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Authors: S. B. Alexander

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BOOK: On the Edge of Humanity
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“So,” Sam said, now looking at my father, “did your brother get what he needed when he used me as his lab rat?” Sam asked.

“He may have learned a lot by studying you in the short time you were under his microscope, but he did not get his hands on the final, most important piece,” my father replied.

“Patrick needed Dad’s blood to complete his experiment,” I added, my voice cracking.

“Where is he now?” Sam asked.

“That’s what I was trying to tell you earlier. They’re in that building over there.” I turned and pointed at the prison as I had earlier.

There was so much Sam needed to learn and so many questions I had for him, let alone my father. But we mostly needed to bring Sam up to speed on what had transpired during the past week.

Sam listened intently as we explained the vampire genetics, Patrick’s motives, the Jupiter Sentinels and their role, our father’s role and the Plutariums. My father explained to Sam that there were vampire laws and that they would all be punished in some way. I went on to explain how Ben had helped me and how he ended up in the medical facility. After a couple of hours of talking and explaining, it was my turn to ask some questions. I had one question for Sam that was burning a hole in my brain.

“Do you remember who kidnapped you?” I asked as I bit the inside of my cheek.

Sam looked at me then at my father and said, “Cliff Birch, the asshole who tried…you know…”

I cringed at the name. Oh I knew. I knew all too well. I raised my hand to my face and traced the outline of the scar.

“What did he try?” my father asked.

Sam jerked his head toward me. “You didn’t tell him that part?”

Was he serious? I just met my father and while we had a jillion things to talk about, Cliff wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. In fact, if Sam hadn’t brought it up, I would’ve stuffed that topic so far down into the earth that the creepy crawlies would eat it, destroying anything related to Cliff and that incident.

I dropped my gaze to the floor as my heart pounded against my chest. I thought back to that night and the pervert’s hands on me and I shivered. I took in a deep breath and lifted my gaze. My father’s eyes had silvered and he was glaring at me. Oh shit! I didn’t have to ask why his nostrils were flaring. I imagined he had read my mind.

In that instant, my father stood up, picked up a glass from the coffee table and threw it across the room where it fractured into minute crystals against the wall. A few more inches and I was certain that it would have blasted through the window.

I jumped a mile and Sam took hold of my hand. I made a mental note to talk to Sam about it later. After today, I didn’t want the topic coming up ever again.

“Hey, Pops, I took care of the creep,” Sam said.

“Not well enough,” my father growled. “I want his head on a spike.”

God, I hoped he wasn’t serious…or did I?

“Webb said vampires don’t kill humans,” I said.

“This human world continues to see more violence every day. And it’s humans like him who need to be taught a lesson.”

I wanted to laugh, then scream. Humans weren’t the only ones creating violence in this world. The vampires had their own drama and chaos that seemed to be out of control.

My father calmed a little, releasing a deep breath. “This isn’t over with. I will see to it that Cliff is punished, not only for what he did to Jo, but his involvement in Sam’s kidnapping.”

A shiver crept up my spine. I wanted to punish Cliff too. In fact, I secretly wanted him dead. At the sound of his name, my body ached to take my own revenge against him, and to pay for what he did to me and maybe other girls. The sole purpose of losing my humanity was to save my brother, although perhaps becoming immortal might allow me to help humanity and do something substantial in this world, since I had an eternity to do it. Maybe this would be my chance to save other foster kids from his disgusting ways.

While the thought of revenge sang to me, this wasn’t the time to air my unearthly thoughts on how to punish Cliff. Right now, I wanted to change the subject.

“Dad?” I said the word softly, afraid he might bite off my head.

He narrowed his eyes and it looked as if he were going to chew a hole in the side of his cheek.

“You said when Sam made it through you would explain something about school.”

Sam’s head jerked up and his mouth fell open. “We’re not going to school. We’re vampires now.”

I laughed. “You don’t think vampires go to school?” I laughed again. “I know why you don’t want to go back. You don’t want to go to anger management class.”

His eyes shifted, losing their brilliant green color. “Shut up.”

My father dropped his jaw. “Is there something you’re not telling me, son?”

“After I strangle my sister, there’s a lot you and I need to catch up on, Pops,” Sam said, glaring at me with liquid onyx orbs.

Vindication was a sweet thing. “Now you know how it feels,” I said.

“What did I do?” Sam asked so innocently.

“Never mind. So what about school?” I asked, looking at my dad.

“Once I clear up a few things around here, I’ll make the appointment for us to visit St. Anne’s Academy, which is here in the city. Your first year as a vampire is going to be rough, especially around humans, and St. Anne’s is a school designed for young vampire teenagers who have made the change early. Plus, both of you have to learn about our species and the laws we live by,” he said.

Sam and I burst out laughing.

“You both think that’s funny?” my father asked.

“Do you realize the weirdness of vampires going to a school with the word
saint
in it? Is this some sort of Catholic school?” Sam asked.

I still couldn’t speak. All I kept thinking about were uniforms. The name implied so much more than just Catholic. Plus, were there that many vampire teenagers in Fall River? I shook my head as if I were a dog shaking off water. No way. I refused to believe any of this. What about the school we used to go to?

“Sorry, sweetie, public school with all those humans is not a place for you or Sam to be, no, no, no.” My father was shaking his head in a deliberate side-to-side motion.

Did I just say that out loud?

“You read my mind, again?”

“I guess I did.”

“Please, stop it!”

“I’m actually surprised I can read yours, though. I usually can’t read anyone’s mind unless I’m touching them. I’ve only been able to read one other person’s mind without touching them.” He raked his hands through his hair then rubbed his jaw. His cheeks looked pale, as if the blood had rushed south—not a good sign.

“And me?” Sam asked, taking in a deep breath.

“I can when I touch you, son. But with Jo it seems I don’t have to be touching her.”

“That’s what every teenager wants to hear,” I blurted out.

“No need to panic,” my father said.

“Easy for you to say. I don’t want to be mind raped every time I see you.”

“Jo, that’s a bit of an overstatement,” my father said.

“Yeah, Pops. Hands off me,” Sam added.

“Look, you two, usually I’m good at controlling when I read someone’s mind. But—”

“You said there was one other person’s mind you could read without touching. Whose is it?” I asked.

“My father’s…and he was stronger and more powerful than me.”

He was starting to scare me.

“What does that mean, Dad?” I asked.

Telepathic connections, now mind reading—what’s next?

“I need to make a few phone calls. There’s human food in the kitchen. If you need blood, let me know. And don’t leave the apartment.” He rose, then turned. “And one more thing. Webb said Ben is going to be fine. You’ll be able to see him tomorrow.” He stormed down the hall disappearing into his bedroom.

I sat, stunned at the shakiness in his voice, which made my blood stop for a second. I was confused about his father being more powerful than him. What did that mean? Was there a correlation between my grandfather and me?

“Hey, you alive in there?” Sam asked, waving a hand in front of me.

I blinked. “I was just thinking.”

“So Ben is going to be okay,” Sam said with a hint of sadness in his voice. “Do you think he’ll forgive me?”

“I’m not sure. Ben has had a hard time accepting that vampires exist.” I didn’t want lie to Sam and tell him Ben would forgive him. With Ben’s moodiness, I couldn’t gauge how he would react to Sam attacking him, let alone, the fact that Sam was a vampire. Ben hadn’t wanted me to change, so I had my own issues with smoothing things over with Ben. “We’ll talk to him tomorrow.”

Quietness filled the room as I sat next to Sam, staring out the window, thinking about how our life had changed in just two weeks, how our journey began because of a mortal creep like Cliff.
Should I thank him or kill him?

I closed my eyes and shook my head a few times. The person I needed to thank was Neil. He was the one who really saved Sam. If it weren’t for him, we would still be searching for Sam. I squeezed my brother’s hand and silently thanked God for his return, even though it was as a vampire.

I stood up to stretch my legs when Sam grabbed me.

“I still have one more question for you.” His voice was sullen. “If you had a choice to stay human, why didn’t you?”

The blood rushed to my feet. How could I tell him that I came real close to staying human? Of course, that would have meant he wouldn’t be sitting in front of me and asking me that question. Would he understand how I struggled with my decision? I had sacrificed my belief in humanity, in growing old and living life as a human and not drinking blood as my main meal. My legs quivered so I eased myself down to the coffee table.

“Well?” Sam asked. His gaze burned through me, watching my lips, waiting for an answer.

“I did it to…save you,” I replied as I looked down at the carpet.

He touched the bottom of my chin and guided it up. His eyes looked directly into mine, probing for the truth.

“You don’t believe me?” I asked. I tried to look away, but he kept his hand on my face.

“I know how you hated anything to do with vampires, especially the blood part. So, yeah, part of me believes that you were forced. Maybe for his benefit.” He notched his head toward the hallway.

It was as if someone had driven a knife through my heart.

“I promise you, I did it for you, for us. In fact, I waited too long to make my decision. You were dying by the time the Sentinels rescued you, a heartbeat away from a human grave.”

“Then you should’ve let me die,” he whispered.

“I wanted to stay human…I didn’t know what you would’ve wanted me to do...if humanity was something you cherished or not. But when I saw a picture of you in that glass room, I wanted to die. My whole world imploded. I didn’t realize until then that life meant nothing without you in it, even if it was lived as vampires. Then the more I got to know the vampires around here, the more I thought it wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe we could do some good in the world. But more than anything, I knew if I were lying on a table in a glass-walled room, fighting for my life, you would’ve saved me.” I stared at him, holding my breath, waiting for a response, confirmation that he accepted the decision I had made for him.

He reached around and pulled me into a bear hug. His arms wrapped me in a blanket of warmth, protecting me. “I just needed to make sure we were connected. You’re right. I’d do anything to save you, to protect you and I’ll always be there for you. I love you, Jo,” he whispered.

I snuggled deep into his chest, relief washing over me as he whispered those last words. I didn’t want to move, I wanted to stay wrapped in my brother’s protection for a long time.

There were still a lot of unanswered questions about our uncle, the Plutariums, Ben and Neil, not to mention our father and school. But immortality meant lots of time to figure out the answers.

Maybe Sam and I had a new life to begin, albeit a vampire life, which meant new laws, new rules, new skills and vampire manners that were a prerequisite before we could exist among humans. But none of that mattered. For now, I had my brother back and I wasn’t letting go.

Acknowledgments

Pythagoras once said, “Time is the soul of this world.”

Writing a novel is a journey. It’s a path that takes time, dedication, a tireless effort and a team of individuals to help make a dream come true. I have been fortunate to have an amazing team of people who have helped me realize a childhood dream.

Terri Valentine—Thank you. You are an amazing teacher and editor. Without you this book wouldn’t have been possible.

Katey Coffing—You’re awesome. You’ve been a wonderful inspiration and coach through this entire process.

Streetlight Graphics—You rock! Thank you for an awesome and beautiful cover.

The Book Specialist—My gratitude to you and your team.

Writer’s Digest University—Thank you for all the services you offer for writers.

Finally, this whole journey couldn’t have been possible without the love and support of family and friends, but most importantly I am grateful to my husband Bill for his love and encouragement every step of the way.

Dear Reader

Thank you for taking the time to read On the Edge of Humanity. I hope you enjoyed it. I would love to hear from you. You can connect with me online at:

www.sbalexander.com

or

www.facebook.com/sbalexander.authorpage

I’m currently working on the second book in the series—On the Edge of Eternity. Updates to the release of the second book will be posted on my Facebook page and my website.

Dear Reader

Thank you for taking the time to read On the Edge of Humanity. I hope you enjoyed it. I would love to hear from you. You can connect with me online at:

www.sbalexander.com

or

www.facebook.com/sbalexander.authorpage

I’m currently working on the second book in the series—On the Edge of Eternity. Updates to the release of the second book will be posted on my Facebook page and my website.

BOOK: On the Edge of Humanity
12.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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