Freya’s warning still rang in my mind as I watched Lily draw runes on a piece of printing paper in my office. I didn’t know much about runes, but I sure as hell was going to teach her everything I knew about them. Not sooner had that thought cross my mind when I heard a window being blown out somewhere nearby. My office door was slammed open, and an out of breath Brianna wheeled herself inside. “I swear,” she said, grunting. “I need an electric wheelchair. Why my parents went with the old fashion style I have no fucking idea.” Lily jumped to her feet and looked around frantically. “Seth and Leo are on their way here,” she continued, grabbing her sister’s wrist. “Along with Jane, Amaris, and Natalia.”
“Vampires?” Lily asked.
“Since I can’t smell sulfur, I assume it is vampires,” I said and got up.
“It is,” Natalia hissed, stepping inside followed by Seth, Leo, Jane, and Amaris in her wolf form.
“How many?” I asked.
“A lot,” she said, her fangs flashing. “Over a dozen.”
“Can we help?” Seth asked, glancing out the door before slamming it shut. He grunted as Amaris launched herself at him, causing him to stagger back several steps before catching himself by grabbing onto the desk. “I’ll take that as a no.” He looked to his twin. “We’re useless.” Leo snorted, leaning against the wall beside the window and peeking behind the curtains every now and then.
“Stop that,” I said and frowned at him. “Go sit.” I nodded to the couch at the other side of the office. “Bri, Jane, Lily, Seth and Leo, you all stay here. Amaris, you’re with me.” The werepup nodded as I opened the door as stepped out. “Natalia, you know what to do,” I said as I casted a spell on the door.
“I do,” the vampire child said and slammed the door on me. There was a coughing sound, and I glared down at Amaris, laughter in her silver eyes. Without a word, she turned and raced down the hall with me close behind her. As we made it to the front lobby, I could hear snarls and curses, along with incantations. I ducked as a fireball came directly at me. Damn it, I thought and scowled as a witch I didn’t know stopped in front of me. She had middle-length strawberry-blond hair and bright green eyes, her smile nowhere near friendly. It was cold and calculating.
“Davina is it?” she asked softly.
“Who are you?” I said as a fireball appeared in my hand.
“No time for introductions I’m afraid,” she said and turned, throwing a white hot whip at the closest rogue’s neck, severing it in a split second. Amaris let out a howl that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end before launching herself out the door.
“Amaris,” I hissed. “If I find you dead, I’m going to come after your spirit ass and throttle you.” I ran after her, letting loose with my fireballs as I went. Snarls turned into screams of agony as I struck my targets. One grabbed me, and I let out a small scream as fangs tore into my shoulder. Amaris came out of nowhere, jumping on the rogue and tearing into the back of his neck as she sent both of us to the floor. He cursed, shoving off of me and slamming her into the wall. Amaris let out a yelp, releasing him and hitting the floor hard. The rogue turned, and I grabbed his ankle and yanked as a spell flew from my mouth. He screamed as I melted him from the inside out. More spells flew through the air, creating a display of colorful lights, but there was nothing harmless about them as heads pop off shoulders, burning or exploding body’s flying through the air. Amaris let out a snarl, getting to her feet as magic rolled off of her. “Witches! Take cover!” I shouted as I got to my feet and ran as far as I could from her. The witch with strawberry-blond hair glanced at me, past me, and then ducked behind a desk as an explosion sounded. I ran upstairs to the second floor, before turning and looking over the railing as bloodcurdling screams filled the air. As the maelstrom of uncontrolled magic swirled and build, the remaining rogues dropped dead, one by one, as Amaris all but turn them into nothing more than blood and bones. When it was over, the little girl stood naked in the center of it all, breathing hard and shaking as blood poured from her nose. A slow clap sounded, and I turned to the broken front door where Freya stood, an amused expression on her face. I went back downstairs, and when I got to Amaris, I slowly sat and pulled her into my arms as she whimpered and groaned in pain. The witches came out of cover, and I nodded to them. Without a word, they went back to whatever they were doing while half a dozen stayed behind to clean up. “Damn vampires,” I muttered. The one witch I didn’t know, walked over to Freya, and I scowled as she said something to the vampire. Amaris went limp in my arms, her breathing deepening, turning into a more even rhythm as she fell asleep.
“I’ll get her cleaned up and put her to bed,” Carolyn said from behind me as I stood up. Turning to her, I nodded. My daughter took Amaris from me, glancing nervously at Freya and the unknown witch before disappearing through a door that led to the back of the building. Grumbling under my breath, I walked toward them, the prickling aura of Freya becoming more painful as I drew near.
“You,” Freya said quietly to me as I stopped before them. “Are bleeding and covered in blood.” I pressed my hand to my shoulder wound, wincing as I muttered a healing spell. As my skin knitted back together, I grimaced. I was never going to get used to the weird itchy feeling.
“Who are you?” I asked, glowering at the witched standing beside her.
“Nolita,” the witch said and took a step back from Freya as my neck began to tingle.
“If you bite me, I will turn you inside out,” I warned, taking a step back.
Freya smiled, and chills skittered down my spine. “Turn me inside out,” she said thoughtfully. “Get that.” I didn’t even see her move. One second I was inside, the next I found myself outside and behind my building, out of public eye. Nolita of course, was nowhere in sight. Her ice cold hand was the only thing keeping me upright as my world spun and dizziness took me over. “You are one of the elders here, but yet, you have not impressed me.” When she was sure I wouldn’t fall on my face, she reluctantly released me. “I am beginning to wonder how you got the position.” I glared at her. “Tell me, Davina, what is the most complex spell you can cast without getting a nose bleed or a headache for your efforts? Your adopted daughter saved the day, granted it was because of her uncontrolled magic, but she gets all the credit in my opinion none the less.”
“What do you know about magic?” I snapped.
“Oh,” she said softly. “I know quite a bit,” she said dryly. I scowled at her. “I am wondering if it would be wise for you to enter hell with us to rescue one of my own.” I felt the stirring of the air, and I glanced around as Evelyn appeared several feet away from us.
“Freya, Davina,” Evelyn said in greeting.
“Evelyn,” Freya said, not taking her eyes off of me as Nolita came into sight. She glared at the back of Freya’s head as she stopped behind her. Evelyn glanced at Nolita, her eyes going to the witch’s left hand where a bloodstone ring glinted.
“Are you going to introduce us?” Evelyn asked.
Freya scowled. “There is no point.”
Evelyn smirked and looked at me. “What is your specialty?” she asked as I tried very hard not to look her directly in the eye.
“Witches don’t go around sharing their specialties,” I said, and then gasped as pain exploded in my head. My world blurred and my vision darkened as Evelyn slammed me against the side of the building, her hand like cold steel around my neck. I instinctively reached up, trying to loosen her grip. It was like trying to move a fucking brick wall. Evelyn bared her fangs, leaning in as I struggled to breathe.
“What,” she whispered in my ear. “Is. Your. Specialty?” I tried to answer, but all that came out was a choking sound. Evelyn’s grip around my throat loosened a little, enough for me to wheeze in air.
“Fire,” I choked out. With a low growl, she released me, stepping back as I doubled over and gasped for much, much needed air.
“You made her bleed,” Freya groaned.
“Forgive me,” Evelyn said as I reached to the back of my head. I grimaced as my fingers came away with blood. Both vampires eyed them as I wiped my hand on my dirty shirt. “Why do you always have to be so difficult?” Evelyn growled and glared at me.
I shrugged. “It’s in my nature to piss everyone off.” Invisible barbs dug into my neck, and my eyes widened—a scream stuck in my throat as fingers of fiery pain licked up and down my body.
“If I were you,” Freya said slowly, softly. “I be careful.” She closed in on me, and my head nearly exploded as her magic slammed into me. Fucking. Shit. “Just because you are one of the elders of your kind, it does not mean you are immune from death.”
“Is that a warning?” I gasped as tears blurred my vision. “A threat?”
“Yes,” she whispered into my ear, drawing out the word as my world… fell away from me.AISLEY
Shit! I thought as I ran, seeing red as I heard four soft pops going off and heard the screams of my friends before they were abruptly cut off. I didn’t have to look back to know they were dead before they hit the ground. I let out a scream, cursing at the two demons chasing me. I had no idea where I was running to, but fuck them if they thought I was going to just stand still and allow them to kill me. I ducked as a bullet whizzed through the air toward me, missing me by an inch. Unsheathing a blade, I straightened and continued running as I threw it over my head. Judging by the pain grunt that followed a second later, my aim was dead-on. “God fucking damn it!” I yelled as I saw more demons up ahead. I was so dead, I thought as I let out a low snarl. Cold wind slapped my face as I changed direction. “Fuck,” I spat, and then launched myself into the air as I shifted to my panther form. The four demons ran at me, and I screamed as they aimed assault rifles my way and began shooting. I dodged several bullets, but I couldn’t dodge them all as unimaginable pain slammed into me, robbing me of breath. I somehow continued moving, my blood spraying into the air like a cloud of red mist. I had been shot with silver a few times, and this pain was much more agonizing. My movements slowed, pain racking every inch of me as bullets continued to fly. My vision darkened and narrowed as I slowed even more—my screams and the rush of blood so loud in my ears that I no longer heard the shots. Damn, I thought as the cold became colder. What a fucking lame way to go. Oh hey, just curious, how did you die again? Oh… I don’t know… I got filled with bullets. Silver bullets? Nope, demon blood. Yeah… just… awesome. My vision narrowed to pinpricks, and I was freezing as darkness swept over me.
Aisley Brunsdale, a whispering voice hissed, drawing out my name longer than it was necessary. Come to me. Go away, I silently mumbled. Come to me, the voice repeated in my mind. I felt a tugging in the center of my being, pulling me forward. Who are you? I silently asked as shudders came over me. Jesric, he said, and I could’ve sworn I heard exasperation in his mental, whispery voice. I’m dead, aren’t I? I asked. “Not for long,” Jesric growled, no longer in my head.
“Oh god,” I gasped. “Please tell me it’s pain free.”
“I’m afraid not,” he said softly as ice cold hand closed around my wrist. I gulped. “Don’t fight the pain. Take a deep breath and ride it out.” I nodded, and he released me. I couldn’t see anything but darkness as my insides felt like they were being squeezed. Something hit me in the center of my chest, and I screamed as blinding pain took me over.
“Okay,” Sarisa said as I drifted in the void. “You can bite her, and make it quick.” There was a long pause, and she cursed. “As quick as possible then.” Fangs drove into my neck, and if I could move or make a sound, I would have. I must have faded again, because the next thing I knew, something hot, metallic and sweet was pouring down my throat. I growled as I grabbed at the arm, driving my fangs in deeper. Wait… fangs? Holy shit. I tried to stop gulping down the blood, but it was like my mind had a mind of its own. Question, Jesric said dryly into my mind. I would’ve rolled my eyes at him but… I was too busy swallowing. Teleportation? Do you have to ask? I silently asked. He didn’t answer, but a second later, his blood seemed to tingle in my mouth, and I once again, fell into the void.
“Damn it!” I yelled as my eyes flew open.
“You’re welcome,” Jesric said from behind me, and I realized that he was holding me.
“Damn it!” I repeated. “Thanks for saving me, but damn it!” Sarisa, standing across the room, burst out laughing.
“Is that all you can say?”
“Yes, just—” He pressed a cold finger to my lips, cutting me off.
“Stop,” he said as I drew his finger into my mouth and bit down hard. I groaned as blood trickled onto my tongue. He jerked his finger out, and I growled. Chuckling, he turned his hand and offered his wrist to me. My head snapped forward, and he grunted as I sank my fangs in deep. Sarisa came over, sitting on the edge of the bed as she watched us thoughtfully. A tornado suddenly filled the room, and Jailyn appeared beside the bed, cursing vehemently. Casiar appeared beside her, and they both looked at us.
“I can’t believe it,” Casiar muttered. “I’m seeing things,” he said and made a show of rubbing his eyes.
“Casiar,” Jailyn said, exasperated.
“What?” he asked innocently.
“I will punch you.”
He glanced between me and Jesric and groaned. “We have a granddaughter, we’re getting old. Do you think we can retire early?”
“Love?” Jailyn said softly.
“If you don’t start acting your age, I will punch you.”
He put up his hands and took a step away from her. “Okay,” he said slowly. “Okay.”
“Stop,” Jesric said, and I growled in protest. “I said stop.” With those three words came the overwhelming need to obey. Snarling, I withdrew my fangs and glared. “Lick it.” My tongue darted out, and I licked at the wound, closing it. His hand shot out, snatching the blood bag from Jailyn.
“So uh…” I hesitated, licking the remaining blood from my mouth. “What happened? And uh… what time is it?”
“It’s fifteen minutes 'til nine,” Sarisa said, and I frowned. “Pm.” I blinked. “You’ve been out of it for a day and half of the night last night.” She shuddered, slipping off the bed and walking over to the small table beside the closed door. She picked up a small container, scowling at it. “You don’t remember?” she asked quietly.
I leaned forward, frowning. “I don’t want to,” I said and grumbled. Behind me, Jesric cursed. I glanced over my shoulder at him as he dropped another empty plastic bag onto the table beside the bed. “It’s going to come back to me, is it?” Sarisa grunted, and I turned my head to look at her. “Damn,” I muttered. I glanced down at myself and yelped, realizing a little too late that I was completely naked. Before I could do anything about it, everything came back to me in a rush. Gasping, I cringed, remembering the flying bullets, the pain, and my two friends dying… I let out an anguished scream as my skin prickled with the need to change. Enraged, I struggled, cursing at Jesric as he held me effortlessly against him. He didn’t say anything. No one said anything as I continued to struggle, curse, and scream. I screamed and screamed, until I couldn’t scream anymore. I went limp in Jesric’s arms and cried like a baby. I cried… until blissful darkness pulled me under.