Thursday, September 21, 2017

FATAL RETRIBUTION: CHAPTER 6

FATAL
RETRIBUTION
A RAINA KIRKLAND NOVEL
Book 1
By Diana Graves


Copyright © 2011 Diana Graves
All rights reserved.
Book cover & format by Diana Graves, www.dianagraves.org
Kindle Edition
License Statement
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Disclaimer
This book is a work of pure fiction.  Characters, places and incidents are creations of the author’s imagination, and any similarity to people, living or dead, businesses, events or places is purely coincidental.
Acknowledges
To my family and friends, thank you.
OTHER WORKS
THE RAINA KIRKLAND SERIES
Fatal Retribution
Mortal Sentry
Grave Omen
Deadly Encounters
Toxic Warrior
NOVELLAS
The Artist: The Serial Series Book 1
The Librarian: The Serial Series Book 2
The Zombie Book: Zombie Book 1


OTHER

Adult Coloring Book: Dark Whimsy





6

RUY ESCORTED ME to a small room with tan walls and no windows.  He asked me to take a seat at a table surrounded by brown folding chairs.  With shaking legs and hair still damp from my brother’s blood, I sat.  I didn’t know how much longer I could maintain my composure.  Ruy sat in front of me while the tall dark woman sat beside me.  My guard stood at the door.  He never said a word; he simply followed us and positioned himself by the door.  I wanted to open my empathy to him, but I had the feeling he was angry, and I didn’t need that. Not right then.
Nenet didn’t dress like anyone who should be working in a clinic.  Underneath a worn white coat was a moth-eaten dress covered in stains, and her bare feet were caked with dirt.  She looked feral.
“Are you a doctor?” I asked her.
She sat back in her chair with perfect posture, “No.”
“Ms. Nenet is a specialist in rare cases dealing with infections in the blood—like vampirism,” Ruy said thoughtfully.
“So, you’re here to help us figure out why I’m not a vampire, but I’m still healing like one,” I said.
“Yes.  We know the virus is in you due to the severity of your wounds and the rate of healing.  You’re infected yet it’s not killing you, and that is a curious matter,” she said, folding her arms on the table.
I knew they were trying to help me, but it felt like I was being interrogated.  Ruy and Nenet were sitting so close, their minds abuzz with questions for me and a guard stood watchful over it all, with a gun at his hip and a serious look on his face.  I definitely didn’t feel like I was being helped.

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“You see,” Ruy began.  “There are creatures out there that are immune to the virus but they aren’t humans, elves or witches, and that’s all you claim to be.”  That last part sounded too accusatory for my taste, too much like he thought I was lying.  But, to what end?
“That’s because that’s all I am.  I’m a mutt, like most people these days.”
“That can’t be all that you are, or you would be a vampire right now,” said Nenet.  “Vampirism does nothing to a creature that is immune to it.  However, a combination of a creature that is immune and one that is not has unpredictable outcomes when infected.  Some die on the spot, others turn, and some become as you are.”
“What types of creatures are immune to vampirism?” I asked.
Nenet looked at me like she was sizing me up.  “Give me your hand.”  I did.  “I will need to break your skin to taste your blood.  Do I have your permission?”
“Gross, no.”  She rolled her eyes at my squeamishness.  “Anyway, you could become infected,” I said.
Nenet smiled, “Giane can’t become vampires.  We are immune, like were-animals and hyenas.”
“You’re a giane,” I said.  I knew little about them.  Just that they were a sort of fairy from Africa.  “Why do you need to taste my blood?”
“Gianes drink the fluids of all animals, men and beasts alike, and my palate is—rather large.”
“Meaning you’ve eaten your share of animals and you can tell them apart by taste?”
“Yes, like you can tell the difference between honey and vinegar, or onions and apples.  One lick and I can tell you every beast in your bloodline.  It’s either this or be placed under the doctor’s care.”
She made, “Doctor’s care” sound like the worst sort of choice, but my hands were still dirty, covered with blood and ash.
“I need to wash my hands.”
“The restrooms are just down the hall,” Ruy said, and he waved a hand at the nameless guard to escort me there.
The reflection in the mirror above the sink startled me at first.  My eyes were too wide and my face was too pale.  The burns on my face and hands were almost gone, replaced with new tender pink skin.  Drying blood clung in sticky patches around my hairline.  I was fully surprised that my glasses made it through the whole ordeal with not so much as a scratch.




I washed my hands but I still felt unbearably dirty.  I washed my shirt in the sink and put it back on wet but clean.  With a soapy paper-towel, I wiped the blood and ash from my face.  A little rinse of water through my hair and I was as clean as I was going to get without a hot shower and change of clean clothes.  I washed my hands hurriedly once more and allowed the guard to lead me back to the small room.
“Okay—,” I placed my right hand in Nenet’s.
“Nice shirt,” Ruy commented.
Without the blood and ash caked on my shirt, the design was visible.  It was the VAMPS shirt Tristan had given me yesterday.
“Thanks,” I said with a blush.  The wet shirt was super tight, and cold, and well, nipples tend to be very noticeably erect under those circumstances.
“Are you ready?” asked Nenet.  
“Yes,” and she brought my hand to her lips, isolated my middle finger, and put it in her mouth.  Her lips closed around the finger and her warm velvet tongue slid over it.  Her tongue was not a human tongue.  It felt longer, wider and when she flicked my finger with it something stabbed it.  I flinched, but I didn’t pull away.  She looked at me with her huge eyes as she sucked on my finger, stroking it with her tongue to make the blood come out.  I licked my suddenly dry lips and swallowed past the lump in my throat.  Nenet slowly pulled my finger from her mouth.  I took my hand back and cradled it in my lap.  There was a small puncture wound on the tip of my finger.  I used my shirt to stop the bleeding.
“Your blood tastes of many different creatures.”  She licked her lips thoughtfully, “Human, witch, elf—and something else that I cannot place.  I’m sure it is that part of you that is holding the disease at bay.”

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“So, what does that mean?  What’s happening to me?”
“You are a living vampire.  You are partially immune, but the disease does not lay dormant in you.  It’s constantly fighting to take you—it simply can’t, not completely, not yet.”
“I am a living vampire,” I said quietly.  
“Yes.  When you die, the disease will finally be able to take you and your body will be reanimated,” Nenet said.  “Until then, the disease will alter your body in every way it does a normal vampire.”
“What part of me is immune?”
“I can’t say what it is.  It tastes like nothing I’ve ever tasted, almost too sweet, like syrup.”  Nenet just shook her head, “I simply cannot place it.  Whatever’s in your bloodline, it’s something I’ve never had for a meal before.”
“Then—there is no reason to worry about me?” I questioned.
Nenet looked to Ruy, “I see no reason to worry about her.  She has the virus but she’s in no danger of turning anytime soon.”  Ruy nodded.
“What about Nick?  Is he dead-dead or—vampire?” I asked.
“He’s dead,” said Ruy.  “But not dead-dead, he will rise as a vampire as best I can tell.”
I didn’t know if I should be relieved or sad about Nick becoming a vampire.  Nick and I weren’t as anal-retentive about elf traditions as Mom and Tristan, but we didn’t eat animals.  I didn’t know how Nick was going to handle going from vegan to bloodthirsty predator.  Though, our uncle didn’t seem to have a problem with it.  Then again, I wasn’t alive when he was first infected.  His first days as a vampire may have been thick with inner turmoil.  I made a mental note to call him when we got home.  Perhaps he could console Nick at the very least.
“You look sad to hear it?” Nenet questioned.
“Yes, Nicholas is one-fourth elf,” I said.
“Of course,” she said.  “He will have a hard time adjusting.”
I shook my head to clear that thought away, “We need to call our parents.  They should know what’s happened.”
“I believe your brother and sister have already made the calls,” said Ruy.
“Oh, of course.”
“I think I should have a word with the good doctor,” Nenet said by way of parting before she stood up and walked out of the door.  I stared after her, looking idly at the closed door, but not really seeing it.  I don’t know how long I was staring in silence before Ruy interrupted it.
“How do you feel?” he asked.
I looked at him and it took me too long to say, “Fine.”  But we both knew I wasn’t fine.  Even I could hear the tears in my voice.  My eyes burned with the need to cry.  My head swam with static thoughts that made me hate myself, because they were useless, just like me.  I couldn’t save Nick, I couldn’t save Michael and I couldn’t comfort Tristan.  What good was I to anyone I loved?  But Ruy didn’t push the issue.  If I said I was fine then I was fine.  He did lean over the table and place his hand on my shoulder.  He squeezed it a couple times, and he felt so warm.  I almost let myself go then, I almost cried my heart out, but something stopped me.  I could feel a frustrated mind.
Something must have shown on my face because Ruy asked, “What is it?”
I shook my head but said, “Someone isn’t very happy.”  It was an empathic slip.  I accidentally read someone’s emotions and that had never happened to me before.  Maybe I was so hurt, so emotionally compromised that I opened that part of myself without meaning to—maybe.
My guard opened the door and held it for the doctor.  Out of the bio-suit, I could see her bleach-blond hair, cut short and sporty.  She did not look happy.
“Just the young lady I wanted to see,” she said.
“Me?” I asked.
“Nenet just gave me her assessment of your condition, but I don’t trust her voodoo.”
“It’s not voodoo, Tasha,” Ruy said.
“Still,” she said, with her hands in the air.  “I would like to run at least one of my own tests to accompany the opinion of that woman.”

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“Vampire related blood tests have to be sent out.  It could take weeks or longer to—, “Ruy started.
“I know that,” she interrupted. “There are other tests that would add more weight to this diagnosis than the taste buds of a—creature.”
“For instance?” he made it a question.
“For instance, anywhere between one and ten hours after infection the vampire is consumed by the unquenchable thirst for blood, even before the turn is complete.  This has been true in one-hundred percent of cases throughout recorded history, except in the case of living vampires.  If after ten hours Raina still has no cravings, then I’ll diagnose her as a living vampire, and not before.”

Shit…


CHAPTER 7 will be posted soon, or you can buy the book for $0.99 PRESS HERE

Saturday, September 16, 2017

FATAL RETRIBUTION: CHAPTER 5

FATAL

A RAINA KIRKLAND NOVEL
Book 1
By Diana Graves

Copyright © 2011 Diana Graves
All rights reserved.
Book cover & format by Diana Graves, www.dianagraves.org
Kindle Edition
License Statement
This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Disclaimer
This book is a work of pure fiction.  Characters, places, and incidents are creations of the author’s imagination, and any similarity to people, living or dead, businesses, events or places is purely coincidental.
Acknowledges
To my family and friends, thank you.
OTHER WORKS
Fatal
Mortal
Grave
Deadly
Toxic
NOVELLAS
The Zombie Book (Coming Soon in 2017)
The Librarian (Coming Soon in 2017)

OTHER




CHAPTER 5


I HAD NEVER been in a VCC before, not many people have.  Darkness’s VCC was underground, and a large elevator took us there.  It was completely sterile white, with parts of the room sectioned off with glass walls.  Those areas were full of complicated equipment and nifty beds that looked like they moved up and down at the touch of a button.  Outside the glass walls, there was a sitting area.  It consisted of a few powder blue chairs, a matching sofa, and a coffee table.  Not too far from the elevator was what looked like a kitchen, just replace the stove with a couple gurneys.  There was a fridge, a microwave, a large sink and stainless steel cabinets.  The lights were dim and the air smelled of bleach and lemons.
“He’s turning so fast.  I’ve never seen anything like it,” said our doctor, Tasha.  “We’re going to need at least six liters of fresh blood, type doesn’t matter,” she said to a nurse named, Gerardo.  She and Gerardo were inside one of the glass rooms with Michael strapped to a bed that was at a forty-five-degree angle to keep him from choking on his own blood.  Both Tasha and Gerardo wore white biohazard suits as they worked around him.  Tristan, Katie and I stood outside of the glass room and watched.

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Ruy and Ranger had taken Nick’s body somewhere else first.  Ranger ordered a uniformed officer to watch me.  He stood silent by the elevator, like a statue.  His face was open with high cheekbones and dark almond-shaped eyes.  His Native American heritage was both obvious and beautiful.  His hair was thick and long chestnut brown and his face and arms were tattooed with tribal designs.
“This turn is one of the worst I’ve ever seen.”  The doctor looked down at Michael, and though I couldn’t see her face from this angle, her voice told me I would have seen pity in her eyes.
Michael looked small and weak lying on the bed, struggling against his restraints.  His skin had paled to the point of near translucency.
“Why is this happening to me?!” he screamed
Tasha looked at each of us in turn and yes, there was sympathy in her solid brown eyes.
“You’re infected?” she asked me.
“Yes,” I said. “I think so.”
“Put on a lab coat.  It can get messy,” Tasha said.
“But, we’re on this side of the glass,” whined Katie.  Tasha just gave her a look.  It was a platinum mom look.
“I was talking to your sister.  Your brother needs to be comforted, and she’s already infected so—.”  She didn’t finish her sentence.  Instead, she turned back to me.  “The coats are in the cabinets by the fridge.  If you want to keep your clothes clean you’ll want the coat.”
I looked down at my clothes already caked in blood and ash and shrugged my shoulders.  I guess it wouldn’t do to add to it.
Soon I stood over Michael, almost completely covered by the large coat.
“Raina?”
“I’m here,” I said.  Sweat was dripping from his hairline.  I brushed my thumb over his brow to catch a drop before it landed in his eye, but I took my hand back with a quick jerk.
“You’re so hot!”  I turned back to the doctor, who was grabbing a damp cloth from the small sink.  “He’s burning up.”  She nodded and handed me the rag.
“Comfort him, he needs it,” Gerardo said, and he and the doctor stepped back to give us room.  I looked to Tristan and Katie on the other side of the glass, but I only found Tristan still standing there, leaning against the glass.  He looked lost.
“Raina,” Michael said, bringing my attention back to him.  He licked his pale, almost blue lips.  “I don’t want to die.”  I had to swallow deep to hold back the tears and bite my bottom lip when that didn’t work.
“Your body is dying, Michael, but you won’t stay dead.  You’ll be a vampire,” I whispered it to him and I tried to make it sound like a great thing.  “You’ll be super strong and fast and—.”
“Soulless,” he whispered to me with wide eyes.
I brushed his wet sandy-brown hair out of his face.  “No, that’s just silly.”  But I couldn’t think of anything better than that to say.
“My mom won’t love me.”  That was it.  I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer and they streamed down my cheeks.  I knew his mother and I knew he was right.  She was a hateful bitch.  It would be just like her to abandon her only son because he wasn’t human enough for her.
“Our dad will—,” I began.
“No!  He won’t want me either.  He’ll disown me like he did Nick.  I won’t have a mom or a dad anymore.”
“You’ll have me,” I assured him, “and Tristan and Katie.”
“Katie?”
I looked out to see if she’d returned.  She was his full-blooded sister, and her words would mean more to him than mine.  But I didn’t see her. I turned back to Michael and I didn’t know what to say, but I didn’t have to say anything.  Tristan tapped on the glass to get our attention.
“Michael,” Tristan said through the glass.  “What does it feel like?”
Michael licked his lips again but he didn’t wet them with saliva this time, he made them thick with bright red blood.  “It feels like—everything hurts, especially my head.”
“Some areas of your brain are shutting down and others are becoming available.  Your brain is rewiring itself to accommodate the virus,” Doc said. “Most vampires are dead during this process.”


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“Can’t you give him something for the pain?” Tristan pleaded.
“I can sedate him but not at this time.  He first has to purge almost all the blood from his system, then we feed him fresh blood, and then we can give him a very strong sedative.”
“Why in that order?” I asked.
“Becoming a vampire is a process.  If I give him a sedative now, even a small one, it could seriously damage him.  It could even kill him permanently.  After the purging, we know the virus has taken hold and giving him a sedative won’t damage anything.”
“I didn’t realize it was so complicated,” Tristan said.
“People call vampires the walking dead, and yes, by our definition of death they are dead.  But it’s more like the body simply adjusts to the presence of the virus.  The virus completely alters the human condition.”
“So that people burn in sunlight?” I asked.
“The virus literally exists in every single cell of a vampire’s body and yes it burns in the sun.  It’s light sensitive.  Most vampires are even uncomfortable in brightly lit rooms.”
“Can we speed this up?” Michael asked.
“I’m sorry, I can’t.  But, you’re lucky.  Your turn is happening so fast.  You could purge at any moment, one minute from now or fifteen.”
“I’m scared,” Michael said.
“I’ll be here the whole time.  I won’t leave your side,” Tristan said from beyond the glass wall.
“We won’t abandon you,” I said.  I combed his hair with my fingers. He pushed his head against my hand, a vaguely catlike gesture and started to say something, but he never got the words out.  He began to shake like he was having a seizure.
“Michael!” I screamed.  “What’s happening?!”
“It’s the purge!” Tasha shouted.  “Get out of the way.”  I backed away from the bed, but not far.  “The final stage of turning is the purging of blood before death!” Tasha yelled.  “Don’t be afraid for him.”
Michael was shaking uncontrollably, biting his own lips.  Blood was running down his jaw.  She shouted for Gerardo to bring her all sorts of things and he ran to the fridge and grabbed a metal tray with syringes and vials.
“God damn it,” she said, wiping the blood from Michael's face.
I backed away until the thick glass wall was hard against my back.
Tristan knocked on the glass.  “Help him!” he yelled at me.
I shrugged helplessly.  “There isn’t anything I can do for him.”
He looked down at me and the pain in his eyes broke my heart.  He felt responsible for what was happening.  Camping had been his idea, he’s the oldest, he let Michael come along, and now Mike was dying, turning into something not human.  It was all there in his eyes and I had to look away.
“Tristan, this isn’t your fault.”
I looked back at Michael.  Blood was flowing out of his mouth and gargling around his screams.  Gerardo got in my line of vision and blood erupted from behind him.  The room was painted thick with candy apple red blood.  Gerardo had blocked most of the blood from hitting me, but I got my share of the spray.  Michael’s screams stopped abruptly.


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“I need blood, Gerardo, stat!” screamed Tasha.
Gerardo’s sympathetic eyes were the last thing I saw before I slid to the floor, wrapped my arms around my knees and cried with my eyes shut tight.  My cries were loud in the new silence, but I didn’t care.
“Raina,” Tristan said gently.  “Come out of there.”
I nodded, and made my way to the door, leaning against the glass for support.  It was slick with blood.  When I was out he helped me out of the coat, careful not to touch the blood.  I felt weak and suddenly so tired, and I leaned on the glass wall again, but this side was dry.  I looked down the length of my body and watched the blood drip from my hair.
Tristan let out a shaky sigh.  “I want to fix this, but I can’t see how I can fix it, Raina.  My mind is running a mile a minute.  How can I just stand here?  That should be me in there!”  He looked at me with hopelessness eating at his heart and mind.  He needed me.  I swallowed my pain, buried it as deep as I could manage.  It wouldn’t stay buried.  Later it would hit me hard, maybe harder than if I’d let myself let it out then.  But my big brother needed me to be calm and sympathetic.
“Tristan,” I said.  “Michael will pull through this.  Vampirism won’t change who he is or his love for you.”  They were weak words, but it was the best I could think of.  Tristan joined me in leaning against the wall, but we didn’t touch each other.  We stared down at the floor in silence.
A few minutes later Tasha and Gerardo came out of the room positively drenched in the brightest blood.
“Michael died but he’s back,” Tasha said.  She shook her head, smiling wryly as if she didn’t really believe he was going to come back.  I looked up at Tristan and I didn’t need my empathic abilities to know he wasn’t as relieved as the good doctor, just sad.
The elevator doors opened to the sound of a soft chime.  Ruy stepped out with a tall dark woman at his side.
“Raina,” Ruy said.  “Come with me.”

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