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“Leave me alone! Get the hell out of here!” Amaliya screamed.

The dead thing appeared to trip and it fell onto the hard packed earth beside the sidewalk. Cian backed away from the irate creature as it hit the ground and convulsed as if in pain. As it struggled, it sank slowly into the earth, and then was gone.

Falling to her knees, blood pouring over her hands, Amaliya whimpered in agony.

Cian leaned down and wrapped his arms around her. Her eyes were blue-gray again, but they were looking hazy. He had never seen any creature's eyes glow as white as hers had, save The Summoner. Confused and afraid, he pulled her firmly against him, stepped into the shadows, and vanished.

* * *

Cian stepped out of the shadows of his own apartment and heaved Amaliya's weakening body over one shoulder. The power he had used to transport them left him feeling weak, but he could not think of himself in this moment. He rushed to the sleeping chamber.

Voices from the living room informed him that Roberto and Samantha were still about, but he had no time to deal with them. Sliding to a stop before the metallic wall, he leaned down, popped the panel, and hit the code to open only one side.

“Cian?” Samantha appeared behind him looking confused. She saw Amaliya's pale and bleeding form and gasped. “Oh, God!”

The wall slid up and Cian laid Amaliya down on the bed. She was bleeding out and he could see she was swiftly weakening. She was too new to lose so much blood. Madness was a danger.

Without a word, he hit the interior controls for the wall and it descended with a soft whoosh. The last thing he saw before he was engulfed in darkness was Samantha's confused and stricken expression as she whispered, “Cian?”

In the blackness, he found the light switch and a soft glow filled the compartment. Heaving Amaliya into his arms, he found that his fingers were trembling. Terror gripped him tightly as he feared that she would succumb to the extreme blood loss and go mad. And if she went mad, they were all in danger and he would have to destroy her.

Leaning down, he licked her wounds. His saliva would stop the bleeding and began the healing until her own body could take over. Despite popular modern vampire mythology, vampire saliva was not an anti-coagulant. It actually healed. That was why the vampire bite was always such a powerful, brutal event. They had to pull hard to draw out what they needed.

The fresh blood filled his mouth and he gasped with the pleasure of it. But she needed to feed. She lay limply in his arms, staring blankly at the ceiling.

“Amaliya, feed,” he whispered.

“Rob,” she answered in a muted voice. “He's dead. I killed him. ”

“Drink,” Cian said, and tore his own wrist. He held it over her, watching the rich blood drizzle into her mouth.

“Rob is dead. ” Her bloodied lips and tongue seeming oblivious to the vitae that would heal her and give her life.

“It was The Summoner who did it. Do you hear me? He sent the dead to attack you because he knew it would do this to you. Either kill you or terrify you. Amaliy

a, do you hear me?”

Her gaze finally flicked toward him. “I sent him away. ”

“Yes, you did. ” And he had no idea how she had done it. “He's gone. You won. ”

Slowly, her tongue ran over her lips and teeth. She slowly rolled toward him to take his wrist in her mouth. Weakly, she began to drink from him and he leaned over her with relief. He licked the blood from his bloodied hand, then leaned down to her to run his tongue over her bloodied shoulder. To his relief, the blood was sinking back into her flesh and he could feel her power growing again.

She released his wrist and looked up at him. “I can't do this. I can't win against The Summoner. He sent Rob. ”

Cian brushed her hair back from her face and whispered, “Yes, you can. I promise. You can do this. ”

Exhausted, she lay down on his bed and stared up at him. “Maybe he should just kill me. Or maybe you should. I can't do that. . . . deal with dead victims ripping my head off my shoulders. ” She covered her face with trembling hands. “I can't. ”

Cian leaned over her and kissed her hands, then drew them away. “Yes, you can deal. I want you to. ”


Cian stared down at her. “Because you make me feel less alone. ” And the answer changed everything and nothing in that moment. Samantha still stood on the other side of the wall with her hands on it, scared out of her mind and he knew it. And Amaliya lay in his bed, a reminder of everything he was and that brought a terrifying sense of completion to him.

“I need to go then,” she said after a long moment.

“I know,” he answered. He lay down beside her and drew her close.