Shana was upset that Todd had just revealed to Wolf all the information that they’d just discovered on their own. And she was annoyed at Wolf for his arrogant manner.
“Did you hear or see anything that evening? Did you know about the party beforehand?” asked Shana.
Wolf answered with a snarl, “Of course I knew about the party, but I didn’t know who had planned it. I’d asked around the company, but no one else seemed to know, either. That night I noticed flashing lights in the sky, but I couldn’t hear anything over the storm. All I heard was the crashing of a tree into the house, shattering one of my windows.”
I feel so bad for you. She tried to appear pleasant and calm on the outside. “Could we have a tour of your beautiful house? It looks very unique and interesting from the outside.” She decided to play good cop since Todd was already failing as a bad cop.
“Sure! Come in!” said Wolf, sweeping back his arm to indicate that they were welcome to enter his home. All of a sudden, he was switching gears to act like their friendly host. Shana wasn’t sure whether he was buying her act or not, but she felt that it couldn’t hurt to continue with it.
They stepped inside. They were standing in an enormous gallery with a huge array of life- sized statues displayed all around them. Huge portraits hung on the sparkling white walls under glaring overhead lights. As Shana walked past a portrait, she morbidly realized that the person in the picture was staring straight back at her—no matter where she moved in the room. The eyes didn’t shift, but they somehow monitored her every step.
The atmosphere of the house was beginning to feel confining and stifling. Shana had to hold back the chills that were threatening to stream through her body. Despite being scared and claustrophobic, she was determined to weather this encounter—without appearing afraid or the least bit intimidated. She glanced up at the high vaulted ceiling and noticed that its dark-green tinted glass gave the house a strange green color that reflected on everything.
“Let me show you around my house,” said Wolf, frowning at her.
I can’t wait.
The door began to drift open on its own. A long, dark hallway came into view. Rare masterpieces lined both walls, starkly illuminated against the muted walls by bright spotlights suspended from high above.
Entering the house, the deafening silence felt alive and heavy—as if someone was there with them waiting, but not yet willing to reveal himself. A cold draft hit them. In the translucent stream of air, Todd could see shadowy forms fighting against each other, struggling to break free. “Are those vampires caught in the wind?” Todd was beginning to regret his decision to enter the house without sufficient back-up. “Did you notice those strange forms floating in the air?”
He continued, “I’ve never seen anything like that before.” Not hearing a response from Sam, he tried to downplay his concern. “It could have been just an illusion.”
When Sam still didn’t respond, Todd turned around and found him standing as still as a statue, eyeing the flow of air with trepidation. “Sam? Are you still with me?”
Sam didn’t answer or move a muscle. Todd knew that he had to continue on with the search—with or without Sam. He called out Hayden’s name, his voice echoing down the empty corridor. Still no one answered.
He followed the faintly lit hallway until its end, where it opened onto a huge oval-shaped ballroom. He stood in the center of the room in the bright light cast by the enormous crystal chandelier. The light reflecting from the hanging crystals shot colorful prisms of light across the multitude of artwork all around him. Hundreds of statues by eminent artists were scattered about the shiny marble floor. The walls were decorated with priceless paintings in massive frames. As he wandered through the ballroom, he recognized Rembrandts, Picassos, and even Renoirs, filling every available space on the gilded walls. At the back of the room, he noticed a circular staircase with carved gold railings, leading up through the ceiling to the floor above.
“There are no other rooms on the main floor, so we might as well check upstairs,” suggested Sam.
Surprised to hear Sam’s voice, Todd spun around to find him standing right behind him. Todd nodded his head in agreement, even though he suspected that this was what Hayden expected them to do next. It was almost if Hayden had put out a sign that read: “Stupid human vampires! Come up my staircase at your own risk!”
They began to climb the stairs. The air turned colder and more frigid.
Now, Todd thought, let the games begin.