And still they kept moving through the maze of hallways. Down to the end, around the corner, another hallway, left turn, right turn, left turn, right. She had thought that it was confusing when Harrington had taken her to see B or when the creepy vamp guard had taken her to the ballroom. But this was so much worse. She would have had no chance of getting out on her own. None at all. That was a pipedream.

At least she’d prepared herself in other ways. She’d never been happier that she had taken up running. Her muscles ached but her breathing was measured. She felt good. Energized even.

It was probably the adrenaline fueling her body. But she would take any benefit at this point.

They turned another corner and still there was no one. Not that she’d ever seen anyone on any of her trips out of her room either. She had figured Harrington had engineered that. It seemed too lucky that the only thing they passed were long white hallways of locked doors and bright overhead lights. Reyna caught sight of a camera in the corner. It wasn’t blinking red back at her like the ones in her room. Meghan must be telling the truth. The cameras were down. They were going to get the hell out of here.

As they came to another corner, Meghan stuck out her hand and they both skidded to a stop. Reyna stood there with rounded eyes as she waited for her breathing to even out.

“We have to get to the stairwell from here. It’s only a couple more hallways and then we’re there. But this area is busier than your sector. Act like a nurse and if we’re stopped, let me do the talking.”

Reyna gave her a nod of understanding. No problem with her.

With a deep breath, Meghan directed them into the new sector. They passed a series of glass rooms. Most of them were empty but a few had scientists and doctors and nurses working in lab gear. Many of them wore the crisp white lab coats she’d associated with the nurses of Visage. A few wore button-downs and ties underneath the coat. Goggles hung around their necks or were perched on their noses as they looked down into microscopes or at little petri dishes. Blood bags hung on racks behind their heads.


They were doing experiments with the blood. She shuddered and wondered if her blood was being used for this too.

An irrational anger suffused her body. No amount of medical advancement would ever make up for the horrors she’d endured. She hoped all these men and women rotted.

“Smile,” Meghan ground out.

Reyna shoved her fierce anger down deep. As far as it would go. Then she smiled. It was with real effort that she didn’t bare her teeth and shoot savage glares at the people. She was placid, bland even. She had to be like Nurse Nancy to get through this.

They were about to clear the corridor when a doctor stepped out of one of the rooms.

“Hello there,” the man said, snapping his fingers at them, “you must be who we sent for.”

Reyna and Meghan exchanged worried glances. Meghan nodded. “Yes, sir.”

It startled Reyna to realize that this man was a vampire. He didn’t have the same magnetism or terrifying lethal threat. It wasn’t until he flashed his fangs at them that she even realized she should be afraid. Had she grown so accustomed to vampires that she didn’t see them for what they were anymore? Or were Beckham and Harrington that much more formidable?

“Wonderful. Please bring patient X13276 from her room.” He handed Meghan a tablet.

“Yes, sir,” Meghan said.

“She’s here for her final. Pity,” he said with real remorse.

“Her final, sir?” Reyna choked out.

Meghan gave her a sharp look.

“X13276 is the first to be responsive to our testing. We’re going to put her through final paces to see if we can duplicate her blood to make the treasured blood antidote.” He beamed as if he were giving her great news.

“So, vampires wouldn’t have to have blood matches?” Reyna asked in horror. Meghan’s answering glare said she didn’t mask it well enough.

“Precisely. It’s a huge leap for vampkind,” he said, laughing at his poor joke.

“Great news, Doctor. We’ll get her and deliver her promptly,” Meghan said. She practically tugged Reyna down the hall and away from the doctor.

When they were out of earshot, Meghan shoved her. “What the hell were you thinking? We don’t have time to stand around and debate the benefits or consequences of a blood antidote.”

Reyna chewed on her lip as a plan formed in her mind. Her eyes darted from the doctor who had just disappeared to the tablet in Meghan’s hand and back. “We need to get that girl.”

“Are you out of your mind?”

“No, I’m not. Think about it for a second. We can rescue this girl. We can get her out of this place. You saw what my life was like. Now imagine what it must be like for someone who is being experimented on. Plus, didn’t you hear what he said? She’s the key to a blood antidote. I don’t want that to happen any more than you do. I know it’s crazy and out there, but if we can save someone, don’t you think we should?”