One Grave at a Time

Page 69

I took a few Tasers, filling up the folds and pockets of Spade's coat. Ian and Spade divvied up the rest, testing a few out on Kramer just for kicks, it looked like.

"We need to check on Lisa and Francine," I said.

We found them right where I had left them, far enough up the street to be away from the mass of activity that was now taking place at the entrance to PumpkinTown. I was just telling them to head over there so they could get treated by the ambulances that were arriving when I heard something crash through the fields about a hundred yards away. I caught brief snatches of yelps over the approaching sirens, crackling flames, chaos from the Halloween guests, and constant rustling noises from the cornstalks. But it was the mental screams and distinct patterns of white noise that identified who was out there.

I didn't need to see her to know that Sarah was going deeper into the fields, not toward the safety of the roads. The fire department might get here in time to save her, but then again, they might not. With Sarah's broken ankle and internal injuries from Kramer's kicks, there was a good chance she wouldn't outrun the flames or would be overcome with smoke. Sarah had looked forward to watching me, Lisa, and Francine burn, but despite its being poetic justice, I couldn't sentence her to the same fate.

"It's Sarah," I said, squaring my shoulders. "I'll go get her."

Spade was off like a shot before the last word left my mouth. A few moments later, I heard a scream. Saw a streak of movement going straight up until that scream faded away, and I couldn't follow them with my gaze anymore. And then, about a minute later, I heard a rush of panicked thoughts right before something fell from the sky at a great speed, landing in the field with a thump I more sensed than heard.

Spade came plummeting down far slower. He landed without a single hitch in his stride, a dark little smile playing about his lips.

"Turns out she doesn't need your assistance," he said, tone as casual as if he'd just helped Sarah cross a street, not dropped her from at least a mile up. Spade was usually chivalrous to a fault, but try to kill his wife, and you wouldn't have a former eighteenth-century nobleman on your hands. You'd have a lethal, avenging vampire.

If possible, Francine and Lisa turned even paler. They might have hated Sarah for what she did, but this was a little too much for them to handle at the moment.

"Tyler, can you take them to one of the ambulances so they can get treated?"

I wanted to stay and keep an eye on Kramer, though Bones had him well under control. Besides, the way I looked would draw too much attention if I got around people.

"Come on, sweethearts, let's get you fixed up," he urged, putting an arm around each of them. Then he winked at me. "Catch you later at the homestead. Spade said he'd send a car. Dexter's going to flip when he sees me."

"Is it over?" Francine asked, and the same question repeated in Lisa's mind.

I looked at Kramer, still muttering threats and thrashing in Bones's grip even though both got him nowhere. "It is for you two. You won't see him again. We'll take care of the rest."

With a last, long look at us, Francine and Lisa let Tyler escort them down the street to wait for one of the ambulances. I was eternally grateful that it seemed Kramer had been too busy following me and setting up his ambush to have spent it torturing them, but they were still the worse for wear. They had deep lacerations on their wrists and ankles from struggling against the metal restraints, and that was just what I could see.

"Do you feel up to coming with us, Kitten?" Bones asked. His aura wrapped around me in strong, soothing bands even though his hands were still full with a livid ghost.

I had no hesitation in my response. "I'll need someone to carry me, but I wouldn't miss this for the world."

I was still too weak from healing the many injuries I'd received to fly myself, but I wanted to be there when Kramer was sealed into his prison. Hell, I wanted to dance around it, chanting.

More noise drew my attention to the sky. I'd expected to see firemen, policemen, and ambulances descend on the farm, but I was surprised to see a military helicopter land in one of the cleared areas of the street. It was far enough away from the remaining flames for the churning air from the rotors not to fan them, but close enough that I recognized one of the men who exited it.

"Tate's here."

Bones's head whipped in that direction, lips tightening when he saw the brown-haired vampire shouting orders to the other, helmeted soldiers who exited after him. They were too far away to see us, but as if Tate could feel our stares, he turned, looking right at us.

"You go, I'll deal with him," Spade muttered.

We did need to leave. The trip to Ottumwa would take almost four hours, and if Tate was here, Madigan probably wasn't far behind, but I put a hand on Bones's shoulder.

"Let's wait a minute," I said, motioning to Tate. "If he calls anyone else over, we'll leave."

Tate trotted over after a last shouted command, slowing down to stare at Francine, Tyler, and Lisa when he drew abreast of them. Then he resumed his brisk pace, his indigo gaze flitting between me, Bones, and the cursing ghost between us.

"Cat, your hair . . ." he began.

"If you think I look like shit now, you should've seen me when I was on fire. But enough of that. Why are you here?"

His features tightened at my brisk overview of being burned, but then they turned stony at my question.

"Madigan confiscated some amateur footage a week ago of you throwing a car off yourself, so he knows you're in Iowa. He's hot to get his hands on the ghost who killed his men, and he knows you're after it, too. So we're supposed to keep a lookout for you."

"Was the footage from a cell phone video?" I wondered irreverently.

Tate nodded. "Those things f**king annoy me."

He'd get no argument from me on that one. "Someone reported seeing a flaming person fly through the air with one of the 911 calls about the fire," Tate continued. "We were deployed to investigate if it that was hysterical witness exaggerating, or if something supernatural was involved."

"You will all be thrown into the eternal lake of fire!" Kramer shouted. I slammed my elbow into his face without bothering to look at him. From the zzzt! sound that followed, Bones zapped him again.

"So Madigan's after me because he wants revenge for his murdered soldiers," I mused.

Tate grunted. "No. He wants you to trap the ghost, then have us steal the trap so he can use the thing later as a weapon. Stupid bastard thinks he could control it."

"And what are you intending to report to him?" Bones asked, his aura changing to icy, warning currents.

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