Read Hold Their Peace (Vampire Assassin League) Online

Authors: Jackie Ivie

Tags: #vampire short story, #vampire series, #vampire romance, #vampire assassin league

Hold Their Peace (Vampire Assassin League) (8 page)

BOOK: Hold Their Peace (Vampire Assassin League)
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“Don’t take that tone with me, Thanos. I’m trying here. I already said one l-word. I’m not willing to say the big l-word.”

“Love?”

“Yeah. That one. That word smacks of lifetime commitment and I’m not doing divorce. My parents did one. My mom then had four more before cancer got her. I’m not repeating history.”

“Oh Darcy. Darling. You are wrong. What we have is not a lifetime. It is forever. And I am already committed. Fully.”

Darcy gave him her best deadpan look. Eyes half closed. Lips pursed. It didn’t do much. Every hair on her was still alert with goose bumps.

“You know what, Thanos? I’m thinking we need a little breather here.”

“Breather?”

“Yeah. Timeout. You know...like a lapse in our proximity. I could use it finding a bathroom. I might use the facilities. I mean, just because time stopped when I arrived here, doesn’t mean physiology did, too. I could go for a shower, too. You might not need one, being undead and all, but I sure do. I’ve been working out for hours while wearing a ton of iron...and prior to that, I was doing some pretty heavy bedroom exercise.”

He didn’t change expression, although his eyes didn’t look remotely brown anymore. They were obsidian black. Reflective. Looking into them caused tremors along her legs that culminated in shaky knees. But because he’d made her wear mid-calf length, short-sleeve, linen dresses for their swordplay, that part of her reaction was completely hidden.

“And after that, I’ll search you out in the man-cave room of yours.”

“Man-cave?”

“Where you had all the catalogs and magazines. The place where we first...uh. You know. Tore our clothes off.”

He nodded. She blazed on.

“So. Hey. It’s a plan, then? I’ll go and find a shower, and you’ll – I don’t know – hang out in a coffin or something. Or maybe you could go add a little weight to the end of my sword with your big hammer?”

“You need to take it with you. Get used to how it feels.”

“And I sure will, just as soon as you add a little weight to the end so it doesn’t feel like I’m swinging a light stick. Okay?”

Darcy held it out to him by the blade. He finally reached for it, rippling all kinds of muscle. She almost sighed.
Dang!
He was one fine male! And she had to get her mouth in gear, or they’d probably be doing their other time management item: making love. And that was a really pleasant thought. She cleared her throat.

“And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find a shower, and...you know. Freshen up. You do have a shower around here, yes?”

Nothing moved for the longest time, and then he nodded. Once. In slow motion. The look he was giving her slapped her heart into an almost-painful thud. That was odd. She hadn’t even noticed a heart rate during their training session. With her expenditure of energy her pulse should have been hammering more than once. That was more weirdness.

“...and you have hot water?”

“I run a generator. I have all the amenities.”

“All right then. How about some directions through your labyrinth? And we’ll meet up in about an hour. Fair?”

For a bit there, she didn’t know if he’d answer her. He wasn’t giving her any sign, one way or the other. And then he finally told her, in a combination of turns she should have paid closer attention to.

CHAPTER NINE

Oh shit. And damn. And rat-bastard. And a few other choice words. She was frickin’ lost.
Again
. She hated this maze of hallways! They all looked alike. She hated the mass of corridors, even if they were nicely lit. She was growing to detest rock. It was so...dull. Black. Gray. Sometimes speckled with lighter gray. Ugh. Good thing she wasn’t claustrophobic because everywhere she looked she got a view of rock and more rock. Walls. Ceilings. Floors.

And then there was the smell. She’d gone down corridors that smelled dank, hallways that reeked of wet earth. Both probably meant she was near a water source, but she’d been unable to find it. It hadn’t been a bathroom with a shower. That span of rock hadn’t led anywhere except to a corridor she’d already been in. And then, near the generator area, there had been the most unpleasant burnt odor. Damn everything! She was rapidly growing to hate this entire place. The continual humming of his generator, as well as the heat that came from the span of hallways she just entered.
And look
. There was the smoky haze she had to see through again.

Darcy narrowed her eyes. Smoky haze?
Damn everything!
She’d gone in circles again.

“Ah!”

Darcy flung her head back and voiced the frustration in a long drawn-out note that lingered in the air, and somewhere in this labyrinthine hell she heard Thanos replying. Only his howl sounded like it carried laughter. Of course it would. He’d carved this monstrosity in the first place, or had centuries to figure out the floor plan.

She decided to go right this time and took the right corridor whenever an option presented itself, and then, out of the blue, she found a hall that had doors branching out of one side. Thank goodness. She might actually have found something even better than a bathroom. She might have stumbled on an exit.

Nope.

The first wooden door had a placard at her eye level - which was his eye level as well. It said library.
Library.
Interesting. What might a vampire from somewhere in the fourth century B.C.E. stock in a library?

She twisted the handle, opened the door, groped for a switch...and holy hell. He had a librarian’s dream in here. Every spot was filled with shelves of books. All kinds. All shapes. Everywhere she looked. Lizbeth would be in raptures over this...just before she keeled over. Too bad Darcy wasn’t much of a reader. But she supposed if she did get bored she could always search out useless facts so she could spew them, too.

Now, that would really be a waste of time.

She shut off the lights, closed the door, and moved to the next one. It was marked supplies.
Supplies.
She wondered what an ancient vampire considered supplies. Probably not toilet tissue. Maybe...blood bank vials?
Yuck
. Darcy twisted the knob, pushed the door open, hit the light switch, and stuck her head in. Well. Looks like supplies meant filling a cavernous space with body shop stuff. Thanos was warehousing all sorts of odd-shaped paraphernalia. Containers, some metal, some not. Tools. Wood. Piles of warped and distorted metal items. Was that an anvil? One thing looked like an old plow, maybe. Another stack looked like dented helmets from some archaic battle. While another contained...were those shields? Wow. If the mangled circle-shaped things were shields, they didn’t appear to have worked very well. And that answered that. Thanos had pure guy mess in a room that he’d marked supplies.

He was welcome to it.

Darcy shut that door and moved to the next. This was beginning to feel like a game show lottery. But she was no nearer a bathroom or an exit. Finding the way out of here would be the big prize. Darcy stopped for a moment as her heart pumped painfully. Was that reaction from just the thought of leaving him?

No.
Get a grip, Girl
. She didn’t love him. Not this soon. It wasn’t possible.

The next door was marked Recon. What the hell did that mean? Well...whatever recon meant, he kept the door locked. Darcy gave the knob a jerk in disgust, and it broke off in her hand.
Holy smack
. She watched the broken knob unseeingly as the other part landed somewhere inside the room. She’d broken a door handle? Without one bit of effort?

All right. That did it.

She was finished with Thanos and his maze of nonsense. She clenched her teeth to keep the reaction unvoiced. She didn’t need his laughter again. Damn vampires, anyway. Darcy smacked at the door next, expecting a slight sting to her palm. Her jaw dropped as the door launched right into the room, leaving a trail of wood splinters that slowly settled after it.

What on earth was going on? Was she going crazy? Could this be what insanity felt like? Supreme well-being? Strength? Fitness? Senses that were elevated to an unbelievable level? Sexual satiation? Oh wow. Just the thought of Thanos and his loving-making started a nice tingle all along her spine.
Oh, stop it already, Darcy
. She had to face facts and possibilities here. Because if she wasn’t crazy, then...what?

Oh no. No.

She’d been ignoring and denying and avoiding and now she was just plain scared. She wasn’t a vampire. She couldn’t be. Darcy Mullins? Didn’t she have to die first? Get reborn? Something traumatic? Painful? Moving to an undead realm shouldn’t have been an orgasmic experience.

No. It wasn’t possible. It just wasn’t. There had to be some other explanation.

Darcy’s legs were shaking as she stepped over the broken door, the flat leather sole of her sandal sliding slightly along the wood. That was a reminder of facts. She could start with that. Facts. She needed to find her hiking boots and her trousers. As far as she recalled, neither item of clothing took damage from her first romp with Thanos.

Ah. That had been an excellent romp, too.

Geez, Darcy!
She was trying to figure out how to leave here, not reminisce! She needed to find her trousers. And if she hacked this dress thing she was wearing shorter, it wouldn’t impede her as much. And then she needed to find some way out of here.

Wait just a minute.

Recon must stand for techno-junkie heaven. On a heart-stopping level. Darcy stopped and listened. Waiting. And felt her heart thump again. It was faint. And very slow. But it was still there. She had a heartbeat! And that meant she hadn’t joined one of the undead. Right?

Time for answers. And talk about luck! She’d actually found the perfect spot. The Recon room looked like a theatre for the nerdy set. Dark maroon drapery hid what was probably rock walls and ceiling. The drapes originated from one super cool, crystal chandelier, set about two stories above her, surrounding the area with a sense of opulence. Luxury. It was reflected in the entire wall of flat screens on her left, making a span of black gloss. A long table thing faced the flat screens, matching the curve. Thanos appeared to have a plethora of laptops and old desktops on the table thing, segmented by wooden dividers. Each station had its own computer, lighting system, and chair. The chairs were mismatched. Different. All unique. All really cool looking. Darcy honed in on the closest station. This breastplate was not only restrictive and annoying, it itched. And if her skin itched, that was another sign she wasn’t dead...wasn’t it? She dropped into what looked and felt like a really expensive, ergonomically-designed leather chair, picked up the keyboard, and hit the on switch. A few moments later she was selecting the internet icon on his screen. And in another minute, she’d be reaching reality, and—

“Oh. Hey. This connection cannot be completed...uh. Not at the present time. Sorry.”

A young male voice spoke through the screen, just before it went black. Then even the power switch went dark.
What the hell?
Darcy turned the laptop over. Everything looked fine. She put it back on the ledge, sighed, and then moved to the next work station on her right. This chair was fabric covered, and seemed to envelop and capture her buttocks and thighs. It would probably do the same for her back if she wasn’t wearing this armor.
Hmm.
Looks like Thanos liked his chairs set for his exact proportion. What a plus that they were almost the same size.

What did she care? She had a world to contact, or at the very least, a SOS to send, and a lot of options for it. Thanos had about fifteen laptops along this table thing, in various stages of modernity. Why...over at the far end, it even looked like he had an archaic 1970’s set-up. That, or a large refrigerator.

She snickered and picked up the laptop at this station. A few seconds later she had it live, and since Thanos obviously was a man of habit, the icon listing was identical to the first one. Darcy once again clicked the internet icon, and almost immediately got the same male voice.

“Oh. Um. Look. This connection cannot be completed either. I’m under orders here. Sorry.”

The screen went black again, followed by the resultant loss of power. Okay. She was not going to get annoyed. Not yet. She had a lot more computers to try, and all of them couldn’t possibly reach the same young male.

Could they?

“Look. I’m sorry. You can’t get through already. You really need to stop trying, okay?”

“Who are you?”

Darcy almost got the question out before the screen went black. She’d been wrong. They could all connect her to the same young male. But it wasn’t a computerized voice, so that meant it was a real guy. And a real guy should have real answers. She moved to the fourth computer down. This one was a desktop, with a large, laser-guided mouse. That was almost funny. It got unfunny fast since it took more than a minute to boot up. She’d forgotten how slow these things used to be.

And the same asshole answered. This time he was in a monotone, however, as if she was a recalcitrant child with a bent toward delinquency.

“I’m sorry. You can’t get a connection—”

“Bullshit! I’m connected to you, aren’t I?” Darcy interrupted him with rapid-fire words.

“Oh. Well...yeah. I guess. But only for forty-two seconds. Max.”

“What happens then?”

“Tracings finish bouncing and start homing in.”

“Fair enough. So, tell me. Who the hell are you? And what the hell is going on?”

“You must be Thanos’ babe, Darcy. And I have to tell you. Nice haircut. Do you have to work it or does it spike naturally?”

“I’m getting annoyed!”

“You don’t have to shout. Geez. Women. Fine. I’m Nigel. With the Vampire Assassin League. What else did you ask?”

“The vampire what?”

“Assassin League.”

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

“No. We’re all vampires. And we’re all assassins. Or didn’t you notice that when Thanos was busy hacking heads off at that archeological site? That was a sanctioned hit. On the professor.”

“He didn’t kill the professor.”

BOOK: Hold Their Peace (Vampire Assassin League)
2.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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