Drew sat back in his chair, staring at his now-blank computer monitor. Geoff’s task force would be forming later tonight, and would head out to try to capture Josiah and kill his friends. He sighed, wishing there was some way he could stop the loss of life that was to occur tonight. Not of vampire life – he doubted any of them would die tonight – but of human life…
He still could feel for their plight, the mortals who ran about day-to-day, never worrying about what lay in store for them one year from now, or five years, or ten…Drew had long since stopped thinking in terms of ‘days’ and ‘weeks’ and months’ – after ten centuries of life, years seemed as days, and he was much older than that – but he could still understand how their minds worked. It was probably because he was in such close contact with them every day…and he still could find it in his heart to care for their lives.
He wished there was a way to stop the Hunters forever without destroying them, but he feared it was not to be so. No, soon Geoff would take a real task force to recapture Josiah, and then Drew’s plans could begin to come to fruition.
He would probably go to Hell for this, if he had not already been damned, but sometimes there were things such as necessary evils. It would be worth the lives of a few hundred to save the lives of millions, if not billions.
Soon, the Hunters would no longer pose a threat to him or his brethren. The Moriare Prophecy would be fulfilled…Drew would see it happen, or he would die trying.
It was too bad that Josiah would probably not be around to see what he would help bring about; Drew really liked him, but again there were necessary evils. Drew only hoped that he, himself, would live to see his plans finished…
If he didn’t, there may not be much of a world left for him to save, for humans or vampires.
I snapped awake, throwing open the door of my car and vomiting noisily onto the ground. Thankfully the sun had already set, or I would have been toast. The rest of theLotwas just starting to come to life; Jenna and Taryn, always the early risers, were already out and about, and the others would soon be showing their faces, too.
Jenna and Taryn both looked my way, the former running to my assistance, while the latter just stared emotionlessly. He had taken the loss of Justin very poorly; nobody knew where Justin had disappeared to, and they weren’t talking about him. I had only been able to pick up pieces of the relationship between them, and what they had seemed incredibly special. I don’t know that I’d still be able to keep myself going if I lost something like that.
I looked up, trying to hold back the bile that was forcing its way up my esophagus, and caught another glimpse of an aura around Taryn. It was still dominated by the blue and purple I had seen before, but this time it was tinged with a bit of gold. I also made out faint traces of black. What did all this mean?
I had no time to question it further, as Jenna was at my side. “Siah! What’s wrong?! Are you ok? What happened?”
I tried my best to answer her, but each time I tried to gather my thoughts and open my mouth, the memories of the horrible things I had seen in my dream flooded back, causing another wave of nausea to pass through me. The dream seemed so real, it was like I was actually there.
“I’m going to get Bryson, don’t move, ok, sweetie?” Jenna said, and hurried off to find the leader of our little rag-tag band.
“Aww, what’s the matter, squirt, did you have something… bad to drink while you were missing last night?” Trevor called from his resting place.
“Fuck you, Trevor,” I managed to yell out, collapsing back against the car. If I didn’t think about it, I could hold back the sick feeling in my stomach. I rested there, waiting for Jenna to return with Bryson.
“Hey, ignore him,” a warm voice said. I looked up to see Doc’s face smiling at me. Doc was a cute kid with brown hair and dark brown eyes, and was bound in a wheelchair. When a human is bitten, any injuries he has may or may not heal; nobody seemed to know what the factors were. Tim had told me about someone that had been at the brink of death from a gunshot wound and been restored to perfect health from a vampire’s bite, while Jenna had a papercut on her left index finger that she had received the day before she was bitten, and there was still a small scar there. Doc had not healed properly when he was bitten; whatever had caused the loss of the use of his legs was still present now.
“Yeah…I try, Doc, but he makes it difficult.” I replied. Doc was another like Jenna who had kinda warmed up to me. “What’s his problem?”
“Oh, he’s had lots of problems, I suppose.” Doc answered. “I don’t know the half of it; I try not to pry into people’s lives, especially before their crossing. But I do know he was in love with Taryn for a great while, and probably still is. But Taryn rejected him, frankly because Trevor was still an asshole, even then. He’s incredibly jealous of Justin, even though he’s no longer with us, and he won’t understand why Taryn won’t come back to him.” I nodded; I guess I could understand that, but it still didn’t excuse Trevor’s behavior towards me – I had nothing to do with any of that. “Oh, here comes someone that looks like he wants to speak to you. I’ll talk with you later, Josiah.”
Doc wheeled himself off as Bryson drew near. Jenna was not with him. He looked down at the mess I had made, then back up at me. “You alright, kid?” He seemed genuinely concerned for once.
“Yeah…I think so,” I mumbled in a near-whisper. I paused, trying to find a way to tell Bryson what had happened. “I…had this dream…a nightmare, really…”
“Ahhh…that explains it.” Bryson nodded. “Vampire dreams are much more powerful, more intense, more realistic than any dream a human mind could imagine. When you’re in one, it is almost as real as the waking world. Y’know how, as a human, when you realize you’re in a dream, you can control it?” I nodded. “It won’t happen in a vampire dream. You’re basically stuck in them…however don’t worry, nightmares are even rarer than vampire dreams in general. You probably just had a bit of bad luck.” He clapped me on the back, which sent my stomach into fits again. “Oops…sorry about that. Well, take some time to gather yourself. You still need to go out with Trevor and Michael tonight.”
Damn! I had forgotten about that. I nodded weakly to Bryson, and he left, probably to go tell Trevor and Michael to push me extra hard. I sat back against the car again, closing my eyes…and instantly snapping them awake. The instant they had shut, the images from my nightmare had popped back up. Great, how am I ever going to sleep again?
I was pulled from my reverie by a commotion at the front gate. I bounded to my feet, racing to see what all the shouting was about. I found the others gathered around something on the ground. I tapped Jenna on the shoulder; she moved to let me in between her and Dylan. I looked down…
…And saw the battered body of a boy, about 12 or 13 years old, lying face up on the ground. He had an eyebrow piercing and blond hair that was dyed with a rainbow array of streaks. His eyes suddenly opened – I had thought he was dead – and he stared in shock, his dark brown eyes almost nothing but pupils. Bryson was kneeling down next to the boy, trying to communicate with him.
“What’s going on?” I whispered to Jenna. “Who is that?”
Jenna took a moment to reply; I could see tears forming in her eyes. “It’s…Gyro. He used to live here with us a while ago…I don’t know what happened to him…”
Bryson stood up and instructed Trevor and Jun to carry Gyro to Max’s van, while Jenna and Doc were to prepare to assist him medically. ‘Doc’ was a fitting name; he was quite skilled in physical treatment, apparently due to his extra. I watched as Trevor and Jun carefully lifted Gyro’s still form and carried him between them.
“What happened to him, Bryson?” I asked. Gyro’s clothes were soaked in blood and shredded well past the point of ever being used again. I also caught a glimpse of several deep cuts in his skin and burn marks in a number of places. “He looks like he’s been dragged through one of the car engines.”
“I’m not sure exactly, Josiah,” was his reply. “He mentioned something about a warehouse, where he’d apparently been staying…Gyro used to live with us, but he found some other people and he lives with them now. Apparently some of his group were visiting some friends, staying at this warehouse, and they were attacked last night. He was not clear as to what it was, but apparently he’s the only survivor.” I shuddered; this was far too close to my dream.
Suddenly one brief flash of the bodies from my dream clicked into place. Gyro had been among them! Somehow I dreamt what had happened last night…I thought they were all dead, but apparently Gyro made it out. I forced myself to relive the other parts of the dream, but could not find Gyro in any of them. This must have meant that he was not among those who were destroyed…yet how had I known this?
Something Becca had said after her examination got me thinking…She had said I was a partial reader, and that my talent in that area would be increased while I was asleep. Could I have somehow tapped into the mind of whoever did this?
“Are you ok, Josiah?” Bryson asked. Apparently my shock and confusion was present on my face. “Still having adverse effects from that nightmare?” He put an arm around my shoulder.
“Um…yeah, I think I’m getting over it though,” I lied. “I’m going to go find Trevor and Michael, see if we can get this over and done with early.”
“I don’t think so,” Bryson replied. “Not tonight. Whoever did this, if they wiped out an entire group of vampires, could have easily taken Gyro out too. I doubt whoever it was would have missed him. I think Gyro was left alive intentionally, to frighten us. That can mean only one thing…we’re next.”
I shuddered again. I could not relive that horror again in a dream…to have it happen for real was almost beyond belief. A sudden idea came to me. “Could it have been those Hunters?”
“I don’t know, Josiah, I just don’t know…” Bryson trailed off. “We’ll see. For now I want everyone to remain here. I don’t want anyone being caught outside by themselves. If we stick together, we might at least have a fighting chance.”
“Alright…well I’m going to see if Doc and Jenna need any help, OK?” Bryson nodded and I headed to Max’s van, while Bryson began climbing the old stack of cars that used to be Dion’s nightspot.
“Alright men, this is a reconnaissance/personnel retrieval mission.” Geoff spoke to the group of ten men before him. “Class III, you will be Alpha Group. Your primary objective is to seek out a particular vampire for capture.” A slight murmur ran through the group. “This is the same one who we had on-site a couple of months ago.” He clicked a few buttons on the remote, and a profile of Josiah came into view on the projector screen behind him. “Target’s name is Josiah Langston, approximate seventeen years of age, newly-crossed. His extras should not have manifested themselves in any truly-controllable form yet, so his detainment and retrieval should be relatively simple.”
“Yeah but what about the others?” one of the men asked. “Certainly he’s not going to be alone.”
“Correct. Intelligence reports at least ten other vampires in the vicinity. That will be the primary objective of Beta and Delta Groups, consisting of Class II and Class I respectively. Just find out how many of them there are; don’t waste time trying to kill them all. Secondary objectives for Beta and Delta will be to assist Alpha with the capture of target. Use lethal force on any other vampires but target must be captured alive. If any groups allow target to be destroyed…well, if I were you, I would plan on not coming back here.”
“Great, this will be just perfect,” another man replied sarcastically. “So we can take out any others, just not this Josiah kid?”
“Yes. Tertiary objective is to neutralize any other vampires in the area; however don’t risk lives or waste time trying to complete that.” Geoff knew this would be untrue; he would be quit surprised if any of them returned alive…and if they did, he would doubt if they had even taken part in the mission. “If these were humans, you’d have about equal numbers, but due to the increased fighting capabilities of the vampires, you’ll be severely underpowered to eliminate all remaining targets. Like I said, this is a recon-retrieve mission.”
“What’s our equipment status?” the first man asked.
“You’ll all be outfitted with the new ERP-37 handguns. This will be their first true field test, so I hope you’ll make us all proud.” Geoff answered.
“Fuck, you’re giving us untested equipment for this?” the second man answered. Geoff was almost glad this man would certainly die; he remembered this one being highly insubordinate in the past. “What are we supposed to do if they don’t work?”
“Command has taken this into account, and should the equipment malfunction, you are to return to base immediately. Of course, everyone will be expected to retain an open radio link with headquarters; if anyone were to leave before the retreat would be signaled…Well of course you all know how that is handled.” Geoff grinned. “Don’t worry. I’ve successfully used an ERP-37 in the field, with astounding results. You should have no trouble with it.” Of course, Geoff did not mention that the equipment that this mission group would be using was missing a few key components.
“Alright, when are we going?” a third member asked. A slight murmur of doubt still ran through the room, but most of the Class III Hunters were beginning to warm up to the challenge. Of course, should any of them actually make it out alive, successfully of course, everyone would be promoted to Class IV at the least.
“Missionbriefing is concluded. Report to dock two in one half-hour; your groups will depart at eleven-hundred hours sharp.”
The group broke apart, each man returning to his living quarters to prepare for the mission. Geoff remained behind, smiling to himself. This was going to go perfectly.
Jenna and I laid Gyro in the van’s bed. He was beat up pretty badly, but Doc seemed hopeful that he would recover fully. I certainly hoped so; from what the two of them told me, Gyro seemed like a pretty cool guy.
We had just sat back to relax when Bryson slammed the door open, nearly knocking it off of its hinges. “Jenna, come with me. Doc, stay here and watch Josiah and Gyro. We’re being attacked.”
“Huh? What? Why should I stay here?” I asked.
“Attacked? By who?!” Jenna exclaimed.
“Hunters. Apparently the ones we rescued Josiah from have found us. They’ve sent a small group, only ten of them, but they have some kind of exploding-rounds that are really doing damage. Dylan was hit but not bad. Trevor’s bringing him in here.” Bryson answered. “Josiah, I need you to stay here to protect Doc and Gyro, and Dylan when he comes in. Jenna and the rest of us will drive them off or kill them.”
I felt something flow from Bryson’s mind to my own, and knew he was lying about me protecting the others. I really didn’t need to ‘read’ him to know it anyway; Doc’s appearance might make him look like an easy target, but it was incredibly deceptive. It only made it easier for him in a fight, since most would assume him a complete invalid and thus ignore him as a threat. “Want to try again, Bryson?” I asked, my voice heating with intensity as I became angered. I already knew the answer. He didn’t trust me with the Hunters?!
Bryson stared at me coldly for a moment. “You already know why, somehow, Josiah. Look. Stay here. We can handle them. It’s for the best.”
“But I can help…”
“Stay HERE, Josiah!” he snapped, slamming the door behind him as he dodged back outside. I was pissed. I could be of a lot of use to them!
“Calm down, Josiah,” Doc said calmly. “You can still assist me here, Dylan might need some help when Trevor brings him in. You need to give Bryson time to trust you, he’s had his own trials in life that keep him distant.”
I sighed, sitting back in one of the van’s chairs. I knew Doc was right, but I couldn’t help but feel angered about this. Bryson knew what I could do, he saw me in action the night they rescued me from the Hunters! All I had to do was figure out how to gain control of this power, and I could make short work of those Hunters…
There was a quick knock on the door followed by a shout. “It’s Trevor! I have Dylan, open up!” I scrambled to allow them in…and my heart nearly broke when I saw Dylan’s shattered body. There was a gaping hole in the left of side of his chest, large enough for me to stick my hand through, if I had wanted to. His left arm was bent the wrong way, and there were several burn marks all over his body. His skin had a greenish tint to it, and there were brown lines running up his arms and spread throughout his hands. It took me a moment to realize that the lines were his veins; some sort of infection was running through his bloodstream. And Bryson said this was “not bad?!”
I stepped back to allow them into the van, closing the door behind them. “Oh my God…” Doc moaned as he saw what had happened to his friend…no, our friend. I felt my anger growing hotter. How could they do this to him? He was still only a child!
“Can…can we do anything for him?” I asked.
“I don’t know how much there is left to save,” Trevor said. “This didn’t happen right away. He took the shot in his chest and seemed okay at first. He was walking with me back here, when the bullet exploded. Seems it didn’t go off on contact like it was meant to. Not only that, the rounds are silver filled with garlic, which means when it pops, the toxins are gonna spread over a greater area and therefore destroy his systems faster. The hole in his chest wouldn’t even be that big a problem if it weren’t for the poisons.”
“Fuck…” That was all I could think of. They NEEDED me to help!
Doc had Trevor and I lay Dylan’s form on a table we had set up to help Gyro, who was relegated to one of the van’s seats. I hoped Doc’s extra was going to be enough to help Dylan; the prognosis did not sound good. Doc’s eyes began to glow intensely with a blue-tinged light as he ran his hands over Dylan’s body. He eventually covered as much of Dylan’s body as he could from his limited position, and then rested his right hand inches over the hole in Dylan’s chest and his left hand centered over Dylan’s forehead. “Josiah, I’m going to need your help for this one.”
Doc had used Jenna’s assistance with Gyro; I had just been an observer then, but it allowed me to know what to expect from this. I moved to stand behind Doc, placing my hand on his temples and closing my eyes. “Ready when you are.”
Suddenly, my whole body seemed to lose all of its strength. I sagged, gasping, and nearly fell to the floor; only sheer force of will allowed me to retain my contact with Doc. I could feel my life force emanating through my hands into Doc, and through him into Dylan. Doc’s extra allowed him to use his own life force to heal most any wound, but the most severe cases required a second party, or in the worst cases a third, to provide more energy for him to draw on.
After a few hours, which were really only seconds, I felt some of my strength return, and fell back against the wall of the van. Damn…Jenna had held herself a lot better, but then she’s probably done it before too. Doc wheeled back to allow Trevor to place Dylan next to Gyro, and I saw that he looked much better. His skin now had only the faintest tint of green to it, and the gaping hole in his chest was gone, with barely a scar showing. The brown traces of his veins had also completely disappeared; it looked like he would make it, after all. However, both he and Gyro needed rest, and lots of it. Come to think of it, I probably did too. But there wasn’t time.
I stood back up as Trevor left. “They can’t handle this on their own, Doc. They need my help.”
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea, Josiah,” Doc replied, moving to a position to block me from leaving. “I trust you, but I don’t want to see what happened to Dylan happen to you.”
“I can take care of myself, Doc.” I answered. “I’m sure Bryson told you all about what I did that night the others rescued me. If I can just figure out how to do it again, I could take out all the Hunters by myself.”
“Well…” I could tell his resolve was weakening.
“Please, Doc. I don’t want any of the others to get hurt. Let me go help them.” I pleaded with him.
“Sigh…This goes against my better judgment, but maybe this will show Bryson that he can trust you.” YES! “Get going before I change my mind!”
He wheeled back from the door and I slid it open, jumping out and closing it behind me. I scanned the area, seeing nothing in the approximate vicinity. That was good, at least; the Hunters hadn’t made it all the way back to the van yet.
My senses suddenly showed themselves to be incorrect as I heard the crack of a pistol being fired. I was in a heightened sense of alert, and everything about me was speeding up, preparing for battle. Adrenaline was pouring through my blood. My reflexes were magnified tenfold. I was able to watch the bullet, its wake seeming like a blurred haze following behind it, as it flew into the ground; I was able to see just what these exploding rounds did as the ground erupted where the bullet hit. All that remained was a small hole, a few inches deep and a few across. Damn, that could do some damage to a body, all right.
All this ran through my head in less time than it took for a second shot to be fired. Calculating, I determined the direction the bullet had come from and looked up to see a Hunter, standing on top of a stack of five cars, and aiming a pistol straight for my heart! He pulled the trigger, but I had already moved out of the way. I thought I heard him exclaim, “Oh shit! That’s him!” as he fired. What was he talking about?
He probably had expected me to run away as soon as I saw him, but that was definitely not my style. Instead, I ran straight for him, just barely ducking under the bullet – I felt it brush my hair as I rolled – and coming up at the base of the stack. I shoved against the stack as hard as I could, and was rewarded as it gave way, rocking back and then falling towards me. My reflexes moved my body before my mind could even process my stupidity, and I backflipped out of the way as three cars came crashing down where I had been standing. As the dust cleared, I looked for any sign of the Hunter, and grinned sadistically as I saw his mangled body lying under a few tons of vehicular weight.
I leaped bodily over the pile of cars, running at top speed to the main area of theLot. I saw a group of five Hunters standing together, apparently as a kind of guard, while two more were searching through nearby cars. I scanned their minds; they were looking for me! I smiled to myself, realizing that they were going to walk into a trap. I knew what they were thinking, and could intercept anything they tried to throw my way.
Again, I had my naiveté handed to me on a plate as a weight dropped onto me from behind. “I got you now, vamp! The old man is going to be very happy to have you back.” He pulled me to my feet, and I allowed him to think he had me subdued. He reached for some kind of restraining device on his belt, and I flipped him over my shoulder, slamming his body into the ground hard.
“You’ve got this, bitch.” I said as I slammed my foot down onto his neck and heard a satisfying snap. Two down…eight to go.
I ducked back behind another stack of cars before the large group out there could see me. Let’s see…five grouped together, plus the two searching the cars made seven…One still unaccounted for. A sudden scream filled the dead silence of the night. Bryson? I sent out a mental message.
Josiah? What the hell are you doing out here? came the reply.
You guys need my help. I cut him off before he could send another message. Don’t argue with me, it’s too late I’m already out here. I took out two of them; was that scream a third?
Yes…Only the ones in the main area are left. But they all have those fucking guns, and our weapon stash is out there too. Bryson replied. Another thing…Josiah, you know they’re looking for you, right?
Yeah, I read their minds as soon as I saw them. If only I could figure out how I did that when you guys rescued me…I could take them all out now! I sent back.
No, stay where you are and don’t move. I’ll be there in a moment and we’ll figure something out. Damnit, they couldn’t do anything against these guys before!
I looked out, watching the Hunters as they methodically searched every vehicle they could reach. I glanced to my right, and saw Max positioned behind another stack. I could feel his hatred for the Hunters, even from this distance, and feared he was going to do something stupid. From where he was crouched, he could see the two that were searching the cars, but he wouldn’t be able to see the five standing together until it was too late. I mentally yelled for him to stop, but he ignored me.
I had to act! But what could I do? My thoughts were in vain as Max leaped from behind the stack, jumping easily to the top. With a wordless growl, almost a roar, he took another standing leap, but not towards the two who were searching the cars! Of course…he could read their thoughts and knew the other five were there the whole time. They must not have been expecting an airborne assault, as Max flew right over their heads, landing behind them. He spun, preparing to attack the group of five by himself. Damn, he moved fast!
It wasn’t fast enough, though, as one of the two searching the cars turned at the commotion. Max sent one of the group of five flying with a kick to the midsection, but as he did so, one of the searchers fired a shot at him from behind. I saw blood spurt in a fountain from the back of Max’s head as the bullet ripped his skull apart.
It was too much. First the horrors from my nightmare, and then Dylan’s injuries, Max’s death…Dion’s death, Geoff’s threats, Drew’s willingness to help, The Kid being shot by Geoff, The Kid biting me, my ‘friends’ at school beating me, my mother’s death…It all ran together. My rage was building up inside of me, I could feel it growing into an almost tangible form. I felt my body growing warmer as my extra began to activate. I had a brief moment of clarity – Geoff had shot The Kid? How did I know that? All I could remember from that night was being bitten and dying! – and then my mind snapped. With a roar of my own, more deafening than Max, I literally smashed my way through the stack of cars I had been hiding behind.
The Hunters all turned in surprise as this new threat – me – appeared. My instincts kicked in, and I felt a fiery heat in my hands as my arms made a throwing motion, seemingly of their own volition. My mind was no longer in control of my body; everything was running on pure instinct. Two small fireballs flew from my hands, traveling in a straight path right at the larger group of Hunters. I continued throwing fire at them, faster now, releasing three more volleys before the first ones even hit the target.
They impacted on the two closest Hunters, exploding in a mix of flame and flesh, and the two dropped like flies. The rest of the fireballs smashed into the remaining two Hunters, throwing them backwards as they were burnt from the searing heat. Their bodies were smoking before they even hit the ground, and continued to smolder as I turned towards the last two.
They had brought their weapons up to fire, but apparently the equipment was malfunctioning as nothing was happening. I channeled my anger into the weapons they held, and watched in satisfaction as they melted, searing the Hunters’ hands. I grinned evilly at them, my fangs finally breaking through my gums to rest over my canines. It was time to feed, and I would have no qualms about using either of these two to satisfy my thirst.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Bryson turn around a corner and come running towards the Hunters. I followed suit, licking my lips in anticipation. Bryson’s eyes were glowing a fierce red color through his contacts, just as mine were. He reached them first, grabbing the nearest Hunter by the neck with both hands, yanking, and blood sprayed as the human’s head was torn from his body.
I reached the second Hunter only a few seconds after Bryson destroyed the first. I slowed to a walk as I got near him, and could sense the blood rushing through his veins, so strongly that I could almost feel its warmth as I imagined it splashing against my skin. I could hear his heartbeat, loud and clear, and it sped up quickly as I closed the distance between us. He was scared, so scared. That only made me want him more. I was actually getting an erection from the thought of tearing into him, and a ticklish sensation ran throughout my body, making me giggle slightly to myself.
Suddenly, I jumped on him, dragging him down to the ground, with me on top. I slammed my head downwards into the side of his neck, and bit down as hard as I could! The scream that emanated from between his lips should have been enough to deafen me, yet it was music to my ears, a beautiful harmony between pleasure and pain. The nexus where life and death come together as one. I felt my teeth sink deeply into his flesh, getting at the warm, juicy fluid underneath. It was like biting into wax, his skin and muscle completely helpless against my fangs. Hungrily, ravenously, I devoured him. My fangs sucking up the blood flow faster than his quick beating heart could supply it. The taste, the energy…the utter LIFE of it…My God, it was orgasmic! I bit down harder, causing a helpless whimper to escape from his mouth. I could feel my body being replenished, filling itself with life, his adrenaline rush making it taste even sweeter. I slurped loudly at his neck and soon, his death throes began to weaken, his body finally giving way. His legs continued kicking weakly as I finished killing him, and I was LOVING it! I had never thought I would be able to go through with this, but now that it had begun, I only wanted more!
A voice, my own yet not, whispered in my mind, reminding me of the instructions I had been given during training for the hunt. Keep going. Don’t stop until he’s completely dead or he’ll come back. Don’t swallow the blood, it’s an emetic, it will only make you sick. Just let the fangs drain the victim. You’re absorbing the blood, not drinking it.
Finally, the body of the Hunter gave one last twitch, and his blood flow had died down to less than a trickle. I stood, and my mind kicked back on. He was dead; I had drank his blood, killed him, as well as six others tonight…and I did not feel even the slightest bit of remorse for it.
“Wow, Josiah, that was absolutely amazing!” Michael said over my shoulder. “Those fireballs…impressive!” He only then noticed the blood dripping from my jaws. “Hey! You finally fed on a human! Congratulations!”
I smiled evilly back at him. Whatever instinct had taken over my mind to allow me to use my extra was still fighting for control of my system. I forced my mind to take over, to regain my body, and after a few moments it worked.
Bryson was staring at me, his face unreadable. He was probably trying to think of how best to punish me. Finally, he spoke. “Josiah, you went against my orders and joined this battle anyway.” I started to defend myself but he kept talking, right over me. “However, you probably saved most of us. Max chose to act stupidly, and don’t get me wrong, I’m sorry for his loss, but if you hadn’t helped us we might have lost more.” I nodded. “So what I’m trying to say is…Thanks. And I’m sorry for not trusting you before.”
“It’s ok, I understand.” And I did, really. He couldn’t be sure that I wouldn’t join the Hunters until he saw me take down most of them.
“Good. Oh, and congrats on your feeding by the way. Was it as good for him as it was for you?” He grinned.
I laughed. I doubt he had felt anything like that before; I certainly hadn’t. I was surprised there wasn’t a wet spot on my jeans; I was almost sure I had an orgasm at least twice while feeding. “I doubt it, man, heh.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right.” He smirked. Suddenly his face darkened. Looking behind me, I saw what he saw – most of the others were grouped around Max’s body. “C’mon, let’s go help them.”
We walked toward the body of our fallen comrade. At least we could give him a decent burial; the Hunters’ bodies would be taken somewhere and left to rot.
I grinned back at Bryson, Gyro, and Michael. We were just leaving the Shack Out Back, another of the hot vampire clubs throughout the city. I had been told by Gyro that Storm Nation was also a frequent ‘nightwalker’ hangout, and that there were a number of them all over Chi-town. In the three weeks after the Hunter attack, the two injured boys had bounced back completely. Tonight was the first night that either was allowed to leave, and Gyro being Gyro, headed straight to the clubs.
It was strange. I had expected Bryson to have a tighter lockdown on us after the attack, or perhaps even to move out of theLot, but that wasn’t the case. He had said he was looking for a new place – the Hunters knew our location, so we had to move – but until then, it was best to stay where we were. There was no uncertainty that way, and we could defend the place pretty well, especially after the remodeling we’d given it. Parts of it were almost a fortress now.
More odd than staying at the Lot, however, was Bryson’s willingness to allow us out tonight. For the first week or so, he’d made us all stay put, but no more Hunters arrived. He waited another week to be sure, but it seemed they’d given up for the time being. We might still be there, though, but finally he’d given in, saying, “We all need a break, and we won’t be in that much more danger outside. Safety in a crowd, and all.” I suspected it was more Bryson wanting to stop Gyro’s incessant whining than anything else, myself.
I was surprised that we were able to separate Michael from Trevor, but those two had had a falling out earlier in the day, and Trevor had disappeared somewhere. Michael decided to head out with us to try to liven his spirits a little. Bryson was even more of a surprise, though, as he had never came with us before. I think he really wanted to be along with us to ‘protect’ us, but he said he liked to party a little too, just not very often. And that in honor of Gyro’s recovery, he’d go along this time. I was wondering what he was going to do in honor of Dylan’s recovery…probably ask me out for the boy, haha! I had accidentally read Dylan once while we were still taking care of his injuries and helping him recuperate, and the boy had the biggest crush on me that I’d ever seen!
We were talking and laughing, just being kids out having fun, as we walked down the street back towards theLot. It was getting late…or early, I suppose, and none of us were looking forward to the walk back. We paused to regroup ourselves underneath a streetlight, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed a black Lincoln Towncar moving down the street in our direction. Something didn’t seem right, but I ignored it and pushed Gyro into the light post, laughing as he nearly slammed his head into the piece of metal. He gave me the finger, then laughed back as he jumped on me, tackling me to the ground. Bryson and Michael just stood watching and laughed.
I pushed Gyro off of me – he was starting to make me hard from the contact, and since he professed to be straight, I didn’t want to embarrass him – and stood up to dust myself off. Suddenly something clicked in my mind – that car did not have its lights on.
Before any of us could react, it stopped beside us, one of the tinted windows rolling down to reveal the barrel of a gun! It fired twice, and Gyro and Michael fell to the ground. Bryson shouted, grabbing my arm, but before we could escape, I heard two distinct hissing sounds and felt a sharp point in my neck. I had no chance to react, as whatever drug was in the dart quickly pulled me down.
I collapsed on the ground, Bryson next to me, and laid motionless, unable to move as a number of men got out of the car and began to pick us up. The last thing I saw was the visage of Geoff Batson, grinning at me wickedly…