Talulla Rising Page 64


Murdoch fired his weapon, hit Devaz in the shoulder. Devaz, muzzle dripping gore from the swath he’d cut to get here, swung Tunner up by his neck to catch Murdoch’s next two rounds in the Hunter’s back.


Which was still around Tunner’s neck. Murdoch turned, ran to the opposite vault door and swiped the card. The blips’ innocent tune, the lock’s sigh and clunk. Devaz’s new pure predatory instinct strained against me to go after him.


There were other Devaz instincts to work with. His cock was up, meatus pearled, dorsal artery pounding. Naturally: here was fresh prey and a female. A female who’d already fucked him in her human form. A current of mutual knowledge on top of the species imperative. It wasn’t lost on me, either. The movie heroine would have seared focus: her child, therefore immediate escape, therefore no time for werewolf hanky-panky. Reality wasn’t so accommodating. My clit throbbed and my cunt yearned. Not quite fuckkilleat (I wasn’t in love with Devaz) but a cheaper, pornier alternative that was more than enough to drag at my will. In spite of myself I nearly went under.

But I wasn’t, apparently, completely without control.


Devaz’s drowning human hated me for what I’d done to him (which didn’t hurt his desire any, obviously) but the newly-made monster was under my will – just. It wouldn’t last. This was pseudo-parental authority with a butterfly lifespan. Two or three lunations and he’d be telling me to go fuck myself – or rather trying to fuck me himself. But for now the newly-changed blood did as it was told. There was a flash of pleasure in it for him, the submissive’s at his mistress’s heel, a potential he never knew he had, though of course that fed back into his desire, so that doing as he was told made it harder to do as he was told. Absurdities bred and swarmed. Well, I imagined Jake saying, you go around dishing the Curse out willy-nilly, Lu – what do you expect?

The door closed behind Murdoch. Devaz ripped the key from Tunner’s neck and moved over to the control panel. In the room next door the gunfire had stopped, though the screaming hadn’t. Two or three different voices, I thought. I could smell Wilson out there, a thinner, meaner odour than Devaz’s mardi gras funk. He was close to satiation, glutted and dazed from too many victims. If he carried on eating he’d regret it.


It was a dreamy agony to watch Devaz’s hybrid fingers struggling for the precision needed to fit and turn the key. I wondered how many men the facility held, how many were still alive, how long before Murdoch got them regrouped. Someone, somewhere, would be breaking out the silver ammunition. For all I knew containment doors for just this sort of contingency were right this second sealing the place shut.

One of the panel’s red lights turned green. The bars slid up. Walker’s steel cable dropped free. Devaz looked at me. He’d fed too, but not like Wilson. His hunger was still fiery, indiscriminate, up for anything – and here was Walker, barely able to get to his feet.


Devaz turned from me with a snarl and fell on Tunner, who was still alive, but barely conscious. One bite took half the Hunter’s throat out. The jugular spat its blood like a well-pressurised drinking fountain for a few seconds, then subsided. Walker, still in his wrist- and ankle restraints, watched, while I switched the key into the socket for Caleb’s cell.

The boy had passed out. Never to return, for all I knew. He was still breathing, at least. Either my tolerance for vamp odour had hit a new high or he was so close to death he’d lost his species stink. Whatever the explanation I gagged only once when I first picked him up. He was practically weightless. I might have been carrying a bag of polystyrene chips.

There was no shortage of blood. I dipped my fingers in the pool gathered around Tunner and touched them to Caleb’s lips.

Two seconds. Three. Five. His tongue moved, tasted, registered. The soft mouth closed tight around my finger. I fed him a little more. His eyes opened. Fought back the reflex to get away. I opened Tunner’s thigh with a claw and held Caleb next to it.

‘Can’t,’ he said. ‘He’s dead. Can’t drink... dead.’

Instead he lapped at the blood on the floor like a cat at a puddle of milk. Non-toxic, I supposed, because it had flowed while Tunner was still alive. I looked up at Walker, who stood holding his ribs, leaning against the remaining bars. Fear came off him, but weakly. This was quite something, what he was seeing, the situation he was in, but it didn’t change what had happened to him. It irritated me, suddenly. Stop being such a fucking baby. A woman is raped every minute in the US. You think they should all give up and die?

I tore off Tunner’s pockets until I found one that had a set of keys in it, then tossed the bunch to Walker. You’ll think I don’t recognise you. But I will. He knew I did, but he wasn’t taking anything for granted. The confined space was hot and full of brutal possibilities. Since Tunner’s thigh was open anyway I ripped a sliver of meat from it and crammed it into my mouth. Oh my God yes. More. More more more.

But there wasn’t time for more. If we didn’t get out now, we didn’t get out. I ducked back into the cell, gathered up the gown and the journal and shoved them at Walker. Then I grabbed Caleb and hauled him to his feet. He hissed at me, but without conviction. He hadn’t drunk a fraction of what he needed (he could barely stand) but it would have to be enough. Walker had got the restraints off. I stepped over Tunner’s ravaged corpse, left a slipstream of will for Devaz, dizzy from the hit of fresh meat, to fall into. Walker, clutching his ribs and limping, brought up the rear.

The state of the next room – the site of Caleb’s cage trials – testified to the soundproofing of the vault door, because even with lupine ears I hadn’t heard any of the things that had evidently been going on in here. The cage itself was intact, though the door had been wrenched off and some bars bent. There was blood everywhere, grandly splashed, desperately smeared, clotting in puddles. The Tag Caleb scoreboard was face-down on the floor. One long spiral of razor wire had been yanked through the bars. A young dark-haired Hunter in a blood-soaked Metallica t-shirt and the regulation black combats was entangled in it, dead. Five other bodies, one of them, guts open, still being nauseatedly picked at by Wilson, who was flecked and winking with gore from head to foot.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies