“Sweetheart, how long have you been standing there?”
“Just a few minutes. That was Teresa? What were you two discussing?”
I dropped my phone back on the counter and turned off the microwave.
“What about me, Zoe? Are you still harping on this resurrection thing?”
“Yes, Drake. You won’t admit it, but something isn’t right. You seem much different to me.”
He approached me. “Zoe, I’m your loving husband. We’ve been apart for months! We just have to get used to each other again. There’s nothing for you to worry about. You will always be safe with me.”
My muscles tensed as he continued to come closer and it shocked me that I felt that bit of fear.
“You still have your doubts? What can I do to ease your mind?”
“Did you make a deal to come back?” I blurted. “Are you harboring something else?”
“Zoe, I did what I needed to in order to get back to you.”
“What does that mean? What did you do?”
Before he could answer, his crows came flying into the window. He turned to address them.
“Baby, I have to go. We’ll talk when I get back.”
He turned and exited the house, rushing to his car with the feathered duo close behind.
I quickly dialed Teresa back. “What could he have made the deal for?”
…“Anything is possible Zoe. So he did it…?”
I shook my head not realizing she couldn’t see me. “Yes,” I finally spoke.
“I’m gonna get going. I’d like to start training on my source. This is really starting to scare me.”
…“Just be careful Zoe. Take your time in the core because too much at once can be lethal…”
“I know that all too well. Thanks Teresa.” I hung up and went into the magic room. The only thing that made me more nervous than Drake’s new attitude was anything involving the entirety of my powers. Too many times had I found the consequences greatly outnumbered the benefits.
I lit two candles and burned incense before sitting and beginning my trance. Two hours in and I felt myself nearing the last of the magics and began floating and I relaxed as I let the power flow like electricity through my body. The source was strong. It tried several times to control me, make me bend to its will, but I fought it and tried to find a comfortable balance.
“What are you doing?” Drake asked entering the room.
“Working on controlling my source. Did you finish what you needed? Are you ready to talk?”
“Yeah, sure. Zoe, I don’t feel comfortable with you playing around in there while you’re pregnant. There’s a greater risk involved now.”
“No more than whatever it is you brought into this house. I’m just covering all bases.” I stood and walked over to him.
“Zoe, I did what I needed.”
“And I love and appreciate you for that but you can’t expect me to stay in the dark about what you’ve done. Teresa said this deal could cause a lot of harm to all of us. I’d really like to know everything it encompasses.”
“Zoe do you trust me?”
“With my life.”
He kissed me. “And I won’t lose that.”
As he held me, the baby started kicking. “Whoa,” Drake said backing up. Someone is a bit of a fighter. Looks like my little man is going to take after his Daddy.”
“Yeah and right now my body is being punished by the attacks. The incense are great though, I think they calm ‘Jr.’ a lot.”
“Would you like a massage? I could run a nice hot bath for you and rub your aching muscles?”
“Oh that does sound great!”
Drake took me upstairs and started the bath. I sat and started to relax and he brought in a few incense to burn before taking a seat near me so we could talk.
“What makes this deal different from your first one?”
“I’m eager to kill those I need to, Lily and Zavier.”
“So the deal was you kill them and you get to come back?”
“How is that and why do they even care?”
“Because apparently Zavier made his own deals in order to receive the power that made him the first Vampire but he never made good on them. It’s the real reason he is gathering powers. He’s been hiding out from the person that created him.”
“And is this everything? No more secrets?” I asked leaning back and relaxing.
“No more secrets.”
I stood and Drake walked me into the bedroom and began massaging me.
“Your hands feel great!” he continued rubbing my neck, back and shoulders for close to an hour.
I felt myself drift to sleep as the massage continued. He kissed my cheek as I slept before exiting the room.
Drake walked into the garage to find Brad crouching in the corner; his little pet project which also brought a smile to Sarah’s face.
She was enjoying watching his self loathing eat away at him; the perfect revenge on someone that hated her kind. She’d equally enjoyed making him scream. The amount of that crimson liquid she spilled all over the floor; drained from his body left her feeling relieved. At least he wouldn’t be able to hurt anyone else with it.
“Drake! I found out that this group has a headquarters in Calvin’s Creek. They apparently have offices in France, Egypt and China and small holdings of other law enforcement task forces in major cities such as Riverview, Sunset Valley and Barnacle Bay.”
“Good work, Sarah. We’ll research just a little more about these offices that are close by before deciding our next steps. I love seeing you like this though; so empowered!”
“Well vengeance has a way of igniting fires.”
“I know what you mean. I just got a lead on Lily and Zavier. Now I’m trying to figure out how to get to them without them knowing I’m coming.”
“Couldn’t Zoe cloak you?”
“It would be too demanding on her. I don’t want her to strain right now. I’d really prefer if she’d stay in bed all day but she refuses to do that.”
“She has just as much at stake in this as you Drake. You can’t expect her to not want to be involved.”
“You sound like her now.”
“Sorry,” Sarah replied before walking towards the corner Brad was recoiled in. “We’re letting you go today, love. Today is the last day of your conversion! You’ll soon be a full blood and those unsightly wounds will be all healed!”
Four hours later, Brad’s conversion was complete. Drake and Sarah looked on as the last of Sarah’s blood made its way through his system.
“You get to go out and experience life as a vampire! Aren’t you excited? You’re going to crave to feast on those you hold dear. You’ll desire to rip out their throats and drain their life!”
He jumped at her and she laughed. “Death really would have been too easy for you. I am thoroughly enjoying this.”
“I loved you Sarah. I still love you and I don’t know why!”
“Your emotions are heightened as a vampire,” Drake informed. “Whatever you felt before will only increase in intensity. So all that hate you felt for vampires…” he let his words trail off so Brad could think about the possibilities.
Drake opened the garage door. The moonlight flooded into the small area and the sounds of the surrounding animals filled the night.
“Go get ‘em Tiger!” Sarah said watching Brad take off out of the room.
“Now let’s get to work on the others,” Drake said.
Drake led Sarah into the office. She sat at the computer to pull up the information she found about the hunters.
“They aren’t very secretive. Here,” she said showing the numerous hits about hunters on the Google search engine.
“This is where I found out about the little task forces in Sunset and Riverview. Oddly enough, they don’t have one here. I think that’s why they were in town, trying to scout out new locations for offices.
Drake leaned closer to the screen. “Click that one,” he said pointing to a site that caught his eye.
He started reading getting annoyed with the information he was seeing. According to Silverhand.20m.com, the hunters had discovered some sort of toxin to control the vampires, this much he already knew. But the next bit of information came as a surprise.
They’d made plans to release the toxin within Bridgeport’s water supply as well as the water in other major cities. In fact, they’d already started in Riverview. The article was dated four days ago.
“Do you see that?! These dumb sons of bitches are starting a war!”
Seething, Drake rushed upstairs to the bedroom. “Zoe!” he yelled frantically. “Wake up!”
I squinted in the bright glow of the light and sat up on the bed. “What? What’s wrong honey?”
“I have to go to Riverview for a little bit. There’s been a development in the information Sarah found.”
“You’re leaving me?” I asked walking towards him.
“Only for a few hours. I would take you but this is really serious. Stay by your phone. I’ll call you when we get there and on the way back.”
“Drake wait. What’s going on? Is it Maggie? Is she ok?”
“Maggie’s fine Sweetheart, it’s not about her. I’ll explain later, I have to go.”
He drew me into his arms, kissed me hard and headed down to meet Sarah at the gate. They, along with the crows, began flight to Riverview.
Drake and Sarah landed shortly after sunrise. “We have to find a few of the local vampires and make sure they get the word out not to feed on the residents,” Drake instructed.
They split up. He moved towards the center of town to a row of bars and she took to the smaller neighborhoods.
Sarah kept walking in the shade along the picturesque town trying to locate her kindred.
It seemed as though it took forever but finally she came across a vampire nearly dragging a woman into an alley behind a small apartment complex.
She darted towards them. The vampires in this town were sloppy; he hadn’t even compelled her not to scream. Sarah grabbed the reckless fang and tossed him hard to the ground.
She turned her attention to the girl. “Get out of here, you weren’t attacked, you were enjoying your day.”
The girl ran out of the alley and went back to what she was doing.
“You better be ready to die bitch!” The vampire rushed at Sarah and she tossed him against the wall.
“I just saved your sorry ass! You’re welcome!”
He tried striking at her and she flipped him over her hip and tossed him to the ground again. “Are you done?”
He sat starting at her for a minute before crawling to his feet.
“What the hell do you want?”
“I came to warn you and all the other vampires in town not to feed on the citizens here, they have all been drugged. Their blood contains a toxin that works as a form of mind control. If you feed on them, the vampire hunters will be able to kill you.”
He laughed. “Vampire hunters? Conspiracy theories of poisoned blood? Come on! Who are you fucking with? Get out of here before I mess up that pretty makeup.”
“You can give it a try. You don’t have to believe me, feed, enjoy their blood. When you become some mindless, drooling zombie, just try and remember the pretty face that warned you!”
She turned and headed towards the center of town to try and find others. There has to be at least one that will listen.
Drake was about to enter into a local tavern and was bumped by someone exiting with a friend in tow.
“Excuse me,” he said as he tried to get around them.
“It’s no problem Buddy!” the man said. “Wait, don’t I know you? Drake right?”
Drake looked at the man for the first time and found he was staring at Maggie’s boyfriend, Daniel. His eyes narrowed at the woman he was with; the woman that was definitely NOT Maggie.
Daniel noticed his gaze. “This is my twin sister, Danielle. Dani this is Maggie’s brother-in-law Drake.”
Drake read him to ensure he was being honest before taking her hand firmly in his. “Nice to meet you Danielle.”
“You can call me Dani.” What a hottie! He heard her think as she backed up. Once again he smiled at the compliment. He had a way of turning heads and it flattered him to think about the number of times he’s heard such thoughts, some more explicit than others.
“So what brings you to town? Is Zoe with you? She owes me lunch!” Daniel smiled.
“No, she’s home resting. She’s 5 months pregnant. I didn’t want to travel with her. I’m here to meet a few friends and catch up on old times.”
“Pregnant? Well congratulations!” Daniel said shaking his hand and patting his shoulder. “We really need to celebrate now! Here I am ring shopping for her sister and you’re creating a family!”
Drake smiled at the word “family”. He was making a longtime dream come true with the woman he felt he was destined to love. “The news came as kind of a shock. Her belly seemed to pop overnight, but a very pleasant and welcomed surprise.”
“I can imagine! Boy or girl?”
“Boy…I hope. Zoe wants a little girl, but we decided to wait until the delivery to find out. So you’re ring shopping?”
“Yeah I actually found…Dani actually found a gorgeous diamond I hope she loves. I’m not good with this stuff.”
“Maggie’s not material, but I can tell you she loves silver.” Drake said thinking back to her childhood.
“Oh yeah?” he asked curiously wondering how Drake knew.
“Yeah…we kind of grew up together.”
“Well I’m in luck then! I got a platinum engagement set; close enough to silver. She never did strike me as the gold type.”
Drake saw Sarah heading towards him. “I gotta be running Daniel. It was great catching up.”
He rushed over to her. “Find anyone?”
“Yes. One bonehead who thought I was lying or crazy. How are we going to stop them from feeding?”
“We may not be able to. Come on let’s find some others.”
Sarah led him back to where she’d discovered the first Riverview vampire. They again saw others in the area. “This must be their favorite hangout,” she remarked.
They approached the vampires and Drake pushed one against the wall. “Listen up! The water in this town is poisoned, the people are drinking it and it’s going to make any vampire that feeds on those people sick. Tell everyone you know NOT to feed on the humans, you got me?”
For added effect Drake flashed his crimson gaze.
“Dude!” the vampire shrunk at the sight.
“Get the word out!” Drake tossed him to the ground and he and Sarah exited the alley.
“Think they’ll do it?” she asked as they headed towards the bars again.
“I can only hope. Just thinking about what those hunters could do with an army of controllable vampires worries me.”
“We need to find Brad and get the actual locations of these places.”
“Yeah. We need to kill all of these hunters. They’re nothing but trouble!”
“Drake I have to say, your new attitude is refreshing.”
“New attitude? What new attitude?”
“Nothing. Where are we going now?”
“To find a few more.”
Before he could round the corner, the vampires found them.
“You the one stirring up trouble?” he asked of Sarah. He attempted to approach her and Drake stepped in his path.
“You her boyfriend? Look since you both seem new to town let me tell you how it works, you don’t interrupt a feeding vampire!” The one that Sarah stopped earlier stood behind him with a smirk.
“We do when it’s something in the blood of his victim. None of you seem to want to hear us out and that’s fine. But word of warning: when I see your brainwashed asses coming towards me, I won’t hesitate to snap your necks!”
The vampire in the front glared at Drake. “Are you being serious?”
“I’m a 209 year old vampire, I don’t have time for games. These vampire hunters are starting a war, I hope to see you on our side when those that don’t listen become their allies,” he said directing his comment towards the one that coward behind him.
Drake and Sarah switched to bat form and made their way back home.
I was pacing the bedroom waiting for my phone to ring when Drake came in behind me.
“What the hell baby? You said you’d call!” I ran over to hug him. “Do you have any idea how worried I’ve been?”
“I’m sorry Zoe I shouldn’t have rushed in here like I did.”
“Sarah and I discovered the hunters have placed that toxin from Brad’s blood in the water in Riverview and have plans to do the same in other major cities nearby.”
“My God, that means…”
“We’re going to war,” Drake finished.