Authors: Duncan McGeary
Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Dark Fantasy, #Horror, #Gothic, #Vampires
BLOOD OF GOLD
Vampire Evolution Trilogy #3
“If you like your undead to be more Fright Night than Twilight, the Vampire Evolution Trilogy will be your cup of gore.” ~ Steve Perry, New York Times Best-Selling Author of Men in Black, The Mask, and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
- BOOKS of the DEAD -
This book is a work of fiction. All characters, events, dialog, and situations in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in the case of reprinted excerpts for the purpose of reviews.
BLOOD OF GOLD
Copyright 2013 by Duncan McGeary
Edited by Lara Milton
Cover Design by Small Dog Design
For more information, contact:
Visit us at: Booksofthedeadpress.com
* * *
Dedicated to Todd and Toby, who, through the example of their creative lives, have inspired me to start writing again.
“When’s he coming back?” Laura asked for what seemed the tenth time. Her voice was flat, without inflection. To Simone, it was obvious she’d given up on everything else and lived only for the moment when
came around: fearing it, wanting it, all mixed up in her messed-up mind.
“I don’t think he’s coming back at all,” Simone answered. She tried to say it kindly, but to her own ears, her voice sounded as flat as Laura’s. She tried to put some life into her next words. “I think we need to try to get out of here.”
“How?” Patty asked. “Have you been hiding some bolt cutters somewhere?” Just like her, to be so blunt. Since she was the oldest of them, Patty liked to think she was also the most realistic, which might have been true. “Realistic” also meant she cooperated with the Monster more often than the other two prisoners.
In fact, she had been the one who had enticed Simone into his car in the first place, the day everything had changed. Simone had been out with friends, going to the one movie theater in Crescent City, but she had missed her ride home, so she’d started walking. She was feeling down, because she was pretty sure her friends had ditched her. It was cold, and when the car had pulled up beside her, heat radiating out of the open window, she had stopped and listened.
Patty had poked her head out the window, an older girl than Simone by a few years, but looking as innocent as a child, which was what she was, since her maturity level had stopped at the age of thirteen, when she’d been kidnapped. “Hey, want a ride?” she’d asked.
Simone had slipped into the backseat of that car, despite the looming presence of the huge man behind the steering wheel. The man had flashed a goofy smile, and that, along with Patty’s disarming one, had convinced her it was safe.
For months, Simone had hated Patty for being the Judas goat, but as the months turned into years, she’d begun to understand what had motivated her fellow captive, even if she hadn’t totally forgiven her.
“We just need time to get out, just a little time,” Simone said now. It had always seemed to her that given enough of an interval between his visits, they could escape. But the Monster had always been unpredictable, and when Simone had thought about the timing of those visits, it had become clear to her that she would have been caught every time she’d had the impulse to flee. He seemed to have a sixth sense about when to show up.
And then there was… that girl… whose name Simone had never learned. The silent one with the big eyes, who had slipped out of her chains and run away…
Simone remembered the scream. They’d listened to the girl banging against the locked doors upstairs. Then came the scream, an anguished cry that froze Patty and Simone in place and made their hearts skip a beat: agony, despair and fear, all in one long wail that was cut off in mid-shriek. Patty and Simone had stared at each other in the dim light of the single light bulb, white-faced and wide-eyed.
They’d never seen her again. Not long afterward, he’d taken Laura.
They were each thirteen years old when they were kidnapped, and they’d been taken three years apart. The unnamed girl had been first, then Patty, then Simone, and finally, Laura. There had been others, though. There were five other names scratched on the wall. He had tried to obscure them, but Laura had had years to try to decipher them. Michelle, for certain. A Linda, it looked like. For the other three, she had only letters: Rh… Rhonda? by… Abby? Libby? Sh… Shirley? Sherry?
Simone felt shame suffuse her, heating her cheeks in a rush of blood: shame that she couldn’t remember, and a sudden fear that she would be forgotten just as easily.
It had been more than six years since Laura had been taken. Simone wasn’t certain exactly how long, since it hadn’t occurred to her to keep track at first. She could see it in his eyes: the Monster was getting bored with them, especially Patty, whom he barely touched anymore. Soon, he was going to want someone younger.
Simone had decided to try to escape, regardless of the consequences. It didn’t matter what happened to her, but she had to keep him from finding another innocent victim.
The Monster had unexpected episodes of empathy when he relapsed to being human for short, inexplicable moments. When she’d showed him her raw, chafed wrists, he’d allowed her to cushion the metal bindings with the cuffs of her shirt.
Something about the way he’d acted then, the last time he’d been there, had decided Simone on a course of action she had been contemplating for months. She’d stuffed as much of the sleeves under the handcuffs as she could without it being noticeable. He’d refastened the handcuffs tightly, but when Simone pulled out the padding, there was wiggle room. That had been days ago, but she hadn’t yet tried to extract her hands. It would be an irrevocable move, she suspected, if she succeeded. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to put her swollen hands back into the cuffs.
She’d been planning her escape for years. She’d taken notice of the metal bar that lay, covered in trash, in the corner of the basement, and of the rock that had fallen from one of the bare walls. She had counted the number of steps out of the basement and the distance to the front and back doors. She knew which drawer in the kitchen held the knives, and about the huge wrench under the sink.
She visualized her movements and imagined what would happen. Once or twice a year, he would lead one of them up the stairs and down the hallway, feed them a real meal at the kitchen table and let them go out into the backyard. At first, Simone had been pathetically grateful for these moments of freedom. Then she’d come to regard them as a form of torture, a teasing glimpse of what real life might be like. It had steeled her resolve to use the information she gleaned from these brief trips to escape.
But now that the moment had come, she was paralyzed by indecision. It wasn’t fear, exactly; it was more that she was uncertain how the world would react to her and how she would react to the world.
The Monster had been gone for over a week, which was days longer than any other time she could remember. He usually checked on them almost every day, or at least every two days. His hunger for their bodies was so insatiable that if too much time passed, he was rough with them. They had learned to hope for shorter intervals between his visits, because he was less driven and less brutal. That was the horror of it, that they cooperated with him, almost begged him for it.
But something had changed. Simone felt stronger than she had since she’d first been taken.
What’s happened to us?
A few weeks before, when he’d come down the stairs, there had been something different in his stride, and in his face. He’d always had a haunted look, as if demons were riding him, but this time, his eyes were gleaming with confidence.
He reached for Laura first, as was his wont, but instead of stripping her, he bent her over and started nuzzling her neck. It appeared almost gentle, except for the look of horror that came over the girl’s face.
“What… ?” Laura hissed, she who rarely spoke at all, who usually gave in so placidly. She sounded alarmed. “What are you doing?”
Simone heard the sound of sucking.
Is he biting her?
Has he broken her skin? Is that
flowing down her neck?
A short time later, he dropped Laura, limp and lifeless, to the floor. Her eyes grew dull even as Simone watched. Then he was on Simone. She felt a sharp pain in her neck, and a slow agony spread down her body. Then she became weak and sleepy, as if her life was being drained away.
When Simone awoke, she was lying in a puddle of blood on the bare concrete floor. Laura was still lying where the Monster had dropped her, but she was breathing now. Patty was sprawled on the broken-down couch in her usual spot, unmoving. As Simone tried to rise to her knees, Patty gasped and sat up.
” Patty exclaimed. “What did he do?”
Laura was stirring, too. She groaned and rolled over, and then, surprisingly, for she had given up moving from her little bundle of blankets in the corner years ago, she got to her feet and walked as far as her chains would allow. She looked confused, and her eyes searched Simone’s for answers. “I feel different,” she muttered.
Simone understood what she was saying. She, too, felt transformed, as if she had more energy and strength. She looked at the corner of the run-down basement where the trash had been thrown. She could see a rat in the midst of the garbage, and felt a sudden urge to try to catch it and…
She shook her head. That made no sense. They’d been fed only the day before; she wasn’t so hungry that she needed to do something like
. She glanced over at the rubbish pile: bag after bag that had once held Burger King and McDonald’s value meals; empty boxes of cereal and granola; the remains of loaves of bread that had already been days old when they’d been purchased––whatever the Monster could pick up cheaply and in bulk.
The pile of garbage had always been in the dark, so Simone had been able to safely ignore it. She’d become impervious to the smell, too. Now she could see it clearly, could see the maggots swarming over the remnants of hamburgers, the black insects eating the slimy lettuce. The odor made her gag, but also made her hungry.
After he’d done… whatever he’d done to them, he hadn’t come back for three days, and the girls were getting tense, afraid of what he’d do when he returned. When he finally showed up, he didn’t even come downstairs. Instead, he threw the corpse of a dog down into the cellar. It landed equidistant from the three of them, at the far length of their chains. They stared at each other for a moment, then Patty and Simone scampered toward the dead meat. But Simone got there just before them.
She grabbed the dog and pulled it out of reach of the others. Before she knew it, she was tearing into the animal’s flesh. She looked up, her face wet with blood, and saw snarls on Patty and Laura’s faces. Their jaws seemed to have elongated, with long fangs jutting down over their lips, and they had a reddish glow in their eyes.
Simone stopped in mid-feeding. She was still hungry, but at the last minute, she remembered that the others hadn’t eaten either. She tore what was left of the carcass in half and tossed the parts to her fellow prisoners. Patty was savage in devouring her portion; Laura seemed aware that there was something odd in their behavior and looked over the fur at Simone with a question in her eyes:
What’s happening to us?
That had been over a week ago, and they had used up what water was left in the basement. He usually left three buckets of water at the base of the stairs, one for each of them. Only Simone had shown enough restraint to have any left: a day’s worth, at best.
The three girls had always referred to their captor as the Monster, but they’d always known he was a man, albeit an evil man. Now Simone realized he really
a monster, and so were they.
“Why hasn’t he come back?” Laura demanded.
Patty and Simone exchanged glances. Both of them had heard the gunshots and explosions outside, though Laura either hadn’t heard the commotion or had decided to ignore it. Something had changed, not only in the nature of their captor, but also in their own bodies, and something was happening to the world outside as well.
“We should wait,” Patty said. “He wouldn’t want us to leave.”
Simone scoffed. It wasn’t the chains and locks that had kept them captive for so long. She felt strangely fearless, as if, for the first time, she could defend herself. Let the Monster return; she’d rip his throat out.