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  • Home > Chloe Neill > Chicagoland Vampires Series > Blade Bound (Chapter 10)      Page
  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(10) by Chloe Neill
  • He stood in the conversation area, a man in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, the fabric mottled with dirt and ratty on the edges. His pale skin was smudged with grime, his dark hair tufted from what looked like constant pulling by the hands that now scratched nervously at the legs of his jeans. The House was still saturated by the scent of wedding flowers, but I caught the odor of unwashed male beneath it.

    He was a vampire. Older than most I’d seen, but the faint, effervescent magic proved his supernaturalness. His magic did have a different sense about it—a chemical smell, like uncapped markers. I also didn’t recognize him. If he was Housed, he hadn’t been in a House recently. Not given the look of him.

    “Hi,” I said. “Can I help you?”

    He looked up at me, dark circles beneath eyes nearly slitted with exhaustion. “You’re here to help?”

    “Sure. Are you here to see Ethan?” Supplicant seemed the best guess. How else would he have gotten past already bulked-up security? Maybe he’d been in the House to talk to someone, had slipped away undetected.

    His shoulder twitched, nearly lifting enough to meet his chin. “Help. There’s so much talking.” He tapped his palm against his forehead. “Talking. I can’t stop it.”

    “I’m sorry?”

    I wished Ethan or Malik were here. They’d know better than I how to handle a supplicant who seemed imbalanced, or at least confused.

    “It’s talking. The voice. It’s screaming—the same things over and over and over again. Hello. Hello. Hello. I am here. I am here. I am here.”

    I was leaning toward imbalanced. And we didn’t need imbalanced running around the House.

    Ethan, I silently said. If you’re in the building, get Luc and some guards and come to your office. I didn’t know if he was close enough to hear me, doubted that he was.

    “Let me just call someone to help you,” I said, and reached for my phone, belatedly realizing I’d left my small clutch—and my phone—in the limo. I’d have to use the one on Ethan’s desk.

    His gaze narrowed on me, his eyes silvering—the mark of heightened vampire emotion. “Why is it screaming? Do you hear it? Why don’t you hear it?”

    I didn’t especially want to turn my back on this clearly troubled man, but I didn’t really have a better option. The first floor of the House had been mostly dark, and until I could get to a phone, or otherwise signal someone, I had to handle this on my own.

    “Don’t have my phone,” I said easily, trying to keep the mood light. “Let me get the one on the desk.”

    “No!” His voice was loud, the word a bark of sound—and alarm. “No more screaming!”

    His fangs were long, white, needle sharp. He launched toward me so quickly I had only a moment to turn, to brace myself against his impact. I managed to dodge most of the force, but he tripped me up, sent us both slamming to the ground. My head bounced against the floor, making my vision waver and putting stars at the edges of the room.

    “It’s your fault!” he said, and reared back to punch me. I raised an arm, blocked the punch, grabbed his forearm, and twisted, trying to unbalance him. But he was enormous, and he seemed to believe I was one of the mental demons he was fighting. He raised both arms, slapped at his forehead, and then tried to slap at me. I blocked his shots, but a couple put bone against bone, which sent pain singing through my arm.

    “If anyone’s in the hallway,” I yelled out, “I could use your help right now!”

    “Stop it!” he cried, missing the irony. “Stop doing this to me! I just want it to stop!” His eyes were red and brimming with tears, and he lifted his arms, beat the sides of his fists against his head. “Stopstopstopstop!”

    The dress hiking up around my thighs, I managed to get a leg between his and scissored to twist him off. The vampire grabbed my sash, ripped it away as I reversed our positions, and he hit the ground with a thud.

    I scrambled to my feet, shoving the dress back down and kicking away the stiletto heels. They’d make a decent weapon if I needed it, especially since my dagger was with the phone in my bag. And since no one had responded to my yelling, I’d have to hold my own until someone, in these predawn hours, happened to walk through the first floor.

    The man climbed to his feet again, those fists beating against his ears. “Stop screaming! Stop talking! I don’t want to hear it anymore! I don’t want to hear it!” He looked up at me, fury and fear matching beat for beat in his expression. “Make it stop!”

    I took my chance, dodged back to the desk and the phone. I managed to grab the receiver before he followed me, snatched up the letter opener from Ethan’s desk—a long, silver, double-sided blade. I raised an arm, expecting him to stab forward. Instead, he stumbled back, put the dagger’s gleaming point at his temple. There weren’t many ways to kill a vampire, but I had to guess stabbing himself in the head would do the job.

    “I’ll silence it,” he said, silvered eyes frantic. “I will end it.”

    I was no longer the victim—he played that role now, too. I put the phone down, held out my hand.

    “Let me have the dagger. There’s no need for it. I can help you with the screaming.”

    I jumped forward, wrapped my hands around his wrist, worked to force it down and away.

    “No more screaming!” He kicked out, trying to push me loose, but I dodged the sloppy shot. He screamed, began pushing me backward until we hit the shelves on the opposite wall. Something crashed to the floor beside me. But my focus was on the blade in the vampire’s hand, and my own fingers, which were white-knuckled around his.

    “Just put down the blade,” I said, ducking as he swung out with his free hand. He made contact with something on the shelves, which hit the floor with another crash. If they hadn’t heard me yelling, maybe someone would hear the trashing of Ethan’s office.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire