Weekly Vampire Serial Fiction.
The Daywalker Chronicles, Season 2. The Blood of the First.
The atmosphere in the room was heavy, the emotions weighing down like a thick blanket around us. I stared down at my sister’s still form draped in a white silk dressing gown, her dark hair fanned out around her head like an elaborate headdress. She looked serene, her face in quiet repose, as if napping. I’d seen her sleep so many times over the course of time. But despite appearances, I knew better. We all knew better.
“You miss her.” I placed my hand on Claude’s shoulder and he stiffened at my touch.
“Yes,” he whispered, giving me a feeble smile. He hadn’t left her side since we laid her there hours ago.
My fingers kneaded his tight muscles to no avail. “You love her,” I breathed.
Claude shifted his weight nervously, his eyes darting toward Sebastian, only a few feet away. “What’s not to love?”
I glanced over at Sebastian’s glowering expression and sensed there was far more to this than I had originally suspected. “Well, I suppose I’ll have no shortage of help, then.” It wasn’t a question.
“When do we leave?”
“We should have already gone,” Sebastian snapped, slamming the lid shut and turning on his heels to storm out of the room, leaving Claude and me alone to stare at the shiny white surface of Victoria’s coffin.
“Elizabeth,” Claude said…his voice full of emotion. “How can you be sure this will even work?”
“It has to work.” I flipped my hair over my shoulder like a fiery cape. “My father talked about it all the time. I don’t understand the power, but I trust my father’s research. He may have been insane, but he was thorough. He spent his entire existence putting these pieces together.”
My thoughts suddenly clouded with my father’s twisted expression as he dissolved into dust. The betrayal in his eyes reflected my own. He would have killed me…there was no question. And Victoria too…if he hadn’t gotten what he wanted. He was blinded by his desire to bring Mother back and he needed the amulet to do that.
The urge to cry bubbled up, but I tamped it back where it came from. We didn’t have a choice. I didn’t have a choice, and I would stake him again if I had the chance.
“You’re talking about the blood of the first?” Claude interrupted my reverie. “Victoria always said it was a myth.”
“Many still believe the amulet is a myth…and the power of the daywalker. We know both of those to be real, so why not this? Just like the amulet, there are only a few still in existence who know the truth.”
“And you think Anne is the key?”
“At this moment, Anne is all we have…but we don’t have long. Catherine won’t hesitate to follow Father’s orders. I can only stall her for so long. She will stake Anne if she doesn’t hear from him in three days’ time. And if that happens, Sebastian will die…and so will Victoria…and I’m afraid you will too if one of them turned you. There’s no coming back from that fate.”
Claude nodded solemnly and we both gazed down at the lacquered finish on the coffin.
I thought of my sister inside…her body preserved by the power of the amulet, while her life-force drifted in some sort of limbo…and wondered if she was in pain. If she could hear us talking about her.
“Sebastian is right,” Claude broke the silence. “We need to go now. We’re wasting time.”
“We need to put her someplace safe first.”
“There’s a secret cellar in the house. Victoria had it dug when she first moved here. It was supposed to be for her to sleep in the day, but she couldn’t bear sleeping underground.”
I smiled. “She never really embraced this life, did she?”
The question hung there, unanswered.
“She’d hate it, but it’s the safest place I know. I don’t think anyone’s been down there in years.”
“Good. That’s settled. We leave at nightfall. Shall you tell Sebastian, or shall I?” My lips quirked up at the corners at the prospect.
Claude’s expression mirrored mine. “I’m sure he’d prefer it coming from you…he doesn’t like me very much.”
I gave him a knowing smile. “I wonder why?”
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