Chapter 132 - M.

We’ve been driving around listening in on their radio and hiding out for the last few hours, stopping to change cars every so often, just to hide our trail. It was my idea, but Destiny says they can track our scents. It’s probably true, I think that’s part of the reason I was able to find her so easily when she ran off. I don’t know, I’m panicking right now, and for the first time in a really long time, I can’t lean on her for help. I’m supposed to be strong right now, and I’m on the verge of crumbling under the weight of protecting her right now. I’ve gotten a few lucky wins, but I can’t fight off the entire squad. I’ve been listening, there’s seven of them left. That means, Destiny and I managed to kill a whole three of them. The odds are against us, in every way possible. She’s done so much to protect me, and I can’t think of a single way to get us out of this mess. She’s not even willing to help, just accepting that death is the only fate for us. I refuse to accept it, I just need to think.

“Do you really love me or was I just some play thing while you waited on the death you call inevitable,” I ask the question in my head, but hear the words leave my mouth. “I’m sorry, I’m just frustrated.”

“I really do love you,” Destiny pokes at her bullet wound that still hasn’t healed.

The bullet wounds are concerning, mine hasn’t healed either, and she’s got some cuts, that aren’t healing either. It seems like they’ve got an edge on us, in every way possible. I haven’t been a vampire long, so I’m not sure how long a bullet wound would take to heal, but the cuts should be gone already. I’m just thinking of random things to avoid asking the question on my mind, but I might night have much time left to ask if we’re as doomed as she says.

“You never told me why you love me, even during our vows you just said you hated me for making me love you. I’m filled with anxiety, I spent almost 30 years of my life being bullied. I’m socially awkward and I’ve got nothing for you.”

“Why are you doing this,” Destiny asks, more tears welling into your eyes.

“Because if you’re so sure we’re going to die, I need to know why you loved me before I die.”

“You’ve had this on your mind and choose now to ask?”

“I’ve asked but you’ve never told, you’re still not telling.”

I feel bad, we could be facing death and I’m watching her fight back tears. There are super elite vampires chasing after us and I’m the bad guy. But I have to know, in the event that we don’t make it. The longer we drive, the more I’m starting to doubt we’ll escape. It seems like they’re always one step ahead of us on the radio. Things, just aren’t looking good, and I need to know. I need to know why she loved me, was it just pity? Am I familiar, a pet, or does she really love me?

“I don’t know why. I just do. I like it when you’re stupid enough to think you can protect me. I like that you’re the only person who loved me with no conditions. I love that your family treated me like I was already part of the family. I love how you underestimate yourself and get so happy when you accomplish something. I love how you’re always willing to see the good in other people even when they don’t deserve it. I hate watching you get hurt, I hate when you’re afraid, I hate you cry.”

“Then why do you want to die?”

“I don’t want to die, I have to die so you can live. It’s the only way they’ll stop chasing us, because I know you won’t stop chasing me.”

“I need you in my life, that’s why I can’t accept this.”

“You don’t need me, not anymore. You’re braver, you stand up for yourself, and you know you can do anything. I can’t do anything else for your but die.”

“Then why not live for me?”

“Because I already did. You showed me how to live. I’ve had more fun with you than I did the rest of my life. I made some bad choices before I met you, and they’ve finally caught up to me. I’m just glad I got to meet you and spend as much time as I did with you.”

“We can fix this.”

“We can’t, it’s too late. There’s just some things that can’t be fixed.”

I don’t speak anymore, I don’t want to drag out this conversation any longer. I just want to enjoy the few moments we have left together. I just keep driving, hoping they give up. Eventually, Destiny falls asleep and the radio goes silent. I just keep driving, hoping they aren’t still following us. To my surprise I make it out of the city without any more commotion. I don’t wake her up, I just keep driving, speeding up, running as far as I can. The more distance between New Orleans and us, the better things will be. Maybe we should leave the United States, move to England and start a new life.

I settle on LA 631, it’s not the main highway, or even a real highway anymore, but it’s good enough. It lets me get to the destination without passing much traffic. I’m still paranoid, driving with the lights off hoping nobody is out looking for cars. The whole road seems eerie, no lights, houses separated by large overgrown trees. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a dirt road linking up that I missed. I slow down as I approach an old bridge crossing Bayou des Allemends. It’s asphalt, but the railings are old and crumbling wood. To either side are dilapidated docks and new houses, an odd sight. The fog tonight makes it the perfect scene for a horror movie.

I’m forced to slam on the brakes halfway through. Destiny jumps awake, confused by what’s going on. The road is blocked. I hear one vampire radio in, and soon we’re blocked on each side, a red beam flashing through the windshield from the main highway. I guess they finally changed radio channels and caught us. I guess Chloe would know where Destiny is from, probably had a pretty good guess to as to where we’re going.

I move to put the car in reverse but Destiny pulls my hand away from the gear shift and tosses keys out the window. I don’t know what to do now, I want to keep fighting but I don’t think there’s a way that I can.

“Sorry, but my mind is made up on this. Just, get to Dulac, they’ll take care of you,” she leans in to kiss me, but I pull away. “No poison this time.”

“We can fix this,” I feel the tears roll my own cheek, but her face looks sure of everything.

“You can’t fix everything Maddox,” she uses my real name, a rare occurrence.

“I love you.”

“I love you too, and I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have anything to be sorry about.”

“I’m sorry this has to be your last memory of me.”

She kisses me, deeper than she’s ever kissed me, leaning in towards me. It’s bliss, like kissing her for the first time again. The taste of cream soda is still on her lips, but no paralysis this time. Beneath the scent of blood and sweat there’s cocoa butter and cinnamon, and below that, there’s the scent of Destiny. If this was anywhere else it’d be perfect. I pull back and scream out in pain as my shoulder falls numb.

“Sorry, Bluebird, I have to clip your wings for a moment, you’ve got a lot more living to do. I love you.”


“Because I love you, and this is the only gift I can give you that’s worth anything.”

She pushes me with enough force to send me out of the car, through the crumbling wood rail and into the water. Swimming isn’t easy with just one arm, but I try to make my way back to the top, back to the bridge. I can’t seem to make it up to the top, but I hear the commotion. Gun shots, some banging and a few screams. Even beneath the water I can tell they aren’t her screams. She’s giving them hell, and I’m trying to get my head above the water.

My head finally burst through the water, but I’m not able to see the fight. I find I find myself calling her name, but I can’t hear myself as lights around the community flicker on. I call out again and feel a bullet pierce my dislocated shoulder. For a moment I lose control of my limbs and sink down again. I fight back to the top, trying to reach the action.

A golden light, brighter than anything I’ve ever seen shoots into the sky, seemingly without end. Slowly it spreads out and I hear several vampires scream from the bridge. As the light reaches me, the warmth covers my body, saves me from the cold water that had shocked my lungs. In the silence brought by the light I know it was her. I know she’s gone. She said it’s different for every vampire when they go out. I’ve seen people turn to dust, burst into flames, or just fall over flat, but I’ve never seen anything like that. Even in death, she’s the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen.

Chapter 131 - M.

Bernie's Pageant is a strip club, I'm not sure what else I would have expected. There's a large black truck parked in front, the kind police SWAT teams use during a raid to transport a bunch of guys. I'm sure this is the right place when I witness people running out in groups. Even the security is running from the chaos. I fight my way through the crowd to get inside. I spot Destiny right away. She's got a few bullet wounds that seem to have been patched.

Instead of guns like before our attackers are holding swords and daggers now. They've shed the combat suits and suddenly they seem more like a gang than an elite strike force. I know Destiny is upset I'm here, but I wasn't going to let her go out like this. Usually, I'd have faith in her but they seem to have something that can legitimately hurt her. With my body mostly recovered I don't waste any time launching an attack with my nightmares.

Mom always said she didn't want her daughters dancing on a pole, but surprise, it was me. It's also less dancing and more, watch out for the big sword. The vampire I'm fighting is swinging it with both hands when it's clear she doesn't need to. A small fire breaks out in the kitchen setting off the fire alarm and the sprinklers. Everyone is momentarily stunned by the sound, it's a pain for human ears but down right demonic on ours. Someone flings their sword and silences the blaring from the alarm, to everyone's relief. There's a brief moment where we all laugh as the water sprays around us and we look at the mess of the club we've made.

The silence is ended when Destiny stabs one of the taskforce through the chest with his own sword. I take that as a cue to boot the woman I'm fighting from the stage and drop down for a quick kill. We're outnumbered, but we're staying alive by moving around. It won't last, I'm getting tired, and Destiny is injured. I wish I could use the smoke as some kind of diversion, but they see through it just as well as we do.

Firefighters seemed shocked to see people as they entire in search of the flame. I push the vampire I'm fighting as hard as I can into the firefighters. I'm sure they'll start trying to drag the others out to rescue them, but I'm more worried they'll just kill the firefighters. I use the noise to snatch Destiny's hand and run through back door. We rush through the locker room being followed by two or three. I knock over lockers, tables and everything I can to keep them away. The room was already beginning to flood now there's glitter in the air mixing with the water from the sprinklers, thongs floating and lockers turned into dams.

Outside, Destiny tries to go the opposite direction without saying anything but I refuse to let her go. She doesn't fight at all when I pull her around front towards the car. Mayhem picks up again when gunshots go off. Back to the guns, what kind of vampires are these? I feel a slight sting, almost like a bee, then an intense burning sensation in my arm. I glance down to see a hole in my bicep, I've been shot. I thought adrenaline was supposed to make this painless, I want to vomit.

"Don't stop running, the bullet passed through. You'll be fine," Destiny finally speaks up.

That’s all the medicine I need to keep moving. The gunshots have caused most people to scramble, but it lets us pull out of the parking lot unseen. I’ve still got their earpiece and they’re not sure which way we went. That’ll buy us some time.

“So, paralyzing lipstick, where did you pick that up,” I try to break the silence.

“We need to get out of the city.”

“They’ll be waiting for us at the exits. We should find somewhere to hide for now.”

“Doesn’t matter, those are Death Shadows. They’ll catch us. That’s why you need to abandon me.”

“Who are the Death Shadows”

“A team of exterminators made up of members from the most wealthy and dominant vampire houses. I heard you killed Adam Locke, these are his siblings.”

 “Then we’ll just have to exterminate the whole family.”

“You just aren’t getting it Bluebird. They backed me into a corner, you can fly away without me. But this is the end for me.”

“I said I was with you until death when I married you. If this is your end, it’s mine too. Unfortunately for you, I don’t intend to just hold still and die, so I’m going to keep fighting until the end. You’ve been dragging me along all this time, now I’m dragging you along.”

“You’re an idiot.”

“Takes one to know one.”

My stupid joke forces her to look away and crack a smile. I know we’re not in the best of situations, but luck has always managed to be on our side. I’m hoping now isn’t any different because I don’t have a plan other than get out of the city as fast as possible.

Chapter 130 - M.

I lose track of her footsteps, unsure of where she ran off too, stuck in this alleyway. Thirty minutes seems like a really short amount of time, until you’re frozen in place, with somewhere to go. If she runs to the hotel, I’m sure she’s got some tools or something to help her fight. That’ll be my first stop. But would she go to the hotel? There’s a lot of commotion and I’m sure a lot of people saw what happened. I try to wiggle my toes, and nothing. They stay in place; my body has forsaken me.  

“I’ve located one,” I hear a man’s voice but can’t even move my eyes to look to the side.”

He kicks me in the chest and I don’t respond. He laughs and pokes at my body a few times, checks a pulse and laughs some more. I wish I could move, I’d try that heart ripper thing Destiny does sometimes.

“Looks like she took him out. Human shouldn’t have been playing in our world. Never turns out well for them. I’ll fold back into the party.”

“Don’t bother, she’s gotten pretty far,” a voice on the other side of his earpiece. “Rendezvous at the car, we’ll catch up.”

I’m just listening to his footsteps as he leaves. This is becoming all too common for me. I don’t know if it’s been thirty minutes but I haven’t stopped trying to move my body. Damnit, do not fail me. Didn’t I treat you right? Eat enough fruits and vegetables, get some exercise on the regular. This is not my limit, I will not sit here while the love of my life is hunted down because she has some bullshit idea of saving me. I am not a helpless and lost puppy, anymore. I’m more capable than she’s giving me credit for.  

My right arm responds to my demands and instantly becomes my favorite limb. I use it to push my body against the wall and lift up. Standing up lets some blood flow to my legs and perhaps that’s what I needed. My right leg doesn’t respond but I can drag myself with the left. By the time I reach the edge of the alley I can move both legs. If I can just catch him, I can get the earpiece and I can find Destiny.

Do not quit on me, do not fail me. It’s becoming a mantra for me to repeat in my head as I gain ground on him. He’s not even looking; he’ll regret not turning around and looking at me. He turns down an alleyway and I spot the car. There’s a single other vampire watching, no helmet, smoking a cigarette. The sun is down, and they’re much less cautious. This is my chance; I have to force my body to move because I can’t take both at the same time.

I wrap my forearm around his neck and lean back trying to snap it as he begins to fight back. He claws at my eyes, but the gloves that were there to protect him from the sun are protecting me from him. Destiny always made this look so easy, but I just can’t seem snap his neck. Screw it, I just drop to the ground taking his neck with me, and it’s enough to get him to stop struggling. I grab his ear piece and put it in my pocket, I’ll need it to find Destiny. I push myself off the ground as his partner starts to walk towards us. My legs aren’t strong enough and I find myself falling at his feet.

“You little shit,” he approaches me.

I’ve got one move, and I don’t like using it, but it saved me from more than one fight. Long before Destiny showed up, this was my special move. I lunge forward with the little strength my legs have left and jam my fist right in his balls. Not the best move, not the smartest but every man will crumble to it, vampires included. It’s got some extra force since last time I had to do it, but I’m sure he’ll be talking in soprano for a while. I don’t bother trying to finish him, it’s a fight just to make it to the car right now.  

For once, I’m glad someone left the car running. By the time I’m set to pull off the second guy is getting off the ground. I don’t think twice about running him and his buddy over with as much speed as possible. There’s no bone crunching sound, just a bunch of thuds; it won’t kill them, but it’ll give me time to get away and listen in to the pursuit.

I drive towards the direction Destiny ran off to, hoping signs of chaos lead me directly to her. There’s silence coming from the radio, silence in the streets. She may have slipped away from them. No, I heard him say she was on the move earlier. I haven’t heard anything about her being captured or lost. I just need to keep waiting, and searching.

“She’s headed into Bernie’s Pageant,” a voice calls over the radio.

Sounds like I finally have a destination. I remember that place, it was near our hotel room. I step on the gas not really knowing where I’m going, only which direction I’m heading towards. Just hold on for me Destiny, I’m on my way.

Chapter 129 - M.

“I’m so full I could barely walk to the car,” I laugh as we pull out the parking lot.

“I missed this place so much. The food, oh god, the food. New Orleans might have the best food in the world,” Destiny almost sings the words as we head down the street.

Ever since we’ve made it to New Orleans Destiny has been having a great time. Whatever burden she was holding onto back in the cabin seems to have been lifted from her heart. We’ve been laughing, eating and just having fun. Apparently, getting a parade license in New Orleans is pretty easy. We’ve seen a parade just walking by every day for the last four days, and even managed to join in on one. I’m glad to see her smile again. I’m not sure if it’s New Orleans or being close to her family that’s got her excited, but it doesn’t matter.

“Wanna walk through the park? Walk off some of this food.”

“Yeah I wouldn’t mind that.”

“A lot of vampires can’t eat real food anymore. One of the perks to being Adze,” she jokes.

I hate people who drive with their high beams on, it’s not even that dark. I know I’ve got vampire eyes now, but the sun isn’t even down yet so there’s no point in high beams. If your eyes are that bad, catch a bus, and why is he driving so fast?

“Oh shit, Destiny speed up.”

The words leave my mouth but they’re sucked up in the sounds of metal groaning and bending while glass shatters.

For a moment, maybe more I lost consciousness. I open my eyes to us holding on for life as the car slides across the asphalt on the driver’s side. I catch a glimpse of Destiny’s eyes as we slide; panic, confusion, rage, all flash by one at a time.

I awake, upside down latched in by the seatbelt. I don’t spot Destiny in the car and it hurts to move my neck. The first time I’ve felt real pain since I’ve turned. I suppose vampires do feel pain, it just takes a lot to make us feel. My ears are still ringing from the crash even as my vision returns. Unfastening the seatbelt drops me on my head again, but lets me crawl out of the windshield and onto the grass.

I can’t appreciate the moment, as Destiny goes flying past me, embedding herself into a parked car. These aren’t the normal vampire goons. None of the stupid suits they wear, these guys are all wearing matching black gear with bullet proof vests and masks, something I’d expect from an action movie. I stumble to my feet, regaining my equilibrium and rush over towards her unnoticed. I’m not their target, meaning they’re probably sent by the Marson family and not somebody we made an enemy of on the way.

The vampire in front of her lifts a golden dagger, but doesn’t get to plunge it into her before I can plunge one of my nightmares through the back of his neck. Arrogant bastard, who brings a gold knife to a fight? A small amount of blood splatters onto my face, but I’m more concerned with Destiny. She’s awake and prying herself free.

A crowd has gathered and sirens are cutting through the ambiance heading towards us. We could fight, but innocent people might get hurt. We’re not exactly in the best shape to fight. We’re full of food, the car accident scrambled some of my wires and she looks like she looks like they dragged her right out of the wreckage. I thought there were fees for doing this kind of stuff in public but they don’t seem to care.

I snatch her hand and start to pull her through the crowds, “Hey Bluebird, we have to run. Those guys got our weakness,” she slurs the words. “A lot of people don’t know our weakness.”

“Already moving.”

Her words are slurred and for once I’m moving faster than she is. I’m not the only one who got my wires crossed in that accident. We should be healing up, but it’ll still take time. As far as I know, she’s never been hit like that, nor have I. If we were normal, we’d probably be dead. As we duck into an alleyway, I’m glad the crowd has blocked their view and made it hard for them to move. They might be willing to pay the fine for assaulting us in public, revealing vampires and magic to so many people, but they wouldn’t just kill bystanders and make it worse. For that, I’m actually thankful.

I can hear the commotion getting closer after a few minutes, they’re still coming after us. My wounds have already started to heal from the car accident, but a few of Destiny’s haven’t. She’s more coherent now and back to making plans. She thinks the Marsons sent an extermination squad after her, and the best way to survive would be to split up. I know she’s just planning to lead them all away from me, and I can’t accept that plan.

“We could just trap them one at a time and fight them. We if we can expose their flesh, it’ll kill them. The sun isn’t even down yet,” I’m giving every idea I can and she’s waving it off.

Destiny reaches into her pocket, and pulls out lipstick. We’re facing death from vampires trained to kill and she’s putting on lipstick. I’m not a good fighter, I just trained more than most vampires. These guys have trained, and they’re used to their vampiric abilities and they’ve probably got a ton of experience. Why is she checking her hair now?

“How’s my hair look,” she asks.

“Great, you always look great to me.”

“You like the lipstick? I don’t usually wear any, and never blue. I’ve always wanted to, and I thought you might like it.”

“Destiny,” is she still loopy? “I don’t think this is the right time for this.”

“I think it’s perfect.”

Destiny pins me to the wall and kisses me. I give in, my lips and tongue tingle the way I thought they might when we first kissed. The taste of cream soda fills my mouth, my body is warm and light. As she pulls away I open my eyes and realize I’ve slid to the ground.

“It’ll wear off in about thirty minutes, I hope it’s everything you wanted, the flavor was custom. Thanks for loving me Bluebird, like real love. Find you someone that can live a quiet life with no enemies, just promise you’ll never forget me.”

I try yelling at her, I try chasing after her, but my body just won’t move. I can only listen to which way she’s running. I knew she’d do something like this. I’m not letting it end like this.

Chapter 128 - M.

“Nah, I’m having a good time.”

“My piece of crap car really made it that far,” Elias seem surprised.

“Nah, it didn’t make it past Tennessee.”

“You just left my baby?”

“I can get it towed back if you want.”

“Nah, I’m just messing with you. Where you at now?”

“Meridian Mississippi, or close to it. We’ve got a cabin in the woods with a view of a lake.”

“You know you can’t swim. Don’t fall in and make her save you on the honeymoon.”

“I can swim.”

“You can doggy paddle,” he burst out in laughter.

“See, this is that Gemini behavior Charlene is always mentioning.”

“Whatever, I got a date coming over. You aren’t the only one knocking the boots like H-Town.”

“Okay, love you bro.”

“Love you too, and text D’Andre for once. Call the twins, they think you ran away from home.”

“Yeah, okay.”

“Talk to you later.”

I spend the next hour watching Destiny read some old books I probably wouldn’t understand while I speak to the rest of my family. Every now and then she’ll scribble something down, but won’t let me see. Mom is upset that I didn’t invite her to the wedding. She’s extra, she would have made it a whole ordeal if she knew. Dad is same as always, asked when Destiny is going to start popping out babies. I understand why he loves Charlene so much, that’s where he gets his foul mouth from. D’Andre was too busy to talk, said he’d text me later. Ivory and Sage are just glad some monster didn’t eat me.

I’m glad we got some time to relax, put some distance between us and everyone who wants to kill us. There’s nothing to do out here, but also nobody to come after us. Has she been on the run like this nonstop? Is that why she can read a map and I can’t? The three days we’ve been out here is probably the longest I’ve been without internet since we got dial up at the house.

“Hey, I want to show you something,” Destiny calls me to the back porch.

“What you got?”

She hands me a powder blue notebook, “this is my diary, or more of a journal.”

“Why are you giving it to me?”

“It’s got contacts in different cities I’ve been to, how to get a hunter’s license, tips and tricks I’ve learned through life. How to make money in a tight spot, best way to kill different things. It’s like a guide book.”

“But why are you giving it to me?”

“Never know when you might need it.”

“I’ll be good once we get the Marsons off our tail.”

“Yeah, but it’ll be hard for you to go back to a regular life afterwards,” she’s not looking at me.

“Hey, are you planning on leaving me here?”

“Nah, that’s stupid. I’m just saying, it’ll be good to have. You never know.”

“Destiny, look at me,” I take her hand. “I’m with you until the end. Doesn’t matter what we have to do. I told you, I’m not letting you go through life on your own anymore.”

“That’s sweet,” she’s still not looking at me. “Just put it in your little space pocket, magic portal, or whatever you call it.”

“Don’t do something stupid.”

“That’s your role not mine,” she forces a laugh.

I send the book to what I like to think of as my pocket dimension, before she gives me a satisfying nod. I don’t force the issue anymore, I just hug her, and don’t let go. She’s not resisting the hug, but I feel like if I let go, she’ll run away from me. I can keep up now, but I know her and I know I’d be chasing her forever.

“You’re so damn clingy,” she mumbles into my chest.

“But you’re holding me too.”

“You make me weak. So damn weak.”

“Nothing wrong with being weak. You just have to be strong in other categories.”

“Alright, let me go. I promise I won’t disappear.”

I don’t press the issue, I know somethings eating at her. I know she’s planning something. I’ve seen the look in her eyes before. I’ve been left behind before. She’s focused on a goal, and she’s going to accomplish it. I just need to make sure I’m right there when she does.

Chapter 127 - M.

We had to get out of Nashville fast. Nobody came after us that night, or the next day when we were still dropping off kids. We even had a day off spending money we looted from the dead. Destiny got a call from one of her contacts, she made the most wanted list. At least, the most wanted list for targets of vampire houses. I guess there was someone who saw what we did and decided not to try to save their friends, family, klansmen or whatever racist vampires are calling each other. Somehow, neither of us seems to care. We’re together, we’re unbeatable in my mind. All that terrible training, mall wars, getting destroyed by werewolves made me a great fighter, now I’m able to actually see what my opponents are doing, it’s a lot easier. I also don’t feel as bad about killing them, that might make me a bad person; but all of these are self defense kills. I’d be happy just shaking hands but prime vamps seem to have some kind of to the death mentality.

Once we got to Birmingham we tried to check out Hell’s Gate. We didn’t expect to actually find a way to Hell, but we were entirely let down. Our last two outings led to a vampire slave trade and a family of goat people. It was kind of nice knowing nothing crazy has happened in Birmingham. This is supposed to be our honeymoon, even if I never officially said that.

“Hey, there’s supposed to be a vampire that goes out and violently murders people on weekends. Want to check it out? Could be your first chance to see a Talamur vampire because it’s got to be one of them, or a Nachzeher.”

“How about we just go back to the hotel, and see each other. It’s almost midnight.”

“You know, Adze don’t need to sleep. That’s one of our bonuses,” Destiny laughs at me.

“I didn’t say anything about sleeping,” I give her a big smile. “But, I like dreaming anyway.”

Off in the distance I hear a woman screaming for help. “You planned for us to be out here didn’t you? Just sitting here doing nothing. It was a stakeout?”

“You got me, let’s go kill a vampire.”

“You’re a cannibal. A vampire that gets joy from killing other vampires.”

“Really it’s like a wolf fighting a dog. Also, I’m not eating them.”

“Why are you like this?”

“Think we can hit a vampire with a car?”


“Decapitation, destruction of the heart, I’m feeling like switching it up.”

“Then get some holy water or silver bullets.”

“Seatbelts blue bird.”

I’m gripping onto the door handle and using my feet as a brake as she peels through the streets searching for the screams, we circle the block three times before we finally zero in on alleyway. She cuts off the car and we make our way down the long alley. The sounds of a dog lapping up water grows louder as we come closer to the end.

I’ve seen vampires drink blood, but I’ve never seen one chew through the flesh of a person. A vampire in a torn, bloodied white suit that seems to be faded and decades old is gnawing at pieces of a blond woman who has clearly died already. Occasionally he stops to lap at the blood, never truly getting enough to satiate the thirst. The whole scene disgusts me. Destiny and I just buy blood, it’s barely more expensive than gasoline for the amount we need. I know some vampires can’t do that, but that’s why there’s synthetic blood, willing donors, blood agreements and so on. He turns and looks at us, hisses and returns to his kill.

“I know this guy.”


“I don’t personally know him, but he’s the head of a small vampire house. He’s been missing for a few weeks. He was always said to be eccentric, but it seems like he’s lost his mind in age.”

“Remember you theorized Nachzeher might be Primeval vamps that went insane? I think you might be right.”

“At least we don’t have to look forward to that.”

“What do we do with him?”

“We could turn him in for money, but they’d just put him back in control. I think we should kill him.”

“Go for it.”

Destiny quickly snaps his neck back and slits the throat. Not a full decapitation, but enough to kill him. The body falls over and his leg twitches for a few seconds. I was wondering if I stopped caring about killing, but here I am trying to control my shaking as Destiny pulls off. Is it the killing that bothers me or the idea that I may turn out like him?

“Are you good,” Destiny asks as we approach our hotel.

“I didn’t know if I wanted to be a vampire. Being Adze, isn’t bad at all. I drink a little blood every now and then, and I’m good. But, I’m still afraid I might end up like that guy.”

“As far as a I know, Adze haven’t been around long enough for any of us to go insane.”

“But it’s a possibility.”

“Not for tomorrow.”

Chapter 126 - M.

“You know, Andrew Jackson used to be my favorite president,” I tell Desitny as we drive towards his home.

“Really? Andrew Jackson?”

“Yeah, they made him sound so cool in school. The man was in a bunch of battles, and won. He was president, but also, he was in duels. That made him so bad ass.”

“What changed your mind? You thinking America will really let Obama be president?”

“No, a Black man, President of The United States, that’ll never happen,” we share a laugh over the idea. “I stopped liking Andrew Jackson when I learned what a piece of trash he was.”

“I just want to let you know you’re doing great as an Adze already. You’re a few years too late to lead a slave rebellion, but it’s in your heart, and that’s what matters,” she jokes.

As we get closer Andrew Jackson’s house looks exactly how I thought it would. Large, white, all the antebellum South vibes a man could wish for. This was a plantation for sure. If we went around back I’d be willing to bet there were log cabins for slaves, probably called workers, but they used to be slaves. We park towards the end of a heart shaped driveway and I can’t help but laugh to myself. The man who viewed himself as this ultimate cold and calculated machine had a heart shaped driveway.

Inside everything looks old and dated, as if it hadn’t been moved since Andrew Jackson died. More so than that the place feels haunted. Almost as if we shouldn’t be here. The idea of a haunting removes itself from my mind for a much more familiar feeling. We’re the only Black faces, no different than one of the balls we attended in Chicago. I suppose, there’s active malice in the air, but we’ve been here before. I understand why Destiny felt so comfortable in those balls. There’s maybe twenty of them, and just two of us, but I think we could win. They look old, frail, confused and all around pitiful. We came here because Destiny heard there was a vampire gathering that took place here on the weekends, but she was never in Tennessee to partake.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I see we have some first-time faces,” a man in a tuxedo stares directly at us from a small stage. “The thrall auction works like any other. If you see an item you like, you bid on it. Tonight, we have a fine selection of twenty-three thralls. All young, and prepared for decades of servitude. They’re fresh, so they’ll need breaking, but they’ll serve your houses for decades to come and we’ve got enough for almost everyone to leave with a purchase, so be greedy. Don’t forget, no checks, no credit, just cash,” the audience laughs in unison.

I don’t know if I’m more shocked, disgusted or outraged as a I walk twenty-three Black teenagers, chained together at the ankles and wrist. A few still crying, others look enraged, none of them looking as if they belong in chains.

I thought when he said auction, this would be like a fundraiser. An auction where someone offers themselves up for a date. But this is not that. This is full blown depravity, the shame of a nation. Destiny had told me Primeval vamps could be racist, but to think the slave trade is alive and kicking here hadn’t crossed my mind. I’ve never felt rage like this in my life before.

“We’re killing everyone right,” I don’t recognize the words coming from my mouth.

“Except the babies.”

“Excuse me,” a woman next to Destiny sounds shocked.

She doesn’t get a chance to say more because Destiny has already moved to slice her throat open. I haven’t learned to turn my nails into claw, I settle using my nightmares to decapitate the man in front of me. I remember agonizing over the fact that I had killed before. I still remember the faces, and it still bothers me sometimes. In the catacombs, it felt like a life or death thing again, but I didn’t feel bad. This, this feels right. The vampires, don’t scream, but the wails of the teenagers break my heart a little. Their voices sound strained as if they had already been screaming. I expect an army of vampires to enter the room and join the commotion but no more than three do. It doesn’t take long before we’re staring at a group of teenagers, afraid of us. We’re the monsters that just killed the monsters that chained them.

I’m surprised at how easy it is for me to break the shackles with my hands. It doesn’t take long before Destiny and I have set them all free. Let them dine on the food and drinks set out to feed their captives. She searches the perimeter for more, but no reinforcements ever come.

“Are you all from Nashville,” they all nod silently to my question. “Anyone who doesn’t know their address?”

“They’re teenagers, they should know where they live,” Destiny interrupts my questioning.

“Hey, we’re going to get you all home to your families,” I try to assure them.

“They’re not going to trust us. We just came in and killed two dozen people,” Destiny whispers to me.

“We can’t just leave them here.”

“You want to chain them again? Force them in the van out back and drag them around the city until someone takes them?”

“No, but if we leave them here, the same thing is going to happen again.”

“You can take me home,” a girl with purple braid in her hair stops our argument.

“Me too,” a boy adds.

All it takes is one person to speak up before they’re all willing to trust us. There’s this idea that trauma is better at bringing people together than any other bonding factors. We traumatized these kids. We weren’t the worst of it, or the start of it, but we were the end, and that’s part of it. The least we can do is feed them, craft a story to tell their parents, explain any questions they have about vampires. Is this the kind of thing Destiny was doing every week before I came along?