Monday, March 4, 2019
Night World : Secret Vampire Chapter 12
Poppy was craft there on the white velvet lining, eyes shut. She looked truly pale and strangely beautiful- further was she dead? put forward up, pile say. He put his business deal on hers.Phillip had the intenting that he was c eaching with his perspicacity as well as his voice.There was an agonizingly long minute while no matter happened. crowd put his another(prenominal) hand under Poppys neck, lifting her meet slightly. Poppy, its time.Wake up. Wake up.Poppys eyelashes flutte scarlet.Something jarred violently in Phillip. He treasured togive a yell of mastery and pound the grass. He alsowanted to run port. Fin all(prenominal)y he unspoiled collapsed by thegraveside, his knees giving pop alto mendher. scrape on, Poppy. Get up. We excite to go. mobwas communicate in a gentle, insistent voice, as if he weretalking to someone plan of attack bug out of anesthesia.Which was precisely how Poppy looked. As Philwatched with fascination and awe and dread, sheblinked an d rolled her capitulum a little, then opened her eyes. She shut them again more or less immediately, entirelyJames went on talking to her, and the next time she opened them they stayed open.Then, with James urging her gently, she sit up. Poppy, Phil said. An involuntary outburst. His chest was swelling, burning.Poppy looked up, then squinted and turned immediately from the beam of the flashlight. She lookedannoyed.Come on, James said, helping her out of theopen half of the casket. It wasnt hard Poppy was small. With James attri ande her arm, she s homogeneouswised on theclosed half of the casket, and Phil reached into the hole and pulled her up.Then, with something exchangeable a convulsion,hehugged her.When he pulled back, she blinked at him. A slightfrown puckered her forehead. She licked her indexfinger and drew the wet finger across his cheek.Youre filthy, she said.She could talk. She didnt have red eyes and achalky attend. She was really alive.Weak with relief, Phil hug ged her again. Oh, God,Poppy, youre okay. Youre okay.He barely noticed that she wasnt petting himback.James scrambled out of the hole. How do you face, Poppy? he said. Not a politeness. A quiet, probing question.Poppy looked at him, and then at Phillip. I feelfine.Thats good, James said, mollify watching her as ifshe were a six-hundred-pound schizophrenic gorilla.I feelhungry, Poppy said, in the same pleasant, musical voice shed employ in the lead.Phil blinked.why dont you come oer here, Phil? James said, making a gesture bottomland him.Phil was beginning to feel very uneasy. Poppy was could she besmellinghim? Not loud, wet sniffs, plainly the cushy little sniffs of a cat. She was nosingaround his shoulder.Phil, I pretend you should come around over here, James said, with more emphasis. entirely what happenednext happened too quickly for Phil even to startmoving. excellent hands clenched like steel around his biceps. Poppy smiled at him with very sharp odontiasising, the ndarted like a striking cobra for his throat.Im going to die, Phil thought with a curious calm.He couldnt fight her. merely her first strike missed. Thesharp teeth grazed his throat like two burning pokers.No, you dont, James said. He looped an arm around Poppys waist, lifting her aside Phil.Poppy gave a disappointed wail. As Phil struggled to his feet, she watched him the way a cat watchesan interesting insect. Never taking her eyes gain him,not even when James spoke to her.Thats your brother, Phil. Your twin brother. Remember?Poppy comely stared at Phil with hugely dilated pupils.Phil realized that she looked not only pale and beautiful simply dazed and starving.My brother? single of our cast? Poppy said,soundingpuzzled. Her nostrils quivered and her lipsparted. He doesnt smell like it.No, hes,not one of our kind, precisely hes not forbiting, some(prenominal). Youre going to have to wait in effect(p) a littlewhile to feed. To Phillip, he said, Lets get this hole filled in, fast.Phillip couldnt move at first. Poppywas stillwatching him in that romancey but intense way. Shestood there in the loathsomeness in her best white dress, supple as a lily, with her h air outcloth goaround her face.And she looked at him with the eyes of a jaguar.She wasnt human anymore. She was somethingother.Shed said it herself, she and James were ofone kind and Phil was something different. She belonged to the Night World straight off.Oh, God, maybe we should just have let her die,Phil thought, and picked up a shovel with loose and trembling hands. James had already gotten the chapeau back on the vault. Phil shoveled dirt on it withoutlooking at where it landed. His head wobbled as ifhis neck were a pipe cleaner.Dont be anidiot, avoice said, and hard fingersclosed on Phils wrist joint briefly. Through a blur, Philsaw James.Shes not better off dead. Shes just heterogeneous rightnow. This istemporary,all right?The run-in were brusque, but Phil felt a tiny surgeof c omfort. by chance James was right. Life was good,in whatever form. And Poppy had chosen this.Still, shed changed, and only time would tellhow much.One thing-Phil had made the mistake of thinkingthat vampires were like humans. Hed gotten so comfortable with James that hed about forgotten theirdifferences.He wouldnt conduct that mistake again.Poppy felt wonderful-in almost all way.She felt secret and strong. She felt poetic and full of possibility. She felt as if shed sloughed off her old consistence like a snake shedding its skin, to reveal a fresh new body underneath.And she knew, without being quite sure how sheknew, that she didnt have give the bouncecer.It was gone, the terrible thing that had been running wild inside her. Her new body had killed it andabsorbed it somehow. Or maybe it was just that every cell that made up Poppy North, every molecule,had changed.However It was, she felt vibrant and healthy. Notjust better than she had before shed gotten the cancer, but better than she could remember opinion inher lifetime. She was strangely aware of her own body,and her muscles and joints all faceed to be workingin a way that was sweet and almost magical.The only task was that she was hungry. It wastaking all her will advocator not to pounce on the blondguy in the hole.Phillip.Her brother.Sheknewhe was her brother, but he was alsohuman and she could sense therichstuff, lush with life, that was coursing through his veins. The electrifying tranquil she indispensable to survive.So jump him, part of her mind whispered. Poppyfrowned and tried to jiggle away from the thought.She felt something in her mouth nudging her lowerlip, and she poked her thumb at it instinctively.It was a tooth. A delicate curving tooth. Both hercanine teeth were long and pointed and verysensitive.How weird. She rubbed at the new teeth gently,then cautiously explored them with her tongue. Shepressed them against her lip.After a moment they shrank to usual size. If shethought a bout humans full of blood like berries, theygrew again.Hey, look what I can dot merely she didnt bother the two grimy boys whowere picking in the hole. She glanced around and triedto distract herself instead.Strange-it didnt really seem to be either day ornight.-Maybe there was an eclipse. It was too dim tobe daytime, but faraway too bright for nighttime. Shecould see the leaves on the maple trees and the graySpanish moss hanging from the oak trees. Tiny mothswere to-do around the moss, and she could seetheir pale wings.When she looked at the sky, she got a shock. There was something floating there, a giant round thing thatblazed with euphonous light. Poppy thought of spaceships,of alien gentlemans, before she realized the truth.It was themoon.Just an ordinary full moon. Andthe reason it looked so big and pound with lightwas that she had night vision. That was why shecould see the moths, too. every(prenominal) her senses were keen. Delicious smells waftedby her, the smells of small burrowing animals andfluttering tight-laced birds. On the wind came a tantalizing hint of rabbit.And she couldhearthings. Once she whipped herhead around as a dog barked right beside her. Then she realized that it was far away, outside the cemetery. It only sounded close.Ill bet I can run fast, too, she thought. Her legsfelt tingly. She wanted to go running out into the amiable, gloriously-scented night, to be one with it.She waspartof it now.James,she said. And the strange thing was that shesaid it without saying it out loud. It was somethingshe knew how to do without thinking.James looked up from his shoveling.Hang on,hesaid the same way.Were almost done, kiddo.Then youll teach me to hunt?He nodded, just slightly. His hair was falling overhis forehead and he looked adorably grubby. Poppyfelt as if shed never really seen him before-becausenow she was seeing him with new senses. Jameswasnt just silky brown hair and indefinite gray eyesand a lithe-muscled body. He was the sme ll of winterrain and the sound of his predators heartbeat andthe smooth-spokeny aura of power she could feel around him. She could sense his mind, lean and tiger-tough but somehow gentle and almost wistful at the same time.Were track smoothen partners now,she told him eagerly,and he smiled an acknowledgment. But underneath she felt that he was worried. He was either sad or anxious about something, something he was writeing from her.She couldnt think about it. She didnt feel hungryanymore she felt strange. As if she was having trouble getting full air.James and Phillip were shaking out the tarps, unrolling strips of fresh sod to cover the grave. Hergrave. fishy she hadnt really thought about thatbefore. Shed been lying in a grave-she ought tofeel repulsed or scared.She didnt. She didnt remember being in there atall-didnt remember anything from the time shedfallen torpid in her bedroom until shed woken upwith James nominateing her.Except a dream Okay, James said. He was foldin g up a tarp. We can go. Howre you feeling?Ummm. . a little weird. I cant get a deepbreath.Neither can I, Phil said. He was breathing hardand wiping his forehead. I didnt know grave digging was such hard work.James gave Poppy a searching look. Do you thinkyou can make it back to my apartment?Hmm? I guess. Poppy didnt actually know whathe was talking about. ready it how? And why shouldgoing to his apartment help her to breathe?Ive got a couple of unspoilt donors there in the building, James said. I dont really want you out on thestreets, and I think youll make it there okay.Poppy didnt ask what he meant. She was having trouble thinking clearly.James wanted her to hide in the backseat of hiscar. Poppy refused. She needed to sit up front and tofeel the night air on her face.Okay, James said at last. But at least sort ofcover your face with your arm. Ill drive on backroads. Youcantbe seen, Poppy.There didnt seem to be anyone on the streets tosee her. The air whipping her cheeks was co ol andgood, but it didnt help her breathing. No matter howshe tried, she couldnt seem to get a proper breath.Im hyperventilating, she thought. Her heart wasracing, her lips and tongue felt parchment-dry. And still she had the feeling of being air-starved.Whatshappening to me?Then the upset started.Agonizing seizures in her muscles-like the crampsshe used to get when she went out for track in juniorhigh. Vaguely, through the pain, she rememberedsomething the P.E. teacher had said.Thecrampscomewhen your muscles dont get enough blood. A charley horseis a clump of muscles starving to death.Oh, ithurt.It hurt.She couldnt even call to James for help, now all she could do was hang on to thecar verge and try to breathe. She was whooping andwheezing, but it wasnt any good.Cramps everywhere-and now she was so dizzythat she saw the world through sparkling lights.She. was dying. Something hadgone terriblywrong. She felt as if she were underwater, tryingdesperately to claw her way to type O-on ly therewas nooxygen.And then she saw the way.Or smelled it, actually. Thecar was stopped at a redlight. Poppys head and shoulders were out the windowby now-and suddenly she caught a whiff of life.Life.What she needed. She didnt think, she simplyacted. With one motion she threw the car admittance open and plunged out.She heard Phils shout behind her and Jamessshout in her head. She ignored both of them. Nothing mattered except stopping the pain.She grabbed for the man on the sidewalk the waya drowning swimmer grabs at a rescuer. Instinctively. He was tall and strong for a human. He was wearinga dark sweatsuit and a bomber jacket. His face wasstubbly and his skin wasnt exactly clean, but thatwasnt important. She wasnt interested in the con tainer, only in the lovely sticky red stuff inside.This time her strike was perfectly accurate. Herwonderful teeth extended like claws and stabbed intothe mans throat. Puncturing him like one of thoseold-fashioned bottle openers. He struggled a l ittle and then went limp.And then she was drinking, her throat drenched in copper-sweetness. simple animal hunger took over as she tapped his veins. The liquid filling her mouthwas wild and raw and primal and every swallow gaveher new life.She drank and drank, and felt the pain disappear.In its place was a euphoric lightness.When she paused to breathe, she could feel her lungs swell withcool, blessed air.She set to drink again, to suck, lap, tipple. Theman had a clear bubbling stream inside him, and shewanted it all.That was when James pulled her head back.He spoke both aloud and in her mind and his voicewas collected but intense. Poppy, Im sorry. Im sorry.It was my fault. I shouldnt have made you wait solong. But youve had enough now. You can stop.Ohconfusion. Poppy was peripherally aware of Phillip, her brother Phillip, looking on in horror. James said shecouldstop, but that didnt mean she had to. She didntwantto. The man wasnt fightingat all now. He seemed to be unconscious.She bent down again. James pulled her back upalmost roughly.Listen, he said. His eyes were level, but his voicewas hard. This is the time you can choose, Poppy.Do youreallywant to kill?The words shock her back to awareness. To killthat was the way to get power, she knew. Bloodwas power and life and talent and food and drink.If she drained this man like squeezing an orange, shewould have the power of his very essence. Whoknew what she might be able to do then?Buthe was a man, not an orange. A humanbeing. Shed been one of those once.Slowly, reluctantly, she lifted herself off the man.James let out a long breath. He patted her shoulderand sat down on the sidewalk as if too tired to stand up right then.Phil was slumped against the wall of the more or lessestbuilding.He was appalled, and Poppy could feel it. She couldeven pick up words he was thinking-words likeghastly andamoral.A whole sentence that went something likeIs it worth it to save her life if shes lost her soul?James jerked aro und to look at him, and Poppy couldfeel the silver flare of his anger. You just dont get it,do you? he said savagely. She could have attackedyou anytime, but she didnt, even though she wasdying. You dont know what the bloodlust feels like.Its not like being thirsty-its like suffocating. Your cells start to die from oxygen starvation, because your own blood cant carry oxygen to them. Its the worst painthere is, but she didnt go after you to make it stop.Phillip looked staggered. He stared at Poppy, thenheld out a hand uncertainly.Im sorry..Forget it, James said shortly. He turned his backon Phil and examined the man. Poppy could feel himextend his mind. Im telling him to forget this, hesaid to Poppy. All he needs is some rest, and he might as well do that right here. See, the woundsare already healing.Poppy saw, but she couldnt feel happy. She knewPhil still disapproved of her. Not just for somethingshed done, but for what shewas.Whats happened to me?she asked James, throwingherself into his arms. Have I turned into something awful?He held her fiercely.Youre just different. Not awful. Phils a jerk.She wanted to laugh at that. But she could feel atremor of sadness behind his protective love. It wasthe same anxious sadness shed sensed in him earlier.James didnt like being a predator, and now hedmade Poppy one, too. Their plan had succeeded brilliantly-and Poppy would never be the old PoppyNorth again.And although she could hear his thoughts, itwasnt exactly like the total incoming when theydexchanged blood. They might not ever have that togetherness again.There wasnt any other choice, Poppy. saidstoutly, and she said it aloud. We did what we hadto do. Now we have to make the best of it.Youre a bravegirl.Did I ever tell you that?No. And if you did, I dont mind hearing it again.But they drove to Jamess apartment building in silence, with Phils depression weighing hard inthe backseat.Look, you can take the car back to your house,James said as he unloaded the equi pment and Poppys clothes into his carport. I dont want to bringPoppy anywhere near there, and I dont want toleave her alone.Phil glanced up at the dark two-story building asif something had just struck him. Then he cleared histhroat. Poppy knew why-Jamess apartment was anotorious place, and shed never been allowed to visitit at night. Apparently Phil still had some brotherlyconcern for his vampire sister. You, uh, cant justtake her to your parents house?How many propagation do I have to explain? No, I canttake her to my parents, because my parents dont knowshes a vampire. salutary at the moment shes an illegalvampire, a renegade, which means shes got to be kept a secret until I can straighten things outsomehow.How- Phil stopped and shake his head. Okay.Not tonight. Well talk about it later.No, we wont, James said harshly. Youre nota part of this anymore. Its up to Poppy and me. All you need to do is go back and live your normal lifeand keep your mouth shut.Phil started to say some thing else, then caughthimself. He took the keys from James. Then he looked at Poppy.Im glad youre alive. I love you, he said.Poppy knew that he wanted to-hug her, but something kept both of them back. There was an emptiness in Poppys chest.Bye, Phil, she said, and he got in the car and left.