One Wild, Crazy, Zombie Night, Page 3Jessica Sorensen
“I wish I could.” Which is the truth. I rarely get invited to parties, and almost all of my invites are as a plus one for Hunter or Opal. “But I need to find my sister before she does something she’ll regret. Or, well, the living version of her would’ve regretted … I’m not sure zombies really care if they kill.”
“Well, if you change your mind, give me a shout, and I’ll meet you at the front gates with the extra ticket.” She waves at me as she heads out the door. “Good luck finding your zombie.”
“Thanks,” I mumble through a sigh. After she leaves, I sink down onto the bed. “If I were a zombie witch, where would I go?”
Hunter scoops up his wand from off the floor. “Maybe to create other zombie witches.”
“You think she can do that?” I ask, fully aware that neither of us has mentioned anything about my trickery seductive skills I’ve been using on him. Unknowingly, of course, but still …
“I’m not sure.” He examines his wand then pulls a face as he plucks off a bit of flesh off the tip. “Since zombies can create other zombies, I’m guessing she can.”
“Well, that’s not good.” My gaze falls to the floor where a card is laying. What the heck is that?
“No, it’s not.” He wipes his wand on the side of his pant leg. “Man, zombie’s shed a lot.”
“Yes, they do,” I agree as I flick a flake of flesh out of my way and pluck up the card. “What is this?” I turn the card over and read the back. Crap. It’s a note to Ryleigh, and I think I know who it’s from. “Holy mother of all brain-hungry zombies, I think I know where she went and what she might be doing.”
“What is that?” Hunter asks, and I hand him the card. He skim-reads the back then shakes his head. “This isn’t good.”
“Yeah, I know.” I stand to my feet and hurry out the door.
“Wait! Where are you going?” he calls after me.
“To stop Peyton before she leaves, so I can get into the freak show and save Ryleigh,” I shout back, anger slamming through my veins.
I’m not pissed off because Ryleigh wandered off. I’m angry at who put the idea in her head. Sure, the card wasn’t signed, but only one person—or should I say demon—would say my head was full of rainbow trout.
I make it two whole steps out the door before Hunter seizes the back of my shirt and drags me back into my room.
“There is no way in hell you’re leaving this house.” He circles his arms around my waist and secures me in his arms. “It’s too dangerous.”
“Yeah, well, it’s dangerous for Ryleigh to be out there.” I throw my weight forward, trying to escape.
It’s a really pointless attempt, though. He easily keeps me trapped against him.
“I’m not just going to let her wander around town,” he tells me. “I’m going to have some of the society members hunt her down.”
I laugh hollowly. “Great choice of words, because that’s exactly what they’ll do. Hunt her. Kill her. Burn her at the stake. Or chop off her head. I’m not really sure how one kills a witch zombie.”
“They won’t kill her,” he insists. “I’ll make sure of that.”
“Even if that’s true, which it’s not, someone else is going to end up killing her if they find her first.” Tears sting my eyes. “People are afraid of zombies. And usually, when people fear things, they want to eliminate them first and ask questions later. And even if they did ask questions, like say, who the zombie used to be, they wouldn’t care. All they’d see is a brain-hungry monster.”
His arms constrict tighter around me as he places a soft kiss on the side of my head. “Look, I know you’re worried about her, but there has to be a better way to deal with this. One that doesn’t require you putting yourself in danger.”
I freeze as he kisses the side of my head again. What in the wild, wild, giggling sprites is he doing? Wait, I bet I’m succubussing him again … Or whatever the hell you call the use of succubus powers.
I open my mouth to tell him to snap out of it, when a card flutters down from the ceiling and lands square between my eyes, giving me a close view of the name signed on the card: From, Sexy Max.
I roll my eyes as the card floats to the floor. Did he seriously sign “Sexy” before his name? What a dork.
“Damn demon mail,” I mutter, slipping from Hunter’s arms to collect the note. “How is he even getting these past the charms?”
“I’m not sure, but I’m going to have Opal put up some more.” He leans over my shoulder to read the note then curls his hands into fists. “No fucking way. I can’t even believe he has the nerve to think that’ll happen.”
I swallow hard and read over the note, seeing what’s getting his boxers all up in a bunch.
My little rainbow trout,
I’m not sure if you understood the first note I gave to your little zombie witch fake sister, so let me spell this out to you in a way your pretty rainbow eyes can understand. If you ever want to see Ryleigh again, you’ll come to the freak show tonight. I’ll be in the bright red tent in the center. Meet me there when the clock chimes midnight, come alone, and don’t be late, or else all hell will break loose.
My hands shake as I clutch the card. “Hunter, you have to let me do this. If you don’t, I’ll never be able to forgive myself … or you.” I might sound like a bitchy witch for adding the last part, but he needs to understand how upset I’ll be if I allow zombie witch Ryleigh to die.
“It’s a setup,” he says. “You do realize that, right?”
I twist around in his arms to face him. “It probably is, but I don’t think he’s going to just hand me over to the demons and let them feed on me.”
His brow crooks. “How can you be so sure? He’s a demon, Eva. And demons are evil.”
“I’m a demon,” I say quietly, my voice cracking as I speak the brutal truth aloud. “I’m actually a lot of things.”
He releases me, but only to mold his palm to my cheek. “Sweetheart, you may have some demon’s blood inside you, but there’s not a single bad bone in your body.”
“You don’t know that for sure.” I try to look away, but he gently presses against my cheek and forces me to carry his gaze.
“Yes, I do.” He sounds like he believes his words. “You also see too much good in people, which is why I can’t let you meet Max.”
“You’re not the boss of me,” I say.
His lips quirk, and I want to smack him. Well, sort of.
“Stop laughing at me.”
“I’m not.” He totally sounds like he is.
“You are, too.”
“Are not.” He skims his thumb across my cheek. “I just think you’re adorable. That’s all.”
I blast a dirty look at him. “Kittens are adorable. Strange, hybrid demons with freaky rainbow eyes aren’t.”
“Yes, they are.” He grazes his finger across my cheekbone again, and my eyes stupidly flutter. “See? Adorable.”
“I …” I shake my head, knowing he’s speaking to the succubus inside me, not me, per se. “You know what? I don’t have time for this.” I step back, and he captures ahold of my hand. “Hunter, will you stop it? I know Max won’t turn me over to the demons. He already stole me once and just took me to his lair. However, I am pretty sure he’ll kill my sister if I don’t show up.”
“You may think he was just going to leave you in his lair the last time he took you, but who knows what he would’ve done if Opal and I hadn’t shown up.” He clutches my hand as if he thinks I’m going to flee.
He’s a smart, little wizard, that one, because I totally would.
“I get what you’re saying—I really do—but …” I try to stay calm. “But I’m pretty sure Max might’ve been the one who killed Ryleigh to begin with. And now he’s threatening to kill her again. I can’t let him get away with this. And I can’t let him kill her … again.”
“And I can’t let you get hurt. Not only is it part of my job, but the idea of losing
you fucking scares the shit out of me.”
“That could just be because I’m part succubus. Maybe, if you give us some space, my power will wear off of you and you’ll be able to think more clearly.”
His eyes narrow to slits. “That’s not what this is about.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Yes,” he answers without missing a beat.
“Well, still … I …” I stomp my foot. Yes, like a child. But I need to leave before it’s too late. “Hunter, please, just let me do this. I need to.”
He shakes his head firmly. “No.”
Gah, curse his stubbornness. Seriously, I’m one step away from intentionally using my succubus powers on him.
I may have to, if I could figure out how to use them, anyway. Then Peyton interrupts as she materializes in the doorway.
“Oh, my crazy faeries, will you two stop bickering like a bunch of old wizards?” she says. “There’s a pretty easy solution to your problem.”
“Which is?” Hunter asks, protectively pulling me closer to his side.
A smile curls at her lips. “Vampire blood.”
Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking at this point. Is Eva really going to turn into a vampire just so she can save her fake, dead sister? If that were the case, if that was the only way I could save her, the answer would be yes. Ryleigh may have pretended to be my fake sister, but the emotional connection I felt toward her still resides inside my body.
I can’t let the society kill her. I can’t let her become a killer. I need to help her somehow.
Fortunately, going all vamp isn’t what Peyton meant.
See, here’s the deal with vampire blood that not a lot of people know. If someone simply takes a little taste, they get unlimited vampire power for a temporary amount of time, which means super strength, freakishly good hearing, lightning quick speed, and badass ninja moves. There’s only one tiny problem with this awesome plan. And by problem, I mean a very broody, stubborn, controlling, albeit sexy wizard.
“No way,” Hunter says, shaking his head. “If she dies while the blood’s in her system, then she’ll be one of you.”
“Dude, what is with all the ‘no ways’ today?” I ask, gaping at him. “And when did you get so controlling? You sure as hell weren’t like this a week ago when things were normal.”
“Exactly.” He steps closer to me, and I have to tip my chin up to meet his eyes. “A week ago, things were normal. A week ago, a town full of demons wasn’t after your power. A week ago, you didn’t have some damn perverted demon trying to screw you.”
“Screw me?” I shake my head. “You mean, screw with me.”
“No, I mean screw you.” He rolls his eyes at my expression, which I’m sure can only be described as idiotically stupid. Then he leans in and lowers his voice. “Whether you believe it or not, there’s been a ton of guys who have wanted you and still do. And that’s been fine in the past—it’s not like you ever paid attention to any of them. But when it’s a demon—a cocky, douchebag demon, for that matter—it makes me worry.”
“Is there really any other sort of demon besides cocky, douches?” I joke, totally missing the mark.
He frowns. “You’re not. But other than that, no.”
“Maybe I would be if I knew how to use my demon power,” I suggest, crossing my arms.
The room grows silent for a beat before both Peyton and Hunter bust up laughing,
“Can you imagine a cocky Eva?” Peyton says through her tears of laughter.
Hunter continues to laugh. “That’d be like Troy suddenly becoming humble.”
They give each other a high-five.
Well, at least they’re bonding. Granted, it’s over making fun of me, but whatever.
“Fine. Laugh all you want. I’ve got some vampire blood to drink and a freak show to get to.” I turn to leave, when Hunter folds his fingers around my arm. “Let me go. I’m going to do this whether you like it or not. I’ll put a sleepy spell on you if I have to.” If that isn’t an empty threat, I don’t know what is.
A sleepy spell? Really, Eva? Hunter knows you can’t do those.
His grip loosens a smidgeon. “Look, I get that you want to do this, but I can’t let you go alone. And while I’m confident in my magic skills, if we get ambushed by a group of demons, I won’t be able to protect you.”
“You could always drink the vampire blood, too.” Peyton smirks when Hunter targets her with a fuck-you look. “That is, unless you’re too scared your perfect wizard blood will get tainted by my nasty, toxic, more powerful blood.”
“That’s not what I’m afraid of,” Hunter all but growls.
Peyton raises her brows, her eyes sparkling mischievously. “Then what’s the problem?”
He grits his teeth. “I guess there isn’t one.”
“Really?” I say then throw my arms around Hunter. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
He hugs me back tightly. “But you have to promise me one thing.”
“Name it, and it’s yours,” I say, letting my arms fall from him.
“If at any time, things look too dangerous, we bail out.” He tucks a strand of hair behind my ear. “And, under no circumstances are you to go anywhere with Max. You will stay near me at all times and make no deals with that devil of an asshole.”
I nod, though it feels like a lie.
Because, deep down, I know I’ll go with Max if it means saving Ryleigh.
Tick tock. Tock, tock. Tick … Tick … tick …
“What the hell is wrong with that clock?” I mutter as I make my way down the cobblestone streets of Mystic Willow Bay.
God, I hate this place, even more so than the Faerie Realm, which I’ve been to twice—not by choice, of course. Both times I was there, I was force fed a lot of pastries, and it took me at least five times of washing my clothes to get all the glitter off. Seriously, the fey have issues with glitter. I’ve even seen them eat it a couple of times.
That doesn’t mean I entirely despise them. They have their purposes. Like tonight, for instance, I’m seeking the help of a faerie. Well, pretending to seek her help, anyway. Really, I’m trying to prove a point, not to myself, but to Eva. My point being: never trust anyone.
I just wish I didn’t have to go through such extreme measures to lure Eva out of her overly charmed house. Seriously, I don’t know what the deal is with putting so many charms up. It makes it too complicated for demons like me to get in and take Eva. And I hate complications. Which, if I don’t hurry my ass up, I’m going to end up having too many on my hands.
My boots thud against the ground as I quicken my pace. I’m wearing my normal, I’m-just-an-average-guy look: black jeans and a black shirt topped off with leather bands on my wrists. The only color I have on is the silver metal of my facial piercings. Which is good. It’s dark enough that, if I need to hide, all I have to do is run into the trees and I’d blend in with the night. Sure, there are very little creatures I’d actually run away from, but a few particular demons do have a bit more power than me. One in particular being the big boss in charge of the underground tunnels. You know, the ones where all the dead bodies are being trafficked.
He also wants to get his grimy hands on Eva, either to feed off her power or for a more sinister reason. I haven’t figured out his exact motive yet. Me, I want Eva for a different reason, but my motive is also sinister.
If you’re freaking out at this point, I don’t know why. I’m a demon. What did you expect me to say? That I’m doing all of this to protect Eva?
Anyway, back to the present. I’m currently heading to meet up with a faerie before going to the freak show to meet Eva.
The town clock sounds like a dying time machine, and tons of vampires, werewolves, witches, and wizards surround me. I’m unsure if they’re all going to the freak show or simply wandering around town. I find it amusing how oblivious they all are to the dan
gers present everywhere. Like, for example, on the corner of the street is a boarded-up building. Behind the boards is a bar strictly for demons only. Inside that bar, demons are plotting to ambush the freak show, simply out of bitterness for not being invited. Amateurs.
The first rule of an ambush is to always have a good purpose.
Another posing threat to the town are the demons currently tucked away underground. And they have a bigger plan in store for Mystic Willow Bay. I just don’t know what yet.
The most current threat to the town lies a few feet ahead of me. And that is the blond-haired, pale-skinned, rotting flesh zombie staggering through the mob of people.
Ryleigh, Eva’s fake sister turned zombie, looks positively hungry as she eyeballs the citizens around her. Blood is dripping from her brain-hungry gaze, a bit of drool drips from her lips, and her dress is covered in dirt, which leaves me wondering what she was doing before she got here.
Normally, if I spotted a zombie about to unleash their brain lust on Mystic Willow Bay, I’d grab a bottle of whiskey, sit back, and watch the scene unfold. But I need this particular zombie not to have any brains on her hands for the time being—at least brains from someone she’s killed. Otherwise, my plan won’t work. So, before she can devour the chubby, old wizard she’s eyeballing, I hurry up and grab her arm.
She reels around, fixing her red eyes on me and nipping her teeth.
“Easy.” I pet her head to calm her down because, believe it or not, zombies love being pet.
She leans into my touch, but her eyes are full of panic. “Gah, argh, oooo?” she mutters a bunch of incoherent noises. Fortunately, I’m fluent in zombie.
“I’m Max,” I tell her. “The person who saved your body from being trafficked by demons.”
A single tear of blood drips from her eyes. “Oooo …”
Poor zombie. She looks so confused and upset.