Authors: Dara J Nelson
|Pearl Vampire Chronicles |
|Dara J Nelson|
Revenge. It destroys. It consumes you until all you are IS revenge. In this third installment of the Pearl Vampire Chronicles, Malina's Revenge takes off from the start - with the kidnapping of Matthew Pearl - and continues at breakneck speed as his wife Sarah and best friend Carlos fight their way through obstacles to try to save him before it's too late.
Currently available books by Dara J. Nelson: The Link– Pearl Vampire Chronicles, volume 1 The Recruiters– Pearl Vampire Chronicles, volume 2
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author"s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted mechanical, permission from the author except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.
Contains adult content – parental discretion is advised. in any form or by any
including photocopying, means, electronic or without the written
A huge thank to my readers. These books, this love affair that I have with Matthew, Sarah and Carlos, would not be possible without you. Your words of encouragement and tremendous feedback tells me that you"ve fallen in love with them just as I have and I happily share them with you.
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The wind whipped through my hair as I stared in horror, not wanting to believe what I had just seen and heard. I stared out our broken bedroom window as time seemed frozen. I couldn"t move. I couldn"t make a sound. I finally managed to choke out a barely audible,“Carlos.” He was our best friend and he lived right next door, although I knew he probably hadn"t heard, I barely heard it myself, but I couldn"t manage anything else. My whole world had just crumbled in front of my eyes and that was too much for me to comprehend. MOVE DAMN YOU! my mind screamed, but nothing happened.
“Sarah! What"s wrong?” Carlos shouted as he burst into the room. I tried to open my mouth to tell him, but it wouldn"t move. I tried to reach my mind out to him (because most vampires can share some thoughts with other vampires) but I couldn"t even manage that. Nothing on me worked right, everything was broken. I was broken. Carlos came over by me and looked at the shattered window. He stood right in front of me and stared into my eyes. Grasping my arms, he shook me slightly.
“Sarah?” he whispered . “Sarah, come on, please tell me.” I finally was able to move my eyes away from the window and look into his, but again, that was all I could manage. He pulled me into his arms and glanced around the room behind me. “Where is he Sarah?” he said as he pulled back to look at me. “Where"s Matt, Sarah?” That did it. He said his name.
Matt was my husband, my love, my whole world. He had saved me when he came into my life a few years back. My life had been dead before meeting my vampire – dead because I had lost my first husband Rob and my four year old son Scotty in a car accident several years before that. So my beautiful vampire had swooped in and re-energized my cold heart. He made me feel alive again, he helped me to love and feel love again, and now that he had turned me and I was a vampire too, that love was supposed to be with me for all eternity. I felt the wail in my chest before it escaped my lips. Surprise and worry clouded Carlos" face as my legs gave out and I crumpled into a heap on the floor, sobbing. Carlos sat on the floor and scooped me onto his lap, cradling and rocking me.
“Oh my God S arah, please! You have to tell me what happened. Come on honey, please try.” I held my palm out and stared at my scar– the scar that was an exact duplicate to Matt"s scar, given to us by the Peruvian chief, the scar that allowed me to feel Matt and allowed him to feel me when they were touched. I began tracing it, lightly at first then harder, desperately, groaning and crying each time I did, until Carlos finally took my hands in his. “Don"t Sarah, we"ll find him, I promise we will, but I need you to tell me what happened first. You want to find him don"t you?” he said. I felt my head nod slightly. “You need to find him, right?” he said. I nodded harder. “If you don"t find him you won"t survive?” That was the trigger that finally released my voice.
“Yes,” I choked out between sobs. He brushed my hair out of my face and I looked at him, struggling hard to pull myself together. If you tell him, it makes it real, I thought, followed by: you fool, it was real.
“She took him Carlos,” I gasped out . “She took him… she took him… she took him.”
“What?” he said. “Sarah, who took him?”
Hate filled my eyes and venom spewed in my voice as I said, “Her, Carlos. Malina.”
Malina was our mortal enemy– out for revenge after we had knocked her and her fellow Elders out of power after we discovered how corrupt and evil they truly were.
“Malina?” he gasped. “But how? How did she get in here?”
“That"s just it Carlos,” I said, “it wasn"t Malina who got in, it was me.”
He squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head. “What? Sarah, honey, you"re not making any sense. What do you mean it was you?”
“She got passed security and into our room, because
she looked exactly like me
,” I sobbed. “When she woke me up, it was ME standing at the end of our bed, and then she suddenly changed and it was HER. I tried to grab her, but she shoved me hard into the wall, then Matt came at her, but she grabbed him by the throat and smacked his head on the floor, knocking him out. She tucked him under her arm and I came at her again, but this time she used the pain in my head - that excruciating pain that she can throw into a vampire"s mind that cripples them and can make their head explode if she doesn"t stop - to paralyze me. As I lay squirming on the floor, she told me: You took something important from me, so I am taking something important from you. He is mine now, don"t try to find him, you never will" and, and, then, sh- shshewas gggone!” I wailed. Saying it made it all too real. My heart felt like it had exploded into a million pieces.
Carlos gently rocked me as I sobbed into his chest, waiting patiently until I had nothing left inside. I was quiet now but I still couldn"t move. Carlos waited until he felt I could handle what he was about to say. He knew that I would never survive this unless I had a focus,
to keep me going. Something to keep me moving forward. Something to keep me alive. He kissed my forehead then he quietly whispered, “Sarah, I will find him, I swear on my life I will. But I can"t do it alone, honey. I"m going to need your help. We"re going to have to do this together, okay? You"ll do that for me, right honey? You"ll help me find him?”
I felt my head come up as I sat a little straighter. I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. I opened them and my eyes met his as I nodded my head. “Okay,” I said as I took another deep breath, “you"re right. We need to go look at the security tapes so you can see how she got in. And call Stefan and Penelope and have them meet us in the control room. I need to find out how she was able to change her appearance… and we have to step up our efforts to learn how to block her pain from our heads.” I jumped up and held my hand out to him. “Come on Carlos, we have to move… NOW!”
He grinned as he stood up and hugged me. “THAT"S the strong girl I need,” he said. In the hall I headed toward the security room but he stopped me. “Uh-uh,” he said, “first, you need your strength. Let"s feed.” I opened my mouth to tell him feeding was the last thing I wanted to do now, but I knew he was right. I had to be strong for this. We all needed to be strong to survive this. I nodded and headed into the kitchen. for each of us. I grabbed and heated up four pints
We were going to have to increase our delivery schedule, I thought as I drank. We headed towards the door, but I stopped him as we passed the hall mirror and I saw my reflection.
He smiled at me and cupped his hand on my cheek. “Sarah, honey. Don"t be ridiculous. Of course I"ll know. It"s weird, but I can
“I know. I can feel you too, but how will everyone else know? We have to keep everyone safe, Carlos. How can we do that?”
He thought for a second then his eyes flew open. He grabbed my scarred hand. “She doesn"t have this, Sarah. Tell everyone that it"s okay to ask to see it.”
I leaned up and kissed his cheek. “Perfect.” He rolled his eyes and said, “If I had a dollar for every time a woman"s said that to me.” Carlos gazed me with his goofy grin and I smiled in return and shook my head as I grabbed his hand.
We hurried through the halls to the security room. Matt"s office was off to the side. I found my feet slowing as we approached. Carlos suddenly noticed that I wasn"t next to him anymore and he stopped. “Sarah?” he said, confused at first then he understood. He held his arm out to me and I ducked under it and wrapped mine around his waist.
“I can do this,” I mumbled as I slowly stepped forward.
“Of course you can, sweetheart,” he said, trying to encourage me. I squeezed Carlos tighter as Matt"s scent hit me when we walked in the room. I pushed down the agony that threatened to overtake me again.
Ramon looked up at me. “Hello, Miss Sarah, what can I do for you? Matt isn"t here right now.”
I know that, I wanted to scream, but I choked down the scream and said, “I know he"s not Ramon, that"s why we"re here. I need to see all footage for the last thirtyminutes, right away.”
“All footage?” Ramon said and I nodded. “From all the rooms?” he whispered.
“Yes Ramon, from all the rooms, please, right now,” I said, squeezing Carlos" hand to keep the anger below the surface. Ramon nodded and turned back to the screen and began typing on the keyboard. His head motioned us toward the monitor in the corner.
“The footage will begin playing there,” he said. I sat down and Carlos grabbed a second chair and sat next to me. Ramon walked over to us and gave me a quick tutorial. “If you want to freeze the picture, push this button. This one reverses it. This one speeds it up. If you want to print something out, freeze it then push this button. Press F6 if you want to record what you"re seeing to a backup DVD. And if you want to flip to the next camera, push this button. I"ll be right over here, let me know if you need any help.”
I nodded to him. “Thanks, Ramon.” The screen came to life. Carlos and I leaned in close. The first things we saw were the grounds outside the walls. I pushed the button to speed up the scene. Our vampire vision would still be able to catch anything out of the ordinary. We first saw the west side wall, then the east side, then the south side, and finally the north side. Twenty minutes into the north side, we both saw the shadow.
“Wait!” we both said.
I let go of the button and allowed it to run at normal speed. I pressed F6 to record. “There,” Carlos said as he pointed at the screen. Someone, or something, emerged from the trees and moved toward the wall. We both gasped as whatever it was went
the wall and emerged in the courtyard.
“But how did she?” I gasped as I reversed the shot. “Ramon, how do I play it in slow motion?”
“F8,” he said from across the room.
I hit the F8 key and we watched as she emerged from the tree line and was nothing more than a black mist, a shadow. She floated toward the wall, went through the tiny cracks between the bricks and emerged on the other side. Then the mist became more and more solid, until, briefly it was Malina standing in the courtyard. She closed her eyes and then her face changed, and it was me standing there. I pointed to the screen. “See? I told you,” I said. We watched as she (or me) walked across the courtyard, greeting anyone she came across as if she were me.
“Hello Miss Sarah,” the guard at the door said. “Out for a late night stroll?”
“Yes I am,” she said, “just getting a little fresh air.”
I sat back and crossed my arms across my chest like a pouting child. “
does not sound like me,” I said.
“You"re right,” Carlos said. “That"s good to know, we can use that against her. Switch it to hall camera number one.” I pushed the button to skip to the next camera shot. We watched as she walked down the hall.
“Hello Miss Sarah,” Lucy said as she passed Malina.
“Good evening,” she said as she slightly bowed her head. Lucy stopped and watched her (my) back for a second with a confused look on her face. I reached up and paused the scene.
“She doesn"t know names,” I mumbled. “I always greet everyone by name. She doesn"t know names.” I restarted the footage. She turned the corner and I switched to Hall camera number two. She approached the door to our room. Without thinking, I quickly reached up and paused the video. I just sat there, staring at the screen. Finally Carlos put his hand on my shoulder.
“Sarah,” he whispered.
“I know, I know,” I said. “I just needed a second.” My hand shook as I reached up and hit the pause button again, restarting the footage. Malina"s hand reached out to our door knob and she quietly walked inside. I flipped to „Pearl main room camera" and hissed as she strolled through our living room, looking at my keepsakes" and pictures on the walls. I ground my teeth and dug my fingers into Carlos" thigh when she looked closely at the picture of me with my sisters. “If she even…” I growled.
“Shhhh,” Carlos said, “look at her. She"s breathing heavy and she just leaned against the wall there, like she"s struggling. Changing her appearance must wear on her.”
She turned then and headed towards our bedroom. I held my breath as I switched to „Pearl bedroom camera" but the screen went blue and asked me for a password. All living quarters cameras were only recorded for emergency purposes only. They were never fed to a screen at the security console. The living room and kitchen areas could be brought up to a screen if necessary– if somebody believed something bad was happening– but not the bedroom or bathroom cameras. The footage of these could only be viewed by entering a password. And not even Ramon knew what the password was. Only two people knew what it was– and one of them was missing right now. The other was staring at the computer screen and trying to keep her hand from shaking long enough to enter it. As I did I recalled the conversation Matt had with me about this very thing just a few years back: “Me? Why do you want me to be the only other one who knows the password Matt? Why not Carlos? Or Ramon?”
He had smiled at me with that beautiful smile. “Honey. These cameras are in people"s bedrooms, showing people"s most intimate moments. I love Carlos but you and I both know what a pervert he is. Do you really think we could trust him, hell, or could he even trust himself to not view the footage? Or record it to a backup DVD for, well, you know what for. And Ramon? I"m not comfortable trusting him yet with something so important. You"re the only one that I trust with this.”
I smiled sadly as this memory faded and I was brought back to the reality that Matt was missing, and I was now the only one who could bring up this footage to try to save him. “Turn away please, Carlos?” I whispered. He put his head behind my back. My shaking fingers reached up and quickly entered the password and as I did a small smile escaped my lips – the password Matt had chosen was the date the he and I had first slept together in that motel room in San Diego (“Really, Matt?” I had said when he told me. But his face had lit up as he grinned and said, “Sarah.
is a date that I will never forget.”) – but I couldn"t stop the groan that broke free. Carlos quickly put his arm around my shoulder and pulled me towards him, pressing his cheek to my forehead as we watched her walk toward the bed, the bed where Matthew and I were sleeping. We were sleeping so peacefully with my head on his chest and his arm around my shoulder. I turned my face into Carlos" shoulder. I didn"t want to see this. But I knew I had to, so I took a deep breath and turned back to watch the screen. Malina"s appearance was beginning to shift on the screen as she reached down and grabbed my foot. I saw myself opening my eyes and staring at what still looked like me standing at the end of my bed. I saw the confused look on my face change to fury and horror as the me at the end of the bed quickly became Malina. I watched myself spring at her, waking Matt as I did. I saw the fury fill his eyes when he saw her. He looked over at me crumpled on the floor by the wall then he growled at Malina and launched himself at her. I jumped when I heard the horrible crack when his skull hit the floor. I watched her tuck his unconscious body under her arm. I wanted to yell, “Get up you weak fool,” when I saw myself collapse to the floor, grabbing my head. I again heard her horrible message to me. And I couldn"t help but whisper, “No,” as she crashed through the window and flew away with my heart. My hand instinctively reached toward the screen to try to stop her.
I squeezed my eyes shut for a minute, trying to quell the sobs that wanted to come again. Carlos kissed my forehead and whispered, “We"re going to find him Sarah, I promise.”
I nodded and looked up at him. “How did she do thatCarlos? How?”
Stefan"s voice made me jump when he quietly said, “I think I might know,” from behind us.
I growled at him, “You
she could do this? Why the hell didn"t you tell us?”
He shook his head and held his hands up. “No, Sarah, no. I didn"t know she could do
, I"ve never seen her shape-shift before. But I might know where she learned. It"s the same place she learned to throw the pain.”
“Where?” I hissed.
“A gypsy witch she knows in Romania,” he said. “She"s told us very little about her, but I know her name is Drina and she lives in a cave in the Apuseni Mountains. That"s about all I know. I"m sorry I can"t be more helpful.”
“Why,Stefan?” I groaned. “Why did she come so quickly? It"s only been a few months since we defeated them. We all figured she"d take time to recruit new followers and build a new army. We all thought it would be at least a year. Why so soon?”
“Actually that"s a good thing,” Stefan said without thinking.
Carlos held me back as I growled at him and tried to spring. “Are you fucking kidding me?” I screamed as surprise filled both their faces. “She just took my husband, my life, and you"re saying that"s a good thing?” I swung at him. He barely ducked out of the way in time.
“Hold on Sarah,” he said. “I didn"t mean it that way. What I meant is that it tells us that there must be a way to block her pain. She struck quickly because she knew we"d figure that out.”
My chest heaved and I clenched and unclenched my fists as I tried to control the rage. My mind told me he was right, but my heart was still furious. “Carlos,” I said through clenched teeth, “you can let go now.” I felt his grip loosen slightly, but his arm stayed firmly around my waist, he wouldn"t let go. I tried to refocus my anger on where it belonged: Malina. “Musetta, Carlos. Maybe Musetta can give us a way to block the pain.”
“Matt already thought of that, Sarah,” he whispered. “She"s due to arrive here in two days.”
I grimaced when I heard his name then nodded to Carlos. “Good” I said. I pulled the DVD with all of the Malina footage on it. “Ramon, I need this copied, please.”
He nodded. “Yes, ma"am, I"ll do that right away. And I"m so sorry about Mr. Matthew ma"am.”
“Thank you, Ramon, I appreciate that.” I said. I turned to Stefan. “Please get Penelope and bring her to my office. We need to try to figure out where she might have taken him.”
He nodded and was out the door in a flash. I turned to Carlos. “You ready?”
He grinned his goofy grin. “Darlin". I was born ready.”