“Alright, things are going to run a little differently today,” Ren said sternly, “You,” she pointed at Morrigan, “Trace wants to see you. Upstairs, last door. Move. You and you, you’re cleaning the main hall. You and you, you’re checking on the resident humans. The rules: clear the pipes, no biting, no tasting, no drinking any spilt blood and make sure they get fed” she said.
Morrigan stomped off and gave me a quick glare. Adrianna, Luc, Bruno and the vampire who’s name I still didn’t know all headed off towards the marble staircase that led down into the darkness of the lower levels.
“Um, what should I do?” I asked quietly, afraid she wouldn’t even hear me.
“You’re with me for the day. And if you survive, then kid you deserve a medal” she said, an evil glint in her eye.
The sound of that poor boy’s bone snapping echoed through my head. His name was Christopher. He had dishevelled brown hair, graphite eyes and couldn’t have been much older than me.
“Right then, you worthless pack of wolves!” Ren said to a crowd of vampires. They roared back in disgust when she said wolves, “I shouldn’t have to be down here! I should be training up the new recruits of the Hades Division but instead I’m down here with you! When you joined The Nightstalkers you agreed to obey your master or suffer the consequences! So, can any of you tell me why you have disobeyed Travis multiple times?!” she shouted.
There were a few murmurs from the crowd. One of the vampires spoke out above the others.
“Because he’s a pansy! He actually believes in preserving human life! He’s not fit to lead”.
“You will not speak out against your master!” Ren spat.
Another vampire joined in. “If he’s so high and mighty, why isn’t he disciplining us?”
“Because he has more important things to do” Ren was still speaking with conviction but this bunch seemed to be a challenge for her.
“More like more important people to be doing” another vampire said and a chorus of laughter hit my ears.
“I remember you. What was it, four weeks chained up next to the human’s room? Keep making comments like that and we’ll see just how long you can last without blood”.
There were more murmurs from the crowd.
“He’s just speaking the truth, Ren. I saw it in Trace’s memories and you must have done too. That pale guy” yet another vampire said.
“Guts, this has gone on long enough. Can’t we just apologise and be done with it?” another pleaded.
“What have we got to apologise for? We stood up for our beliefs like we were told to. We haven’t done anything wrong!” Christopher said, he was another born leader.
“Christopher, isn’t it?” Ren asked and he nodded, “Come here”.
He broke through the crowd and strode towards Ren. He stood arrogantly in front of her. She tried to suppress a smile. The smile I’d only seen when she was about the hurt someone. She grabbed his wrist.
“Apologise on behalf of your comrades or pay the price” she said so quietly I struggled to hear her.
“I apologise for Travis ever being born” Christopher said and got several cheers from the crowd.
Ren glanced at me. She smiled and twisted Christopher’s arm. Two ear-splitting cracks tore through the air. The sleeve of his shirt slowly started to turn red. Poking out of the material were two spikes of rough bone. A compound fracture. Ren let go of his arm and he fell to his knees, clutching his elbow.
“This is what happens to those who disobey their master. Further disobedience will not be tolerated and will be punished accordingly” she said and stormed out, taking me with her.
The rest of the day was spent running errands for Ren, essentially replacing Amy. I began to wonder if she’d done something wrong and Ren had gotten rid of her. But I saw her a few times and she didn’t seem any more hostile than usual. Ren had to visit Trace a few times and I was sent back to our quarters each time. By the time night came I was exhausted. Ren reunited with Amy and they set out on a hunt. Morrigan returned to our quarters and blanked me completely. She simply poured out another few glasses of blood and disappeared into the bedroom. Adrianna and Luc were too wrapped up in their discussion to notice me and Bruno just seemed to want to pick another fight with Morrigan. Soon enough all the vampires were drugged and sound asleep. Bruno had made it to his bed this time, but not before aggravating Morrigan and earning himself a broken nose. Luc and Adrianna stumbled in, drunk on not just the drugged blood. They giggled insanely ‘til they both fell unconscious onto the same bed. All of a sudden, I felt very alone. I wanted to be back with Fang and Tawny. Heck, I would have been happy to see Aya. Really? Had I really gotten that desperate? So desperate for company that I’d be civil to Aya? Maybe that was a slight exaggeration. And, as if sensing my loneliness and need for company, Trace’s silky voice pierced through the room and danced through my ears, willing me to stand and head to the next floor and the mystery of Trace.