After almost an hour of dwelling in the shower, Isaac stepped out onto the cold tile floor. It took nearly the entire time in the water for all of the gunk to wash off of him.
In the mirror facing the shower’s opening, Isaac caught his reflection and was astounded by how unchanged he appeared. His dark blonde hair hung in wet strands around his pale, angular face, which was for once clear of any blemishes or remnants of battle.
Isaac sighed and turned his back to the mirror, focusing his attention on the clothing he snatched from the man’s bedroom. The shirt was plainly black, with a small pocket on its left breast. The pants were just as plain and felt scratchy on the inside as Isaac dragged them over his legs. He grimaced at the tight clothing.
He left the bathroom, ignoring the dead body in the bed, and headed toward the sounds of a living room. Korinna lounged on the cushioned sofa and stared at a large, strange object that sat on a table. That thing was the cause of the noise and images appeared on the flat side that faced the succubus.
“What the hell is that?”
“The news.” She stretched out her body along the sofa, relaxing into its pillows. “There’s nothing good on—and nothing about what you did. Which is good.”
“What is that?” He pointed at the object itself. “It’s loud and annoying.”
“It’s a television,” Korinna said. “I had to explain this to your sister, too. Look, people broadcast images across receptors and then we see it on the screen there.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Whatever.” She sighed and changed the subject. “So what’s the plan, genius?”
“We need to hide our scent.” Isaac sat down on a cushioned chair, which matched the sofa well in color and in texture. He felt rather uncomfortable moving his legs around in the pants, which pinched where it clung to his crotch. He grimaced and tried to pull at the clothing. “I will also need to find some better pants. I can’t stand these.”
“Okay.” Korinna nodded. “Although they look fine on you. Especially the shirt.”
Isaac looked down, noticing how everything clung to every curve and crevice of his body, and frowned. “How does it look fine? It feels tight. I’m not sure if it just doesn’t fit, or if this is the style of today.”
“Could be either.” Korinna grinned and leaned forward in her position. “But you look…fine to me,” she said with a wink. “Now, how do you expect we get rid of our scent?”
“We need to clear out the body and disrupt our trail. It’ll lead right to this house.”
“How are you going to do that?”
Isaac shrugged and crossed his arms. His eyes watched the images move on the television screen. “I don’t know. With something that cleans? I’m sure the human world has some new ways of doing such a thing.”
“With bleach,” Korinna said. “Actually, bleach will do good. We could dump the body in the tub and pour bleach on it. It’ll clear out the smell until we leave.”
“I guess that will have to do. What about our trail?”
“The humans and nature will mess it up, I’m sure,” she muttered as she turned her focus back on the news. “We went straight into a neighborhood. Humans are everywhere. They probably didn’t suspect that we would come somewhere like this. They probably think that we would leave town.”
“Good.” Isaac smiled. His plan of hiding in someone’s home was perfect. Their scent would wash away in the mass of humans and that would give them a day or two to plot their next move.
They settled into a short silence. Korinna drifted off as she laid back into the couch while Isaac was deep in thought.
First, he thought about what he would do about the succubus. If anything, she would drag him down when it came to the grinding moments. He didn’t think that she would be that helpful aside from money and to snare any unwanted guests.
Plus, she wanted the exact opposition: to leave and start a new life.
Isaac wanted to stay and end Dante’s—and then his own, if it came to that.
● ● ●
There was a massive panic that filled the walls of the Duke’s estate. All cowered and fled from the explosion of rage that emanated from Dante as he stormed through the hallways. Conner followed after him, throwing orders to various vampires.
Distraught, the scene from outside played in Dante’s head, over and over again. Korinna willfully broke Isaac out and ran away with him.
How could Korinna have the nerve to do this—and why? That childish succubus woman. Dante had treated her like a princess, nurturing her every need. The moment that he brought down the hand of discipline…this happened.
Dante stormed into his office, ordering Conner to close the door behind them.
“What the fuck?” Dante screeched, throwing his hands across his office desk. Several things clattered to the floor, shattering from the force of their momentum.
“She’s out of control, Master,” Conner mentioned.
No, Dante thought, she was passed saving. Korinna went too far with this. Isaac would bring her down with his destruction.
Dante rubbed his temples. His fangs dug into the inside of his mouth, drawing blood. His rage was so overwhelming that the corners of his vision were tinged with red.
“We can’t do anything while the sun is up,” Conner said.
“We need to speak to the chief of police,” Dante said. “We have no idea what he’ll do.”
“Isaac’s a vampire—he can’t do anything either while the sun is up.”
Dante squeezed his eyes shut and scowled. “Unfortunately, there is.”
He didn’t forget the fact that once upon a time, Isaac was the head of a sorcerers’ coven. Not only did the vampire have vast knowledge of his family’s magic, but he had studied vampirism, to combat it. Dante knew without a doubt that if Isaac remembered this, then he would use that knowledge to his advantage.
Vampires were a different type of magic-wielders. Cursed with blood magic, if they lived long enough after their Turning and learned how to harness the magic coursing through their veins, they could do some massive damage.
“What can he do?”
Dante sighed. There was no use in keeping their past a secret any longer. It would be near impossible to capture him again if no one was aware of what Isaac was capable of. “Isaac was once a sorcerer—who made it his business to hunt vampires. I’m surprised he has yet to use that to his advantage. I wondered what was going through his mind.”
“Do you think he compelled the succubus to help?”
“No one can compel a succubus.” Dante barked a humorless laugh. “She did this on her own. Probably just to get back at me.”
“What will we do with her, then?”
“That’s a great fucking question, isn’t it?” Dante rubbed his eyes, hoping to wipe away the images of his foster daughter and that psychotic bastard. “He could do so much to both her and the humans.”
“Do you have a plan?”
There was no way Dante could not have a plan.
In such a dire situation, there was no room for error, or else the clan would turn on him with blame and violence. He trusted Conner, but even just a smidgen of doubt in his secondhand could cause trouble.
Dante sighed and turned his back to Conner. Many options for strategies ran through his head. “Get a hold of the chief. Tell him to look out for Korinna and Isaac, then report to us if they are seen. The humans are not to be alarmed. Alert our thralls.”
The thralls were the coven’s eyes; humans hand-picked by the vampires for the simplest daytime tasks. Most begged to be Turned and would do anything to prove themselves worthy of the Curse.
With them, Dante figured that the next twelve hours would be well spent.
Once the sun set, the coven would spread out over the city limits and then even farther, if need be, searching for Isaac and Korinna.
“For now, rest,” Dante said before shooing his secondhand out of his office.
Conner left the room. He surveyed the mess of vampires and thralls as they ran around, preparing for what they thought would be the battle of the century.
Several vampires ran up to him for orders.
“Dante said that we are to alert the police, letting them know to be on the lookout for Korinna and Isaac. Thralls are to survey the city limits until dusk,” Conner stated. “Spread the word that we are to calm down and rest until the sun sets.”
They all ran off to do as they were told with no reply.
Conner sighed. These next twenty-four hours would be long. Strangely, in the back of his mind, he was worried not just for the coven or for Dante, but for Korinna. The succubus, though with a disgusting sense of morale, had worn on him, and to think that she could be in possible danger of Isaac Castro made him worry.
Which was fucked up. He grimaced and shook it off, heading off to his room to do just what his Master had told him: to rest up for the night to come.