“I’m not scared. I just…I don’t know. Not ready,” she ended lamely.
“Come on. Let’s go back inside. I promise to be on my best behavior.”
“And I promise to be on my worst,” a voice said from the shadows.
“Reyna,” Everett said anxiously, pushing her behind him. “Let’s get out of here.”
And then the person moved closer toward them, and she realized he wasn’t human at all. He was a vampire, but something was wrong with him. His skin was pallid and waxy. So pale, it was almost translucent. He looked as if his body might crumble into ash at the lightest of touches. His jeans and T-shirt were torn and frayed. They hung on his emaciated figure like a mother’s wedding dress on a child. He had none of the formidability that Beckham or the vampires she had met at Visage had. But she recognized the same desire and need trapped in his eyes, like a living breathing dragon desperate to escape.
“We were just leaving. We didn’t mean to bother you,” Everett said, slowly backing away from the vampire. He nudged Reyna and whispered, “Run, Reyna. Run.”
Reyna’s heart was a drumbeat in her ear as she dashed toward the door. She could feel Everett close on her heels, but she knew that she wasn’t fast enough. Neither of them could possibly be. This was a nightmare. One the entire world had lived with before the cure.
She tripped over her high heels, cursing herself for wearing the damn things. But it didn’t matter. They were never going to make it anyway. She glanced over her shoulder and watched as the vampire lunged for them at an inhuman speed, teeth bared. Reyna screamed and tried to dart away, but the vampire grabbed Everett. And she stood frozen as he held Everett as if he were a rag doll.
“No,” she gasped out right before he sank his fangs down into Everett’s tender neck. Blood spurted out from the wound into his mouth and the vampire drank deeply.
As Reyna watched the life begin to drain from Everett’s face, Reyna let loose an earsplitting scream.
This couldn’t be happening. A vampire wasn’t going to kill Everett. She couldn’t run away and leave him here to die.
Despite her better judgment, she ran over to them and pounded on the vampire’s back. “Stop!” she screamed. “You’re killing him.”
When he made no reaction, she stomped on his foot with the heel of her shoes. She heard a sickening crack as it tore through his foot and her heel snapped off. The vampire wrenched away from Everett, who dropped like a bag of rocks. He rounded on Reyna, and she stumbled back a few steps in terror.
The vampire stalked forward in a way she was deeply familiar with. Her body shook as it dawned on her, the stupidity of what she had done. She could have gotten away. No matter how much of a coward that made her. She could have at least gone for help. Now she was stuck here with this monster, and she could see in his lifeless eyes that he was going to kill her too.
Once he reached her, he swatted her across the face like an annoying fly. The force of the hit sent her careening headfirst into the metal dumpster. She rebounded, falling in a heap into a pile of discarded trash bags. Her vision blurred, and when she touched the source of the pain, a hot sticky wetness coated her hair.
The vampire stooped to pick Everett back up and finish what he started. But once she pulled back her hand to see the bright red blood, the vampire’s head whipped around to face her. His stare promised death. She struggled to stand back up, but just collapsed back to the ground. She was disoriented and couldn’t get her limbs under control. She knew that the vampire coming toward her had only one thing in mind, and still she could do nothing.
“What do we have here? Your blood produces the sweetest aroma.” As he stalked toward her, Everett’s blood dribbled down his chin. “Tasting you will be like drinking the nectar of the gods…if I believed they existed.”
“Wha-what?” she stammered.
“I’ve heard of blood like this.” He leaned down and breathed in deeply, savoring the scent of her like a rose in bloom. “It seems my fortunes have turned.”
“I’m nothing,” she pleaded, tears running down her face. “You’ve had your fill. Just let us go.”
“I don’t think so.”
The vampire leaned toward her, enjoying the terror in her expression. Everett’s blood had given him life, but she could see in his crazed eyes that he was going to take her for pleasure. She shuddered as he ran his hand down her cheek and tilted her head to expose her neck. And there was nothing she could do about it. She couldn’t even scream. She just closed her eyes and started to say prayers to whomever would listen.