Page 11 of Court of Nightmares

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I remember the days when I would be coated in it in the middle of orgies and filled with power from feeding. I felt so strong and invincible.

That was before I fell from grace, before I knew the truth.

Nothing in this world lasts forever, not even immortals like us.

My eyes continually scan the room. I know I should leave. I can’t prey on humans here, and even the vamps in this place wouldn’t let me feed, even if I could.

For a moment, though, I feel like I belong, and I don’t want to go.

Instead, I blend into the background and watch others. As I observe the interactions between lovers, friends, or even new acquaintances, I realise I miss it viscerally.

I crave to connect with someone and just have somebody there for me to share laughter, hope, and happiness with.

But there is no room in my darkness for that.

The smell of something other hits me again, and I turn my head to see a beautiful, icy blonde woman slide onto a stool a few places down. She’s short, though everyone is compared to me, and more muscular than willowy. She has high breasts spilling from a nearly sheer, sparkling sheath dress covered in sequins that catch the light. Her pale, toned legs are on display as she crosses them, waiting to be served.

She’s beautiful, but when she turns to me, there’s something in her gaze that’s almost unsettling . . . powerful, but other.

Her irises are almost the same stark white as her hair before they bleed to a stunning cerulean blue, and then she glances away, freeing me from her thrall, and I snap right back to my darkness.

I’ve never been into women, but there’s a power about her that’s addictive, and when I recognise it, I realise she’s probably half siren or something.

She’s trouble for sure.

“Amara,” someone calls, stepping up to her side, and I turn away.

I am the only one here who is alone.

Feeling more disgusting than when I walked in, I head to the back where the toilets are. Needing an escape, I slip inside and lock the door behind me as I hang my head over the sink.

Hunger takes hold once more, and I groan as I clutch the porcelain.

I hate this hunger and that I’m forced to kill and feed.

There’s just never enough blood to heal the wounds in my soul.

I lift my head and see myself for the first time in a year, and it shocks me to my core.

Gone is the bright glow of life. My hair looks lifeless and dull, my skin is pale and almost translucent, my fangs are huge, and my face is bony. I look like a shell, and I quickly slam my hand into the mirror, cracking the glass.

In those fissures, I briefly see the reflection of another, who has pale skin and bright eyes, before it fades too.

The scent of my blood makes me hiss as I lift my fist and lap at the wound. It won’t do anything for me, but the taste is comforting.

I wonder if I will just die one day.

Nox, I hope so.

Turning away in horror, I slip out of the toilet and head down the corridor before breaking out into the night, where I suck in a deep breath of putrid air, tainted by garbage. After all, it’s all I deserve. Leaning against the wall, I let weakness flow through my body as the hunger demands to be satisfied.

Hatred fills me for myself, who I’ve become, and for what I am, but mostly for the man who made me this way, the one who rejected and ruined me.

If Mother could see me now, she would be horrified, as would Simon.

Even thinking his name hurts, so I decide to distract myself, and when a human steps out of the door to the restaurant opposite and tosses a black bag in the bin, I strike. I need the release his death will bring, and I need the life that runs through him to push past the turbulent emotions and pain consuming me.

When I pin him to the wall and sink my fangs deep, however, it’s his memories that crowd my head. I don’t know if other vamps see them, I never did before, but now, I do. With each human I feed from, I see their lives, including their past, present, and future.

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