Sandra thought she saw something flicker out of the corner of her eye, something moving outside the window, but she was already accelerating onto the ramp and she couldn't be sure it wasn't just nerves. Nothing should be this close to them, not if the vampire was drawing them off the way he was supposed to.
"Mommy?" Samantha's voice came from the back seat, a child's voice speaking in serious, adult tones. "Did we have to leave him behind?"
"Yes," said Sandra firmly.
"He really did want to protect us."
"He was a vampire, honey." Sandra let her voice soften a little. "That's not the kind of protection we need."
"I think maybe it is," said Samantha. "He has a lot more power than you do, Mommy. And he was scared of the ones who were coming."
Good, she thought. Maybe they'll kill him. She recognized the vehemence of the thought, its defensiveness. Am I really feeling guilty about wanting to steal power from a vampire? She wasn't sure. She hadn't done it, and maybe that was all that mattered. Becoming a vampire might have helped her defend her daughter, but maybe it would have destroyed everything she'd done so far, all the plans she'd laid and steps she'd taken. Maybe the vampire had been right; maybe it would have made her more vulnerable, at least in the short term. "Power isn't everything," she said.
"I wish I didn't have any power," said Samantha. "Then nobody would care what I did."
Sandra kept her speed just above the speed limit, and bit back her first three responses. She wished her daughter had been born mundane, too, instead of with those wise, old eyes and those dismaying insights; she loved her daughter just as she was, vision and all; after the time she'd spent among witches and travelers, studying the enemy and researching defenses, she didn't even know whether having power was good or bad. "It's not that simple, honey," she said, and managed not to flinch when her daughter replied, "I know."
Moving carefully, carrying only the essentials, they left the city behind.