More had happened, but it wasn't information I wanted to reveal and he wouldn't care about those details anyway.
"You experienced the voltage part yourself," I said with a shrug. "As for the other, yeah, if I touch something, I get impressions off it." Whether I want to or not, I silently added.
He smiled then, his gaze roving over the thin, jagged scar that was the visible remains of my brush with death. "What did you see when you touched me?"
"Past or future?" I asked, grimacing at either memory.
He exchanged an interested look with his buddies. "Both."
How I would love to lie, but I didn't need psychometric abilities to know if they doubted me, I'd be dead in moments.
"You like eating children." The words made bile rise in my throat that I swallowed before continuing. "And you're intending to drink me to death if I don't prove useful to you."
His smile widened, showing the tips of his fangs as he didn't deny either charge. If I hadn't seen similar menacing, fanged grins through the eyes of people I'd been psychically linked to, I would have been pants-pissing terrified, but a jaded part of me simply acknowledged him for what he was: evil. And I was no stranger to evil, much as I wished otherwise.
"If she's the real deal like we heard, it could give us the edge we've been looking for," his brunet companion muttered.
"I think you're right," Auburn Hair drawled.
I didn't want to die, but there were some things I wouldn't do even if it cost me my life. "Ask me to help you kidnap children, and you may as well start in on my neck now."
Auburn Hair laughed. "I can do that on my own," he assured me, making my stomach lurch with revulsion. "What I want from you is more . . . complicated. If I bring you objects to touch, can you tell me about their owner? Such as what he's doing, where he is, and most importantly, where he will be?"
I didn't want to do anything to help this disgusting, murderous group, but my choices were grim. If I refused, I'd get mesmerized into doing it anyway, or get tortured into doing it, or die choking on my own blood because I was of no use to them. Maybe this was my chance to change the fate they intended for me.
Why do you want to? a dark inner voice whispered. Aren't you sick of drowning in other people's sins? Isn't death your only way out?
I glanced at my wrist, the faint scars that had nothing to do with my electrocution marking my skin. Once, I'd listened to that despairing inner voice, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit part of me was still tempted by it. Then I thought of Marty, how I hadn't told my dad I loved him the last time we spoke, how I hadn't talked to my sister in months, and finally, how I didn't want to give these bastards the satisfaction of killing me.
My head came up and I met the leader's gaze. "My abilities are tied to my emotions. Abuse me mentally or physically, and you'll have better luck calling a psychic hotline to find out what you want to know. That means no murdering anyone while I'm getting information for you, and no touching me at all."
That last part I said because of the lustful look the scraggly brunet had been giving me. My skintight body suit and boxer shorts didn't leave much to the imagination, but it was what I trained in. I hadn't expected to be kidnapped today or I'd have worn something more conservative.
"Don't think you can mesmerize me into forgetting whatever you do, either," I added, waving my right hand. "Psychic impressions, remember? I'll touch you or an object nearby and find out, and then your human crystal ball will be broken."
All the above was bullshit. They could do anything they wanted and I'd still pull impressions from whatever my right hand touched, but I'd used my most convincing tone while praying that, for once, I'd prove to be a good liar.
Auburn Hair flashed his fangs at me in another scary smile. "We can manage that, if you deliver what you say you can."
I smiled back with nothing close to humor. "Oh, I can deliver, all right."
Then I glanced at the light socket behind him. And that's not all I can do.
Auburn Hair's name was Jackal, according to what his friends called him. Their names sounded equally made up, so I mentally referred to them as Pervert, Psycho, and Twitchy since the last couldn't seem to stay still. Twitchy and Pervert had gone out over an hour ago to get some things for me to touch. I'd spent that time sitting on the edge of the hotel's lumpy mattress, listening to Jackal talk on his cell phone in a language I didn't recognize. I was getting chilly in my leotard, but I didn't pull the covers over me. All my instincts were urging me to stay still and not attract any attention to myself, as if that mattered. The predators in this room were very aware of me even if they didn't glance in my direction.
When Pervert and Twitchy came back, I looked at the duffel bag they carried with a mixture of dread and optimism. What was inside might lead to more grisly images blasting across my mind, but it would also ensure my survival.
"Put the objects in a row on the bed," I directed Twitchy, ignoring the startled look he gave me. If I acted like a pitiful damsel in distress, then that's how they'd treat me. But if I acted like a vital tool in their search for whomever they wanted these objects to lead them to, I upped my chances for survival.
At least, I hoped I did.
"Do it," Jackal said, folding his arms across his chest. His stare felt like weights dropping onto me, but I took in several deep breaths and tried to ignore him. Seeing what Twitchy took out of the duffel bag helped with that.
A charred piece of fabric, a partially melted watch, a ring, something that looked like a belt, and a knife that shone with a distinct silvery gleam.
That last item made my heart skip a beat, something I hoped the others chalked up to nervousness instead of what it was. Excitement. The movies had it all wrong when it came to vampires. Wooden stakes wouldn't harm them, nor would sunlight, crosses, or holy water. But silver through the heart meant the party was over, and now I had a silver knife within grabbing distance.
Not yet, I warned myself. I'd wait until they were so convinced I was helpless that they wouldn't think twice about leaving a silver knife within easy reach. Or until at least two of them left again, whichever came first.
"All right, Frankie," Jackal said, snapping my gaze back to him. He nodded at the objects. "Do your thing."
I mentally braced myself and then picked up the charred piece of fabric first.
Smoke was everywhere. Twin beams of light cut through it, landing on where I was half concealed by the forklift. Terror flooded me as I realized I'd been spotted. My attempt to run was stopped short, and rough hands hauled me back.