Sandra felt the car slow, and pressed her foot against the pedal to bring it back up to speed. She was starting to wear down. It wasn't just the lateness of the hour, though that was part of it. It was also reaction, to the arrival of the vampire and everything that had followed. I need coffee, she thought.
The hitchhiker had said that they weren't being pursued. If she believed him, then it should be safe to stop for coffee and gas. It might even be safe to find a place to stop for the night. If she believed him...
...And if she had any choice. She couldn't keep driving forever. But it was only a few hours until dawn, and then it should be safe to sleep. If she didn't close her eyes and drive right off the road in the meantime.
She drew a deep breath, and forced herself to pay attention. They were on an empty stretch of highway, there had to be something up ahead. Worst case, she could pull off to the side, grab the blankets from the back, and they could sleep on the seats. "Honey?" she asked. "How are we doing?"
"I know how to make it into a kitten," answered Samantha. "Don't worry," she added. "I won't do it yet. She won't like riding in the car. And she's happy that I'm wearing her." There was a brief pause, and Sandra glanced in the rearview mirror to see that Samantha had looked up to meet her eyes. "We're safe," she said, reverting to her Big Girl voice. "The vampire took them away with him. The one you stopped for is..." She paused, and for the first time in as long as Sandra could remember, her daughter sounded puzzled. "...Is gone. Either he's dead, or he's somebody else now."
"All right," said Sandra. "I'm going to find a place to stop, somewhere we can sleep."