Thursday, January 5, 2012

Kill Me Sweetly

Hi guys. Enjoy this short story! I can't seem to get enough of Jack Bingham...He really needs his own book...eventually, loves! :) ~Rhiannon




Sylvi Jasper moved quickly through the alley between the bar that she worked in and the few shops and things across from it. Tossing the bags of garbage into a dumpster with a quick heave from her shoulders, she muttered a curse under her breath and shook her foot to get the piece of fast food wrapper off of the end of her boot.

    “Damn it to hell!” Her voice was shrill, and she shook her foot again, trying to get whatever was on it off again, but to no avail. It was stuck there until she finally managed to find a napkin wedged into her apron pocket to wipe the mess away.

    “Hell is no place for you, sweetness.” A low, very British, menacing male voice sounded out from somewhere behind her in the shadows of the late night.

    Ice cold chills ran up and down her back and her legs felt as though they might give out on her. She knew exactly who it was and what he wanted. He’d finally come to fulfill a promise he’d made to her father over twenty-one years ago.

    “Jack? Jack, I know that’s you. Where are you hiding?” She whirled around, her long dark curls cascading down her back, almost defying the cloth hair tie that bound it behind her neck.

    She heard him laughing to himself, obviously pleased that he’d found her unarmed and alone at work. “Sylvi, we can all settle our differences once and for all with just one bite. Just one. Then your family is safe. They wouldn’t kill you.”

    “Not gonna happen.” Sylvi whirled around again and found herself backed against the dumpster with Jack right in front of her, his spiked white-blond hair shining beneath the moonlight and scant street lamps.

    With the back of one cool-dead hand, Jack rubbed Sylvi’s cheek, then ran a longish-nailed fingertip over her lips. “You can have it your way, Sylvi, but it doesn’t have to be so. Just know that if you want to kill me, you’re welcome to try, but you won’t succeed. Right now you have no weapons nor your partner. You’re scared to death, and I haven’t even begun to toy with you yet.”

    She narrowed her eyes, pursed her lips together, and wrinkled her nose. “You disgust me. Your whole breed is disgusting!”

    “Yes, well, your father started this war, Sylvi. Not you.” Jack smirked. “It’s too bad you have to die for something he promised. Unless you change your mind and give your blood to me willingly.”

    Sylvi blinked back inevitable tears and breathed in. Her father made the deal, not her. He was the one that promised Jack her blood for the blood of the head vampire in Jack’s legion-years ago-and now Jack wanted payment. Blood payment. Her blood.

    “Sylvi,” Jack stepped back. “Sylvi, you do know that your brother is going to be just fine with sacrificing you.”

    “Yes.” Sylvi bit her lip. It was true, too. Her own brother had told Jack that he could kill her to keep their now dead father’s word. A blood price had to be paid for the head of the now dead head vampire. “But, don’t I have a say in this?”

    “Of course.”

    “Then, I don’t want to pay that price! I was just a baby. I wasn’t old enough to make a sacrifice like that! What the hell made you accept that offer anyhow? Are you crazy? Ugh! Vampires are all nuts. Slayers, too!” Defiantly, she crossed her arms over her chest and turned away from him for a moment before he grinned at her.

    “I gave up my maker for you, Sylvi. I wanted your blood. I’ll have it now, thanks.” With those words, Jack pushed her against the dumpster and tilted her neck with his hand, then pushed a few of her stray curls aside.

    She trembled from head to toe. “Jack?”

    His fangs descended. He could smell her fear bubbling through her entire body, yet something else was there, too. Utter defiance and resistance to authority.

    Jack didn’t answer her. Instead, he pushed her neck to the side and bit down as hard as he could, pushing his fangs into her jugular vein with one thrust.

    He could have done it slowly, of course, but for some reason, he hadn’t wanted to hurt her. The defiance in her blood was overpowering his judgement. 


    Jack Bingham needed that.

    She could feel him pulling the blood from her neck with his fangs. She could feel every single strain that he made through his mouth to savor the very thing that she was trying to protect-but failed miserably in her attempts.

    After a few seconds, she could feel the veins in her arms coursing and bubbling as he took even more from her, and she gripped the collar of his button-down white shirt with her fists. The most she could manage to come out of her mouth was a low groan, one easily confused with a pleasurable mew.

    Now, more slowly than he’d invaded her neck, he withdrew, easily pulling his fangs out of her skin. Through his crystalline blue eyes, he stared at her.

    Mostly in shock, but partially angry, she spat at him.

    A mocking laugh escaped his throat and he licked his lips. “I won’t kill you. Not yet, anyhow. You’re not even ready for me yet, Sylvi. But, you will be. Soon enough.”

    She sniffed, straightened her hair, and plucked her cell phone out of her apron pocket, dialed the number of the bar, and told her co-worker that she was out by the dumpster, puking, and was going home.

    Before she clicked the phone shut again, he was laughing into the mists, gone.

    Stumbling, she covered her neck with her hair, as she’d been taught by her father (in case of a bite), and scrambled into the shadows towards the parking lot.

    Wiping the mirror free of shower fog, Sylvi stared at her two day old bruised and freshly cleaned neck. After a long conversation with her brother, Albert, Sylvi knew where Jack was staying. Though, she was warned to stay away from there.

    Unfortunately for Jack Bingham, she didn’t listen to reason, nor did she pay attention to Albert’s warnings. A vampire caught her off guard, took her blood, and now must pay for his mistakes.

    Tonight. Immediately. Three seconds before immediately, even. It wasn’t quite dark outside yet, so she still had time to get to Jack’s abandoned warehouse before he awoke. Quickly running a comb through her hair, discarding the towel around her body, and pulling on a pair of jeans, tank top, and boots, she slathered a thin sheen of gloss across her lips and grabbed the satchel full of wooden stakes by her front door and darted through the hallway of her apartment building to the parking lot.

    Dusk had approached. By the time she made it to the correct address, her hair would be dry enough to tie out of her way and she would be ready to take Jack Bingham to the grave, once and for all.

    The warehouse was pretty old. Albert hadn’t lied to her about that much. However, she found a safe way to enter the building through a boarded up window. The crow bar she kept in her car worked wonders for breaking into vampire hideouts.

    Once the boards were safely discarded to the ground, Sylvi pulled herself inside, careful not to graze her skin against any broken glass or anything else that might cause her to bleed and prematurely wake Jack.

    The inside was cluttered with work tables long forgotten, paper cups and beer cans spread about the floors, and odds and ends about the place. A rat scurried across the floor, nearly over her feet, but she stifled her scream and kept her aversion to rats and vermin in check. 


    There were bigger vermin to deal with. She knew this, and was ready.

    Another rat scurried off in the distance, and without her flashlight, she could see an elevator a few yards away, silver, shining, and in perfect working order. The hand at the top of the elevator was coming up.

    Someone was in that elevator and coming to meet her.

    She had to improvise. The warehouse was open space, save for the tables and rats. There was almost nowhere to hide. Almost. The only option was to dangle herself back out the window and crouch back into the weeds so that she could see what was going on.

    Careful not to cut herself, she backed her way out the window, feet first, and lowered herself to the ground again, then crouched down outside the window, hoping upon hope that Jack didn’t notice that a window had been unboarded. The second she found herself crouching in the weeds outside the window again, she heard the elevator doors slide open and two sets of footsteps walking out.

    Faintly, she heard Jack’s cheerful laughter. Then, she heard another man’s voice, an unfamiliar one, and he said something about a virgin-blood martini.

    Sylvi shivered out of disgust.

    Jack’s laughter sounded through the warehouse again, and then he said, “I had one of those a few nights ago. Can’t say I blame you for wanting one.”

    “Jack, you know how I am. Always searching.” The other man sounded amused and happy, as far as a vampire’s happiness went.

    “Always.” Jack said in agreement.

    Sylvi heard their steps coming closer, so she crouched down a bit more in the high weeds, careful so that she could still see into the corner of the window.

    She heard two old rickety chairs being pulled out from one of the old work tables in the warehouse, and apparently the two vampires took seats there for whatever purpose that their meeting was for.

    “Did you talk to him?” Jack asked the other man.

    “Albert? Hmm, of course I did. He’s ready to hand her over. Said she was a ripe age and he could use the money.” The other vampire replied.

    Sylvi’s mouth dropped.

    “And he’s ready, too?”

    The other vampire hesitated, but spoke. “He said that she was always their father’s pride and joy and how she could be so was beyond him. Ya know, given who her mother was and all.”

    Her forehead wrinkled and her blood began to boil with anger. What on earth was going on here, anyhow?

    Then, the unfamiliar vampire spoke again after a short silence. “Are you sure that it’s her?”

    “Positive. I sampled her blood myself.” Jack answered. “Sad, though, really.”


    The other man chuckled. “She has no clue, does she?”

    “Not one.” Jack laughed. “Someone has to save her from herself.”

    “And her brother.” The other quickly agreed.

    “I don’t think she has the slightest clue that Robert is only her half sibling.” Jack added.
    Sylvi gasped, then clasped her hand over her mouth.

    “What is it you’re going to do with her once you’ve caught her, anyhow?” The other asked.
    “What would you do? What would any vampire do? I’m going to bite her again. And again and again.”

    Both vampires burst into bouts of laughter and obscenities in their British accents and Sylvi sank down to the ground, careful to carry her weight on her boots. Albert had some serious explaining to do, but if he was selling her out, why on earth would he tell her the truth now that she’s already on to him?

    It was true what her father had always told her. Never trust anyone, not even other slayers.
    The unfamiliar vampire started spouting out a story, a recent conquest of his, to Jack and Jack silently listened to the grim tale.

    Out of nowhere, she felt something wrapping warmth around her leg at the top of her right boot. When she looked down to see what it was, she nearly fainted.

    A dark black snake was coiling up her leg, slithering slowly, but not tightly. Its tongue darted in and out of its mouth and it had to be nearly six feet long by the look of it.

    Carefully and slowly, she stiffened out her leg. If she tried to shake it off, she was afraid it would bite her. It had a red diamond on it’s neck, much like the diamonds on a black widow spider’s body.

    “What the-,” Sylvi whispered into the fog that now surrounded her. A black widow snake? Impossible.

    Yet, there it was in plain site, darting its tongue in and out of its mouth defiantly.

    Terror filled her body as the snake made its way up to her thigh, then to her stomach. She stiffened again, leaning against the wall of the building for support against her shoulders and holding her feet as well planted into the ground as possible.    

When the snake pushed its head beneath the lower hem of her tank top, her breath nearly stopped and goose bumps covered her skin as the snake pushed its head past her belly button and onto her side, up to her armpit. 

Raising her arm just slightly, she heard the faint laughter of the story-telling vampire in the building and then the elevator dinged again. A woman’s sultry voice was then heard, but Selvi couldn’t make out the words. Whoever she was, she joined the men because Selvi did hear another chair raking across the floor. 

Nothing her father ever taught her could have ever prepared her for a poisonous snake. Bats, yes. Werewolves, of course. Weird snakes that could take her life without thinking twice, no. 

She grasped the mechanical crank that once opened the window panes from the destroyed warehouse window and struggled to keep her arm up and out of the snake’s way. Perhaps he would just scoot up her body and use her as a means to climb the building...

And perhaps not. He stopped moving once he had managed to push his head out of her tank top arm hole and rest it on her shoulder, briefly, before twisting it around again and pushing its nose back into her shirt through the top, though, this time. 

She gasped, a tear sliding down her cheek. The silken scales of the snake slid across her delicate skin like silk on velvet. At any moment, he could decide to sink his fangs into her collar bone, into her breast, into the side of her arm-basically, he had his choice of places to bite. 

The fact that the temptation was there for him, but he didn’t take it, was mesmerizing to her at first, but her fear didn’t subside. This snake, she knew, was damned deadly. 

He started sliding down her body again, forcing his head down her chest, between her breasts, and down to her stomach. His head turned again, this time upward and around her waist, as it slithered to her side and to the small of her back. He lingered there, and she stood as still as she possibly could while he stayed.

A mix of male and female laughter erupted from the warehouse, but she was barely aware of what they were talking about. 
 
The snake started moving again, slowly sliding up her back. She dropped the satchel of stakes from her other hand and watched it spill out on the ground as she steadied that hand on the crank with the other hand. 



Again, the snake began to move. He pushed his way up her back, still as slow as he could manage, and found his head popping out of her shirt right below the back of her neck. 

Sylvi shuddered. The snake’s head was now positioned directly under her ear. She still didn’t allow herself to relax her hands on the crank nor her arms as they bowed outward. 

He hissed. 

Sylvi winced, ready for the worst, but hoping for the best. It was still possible that the snake was using her as a means to climb the side of the building, but he certainly didn’t seem to be in any hurry. 

“Move, and you’re snake food.” Jack’s hushed tones were almost welcoming to her. Almost. She hadn’t heard him approach from the other side of the window.

An icy white hand rested directly on her goose bumped shoulder, and the black widow snake responded by climbing onto Jack’s hand and slithering up her body, in a quivering path, until it was winding around Jack’s steady arm and leaving her body completely. 

Sylvi was absolutely stunned and could barely breathe. Her russet brown eyes were as wide as saucers, and she kept her stance as though the snake was still there. Finally, once she’d caught her breath, she turned around to face the monster she came to kill. 

Jack Bingham, the vampire responsible for the mark of death looming over her. Or whatever it is that her brother had in store for her.

Surprisingly, Jack was in evening attire. Suit. Tie. Shiny black shoes that Sylvi always thought made men look like tap dancers. The whole nine yards. 

“Jack,” Sylvi stared at him. “Where are you off to?” She raised an eyebrow and bent down into the weeds to retrieve her satchel, but before she could pick them up, Jack spoke back to her.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Come. Meet some people that you should have met years ago.” Jack grinned at her, but she picked up the satchel anyhow. 

“Jack, I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, but my brother would never sell me out.” Lies, she knew, because Albert definitely would. He’d sell his own mother for a nickel. 

    “Of course he would, doll. You and I both know that. But, what he doesn’t know is that you have a, sort of a, well-,” he stammered a bit, rolled his ice blue eyes around in the sockets, and then added, “You have a destiny greater than anything he’ll ever have. Your dear older brother is a jealous ass.”

    “I came to kill you, Jack. I’d really rather get on with it and go on about my business for the night.”

    He raised an eyebrow again and smirked. “Ah, you did. By all means, allow me. Come in, please.” He moved back away from the window and raised one hand in the air and out to her to offer to help her inside. “Where are my manners?”

    She pushed his hand aside and climbed inside the window, satchel in hand, but when she crawled through, the warehouse had been transformed into one of the most beautiful ballrooms she’d ever seen-even in movies.

    Red velvet carpets lined the floors. One side of the room was reserved for tables and a full buffet where people in long ball gowns and tuxedos were dancing in feathery and extravagantly planned masks. Laughter filled the room. Couples swirled about on the floor to the tune of “One Enchanted Evening.” There were gigantic, intricate tapestries hanging from the ceilings and all over the walls. Exotic plants and flowers were clustered by all of the magically new doorways and windows. Red curtains hung in every doorway and window, billowing in the warm summer winds.

    Jack plucked a plain white mask, reminiscent of a certain opera phantom’s mask, from thin air, and fixed it onto his already handsome face. From beneath the mask, however, he looked absolutely intriguing.

    It took everything she had inside of her to remember that he was incredibly deadly. And where had the snake gone?

    He held his hand out to her as the song “Pug” by the Smashing Pumpkins began to play. The dancers on the floor didn’t seem to mind the sudden change in genre, and kept swirling around in their ballroom attire. “Dance, Sylvi?”

    His eyes were the color of the sea, but burned through her as though she were meant to be right there, in a mysterious masked ball, with him.

    She looked around, and noted that her own attire had changed as well. Blue jeans, boots, and tank top were replaced by royal blue ball gown, white elbow length gloves, and satin white pumps. Her hair was pinned on top of her head in an intricate design of weaving curls and cascading curls that hung around her face and down her back.

    The stakes were suddenly gone, too. She had no choice. She would have to dance with Jack in order to figure out what was going on.

    On the flip-side of the negative, at least she might figure out what her brother was up to and where the black widow snake had gone.

    She put her gloved hand in his and approached the floor, slowly, hand in hand with her greatest enemy as Billy Corgan crooned the words, “Kiss and kill me sweetly.”

    Jack pulled her close and placed one hand on the small of her back, keeping her other hand grasped in his and raised a bit.  
 
“Come and drive me home...” The song droned on and Sylvi shuddered when Jack pulled her close and swung her around with the exact melody and rythem of the other dancers on the floor, and there must have been about sixty other couples out there.

    “You have to know a few things, Sylvi. I’m going to have you again tonight. Your blood, that is.” He spoke low, but whirled her around again before she could answer.

    “Drag the miles in me...” The song menacingly mocked her as Jack pulled her closer. “I am yours alone!”

    “Over my dead body, Jack.” She sucked in a breath and kept with the other dancers, trying to keep pace with them while Billy Corgan crooned on with his depressing lyrics. It was rather difficult for her to do, however, because the ballgown that she wore came equipped with a rather uncomfortable bodice that laced up the front and cut off all hopes for breathing comfortably.

    “We don’t want that, Sylvi. Save yourself. Your father and I had a deal, and there are things that you don’t know.”

    “Jack, just tell me, then. What is it that I don’t know!” She tried to pull away, but Jack resisted and pulled her closer.

    “You were outside that window for quite some time, Sylvi. You know that your mother isn’t who you thought she was. Your mother was one of us.”


    “Desire me so deeply...” The song filled her head and she couldn’t speak. It couldn’t be true. 

 “Drain and kick me hard.”

    “That’s not true!” She finally managed to belt out a defiant plea, just as she heard the words, “Whisper secrets for me, try to go too far,” belt out of speakers she couldn’t see.
    He whirled her around again and dipped her backwards. She kept with the pace, but she was starting to wonder what she’d stepped into. She could see his fangs starting to protrude when he brought her back up.

    The trance-inducing combination of guitars and synthetic instruments nearly made her dizzy while accompanied with Jack’s fangs showing themselves and all of the mysterious ball-goers appearing out of nowhere, not to mention the makeover that the warehouse had suddenly been given.

    What was this? Too late to just roll with the punches, now. Vampires are deceitful. It was hard to tell what trap she’d idiotically thrown herself into. Regardless of her questionable parentage, she had to get out of there. It didn’t matter who her mother was. She didn’t raise her. Her vampire slaying father did, and that was how she was brought up. To kill vampires, werewolves, demons, and whatever else crossed her path!

    Jack whirled her around again and pulled her closer to him until they were chest to chest, although his was quite a bit higher than hers. Jack stood nearly six and a half feet tall, and while dancing, Sylvi felt every single inch of his height looming over her petite five foot four frame.

    “Don’t fight it, Sylvi.” Jack’s words were nearly a whisper to her, and she couldn’t make out what he said next because the music suddenly became louder, but it ended in the word 
“destiny” and sounded as though he was enticing her to become a monster like himself again.

    Not going to happen.

    “Jack, I came to kill you, and that is what I must do.” She said, although suddenly not sure who she was trying to convince. Herself, or him.

    Why was she there to kill him again? She couldn’t remember. Everything became fuzzy. Her memory was failing her, but she couldn’t tell him that.

    The droning and crooning of The Smashing Pumpkins interrupted her thoughts again. “Jack?” Her eyes widened with fear. Where was she?

    Her stomach began flipping itself around and tying itself in knots.

    Jack held her tighter and grasped her hand. “It’ll be over soon, Sylvi.”

    “What? What’ll be over soon?” Fear cloaked her. Urgency filled her voice and she suddenly felt as though if she had to claw her way through the cinder block walls, that was what she would do to get out of there.

    “The sickness.” Jack said, seriousness embodying his soft tones and ease flowing through his fingertips as he massaged the small of her back with them.

    Again, he whirled her around, only this time he was a bit more gentle in his movements. His fangs still showed, but he tried not to flaunt them. Silver sparked through his eyes.

    “Jack!” She called out his name, though not sure why. Her stomach flipped and flopped every which way it possibly could.

    “Kiss and kill me sweetly...” the lyrics were growing more and more menacing as she heard them again.

    “Jack!” She repeated, but he didn’t speak or release his grip around her back or on her hand. “Jack? Jack! Help me, Jack!” Her stomach flipped again.

    “Come and drive me home...”

    A tear fell from her eye for about the second time that night, and for the first time in her entire life, she knew what real fear and real danger were. Something wasn’t quite right. 


    “Drive the miles in me...”

    He whirled her around again and this time she could see some of the other dancers. Every single one of them had fangs. Every. Single. Person...

    “Jack! Let me go!” She screamed, sure that he wouldn’t oblige, but she had to try anyway.

    “You have to know that this is for your own good, Sylvi. You’ll see soon enough.” Jack still spoke softly, bringing his head down to her neck, resting his forehead against the still bruised puncture wounds there.

    “I am yours alone...”

    “Jack?” Her voice weak, she spoke into his neck as he stayed against hers. “Jack, help me, I don’t think I can walk!”

    Her legs began to buckle and the entire room swirled around her. She broke out in a cold sweat, and her knees weakened a bit more. Her stomach lurched.

    Then, everything went black and she collapsed in the enemy’s arms.

    Sylvi snapped her eyes open and stared upward through the glass. It was all around her and she was trapped inside of a coffin.

    She couldn’t believe it herself, but realized that Jack had probably trapped her there for safe keeping. Or refrigeration-it was hard to tell how vampires thought, especially that one.

    It was dark in the room that she was in, but all she could see were candle sconces lit on the walls and a gigantic chandelier hanging right over her, also lit.

    With a tiny fist, she pounded on the glass as hard as she could without testing the integrity and busting it over her face. Unfortunately, the structural integrity of the glass seemed to be non-existant because it burst with one little tap of her fist, sending shards of it all over the black silk evening gown that she was now wearing, into the cascading brown ringlet curls that hung all over her shoulders, and a few pieces splintered against the black elbow-length gloves she wore.

    With the shattering of the glass, Jack scrambled into the room just as Sylvi sat up in the coffin and dusted her arms off.

    In a millisecond, she’d jumped to her feet and managed to steady herself into a crouching position, even in the uncomfortable pumps that were on her feet.

    Jack smirked. “Going to attack, little one? Sit back down.” He walked to the side of the coffin and offered her his arm, but she kicked at him.

    “Where is my satchel?” She hissed at him, staring hard into his stone cold gaze.

    “You don’t need it,” he started, dusting glass off of the skirt of her dress, then adding, “You’ll never need it again, love.”

    She could feel her blood run cold within her veins and the confusion of the masked ball came back to her. “What happened? Did you kidnap me and leave me in here to die?”

    Again, Jack smirked. “I couldn’t leave you anywhere to die. Not even if I wanted to. Except outside in the sun, I suppose. But, that would kill us both.”
    Panic struck her. “You’re lying.”

    “See for yourself.” Jack laughed, plucking a tall mirror from the wall and bringing it closer to her. “See? No reflection. You, my dear, died three nights ago at a masked ball. You took your last breaths in my arms. After you spewed a mass amount of your own blood everywhere, that is.”

    “No!” She screamed, pulling off one of her black pumps and hurling it through the mirror, busting even more glass all over the place. “It’s not true! It’s a trick. You’re a liar, Jack! A horrible, horrible liar!”

    His face darkened a bit and he licked his lips. “I’m afraid not, kitten. You’re dead. Undead, really.”

    “How is this so?” She crawled over the side of the coffin and lowered her feet to the ground, noting that when she pushed against broken glass with her fingers, her skin repelled it. It didn’t pierce her marble-white skin at all.

    “Your father was in love with one of us. Once. A very long time ago. She, of course, thought he was dinner, but she humored him a bit. Toyed with him, really. She didn’t think much of him until she realized that he was capable of impregnating her. That’s rare.”

    “No,” Her eyes widened.

    “I’m afraid so. Anyway, you were born, and the head vampire of our clan, my maker, killed your mother after she gave birth because he felt that she was a drawback to our group since she was weakened slightly by motherhood. Your father came to me and asked that I help him. Of course, I wanted what was best for the clan because our maker was apparently not seeing the big picture. You could have been an asset to us.”

    Her jaw dropped. “Are you serious? I was half vampire? How did I not know it?”

    “It’s easy to confuse with being human. No real signs show up until you’re ready for it.”

    “So, what happened?”

    “Your father wanted my maker dead, so I pretty much served him up on a platter for your father to dispose of him. The deal was that he would kill my maker for me because if I did it I could possibly have to go before the Counsil, and that’s never good. In return, I would come for you when you were ready. So that you would have some protection before the time came.”
    Sylvi blinked. “That’s crazy. What about Albert?”

    “Albert was going to help us get to you, but instead, you found us. He wanted you dead because he felt like you were worth more money that way.We humored him. He’s a slayer, after all, and not a nice one. He kills us just to do it. We were going to pay him for you so that he’d leave us alone. If he didn’t, we’d have killed him first.” Jack rested a hand on her shoulder. “You have nothing to fear now. You’re with us. Your kind. We’re a clan, and I’m the leader here.”

    “The snake?” Sylvi asked, stepping backwards a bit.

    “An illusion, kitten. The black widow snake was a glamour to scare you. I created it. If you had no fear, you would not have come to me so willingly. The ball was a glamour as well, but for a different purpose.

    Her stomach rolled again, but this time it was with an urgency and a burning she’d never felt before. She wrapped her arms around herself, and Jack smiled at her.

    “Atta girl. I have a gift for you.” Jack snapped his fingers and two other men walked through the door, each holding one of Albert’s elbows.

    Albert stood terrified between them, a gag in his mouth and rope around his wrists. His shaggy brown hair made him look like he’d been through a wind tunnel.

    Jack sliced the skin on the top of Albert’s hand open with his fingernail, sending droplets of fresh blood cascading down Albert’s fingertips.

    For the first time ever, Sylvi felt her own fangs push through her gums and a lust filled her body that she’d never known before, a bloodlust that she once hated.

    Right now, Albert was a living dead man. His life would end at her hand as he had planned hers to end at his hand. The roles were reversed, and Jack, a man she wasn’t sure whether to admire or hate, would be there to witness her first kill.

    “Hold him down for me, boys. Will you?” Sylvi winked at the two men that held her half brother between them as she crossed the distance between herself and the sweet blood that she now craved.

    “Atta girl.” Jack’s sinister laugh filled her ears as she took the first bite.

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