Authors: S.C. Reynolds
Book 5 in The Vampire Hunter Series
By S.C. Reynolds
Text copyright © 2013
It was the day
after the meeting with Magnus. Henry had told me he’d call, but I was anxious
to make sure everything between us was normal, and I also wanted to tell him
about last night. After I had gotten home, I’d paced the length of my room for
most of the night, trying desperately to think my way through this situation.
But I just couldn’t see how anything would ever be resolved.
It took all of my
energy to wait until seven a.m. to call Henry. I didn’t know if he was playing
basketball or planning to sleep in, but I might start climbing the walls
– literally – if I had to wait any longer to talk to him.
I had my new
secured phone from Lucas, but Henry might not answer if he didn’t recognize the
number, and besides, I wanted to see Henry in person anyway. I dialed his
number and willed him to pick up. Three rings, then four. I was about to hang
up when he finally answered the phone.
“Why are you up so
early?” he asked groggily.
Even though Henry
knew almost everything now, minus the part about his father’s involvement, I
hadn’t told Henry that I didn’t sleep. My former, living, breathing, self would
never have been awake before noon on a Saturday.
“I couldn’t sleep.
I need to talk to you,” I replied.
“I’m supposed to
play basketball this morning. Can it wait?”
Is Henry trying
to brush me off?
Was he still feeling awkward because of our kiss last
night? I couldn’t worry about that now, and as soon as he heard about Magnus,
hopefully Henry would forget about the kiss and realize we had more critical
issues to tackle.
immediately respond. “Okay,” he finally said. “Do you want to come over? I have
to warn you, my parents are home.”
“That’s no good,”
I said. Even though his house was big enough for us to have privacy to talk, I
couldn’t face seeing Mr. Matthews. And I definitely didn’t want to try to talk
at my house.
“How about going
to Night Owl?” I asked. “It will be just like the old days.”
Night Owl was a
twenty-four hour diner that served surprisingly good omelets and coffee. Of
course, I couldn’t eat or drink anything, but at least it would provide a quiet
place for us to talk.
“I’ll treat you to
breakfast,” I offered.
sounded more like himself now. Maybe I was just being paranoid, thinking he
wanted to avoid seeing me.
“I can pick you up
in ten minutes,” Henry was saying.
“See you soon.” I
hung up the phone and stood up; I had been sitting, perched on the edge of my
bed, a nervous ball of energy. I hadn’t even bothered to change into my pajamas
after I got home last night, and even though my body couldn’t produce sweat, I
still felt gross.
I took a quick
shower and had just put on a black dress with a sunflower pattern when Henry
texted me that he was here.
No one in the
Stone family was awake yet, so I quietly turned off the house alarm and slipped
out the door.
“Hey,” I said,
sliding into the passenger seat next to Henry.
Henry smiled but
didn’t speak. His hair was damp, as though he’d just gotten out of the shower.
he’s going to play basketball, why did he bother with a shower?
trying to impress me? Or was that just wishful thinking? Emmett had said he was
in love with me, but even Emmett would readily admit that he didn’t know
“So what was so
urgent that we had to meet this morning?” Henry asked. “Surely nothing’s
happened since we all left Lucas’ place, right?”
“Oh, only if you
call meeting the former ruler of Hell ‘nothing,’” I replied.
Henry swung around
to look at me. “What!” he practically screamed.
out!” I exclaimed. Henry had drifted into the lane next to him. Luckily, there
were very few cars on the road.
that the guy’s name?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said
grimly. “And he’s quite the character.”
I told Henry how
Lucas had picked me up and we’d both gone to meet Magnus.
When I’d finished,
Henry was shaking his head. “Just when you think it can’t get any stranger…”
His voice trailed off.
“No kidding.” I
paused. “I know you don’t have a solution for this, but I just wanted you to
know,” I said honestly.
“I appreciate you
keeping me in the loop,” Henry replied.
Except you have
no clue that your father is helping Tobias.
“You said Lucas
was going to talk to Nicholas and get his opinion,” Henry was saying. “I liked
Nicholas. He seemed like a cool dude.”
“He is,” I said.
so is Lucas, if you’d ever give him a chance
, I wanted to add. But I
We pulled up
outside Night Owl. I got out of the car, and, before I could think better of
it, I linked arms with Henry as we walked towards the entrance.
the old days. When I never thought twice about touching Henry.
“So, do you feel
any different?” Henry asked as we sat down in a booth in the corner of the
raised my eyebrows.
“Well, you told
Magnus you could kill demons. He doesn’t sound like the kind of guy – er,
demon – who would be very forgiving if he found out you’d lied,” Henry
“I told him that
I knew his agenda,” I said morosely. “I didn’t want to appear weak. It
seemed like the right thing to say at the time. But no, I don’t feel any different.
I really don’t think that I have this mysterious power yet.”
“No, I understand.
I’m just saying that we need to come up with a plan – soon. Or at least a
way to stall Magnus,” Henry replied.
“I know he
threatened to kill everyone that I care about, but I don’t think he’ll go
through with it – not right away at least. He needs some type of leverage
to try and control me. If he killed my family, surely he knows that I would
never help him drag Tobias to Hell. Or kill Leon,” I added.
I hoped I was
right. I didn’t want to worry Henry, but what was to stop Magnus from killing
Henry – or Mom or Dad or Kayla – just to prove that he meant
business? I gulped and tried to put the disturbing image out of my mind.
“This place is
really empty,” Henry commented. I swiveled around in the booth and scanned the
room. There was no one else in the diner.
“Weird,” I said.
“I know it’s early, but this is the only twenty-four hour place in the
neighborhood. You’d think there’d at least be a
“I don’t see any
waiters here, either,” Henry said.
Henry was right.
The restaurant was dead.
We looked at each
other in confusion. Henry stood up. “I think we need to leave,” he said
abruptly. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this. Something is wrong.”
“Yeah,” I replied
nervously. “All the blinds on the windows are shut. Is it always like that?”
The last time I’d been in Night Owl was before I had died.
“I have no idea.
But let’s go.
” Henry said tersely.
I stood up and we
scrambled towards the door.
Henry got there
first. “It’s locked!” he exclaimed.
“What?” I asked in
yourself.” Henry stepped back and I tried to turn the doorknob. It wouldn’t
“Maybe there’s a
back door. You know, through the kitchen,” Henry said. He was already jogging
towards the door on the other side of the diner, where they brought out the
food once it was ready.
Just as he was
about to reach it, the door swung open. And Bartholomew, with Thomas right
behind him, walked into the room.
“What the…?” Henry
immediately starting backing up and, instinctively, I did the same.
“Well, hello to
you, too,” Bartholomew sneered. He stepped into the room and folded his arms
across his chest.
forward to stand next to his brother. He didn’t speak, but he was grinning from
ear to ear. And his vampire teeth were showing.
This can’t be
By now, our backs
were against the wall opposite from the twins, and there was nowhere else to
“How can they be
here?” I asked Henry desperately. Henry had told me the spell – the very
first one he did – would turn the twins into confused, bumbling idiots,
if they so much as even thought about us.
“I have no idea,”
Henry hissed. “I guess the spell didn’t work?”
Bartholomew were walking towards us. Neither of them spoke. There was no time
to react. Thomas grabbed both of my arms and started dragging me to a table in
the middle of the diner. I tried to fight him, but it was pointless. He had my
arms in such a death grip that I couldn’t even move them. His sheer strength
having a slightly tougher time with Henry, but he still managed to force him
forward to the same table. We were both shoved into seats and the twins tied
our arms and legs to the chairs.
I looked at Henry.
He was fighting against the ropes, trying to get his arms and legs free. I
could see sweat trickling down his forehead.
I didn’t struggle.
I knew it was useless to try. The spell must have gone terribly wrong, and now
we were going to pay for it.
“You thought you
were so smart with that little spell of yours,” Bartholomew said. Henry stopped
struggling and focused his attention on Bartholomew, who was still speaking.
“Oh, it worked at first. But you must not have read the fine print. The spell
“Once we figured
that out,” Thomas interjected, “we knew we had to strike before you realized
the spell had worn off and did it again.”
“Such a clever
warlock, but you made one fatal mistake.” Bartholomew laughed.
He doesn’t realize that’s what he’s become – a warlock.
Bartholomew continued, “we’ve been following you, listening to your phone
calls, waiting…” His voice trailed off.
“We almost acted
yesterday,” Thomas said. “When you were sitting in the car. Funny, I didn’t
realize you had a thing for
.” Thomas pointed at Henry. “No, I
thought you had the hots for vampire boy.”
They saw us
kissing last night.
When Lucas had warned me over and over to be careful, I
had stupidly dismissed him, feeling aggravated that he was lecturing me like a
child. But apparently I needed the lecture; I hadn’t even noticed that I was
being followed, watched.
“You know what I
think?” Bartholomew asked. He walked towards me and leaned down so that his
face was just a few inches from mine. “I think she’s just a big
Bartholomew stood back up and crossed his arms across his chest.
“Quite the dilemma,”
Thomas said. “Who to choose? The vampire or the warlock?”
I cringed. “Why
did you bring us here? Surely it wasn’t to talk about my love life.”
Thomas replied. “Soon you won’t have a choice to make.”
mean?” I asked shrilly. “Henry, say something!”
Henry, who hadn’t
uttered a word, finally spoke. “What’s there to say?” He met my gaze; I could
see the sadness and defeat in his eyes.
“We can reason
with them! They – they’re acting like they’re going to
Henry shook his
head. “They’ve already made up their minds. Nothing we say is going to change
that. I won’t beg for my life. If I’m going to die, then I’m going to die with
screamed in panic. Henry didn’t answer.
I turned my
attention to the twins. “Lucas will be here any minute!” I yelled. “He’ll
fucking kill you. He’s on the way now.”
Thomas, who had been grinning the entire time, screwed his face up into a
horrible, menacing scowl. “But don’t worry, we’ll deal with Lucas at a later time.
Same for you. The protective order on your life is still in place. But we
didn’t want you to miss out on the fun.”
“The owner,” I
tried again. “They’ve probably already called the police.”
“The owner is dead
in the kitchen,” Bartholomew said flatly. “We’re not idiots.”
whispered. “I’ll be fine.
be fine. Without me.”
I tried to squirm
in my chair, to wriggle free from the ropes binding my arms, but they didn’t
“Let’s get this
show on the road,” Thomas said.
“Please don’t kill
him,” I begged. “I’ll do whatever you want.”
you could offer that would change our minds,” Bartholomew replied. “But relax,
I’m not going to kill him.”
“Huh?” Henry asked
I felt a glimmer
of hope, but it only lasted for a second. They didn’t trap us here and tie us
up just to threaten us.
“No, we’re not
going to kill him,” Thomas repeated Bartholomew’s words. “We’re going to turn
him into one of us – a vampire.”