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Chapter 6: A Ray of Hope

“Well, he wakes. What’s wrong with you?” Gnome Nose, as Andre began to think of him, asked.

“The ultraviolet light and the lack of fresh blood are weakening me. The weaker I get, the more sleep I’ll need. At some point, I won’t wake up no matter how much synthetic blood you give me, especially if you keep the ultraviolet light shining,” Andre responded politely, heeding his father’s instructions to protect Rio.

“Your first donor is here. Remember what I said. You kill him, I’ll kill her,” Michael motioned at Rio.

“I remember and thank you for the fresh infusion.”

“Don’t thank me, I need you for a while longer. Once you get Rio pregnant, I won’t.”

“You don’t know much about vampire young, do you?” Andre asked, thinking that what he was about to do could provide them leverage. When no answer was forthcoming, he continued, “for the young to survive past the second trimester, the father must be present. He must feed the mother his blood. Otherwise, the child may not live. The mother can’t sustain herself, and many human women can’t conceive of drinking blood, even from a glass. The more stress she is under, the likelihood that she and the child will die in the first trimester is greater.

There is a chance the child won’t survive beyond the initial gestational week. If you want my son to live, you’ll need both of us. And if you don’t believe me, you can ask the vampire that helped to trap me,” Andre explained, waiting for a jolt of electricity.

“You’re lying.”

“Ask your source if you think I’m lying,” Andre commented as a human male no older than seventeen or eighteen entered his cell.

“What makes you think I have a source on vampires?”

“You didn’t find me by mistake. Someone sold me out, gave up my location. Whoever it was, I hope you didn’t pay them too much.”

“I paid them enough so that they’ll keep their mouths shut. If they don’t, they’ll end up as an attraction in my next venture. I think I’ll title it Filet of Vampire: An in-depth look at the physiology and biology of the vampire,” Hamelburg quipped, watching the interaction between Andre and the runaway boy intently.

The boy trembled as he brandished his throat to the vampire. Andre pulled the boy closer gently and reverently drew the boy’s wrist to his mouth; sinking his fangs into it. The boy stopped trembling almost immediately and watched awestruck. Andre took less than what he truly needed from the young man because he didn’t want the boy to pass out.

No one knew that once Andre fed on a person, he could read their thoughts and this time was no different. The boy had been promised a good life, and in return, he would be part of a science experiment. There would be no shots or taking of drugs, but he had to do what he was told. The boy—Tomas realized he’d been lied to because while there weren’t any drugs or shots, he was kept in a solitary cell one floor up. He had nothing to do in there and being in here with a vampire, and feeding him was the most excitement he’d been allowed since arriving. He ate three times a day, and on the advice of the doctor, he began working out a bit. He really wished he could go home. He’d never run away again, he’d do all his chores and go to school and kiss and hug his parents. He hadn’t seen his parents in months, and while he didn’t have a calendar, he knew it was summer the last time he had seen them. Now it was fall, and he really wanted to go home.

Cutting his tongue and swiping it across the wound, Andre closed the holes on the boy’s wrist, patted him on the shoulder and thanked him for his donation. He silently vowed that if at the end of this ordeal the boy was still alive, he would be well taken care of.

“That’s enough. I have things to do. Tomorrow when you get your donor a guard will be in here. Remember what I said, you kill the donor or the guard, and she dies—immediately.”

Bowing in a courtly gesture Andre moved away from the teen toward the wall of the cell, allowing them to leave.

After they left, Rio moved toward the cell door, “are you okay? You know, you’re not looking so good. The burns are getting worse, and your skin is beginning to dehydrate.”

“I’ll be fine. How are you feeling, did the doctor give you the hormone injections yet?”

“Yeah, Dr. Mengele was in here while you were asleep.”

“The old man or our warden?” Andre asked, not wanting to make any character assassinations out loud in case Gnome Nose was listening.

“The old man, he seems nice enough, but still, he’s giving me injections against my will.”

“He’s here against his will as well I think. Something tells me that few of the participants in this whole thing are willing except the guards. If our warden is treating us—the subjects most important to his experiment—like this, how do you think he’s treating the secondary participants? The doctor, the boy that just left here, any person he deems expendable?”

“I didn’t think of that, you’re right. Now I feel like a real ass. I wasn’t exactly nice in what I said to the old man a bit ago.”

“I wouldn’t worry about it, I’m sure he understands your sentiments.”

“Rio, I need you to go lay down on your cot like you’re not feeling well. I need to give you some information, and it will be difficult to do while we are talking out loud, okay?”

“I think those shots are getting to me again. I’m going to lay down for a while. I wish Michael would turn off that fucking light, it’s making you sick.”

Andre nodded and smiled. Moving toward his own cot, Andre discovered the ultraviolet was now redirected to the portions of the cell that landed directly in front of the cell door, and eight feet above his head. Gnome Nose was following directions. Now he would have some relief, and though he would regenerate, it would be a slow process.

“Are you comfortable?” he asked, knowing the answer, but keeping up the pretense.

“As comfortable as one can be in this situation.”

“I understand, get some rest Rio,” he said, immediately switching to telepathic communication.

“Rio, I contacted my father. He’s going to send help. Our goal is to stay alive. All the information I gave to Gnome Nose is true, you will need me to make it through the at least the second trimester.”

“Do you really think one of your kind sold you out to him?”

“Yes. The only way anyone could find me is by using a hunter. I am marked by my blood to my parents. That mark can be activated when necessary, and only a hunter can track it. That means that someone activated the hunter and set him on me. Someone betrayed me our warden. I’m going to tell you something I need you to keep to yourself.”

“All right.”

“I’m the single heir to the Wilkenfiance clan. I don’t know if Gnome Nose knows this, but it could be dangerous to us if it this fact were discovered.”

“Um…okay, I’m not sure how to respond to that.”

“What it means is I’m a prince of an old vampire line. My father is the reigning clan leader. He’s pissed that we’re being forced to create a youngling and that he’ll be taken from us. The threat to our lives has erupted a firestorm. Father is hunting the person who betrayed me, and he will find out who it was.

My father needs us to get closer to the surface. Once we’re closer to the surface, the hunters will find us.”

“What about this person who betrayed you? If he is one of your people, wouldn’t he know you would contact your father?”

I think the betrayer believes that my father has abandoned me. And they must think I wouldn’t contact him if I were in trouble.” he explained.

“You’re a vampire prince? Great, not only am I supposed to have your child, but he’ll be a prince and at greater risk,” she responded sadly.

Andre gave Rio a moment, “are you upset at the situation or that your son will be a prince in the vampire world?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. It’s not the heritage that bothers me. It’s that Michael must know that he would be a prince in your world. That your people would pay anything to get him back.”

“I don’t think Delacourt knows anything. As soon as our son is born my father will know, no matter where you are.”

“You said no matter where I am, not us. You don’t think you’re going to live, do you?”

“There is always that possibility. Father will try to prevent it, but you must survive.”

“So, I’m only to be…”

“No. You’re not a broodmare. You’re the future mother of a vampire prince, and it’s important that you survive. You’ll carry the next heir,” Andre explained trying to ease her worry. She has no idea how important she really is. A human paranormal who can bear the next prince. Father will kill the first person that attempts to keep the child from us. God help them because it will be a bloodbath.

“So, you contacted your father, what do we do now?” she asked, breaking into his thoughts.

“Stay alive, his orders.”

“He doesn’t know me, and he’s giving me orders?”

“Yes, and he expects them to be followed.”

“Get up, you need to see the doctor.” A male voice broke into their private conversation.

“Okay,” Rio said, taking a moment to stretch.

“Remember Rio, don’t fight and if they hurt you in any way, I want to know immediately.”

“All right.”

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