Heart of the Vampire : Episode 2 by Tasha Black

In Episode 2:

The staff and guests are snowbound on the dark mountain, and one of them is a murderer. Will Dru give in to Viktor’s need to protect her as they work against the clock to investigate the mystery of Hemlock House?

Episode 2


Dru gazed around the lobby, taking in all the anxious faces.

They were snowed in at Hemlock House, with no way for anyone to come or go.

The power and phone lines were out, the cell tower was down, they were trapped with a group of strangers…

And one of them was a murderer.

The Van Buren sisters hid their faces in Zander’s chest. Poor Hazel and Honey were too old and too sweet to find themselves in this mess.

Zander patted their backs awkwardly, the tension in his jaw giving away his own fears.

Melody Young, the photographer, was similarly patting Mayor Emily Tuck’s back. The mayor herself reminded Dru of a fuller-figured Jackie O, with her startled eyes and Chanel knock-off suit.

Only Oscar Hawkins observed the scene with the same dispassionate expression he always wore. But that wasn’t necessarily suspicious. Birdwatching required extreme patience and a placid nature, and birdwatching was why Oscar had come.

Johnny Smith stood in the corner, stabbing angrily at his phone with his index finger, as if threatening it would bring the cell tower back online. The huge, bald man in the tailored suit looked more frustrated than scared, but in Dru’s experience men like that didn’t like to show their fear. The fury could just be a cover for his real feelings.

Hugh Channing paced back and forth. As an actor and director, he was probably used to chaos, but this was extreme.

Tyler Park still knelt beside the body, looking lost. His EMT skills were of no use to the dead man, but he couldn’t seem to walk away from his patient.

Behind the front desk, Hailey was trying the landline and the computer, but Dru didn’t even have to ask how it was going. The dismayed look on Hailey’s face was clear - all lines of communication with the outside world were down. They were on their own.

A clattering on the stairs drew everyone’s attention.

Hazel Van Buren yelped out in fear and Honey yelped in reaction to that.

Cell phone flashlights strobed onto the stairs to reveal Jeffrey and Jenna Wilder, their clothing pulled on haphazardly, hair mussed as if they had been about to share some private time before chaos descended on Hemlock House.

“What’s going on?” Jenna asked. “Is the power out?”

“Mom, God,” Angie yelled out from the lobby below. “Button your blouse. This is a freaking crime scene.”

“This is a what?” Jeffrey yelled.

“Okay, let’s remain calm, everyone,” Howie yelled out. “I need to go find Chester to turn on the generator. Who’s coming with me?”

No one volunteered.

It suddenly occurred to Dru that until they figured this out, it wasn’t really safe for anyone to be alone with anyone else.

She glanced over at Viktor.

He was standing in the far corner of the lobby, eyes still locked on the swirling snow outside, like the body on the floor was the last thing on his mind.

So much for wanting to be with her always.

“Come on, Zander,” Howie yelled to Dru’s co-worker, clearly too scared to walk back to the groundskeeper’s cottage alone.

Zander let go of the Van Buren sisters, who looked like a pair of frightened sheep without him.

“Tyler, could you help Hazel and Honey to their rooms,” Dru whispered to the handsome EMT.

“What?” he said, looking up as if he didn’t recognize her. “Oh. Oh, sure, yeah.”

He looked almost relieved to have something productive to do.

To their credit, Hazel and Honey went with him passively, trading one good-looking young male protector for another was apparently all in a day’s work for the charming octogenarian pair.

When Dru turned back to the lobby, the door was just closing behind Zander and Howie and a hush had fallen over the room.

“A crime scene,” Hugh Channing said suddenly, his voice ringing out with authority and a slight Southern accent Dru hadn’t noticed before. “The child is right. That’s just what this is.”

In the pale blue glow of her phone, Angie rolled her eyes at being called a child.

“Our first step is to alert the local authorities,” Channing informed them.

“No dice,” Hailey piped up. “It’s all down.”