[I’d been making a little money by the time I wrote this one, but not nearly enough. I was tired of getting published for the exposure. I wanted to get better paychecks. Luckily I found VAMPIRES 2. I don’t know about the original series. I think it might have been a ‘Seventies pulp magazine, but I’m not certain. Whatever it was, this was the second incarnation. I especially appreciated it because they were paying serious money. They wanted erotic vampire stories that were not pornographic. It had to be classy and sexy. I thought I had one in me. It turned out to be the first of my most popular stories, as it was printed online, then in issue 2 of the magazine and lastly in issue eleven of Night to Dawn. This is only an okay story. It probably didn’t need the reprints, but what the hell? I thought I was being very clever by putting vampires in Alaska during the weeks that Alaska goes without sunlight. I found out later that I was barely beaten out on this concept by a comic book series, 20 Days of Night. Ah, well.]
CHAPTER ONE: HIM
In retrospect, it was an extraordinarily stupid thing for me to do, but you know what they say about hindsight and 20/20 vision. No one’s ever accused me of being intelligent, but I always thought I was good at seeing around corners, which made me an excellent businessman. I should never have gotten on that cargo plane.
Hell, who am I kidding? The whole trip to Alaska was a bad idea. What kind of Wall Street genius goes up to the coldest tundra wasteland merely to inspect the oil drilling facilities before investing? Okay, maybe there was a dogsled race, upon which I had a cool half-million riding. Still, there was no real reason, except to get away from my nagging wife.
Perhaps that was it.
I lost my bet on the long-shot. The business seemed good, but it looked like the environmentalists were going to get it shut down, so I decided I’d stick with Texas instead. The trip was entirely a wash. I wanted to get the hell out before another disaster happened.
My plane was grounded due to a massive storm headed toward Prudhoe Bay. No one was flying out, but I didn’t want to wait another week, which was what they were saying. If you’ve never been up on the northern slope of Alaska in the winter, you have no idea how depressing it could get. Cold and dark all the time.
They literally don’t get sunshine for weeks at a time. Endless night. I’m an outside, sunshine kind of guy. Not to mention I was dumb enough to bring my dog, Skeet, since my wife never got along with him. He was getting antsy, and I couldn’t blame him. We both needed out. We needed our vacation home in Arizona.
I started asking around for a pilot who’d get me back home. No one would let me charter a plane . . . except for one guy. His name was, and I’m not kidding here, Love Peaceman. He was a long-hair with a stink not even the cold could kill. Only a fingernail-sized mole interrupted his crinkly Rip Van Winkle beard.
He flew a cargo plane between the Bay and some place in British Columbia, hauling what he told me were trinkets, and while it wasn’t the best of accommodations, I was eager to get back to a place where I could step outside without freezing my particulars off and find a McDonald’s without a map.
Love was reluctant at first, but when I told him my name, he seemed almost eager to help. I figured it was because he thought he’d get a bunch of money out of me, and I was kind of right. I blew a thousand bucks on this lousy flight, and I didn’t even get a seat. I had to sit on the floor with my back to a crate.
I was bundled up because it was so numbingly cold. Skeet wasn’t very comfortable, either, and the first thing he did was his business at the back of the plane. Not that Love would notice, with his considerable stench.
Then the storm hit us. It got so rough even Skeet puked, and I thought I was going to die for sure, all because I had no patience. I begged Love to put us down, but he couldn’t hear because of the engine’s roar and the howling wind.
One of the crates cracked open, and a bunch of shirts fell out. They looked like they were made of hemp, and they were decorated with peace symbols. Each bore one word: GREENPEACE. Wrapped in several shirts were blocks of what looked like marijuana.
It was about that time that Love Peaceman stepped out of the cockpit, leaving no one to fly the plane. He was wearing a parachute. “Time to bail out,” he told me.
It was a good thing I’d been in Airborne during the war, otherwise that would have bothered me. “What about Skeet?” I asked. “He can’t wear a parachute. Is there any way to strap him to me?”
He laughed, showing off slimy yellow teeth. “I didn’t mean to give you the wrong idea,” he said. “I’m bailing out, not you. I was going to hold you hostage in Canada, you being such a famous oil man and all, but I underestimated this storm. Maybe it’s best you just die here.”
I should have seen that coming. I really should have. I was too shocked to do anything as he popped open the door and shot himself out into the ether, leaving me clutching my dog and wondering how I’d offended that guy so badly that he’d abandoned me like this. In the lunacy of the moment, I wondered why he’d leave all his Greenpeace shirts and reefer behind. Was my death worth that much to him?
It was then that I realized my impending doom. I was going to die if I did nothing. Granted, I had no training as a pilot, but I’d seen airplane movies. Landing would be terrible, but I was confident I could at least fly. If you’re headed for the ground, you pull the stick back, right?
Skeet followed me into the cockpit, and I strapped myself into the seat. The radio crackled at me, and I tried to raise someone, but I only got white noise. No one to save me but me. My visibility extended maybe ten feet out the window, but I was fairly certain nothing was coming at me.
My vision went entirely white, then, and there were splotches of green here and there. It took me a moment to realize I was looking at the frozen tundra, and the small gatherings of shrubs that tended to dot the land.
I cursed and yanked the stick back as far as I could. It was harder than I expected. Hollywood made it look too easy. The pressure nearly broke my arms, and I wasn’t entirely successful at my endeavor.
The best I could do was crash and hope I didn’t get hurt too badly.
CHAPTER 2: HER
Alaska sounded like a good place to hide out. In fact, I was kind of surprised that other vampires hadn’t figured it out yet. In winter, the Brooks Range area goes without sunlight for weeks on end. You’d think that would be the perfect place for night stalkers like me.
Of course, in the summer, you can go weeks without night, but that would be the time to leave, right?
When I got up there, I realized why the others decided to stay away. The population wasn’t enough to sustain one of us without raising questions among the locals. I had to drink from rats, which is pathetic and disgusting and unfulfilling. The cold was so bitter not even my skin—in my normal form—could withstand it, and I’m necrotic. Sleep was nearly impossible to attain, as anyone new to Alaska is infected by jet lag as if it were the flu. Not to mention the fashionable clothes I love to wear are impossible to utilize in such an environment. There are no clubs this far north, and no one knows the meaning of the word fun. Bars are quiet places meant only for drinking and talking about how ugly work is.
No one dances in these places, and even raucous music sounds dead, dampened by the vicious air.
It didn’t take me long to start hating Alaska. I was ready to go back down to New York, where Jonah would find me in no time and kill me. Just like I killed his wife. How was I supposed to know who she was? It wasn’t like I came on to her in that New York club; she was the one who wanted to experiment. Now, he’d been trailing me for months. I thought Alaska would be the last place he’d look for me.
So there I remained, sitting in my rotten apartment, watching static-y sitcoms, cursing my stupidity. If only Jonah hadn’t been such a tough vampire hunter. I heard that he’d killed several well-known princes. A nobody like me wouldn’t be a problem for him.
From time to time, I just had to get out of my room. The only interesting thing this far out into the wastes were the northern lights. I took to shapeshifting into a bat just so I could fly among the aurora borealis. It was on such a night, and the storm had enhanced the lights wonderfully, that I discovered Cal Raines in the tundra.
CHAPTER 3: HIM
When I came to, I realized that I was not only alive, I wasn’t even injured. Then I tried to move and passed out from the pain. The next time I woke up, I remembered what had happened and realized a few of my ribs were broken, and so was my right leg.
The reason I was still alive was simple: when the plane came down, the bottom was torn up badly, but the rest, except for the wings, was intact. Maybe it wasn’t the ideal shelter from the cold, but it was good enough to stop frostbite.
It took me an hour to free myself from the pilot’s seat, and by the time I’d dragged myself to the back, Skeet was up and running circles around me, glad that I was still with him. I wondered what would have happened if I’d died. Would he have eaten me?
I needed warmth. I needed fire. But there was no way to do so inside the plane without setting the whole thing aflame or choking to death on the smoke. Besides, there were no trees in the tundra. The shrubs might have worked, but they were few and far in between.
Luckily, I had crates and crates of Greenpeace shirts. They were there to clearly hide the cannabis, which was good. Now I had something to dull the pain, too.
I figured out which side of the plane would shield me form the prevailing wind and started piling up the shirts with wood from the crates. My Zippo lighter didn’t need much help to get a good fire blazing. The hump burned wonderfully.
There was a little food in the plane, which I’m sure Love meant for himself. Veggies mostly. When that ran out, I started eating the cannabis. It wasn’t satisfying, but my broken bones didn’t trouble me very much. For water, I melted what snow I could scrape up (and it wasn’t a lot; snow on the tundra is thinner than one would expect, and it’s frozen solid) over the fire.
There was one slight problem: who the hell would rescue me? No one knew where I was, and I doubt Love Peaceman wanted anyone to be able to locate him, as he was a long-hair smuggler. The radio was dead. I certainly couldn’t get up and walk back to civilization, even if I was capable and knew where to go.
I was running out of fuel for the fire. My food was nearly gone. Without those two things, water was useless. Skeet was starting to look like a walking, loaded rotisserie.
Once I saw a herd of caribou pass by. If I’d had the strength, I would have at least tried to kill one of them.
I think I lasted a week that way. When the weed was gone, and my mind was reeling with pain, I couldn’t resist it anymore. Skeet was a damn good dog to me. I’d had him for years, but he was going to make the ultimate sacrifice for his owner, whether he wanted to or not.
Desperation lent me the strength to break Skeet’s neck. While he was still warm with his departing life, I used my pocketknife to tear a slit down his belly. I drank deeply of his blood, nibbled on his entrails and stuck my hands and head inside him for warmth.
Don’t you dare judge me. You’d do the same thing in my place.
The day after I killed Skeet, the wolves arrived, following the trail the caribou had left. When they caught a whiff of Skeet’s blood, they turned their attention on me. By then, the dog’s body had no more warmth to offer, and I was ready to die. In fact, I almost welcomed the wolves as they approached me. If only I’d allowed myself to perish in the plane crash . . . I passed out, expecting never to awaken again.
CHAPTER 4: HER
The first thing I sensed was blood. Even in the wastes of Alaska, the aroma of gore, stale as it was, found my nostrils. The wind also brought the stink of wolves, but mingled within was the smell of a man. As far as I was concerned, it was completely unheard of. Who would wander out into the tundra, especially around Brooks Range, which was quite literally in the middle of nowhere? There was no possible reason for being out here, unless you were me, admiring the northern lights.
I was curious, so I descended until I could see what was going on. There was a ruined plane, and a man was pulling his head out of a dog’s belly. He was covered with frozen blood, and there was a pack of wolves around him, ready to devour him alive.
He fell back, and I could tell he was unconscious, which was for the best. If I was going to be killed, I’d rather be asleep. But he was still alive. His veins still throbbed, albeit weakly, with blood. And no one would miss him all the way out here. It looked like for the first time in a while, I’d have human blood to sustain me.
I shifted back into my real shape and landed on my feet next to the man. The wolves hesitated when they saw me, but I imagine they’d never encountered a vampire before. Other wolves would have recognized my kind but not these stubborn savages. They thought I was dessert. I had to scare them away. My fangs extended, and I hissed. When that didn’t work, I decided to make an example of one of them. Shapeshifting into a wolf, I leaped on the one that looked like the leader. Within seconds, I’d ripped open his throat and was sucking him dry. The others, with their leader decimated, decided I wasn’t worth it and left for easier prey.
I turned back into myself and stooped to inspect the man. His eyes were open and watching me.
CHAPTER 5: HIM
I had to be dying. Only I could hallucinate like this. How the hell did such a beautiful woman wind up out here in Alaska? Her face was framed with the most glorious brown curls I’d ever seen, and her dancing blue eyes appraised me from inside a pale, angular face with full, ripe lips gleaming from the wetness. And then I noticed the rest of her. She was entirely naked. Not a stich of clothing. It was as if she’s dropped from the sky like that, and if she had, was she an angel? I hoped so. Eternity with a dame like this sounded good to me. I blacked out again and dreamed about her.
CHAPTER 6: HER
His lips were moving, as if he was trying to say something, but now that I was full on wolf’s blood (the finest, short of human’s), I was reluctant to drink of him. His healthy, hardy build was remarkable (it had probably kept him alive, despite his injuries), and I couldn’t help but admire his rugged, handsome features. He was almost like a lumberjack, but much prettier and softer. A men’s clothing model, perhaps? I didn’t know, but the idea of him dying out here did not please me.
I started thinking about how lonely I was. It was a long time until sunlight returned to Alaska, which meant it was a long time until I would be leaving for New York and probably death at Jonah’s hands. It wasn’t like I could befriend anyone in town, but what if I turned the man in the wilderness into a vampire?
I licked my lips. From what I could tell of anatomy, the man had a few broken bones, and he was nearing death. It was now or never.
My teeth settled on his neck and eased into his hardening flesh, flooding my system, and I could feel my face flush with vigor. Before long, he was drinking of my wrist, pulling my life mixed with his back into himself, where it would alter his body into something more viable. When I was certain he would live, I took him into my arms and leaped into the air. I didn’t need to shift into a bat to fly, but I knew I had to be stealthy in order to make it back to my apartment without being seen, considering how I couldn’t bring clothes with me when I was an animal. Then again, who was out at this time of night (or at least, so I thought; it was hard to keep track of day and night when it was night all the time) anyway?
When I landed on the fire escape outside my room, I held his loose body with one arm and pushed the window open with my other. As soon as we were inside (and I was very grateful for that, as my flesh was starting to lose feeling from the cold), I set him down in my bed. The first man I’d had in my bedroom in all my time in Alaska.
I had to remove his iced clothing. When I saw the well-defined muscles of his chest, I was tempted to run my fingers across it. I’d forgotten how nice it was to touch a man, considering all the time I’d spent in clubs, where women were so much more appealing. I touched the man’s stubbled cheeks, felt his prominent jaw, fingered the cleft of his chin. He would make an excellent companion.
I peeled off the rest of his clothes and admired his . . . build. With much reluctance, I put a few blankets over his nakedness and surrounded him with pillows until only his face poked out. Gently, I kissed his cold lips and tasted blood on them. Very carefully, I eased up onto the bed next to him . . . to help warm his body. I put an arm and leg around his sleeping form and closed my eyes.
CHAPTER 7: HIM
When I opened my eyes, it felt like someone had wrapped me up in a burrito and thrown me in the oven. I was hot and sweaty, and I couldn’t move because of the blankets and . . . and there was someone next to me. Since I couldn’t turn my head, I shifted my eyes until I could see the top of a very curly head of hair. I remembered the angel from my dreams. Was I dead? Dreaming? Please God, was I awake and alive?
I tried to sit up and then remembered my broken ribs. Bracing myself for pain, I tried to ease back down, but there was nothing. No throbbing, no aches. It was like I was healed.
She was still naked. My eyes ran down her sleek, supple body, admiring every curve, taking in every detail of her appearance. This woman would have put Diana to shame. Back home, before I was married, I was able to attract beautiful women, but never like this. She probably didn’t even know who I was, so it couldn’t be the money that drew her to me. I lacked the words to explain it.
I saw her eyes were open, and I tried to say something, but my voice caught in my throat. Only a grunt was able to get out.
“Hi there,” she said, and then she realized she wasn’t wearing anything. “Oops! I forgot about that. Would you like something to drink?”
My throat was pinched shut, it was so dry. I nodded, and she stood, offering me a perfect glimpse of her hourglass frame and her peach shaped . . .
CHAPTER 8: HER
I was shocked when I saw he was awake and looking at my naked body. It was embarrassing at first, but then I remembered that not too long ago, I was doing the same to him. With a giggle, I shrugged it off and offered him something to drink. When I got up, I didn’t try to cover myself up. He’d seen it all before, and even if he hadn’t, I was planning on showing him everything later, anyway.
I got the jug of blood out of the fridge and poured it into a wine glass. When I handed it to him, he drank it down without a second’s thought, maybe thinking it was fruit juice or something. He took it all at once and licked his lips when he was done.
“That was refreshing,” he said. “What was it?”
Maybe now was not the time to tell him. “Are you all right?” I asked. “Feeling better?”
“Much better,” he said. “I feel like I could take God in a fight.”
I noticed part of the blanket was sticking up, which was a common thing when a man has just become a vampire. “You sure could,” I said, nodding toward the tent.
His face flushed red, but I didn’t give him a chance to say anything else. I took his glass and set it aside before touching my lips to his. Our faces burned against each other, and I could feel that the change had come over him and was done. He was no longer mortal as I freed him from the blankets and pressed his flesh into mine. The force of us coming together could have blown the sun out from the sky like stubbing out a cigarette.
CHAPTER 9: HIM
It was like she’d doused me in gasoline and set me on fire as she climbed into bed with me and pulled me into her swirling, burning eyes. We weren’t two people anymore. We were one, connected in more places than I could mention. My sweat and our friction bonded us together as well as if it had been glue, and I found it hard to imagine life apart from my new conjoined twin. How could there have been a before?
Or maybe the before just didn’t matter, compared to the glory of the now. The glory of Heaven? No, Heaven was too weak a word. This felt like fate, as if I’d been destined to be part of her from the instant I was born. We were adjacent puzzle pieces joined at last, and it felt so right that I wished we’d never separate.
CHAPTER 10: HIM
I never wanted it to end. It had been so long since I’d been with a man, and considering my self-imposed exile to the most isolated part of the world, such intimacy was not just welcome but needed. I finally had someone I could attach to, and I was reluctant to let go. We took an occasional break, for blood, but we were quickly back at it. It felt like forever, yet it was never enough. The endless night spiraled outside my window, and it didn’t mean a damn thing. I could have stayed there until the midnight sun rose, and I would have willingly burned, as long as I had this man by my side.
CHAPTER 11: HIM
I marveled at the hours that passed around our body as we shifted and shuffled the time away. I knew for a fact that days had passed, and yet I was never hungry as long as I had her fruit juice. It was like a magic potion, an aphrodisiac. She was my only sustenance.
And then came the day she ran out. When she told me, I felt entirely spent and wanted only to sleep. I told her to forget about it, and she fell weakly to my side. We were no longer one but two, and we slept in each others’ arms.
Upon awaking, we spoke for the first time. I told her my name, and she told me she was Tandy. We talked about our lives, or rather I talked about mine, as she tended to be vague. I told her what I was doing up in Alaska, and about the race and about the plane and Love Peaceman. She told me she was from New York, but that was all she said. When I asked her how I’d gotten to her place from the tundra, she changed the subject.
CHAPTER 12: HER
He was starting to get inquisitive, which was unfortunate. Soon I’d have to tell him everything, and I didn’t know how receptive he’d be to that. He’d probably think I was kidding at first, and then he’d get upset. When he started to believe it, he’d be enraged at having lost control over something so important to his life. I’d seen it a dozen times before, and I knew he’d be just like the others, even if this time, I’d done it to save his life, or unlife, or whatever.
We enjoyed a few more evenings together, but by then we were getting hungry. I had to go out and get us more blood, but not from rodents this time. That night, I felt it was worth the risk of acquiring human blood.
I found a lone man drinking at a corner table in the local bar. No one ever talked to him, and I’d considered taking him several times in the past. I’d decided to take him a week before I left for good, but now it was too important to let him slide until then. I got him drunk and lured him away with carnal promises. When I got him back to my apartment building, before going inside, I made out with him before knocking him unconscious. No one noticed.
I brought him up to my room, to Cal. When he recoiled in surprise, I presented the man’s throat to him and told him to drink.
CHAPTER 13: HIM
“What the hell are you doing?” I asked, trying to keep my voice to a low tone. “Is this some kind of a joke?”
“That stuff you were drinking before was blood,” she told me. “You’re not mortal anymore. I had to turn you in order to save you.”
I immediately thought it was nonsense. There were no such things as vampires, but I kept thinking about the fruit juice. It had tasted like nothing I’d ever consumed before, and it kept me going like it was some kind of drug. It was impossible to have spent the last few days like I had without it. Could it be there was some kind of truth to what she was telling me?
All doubt was erased when she showed me her teeth. When she told me to feel the inside of my own mouth, I cut my fingers on fangs of my own. They weren’t phonies, and I hadn’t even noticed them until now, but good God, I was just like her.
CHAPTER 14: HER
“I can’t believe you did this to me!” Cal shouted, getting out of bed, looking for something to cover up his nakedness. When he saw nothing, he used both hands to hide his groin. “What were you thinking? That I’d thank you for . . . for this?”
“I saved your life,” I said. “Without me, you would have died out on the tundra.”
“Save me? You turned me into a bloodsucking freak!”
That hurt. It was unfair, and I decided I’d let him know. “That was none of my doing, Cal. In case you don’t remember, you got your first taste of your own free will. Do you recall what you did to your dog? Did I make you do that?”
CHAPTER 15: HIM
I felt the strength go out of my legs, and I dropped into the chair behind me. I’d forgotten about poor Skeet, about how I’d eaten parts of him and drank his blood to survive.
“I did it to survive,” I said. “This is completely different.”
“How is this different?” Tandy asked. “You can’t eat regular food anymore. You have to drink blood. To survive. There’s no other way.”
I put my hands in my face. The whole thing made me sick. She expected me to bite this guy I didn’t even know and drink his lifeforce? I couldn’t take it anymore. “Where’s my clothes?”
“In the dresser,” she said. “You’re not leaving, are you?”
“Damn right, I am,” I said. “I have to get out of here. I have to get home. My wife is probably—”
“Your wife?” she asked. “You didn’t say you had a wife.”
I looked at my hand and realized my ring was gone. I always took it off when I thought I was going to be around women, and I’d forgotten to put it back on before getting on the plane. “Well, I’m married,” I said. “I think I lost my ring in the crash, but I do have one. Somewhere.”
CHAPTER 16: HER
I watched him go through the dresser for his clothes.
His being married changed things. If only I’d known, I would have killed him in the tundra. I couldn’t have a woman come north looking for her husband and finding him a vampire and with me. That would be a nightmare.
When he was dressed, he didn’t even say goodbye to me. He went out the door, leaving me with the unconscious meal. I sat on the edge of the bed, still felt his warmth in the sheets, and started crying.
Normally, I’m not so emotional, but Cal had been my only companion, and I thought . . . I don’t know what I thought.
CHAPTER 17: HIM
I’d gotten three blocks away when I realized I had no idea where I was going. I was a stranger in a strange land, and I was completely lost. What was I going to do, buy a plane ticket home? With what money? And what would I eat? There was nothing for me in the world. Maybe I should have just accepted what she did to me and go back to her. Was being a vampire so bad?
That was how quickly my morals could change. A month ago, I would have been horrified at tearing a guy’s throat out with my teeth, but now that I’d have to do it to survive, well . . . you had to adapt and persevere.
I found my wedding ring in one of the zippered compartments of my coat. Did I really like my life before, anyway? Business was choking me, my wife nagging me, never wanting to have sex with me, fun was something to be experienced out of sight, like it was some kind of sin.
My stomach growled, and I had no idea how to fill it.
I did have a choice. I did not have to go back to the crappy life I had before Tandy came along. I threw my wedding ring as far as I could fling it, turned around, eager to feel Tandy in my arms again. Eager to tell her what a fool I was, that I, yes, that I loved her. And that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.
CHAPTER 18: HER
There was a knock at the door, and I was relieved. I didn’t like the idea of Cal out there stumbling around and lost. Jumping over the unconscious man’s body, I ran to the door and threw it open.
It wasn’t Cal.
“Hello, Tandy,” Jonah said, leveling a crossbow at my chest. “I’ve been looking all over for you. It’s a shame you told one of your friends you were going up to Alaska. She told me all about it, after I cut off her arms and legs, of course. Imagine an eternity without extremities.”
“Oh God,” I whispered, backing away from the door.
He followed me in, his arrow never wavering. He’d seen better days, as his eyes now had bags under them, and his cheeks were lined with a thick stubble. His teeth hadn’t been brushed in a while, and I could smell his rank breath. He’d been eating garlic. No wonder he always came out on top. I couldn’t bite him, and he knew it.
“I didn’t know who she was,” I said. “I swear.”
“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I’d do this whether you’d killed my wife or not. You’re a vampire, and I’m a hunter. It’s my duty. Still, you did kill my Denise, and I will take my sweet time making sure you feel all the pain I can muster before you die for good.”
He pulled the trigger, and I felt the arrow plunge into my chest to the right of my heart. I screamed and tried to react, but he already had a cross pressed against my cheek. Too much pain all at once had rendered me defenseless, and I knew these would be my last moments.
“How does it feel, vampire?” Jonah asked casually. “You smell as good as a steak, medium rare. I’m a meat-eater, of course, but I’m not one to ignore the sizzle. You’re making my mouth water, dear Tandy.”
He put the cross on the other side of my face, and I tried to turn away, but the pain had paralyzed me. “I’m a perfectionist, you know. I like . . . symmetry.”
CHAPTER 19: HIM
When I got back to her apartment, the door was open, and I could hear her screaming. I looked inside, and I saw a large, dirty man hunched over her, shoving a cross in her face. The smell of cooking meat filled the air.
He was hurting her!
That’s when I lost it. He seemed to be enjoying it, and I did not give him time to notice me. I sidled up behind him, threw an arm around his head, attempting to pull him back. Instead, not taking into account my newly acquired strength, I broke his neck, and his head lolled back until he was looking at me upside-down.
Amazingly, his body turned around and raised his crossbow, but it wasn’t loaded. I watched his finger pull the trigger a couple of times, but nothing happened. Then, his knees unbuckled, and he fell into a heap, dead.
CHAPTER 20: HER
“You came back,” I said weakly.
“Yeah,” he said. “I couldn’t get you out of my head. And I realize you just wanted to help me. I’m sorry I was such an idiot. You’re hurt.”
I felt the charred skin where the cross had touched me. “I’ll be fine. The day sleep will heal me.”
He broke the arrow in half and pulled the pieces out from each side. Then he wrapped the wound with a piece of torn sheet.
I looked down on Jonah. “He didn’t even know what hit him. I can’t believe you killed one of the most famed vampire hunters in the world without a hitch.”
But maybe I could. The vampire hunter was so consumed with his vengeance he couldn’t see anything else.
But that was only part of it. The other part was Cal. Something was different about him.
CHAPTER 21: HIM
“It was easy,” I said. “He was hurting the woman I love. I do love you, Tandy. I do.”
“We need to feed,” she said and nodded toward the man she had brought me earlier. He was still out of it. I sank my teeth into his throat and was born anew. But I did not drink enough to kill him. He was an innocent. He did not deserve to die. Jonah the vampire hunter was the one who deserved it.
CHAPTER 22: HER
I watched him drink of the stranger, and I was happy he did not kill him. We agreed that later we would drop him off at the local hospital, and he would be okay, just a little blood loss. He would never know what happened tonight. I bit my finger and smeared a drop of blood on his bite marks so they would heal quickly. Then I fed, too, slurping Jonah dry. The garlic in his blood tasted awful, but it didn’t hurt me. When we were done feeding, we kissed. Cal told me how much he loved me and that he wanted to spend eternity with me. I told him I had been in love with him ever since I turned him. We kissed again. Then we retired to the bed to do what we did best.