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Authors: Siobhan Kinkade

Blood Doll

BOOK: Blood Doll
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Blood Doll

By Siobhan Kinkade
 

 

Copyright © October 2011, Siobhan Kinkade

Cover art by Mina Carter © October 2011

ISBN: 978-1-936668-34-2

 

This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious or used fictitiously. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.

 

Sugar and Spice Press

North Carolina, USA

www.sugarnspicepress.com

 

 

 

 

 

For Mrs. Anne…

I never thanked you for the copy of Interview with the Vampire.

 

Chapter One

 

Sarah’s cell phone went out of service a week ago. She hadn’t answered it in much longer, but the fact that the connection no longer existed at all was enough to worry her twin sister to no end. Lana Roberts had resorted to checking Facebook, Twitter, and every other social networking site she could think of, hounding friends and long-distance family, and even calling the police, but there was still no sign of Sarah. Finding no answers in her research, Lana had jumped the first plane to Boston, all the while wondering what her sister saw in such a cold, damp city.

Lana tucked her jacket more tightly around her body and cast her eyes to the ground as she crossed the darkened street. The air was empty and still; the only sound for miles was that of the water of the harbor slapping into the pillars beneath the docks. Fog began to settle in over the water, creeping up alleys, around buildings, and into the main streets. It hung a few feet above her head, giving the streetlights eerie, green haloes. The world around her didn’t seem real. This disembodied feeling was all too familiar, too frightening. She remembered from the many nights as a child in New England that this feeling meant there would very soon be a blanket of snow on the ground to mute the city and hide all the world’s ills.

It was the very reason she escaped Massachusetts as soon as she turned eighteen.

The snow was coming early this year—it was only October, yet Lana felt as if she were trapped in the dead of winter. A sick feeling of dread settled around her heart, constricting it into a sharp, offbeat dance and she shuddered once, hard. If she didn’t find her sister soon, she might never find her. Call it a twin’s intuition, but the closer she came to her destination, the more certain Lana became that Sarah was in grave danger. Besides, it was always easier to dispose of bodies with frozen precipitation to hide the evidence.

From the look of the graffiti on the walls and the litter on the ground, good people like herself rarely came to this part of Boston, particularly late at night. Trash lay on the ground piled up next to the dilapidated buildings, and this section of the harbor looked as if it had not seen regular habitation in twenty years or more. It was the perfect place to commit the perfect crime. No wonder the cops didn’t follow the lead she gave them; they were obviously much smarter than her.

She turned the corner, and from a block away, Lana could hear the deep throb of music emanating from the open doors of the club. The Mausoleum
seemed to be the only thing showing any sign of life in this part of town.

From where she walked, she could already see the gaping hole in the wall that served as an entrance, and a herd of people of questionable moral character lined up behind black velvet ropes, hoping for the opportunity to see inside. Aside from the crowd, there were no distinguishing marks on the city block taken up by the old warehouse. To drive by it in daylight, she never would have thought it contained anything more than moldy crates and wharf rats.

And maybe the occasional rotting corpse
, she thought with a shudder.

Normally, Lana would not have even bothered to venture this far into the city, but after nearly a month without word from Sarah, she had moved far past worry and into action. According to Sarah’s friends, this was the last place any of them knew her to be frequenting, and what worried Lana more than the location was the fact that none of her friends had a clue where Sarah had gone. They had not seen her in well over two weeks, and had long since stopped trying to call thinking they had been replaced by newer, flashier friends. Lana knew better. Sarah wasn’t that kind of person…not without some sort of strong persuasion, anyway. Even after Lana had left home in the middle of the night at eighteen years old, Sarah had still found a way to keep in touch. And with each damning step toward the pounding noise of the club, that feeling of ill fate grew exponentially stronger.

She gave her coat one final tug and stepped away from the concrete sidewalk into the gravel in front of the building. Many of the hopefuls in line turned a curious gaze toward her, but Lana kept her head held high and did her best to ignore them. She was here to investigate, not socialize. She went straight to the young man standing at the head of the line, prepared to explain her situation when he turned a pair of dead-looking, milk white eyes toward her. He looked like a creature from a horror film, pale and surrounded by the chill of death. He smelled of a moldy closet, and wide, jagged track marks ran up and down his withered arms in horrific patterns. At one time, the junkie might have been an attractive boy, but not now. A dim flicker of recognition registered in his slack features, and he stepped away from the door.

“Welcome back,” he droned, his voice as lifeless as his face. The sound of his empty words sent a shiver down Lana’s spine, but she nodded and muttered a quiet
thank you
before stepping through the door. Many of those in line craned their heads to watch her go, some of the murmuring quietly about her presence as if they knew her. Not a good feeling. But Sarah’s friends were right…she did spend a lot of time in this place if someone like that would recognize her as Sarah.

It’s good to be a twin
, she thought with a sardonic twist to her lips, but any humor she might have felt when she stepped through the door and followed the hallway onto the main floor.

The music inside pounded through the hollowed-out shell at a deafening level. She vaguely recognized the song—had it been any other situation she would have enjoyed the heavy, industrial beat, but now that sliver of familiarity did nothing to distract her from the horrors within. Though lushly decorated with expensive furniture, lighting, and people, there was a distinct chill to the air. There was no flow to the place, no life. The antiseptic smell of a hospital hit her.

Not a hospital,
she realized,
a blood bank.

Lana wondered briefly if this was what it would be like to live in an ant farm as she listened, and realized that there was no echo from the high ceilings. When she looked up, she noticed that every surface—every wall, ceiling beam, pipe, duct, and window frame—was padded with large triangles of foam.
Noise dampeners.

And the worst of it came not from what she could see, but what she could sense. Sarah was there. Somewhere in the building, she could feel the weak, abused presence of her sister.

As she passed around the outskirts of the seething crowd, Lana watched young men and women sprawled across couches and chairs, their bodies slack with drug-induced ecstasy. Piercings protruded from their faces and ears in various patterns, some large and some small. Most of the women had dyed their hair black, and the men had shaved strange designs into their scalps. Tattoos covered the majority of exposed skin, and on many there was quite a bit of skin to see. If it weren’t for the artfully ruined, expensive clothes, she almost would have believed herself to be inside a homeless shelter for rivet-head runaways.

To be so far gone under the spell of the drugs, these people seemed surprisingly healthy. They appeared to radiate an inner brilliance, and though they lay about in a haphazard manner with euphoric smiles, when her gaze connected with one of theirs, she could see a fully functioning set of thoughts behind it.

Lana knelt next to a chaise to examine the intricate contraption hanging from one boy’s arm. He appeared to be no older than nineteen, his skin smooth and deathly pale, flawless save the odd-looking track marks up and down his arms and throat. The thing, she noticed upon closer inspection, was a glass vial attached to a hypodermic needle. The chassis of the thing was made of hand-poured pewter, and had been twisted into an elaborate design that connected surgical steel to glass. Even the knob of the plunger was molded in the same intricate fashion to resemble the head of a dragon. Tiny rubies flickered in the place of the thing’s eyes, giving it the creepy look of a sentient thing. A thin, dry trail of brown crust sloped downward along his elbow from the spot where the needle met skin.

A low, throaty chuckle pulled her attention away from the intelligent carving, and she looked up into a pair of pale eyes. Not quite so pale as those of the man at the door, but hauntingly close. This pair, however, was ringed in a dirty red, and they were clearly focused on her.

“Like what you see?” he asked, the sound more a snakelike hiss than actual words, and laughed again. The needle wobbled precariously in his vein, and where it dug into his flesh, he began to bleed. What poured from the wound was not oxidized red, but a sickly rust color. Horrified, Lana rose and backed away, stumbling through the crowd and away from the chuckles that followed until she backed into a solid figure.

“Careful,” a deep voice said, and strong hands banded around her upper arms to steady her. She looked down at those hands and with manic glee noticed manicured fingernails, slightly longer than she was used to seeing on a man. “You aren’t from around here,” he continued, and she jumped, startled by the sound of his voice so close to her ear. She shook her head as he turned her around, and for a moment that same flicker of recognition she saw from the doorman passed over his features.

He, however, was an exquisite specimen—tall and slender, with just the right amount of muscle to fill out the black Lycra shirt that clung to him. A pair of baggy jeans hung from his hips, but she never made it to his feet to see if he was wearing sneakers or boots. At that point, he could have had cloven hooves and she would not have noticed.

His eyes captured her gaze and held her rapt. Ice blue orbs, flecked with amber and bits of red, stared back at her. His hair was cut into a messy Mohawk, the majority of it dyed blue, nearly the same shade as his eyes. A long, pointed nose sat in the center of his face between a pair of high, softly rounded cheekbones, and his thick, full lips turned up at the corners into a welcoming smile.

“You must be Lana,” he said, and the sound of her name on this stranger’s tongue immediately sobered her.
This man knows Sarah…
The smile never left his face, even as he confirmed her thought. “Sarah talks about you a lot.”

“Where is she?” Lana asked, and his grip tightened on her arms. He took a step closer. He glanced around one time, then lowered his mouth to hear ear again.

“Do not ask questions,” he instructed. “They can hear you. Follow my lead and do as I say because you are in danger. You should not have come here.”

“Where is my sister?” Lana asked again despite his warning. He drew back, and his icy gaze turned to steel. He shook his head and raised one finger to his lips, then skimmed his palm down her arm and took her hand in his.

Not here,
he mouthed, and towed her into the roiling, dancing crowd. His gaze stayed high, watching all around them as he turned and pulled her hard against him. Warning bells went off in her head, telling her that this man knew something she didn’t. He’d said she was in danger; did that mean Sarah was the cause of it?

The people around them adjusted their positions to accommodate for her presence, but otherwise took no notice of them when he spun her in a quick circle. He tugged her close again and began to move, and through the fog in her brain she realized that he was dancing with her.

“Who are you?” she questioned as his hands slid over her waist and up her back. The touch was so unusual, uninvited but not unenjoyed. If the situation hadn’t frightened her so much, she would have thought he was flirting with her, and it had been quite a while since she’d had an attractive man do so.

The corners of his lips turned up slightly, and he watched her with unnerving intensity. His skin was cool to the touch, and though she was nose to nose with him, Lana had no idea how old he might be.

“Not important right now,” he whispered into her ear. He seemed as interested in feeling her up as he did watching the wings…not that she minded so much. “I can help you, but you have to dance. And be prepared to run.”

“Run?”

“Hush.” He snaked his hand over her body, rounding his fingertips over her hips and pulling her flush against him. The scent of his cologne, spicy and sweet, filled her nose and made her head spin. He smelled delicious, and had this been any other situation, she would have taken his actions as advances. “The scabs have alerted the watchers,” he whispered, his lips grazing the cuff of her ear as he spoke. She shivered and fisted her hands into the front of his shirt. Lana started to question him about the name, but he never gave her the chance. “We need to leave as inconspicuously as possible, and you need to empty your head.”

BOOK: Blood Doll
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