I RAN THROUGH what seemed like a long tunnel. It was dark the further I went, losing the light from the stable. I kept my hands on the damp wall and kept moving, while I heard the familiar voice yelling out. There was a point where the wall curved, and far ahead I saw an opening. I think I heard squeaking, and I could have been wrong but I think I had kicked a few rats with my haste speed.
I didn’t stop running. I couldn’t stop running.
I kept moving toward the familiar voice, as my heart drummed wildly in my chest. My mind kept telling me that it was Rene. Another part of myself worried that I was wasting time when I could be escaping right now.
Maybe I had hit my head last night. Maybe I was crazy and losing my mind, but I had to find out. I went through the stoned corridor, and the cries for help stopped. I thought for sure that I was hearing things, until I broke out of the corridor and into an open space which was lit dimly with candles.
A cool chilly breeze greeted me, and I found a bunch of empty cells, blocked with iron bars. I thought back to the sounds of metal I was hearing, like someone was clashing them together.
I kept walking deeper, and deeper into the dungeons. Every cell I passed I looked inside and they were all empty. I didn’t stop walking, I didn’t stop looking until I finally reached the start of the dungeon. Up ahead was a set of curved staircase that went up and disappeared around a bend, and to my right was a chamber like all the rest with the iron doors, but there was someone inside this one.
A voice whispered, it’s him. It’s Rene, as I carefully watched the person cry out with their back facing me. The person sounded like they were in pain. The man staggered forward, a hand bracing against the wet mucky wall for support as he doubled over in agony.
My heart was drumming a steady, hard beat in my chest. And I felt my lips trembling as his name rolled right off my tongue. In a swift gesture my brother turned toward my voice, and at first, he nor I made a move. I stared at my brother knowing that I thought he was dead, but he wasn’t. He was alive.
Are my eyes deceiving me?
Rene’s eyes widened when they recognized me, “Are my eyes deceiving?” he vocalized my question with a raucous and uneven tone.
I shake my head with his question, “No, I found you,” and tears stream down my cheeks, with that shocking revelation and my feet shuffle forward, slowly.
I stumbled into the cold iron bars, crying and reaching for my brother, who also came closer, wasting no moment to embrace me. We held each other despite the barrier, although slightly awkward but I didn’t care. He didn’t care. It seemed Rene was just as overwhelmed, and surprised to see me just the same.
Our embrace was cut short when he winced in torment, and stumbled back. He groaned terribly.
“What is the matter?” I asked, trembling and crying, and still reaching for Rene, when I saw what the problem was. He had a huge bloody mark on his thigh.
He was bitten.
I knew that bite, it was a lycan bite.
“Rene,” I said, my voice trembling, “We have to get you out of here.” Quickly I wipe my damp eyes and cheeks. I look around me, then focus back on my brother who doesn’t answer. He grunted and it sounded dreadful.
He was in agony.
I went to the iron doors and tried to open it, but it was locked. Cursing, I turned swiftly scanning the entire area.
Keys, where are the bloody keys?
Faltering back into the bars, Rene took in a few deep breathes, gathering energy to speak. “You need to leave,” he breathed out and I could tell that it was taking a great toll on him to speak.
Ignoring his warning, I said. “I spent the last few days looking for you, I will not leave you here. Not like this, you need help,”
He needs help? my thoughts mused, there is no help.
Either he turns, or he dies. Those are the options.
I scan the area again, and finally my eyes fall on a tall wooden cabinet.
Hurriedly I pace toward the cabinet and fling open the doors, and what my eyes find is utterly horrible. There’s equipment in here, sharp threatening looking devices that have dried blood lingering. Torturing devices.
I almost forget what I was looking for while I scan the sharp items held down with leather straps, when I hear my brother calling my name. I turn my attention to the inside of the wooden door, and find a set of keys.
Hurrying back to my brother, I let him know that everything will be okay. I try the first key without any luck, and I keep trying until finally one opens the door and with a sigh of relief I swing it open, but just as quickly it’s pushed back shut.
There’s a hand above my own, and inside the cell Rene made a sound that I had to register as animalistic and my eyes stare at the intruding hand, with my heart pounding wildly in my chest. I can feel their presence behind me, looming over me and forcing every hair on my body to rise. Wood and bourbon, invade my lungs masking the mucky smell down here.
I inhale shallow breathes, and find the courage amidst the warning my body is emanating to face the enemy. Slowly, I pivot my hips from gazing at his hand, his physique and my eyes finally sweep across his face.
It’s him, recognition settles in bitterly. Yet, he looks different. It’s dark in the dungeons with only the dim light from the candles, casting shadows across his face.
I know its him, my thoughts confirmed remembering how we fought together in such pleasant unity and remembering I admired his skills with the sword. His skills in combat were sinfully perfect. He was a beautiful savage. Now, the vampyre doesn’t have piercing black eyes, that had caressed the darkness inside of me.
It’s him, my mind repeats again filling with rage, and gazing into his wild blue eyes that seem to burn straight through the shadows of the dungeons, and still managing to take hold of the deepest parts of me.
I glare at the vampyre and before I am able to unleash my tongue, Rene behind the bars, shakes them in a rage. “Don’t you touch my sister,” he yells and those words are able to draw my attention away from the vampyre standing before me.
I look back on my brother briefly, taking him in and feeling a burst of sudden sadness, and the vampyre laughs drawing back my attention. I will myself not to cry, not in front of the vampyre.
“Oh, this is priceless. How is that I managed to acquire siblings?”
I said the only words that made sense, “He’s sick and he needs help.”
“And why is that a concern of mine?” the vampyre questions while withdrawing back his arm, and his response hauled through my rage, overpowering the sadness trying to weaken me.
I lift my chin, and step toward the him. “You will release him and allow me to leave your home,”
My words evoke the vampyre to smirk, and his eyes narrow with a wicked gleam. “You are not in any position to make any demands,”
He’s right, whispers that little voice.
Not to mention, I do not have my kusarigama.
“You can’t keep him here like this, he will die.” I try to keep myself tempered with fear and anger both brewing a storm to take over. Either emotion isn’t good. Fear for my brother’s life will have me acting irrational, and anger toward the vampyre and the situation will have me acting irrational. I can fight and maybe get myself out of here, but I would be leaving Rene behind and after I just found him, I can’t abandon my brother.
I cursed mentally, and the vampyre said simply. “Then he will die, they don’t want him. I tried giving him back,”
“They?” the question slipped off my tongue.
“Yes, the Lycan’s will not help him,”
I swallow the lump in my throat, “Why? He will die without their help,” Of course they won’t help him. Rene is not a friend nor foe of lycan’s. He goes after the rouge beasts mostly, but he is known for what he hunts.
Oh God, I feel my heart drumming wildly against my chest again. I feel it bashing against my rib cage, as cold dread claws at my body and rendering me ill.
Without waiting for his response, I speak out. “Where is my Kusarigama? I will force them to help,” My gaze holds his cerulean intensity, challenging him.
Raising a taunting eyebrow, the vampyre wears a smug expression and something inside of me coils with fright but I dare not show it. He is without a question handsome yet terrifying. He is dressed well, like an aristocratic, tall with broad shoulders, and although there was some space between us, it feels tight with my back just inches away from the iron bars. Rene is breathing heavily behind me, groaning in agony and the vampyre standing ahead of me is still close enough that his scent is overwhelming and it’s doing unmanageable things to my body.
I remember last night. How I was drawn to him, and still am, apparently.
This isn’t right, I warn myself with the small distance suddenly feeling lesser every moment I inhale, my lungs constricting. The way he looks down on me, the way he holds my eyes and the way my body has gone cold from his gaze, his presence, I know this Vampyre should be feared despite my daringly, brave attitude.
His smirk widens, “That’s a very dangerous path, you would choose to go down.”
I manage to hold onto my façade, “I will die trying to save my brother,”
“There’s less condemning ways to die, if you have a death wish.”
“Where is it?” I glare at him, wanting to take another step toward the vampyre. Wanting him to see that I do not fear no man, no beast and certainly no God damn vampyre.
I hold his eyes, my only attempt at the strength I have inside of myself. The confidence that Rene has installed in me from a young age.
“Don’t let them see you that you are afraid,” those were his words not about anyone in particular. Rene taught me that, after we found out what I was. He drilled it into my head after many nights of taking me out and trying to train me to learn my new abilities. I was afraid of what I could do, and Rene didn’t like that I was never welcoming of my abilities.
The vampyre welcomes my challenge with an annoying, sly smile that I want to slap right off his smug mouth. He doesn’t respond to my question about my kusarigama, instead he shifts his gaze behind me, at Rene murmuring words that neither of us can quite make out.
Focusing back on me, the vampyre sighs. “I’ll make you a deal,” his tone impassive, which continues to boil my blood further because I am struggling to tame mine.
“What could you possibly want?” I ask, afraid of the answer.
“I will release your brother and spare you a dreadful death, if you help me with something,”
I ask cautiously, “Help you with what?”
“Emmanuel. The beast is still alive and I noticed that you have abilities to weakened him. Agree to help me, and I will get help for your brother and in return, you stay here until it’s over.”
“Stay here?” I repeat his words, while trying to register everything else he just told me. Emmaneuel, the beast has a name.
The vampyre answers with a nod. “Until we rid France of the beast,”
Rene grunts, “No, don’t do it.”
Watching the vampyre carefully, I know there is no reason for him to lie to me. We fought together, side by side and had brought the beast down but we were intercepted. Then again, he was keeping my brother here, and for what purpose?
Did he know that we were related?
Was this a ruse to draw me here?
Is this a trap?
And if it were a ruse, what part would this vampyre play in my down fall? I know there are many people out there, who hate me for many reasons. The color of my skin, the fact that I can steal magic and Rene has trained me against lycans. I have many cards stacked against me.
I point out his original words, “You said the lycan’s will not help my brother,”
“The Alpha is a good friend of mine, and he wants to defeat Emmanuel as well. If I ask him, he will do it,”
“How do I know you will stay true to our agreement,”
“You have my word,”
“You word means nothing to me,”
“Then maybe a kiss will,”
“What?” I asked, dismayed by his response and I step away from the vampyre but he is quick to my escape and grabs me at the back of my head, fingers grasping tight around my thick curls. He jerks me toward him, against his dangerous physique. All masculine and powerful, and wickedly capable of anything baneful.
My mind is harsh with the memories of last night, the desire that has surged through me then was unforgivable and I see Bennett’s face flash before my eyes. Before I realize what I am doing, my hand lashes out with the keys and with full intent to hurt him.
The vampyre growls, with the unexpected blow and releasing me from his hold he staggers back a few steps and with a hand to his right cheek he curses. I see the blood on his fingers and sliding down his cheek from the candles burning dimly, and Rene tells me to run.
I should run, and get Cerberus to help. However, I can’t just leave him here. Leave my brother to be at the wrath of the vampyre. Instead I run toward the wooden cabinet and swing it open. I grab the first thing that my fingers touch and tear it from the leather restraints and when I turn back around with the knife in my grasp, Dante is standing behind me with a dark look in his gaze.
Our eyes touch, for a brief moment and then I raise my hand to attack, and the vampyre says three simple words. “Drop the knife,” and my hand drops the knife. I hear it clatter on the ground.
I don’t believe what is happening.
This can’t be happening.
“And don’t move,” I hear his voice as a whisper in my mind, but that time, his lips hadn’t parted to speak.
Am I losing my mind?
Intense blue eyes narrow, and I can’t help but to stare back into them. I feel the resistance, and hear the warnings of my mind screaming at me to look away, to defy this pull but I can’t help it. It’s intoxicating and suffocating, and there’s a raging need inside of me, pleading with me to fight but I can’t.
What has he done to me?
Behind the vampyre, the iron bars rattle against their hold and are followed with empty threats from my brother. The vampyre ignores the noise and bends down to pick up the weapon. Returning to his full height, I see blood smeared on his right cheek, but no marks from the keys.
How is that possible?
And like he had read my thoughts, he answered. “I’m a vampyre. I have many skills, besides from invading your personal thoughts, to bend you to my will.” His tone was too impassive for my liking, but then again, the gash that should have been visible on his cheek wasn’t there. Blood is the only evidence that something had happened.
The vampyre raises his hand with the knife and traces it along my jawline as my lip trembles slightly.
Rene begins a fit of protests and all I can think is that I failed him. I couldn’t control my emotions, and he stops when his body is overtaken with a furry of coughs.
“I’m sorry,” I murmur. “I didn’t mean to.”
The vampyre speaks, thinking my words were for him. “Of course you had meant to,” he corrects and once again his words are stripped from any and all emotions. “You wanted to hurt me,” he says on a harmonious melody. “Never apologize for your actions,” and the vampyre now lightly drags the knife down the side of my throat, and I try not to breath as fast or frantic.
“I panicked,” I said not knowing who I was speaking to.
“Ah, and you’re forgiven,” My gaze flutters back to his entrancing cerulean gaze, unsure if I heard him correctly. The vampyre continues, “However, after your little outburst, I will require something more from you. Something more tangible,”
The knife stalls at my collarbone, and I ask. “I have nothing to offer,”
He smiled, baring his teeth and it was enthralling and disturbing. “You have plenty to offer,” he muses with eyes trailing down my body and devouring my breast rising and falling with every breath I take. “You will give yourself to me, without a fight or fuss.” My body tenses, and my eyes widen with his words heavy with desire. The vampyre moves the knife further down into my cleavage and my blood goes cold.
If I could move, I would have slapped him and then attacked him with my nails and teeth. I would have attacked him in all the lethal ways that my brother had taught me. If I could, I would have shaken my head with disapproval but I can’t even do that.
I can’t protect myself.
My stomach knots dreadfully and tears stream down my face with the harsh realization, of his ability to control my body, to bend me to his will, like he so stated earlier. Inside, I’m thrashing and trying with all my might to claw at his body, to defy him and his wicked hold over me but my body won’t even budge an inch. Instead I’m forced to smell him and hate every bit of the rich wood blend.
More tears fall through my lashes, knowing that I don’t have a choice. I could continue to defy the vampyre with my words, but would I dare risk Rene’s life?
My own, yes.
Not my brother’s when he has done everything in his power to guide me in the right direction. Even after he had the witch connect my powers to my kusarigama, that process was painful to say the least and never once did he leave my side during and after. To say I was upset with him would be an understatement and despite my raging words at the time, he took it all, and never abandoned me. Rene thought he was doing right by me, and I still don’t know if that was the right or wrong decision but my brother had never ever turned his back on me.
It’s a small price to pay, if my brother gets the help he needs to survive the transformation. Those are the final thoughts I tell myself, before I speak to the vampyre.
“I’ll stay here and you will send my brother to get help,”
The vampyre’s gaze sweeps back up to find my teary eyes and he withdraws the knife, and tosses it to the side. I flinch when his hand reached out toward me, at least in the inside I did, on the outside, I was frozen, vulnerable. With a curled index finger, he wipes the tears from my damp cheeks and then he brings the finger to lips and licks.
My stomach sank into a hollowness of shivers, as more tears escaped down my cheek and I knew I was giving in to something evil.
“Do you promise?” He asked simply, his hand dropping to his side but his words had a light hint of humor.
Was he mocking me?
“You have my word,” I answered regardless in a whisper.
Rene screamed at me, and that only confirmed that I had given up my soul. I shifted my eyes to find the dark shadows cast across his face and blue eyes piercing right through the obscurity and his lips were parted into that hair-rising smile, that chilled me down to the bones. A wicked passion, concocted inside of me and I feared my own self more than ever. My own emotions could not be trusted.
What had I gotten myself into?
The vampyre informs, “You may go to your brother and say your farewells,” and just like that, I had control over my body again. I wiggled my toes, just to confirm and I hesitated while looking on the vampyre.
He was letting me say goodbye?
Was he showing me kindness?
Maybe he isn’t as horrible as I had imagined.
I all but sprinted toward the cell that Rene was locked in, and reached out to him as Dante in the background, began whistling. Rene fell into my embrace, leaning against the iron bars in pain and I held as much as him as I could grab and promised that everything was going to be okay, through my tears and broken voice.
It didn’t last long, when Dante’s whistling stopped and he said. “Now it’s my turn to bid your brother a farewell,”
Before I could heed the full warning of his words, just like that, I felt him behind me, his hand tangled in my hair and forcing me right up against the cold iron bars. Before I could find the strength inside of me to fight, before my brother had a chance to register what was happening right in front him, I felt the vampyre’s mouth against the curve of my neck. Then, I felt the sharp, intense pain piercing my left side and I screamed, and tried thrashing against the vampyre, but it was no use.
I screamed until I couldn’t scream. Until I couldn’t think, couldn’t fight, until his darkness took me in its arms and carried me away.
– – – –
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