Thankfully, the little boy in the backseat was asleep. As instructed, Denny and Chico would immediately hand the little boy over to the police.
I was surprised by the interior of the warehouse. The large, bare space was much cleaner than I’d been expecting. In the far corner was a large white lorry that, at first glance, seemed like an average heavy goods vehicle. It was actually a mobile hospital.
The three humans – two men, one woman – lifted the bed into the vehicle with a practiced ease that made my blood boil. Just how many women had they done this to? Just how many bodies hadn’t yet been discovered?
They took me past a supply station, a small lab, and a curtained area that contained a baby incubator and cot. Finally, they halted and I saw that we were in an operating suite. They transferred me from the trolley to a standard hospital bed, arranging my body in the position that they wanted.
The dark-skinned male took a place at the bottom of the bed. “Right, let’s get this over with.” He didn’t sound happy to be doing it. At least he had a conscience, even if it was tiny.
The woman, having taken a place on my left while the other male was at my right, rolled up my sweater, and gasped at the sight of the Empathy Belly Pregnancy Stimulator.
Before any of them could react, I bolted upright and backhanded the Medics on either side of me, sending them crashing to the floor. In a blink, I was then behind the dark-skinned male, holding one of the scalpels to his throat. “Surprise,” I drawled. “Bet you never seen that coming, eh? Shit yourself?”
“I d-don’t understand what th-this is a-about,” he stammered. “I sw-swear I haven’t t-told anyone anything.” So he thought I was one of his employers, most likely based on me being ‘different’…which meant he had detected that something was ‘different’ about them.
“I’m not one of your employers, but I am like them. In fact, this lot are just like them as well,” I added as Jared, the squad, and Jude entered the suite.
The female Medic took one of the scalpels and hurled it at them. It hit Salem in the chest, who merely peered down at it in bemusement. Rolling his eyes, he tugged it out and slung it on the floor. I had to give her credit for trying to fight back.
“Sandra, no!” chastised the human I was restraining. “Just cooperate. You too, Mitch,” he told the other male Medic who was now being held by Reuben.
Salem tangled his hand in Sandra’s hair and dragged her to him, pinning her wrists behind her back with one hand. Neither she nor Mitch struggled.
Jared came to stand in front of the dark male, shooting me a brief glance. Nice work, baby.
See, I’m not helpless just because my gifts are on the blink.
I can see that. Although there was amusement and affection in his tone, his expression was hard as stone. “What’s your name?”
“Well, Erik, I’ll get straight to the point. I have a few questions for you.” Jared held up his hand, showing the human the trickles of electricity that were playing around his fingertips. “Answer them correctly and I won’t have any reason to demonstrate just exactly how much this will hurt. Play dumb and, well…we’ll find out if you can hit the high notes. Are we clear?”
Erik, stinking of fear, whined, “If I tell you anything, they’ll kill me.”
“Ah, but if you don’t tell me anything, I’ll kill you. That’s if the beautiful female behind you restrains herself long enough to let me. I should probably point out that she has homicidal tendencies. Oh, and you may have noticed the totally pissed off woman at the other end of the suite, glaring at you. She had her baby taken from her.”
“Is this the one that cut you open?” I asked Jude. She nodded, looking fiercer than I’d ever seen her.
Jared scratched his head, giving Erik a falsely sympathetic smile. “Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that you’re not leaving this warehouse alive. I won’t lie to you about that. Denying Jude her vengeance isn’t something I’m prepared to do. But I’m prepared to skip the ‘torture’ part of the interrogation if you answer me honestly and quickly. Think you can do that?”
Startling all of us, Erik abruptly leaned into the scalpel and sharply twisted his head, slitting his own throat. Releasing the gargling human, I jerked back.
Butch sighed. “I guess he didn’t think he could.”
Max cocked his head. “If he’d rather die than talk, they had to have scared him even worse than we have.”
Jared shrugged one shoulder. “No matter. We have two others here who can help us with our enquiries.” At a leisurely pace, he strolled over to Mitch. “I’m hoping that you’ll be more cooperative.”
“He looks like a helpful person,” I said, as I joined Jared.
“He does, doesn’t he?”
The words burst out of Mitch. “I don’t remember anything.” When Jared went to move, he shouted, “It’s true, it’s true! They did something to me.”
Jared crossed his arms over his chest. “Explain.”
“I can’t, not all of it, because I don’t remember. I just know that they put some kind of block on my memories.”
“A block, or they erased them or something. They did the same to Sandra. The only one of us who really knew anything was Erik, but that was because he’d saw stuff that he wasn’t supposed to see. He would never tell me any of it. He said it was safer for me that way.” His expression was poignant as he looked down at the body of his ex-colleague.
I turned to Jared. “Is that possible?”
“Yes. It’s a little like Jude’s gift, only much stronger. Whereas Jude can only delete last twenty minutes of memory, these people can choose which memories they want to delete and there is no time limit.”
“So we have nothing,” said Jude through her teeth.
“Not necessarily,” interjected Stuart. “See, the brain is made up of so many compartments that it would be impossible to completely erase a memory. It’s a little like a computer. When you delete things, it simply goes into the recycle bin, so it’s more like the vampire suppressed his memories. One memory can trigger another to resurface.”
I nodded. “Okay. So how do we get to those memories?”
“We use Antonio’s top interrogator, Ryder,” announced Jared. “He can do a mind swipe. Basically, he has a psychic hand. He uses it to sift and browse through what’s there. If there is anything at all left of those memories, he’ll find it.”