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Awake at dawn, p.4

Awake at Dawn, page 4

 part  #2 of  Shadow Falls Series


Awake at Dawn

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Chapter Four

  Hearing Burnett speak lessened the emotional lump in Kylie's throat. Everyone looked toward the front.

  "We had an uninvited visitor to the camp this evening," Burnett explained.

  "A vampire. "

  "Was it from that gang? The ones who attacked you guys at the wildlife park?" Helen asked, and glanced over at Kylie.

  Kylie moved a little closer to the front, not wanting to miss Burnett's answer.

  "I don't know for sure. " He looked around the room as if searching for someone. A second later, his gaze settled on Holiday and his expression softened.

  "But," Burnett continued, "I don't think they were here to hunt. If he or she were here to kill, he had a chance at easy prey and didn't take it. "

  His gaze shifted to Kylie, making it clear, at least to Kylie, that she was the "easy prey. "

  Easy prey. Prey maybe, but easy? That annoyed Kylie more than she wanted to admit. Okay, sure, she wasn't exactly Superwoman, but she'd held her own fighting the Blood Brothers that night at the wildlife park.

  Granted, she'd had some help from Daniel, but nevertheless, she'd kicked ass right alongside everyone else. Didn't she get any credit for that? Burnett cleared his throat. "Chances are it was just someone curious about the camp. "

  Kylie recalled how threatened she'd felt those few minutes back in the woods when she'd felt the vampire's presence. It had felt like more than just curiosity. It felt menacing. If Derek hadn't shown up, Kylie didn't know what would have happened, but she suspected it wouldn't have been good.

  "Or it could be the gang just wanting to let us know they haven't run scared. It could have also have been just a friend or relative looking for someone, and they didn't want to go through our visitor check. And if any of you have a vampire friend who might try this, please let it be known loud and clear that entering this camp without getting a visitor's pass is considered a serious offense. If I find them, I'll treat them like a hostile. And that goes for all species, even humans. "

  Kylie hoped Della was listening. Personally, Kylie didn't care too much for Chan, but she knew Della did, and for her sake, Kylie would hate for something to happen to him.

  Burnett's gaze grew cold with his warning before he continued. "While I don't see this as an out-and-out threat, neither do I think we should totally let our guards down. The Blood Brothers gang was stupid enough to try something once. They might be stupid enough to try again. "

  "I still don't understand what it is they have against us," one of Miranda's witch buddies said.

  "I'll take that question," Holiday said, and made her way up front. "If you'll notice, we have more vampires here than any other species. The reason is clear. The virus can be passed down so many generations and therefore parents of a newly turned vampire may not even be aware that supernaturals exist. This makes living at home extremely difficult, which leads many of them to joining the gangs. But since the camp opened, we've saved more than four hundred newly turned vampires from following that dark path. We've obviously cut into their membership immensely. They see Shadow Falls as standing between them and their gangs' growth potential. "

  She paused. "Any other questions?" When no one spoke up, Holiday added, "Now, it's almost two in the morning, so why don't you all go back to your cabins and try to get some rest? But remember what Burnett said. Don't let your guard down. "

  As the crowd started to leave, Kylie went to join Miranda, who stood by herself in a corner and played a video game on her phone. When she saw Kylie, she cocked her head to the side and smirked. Which reminded Kylie of a cute but pissed-off puppy.

  "Oh, so when everyone else abandons you, now you want to be around me," Miranda said.

  Kylie frowned. "I hurt Della's feelings and I just needed to apologize. "

  And I couldn't do it with you two verbally scratching each other's eyes out.

  "But you don't care if you hurt my feelings," Miranda said. "It's good to know where I rate. "

  "You don't believe that," Kylie said.

  "I don't?" She shook her head, her multicolored hair-pink, black, and green-shimmering around her shoulders. "Is this the way it's going to be from here on out? Because you're both vampire, you don't want me around. "

  "No. It's not like that. And . . . we don't know if I'm vampire. "

  "You liked the taste of blood. "

  "That doesn't make me a vampire. " Frustration built in Kylie's chest. But when she met Miranda's eyes and saw the insecurity lingering in her friend's eyes, Kylie stopped thinking about her own fears. "And for the record, I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. I didn't mean to do that. "

  "And for the record, neither did I," Della added, joining them in the corner.

  "Wow," Miranda looked at Della. "That's almost an apology. And to a dyslexic witch. "

  "Don't push it," Della said.

  "Fine. " A smile lit up Miranda's eyes. "Let's make a pact that no matter what Kylie ends up being, no matter what happens, we'll always stick together. "

  Della snorted. "What planet have you been on? We already made that pact. "

  They started moving toward the door but stopped when Holiday called out Kylie's name.

  "Can I see you a minute?" the camp leader asked.

  Della and Miranda said they'd wait outside. Kylie walked over to Holiday.

  "I know you want to talk about what happened tonight, but I'd like to get my talk with Burnett out of the way first. Is it okay if I stop by your cabin and we can chat in your room?"

  Kylie remembered Holiday's comment about it being late. "If you'd like to wait and talk to me in the morning, we. . . "

  "No. " Holiday's brow wrinkled. "Don't you want to talk about this tonight?"

  Kylie stopped trying to be polite. "Yeah, I would like to talk. "

  Holiday gave her a quick hug. "It's going to be okay. "

  While Kylie realized she wasn't as scared as she was earlier about the whole vampire possibility, there was still a whole heck of a lot of ambivalence bouncing around her insides. "I know. " She smiled and hoped she sounded more confident than she felt.

  When Kylie got back outside, everyone had disappeared except Miranda and Della, who sat in the big white rocking chairs on the office cabin's porch.

  "What did she want?" Miranda asked.

  "To tell me she's going to drop by the cabin in a few minutes to talk. "

  "To talk about what?" Della asked.

  "Stuff. " She didn't want to open up the whole vampire thing for another discussion with Della.

  Miranda hopped up from her chair. "You guys ready?"

  They walked down the trail to their cabin. Between the stars and moon, it wasn't too dark. The night sang out its song, of which Kylie was more than grateful. It was when the night music stopped that Kylie worried.

  "I got kissed tonight," Miranda blurted out.

  "Wow," Kylie said. "Perry finally made a move, huh?"

  "About time that guy grew a pair of balls. " Della giggled.

  "It wasn't Perry. " Miranda kicked at the dirt-worn path.

  "Not Perry?" Kylie grabbed Miranda by the elbow. "Who was it?"

  "Yeah, who was it?" Della studied Miranda really hard. "If you say it's Steve, I'm kicking your little witch's ass. You know I have a thing for him. "

  "It wasn't your shape-shifter Steve. " Miranda frowned. "It was Kevin. "

  Kylie's mouth dropped open. "Not Kevin, Perry's roommate and good friend? Please tell me it wasn't that Kevin. "

  "Okay, I won't tell you. " Miranda dropped her face in her hands. "What am I going to do?" She peered at them through her fingers.

  "This is not good," Kylie said.

  Miranda still stared at them through the mask of fingers. "I didn't

nbsp; mean for it to happen. " She dropped her hands. "I . . . I was coming back to the cabin thinking you might be here and I ran into Kevin. I was worried about you. We started walking together and talking and then . . . then, he just kissed me and. . . "

  "And what?" Della asked.

  "And I didn't stop him. "

  "But was it yummy?" Della asked.

  "Sort of. A little bit. I don't know. Why do I feel so guilty?"

  Kylie stared at Miranda. "Because you've been acting like you like Perry. "

  "But Perry's not acting like he likes me. Sure, he sits with me sometimes at lunch and dinner, but don't you think if he liked me he'd have kissed me or something?"

  "I think he's just nervous," Kylie said.

  "I think he doesn't have a pair of balls," Della added.

  "Stop it!" Miranda's face grew red.

  "Stop what?" Della asked.

  "Stop talking about Perry's genitalia. It's crude and I don't like it. "

  Della grinned. "Ooh-la-la, somebody likes Perry enough to defend his boys. "

  "So what if I like him. What's it to you?" Miranda placed her hands on her hips.

  "It's nothing to me. " Della's tone now sounded annoyed. "But it might be something to Kevin since you sucked face with him earlier tonight. "

  "Stop it," Kylie said. "I swear. Can you two not go fifteen minutes without getting pissy with each other?"

  "She started it," both Della and Miranda said at the same time.

  Kylie looked from one girl to the other. "Both of you started it. And both of you need to stop it. I'm up to here with it. " Kylie put her hand on her forehead. "Seriously, I mean-"

  "Shh. " Della put a finger over Kylie's lips.

  "What is it?" Miranda whispered.

  "Do you not know what shh means?" Della asked.

  Kylie pushed Della's finger from her lips and listened. A silence filled the night. Not the total kind of silence as it was back in the woods, because in the distance, sounding almost like background music, she could hear the insects and birds, but close by, everything had grown quiet. Kylie leaned in and whispered, "Is it another vampire?"
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