“My friends,” Heinrich began. “We are all aware of the disappearances of our people. Kirk has come to me with further news. I will let him fill you in as he sees fit. Please give him your full attention. Some of what he says may be alarming, but it must be dealt with.” He nodded to Kirk.
Stepping to the center of the stairs, Kirk raised his head. The room was full of expectant faces. He picked out Drea and focused on her. She smiled her encouragement. He told what had happened to him and Drea over the last few days. There were mutterings around the room. Kirk held up his hands for silence and they stopped.
“We have agreed to investigate further, but we need your help. Any of you with military or law enforcement experience will be needed to provide security for the rest. Go nowhere alone, travel in pairs. You are much more vulnerable by yourself.”
“We’re vamps,” one young man said. “We can take on an army if need be.”
“We are still vulnerable,” Kirk reminded him. “With the right tools, we can be subdued and killed. Don’t let yourself be a victim.”
The young man scoffed. “I’m not worried. I can take care of myself.”
“I’m sure that Vincent thought so too. He was older, stronger and more capable than you. He was a warrior in his first life, before turning. Now he’s gone. We don’t know what these people have to use against us. To them, we’re the enemy—the evil, walking dead. We prey on humanity.”
There were protests from the other vampires. Heinrich held up his hands for silence.
“He has a point! Who among us can say we have never drunk of human blood? Who of us has never killed? Have any of you not turned at least one other?”
There was immediate silence. Kirk nodded his thanks. “We aren’t perfect. We may not be as humans paint us, but we’re not angelic. They don’t call us blood sucking fiends for nothing.”
There was scattered laughter. Smiling, he continued.
“I am not asking you to give up your lives. I am asking you to be cautious. Think before going out alone. Take another with you. Go about your activities with care. Be watchful. It takes moments only to be vigilant just as it takes mere moments to disappear.”
“What do you intend to do?” The same young man, much subdued, asked him.
“We intend to get to the bottom of this. If we can, we’ll find who’s responsible and take them down.”
“And if it’s some of us?”
“I would hope that none of us would do this to our own. However, if you meant vampires in general, it is possible. A rival coven, one not bound with the same morals and constraints we imposed on ourselves centuries ago.”
“I’ve got police experience,” Rolf said. “Also been a bodyguard. I’ll help all I can.”
“I will too,” Theo said, stepping forward.
One by one, a baker’s dozen stepped forward to volunteer. Even the Tweedle Twins said they would help out, which surprised Kirk.
“We need to make plans,” Kirk announced to his volunteers. “Meet in the library in 10 minutes,” the said as he stepped from the staircase. “Heinrich.” He jerked his head at the councilman.
To his amazement, Heinrich followed without protest. Andres, on the other hand, was livid. He intercepted Kirk before he left the room.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
“What you should have done six weeks ago when the first of us disappeared,” Kirk said angrily.
“Do you remember who is in charge here?”
“I have no memory loss, Andres. Perhaps you’ve been too wound up with your pretty, new plaything to pay attention to the fact that someone is hunting us.”
Drea stepped between them, a hand on each chest. “Stop it. Andres, if you’d clear your love clouded mind, you would know he’s right.”
Andres said nothing, but backed out of Kirk’s way. He followed quietly, much subdued, to the meeting in the library. Carley made to follow, but Drea held her back.