Vampire huntress rebel a.., p.9

Vampire Huntress (Rebel Angels Book 1), page 9

 

Vampire Huntress (Rebel Angels Book 1)
 



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  I wished Rebel was wild and free again.

  Ma lay on one side of Rebel, Da on the other side, predatory and dark.

  This wasn’t the same as when I’d seen Rebel shagging Evie.

  It was a claiming. A possession. Ownership.

  I shook to rip them from Rebel. Not only to save him, but to save him for myself. I’d never felt this…jealous…before. But then I hadn’t been part angel until six weeks ago either. At least, this new side to myself hadn’t awoken.

  And I didn’t like it.

  Ma and Da kissed and licked down Rebel’s chest and neck, worshipping him: their shackled god. Shocked, I realised I wished I could climb into those golden sheets with them.

  I stumbled back, rushing into my bedroom. It was too much. These new…feelings.

  Slam — I crashed the door behind me, satisfied by the bang.

  The Bitch of Utopia didn’t do fear but I was trembling from the temptation to sink into the dark.

  Instead, I climbed onto the bed — alone — unable to block out the image of Rebel stretched and bound naked, sweat glistening on his neck beneath his collar, before taking a swig of water from my goblet — alone — and burrowing back under the wolf skin — alone.

  I hadn’t abandoned Rebel, he’d abandoned me.

  But why the hell couldn’t I believe that?

  Suddenly, everything blurred.

  I retched.

  Clutching my stomach, I blinked, and the world pixeled.

  I hugged a rose pillow, as the bedroom merry-go-round spun. The wolves snarled, howling out of the ceiling.

  I whimpered.

  What was happening?

  Then I glimpsed the goblet. It meant something. A terrible truth.

  Gargoyles… Face your terrors… Actions have consequences…

  I giggled. Then my eyes rolled back, and I collapsed onto the bed.

  I stood on the top of a mountain of violet feathers, above a land of bones. I reigned, even though below me was nothing but death.

  I was death. The End. Destroyer.

  A wind whipped across the desolate valley; sizzling energy coursed across my crackling palms.

  No, no, no… Time to wake up.

  Calm down, J is with you…because you’re inside yourself. Your own mind. That shady bitch poisoned you.

  But it’s real as…

  Oh, it’s real, Feathery-cakes. If you don’t slay your demons in here, you’ll be the one slayed. And I’m talking a fabulous new gargoyle for the witch floozy.

  Where have you been?

  They’re witches. If they discover me, then you’ll be in more danger than you’re in right now.

  Take me back. Away from me. I can’t be trapped—

  Only you can do that. Only you have ever been in control. And you can’t escape yourself forever.

  My feet sank into the ticklish wave of feathers, and then I fell.

  Soft and suffocating, I tumbled down until…

  Crack — my foot snapped delicate wing bones. I tiptoed between charred skulls and femurs.

  My legacy.

  I’m bad, just like Rebel. I kill and I hurt, and the things I imagine are even worse. Not only since my birthday: always.

  So, you need your ass shut away in a tower? We’re all demons. Perfection’s the lie.

  I rose up with a roar, bursting through the feathers and casting them like violet snow across the land. The bones glowed

  My land.

  I was birth. The Beginning. Saviour.

  I burned with power, twining in two whirlwinds furious around me, both ancient and possessive.

  And I smiled as I became the monster.

  My eyes blinked open, fuzzy from the poison. Yet it was still there: the power from the drugged nightmare.

  It hissed one taunting word, ‘Rebel.’

  I swayed, staggering out into the hallway and barging into Da’s room. Then I caught my breath.

  Rebel was alone. Tied to the golden bed naked as before, his eyes were shut like he was asleep. But the wallad was pretending because his fists clenched at the sound of my footsteps.

  I was part angel, but I was also something more.

  Why was Rebel keeping it secret from me?

  If I wanted to claim Rebel too, then he was mine.

  Lost still in the sensation of the dream, I struggled to catch at the sense of wrongness tugging at me, but it slipped away.

  I sidled closer.

  The slashes stood crimson against the pale white of Rebel’s skin; they burnt livid, like the flame of his hair.

  Fury surged that someone had dared hurt him. Somebody but me. I scored my fingers into a gash across his gut.

  He gasped, his eyes shooting open. ‘I know I’m on that List of Asses to Kick, especially after what I did, but could you not leave off until the morning?’

  ‘You abandoned me,’ I purred. And when did I purr? ‘You allowed the bastard witches to touch what’s mine.’

  ‘Downed a few bevvies while I was hunting, Feathers?’ He eyed me warily, like he’d seen the Queen drink one too many sherries and muddle up her Christmas speech.

  ‘And what were you hunting? Who gave you these…?’ I traced over each slash, as if taking ownership of them.

  ‘I’m a hunter. I wasn’t fibbing when I told you gits were after you.’

  I froze. He’d been wounded protecting me?

  ‘Who?’

  When Rebel didn’t reply, biting his lip hard, I climbed onto the bed, straddling him. That’s what I’d craved to do earlier, when I’d seen the Deadmans crawling over him. Yet I didn’t want to worship him, I wanted his worship.

  The angel was helpless underneath me.

  I ground down, Rebel’s cock as trapped as the rest of him, and he groaned.

  ‘Not like this,’ he whispered.

  I reached my hands around his neck, and he stiffened.

  The collar’s spikes pricked my palms, as I teased at the skin underneath. Then I began to unbuckle the collar. Someone else’s mark of ownership, it incensed me. I’d mark Rebel with bruises, shank him myself, brand my own mark on him until everybody knew…

  ‘Stop it,’ Rebel’s voice was hard and yet trembled with tears, ‘it’s not yours to touch.’

  I stared down into shocked eyes, the eyelashes matted wet. ‘If that’s not mine to touch, how about this?’

  I dropped my mouth to Rebel’s, hard and relentless, as my hand found out his balls, squeezing just as hard.

  Far back in my mind, I screamed and booted to be free. To stop my assault. But I wasn’t in charge anymore. The growling, dominant bad bitch inside had been freed by Evie’s toxin.

  Rebel’s body thrust and arched, but he was struggling, wrenching his head from side-to-side.

  I pinned him, fire coursing through me, tingling with the taste of stolen sugar sweetness and electric wings.

  I’d force Rebel to make me fly.

  But then Rebel bit.

  My mouth flooded with my own blood; I pulled back.

  ‘No, stop, this isn’t… Take it easy, what’s the rush?’ He panted.

  I backhanded him, jerking his head by the hair to nibble at the base of his neck.

  ‘I said no,’ Rebel repeated, ‘you’re not yourself. Is this to get back at me for…? I’m sorry, so I am. Or maybe…’ His expression gentled, even under the bruise — my mark — around his swollen eye. ‘You’re under a spell. Evie’s rose potions are brutal—’

  ‘Not offering marriage, wallad, shagging. Your lucky night in hell,’ I grinned.

  He bucked. ‘Offer again when you love me.’

  Shocked, I stared down at him.

  The bastard was rejecting me?

  I growled, gripping his wings by their delicate tips. I remembered the sensation of standing atop the mountain of feathers, above the land of bones, coursing with power.

  Destroyer or saviour.

  Crack — my foot snapping the light wing bones… I could bend Rebel’s wing back and break


  Rebel whimpered.

  I eased the pressure, shoving away from him. ‘I can’t love my kidnapper.’

  Dizzy, the world lurched. I stumbled to my knees and then crawled to the door.

  Large bare feet, hairy legs, and powerful thighs…

  I gazed up at the glowering giant of Da, who stood akimbo, like a devil in a kid’s play.

  I wobbled to my feet, edging out of the bedroom.

  When I peered back, Da had stalked to Rebel, who lay motionless. Yet Rebel’s eyes were wide and supplicating, as Da ran his hand along Rebel’s collar.

  It was no longer worship: Da’s love was toxic.

  Yet Rebel had abducted me. Why should I save him from the witches?

  I closed the door behind me, trapping Rebel with his Da. But even through the blurred fog of the poison, I knew Rebel was a prisoner, just the same as me. An angel, ensnared by witches. And we’d need each other to escape.

  Because his family had tried to murder me.

  I screamed, battering at my own mind to return me to that room and help Rebel. But the poison’s hold was too strong.

  Tonight, we were both alone.

  10

  Monster, freak and mutant…with one black and one violet eye, I’d worn the labels from Jerusalem Children’s Home to the schoolyard like Victoria Crosses. No one had seen my secret face beneath.

  And we all have one.

  Now I knew a true monster had lurked all that time behind the mask of my humanity. For all those years, I’d struggled to be human, when I’d never been one to start with.

  Discovering I was part angel should’ve been an ugly duckling to swan fairy tale.

  Except, the one angel I knew was bad.

  The kitchen crouched in evening shadows; the open fire dragon smouldered.

  Snip, snip, snip.

  Ma cut a bundle of herbs on the marble counter, her silver bob swaying with each sharp movement.

  I hunkered on the swivel stool, elbows on the cool side, losing myself in the music on Jade’s iPod…in Jade.

  EELS’ “Your Lucky Day in Hell” caught me in its demented dance, swinging from melancholia to bright choruses in twisted bass jumps.

  Then I was spun and with a gasp, reached out to stop myself falling, before Rebel caught me.

  Laughing, Rebel plucked the buds from my ears and into his own, as if he wasn’t touching…violating…my memory of Jade.

  He grinned. ‘Maybe it’ll be our lucky—’

  I punched him in the nose.

  He bounced backwards, tumbling onto his arse.

  Shaking, I stuffed the iPod back into my pocket.

  Rebel looked up with a mix of comical surprise and betrayal. He tilted his head, with that blinking innocence I craved to slap out of him.

  The two clashing sides inside me, like static, prickled over my skin, until I scratched frantically at the backs of my hands.

  I glanced away from Rebel’s scrutiny. He had his secrets and I had mine.

  He gnawed at his lip. ‘If I’ve been a muppet, princess, just tell me.’

  I stared down at him. ‘List. Asses. Kick.’

  He smirked. ‘I reckon you made your point last night.’

  I blushed.

  This morning when I’d awoken with a thumping headache — and almost reached for the water again before I remembered just why I felt so rough — the details of my…molesting…Rebel were fuzzy.

  But I’d remembered throwing myself at Rebel because of the poison. Worse…he’d rejected me. And worse even than that…? I’d abandoned him to Da’s abuse.

  I’d hidden up in my bedroom for the rest of the day, until Rebel had coaxed me down with promises of chocolate cake.

  Ma pressed the herbs into a velvet pouch, her emerald eyes watchful.

  At last, I held out my hand and hauled up Rebel. ‘I want to know who shanked you. I’m not going to hide behind you. Hide in this house. I want to…stop running away.’ I looked up and our gazes met. ‘Do you reckon I’m frightened of some Big Bad?’

  ‘What shanked me,’ Rebel amended.

  ‘Angel?’ I held my breath. I was surprised how much it excited me. The idea there were others like me. Even more thrilling, that’d I’d meet them, even in a fight.

  He frowned. ‘You’re not ready.’

  I shoved him back against the yellow Bertrazzoni, and he scrabbled against the range, as I boxed him in. ‘Don’t get all Jedi mentor on me because I was ready before some punk bitch fell in my lap.’

  ‘Cop on! What you’re ready for is about as useful as a lighthouse in a bog.’

  Violet rage flushed my cheeks. ‘Then tell me what can school an angel?’

  He smiled. ‘How about I show you?’

  Heart pounding, I nodded.

  This was it: Rebel’s weakness. The moment I slipped in the shank sharp. I knew he was defying Da by taking me out, but this was the only way to push him into freeing us for real.

  I hadn’t expected the shudder of guilt but I hid it with a smile. I snatched Rebel’s hand, dragging him across the kitchen.

  Ma blocked the door. ‘Do not think, little girl, you can win this game.’ Her lip curled, petulant. ‘You sneak like a snake, so who else will save my boy?’ Rebel glanced between us, his brow furrowed. ‘Here,’ Ma slipped the pouch of herbs she’d been mixing over his head, tying it on a gold cord, ‘if you must play at hunter and with your friend. And never forget your protection.’ She snapped two tiny wicker angel effigies from a string by the door and held them out.

  Rebel hung his on a chain of his bondage trousers. I didn’t reach for the second one.

  Ma’s fingers shot out, clutching my wrist. ‘You don’t wish to hide? Stupid brat. Because without the effigies you’re the hunted. They stop every sort of angel from tracking you. They also bind you to Rebel,’ she smiled, suddenly I wondered if she could read minds, ‘in case you think to escape.’

  I swung to Rebel, but he shrugged. ‘You say you can’t love me? Well, I can’t trust you.’

  It turns out, it was Rebel shanking me.

  Naïve?

  The punk knew about hurt: taking and inflicting it.

  Ma shoved the effigy into the pocket of my jeans, and I squirmed under Rebel’s scrutiny.

  Yet maybe Rebel was only so good at seeing through my mask because he had so many of his own secrets.

  The stars sharp and silent, sparked from the black shroud of the sky.

  Rebel’s pale neck stretched long and exposed, as he tipped back his head, ambling up the slope of Kingston Hill, lost in the heavens.

  ‘What’s up, bro?’

  Rebel startled. ‘I’m hunting.’

  ‘If you’re going to work a lie, you need to stop the Bambi’s had his mummy shot impression.’

  ’Forty years,’ he murmured, ‘in a cage. Now at least I can look at the stars.’

  When I stared out into the infinite dark, I shuddered. The spiralling loss of control sucked at me.

  Richmond Royal Park beneath us was a shadowed blanket of woodland and greens, with peaks of brick and pitched roofs, and a snaking boundary wall.

  Around us was a suburb for the wealthy stockbrokers and city bankers. Glimpses of Victorian manors and Georgian mansions peeked out between the plane trees and the oaks.

  ‘Told you I was after hunting,’ Rebel muttered, before unexpectedly tearing down the gated driveway of a modern designer house that was a box of pine and glass.

  I retched, bent over.

  Crimson — one spot, two, now three dropped shining onto the grass.

  I touched my mouth; I was spitting blood.

  Zachriel, Zachriel, Zachriel…

  I slammed my hands over my ears, but the voice still echoed through my brain.

  Ma’s voice.

  The angel effigy dug into my thigh through my jeans. Now I understood about it binding me to Rebel. I smeared my bloody mouth across the back of my hand and marched down the wide driveway after Rebel.

  Bang
— the red Range Rover that was parked in front of the millionaire’s house trembled.

  Bang — it rose up and then down, dancing.

  Then Rebel, like a streak of fire, was hurled over the roof.

  Oomph — Rebel skidded, before landing in a tangled heap at my feet.

  Yet he still sprang up, grinning. ‘See? Hunting.’

  A figure leapt panther-like onto the roof of the car. His coffee suede coat swept the metal as he stalked towards us. He was dressed in a brown suit as if for a bankers’ meeting beneath his coat, but the silver snake bite lip piercings and his long black hair that swept to his waist would’ve made them stare up in Canary Wharf.

  That and Mr Snake Bite’s eyes were as black as his hair.

  I raised my hand to my sunglasses; my own black eye throbbed.

  What the hell was he? And why did he have eyes…like mine?

  Snake Bite leapt over the back of the Range Rover, landing in a perfect feline crouch. Then he looked up at me and smiled.

  Bastard fangs.

  I stumbled backwards.

  Snake Bite’s lips curled in amusement around his canines and he stroked over his smooth ebony cheek.

  ‘Vampire,’ I hissed. ‘But this is real life, not—’

  ‘Angels vs Vampires?’ Rebels’ lips quirked, as two…dark creatures…united in their taunting of my tiny human world. Then Rebel threw off his leathers, and his wings burst free in flashing arcs.

  Yet if this was a vampire, what did it make me? Half angel, half vampire? Was that even a thing?

  Because I didn’t have fangs, just as I didn’t have wings. I also didn’t have a thirst for blood, unless it was Rebel’s…

  Was there a reason I’d designed my computer game with supernatural creatures?

  I shook.

  Until the vampire laughed. ‘A cripple?’ His voice was rich and cultured. I don’t know what I’d been expecting. I was still too dazed by the vampire with black eyes jumping off a Range Rover to expect much beyond a snarl. ‘If you desired to be taken and played with, you should’ve asked.’

  Rebel stiffened, his bent wing shrivelling closer to his body. I ached to stroke it back to its glory. ‘Do I look like I’m playing, muppet?’

 

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