How will this go over? I’m sure this place will have security cameras. Breaking and entering plus grand theft on the 6 o’clock news should make Primus oh so happy. Especially since I’m the girl that got away. Oh, he’ll just love continuing to not come after me just because I already messed up his plans and somehow got entangled in Genevieve’s loss. Oh, I’m just sure he won’t lock us both in hell and feed us to the demon cats he had guarding Ryan there.
Could this day get any worse?
I have to find the dart gun I need and find Ryan before anything else does. I ran and was at the front door of the sporting goods store in about a minute, maybe two. Since the store wasn’t actually closed, I wandered around quickly and left a hundred dollar bill on the counter. By the time the clerk even saw the money I was half way back down the block heading towards the Vatican.
The relief I felt for avoiding exposure and exciting Primus’ anger was nearly breathtaking when I remembered why finding Ryan again was so urgent. I wondered if He’d be mad if I went to check on him first then go back and shoot Alistor. It’s not like they’d just let me waltz in there with a weapon anyway.
Osiris wasn’t going anywhere right?
I opted for finding Ryan. The hunting goods store had been in his direction anyway. Running farther towards the river the air filled with sand. Mars was out. I could feel it. He liked traveling by sandstorm when vampires were at large. He liked skinning his victims and found that since we would not be skinned easily why not just sand blast it off?
That’s who Ryan was walking towards. I wonder what a Holy oil dart will do to him. I loaded one and soaked the rest, just to have them ready.
Off in the distance I could still hear Osiris chanting. Maybe it was a better idea to get rid of him first, but at the same time Mars is already here and leaving Ryan alone could backfire. If anything, I’d rather Ryan be on his way back to Vatican City looking for me as I face Mars alone. He’d be safe and I’d have my chance to avert a disaster.
But, is he supposed to get out? Is he part of what happens in the Book of Revelations and I’m just chasing my tail here? At the very least I could look for Ryan and take him back with me to deal with Alistor.
“Ryan.” I whispered, but it echoed eerily.
“Elle.” a man’s voice said. It wasn’t Ryan though.
“Who’s there?” I said in a low voice as I quickly darted here and there to avoid giving away my position.
The voice didn’t answer. Instead the cloud of smoke seemed to swirl until it was literally sucking the cloud into eight solid pillars. The pillars wobbled and squirmed like worms each whispering some strange language I’d never heard before.
Since the cloud of sand had disappeared somewhat I looked for Ryan. I spotted him three blocks over. He looked shaken and as though he had been either drugged or hit over the head extremely hard.
I ran a block out of the way of the sandy pillars and made my way towards him. By the time I got there he was slumped against the wall of a convenience store and seemed to be trying to focus his eyes.
“What happened? Are you alright?” I started. But, I could tell. This wasn’t Ryan.
This wasn’t his scent or his eyes as they struggled to focus on me. He grabbed my arm before I could back too far away from him and had such a rough and abrupt grip on me that it only confirmed even more what I already knew. Mars liked to wear the skin of his victims and Ryan’s was too beautiful to pass up.
“Why? He’s a vampire. His skin is not alive. It can’t regenerate. It can’t possibly be of any use to you why!” I said choking on angry sobs as I wrestled to get my arm free.
“Because I wanted you.” The deep voice seemed to echo.
“I told you before. I don’t have it.” I snapped at him as he finally let me go.
“You will get it for me or I will kill your husband.” he said.
“The Greeks had it right. You’re less a suave warlord and more a tantrum ridden hothead. I’m calling you Ares from now on.” I growled.
“Mars, Ares, Master… I don’t really care. But, you will cooperate or not only will I kill your husband, but I’ll give you to Primus. He has plans for your skin that rival even mine.” Mars answered.
“No one knows where it is. No one. I failed a long time ago and never got the chance to redeem myself.” I explained hoping to pick up on Ryan’s scent somehow.
“You know. The last time I was out and about you were very useful to me. I think it’s very interesting that you are here for my… arrival.” Mars taunted as he glared menacingly at me through narrowed eyes.
“I think it’s very interesting that you think I have any loyalty to you at all.” I retorted.
“Were you that desperate to become human Elle? You resorted to what the humans do… prayer and such?” he continued.
“Ask and you shall receive and I asked to be rid of you.” I derisively snarled at him and ran for it.
Desperate to become human? As if he knew anything about it. He wishes he could become human. I need to find Ryan. Just because he assumed his shape does not necessarily mean that Ryan is dismembered somewhere. Maybe Mars remembered seeing Ryan in hell or something. I don’t know. But, he knows he’d have to show me Ryan alive to get any cooperation from me. So, I think Ryan’s chances are good.
Unfortunately, I wound up back where I was with the eight pillars of sand that began to hiss and rattle like a den of snakes in the desert. They shifted and moved to become enormous crawling hands that seemed to have scorpion-like behavior.
Talk about sending your feelers out. I bet he’s looking for us. I quietly backed away then jumped to the rooftop of a coffee shop. People had cleared out a long time ago because of the cloud of sand. But, one of the hands must have heard me breathe or something because it skittered towards the building I was on and began to climb upwards like a giant spider.
I got it with a Holy oil laced dart. It burst into a pile of sand at once with a loud shriek. The others had begun climbing buildings as well. I shot each of them, wishing I hadn’t. Granted, I didn’t want them to hurt any people. However, that leaves me with one dart and the hope that I’m still a good aim from a far distance. I still have to get the drop on Alistor.
Looking around, I saw Mars prancing around half way stalking me, but the irritating chanting in the background caught my ear. Osiris was still at it. I looked in his direction and saw arms waving me down from a rooftop. Ryan really did “be right back.” Only, I saw Mars looking in his direction too smirking evilly.
This just turned into a race. If I can cross the finish line first I can save my husband. If not, I may have to make a deal… or something. I’m thinking “or something” is going to win out on this one.
I jumped from the rooftop and ran as fast as I could, determined not to look behind me. I kept my eyes fixed on Ryan. At least if I only see one of him standing there I know Mars isn’t timing his death just right so I’ll jump to his aid as his body falls lifeless to the ground.
Wait, we’re vampires. That has to count for something. I was human when Mars got out last time and so was my sister. Mars can’t make me relive that awful moment because Ryan won’t die so easily as my frail human twin did.
My only regret is the pain it caused my mother to lose both daughters to death… with one still walking around after. It took some doing to convince her I wasn’t a ghost, or possessed, or in need of a priest… which would have killed me then because it was a long time before I went to Paul and was blessed as a vampire.
If only we were telepathic like Rick or the immortals I could warn Ryan. I wanted to shout at him, but he suddenly jumped from the roof to the garden area on the other side of the St. Peter Basilica. He was out of sight and hopefully not because he was mesmerized by the sight of what looked to be his clone prancing around and planning to kill him.
I had only been a two minute run away from him. As I entered the courtyard I knew that the next five minutes would be the longest of our lives. And we’re supposed to make it until noon two days from now?
I say we swim to Florida after this.
1. Flatliner Books Recalls the FEATURED BLOG below and liked: “web page dedicated to free thinking”
(Photo courtesy of: worthstar.com)
Music for this episode – The River by Good Charlotte