Blood Moon Page 50

I was dragged back toward Frankenstein. He didn’t speak for a long moment, just surveyed the damage that had been done. He had a kind of clinical displeasure that made me cold.

“Now that wasn’t the deal,” he said. “And you’ve made a terrible mess. I suppose we’ll have to renegotiate, won’t we?” He pointed to Lee and Ianthe. “Bring them.”

“What are you doing?” I struggled violently until my shoulder started bleeding again.

Lee tried to pull the guards off Ianthe, but they were stronger. In the light of the torches I saw he was older than I’d thought, the white of his whiskers like salt in his dark face. Ianthe was thin, the bones poking out at her collar and hips. There were cuts in the crease of her elbows and her wrists. She hadn’t just been starved, she’d been leeched. They’d cut her veins and let her bleed until she was too weak to heal.

“No!” I kept fighting even though it was useless. Lee tried to use his body to shield Ianthe, but they dragged the three of us inexorably toward the pond and Frankenstein. Ianthe used the last of her strength to buck and jerk when she saw the water. She keened and spat curse words in what I thought was Greek.

“A valuable lesson.” Frankenstein raised his voice so the other prisoners could hear him. They were still at the bars, but they were silent now. I saw at least seven vampires and three humans, and I had no way of knowing how many others were chained in the dark. There were fangs and hisses but little other objection. There was nothing anyone could do to help us.

And nothing we could do to help Ianthe.

“A little reminder,” Frankenstein said. “There’s no escape.”

At his nod, Ianthe was tossed into the water. No, not just water.

Holy water.

She went under and resurfaced, shrieking. Lee didn’t make a sound, tears running into his beard as her skin blistered and oozed, her hair falling away with chunks of her scalp. She tried to claw her way out, but there was too much holy water in the pond. It wasn’t really blessed water, it was just infused with UV rays and vitamin D in such concentrations as to be toxic to vampires, like pure sunlight.

Lee slid his eyes away from her for the barest moment, looking at me, then at the ground. I followed his gaze to the spike near his foot. He flexed his fingers, glanced back at Ianthe, choking on her own cries. The smell of burned flesh was making me nauseated.

Lee leaned back, using the guard’s grip to hold his weight as he kicked the spike in my direction. I caught it, jerking my head back at the same time and breaking the nose of the Helios-Ra agent on my left. Where the hell had he come from? I didn’t bother trying to free my other arm. This wasn’t about escape. We knew we couldn’t get out, not this way.

Instead, I threw it as hard as I could at Ianthe. It cleaved her heart and she smiled briefly before turning to ash that coated the surface of the pond.

“Interesting.” Frankenstein studied Ianthe’s remains. He flicked his fingers at us, not even bothering to turn his head our way. “Take them back to their cells,” he told our guards before wading into the water to his ankles to further his inspection of the muddy ashes. “But I haven’t forgotten our deal, prince.”

Chapter 20


Tuesday, 1:00 a.m.

Hunter, Chloe, and I went to Kieran’s house. Kieran said he was busy, but Hunter was worried about him, so we snuck right back off campus again. Kieran wasn’t home, so we waited on a bench near the garden, under a maple tree. We hid out of the glow of the porch light so his mother wouldn’t see us. Hunter didn’t want to bother her.

Chloe was eating a chocolate bar and Hunter was texting Kieran again. It was a cold night, and we were bundled in scarves and extra-thick sweaters. Hunter wore some kind of special-issue long underwear, prepared as always. She looked sleek and comfortable. I looked like a top-heavy penguin in great danger of toppling over.

“He’s on his way,” she said, just as we heard the rumble of motorcycles a few streets over. The Drakes tended to use bikes because they could go places cars couldn’t, especially in the woods. I assumed vampire hunters used them for the same reasons, plus they had a better chance of outrunning vampires that way. On foot, humans had no hope. We just weren’t fast enough, no matter how hard we trained around a racetrack.

It wasn’t long before Kieran and his friends Eric and Connoly came around the corner, the spears of their headlights touching cars, windows, garbage cans, and one startled raccoon. Kieran broke off from the others and turned onto the driveway. Eric and Connoly continued on with a wave. Chloe made yummy noises.

Kieran pulled off his helmet. “What’s wrong? Another vic?”

“No,” Hunter assured him.

He turned off his bike, pocketing his keys. “I don’t need a babysitter, Hunter.”

“No, you’re special. You need three,” I broke in. “There are three girls waiting for you on your doorstep, Black. Aw. Poor you.”

He shook his head. “You’re a pain in my ass, Hamilton.”

I grinned. “I practiced on seven vampire brothers, remember? I could give classes.”

“And I brought chocolate,” Chloe added, tossing him an extra bar from her bag.

I eyed her. “Hey, you said you were out.”

“I lied.”

Hunter snorted. “She also stole that chocolate from my stash.” Chloe was cheerfully unrepentant. “You’re running low by the way.”

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