Gwen went home, but remembered that she had some of Eran's clothes to return. She thought about going there, but hesitated. She needed to clean up and get some sleep, before she would face them again. She took a shower, put on some underwear and went to bed as the sun's red glow appeared on the horizon. She thought, as she drifted to sleep, "I will call Eran when I wake up."
She slept for an hour, but her sighting while running with the pack disturbed her sleep. She kept seeing the image of the unicorn. She always thought they were mythical creatures. Seeing one, while she ran, was never expected. She knew of other supernatural beings, but unicorns just never came up in the conversation. Now she saw one or thought she did.
She slept fitfully for seven hours and woke just after one o'clock in the afternoon. She got out of bed and went into her kitchen to get a yogurt. As she ate the yogurt, she thought of what she would tell Eran about her nights run. Obviously killing the buck would be cool, but Eran might not want to hear about it. She had to return the clothes and act a little sociable.
She reached for her cell and fished Eran's card from her pouch. Instead of calling, she sent a text, "Hey, I have your clothes. Can I drop over and leave them later today? I also need to talk to you and maybe one of the vampires. When would be a good time?"
Almost immediately Eran returned a text, "Sure come on over. Leona will not be up until after dark, but we can feed you a good hearty meal if you like. The clothes are not important."
Gwen smiled and put her phone down. She would go there early and get another free meal. They ate well and she liked the human interaction. She knew Eran from college because of Eran's grades and her participation in activities. Eran was the girl everyone wanted to emulate. Gwen felt that being around Eran might be just what she needed.
Gwen dressed in her leathers and climbed on her motorcycle for the ride to the big warehouse. She loved the feel of the throbbing machine underneath her. She wove through traffic and made it in less than fifteen minutes. She loved how exhilarating her motorcycle felt. She sent a text to Eran, "Open the door, please. I am here." The door opened and she rode in slowly to keep the noise low. She turned off the bike and removed her helmet, gloves and jacket.
She grabbed her bag and walked to the table. As she passed the big couch, she looked over and saw Maria asleep. She paused and looked closely. She recognized Maria, but wondered what she did there. She continued to the table and sat down with a big flop. She put her bag on the table with a loud clunk from their buckles.
Eran walked over and sat beside her. The girls exchanged a hug and chatted for a short bit. Gwen asked, "Why is Maria here?"
"She came to us with a case earlier in the day. Steve is missing. How do you know Maria?"
"Maria and Steve had to give up their on campus apartment when she graduated. I was the student who got the place when she left. I helped her move out and she and Steve helped me move in and unpack. She is such a wonderful friend to have. Why did she come to you for help?"
"Maria and Steve were a big help in breaking our first big case. We owe them a lot and she trusts us. In addition, she and I graduated together from college. We shared a few computer classes. Steve is a good guy and we don't want anything to harm him."
"Wow, it is a small world." Gwen felt better about coming to see Eran. A level of trust and respect reflected in the change of Gwen's posture as she relaxed. She knew that Eran was a true friend and trust was important to all of them. She had to tell Eran what she saw. It was important.
Kevin and Slade came in from walking the perimeter of the warehouse. They greeted Gwen and set about preparing the evening meal. Gwen and Eran went to the counter to gather the dishes and utensils for setting the table. There was an easy feeling almost of family within the group. To Gwen it felt nice because she was alone in her life. For once, she felt as if she belonged with these people.
The smell of cooking food woke Maria and she sat up on the couch. She smiled, as she looked and saw Eran. She continued to look and felt she knew the young woman helping Eran. She spoke, "Gwen, is that you? What are you doing here?"
Gwen turned, "Yes, sleepyhead Maria, I am here." She smiled and continued working with Eran. "I witnessed the latest murder these police are working."
"Wow, it is a small world. They are helping me find Steve. He is missing. He went to work but never came home. I trust these police to find and bring him back to me."
"It is good to know that you trust them. It makes me feel better about what I need to tell them, or at least ask them." Gwen confessed.
Eran stopped and looked at Gwen quizzically. She thought, "Gwen has something else on her mind. That must be why she asked about the vampires. It must be supernatural in nature. Oh boy, this ought to be good."
Maria stood and walked to Gwen. The two women hugged and laughed together. Eran watched fascinated at how these women felt so comfortable with each other. Eran never had those feelings, as she grew and attended college. A little pang of jealousy rose in her heart. Gwen and Maria turned toward Eran and gestured for her to join them. She dropped the last place setting on the table and went quickly to them. The gesture given by these two women made Eran's heart soar and a big smile appeared on her face.
"OK ladies, are we going to eat tonight?" Slade interrupted. The women turned and scowled at him. The sat together at the table, while Kevin and Slade waited on them. The group chatted throughout the meal and made small talk about college and life outside the academic community.
As they finished their meal, Eran's computer buzzed with an important message. She walked to her computer and brought the message to her screen. She stood there and read the message with a puzzled look on her face. She read it and looked up at Maria who knew right away that it was about Steve. Maria jumped up from her chair and hurried to stand beside Eran.
As she read, a look of puzzlement came across her face. She could not believe what she read. A call came from the University police department that Steve's truck was in a parking lot at the university. Maria wanted to go get the truck right away, but Eran and Slade cautioned her not to go. She was not happy, but let them do their job. She would wait impatiently for them.
Eran and Slade got into his car and drove to the university parking lot where the truck was. Based on Maria's conversation, the truck was not supposed to be there. It was near a construction site. Someone moved the truck from there and parked it here. Eran thought, "This is not good. Who would do something like this?" Steve went to a pub and someone took his keys and moved his truck. That was not good. Steve was in trouble.
Eran found no fingerprints in the truck. Steve's hardhat, gloves and boots were still in the truck. It appeared no one stole anything. The mystery deepened with these discoveries. Eran had Maria's spare keys and used them to start the truck. She put a cable to a plug under the dashboard and connected it to her laptop. Soon she had all the GPS data downloaded from the truck to her laptop. With this data, she could build a map and timeline about the movement of the truck.
After she finished, she drove the truck back to the warehouse with Slade following behind her. When they got to the warehouse and parked the truck inside, Maria ran to check it out. Nothing was missing and there were no signs of foul play. Maria started to sob, but Gwen came over, took her hand and led her back to the couch. Eran sat with Gwen trying to calm Maria down. Maria slowly stopped sobbing and Eran got up and went to the table.
Eran took her laptop and ran a program that printed an historical log of where the truck drove. She also had a map displayed on the large screen TV that showed the streets used. The time line displayed was very clear and the truck spent time parked near one of the two pubs in the area. They knew where to start the search for Steve. Eran and Slade felt they had a good start to finding Steve.
Leona walked out from her sleep chamber after rising from her coffin. As she looked at Slade in the kitchen, her heart melted and her hard exterior cracked. Normally she was a hard, cruel, uncaring, ruthless vampire known as 'The Enforcer.' Since she met Slade, her desires, as a once human woman surfaced. She felt things long dormant. Love, caring, lust and other feelings resurfaced and she felt alive. After one hundred fifty years of being a vampire, it was difficult to harness and express feeling like a woman.
The sound of women laughing brought Leona back to reality. She turned and saw three women huddled on the couch laughing and exchanging stories. Her mind turned on a strong yearning to be like them. She craved friendship and desired the company of human women. She had vampire friends, but they knew her as 'The Enforcer' and feared her. She took a few steps toward the women, but stopped. She smelled dog again. She felt that the shape shifter wolf was back.
She walked closer and stood looking at the women. They looked at her and Eran spoke, "Leona, nice to see you this evening. You know Gwen from yesterday, but this is Maria one of the girls who escaped the murderers from our first case." Leona shook Maria's hand, but remained standing. She wanted to join them but felt out of place.
Slade walked up put his arms around Leona and pulled her close. He bent to kiss her. Not a soft kiss, not a wanton kiss, but more like their lips caressed and their tongues touched slowly softly enticing each other. Slade felt her love flow into him starting with his lips and filling him to his toes. The warmth spread back to her filling her with love and lust.
For Leona there was a feeling that gnawed deep within. The yearning was there to be a woman. She wanted to be able to give herself over to her feelings. She wanted to truly love and abandon herself for another, to surrender herself completely. She wanted to laugh and feel it come naturally not forced. The thoughts and feelings vanished as her vampire instincts took over. She became the hard, cruel being she was.
She turned away from him and saw the red pickup truck. "What is that doing here? It stinks of fey. Where was it? There are fey in the city. Gustaf needs to be informed."
"Steve is missing and we found his truck at the university parked overnight. Why does Gustaf need to know about fey?"
"Fey here means more evil will follow maybe a succubus or incubus. We don't want them here. Only trouble comes with them." Leona replied. "We can smell them and it is not a nice feeling."
"Would you like to visit a pub tonight as part of the search for Steve?" Slade asked Leona.
"Yes, we may meet some fey or the succubus you are searching for if she is not hunting."
Eran put a cup of tea on the table for Leona who sat down with her. They sipped their tea and sent an urgent email advising Gustaf about the fey. Gwen got some coffee and sat across from them. Leona looked at her with disgust, but let her stay. Eran finished her typing and turned to Gwen.
"Did you have something else on your mind Gwen?"
"Yes, I did. It happened last night when I separated from my pack. I sniffed the ground trying to follow the pack. The full moon was low in the sky. When I looked up at the moon, I saw what I thought was a pure white horse. It was not a horse though because it had a horn in its forehead. I watched it gallop away. Aren't unicorns mythological creatures?"
Leona quickly answered, "They are real and have appeared here occasionally. Recently in the forest around the mountains, there were several sightings of unicorns. They are timid around people, but animals do not scare them."
Eran asked, "Can you remember where you saw the unicorn? I would like to check the area."
Leona listened but scoffed at Eran's desire to see a unicorn. Gwen nodded yes. Eran smiled but kept quiet. Leona finished her tea, as Slade approached the table. He had his jacket on and was ready to leave.
He extended a hand to Leona and asked, "Are you ready to go check out the pub?"
She grabbed his hand, stood and walked with him holding his hand. They got into his car and drove off to the pub. The pub was near the development area, which was on the other side of the city about thirty minutes away. During the drive, Leona and Slade talked about the truck and the smell.
"Are fey dangerous?" Slade asked curiously.
"Not really, they are more mischievous, unless they accompanied a succubus. Then they typically do her bidding." Leona replied as if everyone knew that.
"If we are in the pub could you sense fey and a succubus?" Slade continued.
"Fey can be sensed anywhere they have been for hours. A succubus is different. If she just changed or fed, they appear beautiful and seductive. Otherwise they are very much human in appearance." Leona informed him.
They arrived at the pub and parked a block away. As they walked, Leona smelled and sensed the presence of more than one fey. She wrapped her arm in Slade's arm and her other hand clutched the same arm. She felt very uncomfortable in the area, but Slade's calm demeanor made her feel assured. Construction workers in various states of intoxication milled about the exterior of the pub. Loud music played inside and spilled out to the street.
The bouncer at the door disappeared, as Slade and Leona approached. He sensed Leona's vampire aura and wanted to escape and report her presence to Molly. He went to the bartender, informed her of their approach and left quickly by the back entrance. The bartender picked up her phone and called Molly.
"Don't worry, they check up on the place once in a while. There is nothing to fear." Molly assured the bartender.
The bartender hung up, as Slade approached. She smiled at him, when he flashed his badge. Leona hung back sensing a large presence of fey. She looked around but no fey appeared to her. The pub was busy but not full as normal. Leona followed the smell and sensed it strongest from the back room area.
"Have you seen this man in here recently?" Slade asked the bartender.
"I don't serve the customers, only the barmaids do. You have to ask them."
Slade stopped a barmaid and showed her Steve's picture. She could not remember. The next barmaid remembered him because he did not drink much and heckled the dart throwers. She also remembered another barmaid picked him up but she was not working. Slade continued asking barmaids and patrons about Steve. One patron remembered Steve and told Slade about Steve and the owner spending time together.
No one remembered if Steve left that night, but he was there. Slade felt good about the search and this was the pub. He looked around for Leona and saw her standing beside the bar in front of the back entrance. She signaled him to join her. Slade moved through the crowd. When he stood in front of her, he noticed a bit of agitation in her posture and on her face.
"There were a lot of fey here recently. Their stink is very strong and they were in the back room. I wish we could get back there. We probably need a warrant right?" Leona observed.
"Yes, we will need a warrant. Having Gustaf with us may help us get the warrant. We know Steve was here from some patrons and barmaids. They told me he was with the owner for a while too." Slade continued.
"That seems like probable cause for a warrant. Let's call Gustaf and get the wheels turning for it." Leona hastily said.
"We will call Gustaf, but we will not serve the warrant until tomorrow when we can have more people with us. We need to watch the exits so no one leaves while we search. I don't want to lose anyone we may want to question." Slade told her.
They left the pub. The bartender picked up the phone and called Molly again. "The cops are looking for the second guy you are holding. He seems to be either a cop or an important person to them. There also was a person with him who looked like a vampire."
"We better get rid of him then. Have one of the barmaids bring him a beer laced with Rohypnol and make sure he drinks it all and passes out. I will have Carlo dress him and drop him over near the university later tonight." Molly said.
"OK, you're the boss. It will happen and he will disappear and not remember where he was. They have his truck, but no clue how it got to the university." The bartender said.
Molly hung up, but was not sure if she was in the clear yet. Steve might become a real problem, but she had Sean to worry about too. He was safe for now, but his cell was not a good place to keep him. If they came with a search warrant, they would find him and she would be arrested. Working with humans was easy because they fell for her charms. Vampires and other preternatural that were immortal were more difficult.
Slade and Leona went back to the warehouse and called Gustaf. Gustaf drafted a warrant and signed it immediately. Kevin drove to the Vampire Justice headquarters and picked it up for Slade. He returned and gave the warrant to Slade. He waited for word to go, but it never came.