Nellie looked at Beau and made a decision. She picked up the telephone and rang Dr. Paine. She described what happened as quickly as she could, giving him the barest of details, knowing from experience what he would need to know immediately and what could wait until later to tell him. Then she called the Night Officer and alerted him. With several gunshots fired, police constables would arrive at any moment.
Nellie put the telephone onto the hook. She picked up a cloth napkin from the smashed drawer of the china cabinet and tied it around the small cut on her forehead. She hurried to her bedroom, threw a dress over her head, slipped on her shoes and reached into her desk for a second torchlight and said as gently as possible, “Beau, she’s dead. I’m sorry, but we must pursue Vance. He’s wounded. We can follow his blood trail. But we must leave before the constables arrive.”
From under Beau came a weak voice, “I’ve been dead longer than you’ve been alive.”
“Lucy!” Beau shouted and nearly dropped her in his surprise. He carried her to Nellie’s sofa.
“It missed my heart,” Lucy said in a voice barely above a whisper. “I’m very close to a final death though.”
“What can we do to save you?” he asked.
“I need you to pull the stake from me and I need blood,” Lucy said.
Beau rolled up his sleeve quickly.
“I just fed from you,” she said. “You cannot afford to lose more blood than you already have.”
Lucy closed her eyes.
“Take it,” he said.
She opened her eyes. “You would not survive.”
“I don’t care,” Beau said.
Lucy shook her head nearly imperceptibly.
There was a knock on the door and a neighbor’s concerned voice asking Nellie if she was alright.
“I’m fine, Mrs. Adams. Tell the police a burglar escaped down the stairs. He might be hiding in another flat.”
Mrs. Adams acknowledged her and her footsteps could be heard going down the hall.
“I bought us some time,” Nellie said. “Not much.”
She looked down at Beau and Lucy.
“Bloody hell,” Nellie said angrily. “Step aside, Beau.”
Nellie knelt down beside Lucy. “Drink from me, vampire, but don’t take too much.”
Lucy’s eyes opened. Nellie pulled back from the intensity of Lucy’s gaze. Beau rolled Lucy over. He grabbed the end of the bat handle and pulled it from Lucy’s body with a terrible, sucking sound, leaving a gaping hole in her.
Summoning her courage as best she could, Nellie knelt down, closed her eyes tightly and held her left arm out. She felt hands grip her shoulders as she was pulled forward. She squinted through her eyelashes and briefly saw Lucy’s open mouth and sharp fangs going not for her arm as she expected, but for her throat. Nellie’s eyes opened wide in shock and horror as she felt the brief sting of the bite. She gasped at first from the pain and a second time as an exquisite pleasure flowed through her body. Nellie suddenly recalled she had no undergarments under her dress. She felt as if she were sinking into herself. She could feel the softness of Lucy’s lips on her skin and the feathery touch of her tongue on her neck as Lucy lapped up the blood.
Nellie put her arm around Lucy to steady herself. She tried to analyze her thoughts, to rationalize how the vampire’s kiss could be so pleasurable. Perhaps it was a side effect of the sudden blood loss or a form of mental telepathy from the physical link with the vampire. She soon gave up the effort to understand it, however, and it seemed too soon when she felt Lucy pull away from her. She fell back into a pair of arms and she thought for a moment she was floating before she realized Dr. Paine was carrying her into her room and placed her on her bed.
Nellie felt unable to speak and unable to lift her arms. This weakness she did recognize for she had experienced severe blood loss before as a result of wounds.
“We need to get her to hospital right away,” Dr. Paine said to a an ambulance attendant.
Nellie looked up weakly. Lucy was crouched at the window. She looked back at Nellie.
“You’re a brave one, Nellie,” Lucy said before jumping.
“Are you alright?” Beau asked. Nellie wasn’t certain if the anxiety on her face was for herself or for Lucy going after the werewolf alone. “She fed a long time.”
“Go,” Nellie motioned in a weak voice. “Follow her.” Beau rushed off.
Dr. Paine held a stethoscope to her heart and Lucy heard him speak to a stretcher bearer before she passed out.
She came to in a hospital bed. There were curtains drawn around her though she could hear people elsewhere in the ward. Curtains around a patient in a ward meant one thing.
“How much longer do I have, Doctor?” she asked, keeping her voice down.
“Nellie, it’s the patients on either side of you,” he said. “You’ll be fine. You just need to rest and drink plenty of fluids – not alcohol – for a few days.”
Dr. Paine bent close to her ear and whispered in a voice low enough for only her to hear: “An inspector will be hear soon to question you. The Chief said to tell him you surprised a burglar breaking into your apartment. You struggled with him. The burglar stabbed you. You fired shots at each other. You thought you hit him, but not fatally. Beg off being questioned by them as soon as you can. Claim you’re exhausted or in too much pain. Play for sympathy. The Chief is pulling strings behind the scenes, but he’s got to be careful in doing so. Remember, no one else was there but you and the burglar. Alright?”
She nodded. It wasn’t the first time she’d lied to police and she’d even done it from a hospital bed before. “What time is it?” she asked.
Dr. Paine pulled out his pocket watch from his vest pocket and told her it was after 1 o’clock in the morning.
“Any word on Beau or Lucy?” she asked softly.
“No,” Dr. Paine said. They both heard the footsteps coming closer. Nellie was fortunate. As the curtain was drawn back, it was an inspector she recognized, one who thought she worked for an American newspaper’s London bureau. She kept her information as vague as possible, explaining that it was dark when she struggled with the burglar and that he had stabbed her and she had fought to defend herself. When he asked about the shots, she broke into tears and said it was too awful to recall. The Inspector looked at her sympathetically and patted her shoulder.
“I’m sure you’ll have nothing to worry about, miss,” the Inspector said kindly.
Dr. Paine said his patient needed to rest and the Inspector nodded and motioned for his partner to leave with him.
“Too much?” Nellie whispered.
“No, that’ll give the Chief the time he needs,” Dr. Paine said in a low voice. “That should be the last you’ll hear from them.”
Dr. Paine stuck a thermometer under her tongue. “Beau filled me in when I arrived. Why did you do it Nellie? Why did you let her drink from you? For Beau’s sake?”
Nellie shook her head and made a motion with her eyes to the thermometer.
“Oh, sorry,” Dr. Paine said.
“Do you believe I care of his romantic notions?” Nellie asked. “Lucy has the best chance of tracking Cyrus Vance. He left a blood trail as he escaped. Reviving her was a matter of expediency, nothing more.”
Dr. Paine reached into his medical bag and pulled out a syringe. “This is a very mild sedative to help you sleep.”
She looked up suspiciously. “This is a vampire bite, not a werewolf,” she said touching her neck. “You do know that, right?”
“Sleep well, Nellie,” he said, swabbing her arm and plunging the needle into her.
Continue to Chapter 13.