A knock at the door pulled her from her dark thoughts. The doctor strode inside with a clipboard. She was a tall wiry woman with black groomed hair held back in a ponytail and dark emotionless eyes. Like everyone else who worked there, she clearly didn’t think smiling was part of bedside manners.

There was something about this woman that was…other.


Vampire.

The word slithered up in Reyna’s conscious and she recoiled away from the thought. It made no sense considering her current predicament, but she couldn’t help it. Deeply ingrained fear seemed to stick with her no matter her decision to work with them.

“Four hundred and ninety-two. Miss Reyna Carpenter. Five foot four inches. Brown eyes. Brown hair. Caucasian. O negative. Correct?”

“Yes,” she confirmed.

“Good. I have to make sure that you fit all the parameters.” She looked up at Reyna over the rim of her thick black-rimmed glasses. “You’re not pregnant?”

“Excuse me?”

“Is there any way you could be pregnant?” she repeated.

“I don’t think so.”

“There is either a chance or there isn’t.”

She thought back to the last month and cringed. “It’s possible, but not probable.”

The doctor sighed as if Reyna was inconveniencing her. “When you enrolled with Visage, you claimed not to be pregnant. We won’t take the risk of endangering a young life. I will order a pregnancy test since you’re not certain.”

“Um…yes,” she said softly.

This shouldn’t have even been a problem. When she had applied for the position at Visage, she had been in the off-again stage with her boyfriend, Steven, who worked with her brothers. There was no reason for her to believe that anything would happen between when she had turned in her application and when she had received the information that she could come into Visage.

The problem was that Steven was charismatic as hell. He was cute and funny and charming. He always said the right things. Every time she walked away somehow he would come right back in and sweep her off her feet. A couple weeks ago, he had convinced her to meet him at the end of his shift, after the warehouses closed down for the night. And she had fallen for it all over again. Two weeks of a whirlwind of passion and then a big “fuck you” at the end of it. She had just been a good time while he waited out another girl. He was seeing someone else now. The end.

Steven had made her feel like a used-up whore. No better than the run-down trash that they lived in. When Visage had approved her for testing shortly afterward, she had felt like it made sense. At least she would get paid for selling her body.

The door opened unexpectedly once again. “Excuse me. Dr. Trainer, you’ve been called to the east corridor. I was reassigned to number four hundred and ninety-two.”

The doctor faced the open door in shock. “What?”

“East corridor,” the man said.

The door opened wider, and Reyna got her first glimpse of the man. He was tall with a slightly more disheveled appearance than the doctor she had been dealing with. Though what he lacked in proper grooming, he made up for with the severity of his features. He seemed excessively stern and the haphazard state of his attire only gave off the impression of a mad scientist.

“Right. Of course, Dr. Washington,” Dr. Trainer said once she realized who it was. “Here is her file.”

They swapped information, and then Dr. Trainer left her alone with the new doctor.

“Welcome, Miss Carpenter. I’m Dr. Roger Washington.”

He extended his hand. Reyna looked down at it skeptically. No one had addressed her or acknowledged her as anything more than a subject to be tested and questioned. What was this, bad cop, good cop?

“Hi,” she said softly. She shook his hand once. It was chilling and made her shiver.

“After reviewing your profile, we’ve elected you to be a trial subject in our new program. Your blood type and specific history, build, and biology make you a great candidate for this new venture. I’m the head of the team, and we’re looking for interested participants. You understand that anything we speak about here is completely classified, yes?”

“Sure.”

A new program? Classified information? She didn’t know what any of that meant, but she was willing to hear more about this. It sounded like they wanted her, and if they wanted her badly enough, then maybe she could get more money out of them.

“For some time, Visage has been considering going to a more streamlined system of employment for our human subjects,” Dr. Washington explained.

“Streamlined…how?”

The man smiled, and her skin turned ashen. Sharp canines gleamed in the high contrast lighting. She tried to swallow but felt like her mouth was stuffed with cotton balls. She knew he was a vampire. She had known that both doctors were, but suddenly it felt different. This wasn’t some person in the papers or on billboards, but a real live vampire that could reach out and touch her.

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