Beasts and Magic (The Vampires of Shadow Hills Book 5)Willow Rose
Six Months Before the Halloween Block-Party
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Copyright Willow Rose 2018
Published by BUOY MEDIA LLC
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No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission from the author.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
Cover design by Juan Villar Padron,
Special thanks to my editor Janell Parque
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Six Months Before the Halloween Block-Party
It looked like any other blood drive. The bus bore the right logo with the words BIG RED BUS written on the side of it, and it was painted in the right red and white colors. Seventeen-year-old Sam Walters couldn't believe that no one had ever told him he could sell his own blood.
Why didn't more people do this?
Sam pulled the hoodie over his head and walked out toward the bus as it parked in front of his house. He yelled at his mother that he was going to see a friend. He walked up to the bus and knocked on the door with the black tinted windows, then waited.
Sam had to make some money. Fast. He needed it to pay off his online gambling debt. He owed five thousand dollars to an online casino, and as late as yesterday, he had received a phone call from a guy telling him they needed the first one thousand this coming Monday. That had thrown Sam into a state of utter panic.
Gambling used to be so much fun for Sam. Once, he had won ten thousand dollars and bought the girl of his dreams a pair of Dolce & Gabbana designer jeans for one thousand dollars and a new computer for himself, thinking he was somehow investing in his future. Winning that money had made him change his plans. He suddenly couldn't see why anyone would do anything other than sitting at their computer and earning money. Why go to work? Why go to school? He believed he had somehow found a loophole to life, a way of living that could make him live above the rules that everyone else was a slave to. He didn't have to go to college. Heck, he didn't even have to finish high school. This was it. This was all he needed.
Until a few weeks later when he lost it all.
Sweat gushing from his face and dripping onto the keyboard, he had kept gambling all night long but only ended up digging himself deeper into debt. Desperate for money, he had stumbled upon the ad on Craigslist for a blood drive that offered up to one thousand dollars for donating blood. One thousand dollars? Sam couldn't believe it. This was just what he needed, and he would be doing something good at the same time. This couldn't be bad, could it?
Of course not. There was no way he could lose.
Sam had dialed the number and left his address on the answering machine like the ad said he should. Fifteen minutes later, the bus drove onto his street, tires screeching as it came around the corner.
Sam waited for a few seconds when finally, the bus sighed—sounding almost satisfied—before the door hissed open.
Sam walked up the stairs, his heart beating slightly faster in his chest without him knowing why. It was, after all, just a blood drive, yet he felt more nervous than when he had gambled for thousands of dollars.
It was silly, really.
He walked onto the bus where three men were standing wearing long white coats. Three sets of green eyes were immediately on him, three smiles emerging from the sides of their mouths in the exact same fashion, all three men looking exactly the same. Same faces, same hair, same eyes.
Must be triplets, Sam thought to himself, fascinated in the way gamblers get when encountering something exceptional, something that beats the odds.
"Hello there," the three said in complete unison.
"H-hi," Sam said. "I was the one who called?"
"Yes," they said, still talking in unison. "Welcome."
One of them stepped forward and showed him a chair, the same type you'd see at a doctor's office. It looked comfortable.
"Please, sit," he said.
Sam did. Another of the triplets approached him, holding a clipboard. "First, we must run some tests, routine ones, you know to determine if your blood is good enough."
Sam nodded. "Of course."
He felt something being wrapped around his arm, then saw one of the triplets tapping on the side of a syringe.
"I didn't even know that you could make money off donating blood," Sam said, slightly nervously.
The one with the syringe looked at him, his eyes growing wide while he spoke.
"This is a special blood drive," he said. "We take a little more than usual."
"Ah, that makes sense. That's why you give that big of an amount."
"Yes, yes of course it is," he said, lisping slightly.
"Now…we need to know if you're on any types of drugs? And remember, we will check your blood, so we will find out if you lie to us," the one with the clipboard said, while the third one massaged his arm to make the vein stand out more.
"No drugs," he said.
The guy with the clipboard smiled, then wrote something down. "Good, very good." He looked at Sam again. "And how
Sam shook his head. "Nothing."
"Very good," he said, sounding truly excited. He wrote on his board again.
The one with the syringe was staring at the big vein in Sam's arm that was now popping out. It was like he couldn't take his eyes off of it.
"And diseases?" the clipboard-one asked. "Any diseases running in the family?"
Sam shook his head. "Not that I know of."
"And sicknesses? Have you been sick lately?"
Sam shook his head again. "No."
"No current cold you can't get rid of? No flu? Or bronchitis—oh, awful one that one—makes the blood all salty and icky."
Sam shook his head. The one with the clipboard smiled widely and showed off a little bit of his teeth.
"Very good," he said. "Very, very good."
The third one now grabbed what Sam first thought was a seatbelt of some sort and strapped Sam's legs down, then his hands, and then tied down his upper torso with a third strap. They weren't like ordinary seatbelts since they were thicker and made from heavy leather.
Sam couldn't move.
"Just so you won't squirm too much," he said with a giggle. "Gotta keep you still."
Why? Sam wondered. But then again, he had never been to a blood drive before and knew nothing about how it worked. Besides, this was a special one, and they were going to take more blood than usual, so they probably did things a little differently. Sam wondered if it was going to hurt but then realized a little pain was worth it compared to what those guys from the casino might do to him if he didn't pay them the thousand dollars.
"Okay," Sam said and relaxed behind the straps. The guy with the clipboard scribbled some more, still smiling, while the third one stood ready with the syringe. He received a nod from the first one, then placed a very long needle on Sam's skin and pressed it through, penetrating his skin. The first one's eyes grew wide as he saw the blood stream into a small container. Once he had taken his sample, he walked away with it, and Sam sat still for a few minutes while they tested his blood.
The two others were circling the sample like animals in a cage waiting to be fed when the one testing it nodded.
"It's good. It's more than that. It's perfect."
The three of them almost screamed in joy, and the one with the clipboard returned to Sam, still smiling, but this time his smile had another look to it, one that seemed more manic than earlier. He turned the clipboard so Sam could see what he had been writing.
All Sam saw were the words BLAH-BLAH-BLAH written all over the paper in red pen.
"What is this?" Sam asked, confused, and looked up just as the third one took the wheel of the bus and they took off, rushing down Sam's childhood street while someone pressed a cloth inside of his mouth to quiet Sam's screams.
I touched my face while looking at it in the mirror. I still couldn't believe I hadn't even a scratch on it after my meeting with the wolf two weeks earlier. That wolf had ripped me open, and I had seen the blood on the asphalt along with the pieces of flesh, and I had tasted the blood in my mouth. I had seen death in its eyes, and I had cheated it.
All because of Amy.
Amy. The most adorable creature I have ever laid my eyes on. I knew she was struggling to figure out this new identity of hers and what it actually meant, but I couldn't help loving every part of what she was. Of all of us, her thing had to be the coolest. To be able to heal with your blood? Wow.
My parents still didn't know anything about what had happened that night in the cul-de-sac. I made it home before they came back, and Jayden managed to get his mother inside while Amy and Jazmine returned home. Jayden's mom was doing better; even though she still limped when she walked, she was healing fine, he had told me. But being hurt meant she couldn't leave at night to go hunting, so Jayden and I hadn't been able to see each other for a long time. We had met twice by the lake when I was supposed to be running, and that was when he told me that his mother had promised to keep it a secret that I knew about them being wolves, that I had seen her transform. He hadn't told her that I also knew what my own family was since there was no need for her to know that. I desperately feared that if my parents knew that I knew, they would turn me into a vampire before my eighteenth birthday, and I didn't want that to happen. I needed time to figure out what to do, to figure out how to avoid becoming what they had me destined to be.
So far, I was pretty safe. As safe as one can be in a house of bloodsucking, kale-eating, smoothie-drinking vampires.
"Are you ready? Robyn? Why are you taking so long?"
My mom was knocking on the bathroom door. I let my reflection be and opened the door. She was in her gym outfit with a cap and sunglasses, her skin glistening in a thick layer of white sunblock.
"You ready?" she asked, jumping on the spot.
I sighed and nodded, then followed her to the door. My mom had gotten the idea that we should train for a marathon together, doing some mother-daughter bonding. She had read about the importance of bonding in some moronic magazine, and this was one of the suggestions for how to be closer and make sure your daughter didn't get herself into trouble. I didn't understand why she couldn't have chosen the dessert baking-bonding experience, or the spa-adventure instead. I had told her there was no way I was running a marathon, so she had signed us up for a half-marathon instead. We had two weeks to get in shape for it, and I thought she was insane, but my mom told me I had to be in great shape with all the running I had already done, and she was always in great shape, so it would be easy for the two of us. A piece of cake.
I could hardly tell her I hadn't been running at all.
"Come on, Robyn, why are you slacking behind? Don't you want to win this thing?" she yelled at me as we ran into the street. I had barely set foot on the asphalt, and she was already all the way to the end of our street, and I could see nothing but her yellow cap bouncing away.
I sighed, realizing this entire mother-daughter bonding was going to end up being all about her wanting to win this race.
Wasn't it cheating if you were a vampire?
I sighed and started to run at my own tempo. I passed Jayden's house wondering how he was doing in school today and if his mother would be able to get back to hunting tonight, so I would be able to be with him again.
"So, who can tell me the answer? Anyone?"
Amy looked down into her history book. She hadn't done her homework, as usual, and hoped Mrs. Teller wouldn't pick her. It had happened a lot lately that she didn't manage to get her homework done. A little too often. It wasn't that she didn't want to, she genuinely did, but lately, she had been a little preoccupied with what was going on with her, inside of her body and well…outside of it as well.
She hadn't told her parents anything. She didn't quite know how they were going to take it and, to be honest, it hadn't really sunk in completely. She wasn't sure she completely believed that she had actually transformed into a dragon two weeks ago and that her blood had healed Robyn. She had seen it, yes, but it felt mostly like a dream, a hallucination of sorts.
In the days after it happened, she had tried to pretend like it hadn't. Jazmine had come to her house the next day and started to ask a ton of questions, but Amy hadn't wanted to answer them, mostly because she couldn't. She didn't know anything about this strange thing that was happening to her body, and she wasn't sure she wanted to. Also, she had been sick with the flu for days afterward. Once she got better, she decided she couldn't really deal with it and tried not to.
One night, she woke up in the middle of the night and had transformed into that…creature, wings and everything, and she just laid there, staring at the ceiling, waiting for it to go away. And so it did. A few hours later. When she woke up the next morning, she was herself again. She had no idea what caused the transformation; it just kind of happened.
Amy had kept mostly to herself lately. She went to sch
ool because she had to, then rushed home and closed the door and stayed inside the rest of the day, even through entire weekends. She didn't dare to risk suddenly turning into that creature in the middle of a crowd or something. She was terrified that it was going to happen in school someday. How would she ever survive that? She would be the laughing stock of the entire town.
Robyn had even been over one day and tried to discuss it with her, talk to her about it, but Amy had been cooking insanely and served all kinds of food for her instead of answering. Robyn kept telling her how adorable she believed Amy was when she was transformed, and beautiful and…oh…those wings. But Amy found it mostly embarrassing. One afternoon, when she had accidentally turned inside her house, much to Billie Jean and the puppies' surprise, she had walked to the mirror and looked at herself for the first time. What she saw was not cute or adorable in any way. It was ugly and scaly and had very large nostrils. Amy wasn't sure she liked it or liked being it. The healing part was pretty cool, she had to admit to that, but the big feet, the scaly skin, and that face? Nope, it wasn't something she wanted any of her friends to see again if she could avoid it.