Blood Prophecy Page 93

Nicholas went low, into a rolling somersault, his palm out. I threw another stake. His fingers curled around it as he leaped back up. He’d managed to break out of the circle and with every stake he threw, I passed him another.

One of the prisoners stuck her arm out, clotheslining a passing Huntsman. Nicholas was right, we had an army behind the bars. I grinned at her. She cradled her now-broken arm, grinning back through the pain.

Since Nicholas seemed to be channeling a vampire ninja and I was out of stakes, I hurried to the nearest iron gate. I went through the key rings again, until I found the one that fit the padlocks. The first prisoner stumbled out, squinting in the artificial light. Sores and frostbite scars coverered his bare arms. He must have been here for weeks. I swung open gate after gate and humans and vampires emerged blinking like half-blind moles.

The vampires went straight to a fridge powered by a humming generator, ripping into blood bags. A woman tore through a camping bag full of protein bars and beef jerky.

When more vampires and Huntsmen came out of a passage on the other side of the small murky underground pond, the prisoners swarmed them. They weren’t particularly strong, having been starved and shackled for so long, but they were enraged. The ones doing most of the biting weren’t even vampires. There was a kind of frenzy in the air that made my mouth go dry.

Nicholas kicked a Host, breaking his thighbone, and I shoved him as he fell, sending him into one of the dank cells. I slammed the gate shut, locking it. “We can’t stay here,” I said to Nicholas. “Let’s lock them all in and stop Hope.” I thought, before this turns into a bloodbath. I had to shove an old man off a Huntsman before things got really ugly and the Huntsman choked on his own fang necklace.

Nicholas stood over Dr. Frankenstein, his boot pressing lightly on the other man’s throat. The doctor gagged, his eyes bulging with fear. “Nic, stop.” I grabbed his arm.

“You don’t know the things he’s done. He’s a monster.” He pressed down just a little harder. Veins bulged in the doctor’s forehead. He clawed at Nicholas’s ankle.

“Don’t let turning you into a murderer be another one of his crimes.” I tightened my grip on his arm, holding on as tight as I could. “Don’t let him break you, Nicky.” I shook him. “Lock him up so we can go save the rest of your family.”

He moved his boot just as I was wondering where my Nicholas had gone. He leaned against the wall, wiping his face with a trembling hand. “Shit,” he said. “Shit, Lucy.”

“Let’s just get out of here,” I said gently. “Take my hand.”

Everything was getting too ugly, too fast. Nicholas wasn’t the only one who’d reacted to the miasma of fear and the memory of torture. The vampires who had fed were now prowling the perimeter of the cave, snarling. Hunters lay in pools of blood. Violence had a coppery smell, like burning pennies. “I need a tranq gun,” I muttered. There was a box of them next to the other crates of weapons but the way was blocked.

“I’ll get it,” Nicholas said, staking between a Host vampire and a Huntsman, and tossing them both apart as if they were toy soldiers. He plucked one of the guns out of the pile, checked that it was loaded, and then tossed it to me. It looked like a pistol and fit easily in my hand. My first shot went wide as I got used to the new weapon. Unfortunately, it didn’t go so wide as to hit the wall; instead a dart hit one of the prisoners in the butt. She fell over, curses slurring as she fell asleep. “Oops.” I stared at Nicholas, wincing. He just shook his head at me.

My next shot was much more accurate, felling a Host vampire after two darts. “I need the vamp stuff,” I called when the vampire stirred after just a few seconds of unconsciousness.

Nicholas crouched over Dr. Frankenstein. “Where’s the vampire sedatives?” he asked darkly. “I know you have some.” Dr. Frankenstein started to babble, trying to protect his neck with his arm. Nicholas leaned in closer, pupils dilated. “Tell me.”

“In the small fridge,” he finally said as the pheromones slipped under his defenses. “The bottle with the blue labels.”

“And?”

He gulped. “And there’s a box of preloaded darts t-there . . . under m-my work table . . .”

Nicholas didn’t look away as he grabbed the box and slid it to me. Then he pulled the whole table down, dumping beakers and test tubes and microscopes onto the floor. Broken glass and dented equipment skidded in all directions. “Oops,” he said, echoing me.

One of the more recent prisoners, judging by her lack of cuts and bruises, hauled the now-weeping Dr. Frankenstein into a cell. She broke his wrist doing it, but none of us much cared, especially when he kept wailing about his “work.”

“He used to be one of us,” she said, disgusted. There was a Helios-Ra sun tattoo on her arm. I reloaded the gun just as one of the prisoners sailed past me. Nicholas caught her before she landed in the broken glass.

I shot three more vampires. They sank to the ground as if they were suddenly made of water. When there were finally only three Huntsmen left, I grabbed one of the emergency foghorns from a metal shelf piled with signaling devices. I pressed the button and the sound bounced off the stones. Everyone stopped, grabbing at their ears. One vampire tried to hide her head under her sweater, gnashing her fangs. Nicholas swung his head to stare at me. I added another blast for good measure.

“Lock them up!” I snapped in that military-school tone Hunter was so good at. “Now.”

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