A RAINA KIRKLAND NOVEL
By Diana Graves
Copyright © 2011 Diana Graves
All rights reserved.
Book cover & format by Diana Graves, www.dianagraves.org
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.
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.
To my family and friends, thank you.
THE RAINA KIRKLAND SERIES
The Artist: The Serial Series Book 1
The Librarian: The Serial Series Book 2
The Zombie Book: Zombie Book 1
Adult Coloring Book: Dark Whimsy
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.
“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.”
Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images
“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.”
Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images
“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.”
CHAPTER 7 will be posted soon, or you can buy the book for $0.99 PRESS HERE