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Did you read about Hayden’s hunt in Episode 4? This month he gets a real taste for life among the damned…
‘Oi, you creep! Where do you think you’re taking my friend?’ came the protests of another prickly punk rocker, this one with blue hair.
Pushing past, I attempted to ignore her, following Seraphina.
‘Take one step further and I’ll kick your arse!’ the punk cried out.
Spinning on her heels, Seraphina stormed up to the girl and struck her hard across the side of the head, dropping the girl to the cold hard ground.
I gaped. ‘What the hell?’
‘We can’t afford the delay right now. She’ll be fine.’ Seraphina glanced around the alley. ‘Maybe we should get to it here.’
‘Get to what? The girl is dead, what am I supposed to do?’ My voice rose in pitch as panic and guilt cinched my heart like a vice.
‘Not yet but leave your decision much longer and she will die.’
‘What decision? What the fuck are you talking about Sera?’
She winced. ‘Don’t you dare speak to me like that again. I’m trying to help you, Hayden. When you drain someone this much you have two options: either leave them to die and deal with the consequences or turn them into one of us.’
Hope fluttered in my breathless chest. ‘You mean I can save her?’
‘From true death, yes, but you will damn her soul and bind her to yourself for eternity. This is not a decision to take lightly, which is why I hate rushing you, but times-a-wasting along with her life.’
‘I’ll do whatever it takes to avoid committing murder,’ I whispered harshly.
‘Very well. Puncture your wrist with your fangs and feed her your blood. She only needs a few drops.’
I nodded furiously before following her instructions. Sitting on the ground, I pulled Sheena into my lap and bit into my wrist. Forcing her jaw open, I watched as blood dripped from my wound into her mouth. My essence sprinkled around her lips and swirled on her tongue. A new wave of panic seized me. ‘She isn’t swallowing! How do I make her—’
‘She doesn’t need to swallow,’ Seraphina cut me off. ‘She will absorb your life force through the blood vessels in her mouth.’
I relaxed, letting Sheena settle in my arms. ‘Now what?’
‘We need to take her home. Check her wallet for any ID with an address.’
The penny dropped. ‘So this is how you got me home last night.’
Simpering, she gave me a curt nod.
‘Why didn’t you wait with me? I freaked out pretty hard when I woke up.’
‘I know. I’m sorry,’ she sighed. ‘There were… delays. I’ll explain later. Right now, you need to get her out of this alley.’
I grabbed a small card holder from her skin-tight black jeans. ‘Found it.’
‘Good. Let’s go.’ Seraphina led me back to the limo, carrying Sheena’s unconscious friend.
After giving the address to our driver, I settled with Sheena sprawled across my seat, resting her head in my lap. Peering down at her, I stroked the soft skin of her face, hoping I did the right thing. I barely even know this chick and now I am forcing her to spend eternity with me. I suppose it isn’t so different to Seraphina doing the same to me, but at least we hooked up first. Blushing, I recalled some of the kinky things I did with her the previous night.
‘Damnit!’ Seraphina’s voice pulled me out of my thoughts.
She held up the blue-haired chick’s license. ‘This girl lives with your fledgling. The situation just got a lot messier.’
‘I could take Sheena back to my place,’ I suggested.
‘No. That violates the rules. Fledglings must transition in their own home and maintain contact with their friends and family for a while to avert suspicion. You and Sheena need to choose when and how you cut ties with your former life.’
I arched my brows. ‘Rules? Aren’t you like a leader or something? Can’t you bend the rules?’
Seraphina sighed. ‘I’m the clan leader, yes, but there a numerous clans in this city and we all answer to the Duke.’
‘I’m sorry Hayden. I had hoped to save you from the unpleasant politics of the damned for at least a few weeks, but with everything that happened tonight…’ Her gaze shifted to the passing view as she trailed off.
The hairs on the back of my neck prickled. ‘What is it, Sera?’
Turning, she smiled. ‘I like it when you call me Sera.’ Her brow furrowed. ‘After turning you last night, I left you sleeping in your bed while registering you as my new fledgling. The Duke and I don’t always see eye-to-eye, hence the delays.’
‘Registration?’ I scratched my head. ‘Wait, does that mean I have to leave Sheena to meet this Duke?’
Frowning, she nodded. ‘It is the law, Hayden.’
‘And if I break the law?’
‘You become a slave.’
My jaw dropped. ‘What an archaic system.’
‘You don’t know the half of it,’ she scoffed. ‘I’m pushing for reform, but it isn’t easy to change centuries of tradition when dealing with such powerful Elders.’
‘I see.’ I plucked the plastic card from her fingers and read the name. ‘What do we do with Rochelle here?’
‘By rights, we should turn her over to the duke, but he’ll enthrall her. I could turn her, but I don’t fancy another fledgling on my hands right now and she isn’t really my type. I prefer… sophisticated women.’
My eyes widened. ‘You’re bi?’
She laughed. ‘Don’t look so shocked. Most of us are. Comes with the territory, really. We learn to find comfort and companionship in the arms of our kindred regardless of gender.’
The limo pulled up outside a large house brimming with life and thumping music. ‘Looks like they live in a big share-house,’ I observed.
‘Makes sense. Rochelle has a student ID in her wallet. They probably attend the same university.’
The ramifications of my choice to turn Sheena slapped me in the face. I’m such a fucking creep! What was I thinking, seducing her? ‘I… I didn’t realise she was so young.’
‘It’s okay, darling. You didn’t intend to turn her when you started feeding. Besides, age ceases to matter once we are reborn. Let’s get the girls inside.’
I gulped against the lump in my throat and carried Sheena outside.
A couple of preppy girls on the porch cast sidelong glances our way as we approached. The blonde one giggled as we drew close. ‘Did those bitches get white girl wasted? Too funny.’
‘Would you mind showing us to their rooms?’ Seraphina asked.
‘Yeah, kay,’ the blonde replied, waltzing inside.
We followed her up a large sweeping staircase. ‘What uni do you girls go to?’ I asked.
‘UCL,’ replied the brunette who followed us.
‘In here.’ The blonde opened the door to a large room with two double beds. ‘Rochelle sleeps in the bed near the window.’
I nodded. ‘Thank you…’
‘Cindy. I’ll leave you guys to it.’ She winked before leading her brunette friend away, closing the door behind us.
Gently placing Sheena on her bed, I tucked her under the covers. I watched as Seraphina did the same with Rochelle. ‘Are you just going to leave her?’
‘Yes. I’m hoping she’ll assume she got blackout drunk. Come on, we need to hurry and register Sheena before sunrise. We can’t afford to let her wake up alone. Are you ready to meet the duke?’
I huffed. ‘Do I have a choice?’
Her lips pursed. ‘Not really.’
‘Then I guess it’s time to meet the boss man.’