Author's Note: In the wake of a brutal attack, Mara heads out to face the master vampire behind Livia's abduction. Johnny insists on tagging along -- against everyone's better judgment. (As a aside note, Johnny's sweet-talk to get the touring van to run one last time is an homage and almost word-for-word quote of Dominic St. Charles of URN who would similarly pat and baby the touring van when traveling with the band.) Act VI Scene X:

(The main room in the factory. A little time has passed since the attack. People are dealing with the dead and wounded. One Romanian man gingerly pokes at a fallen vampire with his M16. A few others nail boards back over the windows. Yet another dumps water on the steaming mess that was once a vampire. Victor and Griffin stand on either side of Jack, helping him limp over to the stairs so he can sit down and take care of his leg. He is white with pain and beads of sweat stand out on his brow. Marta has emerged from the back office, flailing her arms and screaming incomprehensibly in Russian. The little girl, blue eyes wide, stands silently in the doorway. Briggs leans against the doorjamb behind her, his good hand lightly touching the top of the child’s head. Johnny stands in the middle of the room, still holding the gun, looking completely lost.)

Jack: Yessiree, boys and girls, this is what we call a compound fracture. You’re gonna want to cut open my jeans down there to clean it up. But I’ll warn you now. It ain’t gonna be pretty.

Victor: Come on, Jack, just a few more steps.

(Marta runs past them, going over to one of the Romanian men and flailing her arms at him. With a confused look, he wards off her blows.)

Griffin: Alex! Why’d you let that crazy woman get out here?

Briggs: Alex isn’t in here, man. The old bat just ran out.

Griffin: Alex isn’t back there?

Briggs: No. I thought she was up here with all of you.

(Griffin stops dead and his face suddenly has this hollow expression. His eyes skitter restlessly around the room, taking none of it in. Victor reaches around Jack to touch Griffin’s shoulder.)

Victor: Come on, Griff. We’ll find her in a minute. Just help me get Jack here over to the stairs.

Griffin: But we thought she was in there. Where would she go? Why hasn’t anyone seen her? What if she got lost?

Victor: Snap out of it, man! Jack’s hurt bad. Help me here.

Griffin: Alex? Alex?

(He looks up expectantly at the door leading into the factory. Two men posted to guard that door stiffen, holding their guns at the ready. Mara walks through, pushing the guns aside.)

Mara: They’re coming in through the roof! I fought two of them off already.

(The urgency of her flight fades as she sees the room.)

Mara: They’ve already been here.

Victor: They came in fast and hard. We tried to fight them off, and then they left.

Mara: (suspicious) Why did they leave?

(Victor does not meet her eyes and instead busies himself with getting a delirious Jack and a shell-shocked Griffin over to the concrete stairs.)

Mara: Why did they leave? Where’s Livia? Why won’t you answer me?

Johnny: Please don’t kill me Mara.

Mara: Kill you? Why would you say that?

Johnny: Don’t kill the messenger. I tried! I tried! I swear I tried!

Mara: (not a question. A grim certainty) They took Livia.

Johnny: They didn’t hurt her or bite her or anything. The one guy just came up and grabbed her and I tried to shoot him, but he jumped clear up to the roof with her in his arms. Straight up, like Superman or something.

Mara: So they came in and took her.

Johnny: I tried to shoot him, Mara, I tried. But I’m not a good enough shot, and Jack was hurt and –

Mara: Damn.

Johnny: What?

Mara: He turned the tables on me. I can’t believe it. He’s trying to flush me out.

Johnny: What are you talking about, Mara?

Mara: Remember when I was saying that we couldn’t beat him unless we drew him out, lured him with something he would want?

Johnny: Yeah.

Mara: Well, somehow he figured out what I would really want.

Johnny: He took Livia to get at you?

Victor: Mara, I know you must be in a state of shock, but people are hurt here. We could use some help.

Jack: None of you know how to set a leg?

Griffin: You didn’t see Alex back there, did you, Mara?

Mara: What? No. I’m sorry, Victor. I’m sorry Griffin.

(She strides into the room and starts picking through the remaining guns. Johnny follows close behind her.)

Johnny: What are you doing, Mara? There’s nothing left to shoot here.

Mara: I’m going to find her.

Victor: That’s suicide! Look, Mara. Be reasonable. We tried to stop them, but they took her. We all feel your loss – but you can do more good for everyone here, right now.

Jack: If they come back, we need all hands on deck. Set me up in a corner. I’ll snipe them.

Mara: I don’t expect you to understand this, any of you, but if I go, they won’t come back.

Griffin: What do you know that we don’t, Mara?

Mara: You tell me that the vampires came in hard and fast. You tell me they grabbed Livia, and once they had her, they left. Do I have it so far?

Griffin: Well, yeah.

Mara: They didn’t kill her. They didn’t even hurt her. So they’re using her as bait.

Victor: Whatever they want with you, you know it’s going to be a trap.

Mara: Of course it’s a trap. But they don’t know what they’re trapping. Can I have the keys to the van?

Jack: You’re really doing this, aren’t you?

Mara: You bet I am.

Johnny: I’m coming with you.

Mara: I don’t want to be responsible for you.

Johnny: I’ll be responsible for me.

Mara: Johnny, don’t be stupid.

Johnny: Mara, luv, this whole idea of yours is stupid. But I’m still going with you.

Mara: No!

Johnny: The longer you fight with me, the longer it’ll take you to get there. Besides. I have the keys.

Mara: You little fuck.

Johnny: I like to think of myself as well-endowed.

Mara: Fine. Grab your damn cross.

(She turns on her heel and heads into the night.)

Act VI Scene XI

(Mara and Johnny in the van. Johnny’s in the driver’s seat. He’s fighting to get the van to turn over. He’s patting the van on the dashboard, making sweet-talk to it.)

Johnny: Come on, baby. Come on. Just one more time. One more time for ol’ Johnny.

(With a horrible grinding noise, the engine coughs to life. Johnny lets it chug for a little while before putting it into gear.)

Johnny: This van has seen some wild days, Mara. But I never thought I’d be driving her straight into hell. Do you even know where we’re going?

Mara: I have an idea. I … I can sense him.

Johnny: Like what? With ESP?

Mara: Yes, Johnny. Call it women’s intuition or whatever you want. I can lead us to the enemy.

Johnny: That’s pretty cool, Mara. I knew you were deep. Now hang on – the ride’s going to be a bit rough. The breaks are kind of weak.

(Johnny puts the van in gear and it lurches forward. He gives it some gas and they start barreling down the hill.)

Johnny: Shit. Almost forgot.

(Mara looks over as Johnny flicks on the headlights. Their faces grim, they head back toward the town.)

--M. Belanger