WARNING: Bad language and violence.
The Reaper and Bran’s adventure takes a nasty turn.
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London – 1843
Investigating the death of Sarah Toby didn’t mean The Reaper had no other work to do. It was information gathering so I took Bran with me, spying was always more fun with him.
Bran stayed in the alley, watching the door of the gentleman’s club opposite. I clambered up the side of the building to perch amongst the window arches. Unscrupulous businessmen were like the heads of the hydra and bopping them off didn’t always work, sometimes I had to steer them in the right direction. To do that I needed material.
Boredom was setting in when Bran murmured, ‘Watching these places is as dull as being in one.’
I chuckled and sat down to rest my back against a window arch. ‘And yet you used to spend so much time at one.’
The alley sediment crunched under his feet. ‘I didn’t have you.’
‘Really?’ I said. ‘I remember many lonely hours apart when you did.’
‘I was afraid.’
I glanced in the direction of the alley. ‘Of?’
‘That you wouldn’t love me as much as I love you.’
I smiled. ‘I do.’
‘I…’ Fabric rustled and Bran’s boots whispered over the cobbles.
Two men in army uniforms came out of the club. The breeze brought a whiff of unfamiliar vampire. Bran’s heart stopped beating.
A lick of fear caressed my mind. I stilled. It was a freezing fear that chilled my limbs. I wasn’t afraid, there was nothing for me to be afraid of. It had been a long time since I’d felt anything like it.
‘Brandon, Is that you lurking in the shadows?’ one of the men called as they crossed the street towards the alley. ‘You always were a one for lurking. Always hiding in corners from Papa.’
‘And he calls himself a vampire,’ the other said.
‘No spine,’ said the first.
‘Truly tragic, Cerberus,’ replied the second.
Despite the seriousness of the situation I had to suppress a snort. Cerberus, Icarus, some of Richard’s vampires had given themselves very pretentious names.
I crept across the rooftop. Bran was backing up the alley, the only other place he could go was up the walls. He glanced at me, shook his head and stood straighter. ‘Leave.’
The vampires entered the alley, blocking him in like a cork.
‘He pays a whore to get on her knees and now he thinks he’s the big man,’ Cerberus said. ‘The little vampire doesn’t have a name yet. The Whore is a good one. Don’t you think, Jacob?’
‘Do you think she does him and The Saracen at the same time?’ Jacob asked. ‘Or does he just watch?’
‘Good point,’ Cerberus replied. ‘I don’t think he could fuck anyone.’
Jacob put his hand on Cerberus’ shoulder. ‘He doesn’t look very happy about us insulting his “wife”.’ He leaned in. ‘She must be an amazing fuck for The Saracen to kill Papa over her.’
‘The Saracen is more interested protecting an orifice for his cock than his best friend?’ Cerberus tutted. ‘Sad friendship that.’
‘Very sad,’ Jacob agreed and stepped back.
‘Pity he’s not here. Big brother will have to do.’ Cerberus slammed Bran into the wall and pressed against his back. ‘Did you miss me?’
My claws extended and the bricks beneath my grip cracked.
‘Are you going to cry?’ Cerberus whispered.
Bran’s body was taunt, fingers digging into the wall, eyes closed. He wasn’t going to do anything.
I stepped off the roof. My boots thudded against the cobbles
‘Oh, hello.’ Cerberus inclined his head to me. ‘Are you The Whore?’
‘I thought I smelt dead cunt.’ Jacob slapped Cerberus on the back and stepped towards me. ‘I’ve never had a vampire bitch before.’
Bran threw Cerberus against the wall and grabbed Jacob by his throat. Cerberus hunched in his crater, touched head and stared at the blood on his hand as if someone had given him The Holy Grail.
‘Don’t touch my wife,’ Bran whispered, his claws extended and pierced Jacob’s skin.
‘Please, don’t hurt me,’ he whimpered.
Bran stared at Jacob trembling, his fangs bared and breathing heavily.
He shoved Jacob into Cerberus. ‘You’re not worth it.’ He turned his back on them and took my hand in a tight grip. ‘Let’s go home.’ His skin was hot as a smouldering coal against mine. Skin was a thin membrane to hold in fury.
A flintlock clicked. I shoved Bran aside. My shoulder screamed. I stumbled. Bran caught me.
I spat a mouthful of blood. ‘I’m fine.’ I grabbed the wall.
Cerberus drew a second pistol. Bran caught it and punched him in the chest.
‘I’ve got a spine,’ Bran said through gritted teeth.
Cerberus stared, blood running down his chin.
Bran ripped his hand out of Cerberus’ chest, still holding a section of spine. It crumbled to dust in his grip, sticking to the gleaming blood.
Cerberus erupted, spraying the alley with ash and embers.
I’d been shot and was hallucinating. I’d never hallucinated before. It was an interesting experience.
So was Jacob from his expression.
Bran shot him in the head. Right between the eyes. A marksman’s shot. I couldn’t have done it.
Jacob exploded too.
Bran pocketed the pistols and cupped my face. ‘You shouldn’t have done that.’
I gave him my best annoyed wife look then vomited blood and shards of shot at his feet. He didn’t flinch at the blood on his boots, but it might not have been mine. My back was on fire, magic was burning through my chest. It wasn’t as bad as the first time I’d been shot in the back, although I had been dying that time.
Bran scooped me up. ‘You’ll need to feed.’
I wrapped my good arm around his shoulders and pressed my face to the curve of his neck, energy crackled inside him tingling my skin and making me hungry. ‘Are you my handsome prince come to rescue me?’
‘Get you in trouble more like.’ He strode out of the alley and neither of the constables running to catch their man paid us any mind.
I nipped his neck.
‘Hey, hey, careful, you can have as much as you want when we get home.’
He smiled then turned sober. ‘I shouldn’t have done that.’
‘You should’ve done it sooner,’ I murmured.
He pressed his face to my forehead.
‘Watch where you’re going when you’re driving, please,’ I said. ‘You can have as much as you want when we get home.’
He chuckled. ‘Promises…’
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