Victor kept a brisk pace on the way to Dr. Munse's office, and in my tired and injured state even I had a hard time keeping up with him. I got the distinct feeling that he was still holding back, though, walking slowly in the hopes that those guys in the black coats would catch up to us and he'd get the fight he was obviously desperate to have. He didn't say a word as we walked, and I was fine with that. Not only was he the last person on earth I wanted to chat with, my mouth was still bleeding, making it hard to talk. Luckily, I'd been absorbing moonlight since the minute I stepped out of the gas station, so the bleeding had slowed down to a steady trickle.
Still, I was missing a freaking tooth. And not one of my back teeth, a canine! Now I would look like a hillbilly every time I smiled at somebody. What's worse, I needed that tooth! I used that to eat meat, dang it! I was fuming the entire time I followed behind Victor. If I ever got hold of one of those trench coat wearing freaks, I pull every one of their teeth out and see how they liked it!
"Hurry up," Victor snapped when I started to lag behind. I was breathing heavily, and could only hope that another dizzy spell wasn't coming.
"Sorry," I shot back. "It's not like I've been through hell tonight or anything."
Victor looked back at me, and cold look in his eye sent a chill down my spine. I hated that. No matter how badly I wanted to not be scared of this guy, he was just so freaking... well, scary! There were times when he made Hendricks look like a teddy bear, and the worst part was that he knew it.
"You know nothing of hell, stupid girl," he said, and for a couple seconds I thought he was going to spin around and slap me. He definitely looked mad enough to do it. We both stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, staring each other down until I couldn't take it anymore and diverted my gaze.
"Geez," I muttered when he finally turned around and kept walking. "Oversensitive much?"
He ignored the remark, and instead turned to go into an abandoned building. I paused to look it over, and vaguely recalled the last time I'd been here. There had been a trick to getting in, but I couldn't remember what it was. Something hidden? I didn't know. My memory was blank, like someone had lifted a piece directly from my brain and hadn't bothered to put it back. All I could remember was standing in the dirty old building, and then suddenly I was in a doctor's office.
Wait a minute, I thought, and looked down at my hand. Stark had written down how to get inside, so... oh.
The snow had washed the ink off my hand. Great. Grumbling under my breath, I marched into the building after Victor, racking my brains for the answer.
"Teleportation, maybe?" I wondered out loud. Dusty windows let the moonlight in, so I was able to see pretty well. Four walls, a door, and absolutely no way that I could see to get into Dr. Munse's office. "So, how do we—"
Victor marched in and kicked the door open.
Oh, right. There was a door there.
"You go inside," Victor said, already heading back to the entrance. "I'll keep watch out here."
I gave him a careful look as I passed, but his face had gone cold and expressionless again.
"Don't do anything that'll show them where we are," I said, and spat another mouthful of blood onto the floor.
Victor hesitated with his hand just above the doorknob. "I can't make any promises. The longer you dally, the more likely they'll be to find us."
Then, with a smug smile, he stepped outside and closed the door behind him. I shivered again. There was something seriously wrong with that guy. There was nothing I could do about it right then, though, so I turned and headed through the other door, its spell negated now that it was open. A short flight of stairs led down to Dr. Munse's office. I stepped inside... and stopped short.
There were people here. I froze in the doorway like a girl who's accidentally walked into the boy's room, and it took me a few seconds to realize I didn't have any reason to be embarrassed. Still, I had expected there to be anybody here. I'd lost track of what time it was after everything that had happened, but it was still the middle of the night. What kind of doctor's office was open at this time of night?
One who took care of ghosts, ghouls, and who knows what else, I thought as I made my way to the window where the same monstrous pink thing I'd seen last time sat, tapping at her keyboard.
"Excuse me?" I said, tapping on the glass and realizing too late that I'd left behind a bloody fingerprint. "I need to see Dr. Munse."
Pink Thing picked up a clipboard and held it toward the window, sliding it open with another tentacle. "Fill that out, please. We've got a pretty long wait, and— oh my word!"
One of her eye stalks had turned to look at me, and she recoiled.
"Sorry," I said, ducking my head so that my hair would cover my blushing face. I had blood all over my face and clothes, but with all the craziness that had been going on I'd never stopped to think that I might look a little... alarming.
The next thing I knew, one of Pink Thing's tentacles was wrapped around me like the world's most feminine python, and she pulled me through the window into the office with her. She let go of me, and I flopped onto the floor beneath her desk. Stifling a scream, I looked up to see her slide the window shut again— right before a pale dude with sharp teeth slammed into it face first.
I'd never seen a vampire before, at least not knowingly, but it was pretty easy to tell what I was looking at when he stuck his tongue out and began to lick at the blood mark I'd left on the glass.
"Stay down," Pink Thing said softly. "You've put him in a feeding frenzy, but you should be fine if he doesn't—"
The vampire's eyes swiveled unnaturally in their sockets and locked with mine. A wide, rictus smile spread across his face, and his hands scrambled to slide open the window again. Pink Thing braced one of her tentacles against the glass, and that seemed to be more than enough to keep him out. One of her other arms snaked out and pressed a button on her phone. A few seconds later, I heard a door burst open and three men wearing yellow hazmat suits ran out and tackled the vampire. I lost sight of them when they went below the window, but when they got back up a few seconds later the vampire was securely tied up by a long silver chord.
"Did I do that?" I asked a minute later, after I'd recovered from my surprise.
Pink Thing gave a heavy sigh and a sidelong glance. "A werewolf your age should know better than to walk in front of a vampire covered in blood like that."
I opened my mouth to spit blood again, but realized they probably wouldn't be okay with that in a doctor's office and hesitated. Pink Thing sighed again and handed me a paper cup. I nodded thankfully and emptied my mouth into it.
"Sorry," I said. "I'm kind of new to this."
"Oh, don't worry about it, dear," Pink Thing said in the world weary tone of a woman who had seen it all and had to clean up after it. "It's an occupational hazard in a place like this."
I stood up again, still holding the cup. "Should I..."
She shook her head in reply. "You need to stay right there. I don't want any more patients attacking you. I'll tell Dr. Munse he needs to see you next."
"Thank you," I said, just as another wave of dizziness washed over me. About time too, I thought, groping behind me for a chair I wasn't even sure was there. Pink Thing saw me, and caught me by my shoulder just before I fell down. With another tentacle she pulled a spare swivel chair over and helped me sit down.
"You're in bad shape, aren't you, sweetie?" she asked, clicking her tongue.
"I've had worse," I replied truthfully. Now that the searing pain of having my tooth ripped out had faded a little, I could cope. Honestly, it wasn't nearly as bad as getting shot.
A few minutes later, a nurse poked her head in and motioned for me to follow her. I vaguely remembered from my last trip here that the nurse had had pointed ears. This one was obviously different, if the green skin and snakes growing out of her head were any indication. She wore a pair of sunglasses, even though she was indoors, and nudged them further up her nose when she saw me looking at them.
"Dr. Munse will be with you in a minute," she said, leading me to a checkup room.
"Actually, I just need a prescription filled," I said, holding up my hand. "Three—"
"Only Dr. Munse can approve prescriptions," the nurse said, and shut the door before I could protest further.
I sighed and sat down, spitting into my cup again. "Great. He'd better not take a long time."
I needn't have worried, because Dr. Munse walked through the door less than a minute later.
"Miss Pace," he said, jotting something down on a clipboard. "I'd ask what's wrong, but I think it's pretty obvious."
"Yeah," I said, picking a flake of dried blood off my chin. "Sorry about the vampire guy."
"Ah, it's fine." He waved his hand dismissively. "Daniel's got a bit of a problem anyway."
I held up my hand, trying to make out the blurred words Stark had scrawled there before I left.
"Stark asked me to pick something up," I said, squinting my eyes. "Three pills of some kind." I leaned my head back. "Oh, what were they called? I think they started with an R..."
"Let me see." I held my hand out to Dr. Munse, and he gave it a quick glance before whistling. "Ramidreju pills? Somebody must have done a number on you guys."
I pulled my hand back and looked at the ink. "You were able to read that?"
Dr. Munse laughed. "I'm a doctor, Amber. Bad handwriting is what I do."
"So, what kind of medicine is this?" I asked. "And why is Stark so desperate for me to get some?"
"Well, unlike what I gave you last time," Munse said, scribbling something down on a piece of paper, "these are magical. They're pills filled with fur from a ramidreju, a mythical animal whose pelt can cure any injury or disease. Just take one of these babies and you'll be right as rain."
He tore the prescription out of his notebook, but hesitated when I reached out of take it.
"They're also extremely expensive," he said.
"Stark gave me some money," I replied, digging the bills out of my pocket. To my relief, my numerous tumbles into the snow hadn't ruined them.
Dr. Munse gave them a quick look, and then nodded. "All right, then," he said, handing me the prescription. "Just take this to Petunia in the waiting room and she'll take care of you."
"Petunia?" I asked, standing up. "Oh, is that the—"
Dr. Munse gave me a sidelong look, and I shut my mouth. Right, right, that was probably the rudest thing I could have possibly said. I wish I could blame my fever or something, but no, I really am just that stupid.
Munse headed for the door, apparently thinking my appointment was over, but the stopped with one foot in the hall. I looked at him, waiting for him to move so I could start the unpleasant journey back home, and he turned to look back at me with a thoughtful expression on his face.
"Before you go," he said, stepping backwards and closing the door again, "how about I take a blood sample? We keep it for our records, in case we need them in the future."
I paused and creased my brow. My fever was still making my head spin a little, but I could have sworn... "Didn't you do that last time I was here?"
Dr. Munse gave me a wry smile. "I'm afraid one of our patients the other day went a little... wild. More than half our blood samples were destroyed, so we're trying to replace them as quickly as possible."
I thought back to Daniel, and nodded. If things like that were common here, I could imagine having to give him a new blood sample every time I came. Needles happened to be one of my least favorite things in the world, I thought as I sat back down on the bed as Dr. Munse rolled up my sleeve and produced a syringe, but... well, I'd already had a tooth yanked out tonight. Compared to that, this was a massage at a freaking spa.
Okay, yeah, I winced when he stuck me, but my point still stands.
"And that should do it," Dr. Munse said once the syringe was full and he'd bandaged my arm. "Be careful on your trip home, Amber. I hear tell there are people passing through town that you don't want to run into."
"Yeah," I muttered, heading back toward the waiting room, "no kidding."
As I walked up the white tiled hallway, I passed another open door. I passed it without looking inside, determined that I was going to get home as soon as possible, until...
Those words surprised me, and stopped me in my tracks. I turned to look into the room, and saw the vampire from earlier, Daniel, sitting in there. His arms and legs were clamped to the chair, and he'd been hooked up to an IV drip filled with blood. He looked a lot calmer now, and... sad.
"I'm sorry," he said again, looking up at me like a puppy that was caught digging through the trash. "I... I didn't mean to."
I felt like I should have been mad at him. I mean, he freaking ambushed me, and probably have killed me if Pink Thi— er, Petunia hadn't separated me from him. But looking at him now, like he was waiting for someone to kick him, I... couldn't.
"It's fine," I said. "Don't worry about it."
With a sudden motion, he jerked his head up and our eyes met.
"You've got some seriously screwed memories, lady," he said.
I froze, and my eyes went wide.
"I saw them," he explained. "In your blood. People have hurt you. Lied to you."
A chill ran down my spine. Blood memories. I'd had them once, the first time I'd seen Victor. The original Silverblood's memories of him had played in my head like a video, driving me into a rage that had caused me to transform in the middle of town.
Apparently vampires were susceptible to them too.
"Okay," I said, hesitantly stepping away from the door, not knowing what else I was supposed to say. "I'm just gonna go. See ya."
I turned away, but his words stopped me again.
"The one who bit you... he's not who you think he is."
The one who bit me?
This time, I didn't turn to look at him. I quickened my pace and left him to his little blood snack, and didn't slow down until I was back in the waiting room again.
"I need three ramidreju pills, please," I said, handing Dr. Munse's note to Petunia.
Petunia Pink Thing looked over the note skeptically and then raised her eyestalks to regard me. "No offense, but I'm going to have to ask that you show me your money first."
I nodded, not particularly caring whether she thought I was going to rob her or not. I was sick, I was injured, and I'd been through about twenty different kinds of hell tonight. All I wanted was to get Stark's medicine and go home. Robbing Petunia's stupid pharmacy would have been way too much effort.
I put my money on the counter, and Petunia looked it over before whisking it away and heading toward another room further back. A minute later, she came back to the window, scooting on a weird pink slug-like tail, and handed me a bottle with three pills inside.
"Have a nice evening," she said, and slid the window closed.
I didn't realize it till later, but that was the first time Stark had ever bought something for me without being told he'd paid more than he owed.
NEXT TIME: Amber’s got the medicine. Now all she has to do is get home. With Victor. Now that I think about it, the guys in the black coats might be pregerable…