor while I got the paperwork filled out to get some sick people on the road to mending.
Karina got another call from John while neck deep in paperwork. He told her something that upset her, but I didn’t catch it. She finishes the call as I headed into the back with a mother and three kids to get them treated. I remember seeing Karina and Rena stop a man on his way out of the clinic but I didn’t see his face.
At least, right away.
I heard a commotion while I was in the exam room, which with Karina is never a good thing. I looked over the mother and children, an easy diagnosis, and got them what they needed to get well. I bid them good day and ran out of the clinic. I exited the building to find John, in all his western wear, watching Karina and Rena chases someone down the street. I followed suit.
Karina and Rena chased the doctor into an alley, trying to get him to submit to arrest, for what reason I had no idea. John made the earth grab the poor bastard, and that’s when I saw the flesh mask slip on him, revealing the monstrosity beneath.
I have to say, it was hard. Knowing what those Red Court things did to me, to my Bethany…I almost lost it. It would have been so easy, to charge in, change and tear that doctor apart. The brick walls would have stopped the heat from setting fire to much else than what I intended.
I settled for tossing a garbage can, which, as it turns out did the job. After some struggle, Rena and Karina put the Red Court on the ground. John wanted to know what the issue in the jail was with the coroner. While Karina wanted to keep it from him, I’ve seen how that ends up. John lost it a bit.
I held him back while he had his verbal piece with Karina. He lashed out. My nose let out a loud crack.
The steam went out of him after that. I don’t think he noticed it mending after I straightened it out. Karina got the Red Court doctor back in the world of the awake. He put the mask back on when Karina put the fear of the law in him.
That and me standing behind her.
And her description of me getting angry and how he wouldn’t like me that way. (I always liked Red Hulk better than Green Hulk as a kid, who knew?)
He went away easy enough, with zip ties on his hands. They drove off to the precinct, leaving John and I in the alley.
He told me we were going to find Fang. I nodded and took off my shirt.
The fog was coming in nicely. A perfect night for a swing around the bay.