Authors: Lacy Williams as Lacy Yager,Haley Yager
Tags: #Romance, #Paranormal, #Vampires, #Teen & Young Adult, #Literature & Fiction, #Action & Adventure, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Paranormal & Urban, #Teen fiction, #YA fiction
“There’s not a lot of information about them. See… when vamps, um… ‘vamp out’, a sort of amnesia sets in. You don’t remember your human life or why you wouldn’t want to kill people. It’s very instinctive. The theory is that
are vamps that never revisited their human form. They embraced the monster so much that they can never return and they mutated to have features that help them destroy and kill.”
Her eyes are wide as she takes in all the information I’m giving her. “And when you’re human…?”
I see Shane’s eyes flicker in the reflection of the window.
“We remember everything—all the things we did as a vampire. For some, the guilt is too much and they prefer to stay in their vampire form most of the time.”
Hannah moans, interrupting further conversation. I move to her side now that I’m not so worried about hurting her. I touch her forehead; she’s burning up. I don’t mess with the bandages at her neck—I can smell that the bites inflicted by the vampire in the park are severe and not healing as they should be.
“Is there anything we can do?” Lily props her arms on the back of Hannah’s chair.
“I don’t know. Hannah has… special healing properties, but something’s not right.”
Hannah’s heartbeat goes from weak to thready, her breaths grow shallower.
“We can’t just let her die,” Lily says aggressively. A hint of the Lily I’ve known for two years.
I pull out my cell and dial his number. He doesn’t say hello as the phone connects the call, but I know he’s listening.
“Caleb, its Maggie. Hannah’s hurt. Real bad.”
I understand he’s asking where our location is, not where Hannah’s hurt. “We’ll arrive in London in about three hours; from there we’re going to Wellington Castle.”
I hang up. The fact that I broke the silence tells him we’re in serious trouble. And Caleb won’t let his sister suffer, not when he can help.
I can’t help overhearing when Rachel shifts into the seat across from Shane.
“What are we going to do in London?” she whispers.
“We’ll find the capsule and see if we can’t make contact with someone who can help us.”
“From what I remember seeing in dad’s journal, it’s in one of the airport lockers.”
So Shane isn’t planning on staying with us. I know this is best—the more time we spend together the more likely he is to kill me.
I sit on the floor in front of Hannah and take her hands. “Han, you’ve got to make it. I can’t go back home without you.” I brush a stray piece of hair out of her eyes. “I can’t do this by myself.”
19 - Shane
It’s midmorning when the plane touches down at Heathrow. I’ve never been out of the U.S. before and the glimpses of London through the plane’s windows are exciting. I just wish we had arrived under better circumstances.
Maggie’s words to Lily keep reverberating in my head.
We remember everything… guilt… when vamped out, amnesia…
During her conversation with Lily, I couldn’t quite get a feel for whether Maggie was talking about herself or vamps in general. And I keep coming up with more questions that I want to ask. Is she able to remain human because she hasn’t murdered as much as other vampires, so the guilt doesn’t eat her alive? Why does she choose to live the way she does? Why did she help Chloe after she knew what my family is?
She never moved back into the seats in my vicinity, instead electing to stay near her injured friend. So I don’t have the answers to my questions and now it looks like I’ll never get them.
We taxi toward a terminal and not for the first time, I wonder how we’re supposed to get past immigration and customs with no passports.
The plane slows and both my sisters look at me with wide eyes, like ‘what now?’ The feelings I constantly have ever since my parents death—that things are spinning out of my control—magnify until my feet feel like lead.
“Han!” Maggie exclaims and every head in the cabin looks over to her. But apparently Maggie’s happy, not upset, because her friend’s eyes are slowly blinking open. Something seems to pass between the teens, though no words are spoken.
“Wha…” Chloe exhales something, too soft for me to hear. She looks up at me with eyes like saucers and then back at the vampire and witch.
Maggie doesn’t look away from Hannah, but helps her friend sit up straighter and kinda braces her. “Does anyone have any food?”
“I do!” Chloe chirps. Little piglet that she is, I’m not surprised. She always seems to have a snack stashed on her person.
My sister comes up with two granola bars and some gummy worms. All of it looks a little smooshed, but I guess beggars can’t be choosers because Maggie takes it, expressing her gratitude to Chloe with a hug. Which Chloe returns. I’m too worried about what’s going to happen next to really reprimand Chloe when she comes back to my side.
I keep thinking, did Maggie bring us here just to leave us stuck at some immigration desk?
Maggie forces one of the bars on Hannah, who doesn’t protest but looks like she can barely keep the food down.
“Um, Mags,” Lily puts in. She strips out of her sweatshirt; underneath she’s got on a black tank top that doesn’t quite meet the top of her jeans. She’s curvier than I thought, she was just hiding it beneath her baggy shirt. “You need this if you don’t want to catch a lot of attention with your bloody shirt.” She extends the sweatshirt to the vamp.
“Fine.” Maggie grabs the shirt out of the other girl’s hands with a little more force than necessary, shooting me a glare at the same time. It makes me uncomfortable and I look away, catching Hannah’s eye. She grins weakly and shakes her head.
I shrug. What did I do now?
In all the activity, the plane has stopped moving. Now Maggie marches over and pushes the lever to release the plane door; she flips open the steps but instead of disembarking, she comes back to Hannah.
I motion my sisters to go ahead and they do. I’m sure they are ready to stretch their legs and move around freely. I know I am. Lily follows them a little slower, looking over her shoulder in concern.
“Do you—” I start to ask Maggie if she needs help with Hannah, but the cockpit door opens and the pilot—Maggie’s brother—steps out. This is the first good look I’ve gotten at him. A couple inches shorter than me; he looks a little older than Maggie and I wonder how that’s possible because I thought she said they were twins.
His hair is blond and curls down on his forehead in a way I’m sure girls think is cute. He’s human, because of the sunlight, and his eyes are the same bright green as Maggie’s.
He stops behind Hannah’s seat, nostrils flaring. My weapon is already out and raised when Maggie elbows my fist and knocks my hand down. She glares at me—again—and I shrug. It’s not like I can help my ingrained reaction. I sheath the knife.
Watching the byplay of emotions on Hannah’s face intrigues me.
“Hey, Dan.” She greets him cheerfully, but he can’t see her face because he’s still behind her and her eyes close for a second, a pained look crossing her features. She brings a hand to the bandage on her throat, but it looks more like a self-conscious gesture than like she’s worried he’ll be interested in her wound for other reasons.
“Can you help me with Hannah? I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it to the pickup area by myself. She’s pretty weak.”
“What about him?” he motions to me, curling his lips in contempt.
I can’t help the snarl the forms on my own mouth. Right back at ya, vamp dude. If it wasn’t for Maggie’s presence, he’d be dead right now.
“Shane and his sisters have their own plans. They’re not staying with us once we get past security.”
How did she know that? Rach and I shared one whispered conversation on the plane, several hours ago. Had she heard it? Does that mean she has extra powers even when she’s human?
Daniel moves to help Hannah out of her seat and I can tell his teeth are gritted because his jaw is so tense.
“Sorry,” Hannah mumbles as he slides an arm around her back and helps her stand. She’s wobbly, but stabilizes once she’s upright.
He doesn’t answer her, and the freckles on her face start to disappear as she blushes.
I look at Maggie and quirk my eyebrows but she just shrugs like she doesn’t know what I mean. Does she not realize her friend likes—as in
likes—her brother? Apparently not.
How can Hannah have feelings for a vampire? From what Maggie said, her brother doesn’t adhere to the same rules she lives by—as in not drinking from living mortals—so isn’t Hannah’s crush a little dangerous to her health?
I don’t get an answer as we troop off the plane.
We are stuck in immigration for two hours, first filling out the required forms and then when they realize half of us have no passports, we are routed to a separate office. I’m freaking tired of being in close quarters with vamps—namely Daniel, who I still haven’t met officially—but there’s enough windows around that I’m only mildly uptight and not weapon-drawn uneasy.
We all remain standing, stuffed in the immigration guy’s office like sardines. Maggie and Daniel have Hannah propped between them, and her face is even paler than before, freckles nearly disappearing completely. She’s got a sheen of sweat on her upper lip and seems incredibly focused on the guy handling our paperwork, more than a person in her condition should be.
And then the man looks up and says, “You’re all cleared. Enjoy your visit to London.”
The guy hands us some papers, which Rachel grabs, and we get out of there. We’re barely in the hallway leading to the main terminal and the exits when Hannah, walking between Maggie and Daniel in front of the rest of us, goes limp. Maggie catches her under the armpits with a “oomph” and hisses, “Take her!” to Daniel.
“Maggie!” he protests, but accepts the now-semi-unconscious girl and swings her up into his arms. Her head lolls against his shoulder.
“Let’s get outta here,” Rachel says under her breath. I stop walking, because she’s right. It’s time for us to separate from the vamps, even if I am a little concerned about Hannah.
Maggie and her brother keep moving, though she shoots one look back over her shoulder. Our eyes connect for a second before she turns away.
Lily hesitates, like she’s not sure who to stay with, then finally jogs to catch up to Maggie.
My sisters and I are alone at last. Why do I feel like I’m missing something?
We ask someone from airport personnel for directions and then head to the lockers, which are near the baggage claim. Unfortunately, we’re pretty much following Maggie and her friends. They go out the glass doors to the area where you can be picked up by taxis or buses just before we find the lockers.
I go to number 44 and work the combination lock, plugging in the same numbers I used when I lost all my stuff in Dallas, Texas, once and had to be re-outfitted. And, amazingly, it works. The locker pops open. There’s a duffel bag inside, just like there should be.
There aren’t a whole lot of Chasers left, but we who are still in the fight have this network that keeps us going if we need to change identities or whatever.
I open the bag and it’s empty. Completely empty. No money. No maps. No nothing. Not even a piece of paper with contact information for someone who can help us.
Rachel curses, mirroring my feelings.
“What are we going to do?” Chloe whispers.
“Catch up to them,” I say, slamming the locker closed.
Rachel protests, but Chloe nods. “Maggie will help us. I know she will.”
I groan, because I really don’t want to ask her. The three of us sprint outside and I see Lily disappearing into a limo next to a guy holding up a sign that reads ‘Wellington.’
Maggie stands next to the open door, looking right at me. “Need some help?” Apparently, I don’t even have to ask.
20 - Maggie
I can’t, okay?
Lily and Hannah’s chatter about London and Shane’s occasional interjections washes over me, but I find it hard to concentrate with Dan’s terse words ringing through my head.
Daniel can’t stay in close proximity to Hannah, so he’s sitting in the front seat with the limo driver, behind the closed partition.
It’s not only his words that bother me, it’s the strain I saw on his face. I have more to worry about than Hannah’s health, because I didn’t realize he’s so close to staying vamped all the time. He wasn’t that bad the last time I saw him. I knew he struggled with his human side, but this…
I distract myself with Rachel’s silent fuming. She hasn’t spoken one word since her family got into the back of the limo. The three Camptons and Lily all share the long bench seat across from where I’ve got Hannah lying down, her head in my lap. Shane’s feet are outstretched and close to tangling with mine, but I’m
going to concentrate on that.
By the time we hit the outskirts of London, Chloe’s asleep again, curled against Shane, Rachel’s got her earbuds in, and Lily’s appraising me curiously.
“Do you have some big bank vault full of cash somewhere? I mean, the plane… limo… all the trips you take, and I’m assuming it’s you who donates the scholarships that send Eww kids to college?”
Shane looks up from where he’d been staring at our feet resting side by side.
“Not all of them,” I say defensively.
“So where do you get the money?” she asks.
I sigh. I should know by now that a curious Lily never gives up. “When you’ve been around for as long as I have and make a few good investments, you can pretty much do whatever you want.” I downplay a little, don’t mention that my family was filthy rich to begin with.
“How old are you, anyway?”
I wish Shane would stop staring at me. Or ask a few questions of his own. His silence is starting to bug me.
“I’m seventeen in human years. And,” I cough over my next words, trying to cover them, “A-hundred-seventy in vampire years.”
Lily looks shocked for the first time since the events of last night. She’s been seriously resilient. “You’re a hundred-eighty-seven years old?”