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  • Home > Samantha Young > Warriors of Ankh > Blood Will Tell (Page 19)     
  • Blood Will Tell(Warriors of Ankh #1)(19) by Samantha Young
  • Closing her eyes, she tried to prepare herself.

    If I’m lucky there’ll be no one here.

    Coward.

    Her lips trembled as she berated herself. With a disgusted sigh, Eden gripped the door handle and yanked it open, pulling it shut behind her.

    “Oh Jeez…” she breathed, her eyes taking in the room. The walls were painted the color of blood, and art work, grotesque and morbid, lined the walls in gold-plated baroque frames. Ghouls attacked young men and women, ripping at skin and clothes. Horrified victims lay chained to floors and walls, while their wicked captors smiled out at the viewer. Eden’s eyes fell on the easel and blank canvas in the corner. There were more unwrapped canvasses, art supplies littered about.

    Teagan.

    He used the basement for the talent he had twisted to his purpose. She shuddered.

    The whimper made her freeze on the spot. Not wanting to, but needing to, Eden slowly turned around. At the other end of the room was a large bed in blood red sheets. There were things there, tools, devices, things... things she couldn’t bear to think about, laid out on the bed. And on either side of the bed were chains screwed into the wall. On the right side, a brunette girl, perhaps fifteen, sixteen, was beaten and bruised, imprisoned in the chains. Her left eye was swollen shut, her upper lip cut. Her wrists were raw and bloody from pulling on the metal chains. Her jeans and t-shirt were dirty, her shirt ripped at the collar.

    Ryan and Teagan weren’t finished with this one. By the looks of it, they had barely begun.

    Morbidly, Eden thought to wonder how they disposed of their victim’s bodies.

    This isn’t my life.

    The girl looked up at her and her right eye widened. Eden expected hope. But the girl seemed to take one look at Eden and know she wasn’t her rescuer.

    “Do what you want,” the girl hissed, her head lolling back. “You can’t touch me. Not really.”

    She wanted to cry but the tears… it was like they were gone. Her whole body was seized with horror. It was so vile, so surreal. And the hunger? No hunger. Even with this human temptation before her. Not a temptation, Eden shook her head. Only abhorrence and revulsion that her father and cousin were capable of such evil. That this girl…this brave girl with the hatred in her eyes, thought Eden just like them.

    Because she knows you won’t save her.

    You are just like them.

    “I wish I could save you,” Eden whispered, the words slipping past her lips without thought.

    The girl’s mouth trembled, and her eyes watered with terrified and furious tears. “Save yourself first.”

    Like a hurricane wind those words sent Eden sweeping back to the door. Her fingers felt numb as she clumsily tried to get out, falling into the hallway, her foot slamming the iron door shut behind her. Her heart had frozen in her chest. She hurried up the stairwell, not really seeing where she was going, the girl’s eyes branding on her brain. The door at the top of the stairwell opened from this end, and Eden had enough mind to lock it at the back of her. There was no one around. She followed her body to the foyer, to the staircase, to the second floor, to her bedroom.

    And then she ran. Slamming the bathroom door behind her, Eden flung herself at the toilet seat and emptied the contents of her stomach down it.

    The horror and unease wouldn’t stop. She retched and retched, waiting for it to subside. By the time it did, she was pale and drenched in a cold sweat, her whole body shuddering. Collapsing against the toilet seat, Eden finally felt the tears come.

    I’m not a murderer.

    I’m a monster.

    But not a murderer.

    “I can’t do it.” She squeezed her eyes shut.

    “You have to, Paradise.”

    Eden flinched, her head jerking up to find Stellan standing in the doorway to her bathroom, his eyes sympathetic but resolved. “How long have you been there?”

    He sighed. “Long enough.”

    The tears splashed down her cheeks. “I can’t, Stel. I can’t.”

    He dropped to his knees before her, smoothing her hair back, his pale grey eyes fastened on hers. “You’ll die, Eden. If you don’t, you’ll die.” His eyes shone bright with unshed tears. “And I can’t live without you.”

    Her whole body began to shake with broken sobs. “I don’t want to be like them.”

    “I know,” Stellan whispered, wrapping his arms around her and drawing her into his chest. He was comfort, he was safe and warm. “You won’t be. We’ll take care of each other. We’ll make sure we never become like them.”

    “Promise?” She clenched her fingers into his shirt, the hunger already making itself known after only minutes cowed by her disgust at what she’d found in the basement. It was no use.

    Stellan sighed and kissed her forehead softly. “I promise, Paradise.”

    They held each other tighter. These two unusual Blessed. One another’s safest harbor.

    Chapter Sixteen

    A Winslow Massacre

    The drug was taking its time to leave his system. Noah yanked at the chains cuffed around his wrists and clamped into the floor of the dining room. The marble flooring was destroyed. Guess they didn’t care anymore.

    Noah growled and yanked again, frustrated by the weakness in his limbs. An Ankh, when injected with what would be a lethal poison to a human, was rendered weak and pretty much useless until the drug had left his system.

    He felt his skin crawl at the feel of the soul eaters’ greedy eyes on him. There was about twenty of them, all huddled around the edges of the dining room, drinking champagne and grinning at the thought of his coming demise. He knew enough about these repulsive creatures’ habits to know that Ryan had decided on poetic justice this evening. Noah was to be Eden’s victim. His soul was to be the one that would awaken her fully and make her one of the ‘Blessed’. If that happened, there would be no going back.

    Clearly for either of them, he sighed, slumping. At least his vision had cleared. Not that that would do him any use. Even his ankles had been bound, with a springy metal wire that cut into him whenever he moved. He’d be lucky if it didn’t slice his skin right through. It was painful, even if he did keep healing after every cut.

    Ryan Winslow entered the room, followed by his wife Celine. Noah smirked, watching them, refusing to show fear. He could only hope the Ankh and Neith’s plans went off without a hitch and they rescued both himself and Eden… for he was no use at present.

    The Winslow’s looked like a normal, attractive wealthy couple… if you didn’t look too closely at their blank eyes, or the cruel quirk of their upper lips. Noah couldn’t see anything of Eden in Ryan’s face. Except for those cool, pale eyes. And yet he never once remembered Eden’s being blank. Even when she’d obviously hungered for his soul there had been something in them that screamed she was still in there, still knew what she wanted was wrong and was fighting it.

    Would she fight it tonight?

    Does she know I’m here?

    Part of Noah was unsure. Eden had always balanced upon the precipice and he was afraid his apparent betrayal may have thrown her clear over the edge.

    Come on, Cyrus, Noah shuddered now. Cyrus had to make it in time in case she was gone, in case someone needed to drag her back from the soul eater half of her nature.

    “Ladies and Gentleman, members of the Blessed,” Ryan suddenly called out into the room, his voice deep and clear and cold. “I want to thank you all for coming here tonight. For taking time out of your busy schedules to join me and my family in the celebration of our youngest child’s awakening. Eden is a special girl and tonight will be the beginning of all my hopes for her. I predict that after tonight my daughter will become extraordinary.”

    Noah sneered at him as the gatherers raised their glasses to Ryan with murmurs of agreement and approval.

    “Let us begin.” Ryan turned towards the door. “Eden?”

    The door slowly opened and Noah saw Eden’s brother, Stellan, dressed dapper in a black tuxedo suit. He glanced behind him, his arm reaching back for someone. As Stellan drew inside, he shifted, and Eden came into view, her hand gripping her brother’s so hard her knuckles were white.

    Noah felt sick.

    She was extremely pale, her lips pressed tightly together, her eyes blank. Everyone else would assume she was just like one of them, but Noah knew she was probably numb with fear. Her mother had carefully dressed her for the occasion. She stood stiff in an elegant, body forming black dress that made her look mature and adult. In a weird, twisted way, she was lovely.

    Her eyes stopped surveying the room and fell upon him.

    Noah felt the look like a bullet to his heart, and as her eyes widened with utter horror, he knew she hadn’t known he was to be her victim.

    Her skin turned a pallid, sick color as she looked to her brother. “Did you know?” Noah heard her whisper.

    The floor seemed to fall away from her and she grasped tighter to Stellan’s hand as she awaited his answer.

    This couldn’t be happening.

    This couldn’t possibly be happening.

    Stellan’s hand flexed in hers and his jaw clenched tightly as he replied, “Yes. He deserves it, Paradise. For what he did to you.”

    There was no regret or remorse on his face. He truly believed this vengeance was right. Heart racing, Eden ripped her hand from his, suddenly feeling more alone than she’d ever felt in her life as the eyes of her family and these strangers bore into her.

    Waiting.

    Waiting for what? She clenched her fists, afraid to look at Noah again. What had they done to him?

    He betrayed you, Eden, the hunger whispered in her ear. And his soul is so delicious.

    A little hysterical laugh fell from her lips. Noah’s soul had been the one to awaken the hunger. She remembered his fingers brushing hers as he took the manga from her hands and swapped it for In Cold Blood. Her whole body had seemed to unfurl, like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. All this time she’d been one thing only to discover she was meant to be something else. But that something else wasn’t as beautiful as the butterfly wings, nor as freeing. Instead she was stuck inside the cocoon, suffocating under expectations she couldn’t possibly meet because she hadn’t decided yet, she hadn’t decided who she was going to be.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire