Excerpt from The Case of the Haunted Vampire
I was yawning the next morning as I hung around the Dupont Circle exit. Brewing the potion had taken a lot longer than I had expected, and I hadn't gotten to bed until a few hours ago. I probably shouldn't have bothered trying to sleep, but I hoped I'd gotten enough down time to avoid falling asleep in the library stacks.
I was checking my watch for the fifth or sixth time--vampires are supposed to be evil, not late--when I felt a cool hand on my shoulder. I probably would have looked funny with my head through the roof, but I managed to keep my warlock cool. Just.
"You're late," I said as I turned around. Have you ever seen a vampire look harried? Hmm. Guess not since you probably haven't seen a vampire before. Suffice it to say he did.
"Sorry. The Red line was hung up. Track maintenance or something. I thought they only did that at night."
I guess he didn't travel much during the day. "Usually, but last winter was so bad they're still catching up."
He shrugged. "I'm here now. Guess we should get this potion thing over with." He looked as thrilled at that as I would be at getting a tooth pulled.
I glanced around for someplace relatively private. It didn't seem a good idea to have him drink the potion and shrink down right in the middle of the ticket area. Paul must have caught the direction of my thoughts. "Over here. There's a service tunnel. I use them all the time. They don't usually say anything if you don't hang out there too long."
We hurried down the tunnel, and I pulled out the potion bottle. "Quick. Drink it down."
He took it and glanced at it doubtfully. "You're sure about this?"
I nodded. "Yeah. It's one of my best. I even figured out how to more than halve your mass, so you'll definitely be light enough to drag."
The vampire frowned, his dark eyes troubled. Then he shrugged. "Well, it's been fun. Give my regards to Natalie if this kills me."
"You're already dead," I pointed out.
"Right. If this makes me deader." He lifted the bottle in a mock toast and gulped it down like a whiskey shot. And made a horrible face. That worried me. It couldn't be the taste. I'd added syrup to hide the less savory ingredients.
"Yuck! Hazelnut! I hate hazelnut."
Oh. I hadn't known. I blushed. "Sorry. I was trying to make it taste good."
He swallowed, hard. "Guess I should have said something. Next time, maybe mocha?"
"I can do that."
He glanced down at himself. "Shouldn't it be doing something?"
"Give it a minute."
Just as I finished speaking, he gave a loud "Oh!" and shrank down to about two feet tall. I grinned and refrained from pumping a triumphant fist in the air. I knew it would work!
"See, oh doubtful one."
His eyes were wide as he looked up at me. "Um. Wow. Everything looks so different down here."
I opened up the suitcase. "Quick. Inside."
He glanced warily inside. I had cushioned it with a couple of towels. "Great. Looks like the inside of a cat carrier."
"Don't argue. Just get in." I glanced over my shoulder. "That attendant is starting to look suspicious." I was blocking his view of Paul, but if he came over, the game would be up.
The vampire sighed. "Here goes." And he jumped into the suitcase. I quickly zipped it closed and left the station before the attendant could ask me what was going on.
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