After recognizing that the woman entering Cross-Angel was a vampire, the team decided to tail her and her companions once they left the facility, which they did about an hour later. Following them through late-night London traffic in two stolen cars, the team tracked them to the northwest suburbs and the rusted gates of an overgrown estate. They returned to their hotel, slept, and the next day researched property and tax records to determine that the estate is all that's left of the original Hillingham, the home of Lucy Westenra in the novel – an estate that passed to Arthur Holmwood, the then-Lord Godalming. Subdivided and sold off over the years, the original parcel of land was no longer together, but the original estate building – the home – sat within a dense copse of old, tangled trees not far off the road, but nearly entirely obscured.
Beyond that the home itself and land had been deeded to the Lord Caldwell, founder of the Caldwell Foundation, by the Holmwood family in 1931, and had been the possession of the Caldwell Foundation since.
After further research, the team learned the the Caldwell Foundation, a somewhat shadowy outfit that funds esoteric history and folklore research, mainly in Eastern Europe, was financially connected to Heal the Children, an NGO that operates several orphanages in Romania, and also Billington & Sons, the solicitors in Whitby also connected to Cross-Angel, HGD, and Axel Logistics.
After an undercover visit to the headquarters of the Caldwell Foundation, Laxton, Asa, and Aoife were attacked on the highway by gun-wielding toughs. Laxton's uncanny sense for danger gave him the two-second jump, however, and instead of them hosing down their rental with 9mm rounds, he instead drilled the driver in the head and shot the front seat passenger, causing the pursuers to swerve off their tail, enabling both Asa and Bart's cars to make their escape.
Figuring that it was better to disappear again than to tempt their fate in a very hot London, the team blew up the rental and headed back to Bournemouth and their boat, to head back to France for a few days of quiet and research.
Note: I forgot to mention that the driver of the sedan of attackers was one of the guys who'd accompanied the vampire at Cross-Angel – viewing the video slowly topped off Laxton.
Questions, then, that need to be answered:
- How long will you stay in France, and will you go back to Cherbourg, or elsewhere? There are plenty of places to go along the Normandy coast.
- Where will you go after leaving France: Whitby or Boston?
- There are a number of communications loose ends…what will you do about them?
- Dr. Mehmet Lucsai – do you contact the Cambridge scholar?
- Thad Morris – he's being cryptic, as you were…how will you respond to him?
- Asa's girlfiend: what, again, did you tell her, Mr. Asa?
- Will you wire the 10k Euro to Caldwell in order to get a ticket or two to their gala fundraiser, two weeks hence?
- What other research will you do about Caldwell, Hillingham, HGD, Axel, and all the other stuff on the corkboard? Note: I put a key sticky, in purple, up there. If you double-click anywhere on the cork you will add another sticky, and clicking the eye at the top of each will enable you to change the color. Click and drag the top of each to move it around.