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Chapter 4: A Meeting of the Minds

Andre watched as the old man injected the woman—Rio with the hormones. He winced when he saw the slight stab of pain she was subjected to. Andre ached a little for the old doctor, who didn’t seem to want to be there any more than the rest of them. He listened to Gnome Nose give Rio her instructions. “Willing or unwilling,” that was what he said.

It appeared that Gnome Nose wanted him and Rio to produce offspring. Then Gnome Nose would take the child. Well, that wasn’t going to happen, not if Andre could help it. He just had to wait six days, then the two of them could work on some things.

“What’s your name?” Rio asked.

“I’m Andre Bloodworth, and I got your name from Mr. Hamelburg.”

“Mr. Hamelburg? Oh, you mean Michael Delacourt. They think I have paranormal abilities, that’s why I’m here.”

“I gathered as much. I apologize in advance for any discomfort you will be made to endure. By my hand or Gnome Nose’s.”

“That’s okay. I know you don’t have a choice. Michael, on the other hand, is a sadistic prick who decided to use a human and a near human for a science experiment. I wish I could show him a science experiment,” she said hotly.

“Careful Rio, this area is wired for video. I saw the jolt he gave you earlier. Another one like that and it could put you out of commission for good. Don’t give him a reason to retaliate. Tell me what you do for a job when you’re not getting yourself kidnapped by narcissistic megalomaniacs.”

Chuckling and moving to the cell gate, Rio was about to touch the bar when Andre spoke harshly, “stay back five feet. The cell bars are electrified.”

Rio jumped back at the harshness of his voice, “thanks, I don’t I want to end up in the infirmary again. What do I do when I’m not being kidnapped by narcissistic megalomaniacs? I’m a creative writer of fiction. I spend more time in my make-believe world than I do in the real world.”

“What do you write about?”

“I write vampire romances. I tone them down for some publications, but it’s worth it. I like doing it. What about you?”

“That sounds interesting, do you have much in the way of research about vampire romances?” he asked.

“No, but I can create one in a matter of days. Romantic huh?”

He took a moment to think about his response. He liked listening to Rio’s voice, it soothed some savage part of him that had been railing against his self-control. Then he remembered her second question, “I’m a vampire. This century I was trying to learn how to live in the world that has gotten so small since I last visited.”

“Last visited, what does that mean?”

“I spent the last century or so hibernating if you will. I don’t like humans very much, but my father and mother insisted I get out and see the world.”

“Aren’t you afraid our new warden is going to hear that you have parents?”

“Nope. If he’s crazy enough to go after my parents, he deserves what he gets. My parents’ enemies don’t live free for long and the worst ones, don’t live, period. My father doesn’t approve of my lifestyle, so he and I don’t talk much. Mother checks in once or twice a century, and she’s already done that so I don’t have to worry. What about your family?”

“Don’t have one, parents died in a car accident on their way back from B.C. No siblings and now, no boyfriend. I seriously hope he knows that this is a relationship breaker,” she responded, causing him to chuckle.

“Well, that’s good to know. I would hate to think you would still want to go out with Gnome Nose after all this. Where are you from—originally?”

“Would you believe I’m from the Midwest? I grew up in Wisconsin. I got tired of the scorching summers. When I was a kid, I got sunburned so badly that unless I’m wearing a sunscreen with a high SPF, I’ll burn easily. I try to stay out of the sun and heat; the humidity and I don’t mix well either. What about you, where are you from? Do you have any brothers or sisters?”

“My twin sisters died two hundred years ago. I have a brother I haven’t heard from since the twins died.”

“That’s sad. Uh-oh, I’m feeling a little sick.”

“It’s probably the hormones. Your body needs to adjust. Take a deep breath, hold it, then slowly let it out. When the symptoms subside, drink some water.”

“Okay,” she replied, getting up to get the water and then returning to the floor by the cage door.

“Drink it slowly, and your nausea will pass,” he advised.

They talked for another hour before Rio went back to her cot to sleep. She hadn’t eaten the steak, and she knew she might regret it in the morning because her stomach was beginning to act up. But she wasn’t so hungry that she would willingly eat red meat just yet.

She pondered the idea of Andre. Unlike Michael, or Hamelburg, or whatever his name was, Andre was different. He looked different, sounded different, she thought at one point during their conversation he smelled different than Michael.

She had watched the interaction between Andre and Michael as he stood by the bars. If Andre was less than six feet four, she was Joan of Arc. His broad chest rippled with muscle that expanded and flowed into his arms and shoulders that looked thick and strong. Exposed abs were stacked in a washboard fashion and defined by jeans that did nothing to hide a tight toned ass and an impressive package.

His face was angular with deep ridges where the facial bones sloped downward. Rio wasn’t sure how but Andre’s chin was pointed and broad at the same time, adding to the ruggedness of his long nose. As she wondered what his personality was like, she remembered that his eyes glowed in the ultraviolet light. A flash of lust flared for a moment.

She rolled over, staring at the cell across from her, noticing that his shadow played with the natural shadows of the light. She had shut down her touching ability because she was afraid that Michael would discover she’d lied. She wanted to open it up when staring at Andre, she wanted to know what he was thinking. And that was when she noticed that he stared back at her. A whoosh from his cell caught her attention, and he moved to some sort of tube to the left of his cot. Reaching in, he extracted something and placed it to his mouth.

The clanging of the ward door caught her attention, and a guard appeared with a tray of food. “Dinner time for the animals. One rare steak with some nice veggies and potatoes. You know, for an animal in a cage you get fed better than me. Maybe I should eat this and let you starve a day or so,” he sneered at her.

All she did was stare at him until he became nervous enough to just put the tray on the table and leave. It became apparent to her that he was more scared of pissing Michael off than he was interested in taunting her. Of course, he didn’t know that she didn’t really care anymore. She had learned a while ago that when you were in a situation you had no control over, you had one of two options. You could fight and not learn anything from your experiences or, you could accept that your situation exists. Learn from it and determine the best way to make it work for you.

Ever mindful of the camera, she moved to the table and cringed at the bloody meat. Picking at the plate, she ate some of it, drank the milk and flushed the meat down the toilet since they had cut it up. They apparently don’t trust me with sharp objects, she thought. When the guard returned to her cell, the plate was clean, and he was none the wiser.

She moved back to the cot and lay down. It was then that she opened her mind up to the spaces around her. All but one of the occupants were paranormal in some way. There was a werebear, a werecat, a werewolf and a self-proclaimed witch. Rio discovered that the woman was full shit. She was playing at being a witch, and finally, an honest to god vampire.

She focused on Andre for a moment and found that she could feel him. She felt his anger. Without moving into his thoughts, which she was confident he would feel, she couldn’t determine if he was angry at her, the situation, or their keeper.

“I’m not angry with you, I’m angry at the situation and Gnome Nose, and that I can’t stop what has occurred and what is bound to happen. Now tell me why you didn’t eat the meat. It wasn’t tainted,” he said.

She was so afraid that it was a trick that she didn’t answer him answer him until he continued.

“Rio, I know you think this is a setup. I assure you that it isn’t. If they intend to mate us like animals, I need to know how to take care of you. Why didn’t you eat the meat?”

In a tentative thought, “I don’t like red meat, I’m not sure why. I can eat fish, but red meat, chicken or anything else is just hard for me.”

“Have you tried to eat it? Did you get sick from it at some point?”

“No. I guess maybe it’s that my mother didn’t eat it, so, she didn’t serve it. Though, daddy used to eat it when she wasn’t around.”

“Listen to me dear one. As hard as it is for you to do, you need to eat the meat. If you should get pregnant by me, your body will need the protein, and that comes from the meat. Delacourt may insist that you even begin drinking human blood. It will be the only thing that keeps you sustained the further the pregnancy gets.”

“I can’t drink blood! There are so many diseases in human blood, I’m not a vampire. I’m not against your needing to, it’s who you are. But I’m human, I’ve never eaten red meat, never drank blood in any way.”

“Rio, the child will need the blood. It’s who he will be. Would you deprive your child of what he needs because you’re unable to do something?”

“No. I’ll try to eat the meat. How can we talk to one another?”

“You linked telepathically to me. If you can do it without what my people call a blood connection, then you have an extraordinary talent. You are a true psychic. A true paranormal human. If my people had found you before our warden, you would have been protected.”

“What happens in nine months if I get pregnant? He’ll take the baby and kill us. I don’t want my child raised by that prick.”

“Don’t worry about him, let’s get through this together. Now you need to get some rest okay?” he responded.

“Okay, I’ll try,” she sent back and allowed the connection to lapse.

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