Authors: Emma Knight
(book #3 of the Vampire Legends)
Also by Emma Knight
SWORN (Book #1 of the Vampire Legends)
TAKEN (Book #2 of the Vampire Legends)
Copyright © 2012 by Emma Knight
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior permission of the author.
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
Rachel lay there, in a puddle, floating on her back, looking up at the midnight sky. As she looked up, she saw the huge full moon, lighting up the clouds, which passed impossibly fast beneath it.
She heard a distant screeching noise, growing louder and louder, and the source of the noise came into view: thousands of thousands of bats began to swarm across the sky. Soon, the moonlit sky completely blackened with them. They swarmed together from both sides of the horizon, and met in the middle. As they did, they suddenly all took a turn, and dove down, right for Rachel. It was like an ever-growing tornado, its funnel widening, as the bats screeched, heading down to earth, right for her.
She tried to move, to get up, but as she did, she realized that her arms were stuck to the water—which now was not water but a pool of sticky blood. She pulled her head up just a few inches, just as far as it could go, just enough to see thousands more bats plunging towards her.
As they got closer, there appeared in front of her, a shadow, a figure. He bent down over her, and she looked up into his eyes, and saw those large, glowing, incandescent eyes, and recognized them instantly.
“Save me!” she pleaded to him, frantic.
As the bats came down to earth, now only feet away, Benji leaned back his head. As he did, his face turned impossibly pale, stark white, and long sharp fangs protruded from his teeth. He lowered his head, and sank his teeth right into her throat.
Rachel screamed out in pain as she felt them enter her. As she opened her mouth wider, screaming and screaming, the bats plunged down, right for her, and entered her screaming mouth.
Rachel woke up screaming. The room was dark, cold and smelled of must. She lay there on a firm mattress, under a thick, heavy quilt, looking up at the wooden four-poster bed with carved images of crosses at the top of each post.
She lay still, not moving a muscle. She feared something was different, and he wasn’t ready to face what had happened. Her mind raced with scenes of last night, but they were foggy, she couldn’t piece anything together.
Her eyes wandered about the room, scanning the marble mantle that surrounded the fireplace, which had a small, flickering fire. She glanced at the midnight-purple wallpaper, which she strangely felt soothed her eyes. She scanned the large cathedral-like ceilings and then looked to find the door. She didn’t remember coming into this room, and she wanted to find her way out. The door was at the back left of the enormous room she lay in; it was a big arched door, with iron locks and bolts on it. She prayed she wasn’t trapped.
Taking a moment to listen, Rachel sat up in bed. The mattress coils creaked, as if nobody had slept in that bed in centuries. Her body was achy as she turned from side to side, stretching her torso and neck. She peered off the bed and saw a deerskin rug at the foot, it’s head still on, mouth open and eyes staring at her. She got a chill down her spine.
She wanted to hide under the covers, but knew she wasn’t safe here. She had no idea where she was or what day it was. The room was pitch black, except for the small amount of light that the fireplace gave out.
Rachel slowly slid her body out of the heavy blankets and put her cold, bare feet on the stone floor. She had no clothes except for the oversized flannel shirt and shorts that she was wearing. Which, now that she thought about it, didn’t belong to her.
Still struggling to piece together what had happened, she began to remember. She saw flashes of Violet, Hunter, of policemen and sirens, flying vampires and fangs. She suddenly remembered Benji and vaguely remembered him flying her to this castle.
She walked quickly to the bedroom door to go and find him. She turned the large, brass circular handle and pulled hard. The door slowly opened, creaking at the hinges.
She slowly tiptoed out of the bedroom and down the long, dark corridor. Silence filled the air and the only noise she could hear was the sound of her own breath as she inhaled and exhaled. As she crept through the never-ending hallways, she saw small, porthole windows with black stained glass. It didn’t let in much light, but it was enough light that she could see directly in front of her.
She stopped outside of a large door, similar to the one outside her bedroom. It was closed tightly, and Rachel put her ear to it. She didn’t hear anything and debated whether or not to go in. She thought that perhaps Benji was asleep inside and she desperately wanted to talk to him.
She slowly turned the handle, and opened the door ever so slightly. As she peered in, she saw one reindeer, two fox and a handful of rabbits turned upside down, hanging from the ceiling. As she scanned their bodies, she saw their necks cut open and pools of blood under each animal. Scared and utterly disgusted by the sight and smell, Rachel quickly closed the door, standing with her back towards it, panicked and gasping for air.
As she continued down the hall, each consecutive door that she passed was also closed shut; she didn’t dare open the doors for fear of what or who might be inside. She didn’t want to take any more chances.
She neared the end of the hallway and came to a large opening that led to a wide spiral staircase. She peered down over the banister to see what was below, but couldn’t tell in the darkness what lay before her. She slowly crept down the steps, one foot after the other down the never-ending staircase. Her feet felt like ice pops as they grew colder and colder from the stone floor. At the end of the staircase, she saw a large floor to ceiling mirror. She walked up to it, anticipating her reflection, but saw nothing.
Trying to defog the mirror with warm breath and the sleeve of her flannel shirt, she ran her arm in circles over the mirror. It was dusty, and her sleeve left a big, clear circular area in the mirror. She peered into it again, but all she could see were the clothes on her body—her face, limbs, body and appendages disappeared as she gazed back at herself. She couldn’t figure out what was going on. She touched her face, hair and neck, which all felt normal to her. She did a quick scan of her body, looking down at her feet, legs and then rolling back her sleeves to see her arms and hands. Then, she lifted up her shirt and peered down at her stomach. It was there—she saw it. It was a hole, the size of a bullet and she suddenly remembered the guns, the sound of the policemen firing openly and then being shot. She remembered the excruciating pain, lying helpless and weak on the ground.
Her eyes swelled up as a tear streamed down her cheek. She sank to the ground, gripping her stomach, and the wound that changed her life. She let out a scream, “Benji!”
Nobody answered. Silence filled the dark walls as she sat there, alone and scared, her body aching as she began having flashbacks of that night.
Suddenly, she heard loud footsteps coming down the hall, and the grumbling of a man’s voice echoed as he cleared his throat. The footsteps got louder and louder as they came closer to the staircase. Rachel sat there, in horror, waiting for her fate, as the man suddenly came into view.
Out of the shadows, appeared a short, heavy-set bald man, dressed in a black smoking robe. He smelled of dead animals as he stood there sucking the tips of each finger.
Rachel couldn’t imagine what was going to happen to her. She sat there, on the ground looking up, waiting for him to say something.
“You, dear, have started a great war,” the man said.
Rachel looked up at him, speechless.
Clearing her throat, she mumbled, “Who are you and where is Benji?”
“You have no idea the trouble you have caused. Never mind who I am, what matters is who you are, and the fact that you may never see Benji again.”
“I don’t understand,” Rachel murmured. “I have to see him.”
“Well, the Great War has begun and he is off to fight. You never know what could happen now.”
Rachel sank to the ground crying as the man stomped away out of the dark foyer. Realizing this might be the only person who could help her, Rachel yelled out, “Wait! Sir, wait! Who are you? Can you help me?”
He turned and smiled.
Rachel quickly followed the hunched back, short man into a dark library, smelling of old books. The man stopped and the two of them stood there in silence, staring at each other. She watched as the man reached deep into the breast pocket of his smoking robe and pulled out a pack of matches. He walked slowly around the room, lighting the black candles on ever surface. She felt more scared than ever, as she sucked in the dusty, smoky air.
The man turned back to her and motioned to a chair in the corner of the room, “Sit,” he said.
She slowly walked across the wide-plank wood floors that creaked beneath her every step. As she grew closer to the chair she gazed at the various spines of the books that faced her.
Vampire, The Lost Century, Fangs, The Chosen Vampires
. The titles glared at her and she suddenly grew numb with fear as she sat down in the stiff chair, which looked to her to be made out of animal bones.
As she tried to settle into the chair and get somewhat comfortable she watched as the man started to walk towards her. The silence was unbearable for her and she suddenly felt the need to speak, to say anything to calm her nerves.
“I’m sorry, sir, but could you tell me who you are?”
She waited as he took a few steps closer and pulled up a chair facing hers.
“Yes, dear, my name is Uncle Drew and I am one of your kind. Well, I guess technically I should say, you are one of my kind now.”
Rachel thought for a moment before responding. She didn’t know exactly what he was talking about, but the bullet mark and the vivid dream came flashing back into her mind. She suddenly remembered Benji leaning down towards her neck as her world went dark.
She cleared her throat. “What do you mean by that?”
“Please, call me Uncle Drew,” he insisted. He stopped and looked at her.
“Uncle Drew, I’m lost here, I don’t know how I got here or where I am. Can you please help me?”
She sank down in her chair feeling hopeless.
“Rachel, dear. You are a vampire now. Don’t you remember?”
Rachel began to hang on his ever word.
“Tell me more,” she said in anticipation.
“Don’t you remember the Greslins? The bullet wound? You were about to die and you asked to be turned.” He waited a few moments and then said, “Is this ringing a bell?”
Rachel’s mind began to race with images of Violet, policemen, Hunter, and flying in the sky with Benji. She felt a chill travel down her spine as she rubbed her arms with her hands.
“I have some recollection, but who are the Greslins?” Rachel asked shyly.
“Oh, child, the Greslin Coven is our worst enemy. There have been many wars with them over the course of history, but none as bad as what I feel is about to come.”
Scared, Rachel asked, “What do you mean?”
“You have caused this war, I’m afraid to say, and now, our beloved Benji is caught in the middle of this, fighting for his life to save yours and the rest of our Vladiccus Coven.”
“Vladiccus? I’m not sure exactly who you are talking about.”
Drew’s voice became stern as he said, “Listen up, you are now part of the Vladiccus Coven. That’s what I am, that’s what Benji is and the rest of us around here.
He stopped and looked at Rachel square in the eye. “You have a lot to learn, and to be honest, I just don’t have the time right now.”
Feeling a mix of emotions, she sat there, quiet, and then said, “But, but, when is Benji coming back? I need to know.”