Page 10 of Court of Nightmares

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A year later . . .

Madness covers me like a second skin, as does the never-ending starvation I feel, leaving me half dead and weak for a vampyr.

I drop the dead human to the pile at my feet where six others like him rest, their faces contorted in terror.

Blood coats my mouth and neck, and I wipe it on my black leather trench coat. I guessBladehad the right idea there. For a moment, pain pierces the madness. I use it like a protective shroud before I push away the memories and plunge back into the darkness where nothing touches me.

Where I can survive.

You see, I told you I’m not the hero of this story.

I’m the villain.

I let my pain consume me until I was nothing but a nightmare, a monster stalking the night.

I cannot feed from other vampyrs due to the bond, even if they would let me, which they wouldn’t, so I drain humans dry, uncaring about littering the streets with their bodies.

I am always moving, always running from my past, and death follows me in a trail of corpses.

Not drinking from vampyrs leaves me half dead and weak, while humans . . . well, their blood warps my mind until I am nothing but a feeding machine looking for her next kill.

I’m nothing but the predator their human stories depict us as.

I will never be anything more, and one day, either the blood virus will kill me or another vampyr will.

I cannot wait for that day.



When I was younger, I heard rumours about places like this—places where those who areother, those who are not quite right, ventured.

It’s where those who are not pure blood enough to be in a court nor feral enough to be put down congregate.

Halfies, mixed breeds, and loners fill the club.

Wearing my low-rise leather trousers, bustier top, and leather duster jacket, I don’t stand out here. Even the silky paleness of my skin and the bright red of my eyes doesn’t draw extra attention.

Here, I am just another in the masses.

My senses are long since dulled, but I still pick up harpies, vampyrs, wolves, and even a hint of something other deep inside the crowd of writhing bodies. A halfie wolf is rutting what looks to be a pixie by the back wall, and a vampyr is feeding from a troll in a booth.

Blood is served at the bar, as is fresh human meat and bones.

It’s not a place for a good little vampyr like I once was, but now, I fit right in.

I push my way through the crowd, baring my teeth at any who protest my rough treatment. Maybe they sense my brimming need for death and violence because everyone backs down, and when I make my way to the bar, I slam my fist on the sticky wooden stop.

“Blood,” I demand.

The unknown bartender rolls his eyes, his whisper catching my attention. “Fucking vamps.”

Smirking, I turn my back, feeling the music’s bass pumping through the speakers, into the floor, up my vinyl, five-inch boots, and into my body. I almost find it hypnotising, and for a moment, I imagine being normal, sane, and loved as I dance here with a boyfriend or mate.

A sharp stab cuts that off, however, and I drain the glass unceremoniously dumped before me.

It’s a halfie’s blood, no doubt—half human, half vamp—and just enough to pull me back from the brink of madness a little. The old taste of power makes me close my eyes hungrily . . . wistfully.