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Death is the Destination

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It was a new moon, and though the night was cloudless there was no light to guide Jack and Trixie as they worked their way through the graveyard. No real matter - Trixie had better than average night vision anyway, and Jack really just had to make sure he followed her. Though his senses were better than that of the any mortal, especially in the dark, tracking at night was really Trixie’s specialty.

She stopped suddenly. “Do you hear that?” She spoke so quietly that his ears strained to hear her.

“No,” They both went quiet for a few moments, just listening. Jack’s hand drifted to his hip, where his gun was holstered. Trixie had her Glock out already; she was wearing trousers tonight, so no chance of a mousetrap there.

“Sounds like someone is following us,” She finally said, and Jack turned his head back, eyes absorbing the darkness. Shadows created depth, and Jack’s eyes followed the shape of the gravestones until -

“Three of them.” he said, eyes finally picking up the figures ambling down the pathway. “But they’re not even doing a good job of it.”

Trixie followed his eyeline. “They’re making a lot of noise and not trying to hide. Civilians?”

“Out for a lovely moonless stroll?” Jack asked sarcastically. “Coincidentally at the same time we’re tracking our mark?”

“Maybe they’re vampires.” Trixie mused, and it took Jack a moment to realize she’d been serious, and it hadn’t been a shot.

“Why would any vampires be out tonight? Not a lot of fresh blood in a graveyard.”

“New moon. Could be younger guys knocking on mausoleums for a prank.”

Silence, and then Jack asked quietly, “What kind of prank is that?”

“Well Jack, while I know the truth about how messed up you really are, you’re probably considered among the well adjusted of the turned soldiers, so it may come as a surprise for you to learn that there are those who would consider waking the dead great fun. It’s not as common in the city, it usually happens out in the country where it’s a nuisance to get wizards to lay them to rest again.”

More silence, and then Trixie clued in to what Jack’s silence really meant.

“Jack, you did know that vampires can wake the dead on the new moon, didn’t you?”

“Let’s just say Trixie, for the sake of curiosity, that I don’t.” He had a sinking feeling in his chest; Trixie had been taking forever and he’d been pacing around impatiently and...

“It’s a pretty basic concept Jack. Vampires need permission to entire a home. You knock on a mausoleum, it’s their home, the dead are going to wake to answer, and why am I teaching you this?!”

“Uncle Sam didn’t exactly give us a “How-To” guide when we got turned Trixie.”

She had no response; together they watched the figures that Jack could tell was most definitely heading towards them.

“Jack?”

“Yes, Trixie.”

“Are you going to make me ask, Jack?”

“Am I going to make you ask if I, by chance, knocked on a mausoleum at the entrance to the cemetery when you were sniffing around trying to pick up a scent?”

“While I object to the term ‘sniff’, yes Jack, that is the question I was going to ask.”

“Yes Trixie. There is a chance I knocked on a mausoleum while you were taking forever to track our mark.”

Even in the darkness, he saw the movement as Trixie slapped a hand over her eyes. “Okay, one: do not even try to insinuate that this is my fault, and two: come on, let’s get out of here.”

She turned on heel and stomped in the opposite direction - towards the figures stumbling in the dark.

“Where are we going?” Jack called after her, picking up the pace as she paced inelegantly back towards the entrance of the graveyard.

“We are going to call Theo.”

Theo? What does your boyfriend have to do with this?”

“He’s not my boyfriend. We need a wizard, and while Braithwaits is a joke of a clan, Theo knows basic enough magic to lay the dead back to rest. Not to mention he owes us after the ransom caper last month.”

They strode confidently past the three undead men in the lane of the cemetery. Jack watched out of the corner of his eye; it took them a full thirty seconds to realize that their quarry had walked right past them and another minute after that to reorient themselves and resume their chase.

“He’d do it just because you asked,” Jack finally offered, feeling unsettled at the mistake he’d made and needing to put them on even footing again.

“No Jack, he’d do it just because it was the right thing.” Trixie replied easily. “And I know it’s going to hurt your pride to admit this, but you’re going to owe him for this. You’re going to owe him a lot.”

The gate clanged loudly behind him; the dead loudly protested being locked in and left behind. “Sorry to disturb you,” Jack called quietly, pulling his hat down over his eyes. “We’ll be right back.”