Authors: Rosette Bolter
There was no dream. No imagining. No
faraway place her mind had traveled to in between the sip of poison, and her
She was on a
bed. Just a mattress and a pillow. No covers.
She sat up
and lifted her legs off the edge of it. Her bare feet touched the floor.
Someone had taken her shoes off. To the far right she could see there was a
curtain. It covered the entire wall.
ceiling above she could see there was a camera mounted.
There was a
mobile phone in the middle of the floor.
Haley whispered. “You’re revealing yourself to me…”
herself up and took a step across the room. She felt light headed. But at the
same time she doubted she’d been asleep for very long.
The phone on
the ground was vibrating.
up the camera, watching it, as if it were about to move.
eyes on it she walked over to the phone, crouched down, and took the call.
synthesizers. No anonymity.
said softly. She walked over to the bed and sat down. “This is Brock, isn’t
answered. “This is Brock.”
back against the wall. “I should have realized. I should have seen through
me what you’re thinking. What you’re feeling. Everything.”
her head. “I don’t know if I care anymore. That’s what I’m thinking.”
you care about?”
“Even after …
even after all I’ve done for you.”
supposed to be a joke?”
What happens now?”
She thought she could hear someone in the background on his end.
“So you are
“Do you see
at it, irritated. “Or what?”
“You knew you
were coming here. You knew you were going to play one last game with me. I
promise after this, it will all be over.”
of some things she might like to say.
But none of
them reflected her malice enough.
slowly towards the curtain.
And pulled it
It was around somewhere a year after the
night Cresh had been killed, that Riley McCormick had been brought in by the
Centre of Paranormal Investigation. Luna Evans had been at the table, but she
wasn’t yet in a senior role. Meanwhile Riley hadn’t had contact with them since
the fall out and didn’t have one clue why she’d been brought in or what they
wanted from her.
our records, your benefits are due to run out next month, Ms. McCormick,” one
of the staffers said. “We were wondering if you had lined yourself up with some
suitable work, or if perhaps you were still looking?”
by,” Riley said. “One way or another.”
“Yes, we know
that you’re resourceful. We were wondering if you would be interested in a
casual job here. Some good old fashioned undercover work.”
“That was never
really my thing,” Riley said. “Luna should’ve told you that.”
Ms. Evans recommended you very highly. Certainly more than … Jason Freelaw …
and Dino Hinch…”
listening,” Riley said. “What kind of undercover work did you have in mind?”
“We want you
to tail a particular vampire that has come to our attention. We believe him to
be the true mastermind behind the killings that took place a year ago, and one
you have an acquaintance with…”
And which vampire would that be?”
Or should we say the New Count, Brock Ferns.”
The updates to Brock ran in progress:
here. She’s talking to Dino.
wiped out Luna and her whole team. The Count???
The Count is
here. I can see him.
How do I
Riley put the
phone away. As she did so, she noticed Jason half peering over her shoulder.
hissed, backing away from him. “Don’t perv.”
was that? Was it Brock’s?” he demanded.
away from him and stuck to the crowd as it formed a circle around the Count. Dino
and Nadine were both standing in the centre, while Jason moved in by the edge.
“I hope you
all are prepared to hear what I have to say,” the Count said. “Otherwise we’ll
have to deal with things in a much more unpleasant way.”
we?!” Dino shouted. “You’re a fucking murderer!”
that might be true,” the Count said. “But I didn’t kill any of your people. I
was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. Set up, if you will.”
Nadine sneered. “Prepare to die!”
She ran at
the Count, Dino just behind her.
But as they
reached him another figure dropped from the sky and landed in the space between
them. Riley had to move round to get a better view.
“If you want
him, you have to get through me first.”
Nadine looked at each other.
bitch, Kendra,” Jason called out from the cusp of the circle.
want to know who the
traitor is?” the Count called back. “I always
knew who she was, but it wasn’t till tonight that I saw proof of it with my own
to feel sick.
She left the
circle and began walking away down the road, hoping no one would notice.
Dino,” Nadine said. “You’re done listening to this shit, aren’t you?”
shouted. “Riley? Where are you going?”
back. “I’m really sorry. I have to go.”
believe this –”
again to see Jason following her.
on with this?” Dino demanded. “Are you saying one of us killed Luna? Are you
saying – that it was Riley?”
back to the Count.
“If you know
what’s good for you, Riley, you’ll stop running now,” Kendra shouted.
already gotten hold of her.
you going?” he asked, flustered.
Riley resisted. “Let go.”
“Tell me it’s
not you,” he said. “Please tell me. After … all we’ve been through…”
“I don’t want to lie to you,” she said.
bitch,” Jason sobbed. “How could you? What’s the matter with–?”
listen to me now,” the Count called. “I didn’t kill your family. And neither
still a traitor, isn’t she?”
Count said putting a hand on Kendra’s shoulder. “No, she isn’t a traitor at all.”
Kendra to one side as he moved forward.
traitor is the same as it was from the very beginning. The same as when I told
Dermott her true identity before he died. The true traitor, is Nadine Blue.”
Blue. It was the color of fire. The
color of lies and deception. He had laid it out for her this way – the green
and red doors to either side of it, fading away into the background. He was
here, centre stage. He was waiting for her to open the door.
what you see,” Brock said on the other side of the phone. “Describe what’s
behind the curtain.”
you already know what’s there?”
“Three doors. Three colors. Green, Blue and Red. The same color of the initial
three suspects. Not that I’m sure that has any significance now.”
please,” Brock said tonelessly. “I need you to focus.”
those doors represents a choice for you. Two of the doors will lead you to
rooms that are empty. You will be able to find your way back to the social
affair. And I won’t bother you again tonight. The mystery will remain unsolved
select the correct door, you will find me standing on the other side of it. And
this thing between us … can end tonight.”
about I open all three doors and take a peak before going in? What are you
going to do then?”
doors will lock as the first one is opened. You can only make one choice.”
this is a trick question though, right? I know what color you are. Are you
telling me you’re behind your color?”
you to decide,” Brock said. “Remember our conversation earlier if in doubt. And
remember always, that I –”
He cut out.
down at the phone.
her lips together and tossed it behind her, letting it break on the ground.
tempted to just not think about it and walk through the Blue door. If anything
made sense, he had to be on the other side of it. If seeing him now was that
important to her anyway.
She felt as
if she was being manipulated somehow.
Blue was too
obvious. That’s why it was in the centre.
He wanted her
to pick the Blue.
And he wanted
her to lose, right?
up at the camera in the ceiling. That was there for a reason. He wanted to see
He wanted to
see her sweat.
asshole,” Haley cursed.
She put her
hand to the Blue door. This was the one. This felt right. Except, for that
She looked to
the other two doors.
She took a
step to the left and stood in front of the Green door.
This door had
absolutely nothing to do with Brock. But then perhaps there were other people
out there. People she hadn’t considered. People who were carrying this old flag
said shaking her head. “This has already been eliminated. This is done.”
back across passing the blue door.
She stood in
front of the Red.
This had been
the Count’s color.
Brock was the
new Count, he’d taken over the Vampire Dating Agency – perhaps he was trying to
Bit of a
But then who
knew how his pathetic mind worked?
her head, dissatisfied. She moved back to the centre of the room and looked at
all three doors.
stopping you?” she asked, staring at the blue door. “Are you afraid of it
really being him?”
She knew it
It had to be.
been talking to him for fuck’s sake!
“But what if
it wasn’t,” Haley whispered. “What if he still loved me after all this time?
What if he never had anything to do with this? What if he was just being
impersonated or … what if the real killer was making him say those things?”
flashed with pain.
Who was lying
to themselves now?
She took a
step back towards the blue door.
were swirling around all over it.
Magic … was
in the air…
widened. She could feel him. She could feel the killer.
exactly what he wanted her to do.
masks. And voice synthesizers.
She could see
She knew who
Haley chose a