Home > Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25)(6)

Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25)(6)
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton


   “Fang marks are just like human bite marks in one way, Superintendent Pearson. It’s not always the size of the mouth that dictates how a bite mark looks; sometimes it’s how the teeth are placed. Someone who has too many teeth for the size of their mouth can sometimes have teeth that are sort of crowded together, which will make the space between their canines much smaller than you’d expect for an adult.”

   Another man’s voice said, “We don’t care about canine teeth. We care about the fangs.” His accent didn’t match as well, as if he were from a different part of Ireland. It was the same idea as a Southern accent here, as compared to Northern, or Midwestern, though television and the Internet were erasing regional accents in a lot of places.

   “The canine teeth are what become fangs after the person changes into a vampire,” I said.

   “That’s Inspector Logan. Please ignore him, Marshal Blake.”

   I heard Logan make an unhappy noise, but he didn’t make a second remark. Pearson outranked him, or someone else in the room did and had taken Pearson’s side.

   Edward said, in a much more cheerful version of Ted’s voice, “Go to the next picture, Anita.”

   I did what he asked. The fang marks seemed bigger still, but the holes weren’t as neat and tidy, so . . . “The marks look even bigger than the last set, but they’re also less neat, as if the vampire used more force to bite down, or jerked out more when it stopped feeding, so it could be the same vamp as bite number two.”

   Pearson asked, “Do you think we can assume that vampire number two is an adult male?”

   “With the spacing between fangs you’d probably be safe assuming that, but I’ve known a few women with exceptionally wide teeth spacing, so it’s not a guarantee. The necks all look like women; is that correct?”

   “Yes.”

   “Inspector Logan here . . .”

   “Address her by her title,” another voice said, and I thought it was a woman.

   “Fine, Marshal Blake, this is Inspector Logan. The pictures don’t show the Adam’s apple; how did you know they were women?”

   “I’ve spent a lot of years looking at fang marks on skin, Inspector Logan. After a while, you just know what you’re looking at.”

   Edward said, “Is there anything else that makes you think male or female, Anita?”

   “A lot of vamps prefer to take blood according to their sexual preferences, so most males prefer to feed on women, and a lot of females feed on men, but some new vamps take any victim that they can, just like any other young predator on a learning curve.”

   “Detective Logan here, Marshal Blake.” And there was something in the way he said my title and name that let me know he wasn’t happy about it. Or maybe I was being overly sensitive.

   Micah looked at me, and the look was enough; he thought the same thing about Logan. Maybe I wasn’t being overly sensitive.

   “Yes, Detective Logan?”

   “Are you saying that gay vampires would feed on same-sex victims?”

   “Possibly, but if you’ve never had vampires in Ireland before, then these may all be very new. So again, they’re probably going after whatever victim is easiest. Some women feel safer feeding on other women, even though as a vampire they could beat the shit out of most human men. They never quite get rid of the idea that men are stronger and more dangerous than they are, so they feed almost exclusively on other women regardless of their sexual preference.”

   “So basically, you don’t know anything about these vampires just from the pictures?” Logan said, and he made sure that I heard the disdain.

   “I told you that Anita would be more useful in person, Logan,” Edward said, holding on to the cheerful Ted voice with effort. Logan had already been a pain in the ass for his voice to struggle like that.

   “I don’t think we need to fly your girlfriend in, Forrester.”

   “Logan!” And now I was sure it was a woman.

   “That’s enough, Luke, and I mean it this time,” Pearson said.

   “Everyone knows . . .”

   “No,” Pearson said, and the Irish accent held anger just fine, “everyone does not know, and before you start spreading rumors about a fellow officer, you might want to make certain you know what you’re talking about.”

   “That’s how a lot of the rumors get started,” I said.

   “What, Marshal Blake?”

   “One person says something that isn’t true, but it’s too scandalous not to repeat, and then the rumors feed on each other, and before you know it, everyone knows the truth, even when it’s a lie.”

   “Well said. I’m Inspector Sheridan, Rachel Sheridan.” The woman’s voice again.

   “Glad to almost meet you, Inspector Sheridan,” I said.

   “You would take her side,” Logan said in his sour voice.

   “Who got your panties in a twist about me? We’ve never even met,” I said.

   “It’s me he’s mad at,” Edward said in a voice that was far more cheerful than the words warranted.

   “Why in blazes would I be mad at you?” Logan asked.

   “Because you’re jealous,” Edward said.

   “Why would I be jealous of you, Forrester?”

   “For the same reason you’re going to be jealous of Marshal Anita Blake.”

   “And why is that?”

   “Anita, look at the next picture.”

   I hesitated for a second, then thought, Why the hell do I care if some cop in Ireland doesn’t like me? I moved to the next image and it was another set of fang marks like the last ones, bigger fangs, and this time rough enough that the wounds were jagged around the edges. It made me have to swallow hard and fight off an urge to rub at the scars over my collarbone at the bend of my left arm where the same vampire had worried at me like a dog with a bone. It had almost cost me the use of my arm, but serious physical therapy and devotion to the weight room in the gym had left me better than I had been even before the injury.

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