Out for Blood Page 71

Thinking about Grandpa just made me feel worse.

Helios-Ra and our duty to our hunter ancestors was the glue that had held us together after my parents were killed. I barely remembered them, but I remembered Grandpa dressing up like Van Helsing one Halloween and scaring all the little kids dressed as vampires. He’d taught me how to clean a wound properly, how to look for patterns in the movements of leaves and litter that betrayed a nearby vampire moving too quickly for human eyesight. He gave me my first stake. There’d been tears in his eyes last year when he got my report card. He’d always been proud of me.

Not anymore.

And I’d always been proud of the Helios-Ra.

Not anymore.

The difference was, I intended to do something about it. I wanted to be proud of the League again. And proud of myself. I wanted to make it right.

Making it right was surprisingly boring.

I sat on that rock for two hours, until my legs cramped and I’d nearly staked a chipmunk and a raccoon and traumatized a bunny.

All the rooms in the teachers’ hall stayed dark. Even the motion lights stayed dark outside in the garden, where the animals liked to overturn the compost bin. The windows reflected the trees, the moon, the sky. Chloe was long since in bed, and Jenna wouldn’t relieve me for another two hours.

I was staring so hard at the residence that when Ms. Dailey spoke softly behind me, I fell right off the rock.

I leaped back to my feet, going red. “Ms. Dailey!”

“At ease.” She smiled gently. “Hunter, what are you doing out here?”

“I … uh … I couldn’t sleep.” I wondered why she was out here so late.

“Are you worrying about our little problem?”

I nodded. “We found out it’s even worse than we thought,” I explained in a rush. “It’s some kind of weapon against vampires that uses students as carriers. It’s sick.”

She tilted her head. “Ingenious, actually.”

I blinked at her. “Sorry?”

“I had such high hopes for you, dear girl. You’ve always been particularly talented. A little too clever, clearly, and now, sadly, misguided as well.”

“Misguided?” I echoed. “What are you talking about?”

“You didn’t think that scene with your grandfather wouldn’t be all over school, did you? As well as your unfortunate and disgusting affiliation with that vampire.”

I took a step back. Her expression was still pleasant but she didn’t sound like the Ms. Dailey I knew at all. The instinct to run vibrated through me.

Before I could take a single step, she pulled a syringe from behind her back.

She stabbed me right in the arm with it.

I swore and jerked back but the needle was stuck in my muscle, pumping its clear liquid into my veins. I scratched at her face, managing to get her blood under my nails before the dizziness assaulted me. I stumbled.

“What did you do to me?” I panicked. My tongue felt swollen; my feet felt as if they were on backward. I stumbled again and fell to my knees. She watched me dispassionately.

“I’m rather grateful you chose to hide yourself away here, where no one will hear you. Very considerate of you.”

My fingers shook as I yanked the needle out of my arm. It tumbled into the grass. “What is this stuff?”

“I think you know, a smart girl like you. It’s a rather potent overdose of TH. I’m afraid you left me no other choice.”

“What? No!” I clawed at my skin. My veins felt as if they were getting warmer, as if all of me was burning up. My breaths became shallow and short. “It was York. York.”

She laughed lightly. “He’s far too pedantic for this sort of genius.”

“But he picks on all the weak students.” I was beginning to slur. I felt like I was hit by the worst case of the worst flu ever.

“Caught that, did you? Yes, his temper made my work much easier. I knew exactly who the worst students were, as they made him the angriest. He was so scared for them, you see. He wanted them to get stronger and be able to protect themselves.” She circled me, waving her hand to dismiss him. “This is much better. If they are going to die by a vampire’s hand, they may as well become weapons in themselves. A sacrifice for the League. And so eager to comply when they think it’s a secret pill to make them stronger. It takes a while for them to weaken, and by then—think of the vampires they might infect. Especially if they’re like you, Hunter.”

“I don’t see … you … sacrificing yourself,” I spat. I tried to turn over but I was too heavy. The effort had me gasping.

“There’s no use struggling. I gave you quite a high dose. You might survive it. I hope you do, at least for a little while. Then you can take out that Drake brat as well.”

She wanted Quinn to drink from me and die.

“Go to hell,” I croaked.

Dailey pursed her lips. “To think I picked you for the next Guild leader. I had such hopes after the Hel-Blar attack, and after you staked Will.”

“You’re crazy.” I had to call Theo. I fumbled for my cell phone but my hands weren’t working properly. I couldn’t scream either. I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs.

“I’m just doing what must be done. With all these treaties and the Hel-Blar infestation, we’re losing our focus.” She was lecturing me as if we were in class. “I had to test you all, to see who was worthy to be a member of my Guild. I set blood traps for the Hel-Blar and they came like rats to cheese.”

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