One Wild, Crazy, Zombie Night, Page 4Jessica Sorensen
What? I have a soft spot for the walking dead, okay?
“Don’t worry; I’m going to take care of you.” For now, anyway. “I just need to make sure your master isn’t looking for you.” The last thing I need is for a zombie master to show up right now. Seriously, those dudes are more batshit crazy than demons, which is saying a lot.
She sways her head from side to side, and I take that as a no.
“Do you know who turned you?” I ask, because I sure as hell don’t. I have a suspicion Eva is going to think it was me. Just like she thinks I killed Ryleigh.
Ryleigh shakes her head again, another drop of blood falling from her eye.
While blood usually represents hunger in a zombie, I have the strangest feeling she might be crying. Odd, since zombies rarely show emotion.
“Come with me,” I tell Ryleigh, looping my arm through hers.
She grunts something about wanting to know where we’re going as she trudges along beside me.
“Well, first we’re going to feed you, and then I’m going to take you to see Eva,” I tell her as I guide her down the sidewalk.
She shakes her head and stops walking, babbling about not wanting to see Eva, that she’ll hurt her.
“You’ll be fine after you eat,” I assure her. “And I know the best place to get some zombie fine dining without all the hassle of killing someone. How does that sound?”
“Gahhh …” She opens her mouth, her eyes dripping with blood tears of hunger.
“Good, then let’s get going.” I start walking again, and she stumbles along with me. “We need to hurry, though.” I flick a glance at the watch on my wrist, since the town clock’s hands are currently spinning backward. “Because, after you eat and before we meet Eva, I need to have a little chat with a faerie traitor.”
“I feel stupid for even trying to dress up,” I whine as I stand in the middle of the attic, letting Peyton give my hair one final tease.
An attic for a bedroom doesn’t look as nearly bad as it sounds. Well, except for the dust on the beams, the bat hanging out in the window, and the coffin perched against the wall.
“You shouldn’t feel stupid. You look great.” She sets the comb down and steps in front of me to assess my getup. “Totally freak show worthy.”
“And that’s a good thing?” I ask, frowning doubtfully at the short, lace-trimmed dress I’m wearing. The look is topped off with a long, ankle-length over-shirt, knee-high socks, and platform shoes.
Peyton actually wanted me to sport heels, but I told her that, unless she secretly wished for me to face dive down the stairway, we should probably stick to simpler shoes. Platforms were our compromise.
After the outfit, she worked on my hair, curling and teasing. Then she put a dab of lip-gloss on and some eyeliner then singsonged a ta-da, as if revealing a princess.
I don’t feel like a princess, though. At all. I feel like a freak, which I guess, considering where we’re going, is fitting.
“Now all we need is a bit of vampire blood.” She opens her mouth and lifts her arms, preparing to sink her teeth into her flesh.
“Wait.” I reach out to stop her. “What about Hunter?”
“Crap, I was hoping you’d forget about him,” she teases. Well, sort of.
“You thought I’d forget about my best friend who’s about to drink vampire blood for me?” I question, readjusting the velvet choker that’s around my neck.
She shrugs. “A vampire can hope, right? Besides, aren’t you two sort of fighting because he’s been lying to you about your friendship and about being in that stupid Mystic Willow Bay Society thing. Which, FYI, I have to say, is only full of complete control freaks who want to control everyone in this town.”
“I think they try to protect it, too,” I say. “At least, that’s what I’ve been told.”
“Well, maybe you shouldn’t believe everything you’ve been told.” She picks up a tube of lipstick from off the dresser. “From what I’ve heard, the society has all sorts of hidden agendas, starting with eliminating all the creatures they deem evil.”
“Where did you hear that?”
“I’ve heard people whispering.” She lightly taps her ear then removes the cap from the lipstick tube and reapplies a coat to her lips.
“About what exactly?” I wonder if Hunter, Opal, and Ryleigh know anything. Are they still keeping secrets from me?
Well, except for Ryleigh. Right now, she couldn’t even tell me anything if she wanted to.
“What do you think—”
Knock. Knock. Knock.
“Are you ready to go yet?” Hunter asks. “It’s getting late.”
Rolling her eyes, Peyton crosses the room and throws open the door. “You know, for someone who didn’t even want to go, you sure are impatient about being late.”
“I’m not impatient. I was just hoping maybe Eva changed her mind …” He trails off as his gaze finds me. Then his Adam’s apple bobs as he swallows hard.
“What?” Feeling self-conscious, I wrap my arms around myself as his gaze drags up and down my body. “Why are you looking at me like that?”
“Because,” is all he says as he steps toward me. “You look …” He struggles for words as he stops in front of me, still eyeballing me like I’m some curiously strange creature he’s never seen before.
“Freaky?” I offer.
He shakes his head. “No, not really.”
“Well, then Peyton failed big time,” I tell him. “I think she was going for freaky …” I trail off as he folds his fingers around my wrists. Then he moves my arms away from me, and angles his head to the side as he meticulously studies me.
“I like this look on you. I mean, you always look pretty.” His lips quirk, and I roll my eyes. “But this is …” He sinks his teeth into his bottom lip. “I don’t even think there’s a word for it.”
“I think it’s called succubussing or something like that.” Wiggling my wrists from his grip, I step back.
Hunter stares me down hard. “That’s not what this is about.”
“Yes, it is. You just don’t realize it.” I start to move around him, but he sidesteps me, blocking my way. Then he backs me up until I’m trapped between the wall and him.
“You want to know how I know I’m not being controlled by your powers?” he asks, and I nod. Without removing his gaze from mine, he reaches inside the collar of his shirt and reveals a necklace attached to a glass vial filled with a glittery purple liquid. “You know what this is, right?”
I nod, swallowing hard. “Love potion repellent.”
“Also known as succubus repellent,” he tells me. “Which means that, while I’m wearing it, I’m immune to the sexual charms of a succubus.”
“How long have you been wearing it?”
“Ever since Tina Marrienale slipped some love potion into my drink.”
“But that was, like, three years ago.”
He gives me a pressing look. “Exactly.”
None of this makes sense. If he’s telling the truth, then that means all the kissing we’ve been doing lately was real.
“But what about that dream you had right before zombie witch Ryleigh showed up? The one that I was in … I was using my succubus powers then to try to seduce you in your dreams.”
“The repellent only repels unwanted powers,” he explains. “Which means, if I want to get seduced by someone, then I can.”
“Oh.” My mind is racing a million miles a minute, trying to process what he’s saying.
He wanted to be seduced by me? That’s a good thing, right? What I’ve always wanted.
Still, he lied to me.
“Look, I know we still have a lot to talk about and work through,” Hunter says, tucking the necklace back underneath his shirt. “But I just wanted to show you that so you’d stop blaming your succubus powers every time I touch or try to kiss you and then make me stop. Only ma
ke me stop if you want me to stop, okay?”
I nod, something still plaguing my mind. Or a lot of things do, anyway. I can only deal with the one right now.
“Aren’t you freaked out by all this? I mean, I have succubus blood in me, for wailing out loud. And demon’s blood. And witches’ blood. And demon feeder’s blood.”
“You have demon feeder’s blood?” he asks, not entirely shocked, but a drop surprised.
“Oh, did I not mention that yet?” I play dumb, knowing full well I’ve purposefully been keeping stuff from him.
“No, you didn’t, but it does explain a lot.” He observes me intently with an indecipherable look. “And why would I care if you have demon and witch blood in you. I already knew that.”
Again, all I can come up with is, “Oh.”
This time, my one word response appears to amuse him.
“So, we have an understanding, then?” he asks, struggling not to grin.
Wait, what understanding?
Before I can ask, he seals his lips to mine, giving me a quick kiss. Then he pulls back and tucks a strand of hair behind my ear.
“Now, are you sure you want to do this drinking blood thing?” he asks. “I can still send some of the society members out to look for your sister. Or go looking for her myself.”
I shake my head. “I already told you that the society members would probably kill her.” Which was only a guess up until Peyton told me the society has a hidden agenda to rid the town of evil. “And I can’t just let you go. Max told me to come.”
His lip twitches at the mention of Max, but he quickly wipes the irritation away as he sighs. “Fine. Then I guess it’s time to drink some vampire blood. Just make sure to be careful. No dying, okay?”
“I’ll try my hardest,” I tease. Again, an unsettling feeling stirs inside. One that only amplifies as I hear the town clock chime off. Tick tock. Tock, tock. Tick … Tick … Tick …
Then the noise fades, as if time has stopped.
But, I have more important things to worry about. Starting with drinking Peyton’s blood.
After I take Ryleigh to the morgue and let her partake in an all-you-can-eat buffet, we continue our journey toward the middle of town where the freak show is being held.
“Wait a second.” I stop Ryleigh before we enter the streets again. Using the sleeve of my shirt, I wipe off a droplet of sticky brains from her chin. “You really are quite a messy little eater.”
Her eyes narrow, and she tries to bite my finger.
“No biting,” I warn, jerking back. “I may be a demon, but I can still become infected. And then who would take care of you, huh?”
Her blood red eyes glower at me, though she makes no move to chomp at me again.
“Good girl.” I pet her head, then take her hand and guide her out of the morgue parking lot and down the street.
One street down, I veer off to the right, into the trees and down a shallow hill. My eyes rove to the moon shining brightly in the sky, then to the trees encasing us.
“I think this is as good of a spot as any to threaten a faerie,” I tell Ryleigh as I retrieve my phone from my pocket, typing my little traitor faerie a quick text on where to meet me. “There. She should be here within minutes.” I turn to Ryleigh. “Now, I’m going to need you to behave while I’m talking to her, okay? No trying to eat her brain right now. Perhaps later, though, after I’ve gotten what I want.”
She bobs her head up and down, then plops down into the dirt. While I wait, I decide to make small chitchat.
“So, how’s life?” I ask, then shake my head when she scowls at me. “Sorry, bad joke.”
She rolls her eyes, but then a blood tear falls from her eye. Sniffling, she wipes the tear away with the back of her hand and a chunk of flesh falls off her cheek. When she spots the flesh, she begins to wail.
“I … ooo. Uuggg …” she sobs with her head thrown back.
“You’re not ugly,” I assure her as I sit down in the dirt beside her. “You’re just dead. And the dead have their own look. Is it the most popular? No. But I’m sure other zombies probably think you’re pretty.”
The tears stop as she glares at me. “Nooo … t … Fu … eee.”
“Oh, I think I’m a little bit funny.” I sigh when she stares at me, unimpressed. “If you want to get rid of the rotting flesh look, I might know a way.”
She perks up. “Tooo … Ecome … Live … Gaaa …”
“No, there’s no way to un-turn a zombie … That I know of, anyway. And I know a lot.” I smile smugly. “But I’ve heard of ways to stop the decaying process and even reverting it.”
“Wiii … Uuu … eppp … me?” She pats her chest.
“I might be willing to help you,” I tell her. “But you’d owe me a favor.”
Usually, people hesitate when making deals with a demon. Ryleigh, however, isn’t really a person and nods her head easily.
“All right, after I’m done with a few of my other plans, I’ll help you.” I leap to my feet as I hear someone approach. Then I grin as that person steps from the trees and into the moonlight.
“Opal, how lovely to see you again.” My tone drips with the taste of revenge. “But if you so much as try to throw faerie dust on me again, you won’t be walking out of here, got it?”
Her lips twist into a smirk as she crosses her arms. “I don’t think you’re in any position to be throwing around threats, considering I kicked your ass the last time we fought.”
“Yeah, well, this time I have backup.” I nod my head toward Ryleigh.
Ryleigh stumbles to her feet, her teeth bared. I wonder if she remembers what Opal did to her or if she’s just hungry.
“I’m sure you recognize Ryleigh, right?” I smile as Opal’s face drains of color. “I think the last time you saw her, though, she was a little bit more lifeless and dead, and a little less rabid, brain-hungry, walking dead, right?”
Opal gulps. “I don’t know what you’re talking about?”
“You don’t, huh?” I question with an arch of my brow. “Then why did you agree to meet me here when I told you I knew your dirty, little traitor secret. Or do you have multiple dirty, little secrets and thought I knew something else?” When she remains silent, I rub my hands together with glee. “Oh, please, do tell? I love hearing other peoples’ dirty truths.”
“I’m not telling you anything,” she says, her fingers drifting toward her pocket.
“Don’t you dare grab any faerie dust.” I grab ahold of her arm and pull her straight into Ryleigh’s arms.
Ryleigh instantly opens her mouth, ready to devour, but I hold a finger up.
“Not yet,” I tell Ryleigh.
Ryleigh pouts out her lip, but freezes with her teeth hovering above Opal’s head.
Opal’s eyes are wide, and she’s breathing furiously, yet she doesn’t dare budge. “Tell your pet to let me go,” she demands. “Or I’ll make you pay.”
“I don’t think you’re in any position to be making threats.” I stuff my hands into my back pockets and smirk. “Now, it’s time for a few questions, starting with why you betrayed Eva and gave Ryleigh’s body to the demons?”
“I’m not telling you anything,” she spits, scowling at me.
“Then I guess I’m about to have a very overly fed pet. Or maybe I’ll just have her turn you.” I snap my fingers at Ryleigh. “Go head; take a bite.”
Letting out a hungry groan, Ryleigh dips her teeth toward Opal’s hairline.
“Okay!” Opal cries out, leaning her head to the side. “I’ll tell you. Just call off your zombie.”
“I’ll call her off when you tell me the truth.” I let my eyes flare red, my true demon identity shining through. “Now tell me why you handed Ryleigh’s body over to the demons.”
“Because I was told to!” she cries, slanting her body as far away from Ryleigh as she can. “Now let me go.”
br /> “Who told you to do it?” I step toward her and into the moonlight.
“Someone from the society.” Tears spill from her eyes as Ryleigh’s teeth near her head. “Please let me go. I don’t want to die.”
I ignore her pleas. “Who from the society?”
“I don’t know,” she whispers.
I roll my eyes and motion at Opal. “Ryleigh, zombie away.”
“I’m telling the truth!” Opal screeches, tears streaming down her face. “Sometimes they send anonymous messages to us, and I got a message that morning to inform the demons who own The Illuminating Horror House of Truth that Eva’s sister’s body was in our basement.”
“And you didn’t think it was suspicious?” I question. “Did you even ask questions?”
“I’m not at a level to ask questions,” she explains in a frenzy. “But yeah, I thought it was a bit strange, especially since the society knows that demons have been wanting to get ahold of Eva.”
“And at any point did you question the sender’s motives?” I ask, gaping at her.
She shakes her head. “Again, I’m not at a level to question.”
I press my fingers to the brim of my nose and shake my head. “God, you townspeople are morons.”
“I didn’t know it was a trap,” Opal whines. “If I’d known the demons wanted to use Ryleigh’s body to lure Eva underground, I may not have done it.”
“May not have?” I shake my head. “You know, it’s really going to hurt Eva when she hears this.”
Opal’s eyes grow huge. “Wait. You didn’t say anything about telling her.”
“Yeah, so? I didn’t say anything about not telling her.” I retrieve my phone from my pocket and show her the screen, which is set on recording mode. “It’s really going to hurt her to hear this.” I smile at the thought.
“God, you’re so enjoying this, aren’t you?” Opal snaps. “You demons are such sick, twisted, evil freaks.”
“Perhaps, but at least I don’t try to pretend I’m good.” I move toward her slowly. “See, that’s the thing about demons. Unlike you townspeople, we don’t try to hide our true personalities. We don’t lie to our friends. We don’t pretend to be nicer than we are. What you see is what you get.” I take another step toward her, and then another, reducing the space between us. “And when I tell Eva that her so-called close friend betrayed her, I’m going to enjoy watching the news crush her. Because someone’s going to need to clean up the pieces that you and wizard boy broke apart.”