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Davy's entourage was acting strange. Paige had counted missing faces in their ranks. The two cops, Mr. Jones' favorites (or Davy's Faveys, as they proudly called themselves), that had been sent to fetch the teens, they were different. A new pair.
A smile here, a threat, a few lies there, and Paige soon found the truth. Two freshly bitten vampires sent into the woods on much the same mission, hunting this "loose end." Something about strict orders not to mention it to Davy's son when on protective detail—irrelevant. What mattered was that neither had returned.
"And we're next in line for the slaughter," Paige had said. Davy, he'd throw them at any problem, see what splattered, see what stuck. They couldn't count on him to keep them safe. They could only count on her.
Even with a plan in place, having caught it unawares, their first encounter with the beast had been a nightmare. The most they'd managed was to anger it and flee. This plan though... Paige had pulled the thread of Davy's warning and befriended Jean Garcia. Lo and behold, he was makeout besties with the one man Davy seemed to fear... Richard Spender, Mayview's strongest spectral.
Where Jones saw danger, Paige had seen the perfect chance. Seed a camping trip in poor Jean's mind, lure his friends into the woods, give Superboy a flashlight Gage had licked, let the beast pick up its scent and seek the snack that got away... then BAM! The strongest spectral slays it.
Everything had gone just like she'd planned. Everything except that little kid they'd brought... but that shouldn't—no, that wouldn't be a problem. Not if Spender lived up to his reputation.
Paige glanced at her companions. A chastened Gage had fallen silent, waiting for the spectacle to start. Youth Culture, too, was watching hungrily without a word.
Paige bit her nail, cursing under her breath.