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Chapter Eight, Twin Falls, pt. 1

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Our scheduled stop, the rough halfway point, was Twin Falls, Idaho. We arrived at about ten o'clock that night. We had stopped a few hours before to eat dinner when we got off I-80 and onto the 93 in Nevada.

            We checked into a Best Western we had booked before we left, just outside of the city. I had reserved four rooms, so that Ginny and I would share a room. I knew she would sleep and I would not, but I planned to escape the hotel and the family for a little while that night anyway.

            A little after midnight, Ginny laid down and closed her eyes, and I let myself out of the room. As Adelaide had grown more and more protective of me over the last few days-in thought if not in action-I knew these nights spent wandering foreign cities and towns would make her unhappy.

            I got little research done in California; the beach had been too tempting. But I had begun to read about Eastern European vampire lore after picking up The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova when I was at Barnes & Noble in Monterey. It was fiction, but it had an academic element to it, so I thought the legends it was based on might be worth looking into. Many of the classic and modern vampire stories contained obvious similarities between vampires and my family, like those about the Abarimon.

  I planned on spending this night learning more, but the drive with Ginny had been exhausting. My mind was overworked from trying to keep her from reading it. She must have felt the same way, so I tried to keep out of her mind for most of the trip. But she wasn't returning the favor. It would be good to get away for a while.

            I walked out of the hotel through a side door as I always did late at night if one was available. I hated everyone giving me sideways looks as I walked through a lobby, out of the parking lot, and into the night by myself at such hours. I also hated to hear what people thought I was doing, so I avoided them.

            The land was mostly flat, but I could see hills in the distance. After walking until the paved road ended near the Snake River just above the deep falls, I jumped over it, and then leisurely ran north for about ten minutes until the plane of the earth began to shift upward under my feet. I found a lush, green hill that provided privacy, and a gentle slope to lie on. I looked up at the stars. I was far enough away from the town that I couldn't even hear the falls. The quarter moon was setting, but the sky was clear enough that it was still casting a faint glow.

            I don't know how long I had been lying there when I heard rustling in the earth behind me. I was concerned that an elk I'd seen in the distance was wandering in my direction, so I sat up to appraise my surroundings and get out of its way. But I didn't see anything, up or down. I topped the hill, walked along a row of trees, and looked down the other side. When I heard a low humming coming from behind me, I spun around.

            Even in the pale moonlight, I could see every feature of Everett's face. He was slightly breathless. At least an eternity passed before he said anything.

            "I hope you don't mind that I followed you," he said.

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