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Guy was going insane. He had gallons of adrenaline running through his system and nothing to do but sit there staring at taillights.
He could sense Mel. He knew, of course, that his mate was at the church, not too many miles away, but it felt like he would have known where Mel was even without the GPS tracking information. He could feel his life force. He could feel his emotions. Some part very deep inside himself was bonded with Mel and he knew—knew for a fact—that his mate was terrified.
As he fought to maintain control over the thinking part of his brain, he suddenly felt pain. It wasn’t in his own body; it was Mel’s pain. He couldn’t tell where the pain was or what had happened to him, but he knew Mel had been hurt.
A feeling so powerful he could not have fought it if he’d tried exploded within him. Kill! He needed to get to his mate immediately and kill whoever was hurting him.
Jason was cruising. This was his favorite part of his commute—the ride across the water, especially on the downhill side before he got to the long slog up the slope on the other side. He pedaled steadily, although it was unnecessary. He was going plenty fast already. Ahead of him he saw a man jump the barrier between the cars and the bike path. What the hell?
The man stood in the very center of the path, facing him. Jason applied his brakes, cursing. Fucking idiot. What the hell is he doing? He’s making me lose my momentum. Jason knew the man could see him. His bike was well-lit.
Jason expected the man to jump to the side when he got close. He had slowed down, but was still going at a good clip when he finally realized that the man didn’t plan to move. He was also huge. Jason was a tall guy, but this man was a mountain. Fear and anger warred for dominance of his emotions. Is he a lunatic, or what? he wondered as he slammed on his brakes.
His bike skidded wildly, almost going down, but the man grabbed it by the handlebars and steadied it. Jason managed not to fly off, just barely.
“What the fuck, dude?” he yelled.
“I need your bike. It’s an emergency,” the man said, grabbing his arm and dragging him off of his bike like he weighed nothing. The man had an eyepatch, but his one visible eye shone with the intensity of the truly insane.
“You can’t just take my bike,” Jason said. Arguing with this mad man was against his better judgment, but the bike was his only transportation. He still firmly gripped the handlebars even though he was no longer on the bike. “How am I going to get around?”
“Take my car,” the man said. He was already climbing onto the bike, but he tossed a set of keys at him.
Jason instinctively let go of the bike to catch the keys. He glanced into the traffic that was queued on the bridge. There was a black sports car sitting there with its driver side door up. Up! Jason loved cars and immediately recognized it as an Agera. He glanced down at the keys in his hand and saw that the key ring did indeed have the Agera logo on it. He looked back at the car and felt his jaw dropping.
“Guh!” he said. Turning back to the crazy man who had just given him his million-dollar car, he found that the man had already taken off and was quickly gaining speed.
“Hey, what about a helmet?” Jason called after him, unbuckling his helmet. It was illegal to ride a bike in Seattle without a helmet, but the man was already out of hearing range.
How the hell am I going to get my bike back? he wondered, followed shortly by, Who the hell cares? I have a fucking Agera! The traffic had started inching along and someone honked.
Oh, hell! I guess I’d better get in and drive. Jason could not suppress the huge grin on his face as he climbed into the precision vehicle.
Guy’s lungs felt like they were going to burst as he pumped the bike up the last long hill towards the church. He had the distant thought that he needed to ride his bike more—he was out of shape for this. He ran and swam regularly, but for some reason he hadn’t had his bike out at all this year.
The main part of his mind was focused solely on one goal: get to Mel as quickly as possible. The miles had disappeared under his wheels, and he realized that, even without the traffic jam on the bridge, he was traveling faster on the bike than he would have in his car because he was able to take shortcuts and skirt the road rules.
He knew Mel’s pain had quickly faded although his terror level remained high. Guy assumed the vampire was toying with him, probably taking great pleasure in describing what he planned to do with him before he set about doing it. The vampire would want to draw out the torture as long as possible, but there was no guarantee that he wouldn’t lose his self control and suddenly kill Mel. Don’t provoke him, please! Guy bahis firmaları begged, wishing he had a mind-link with his mate.
“Where are you now, Salt?” Ed’s voice cracked in his ear.
“Almost there,” he wheezed.
“We’ll be there in ten,” Ed said. “Don’t go in without backup.”
Guy didn’t reply to that. He had no intention of sitting around waiting once he got to the church.
“Salt!” Ed barked. “That’s a direct order.”
“I heard you,” Guy gasped. And I’m going to ignore you. “Just hurry!”
When he reached the church, he noted one police car parked across the street, with two officers inside of it. They were likely waiting for backup. That was good. He didn’t stop to talk to them; he was sure in his present state of mind they would think he was insane.
Leaping off the bike, he let it fall to the sidewalk with a clatter. He raced up the stairs and burst into the cathedral. It was empty at eight pm on a weeknight. He could sense Mel’s presence below him. He ran across the cathedral and down the hallway to the small room with the set of stairs that allowed access to the basement. Pausing briefly, he pulled out his dart gun. He’d, surprisingly, had enough presence of mind to grab the small backpack with his vampire hunting equipment from the back of his vehicle when he’d abandoned it. He would need the wooden stakes to kill the vampire after he knocked him out with a dart.
“Hey, who are you?” someone yelled.
Guy did not stop to engage, but took the stairs three at a time to the bottom. He could sense Mel close, now almost directly below him. Still below me! He must be in a sub-basement. He still could not smell the vampire, which surprised him. If the vampire were anywhere close, his scent should be readily apparent.
He was worried that the priest would raise an alarm and alert the vampire to his presence. Luckily he didn’t hear the priest in pursuit. Hopefully he was contacting the police, and they would have the building quietly evacuated.
Guy glanced around frantically. He didn’t see any obvious way to get to the sub-basement. He searched the walls and floor carefully, looking for a hidden door, but saw nothing. He suppressed his howl of frustration. To be so close to Mel but unable to find him was maddening—his mate was less than 50 yards away, somewhere on the other side of all this stone.
He expanded his hunt up the hall, searching as quickly as he could, but trying not to miss anything. He opened the doors to the first two storage rooms, but the faint layer of dust on their floors was exactly as it had been two days earlier. When he got to the first small bedroom, he eased the door open and entered the empty room. This room was clean; there was no disturbed dust to guide him. His eyes lit immediately on the small rug on the floor. He pulled it aside and was rewarded with a trap door. Why the hell didn’t I think to look there before?
Gun in hand, he knelt on the floor and carefully opened the door. On the other side was one of the strangest thing he’d ever seen. He couldn’t see into the room below, he saw only a dark gray void. It didn’t look solid. Slowly he reached out to touch it, but there was nothing to touch; it didn’t feel any different from the air around it. It was not any colder or thicker. He sank his fingers into the void and watched as they disappeared into the grayness.
Pulling his hand back out, he examined it. It appeared unchanged. He dug his phone out of his pocket. Normally, he would call Central to report this phenomenon and get advice, except his phone had no signal in the basement, and he had no time for delay. He could feel Mel, so close and so afraid.
He set his phone to video record, and holding it in his left hand with his gun still ready in his right, he slipped his hand back through the void up to his elbow. Pulling it back out, he observed the short video he’d made. The grayness was only a few inches thick and after that he could make out very little—perhaps a very dark room. He tried again, this time carefully turning his wrist so that he got a panorama of the space. Watching the video, he still couldn’t make out where he would end up. It was just too dark.
He stretched out flat on the floor and whispered, “C19: Night vision.” Instantly the room was much brighter. He slowly poked his face through the void until he could see into the room on the other side. The stench of vampire assailed his nostrils and his gut clenched in automatic reaction to the abhorrent smell.
The room below was empty and appeared unused. The stone along one side was crumbling and the floor was damp in two of the corners. There was one door leading out with a crack of light showing around its edges.
Just then he heard a hair-raising scream. It was not his mate, otherwise he would have instantly lost his mind, but it was clearly someone in pain. He pulled his face back out of the void and the scream was cut-off.
Interesting. kaçak iddaa It must be some kind of magical barrier not letting out sound or smell or even light. He wondered if it were warded—if when he crossed the threshold the vampire would be alerted. He had no way to know, and even if it was, there was nothing he could do about it. He knew he should wait for backup at this point, but that scream had been bloodcurdling and his mate would be next. He had no choice but to go in.
He tucked his dart gun into his waistband and lowered himself quickly into the hole. Switching to a one-handed hang, he pulled his gun out before he dropped lightly to the stone floor five feet below. The vampire stench was overpowering, but Guy could also detect the smell of decaying flesh. There was another victim somewhere.
He approached the door silently and listened. He could hear Valjevo’s gloating voice. Someone was sobbing softly but it wasn’t Mel. He cracked the door a hair and caught a whiff of his mate’s fear. All of the hair on his body stood on end, and it took all of his self-control not to burst out of the room and race to his mate’s side. He knew the only chance he had of succeeding was if he had the element of surprise. He couldn’t let himself think of what would happen if he didn’t succeed.
He peered through the crack in the door into a long hallway. There was light coming from the far end of it where it opened into a larger room. That was where Valjevo had his mate. Then he heard a faint noise coming from the other end of the hallway.
He poked his head fully out the door and glanced that way. He saw a man-shaped creature in dark robes disappearing through a doorway. The creature’s movements were slow and awkward. A thrall, he guessed. He wasted no more concern over it. Thralls were much too slow and dull-witted to be any kind of a threat to him.
He turned off his night vision and slipped into the hallway. Walking on cat feet, he made his way quickly toward the light, his dart gun armed and ready. He breathed lightly, so as to not give himself away with the sound. There was nothing he could do about his scent though. He had to move fast before Valjevo detected him.
Valjevo’s voice stopped abruptly and Guy knew that the vampire had made him. He took a long leap to the end of the corridor. He had a good idea where the vampire was from the sound of his voice. His gun was already trained and ready to fire before his feet even landed.
Valjevo was moving to the right, his body a blur. Guy saw Mel and Jon chained to the wall behind him. He was glad the vampire was moving away from them so they wouldn’t be in the line of fire. He instantly calculated Valjevo’s trajectory and fired. The dart missed the vampire by a fraction of an inch. Before he even had a chance to realize that he’d missed, the vampire was upon him, snarling.
The pain at the back of his neck where the chain had bitten into his skin was no longer part of Mel’s awareness. Valjevo had sent his thrall to fetch a knife and now stood grinning at them with such anticipation it set Mel’s mind to imagining. He clearly remembered the acid on the blade that the vampire had used before. He buried his face in Jon’s shoulder and tried to block out everything.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t very good at it. He could still hear exactly what Valjevo said.
“Your screams are so delicious,” he was saying. “I must hear another.”
He felt a quick movement. Jon’s body stiffened and he heard the snap of a bone. Jon shrieked in pain again and pulled away from him.
Mel had to look up then; he had to see what the vampire had done to Jon. His friend cradled his left hand in his right, and bent over, keening in pain.
“Lovely, lovely,” Valjevo crooned.
He must have broken another finger, Mel thought, shuddering. He swallowed hard. Dear God! Please get us out of this!
Valjevo was rambling. Mel tried to shut out his words. The wickedness that spewed from his mouth was incomprehensible. He wondered if all vampires were as psychotic as this one. Was it because he’d existed so long that drove him insane, or was it because he was undead? He was a demons—a creature of pure evil. It stood to reason that he’d be crazy.
Suddenly Valjevo fell silent and Mel looked up, alert. The next several things happened so quickly that it wasn’t until it was over that Mel’s brain caught up with events and sorted them into an order. Guy leapt into the room, looking every inch the action-movie hero. Sweat glistened on his bulging arms and chest, his chiseled jaw was clenched, and his sharp eye took everything in at once. As the vampire started to move, he aimed and fired. Mel was sure his aim was good, but the vampire twisted and the dart whizzed past him and slammed into the wall on the other side of Jon. By the time Mel had registered this and looked up, the vampire had Guy in a headlock.
“You!” Valjevo screeched.
Guy was taller than kaçak bahis the vampire and considerably more muscled. Mel thought that he could surely best him. He watched with growing horror as Guy fought desperately against the demon. Valjevo didn’t even appear to give any effort to holding Guy. He might have been an unruly two-year-old in the hands of his father for all the difference Guy was making with his struggles.
And Guy knew his struggles were useless. Mel caught his eye and it was filled, not with terror but with a horrible hopeless sadness. He opened his mouth as if to say something to him, but just then Valjevo seemed to snap.
“This is the last time you’ll ever interfere with me,” he screamed, foam flecking his lips. “I’m going to tear you limb from limb!” With that he spun Guy around, held him tightly by one arm, grabbed his other arm, and yanked.
Guy’s scream of agony rent the air and Mel’s scream joined it. A torrent of blood fountained from Guy’s shoulder.
The vampire stopped his movement suddenly, before Guy’s arm was completely detached. His attention swung to Mel. Guy’s arm dangled from his shoulder by a small strip of skin.
Mel screamed and screamed. He couldn’t take his eyes off Guy. Blood spurted everywhere as Guy wrapped his other arm around his mangled shoulder, pulling his mostly-severed arm back into place. He looked up at Mel, his eye filled with deep sorrow. “I’m sorry I failed you,” he whispered before collapsing to the floor in a dead faint.
Valjevo’s inhuman eyes were riveted on him, but Mel couldn’t spare him a glance. His whole being was focused on Guy who was rapidly losing his lifeblood to the cold stone floor.
He was not aware that he had stopped screaming until Valjevo’s cruel voice cut through the silence. “He is your boyfriend.” This statement was followed by a low chuckle. “Are you the jealous type? Would you like to watch me make love to your boyfriend?”
He heard Jon draw in a sharp gasp. Valjevo’s words confused him. Make love? He must mean rape. It still makes no sense. Guy is unconscious and dying. He didn’t make it past that thought.
Guy is dying!
The vampire laughed gleefully. Greasy strands of his dark hair, which had been slicked carefully back, fell into his eyes. Heedless of Guy’s injured arm, he flopped him over onto his stomach and tore the backpack from his back, tossing it aside and leaving Guy’s arm splayed out at an impossible angle. Bile rose in the back of Mel’s throat and he started to gag. Jon, who still had an arm around him, pulled him in tighter and whispered. “Don’t watch, sweetie.”
Valjevo, who was shredding Guy’s jeans, glanced up and said, “Of course you have to watch. That’s the whole point. We’re going to have a nice little orgy here now. Come. Stand right here.” He indicated a place on the floor just a few feet away from him. “I want you to have a good view.”
Mel clung tighter to Jon and made no move to follow the demon’s instructions.
Valjevo snarled and the sound was chilling. “You will do what I ask right now or I will rip off his other arm.”
Before Mel even had a chance to think about it, he found himself moving to the position that Valjevo had indicated. Jon came with him, but ran out of chain and had to stop a few feet away. Mel himself was running out of chain as well.
Guy’s skin looked unnaturally pale. Valjevo stroked his long fingers down Guy’s back and squeezed his butt. “Beautiful,” he murmured. “I can see why you love him.”
I love him and he’s dying.
Guy didn’t respond to Valjevo’s touch. Mel wasn’t even sure he was still breathing. It was quite possible that Valjevo was about to rape a corpse. Mel thought the vampire probably didn’t care.
“Such rich blood,” Valjevo crooned. He eased himself across Guy’s broad back and buried his face in Guy’s severed shoulder. When Mel heard the sounds of him lapping up Guy’s blood his stomach turned itself inside out. He had already emptied its contents, but he was racked with violent dry heaves.
Even as his body reacted, his mind felt numb. His shock and horror over Guy’s sudden imminent death was so deep that anything else that happened seemed irrelevant. Even though he was looking right at the mangled, lifeless body of his hero, it didn’t seem possible. Guy was larger than life. He was invincible. He couldn’t die.
As his heaving finally settled down, he was distantly aware of Jon moving around behind him. He didn’t wonder what he was doing; it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered anymore.
“Yes, yes,” Valjevo hissed. He pulled away from Guy’s shoulder and Mel saw that the lower half of his face was dripping with blood. The demon dropped his head back and moaned, seeming in ecstasy. Then suddenly he was in a frenzy, struggling to pull his pants down. Mel was behind him and couldn’t see his cock, but it was obvious when he breached Guy and started to rut. Guy had no reaction other than his inert body’s natural movement to Valjevo’s hard thrusts. Valjevo made grunts and murmurings of pleasure as he stroked in and out. He glanced back over his shoulder at Mel, grinning, obviously enjoying putting on a show.
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