Wombstone (The Vampireland Series) (28 page)

BOOK: Wombstone (The Vampireland Series)
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“Ow!” I yelled. It hurt. A lot. That pissed me off. A lot. I summoned all of the pain and rage that was swirling in my chest and my stomach and I directed that through the bond, back at him. I wasn’t sure if it would work, I had only ever tried communicating via the bond using words and pictures, but it worked alright. Ryan dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. He clutched at his head and began to scream.
 

I smiled.

Ivy rushed into the room. I guessed straight away that she had been listening to everything. She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw my face, and I imagined how I must have looked – electric blue eyes, wild raven hair in bloodied tangles, mascara and tears streaked down my cheeks and blood under my fingernails where I had scratched deep gouges into Ryan’s face.
 

“Stop it,” she pleaded. Worried, all of them worried about me and what I might do to the precious monster that
he
had cursed me with.
 

Ryan continued to twitch and moan.

“Or what? What will you do?” I asked. I was genuinely curious, and a little bit crazy. Would she strike me down with powerful magic? Her eyes darted between Ryan and I.
 

“You won’t do anything, will you?” I was pleased. “You can’t hurt me without risking hurting this parasite inside me.”

Her face confirmed my suspicion.

Suddenly Sam appeared in the room, and I jumped. Another worried face. “Mia.”


Sam.
” I mimicked his pitiful tone.

“Stop it.” He gestured to Ryan, limp and moaning on the ground. “He deserves it, but not like this. You’re better than this. Stop whatever it is you’re doing to him.”
 

I tried to stop the flood of black waste that was pouring through the bond from me to him, and choked. “I can’t.”
 

It was true. Whatever gate I had opened, I couldn’t close it. Hate and rage poured through the bond, making me shiver and making Ryan suffer. The black sludge that was pouring from me into him was starting to make my head hum as well. Panic rose in my throat like bitter bile. “I can’t stop it!” I cried. I clawed at my own throat as it started to close and I was gasping for air. Air might not have mattered to me, because I was a vampire and vampires didn’t need to breathe, but it still felt like I would smother if I couldn’t suck in lungfuls of the stuff.

“You can,” Sam said firmly, squeezing my shoulder hard, not enough to hurt but enough so that I had to look at him. “What is it you’re thinking about? Is it Caleb? Is it Ryan?”
 

I shook my head no. Sorrow engulfed me then, and shame. Oh, the shame! I was blaming Ryan for all of this, and he was hardly innocent, but he hadn’t forced me to do anything except get in that van three long months ago. And he’d been apologizing for it ever since. Only I’d never been able to forgive him.

It was hate, I realized. All the hate I felt, for Ryan and Caleb and myself – it was
killing
me. And right now, it was killing Ryan.

“You can stop it,” Sam said urgently. “Tell me what’s happening in your head right now. What you’re feeling.”

“I hate them,” I responded. “I hate this life. I miss everything that I used to have! He’s taken it all from me. And now –”

“And now what?” Sam pressed.

“And now I just wish I could die,” I said numbly, the fight going out of me. The black sludge disappeared, replaced by a hollow ache that settled in my womb like a cold, heavy stone. I stumbled back, returning to the bed. There was no fight left in me. Ryan scuttled away, still holding his head with both hands, without so much as a backwards glance. Ivy followed, casting a worried look at Sam before she closed the damaged door.

“I want to show you something,” Sam said quietly, once we were alone. I didn’t argue. He wheeled a large portable machine next to the bed. I realized immediately what it was and baulked.

“You can trust me,” Sam said. “I promise.”

Part of me did want to see what could possibly have developed inside me over a few short weeks. And knowledge was power.
 

“Alright,” I said dejectedly. How much worse could it get?

I sat on the bed, waiting patiently as Sam fiddled with buttons and switches. “Do you even know how to use that thing?” I asked.

He smiled, as if to say,
There you are
. I didn’t smile back, though, instead focusing on the grainy screen in the centre of the machine.
 

“Shirt up,” Sam instructed. I reluctantly pulled my t-shirt up to expose my bare stomach. The gel he squeezed onto my skin was cold and felt gross. He made one final adjustment to the machine and then placed a plastic probe on my stomach.

Neither of us breathed as the contents of my uterus came into focus on the display screen. At first, I couldn’t see anything other than a blur of movement, but it very quickly became apparent what I was looking at – a set of arms and legs moving about, a torso and a head.
 

A baby.

My baby.

I turned my head, horrified and intrigued. “Why is it bouncing up and down like that?” I asked Sam.

He smiled. “Your baby has the hiccups,” he said gently.

I have a vampire baby in me and it has the hiccups. The goddamn fucking hiccups.

For what seemed like the thousandth time that day, I buried my face in my hands and cried.

FORTY-FOUR

I didn’t want a baby. I definitely didn’t want Ryan’s vampire baby. I had always been
so
careful when I was with Jared. It’s funny, sometimes it feels like you can do the right thing your whole life, but it doesn’t matter, because fate is waiting there patiently for you to fuck up so it can stick a demon baby inside you. I was past the point of denial, past the point of suicide. Now I was just pissed.
 

I refused to speak with anyone but Sam from that point on. I was too angry with Ryan, and too scared of Ivy. None of us had slept. I had changed into clean clothes, washed the gel from my stomach. And then it was time to leave.

There was no question of where we were going. It was simply assumed. Sam and I walked slowly to his car and got in, followed by Ivy and Ryan. Nobody spoke, except to give basic directions. We dropped Ryan and Ivy off at a nearby field, where Ivy’s chopper was waiting.

And we drove back to Pasadena.

FORTY-FIVE

I checked my phone when we were back on the interstate. Missed calls and texts from Evie, asking where I was. I was listening to a string of panicked voicemails when she called again.

“Hello?” I answered emptily.

“Happy Birthday,” Evie said. “Did you get cold feet? I thought you’d be here by now.”

It’s my birthday today. How did I forget that?

“Something happened,” I replied wearily.
 

“What happened? Did Ryan talk you out of it?”

I wish
. “I’m pregnant,” I said numbly. What was the point in denying it? She would find out eventually when she came back to look for me.

There was a long silence. I had an idea why. Evie was probably trying to figure out who I had slept with.

“Ryan,” Evie spat. “What did he do to you?”

“It didn’t mean anything,” I said weakly. I sounded
pathetic
.

“This was
consensual?

I didn’t answer.

“You worthless sucker,” Evie hissed. I fought back tears at the hatred in her voice. “I can’t believe I trusted you. You lost your soul the day you Turned.”

“It didn’t mean anything!” I pleaded.
Lost my soul?
“Please, you can’t do this to me. I need you. You have to help me fix this!”

There was a long silence.
 

“Evie?” I asked into the static.

“You stay away from me, you hear?” She was
so
angry. “And Jared. Don’t you
dare
try to call him. You don’t deserve him.”

“What do I deserve then, witch?” I was sobbing.

“I wish they had just killed you.” Her voice was heavy; she sounded old. “More than anything, you’d be better off dead.”

“Wait!” I cried. “What are you going to tell Jared?”

“The truth!” Evie yelled. “You cheated on him, and you lied to him, and you’re never coming back for him. Because this is it for you!”

The line cut out. She had hung up on me.

You’d be better off dead
. As usual, she was right.

Don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry–

I started to sob; great retching chokes that racked my entire body. Sam pulled off to the emergency lane and shut off the engine.

“You’re not better off dead,” he whispered. So he had heard everything. He pulled me close to him and repeated those words over and over again. Maybe he was trying to say them until I believed them. It didn’t work, but it did make me feel a little less alone. At least he was still my friend. Maybe my only friend left in the whole world.

“I’m so sorry,” Sam said, his voice breaking. He rubbed his big hands in circles on my back as if I was a child. “You deserve better than this.”

But it didn’t matter what I deserved. Life was cruel. Life was relentless. Life didn’t care about pathetic creatures like me.

After a little while, I calmed down. I was too tired to cry anymore. Sam wiped my cheeks dry with his fingers and pushed my hair out of my eyes, his forehead still resting lightly on mine.

“You want food?” he asked quietly.
 
“Some blood, maybe?”

I shook my head.
 

“I didn’t know it was your birthday,” Sam said sadly. I didn’t reply.

I fingered the thick bandages on each wrist and sighed. A few more minutes before Sam found me and my plan might have worked. Now we would never know. I wasn’t stupid; I knew Ryan would never let me out of his sight again. Not until he got this thing out of me alive, anyway.

We continued our drive west. Bright city lights flickered in the distance. I didn’t know what city it was, and I didn’t care.
 

A few hours later, Sam asked me again. Food? No. Blood? No.

“I can hear your stomach rumbling,” he pointed out politely.
 

“I’m probably being eaten alive from the inside.” I was short with him; I was sick and tired and plain worn out.

That shut him up until evening fell and he pulled into a drive-thru Burger King just outside of town. He ordered a cheeseburger and fries and set them on the seat next to me, along with a fresh baggie of human blood he had retrieved from the icebox in the trunk.

“Please eat something,” he implored. His eyes were so kind, so caring. How could I refuse? And yet I did. I turned my better–off–dead eyes outside and ignored my body’s pleas for nourishment.

Because I thought, maybe if I didn’t eat, if I didn’t feed the baby, then it might die. Maybe we both would.
 

And the nightmare would finally be over.

Don’t miss the second novel
 

in Jessica Roscoe’s
 

Vampireland
 

series.
 

Coming in 2014.

Acknowledgements

This book would not have been possible without all of the amazing and wonderful people I’m about to mention. Jed, thank you for putting up with me for ten years and never questioning when I was going to finally finish a book. Ruby, thank you for being the light in my life and inspiring me to be a better person who can make you proud. Thank you to my parents, grandparents, and my extended family. Thank you to my Mum and Jed’s mum, for watching Ruby so that I could get things finished!
 

HUGE thanks go to Frankie Rose, who designed my cover and promo graphics, answered a million questions and generally helped me wade through the ocean of self-publishing without drowning. Jo-anne, thank you for your wonderful encouragement in the early stages of beta reads. Julienne, thank you for letting me pick your brain about the writing business every time I see you at a Wright family function. Thank you to the small group of wonderful women who read my book and provided feedback. You have all made this book better, and I am forever in your debt.

Thankyou to all of my friends and family who encouraged me, who pushed me to keep going, who listened and asked questions and took interest in the imaginary world I dreamed up inside my head.

Finally, thank you to the Katherine Susannah Pritchard writer’s centre for allowing me the time and space to come up with the seeds of this series during my residency.

I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone - if I haven’t mentioned you, and I should have, I’m sorry! Please forgive me :)

BOOK: Wombstone (The Vampireland Series)
3.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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