Amy opened her eyes and realized that it was too late. Inwardly, she cursed the failings of her body that demanded she get some sleep, but then wondered if she would have made it to the harbor, regardless. A glance at the darkness outside told her that her ‘catnap’ had gone on for far too long and she was in a bad – fatally bad - position. Going to Belfast had been a risk from the very beginning.

            Bishop stood between Amy and the one exit from her cramped, humid hotel room. Amy hadn’t heard him come in, but that didn’t mean anything. At five floors up, going through the window wasn’t an option.

            “You’ve led me on a merry chase, girl.” Bishop half-smiled, as if he had all the time in the world. “And, sure, wasn’t it unsporting of you to take advantage of me in Prague like you did.”

            If he wants to play it that way, I suppose I can play along, Amy thought, although she couldn’t help feeling like a mouse cornered by a well-accomplished cat. “You gave me five seconds’ head start. You didn’t say how I had to use it.”

            Bishop nodded at that. “Fair enough. But phosphorous? Low blow.”

            “That was sort of the point. You were the one who was game for making the chase a bit more interesting.” When condemned, you can say anything. “I’ll admit that I heard that some vampire was coming after me. I didn’t expect it to be you.”

            “I happened to be in Paris and Mr. Pansy – I forget his proper name – was awfully put out by what you did, after he went to all that work to acquire…” he paused. “Whatever fool thing it was that you took. His money was too good to ignore, so…”

            Silence fell. Eventually: “I’ve got money.” Amy offered, without much hope.

            “Not enough.”

            Amy sagged and thought quickly. “I figured. Can I ask you a favor, instead?”

            “No more head starts.”

            Amy shook her head. “No, I figured that out, too. In my bag,” she nodded to a black backpack on a nearby table, knowing better than to try reaching for it. “There’s a key to a storage locker in South London – address is on the tag. There are a couple of parcels in there – all boxed up, ready to go. Put them in the mail for me. You can keep the money that’s there.”

            “I told you, girl, this ain’t a competitive bidding situation.”

            “I know. I’m asking you as a favor, pre-mortem as it were. And you might as well get the nest-egg – call in compensation for dragging you across most of Europe.”

            Bishop considered the matter, momentarily and smiled slightly – which Amy didn’t expect. “Alright.” Pause. “You shouldn’t have come here. I’d almost lost you on the mainland but I’ve got a lot of friends in this town.”

            “I had to leave Madrid in a hurry, I thought you were right behind me.”

            That elicited an amused look. “Madrid? I was in Berlin before I got a call to come here.”

            “Damn,” Amy grimaced. “Well, it was a fun couple of weeks – borrowed time is the most exciting and all that.” She glanced around the room. “Not what I expected, but I made a point of not thinking about it. Make it quick, will you?”

            Much to Amy’s alarm, Bishop grinned at that – an expression almost completely without genuine amusement or warmth. “I agreed to kill you, but I never said how. Now hold still, love, I’m told this stings a bit.”

 

            An hour later, Amelia had taken a shower, changed her clothes, and continued to struggle with this entirely unanticipated course of events.

            “I guess I can go to London myself,” she said, attempting to sound wry, but her words emerged as simply tired. “Those parcels still need mailing.”

            “Take care of what you have to,” Bishop shrugged, unconcerned.

            Amy glanced sharply at him, wondering if the indifference was feigned. “I will.” She thought of what things needed taking care of - how short that list happened to be – and shrugged the matter off. I think I’ve got more immediate problems on my hands.

            “I know the usual rules, of course. I managed to figure those out during the past couple of hundred years,” She ignored the slightly patronizing expression that crept across Bishop’s face and continued. “The generalities, at least. But what about the specifics? What now?”

            “Go hunt.” Bishop said bluntly. “We’ve got a busy couple of nights ahead of us.”

            “We do?”

            “We’re taking care of the local werewolf problem.”

            That made Amy pause. “Excuse me? We’re going after a werewolf?”

            “No,” Bishop waited a moment before dropping the other shoe. “We’re going after a pack of them.” Mildly interested in her reaction, Bishop watched Amy’s expression move from alarm to speculation to serious thought.

            “I’m going to need to go to the chemist’s, a pawnshop and a camping store. Not necessarily in that order.” She said, finally.

            “That was quicker than I expected.” He glanced at the watch on his wrist. “You can make it to the chemist’s if you hurry. Tell me what you want from the other two places, and I’ll see what I can do. But then you’ve got to go hunt. If you don’t get the hang of it now, you never will.”

            Amy scowled. She didn’t like keeping to someone else’s schedule - although the notion of hunting wasn’t as repellent as she thought it might be – but the alternative wasn’t any better. What was done, was done. “Alright. See you back here around midnight?”

            Bishop nodded. “And don’t worry about the Scourge. He’s an old friend.”

            Amy decided not to think about what that implied. “One less thing to worry about, I guess…”