Chapter 31

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"Lord, I hate this part of the job," Mason said to Lieutenant Mike Johansen.

They were sitting in the lieutenant's office, Johansen behind his desk, his heavy, gray-haired face betraying a weariness beyond his age and experience. Mason sat on the other side of the desk. On Johansen's desk was a large official-looking envelope upon which the lieutenant drummed his fingers.

"Yeah, I know," Mike Johansen said. "She's a good cop. It's a damn shame. I guess even the best of us have our issues."

There was a brief knock on the door. Grace opened it and stood in the doorway. "Lieutenant? You wanted to talk?"

"Yeah, please, Grace, come on in and shut the door."

She did so and took the other available seat. "Sergeant, Lieutenant, what did you need to discuss with me?"

"Well, first," the lieutenant said, "I'd wish you a happy Halloween, but that probably wouldn't be appropriate, given the subject matter." Johansen pushed the envelope across the desk to Grace. "As you know, it's part of the job of the sheriff's department to serve civil process. And so, I get to serve you this."

"What's this?"

"This is a restraining order. Against you. Filed this morning in the county court. It restricts you from being within one hundred feet of Scott Campbell or his property. It further restricts you from following or observing Mr. Campbell."

"Campbell..."

"Further, Mr. Campbell's attorney has filed an official grievance with the sheriff's office. Against you."

Grace shook her head. "Damn that...man."

"IA is going to be conducting a hearing into this matter, at which you can, and probably should, have your union representative present, and your attorney, if you so desire. But until then, I'm going to have to ask for your badge. You are hereby suspended with pay pending the outcome of this investigation."

Grace removed the silver star from her belt and placed it on the lieutenant's desk. She rose from her seat and headed to the door of the office. "You know," she said, "this is not going to stop Campbell. One day, something terrible will happen. Just wait. You'll see I was right."

She then went back to the detective's squad room, where she collected her purse and placed her Glock in a drawer, taking care to securely lock it. Kevin was sitting across from her, watching the sad process.

"Just...don't," Grace warned him, tears in her eyes as she stormed out of the office.

That son of a bitch Campbell. If he thinks this is going to stop me from protecting the public from him, he's got another think coming. Whatever he wants to do to me, he can bring it on, Grace fumed to herself as she left the sheriff's office. She got in her car and drove away as the rains began again that Halloween morning.

***

As previously agreed, Scott picked Jeremiah up at the dojo and then took him to the Wood Village home of Tim and Ellen O'Neill. Cars were parked all around the place, causing Scott to park further down the street. He did not mind walking in the rain, nor did Jeremiah. Besides, the rain wasn't terribly heavy, and Scott thought that the two vampires walking down the dark, rain-slicked street looked cool. Or at least he thought Jeremiah looked cool, anyway.

Tim was waiting at the door, dressed in a cowboy outfit, with a cheap hat, jeans, vest, gun belt, toy revolver, neckerchief, and some fairly nice brown cow-leather Western boots. Ellen was dressed as a medieval/Ren Faire wench ("Maiden," she called it. "You ain't no maiden," Tim said). Jeremiah wore no costume, of course, since vampires don't do Halloween; Scott followed his lead and wore no costume either, just a nice medium-blue T-shirt, black jeans, and his black leather jacket. He stepped inside the house. Tim greeting him with a smile and one of his typical insults.

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