“Break a nail?” I asked Marcy, wadding up my prize into the smallest possible package, the better to avoid having it swiped away. It was just my size—small—and color—fire-engine red. I knew just by eyeballing it that it would fit like a glove.
“N-no,” she stammered. Surprised, I left off ogling the shoe selection still available a quarter hour into the Bombshell Boutique’s annual midnight madness sale to turn and assess her freak-out level.
Her eyes were wide, and her arms empty. Her heartbeat was, of course, non-existent, us being undead and all. But I imagined that if she still had a working heart it would be pounding. Nothing short of structural nail damage or impending doom would cause my BFF to surrender a sales item. I knew from experience. I’d been on the other end of that tug of war.
“Eyes,” she continued.
“Eyes?” I asked, baffled.
“They flashed at me. Glowing amber, like a caution light.”
“You mean red?” I tried. Very old vamps sometimes got a red and dead glow about them when crossed. It wouldn’t be too startling to find another of the fanged and fabulous at a midnight madness sale. After all, they seemed tailor-made for us.
“Amber,” she insisted, “like a traffic light.”
Yellow…amber…it probably wasn’t worth arguing the finer points of the color wheel.
“Where?” I asked. “Which girl?”
Marcy grabbed my arm and started to pull me toward the shoes. “We’re off-duty,” she reminded me. “Come on, let’s go check out the kicks before our sizes are gone.”
More problematic for me than for her, since my feet were a normal size seven, and she had munchkin feet, but I let her steer me in the direction I wanted to go anyway…until another girl howled.
It was a perfectly human howl of pain and shock, but I pulled away from Marcy and spun to see a girl about our age yank back a slashed arm, blood dripping dramatically on the silver shawl she clutched.
“Right there,” Marcy said, when it was clear I wasn’t going anywhere. She pointed to a brown-haired girl just turning away from the commotion, her wild mane of hair bobbing above the crowd as she made her way to the door.
“I’m going after her. You talk to the girl who got gouged. Something’s not right here.”
“But…shoes!” she wailed.
“Later,” I promised.
“When all the good ones are gone,” she grumbled, but she let me lead the way back to the sales table we’d come from. When she stopped, I kept going. Already I was losing sight of the shopping slasher. I could still see her head above the crowd as she power-walked away, the path opening magically before her. She paused at the entrance when a suited security guy moved in front of her, but I could swear I heard a growl and suddenly he stumbled back.
He was yelling into his radio as I got there, and I didn’t even realize that one of the cries was for me until I was past and remembered the shirt balled up in my right hand.