Chapter 4

Well. Not pure. I could see fine, as could Garrett, Tina, and Sinclair. But from the moans and whimpers coming from farther down the stairs, the humans were having more trouble.

“Stop that sniveling, Marc Spangler, or I’ll detesticle you,” Jessica snapped. When she was scared, she got pissed. Man, you should have seen her the day she got a false positive on an EPT. We were buying new dishes for days.

“I can’t see a fucking thing,” he snarled back. There was an abrupt silence, a – I know how this sounds, but I could hear it – a flailing, and then a rattle of thumps, followed by moans of pain.

“Getting eaten alive by the Fiends can’t be worse than this,” Marc groaned from the floor. Ouch. He must have fallen at least ten steps. Onto cement.

“Be careful,” Tina said.

“Thanks. At least someone cares.”

“You could have broken your ankle on the way down and slowed our escape.”

“I hate vampires,” he replied. “So much.”

I eased past Jessica on the stairs, went to Marc, and picked him up. “This is so romantic,” he cooed, modestly kicking his unbroken foot.

“Shut up, or I’ll use you for Fiend chum.”

“Why,” Jessica demanded, “have we decamped to the basement?”

“And why haven’t we turned any lights on?” I asked.

“Tina, take Jessica’s hand. Elizabeth, keep carrying Marc.” Sinclair groaned softly in the dark, as if he couldn’t believe he’d said such a thing. “Everyone else, follow me.”

It took a long time. The basement was as long as the house, which was a mansion on Summit Avenue. And we had to wander around various tables and chairs, in and out of mysterious rooms – I could count on one hand how often I’d been down here since we moved a couple of years ago. I had never liked it, not even – especially even – when Garrett was living down there, knitting afghans and learning to crochet.

The journey wasn’t improved by the occasional yelps, as Jessica stubbed a toe or cracked an elbow. Marc just snuggled deeper into my arms (ridiculous – he had thirty pounds of muscle on me) and waited patiently for me to make him safe.

Story of my life, since I’d died.