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Teodor looked around with his mouth opened. Steopa had not been just hanging out in the old base. He had spent his time, making the place comfortable.
“It is better than the cemeteries,” Steopa said.
Teodor nodded. Along the walls, bookcases filled with books. A curio cabinet sat in one corner with a Nazi helmet inside. Teodor smiled. Steopa had held on to a couple of things when they escaped Russia, that was one of them.
Amanda sat down on the wood and velvet couch. She looked calm. “This is really nice.”
Steopa nodded, he snapped his fingers and the candles in the room lit. Teodor and Amanda could see in the dark, just not as good as Steopa could. The low light warmed up the room. Teodor sat down next to Amanda.
“What happened?” Steopa asked.
Teodor told him, including changing in front of the humans.
Steopa laughed. “I know you are trying to live among the humans, but are you sure you can?”
“It's not that hard,” Teodor said.
Steopa didn't look convinced. Teodor brushed his hand over Amanda's hair. “How are you adjusting?” He asked.
“The hunting is good here. To the north, the neighborhood is full of people with the shroud. There are many people from the old country here. They know what to expect with a vampire.”
“Sounds like you are doing well,” Amanda said.
Steopa didn't say anything for a few moments “But there is something else on the streets. I do not know what it is, but it feels like it is trying to move into my territory.”
“Another vampire?” Teodor asked.
Steopa shook his head. “And not a werewolf either.” He pushed a long strand of his black hair away from his face. “I have felt it before, I just cannot remember where?”
Amanda stiffened. “Something from here?”
“No,” Steopa said. “Feels like something older. I have been hunting for it, but so far nothing.”
“What could it be?” Teodor asked. “We ran into Perun, he said the same thing. I hope it's not any of my famly.”
“Not a werewolf. If it hunts like we do...? I have not found a trail yet.”
Teodor remembered the newspaper article he read earlier. “It's not hunting children, is it?”
“What children?” Steopa asked.
“There has been a rash of missing children. Mostly street kids.”
“It better not be a vampire.” Steopa growled.
Teodor nodded, “Or a werewolf.”
“What could it be?” Amanda asked. “Think about poor Trucker.”
Teodor turned his head to look at Amanda. “I am sure Trucker will be fine."
“Who is he?” Steopa asked.
Teodor explained. Steopa's face was unreadable as Teodor related the story. Steopa draped his arm across the back of his chair. “There are a lot of children like him around, lately."
“Really?” Amanda asked.
Steopa nodded. “When I am hunting, I see them.”
Amanda's face suddenly went dark. “And?”
Steopa tilted his head, a strange look crossed his face. “What do you mean?”
“What happens when you see them?”
Steopa sat back. “I leave them be. They are only children.”
“Come on, Amanda,” Teodor said, shaking his head. “You know Steopa and I do not hunt children.”
Amanda's shoulders fell, she took a deep breath. “It's just the thought of all those kids...”
Steopa glanced at Teodor. Then he said, “You could come with me tonight and see them.”
Teodor took Amanda's hand. “Maybe we could find Trucker and see if he is okay.”
Steopa stood up and grabbed his long military coat off a hook on the wall. “Good, Follow me.”
They left the old base. Steopa lead the way, walking almost too fast for Teodor and Amanda. Teodor had to run to keep up.
“Steopa, what's the hurry?” he asked.
Steopa didn't answer. Teodor threw his hands in the air. They left the old base, by an entrance that had been covered up by a parking garage. Teodor chuckled. The last time he had seen this part of the city the ground had collapsed into a large hole.
Teodor recognized where they were heading. Steopa took them to the old work farm buildings. They came to the end of the street, that turned into the long drive to the old work farm. The gate that was across the road, laid on the ground. Teodor sniffed the air, there were a lot of humans around. Most of them had not had a bath in a while.
Steopa turned and walked along the ridge of the trees. Amanda took Teodor's hand, she leaned close to him. “One of my relatives is buried here,” she said. “But no one has ever found the cemetery.”
Steopa shushed her. Amanda glared at him for a moment, her eyes glowed yellow. Teodor squeezed her hand.
They moved quickly and quietly along the trees. Teodor had to shake his head in wonder watching Steopa. Steopa was so large, that he gave the impression that he would be clumsy, or walk with a heavy gate. Yet, he moved like a ballet dancer. Quiet, quickly, very light steps. The layer of fallen leaves made no sound as he walked over them.
Teodor and Amanda also made no sound. But it was not like Steopa, who seemed to find his own footing, without disturbing the ground beneath. They used a dance-like step, allowing them make the least amount of sound. A human would not make out the subtle changes in how they landed their feet on the ground. But sometimes it was with the ball of the foot, sometimes with the toes, or the sides. Which ever way made the least contact.
Steopa stopped. One of the dormitories loomed in front of them. This one had the least amount of damage to it. Teodor sniffed the air. They were close. Steopa faded into shadow.
Teodor could still see him. It wasn't with his eyes. All vampires had a unique smell to them. It was not the smell of the dead. It was the smell that places get when they are not used for a long time. The staleness of the air, the smell of slow decay. Teodor also associated a slight vodka smell with Steopa. When they had met that had been the only other liquid Steopa would drink.
That mix of smells, appeared in Teodor's mind as the outline of Steopa. He could see the shadow, but Teodor's mind filled in the details, and he could see Steopa as if he was standing in full light.