Walking with Monsters sneak peek

January 2, 2015

Story by Amber Ross
1
Ellie pulled the gun out of the shoulder holster that was just a touch too big for her. Its heft seemed to calm her nerves. That lump of cold metal helped to ground her. She couldn’t help the hope that lit up like a spark inside of her. She knew the chances of Edward being in there were slim; still she missed him so much. She wanted him to be. She wanted this to be the one. Ellie thought back trying to remember how many labs like this they had hit. The total was much higher than she ever wanted to admit.

 

She glanced across the seat at Reese. He was staring up at the building, his eyes searching for anyone moving inside. She didn’t bother. She could barely see the building, only a few of the floors that were lit up by the streetlights. The truck sputtered as it idled. The building rose high into the sky, a veritable wall of glass. The upper floors lost to the darkness. The parking lot was all but empty the moon hanging high and fat in the velvet black of the night sky.

 

"Check the clip," he told her, his tongue dancing over his full bottom lip. He was still staring up at the building.

She smirked and pulled back on the slide. The bullet popped out, her hands were shaking so hard that it rolled over the side of her palm onto her lap. She narrowed her eyes angry at her own clumsiness. Ellie moved to grab it, and it slipped between her thighs. She shook her head, awkwardly reaching for it. He was laughing at her. Ellie did her best not to take it personally.

 

The bullet in her left fist, she hit the button. The clip shot out into her hand. She stared down at the first bullet. It was full. She knew it was. The lesson he was trying to push was that you should always check your side arm. She pressed the bullet into the top of the clip rolling the gun up. The firing pin was difficult to see in the darkness of the cab. She had to look hard for it.

 

Satisfied that it was straight, she slipped the clip back inside the bottom of the Glock 26, giving it a hard slap. Listening for the click, she pulled back on the slide to chamber the top bullet. Lastly she checked the safety. That made Reese smile. She was finally getting to the point where he didn’t have to drill it into her every time. Maybe she could learn after all.

 

He turned his head to look at her, his long black hair falling into his handsome face. He blew a sharp breath out of the side of his mouth to blow his bangs out of his gray eyes, a smile pulling up at the corners of his sensual mouth. His eyebrows drug inward and he sighed, letting his eyes drag over her heart shaped face.

"I don’t suppose I could talk ya into staying in the car?"

"Not a chance. You go in, I go in."

 

"Can’t blame a guy for trying," he said. She got the distinct impression that he wasn’t talking to her. It was mostly because his eyes slid past her, looking over her shoulder into the shadows of the backseat. She caught herself turning to look, his eyes drug back over her face. "Ya stay behind me. No stupid heroics this time."

That made her frown. She popped the latch on the passenger side door. It gave a loud groan as she forced it open. The side of the eighty-nine Chevy was dented severely above the wheel well on her side. The dents and scratches spilled across her door almost to the edge of the cab. She hopped down and pulled her navy pea coat in close against the cutting wind that blew across her, tearing at her long blond hair.

 

She shoved the door closed and had to try a second time putting her shoulder into it to get it to stick. She was so ready to ditch this truck and get a new one. She was surprised after the last time that the thing was still running. She was coming around the front end her Glock held close to her thigh. Her fingers kept tightening around the grip, trying to get the perfect hold. It was eluding her, mostly out of the fear she refused to admit to.

 

She heard Reese’s door shut and he appeared next to her, making her take in a dragging breath. She was sure she would never get used to that. There were so very many things she was sure that she would never get used to. He was so damn fast she couldn’t even see him move. She had to nearly jog to keep up with him when he was just walking regular. His stride was so much longer than hers. He stood at a tall and lean six foot two, where she was fighting to make five feet even.

 

"Leave the guards to me; ya go straight for the…whatever they call it."

"Serum, Miller called it the Serum."

 

He gave a noncommittal shrug that irritated the hell out of her. She took in a deep breath just to blow it back out again, tilting her head to one side sharply. The parking lot seemed so much larger than it really was. The closer they got, the building seemed that much farther away. Her eyes were wide, showing too much white. She concentrated hard trying to force herself to stop shaking. People were about to die, and she knew that some of them would be at her hand.

 

She looked up at Reese. His expression was calculating. He was concentrating hard. Ellie thought she knew why. “Thank you,” she blurted out.

 

"Huh?"

 

"Thank you for doing this. I know what it takes out of you, Reese. I’m grateful."

 

He gave her a smile that melted her to her very core. “Hey, anything for ya. Ya know that.”

 

"Yeah, I know that." She bit down on the corner of her bottom lip.

 

"Ready?"

 

"Are ya?"

 

"Guess we’re about to find out, huh."

 

They were close enough to the building that even Ellie could see through the tinted blue glass. There were two guards sitting at a convex shaped counter. They both looked up when Reese grabbed the long steel handle. The lock was nothing. It gave easily under his preternatural strength. The guard on the left was reaching for his gun. The other backed up, his hand on the nine millimeter on his hip. He was yelling something into the radio on his shoulder.

 

Reese was gone from her side. He reappeared in front of the guard calling for back up. Both of his hands shot out, the man went flying into the wall so hard that the drywall buckled and he slipped down to the ground unconscious. Ellie had rushed through the door raising her gun in a two handed, teacup grip that Reese had taught her. She took in a deep breath, squeezing off two rounds. The first slammed into the guard’s chest making him stagger, but the Kevlar vest he wore beneath his uniform kept him from taking any real damage. Her second shot was a touch higher up taking him in the top half of his shoulder.

 

She was about to squeeze off another round when Reese appeared behind him. Dragging the guard back into him a few staggering steps. Reese’s hands closed around the sides of his head, he gave a sharp twist that nearly tore the guard’s head from his shoulders. Blood splattered across the gleaming tiled floor. Ellie took in a sharp breath, her heartbeat slamming inside of her chest. She swore the sound echoed about the immense space around them.

 

Reese’s lips tensed as the guard’s body dropped limply to the floor sending the office chair on castors rushing backward. He looked up at her, his eyes softening from the hard gray stones they were. “Ya alright?”

 

She nodded her head a little too quickly. She didn’t trust her voice. Ellie dropped the gun and forced herself down into that molten pool of metal at her core, her eyes hardening, everything about her hardening. She knew he wasn’t the only one that was going to die in bloody violence tonight. She hated that her bottom lip still trembled the way it did.

 

"Come on, sweetheart."

 

The sound that came crackling from the radios made her head snap toward the other guard. He was clumsily trying to pull himself from the bits of wall that had fallen on top of him. She strode across the floor toward him raising her gun again aiming for his head. The adrenaline was shooting into her blood stream. Reese was walking toward him with measured steps.

 

She closed her eyes for a half a second then she pulled the trigger. Her bullet took him in the side of the head exploding out the back, spraying the cracked wall with his blood and brains. Whatever it took. She kept repeating those words to herself. Reese hated killing, he would do it for her. That meant that she had to be willing to do it for him.

 

He gave her soft eyes, his head falling to one side. He wanted to take her in his arms. There just wasn’t time to coddle her, there would be more guards coming. He could already hear their heavy tread on the steps further into the lobby. She crouched down in front of the dead guard, pulling his walkie-talkie free from his belt. It would be nice to know what the guards were up to. She straightened shoving it into the pocket of her jacket.

Reese jerked his head toward the right. She fell into step with him as they headed toward the back of the lobby. They came to a stop looking first right, then left. Eenie-meeny-miny-mo. Ellie pointed to the right, because you should always go right, never go left. The hall ended in a heavy steel door that had a key reader. Reese stepped in front of her, throwing his fist at the edge of the door. Metal screeched as it dented inward pulling away from the jamb. He hit it again, and again his blood smearing across the surface. The cuts were healing as he reached inside the opening the dents had made, and pulled. The door wrenched open the steel tearing near the top of the bend.

 

She gave him a smile. That, she had to admit was cool. She envied his sexy super strength almost as much as his liquid grace. He tossed the door aside and gave her a smile when he noticed that she was staring at him. He loved the look in her eye, gesturing with his arm, ushering her inside with a slight bow.

 

She shook her head at him. “You, are such a show off.”

 

"Gun up," he instructed as she passed.

 

Oh yeah. She lifted her gun giving the hallway a sweep. He stepped in behind her scanning the hall. There was a long corridor with several doors cut into the walls on both sides of it. To their left was a set of stairs. Ellie was frowning. They had a limited amount of time before the real cops showed up. The last one of these labs that they hit had the offices and such on the bottom floor. The actual labs were on the upper.

 

"So, beautiful, which way?"

 

She moved her head from side to side and finally with a roll of her eyes and a quick prayer that she was right, said, “Up.”

 

He gave a nod mounting the stairs with her two steps behind him. She was about half way up the first bend when he heard something. “Heads up, darlin.” Then he was gone. All she could hear was a high, piteous screaming. Moments later a bloodied corpse came flying down. It landed behind her. Ellie didn’t dare look. She didn’t really want the details of what he had done to the man. He was dead that was all that mattered.

She made it to the landing, her gun sweeping back and forth. She saw him standing there staring down at his bloody hands. His eyes locked on his moving fingers. She knew that look. It made her heart speed within her chest. He was fighting hard against his hunger. She forced herself to lower her gun.

 

"Reese," she said his name slowly, quietly.His head snapped to her and she could see the spray of red dots like stars rushing across his face at an angle."You good?"

 

He swallowed hard, loud enough for her to hear it. He dropped his hands, his eyes to the floor. “Yeah, I’m-I’m good.”

 

She didn’t believe him. He turned and started walking not really waiting for her. She made a face, her eyes widening, her eyebrows raising. She rolled her lips under. Ellie looked over her shoulder to be sure that no one was coming up on their six. So far she didn’t see anyone. She started walking. He had crossed the hall. He was pulling something from the wall. She came up behind him making sure to stay out of arms reach. Not that it would do her much good. If Reese lost it and came at her it was game over.

 

He held up a laminated sign. She smiled. A map would certainly help. Looking at it, she was right to have come up the stairs; however they needed to cross to the other wing to get at the labs they were looking for. She was was jogging. He was walking at a leisurely pace, and it annoyed her to no end.

 

Not only did he have all manner of superpowers -as she called them- he was so tall. She hated being the tiny elfin thing she was. Ellie had held out hope that the older she got, she would gain some height. But being that today was her sixteenth birthday she had finally given up the ghost. She accepted because that was all she could do, one of many of life’s little irritations.

 

One quick right, two lefts, and three dead guards later they were coming up on the labs. She was staring at the back of Reese’s head. Worried about him was the understatement of the century. Reese was normally quick with a joke in any and all situations, even the bloody ones. Tonight she was afraid that his hunger was too much for him.

 

She was doing a count of the shots she had taken to keep her mind off of it, while he ripped at another one of those heavy steel doors. She had three shots left, and another clip in her pocket. Though the way he was ripping the guards apart with his bare hands she probably wouldn’t need them, still, better safe than dead. Her lips drug sideways, she chewed on the inside of her bottom lip, looking down the halls for any hapless guards.

The door was a torn wreck of twisted metal when she laid her eyes on it again. Reese stepped through the opening disappearing into the darkness beyond. She gave the hall one last glance and headed through the hole. She winced crying out as a sharp piece of metal sliced the palm of her left hand. It wasn’t horribly deep, but it sure hurt like a son of a bitch. The lights came on and she blinked. Reese was keeping a distance from her. His eyes drawn to the few drops of her cherry scented blood that splashed to the floor.

 

She wiped her hand on her jeans hoping to get it to stop bleeding. She could see the fight laid bare in his lovely gray eyes. He was barely hanging on as it was, her blood was killing him. Ellie gave him a look full of contrition. Nothing she could do about it. She puffed up her cheeks and blew all of the air out of her lungs.

Ellie let her eyes slide over the room they found themselves in. It was gigantic. High ceilings soared above their heads. Stainless steel tables covered in lab equipment that she couldn’t name scattered about the right end near the windows. The back wall was a line of glass fronted refrigerator units. That was probably her best bet. She headed toward them.

 

She could feel his eyes on her as she pulled open the first door. There were a lot of vials and test tubes on the wire shelves. She took a moment to be sure that the safety was on and slipped the Glock into the shoulder holster. She had to use both hands to keep it steady. Once it was secure she reached into the back pocket of her tight fitting, tattered Levis pulling the paper free with the code number that the Serum they were looking for should be labeled with.

 

She reached in pushing things this way, pulling things that, nothing with their number. She left the door open heading to the next refrigerator down the line, nothing matching the number there either. She was beginning to get nervous. They were about to hit the ten minute mark.

 

Finally in the last unit she laid hands on what they were looking for. 
There were six of the fat, long glass tubes. Inside was a clear, slightly viscous fluid that when she gave it a shake bubbles floated slowly to the top. She grabbed the first three shoving them into her pocket. As she was reaching for the last three she heard a gunshot ring out. It shattered the silence around them. She ducked low out of instinct, giving a half turn. Her wide eyes fell on Reese. The shotgun blast took him dead center of his chest. Sending him flying backward with the force of it.

 

She dropped one of the tubes, it rolled underneath the refrigerators. She gave it up for lost without a second’s hesitation. She was shoving the others into her pocket with her left hand, reaching for her gun with her right. Praying to the stars above that the shot he had taken wasn’t the thing to finally bring him down.

 

She was blinking the tears out of her eyes as she fumbled her gun free. She got it up and pointed. Then she remembered the safety. She had to adjust her grip to reach it, her hands were so small. The guard stepped through the doorway turning to give the room a sweep, another right behind him. Her breath fell out of her. The second guard turned, his gun pointed directly at her. The other was walking toward Reese, his mistake.

 

Another gunshot exploded. She felt the pain of it as it ripped across the deltoid on her right side making her drop the gun an inch. Reese slammed into the guard with the shotgun. Two hits to his midsection liquefied his insides, Reese’s mouth, rows of razor sharp, jagged teeth ripped at the mans throat. He rode the guard to the ground as he bucked and seized. The guard couldn’t even draw enough breath to scream.

 

Ellie raised her gun taking two one handed shots at the other guard both going wide. She was a horrible shot one handed. Truth be told she wasn’t that great a shot two handed. But it had him ducking, his head snapping toward Reese. It gave Ellie enough time to run. Reese’s head snapped up, blood dripping thick and wet from his lips, his chin. He wanted to go after the other guard. Ellie needed him. It was a hard fought war with himself to pull away from the still warm body that lay beneath him.

 

Another gunshot exploded, Ellie was sure she was done for. When she didn’t feel the pain rip into her she opened her eyes, Reese was standing in front of her. The bullet had taken him in the middle of the back. He gave a growl that reverberated in her chest. Her eyes flew open; a sob tore itself from her. He closed his wet arms around her lifting her like a feather. He took two striding steps toward the windows. Kicking out, the glass shattered.

 

"Hold on to me!" he cried. His voice was low and guttural. His eyes had bled black, darkness swallowing his entire sclera, his iris, everything. She couldn’t help thinking how beautiful it looked the eyes of his Monster. It brought the fear in her to the surface. Made her throat close tight, made her heart skip a beat. But it was beautiful despite it.

 

She closed her arms around the back of his neck and they were flying through the air. Eight stories, he landed like a cat, crouching, one arm closed tightly around her back holding her close to him. The other had shot out, a human claw to balance him when he touched the icy pavement. She looked up staring into those unearthly eyes her mouth falling open, her breath quick. He closed his eyes, when they opened again they were crashing, a darker gray than she was used to like roiling storm clouds.

 

He straightened, setting her down on the ground with one arm. He tore his eyes away from her to look over his shoulder. His lips tensed, his black eyebrows came down over his eyes in a sharp V shape. He drug his head back around to look at her.

 

"I need you to run, don’t argue, run. Get to the truck. Now!"

 

"What about you?" Her voice cracked with the emotion she felt roaring through her.

 

He pulled his arms away from her taking two striding steps back toward the building. “I’m right behind you, El. GO NOW!”

 

Her face fell into frowning lines, a sound tearing itself from her throat as she took off at a full run toward the Chevy parked on the other side of the street. She kept sparing glances over her shoulder. She heard the sound of automatic gunfire ring out into the night, and over it the sound of someone screaming in blood drenched agony.

 

Vincent could hear Reese bitching at him, a nagging insect inside of his ears as he slapped the AR-15 to the side, his hand closed over the windpipe of the mercenary. These were not the guards that infested the building like rats. They were dressed in full tactical gear, and body armor armed with fully automatic weapons, and to Vincent’s delight grenades. Not that it would make much of a difference when it came to him. He smiled happily as he pulled two of them free from the Merc’s belt.

 

He felt the bullets ripping into his flesh as they swarmed out of the back of the covered truck that had pulled up to the front of the building. He would have been jubilant to rip each and every one of these assholes to tiny ribbons, but he could hear the Chevy start up. She was coming back for him. He sighed, pulling the pin on the first grenade, chucking it like a baseball. It hit the driver’s side window of the transport truck shattering it, bouncing onto the seat.

 

"Touchdown," he said with a smirk.

 

"Congratulations," the visage of Reese grumbled. He was looking over his shoulder at the rapidly oncoming Chevy. "Go, before she get’s too damn close, jack ass."

 

"Fuck you," Vincent grumbled.

 

One of the merc’s gave him raised eyebrows. Not only was this guy tearing through his unit with his bare hands, he was talking to himself to boot. The Merc tried taking off. Vincent’s arms shot out dragging him closer. He tore into his neck ripping his throat out with his teeth, chewing on the gore of it, swallowing it down for no other reason than to piss off Reese. He let the body drop, taking off toward their truck just as the grenade blew. He slowed to a stop halfway between the building and the Chevy, pulling the pin on the second grenade, hurling it toward the few mercenaries who were still left.

 

The explosion reverberated inside of Ellie’s chest drew a sharp breath of surprise from her. The truck skidded across the icy asphalt. It rocked, creaking and moaning with the force of the blast, even this far out. She finally saw him running toward her. She heaved a sigh of relief. Ellie was so glad that he was okay.

 

She fought with the window as the truck skidded to a sliding stop. “Get in!” she called out over the blaring sirens, the ringing of alarms that echoed out against the trees in the distance. As he ran toward the truck she could see the flames fanning out behind him. They were beautiful, set against the coal black December sky. The stars were still hidden behind dark clouds.

 

He jumped, sliding gracefully across the hood, snowflakes sparkling in his black hair. He yanked the door open scrambling inside. His shirt was soaked through with blood. Most of it was even his. She slammed her foot down on the gas, the truck shot forward before his door had even closed all the way. His arm shot out catching her Glock that had gone tumbling. She had just tossed it onto the seat when she climbed into the truck.

 

The tires sprayed gravel as it jumped the curb. She heard the squeal of them spinning on the pavement. Ellie took the turn at eighty. In hind sight that was probably a bad idea. Her heart was pounding; she could taste the adrenaline at the back of her throat. The tires left the pavement for just a split second the entire truck leaning dangerously to the left.

 

She was sure it was all over. Blessedly at the last second the tires hit the ground again rocking them so hard that his head slammed into the passenger side window. The glass cracked, sending spider-webs rushing across it’s surface. He gave his head a shake, his eyes blinking rapidly against the star bursts that exploded across his vision. He grimaced, pulling the shreds of his shirt over his head. He reached up pulling a bullet from a rapidly healing wound above his breast. Better to do it now. Rather than dig it out later, after it had healed over.

 

Ellie slammed her foot down as far as it would go, the truck sped down the deserted back road, fishtailing as she swerved around the sharp curves. They had covered a fair bit of distance. With Vincent pulling what bullets out that he could. Ellie tore her eyes away from the icy road in front of her sparing a quick glance in the rear view mirror.

 

"Damn it," Ellie cursed with conviction. She could see the red and blue lights following in the distance.

 

"What?" He craned his neck uncomfortably to look over his shoulder out the back window wiping at the blood that was dripping into his eye from the cut that had already healed over. "Huh, " he said, his lips pulling downward at the corners. His expression was one of mild bewilderment. "Would you look at that." The last thing he expected was a local cop.

 

She frowned at him. “They haven’t caught us yet,” she said, gritting her teeth, shifting gears. She headed straight for the underbrush, hoping the cruiser didn’t have four wheel drive. What it did have was cop suspension. His lights were the only ones that could be seen in the darkness. There was a creak and a groan as the tree branches slapped and scraped along the outside of the beat-up Chevy truck.

 

Vincent narrowed his eyes, smirking unpleasantly staring out through the cracked window at the side view mirror, moving his head this way and that. “I don’t see anymore, do you?” She shook her head, sparing another glance at the rear view mirror. Though, those lights were gaining awful fast. He seemed to come to a decision right then. “Slow down just a touch, go another fifty yards, then spin around and come back for me,” he told her.

 

She blinked at him. She had an inkling of what he had planned, and she could not believe that Reese would even willingly consider it. She didn’t try to hide the fear that his idea conjured in the pit of her stomach. “Are you kidding?” She could taste the pulse in her throat. Her hands even began to shake. The smile spreading across his face didn’t belong to Reese. It was a lopsided, devilish grin that pulled up at the corner of his sensual mouth carving two deep curving lines into his handsome cheek.

 

"Trust me," he said, his voice changing by at least an octave. Ellie swallowed hard against the tightness of her throat. She didn’t even know when he had taken over. She took in a deep, shaking breath. Her shoulders moved with it. Her eyes slid across to the Glock sitting next to her on the tattered vinyl seat.

 

"Vincent?" her voice quivered as she whispered his name.

 

"Did you miss me?"

 

The dark confined closeness of the cab seemed to plunge his face into an eerie shadow. Her pulse sped faster-if that was even possible. She took a measured breath her tongue dancing over her bottom lip. He loved the way the light made it shimmer.

 

Ellie knew exactly what was going to happen next. She said a little prayer to the stars above that the cop following them did not have a family. Because tonight was not going to end well for him.

 

She slowed the truck down. Ellie heard the sound of the door latch. He flashed her a smile she would never forget, and leaped out of the car. He tumbled once or twice, coming to his feet at a full run. He had a grace that would make most jungle cats jealous. Him simply running was a beautiful thing. She could see him changing in the rear view. Ellie let out the breath she had been holding, concentrating on the road ahead of her. She knew she didn’t want to see what was going to happen next.

 

She let her foot off of the gas a touch. She could hear the screams, a high keening, and the sound of tearing metal. In the distraction she narrowly missed hitting a tree head on. She turned the big beast of a truck around as best as she could, fighting the steering wheel with nearly every ounce of strength she possessed. Ellie headed back slowly.

 

She grabbed the gun with her right hand setting it on her lap. Just the touch of it made her feel a little safer. The truck crept closer to the wreck of the cop car. It spun slowly on it’s side. She brought the truck to a complete stop, the silence rushing in on her. Mercifully, it was too dark to see any real details.

He materialized out of the darkness around them walking back toward the truck. His naked body was splattered with something black. At least, it looked that way in the headlights. She saw him wipe at his mouth. His tongue darting out to lick at the dark syrup that dripped from his lips.

 

She shuddered, had to close her eyes, it didn’t help much. Her imagination painted the picture that she couldn’t see for her. She swallowed the fear down into the pit of her stomach. Though, it did not go easy. She refused to let him see it. She glared at her shaking hands. Her mouth was as dry as a dessert. Ellie heard the door being wrenched open. Felt the slight sway of the truck as he sat down in the seat next to her. With only the illusion of space between them she could feel the weight of his eyes on her. She turned her head slowly looking up at him.

 

He was so handsome it made her teeth hurt. With his triangle shaped face and pointed chin. His face seemed made of lovely angles. He had a strong brow and sweeping jawline with full sensual lips.

His eyes were the most beautiful thing about him though. Surrounded by a thick fringe of black lashes, they seemed to glow in the darkness all around them. They were gray, the color of a spring sky just before the rain fell. His thick arched brows made them seem that much paler. He spared a glance at her while he pulled his shoulder length dark hair out of his eyes. His hair was black, the way a starlings wing is black. A thousand shades of blue and purple and green all coming together to shine in what little light the moon shed. He swept it back, tying it into a loose pony tail at the nape of his neck.

 

How she could be that drawn to him even covered in splotches and dripping blood she would never know. His hands were red up to his elbows; it was splashed across his bare chest. She didn’t dare look further down. He ran his tongue over his ruby stained lips, reaching across the seat. She jumped, and hated herself for it. He stopped, retreating back to his side of the seat.

 

"Figured you’d want me to put my pants on, but I’m just as happy naked," he said, with that mocking tone Vincent always used on her.

 

Ellie shook her head, reaching behind the seat, pulling a dirty, thread bare worn flannel shirt free. She threw it at him. He smirked at her and they drove off in silence. She could see the smoke in the distance. She concentrated on it while he pulled on a ripped up pair of jeans. His movements were impossible to ignore in the periphery of her vision. She gave it her best shot anyway.

 

The good news was they weren’t followed. The silence in the cab was so thick it was difficult to breathe. He kept staring at her. Those swirling gray eyes watching every movement she made. Tomorrow, Reese would spend hours begging her forgiveness. Telling her what a horrible monster he was. But now, she sat trapped in the truck with, that monster. Reese was bad enough, a single moment, a split second of lost control, and he could rip her to tiny pieces. She had seen him do it. The only difference between them really was that Vincent would do it gleefully.

 

Mostly though, she amused him, what was worse was that she couldn’t hide the fact that it pissed her off. So they sat in silence. Annoyance was better than fear she decided, so she didn’t fight it. His lopsided grin seemed to widen the more pissed she got. He shifted his weight, turning slightly toward her. He rested his elbow on the door, tilting his head to one side. He left the flannel shirt hanging open. The jeans were big on him, hanging off of his hips.

 

He took a moment to roll the sleeves up over his blood stained forearms, up over his elbows. His long bangs coming free of the ponytail, curving down over his sculpted cheek. He bent down to pull his tattered pair of tennis shoes back on. She took that moment to stare at him. Turning away the moment he sat back up. Slumping against the seat, he let his legs fall open resting his fist on his thigh.

 

Ellie tried not to stare at him for too long. She couldn’t stand that self satisfied grin. But tonight she couldn’t help it. Her eyes were drawn to the pale triangle of naked flesh between his breasts. The long thin line of scar tissue there drew her attention. A thick strand of hair had come loose from his ponytail, and curved against the line of his jaw. It took every ounce of self control she had not to reach over and smooth it back. If it were Reese in control she would have thought nothing of it. She knew better with Vincent. You don’t pet the tiger no matter how pretty he is, and not expect to get eaten.

 

He blinked those unearthly eyes at her licking his sensual lips. They shimmered in the light of the dashboard. He had one of the most beautiful faces she had ever seen. He was tall and lean, though his chest was sculpted. He had broad shoulders, long arms. The flesh of his chest was smooth. She couldn’t help but notice the dark splatters of blood that stained his otherwise flawless skin.

Vincent pointed out a dark house along the rutted dirt road they found themselves on. “Pull in there,” he said.

 

"Why?" She looked at him, suspicious.

 

"There’s a hose. If you haven’t noticed, I’m covered in blood," he told her.

 

She frowned, not able to find a flaw in his logic. The house was dark, there weren’t any cars parked anywhere near that she could see. Finally she heaved a sigh, pulling the truck up onto the grass throwing the gear into neutral, and pushing her foot down onto the parking brake. She leaned back against the seat, gesturing toward the back of the house. He leaned forward, peeling the shirt off of his shoulders. She hated herself for watching his every movement chewing on her bottom lip.

 

He opened his door, hopped out, leaving it hanging open. Walking through the bright headlights, he bent grabbing the hose, turning the water on. She couldn’t tear her eyes away as he washed the dried blood from his bare arms, his chest running the cold water over his face last. He rubbed at a wide swath of dried blood that covered his cheek just below his right eye. Clean enough so people wouldn’t know he had just killed and eaten a cop an hour before, he shut the water back off sauntering back to the truck.

 

He stood in the open doorway reaching in. Ellie flinched, a sharp breath tearing free of her chest. He raised one arched brow at her, and snatched the flannel from the seat. Ellie rolled her eyes angry at herself. He shook his head, pulling the shirt on over his wet back. He took his time fixing the collar, pulling it down over his hips. He was trying not to take her fear personally. He wasn’t doing a good job. Reese really had her scared to death of him.

 

Finally he climbed back into the seat slamming the door behind him. He slumped back into the position he had been sitting, gesturing with his hands that he was ready for her to drive. She scowled staring at him for a long moment her mouth dropping open to say something. She just didn’t know what.

 

Ellie pulled the shifter down into first gear. It gave a loud grinding sound. She was the first to admit that she sucked driving a stick. The silence seemed to deafen as they drove. He went back to staring at her. And she went back to trying not to stare at him.

 

It was so difficult reading him. As smug as the expression he wore, she couldn’t help but think that his eyes looked, well, hurt. She didn’t want to be afraid of him. She didn’t want to be afraid. Even with him sitting right there she felt so unbelievably lonely. She missed Reese already. Reese had a way of making the silence comforting.

 

Vincent just stared at her with those eyes of his. She could tell his mind was working. Ellie never would have believed holding a conversation with anyone could be this damn hard. She was so insatiably curious about him. She couldn’t bring herself to ask him anything though. Her eyes kept flicking from the road to his lovely face then back again.

 

The further they drove, the less angry he seemed to become. That was something, at least. She puffed up her cheeks and blew all of the air out of them. She decided to go for broke. “Are you…hurt?”

 

His eyebrows cut a wavering line across his forehead, he chuckled at her. “No, it takes a hell of a lot to hurt us.”

 

"I saw him…you-" Just the pronouns alone had her stymied. "The shotgun blast. Which one of you took it?" she asked, sparing a glance his way.

 

"That would be me."

 

"Oh."

 

She frowned at that her eyes wider than she wanted them to be. Just when did he take over? She gave him a look, swallowing past the worry that she couldn’t tell the difference between them. They were so different. Reese was so loving, sweet, and Vincent was well, a dick. She should be better at this by now. After all of this time together she didn’t really know anything about them.

 

They passed another street light. It was late, or early- depending on how you chose to look at it. The streets were empty. The sound of sirens in the far distance made her heart thud inside her chest. They needed to ditch this truck. It was a long way to New York; Ellie was betting whatever grace they might have had with the manhunt from the last lab they hit was blown with the attack of this lab. For the first time since snatching them she spared a thought for their prize.

 

She could feel the weight of them in her pocket. At least no one died in vain…right? She would just have to keep telling herself that.


Ellie drove for another hour the silence was beginning to drive her insane. Sure they had put enough distance between them and the police; she pulled in at a gas station. Vincent went inside to pay while she filled the couple of gas cans they kept and the tank of the Chevy. It was better to ditch the truck, and steal a new car much farther away from the scene of the crime. She was hoping that the police wouldn’t put the two together if they crossed jurisdictions. That’s what her vast knowledge of crime dramas told her anyway.

 

She stared at the gas pump, but didn’t see it. Her mind was somewhere very far away. Well, not so far away. He was just behind her in the storefront. She spared a glance behind her. He was standing at the counter staring back at her.

 

She ran a hand through her long blond hair. Her navy blue pea coat did little to keep her warm against the biting wind. The fact that the jeans she wore had more holes than they did cloth might have added to that little problem. She huddled in against herself. Each breath she exhaled hanging heavily in the air before her.

Cars drove past intermittently as she stood in the puddle of yellow light, lost in thought. How many months had passed she wondered? How long had it been since she stumbled upon him that night in the rain the poor guy who had seemed so in need of her to help him. He still did. Reese needed her but she needed Vincent.

Speaking of not being able to tell them apart she swore there were some nights where Vincent acted like Reese had the night they met. The fact that they were a monster was the least of her problems when it came to dealing with them, she decided.

 

The door creaked open, she looked up wide eyed. Her eyes drug their way down his profile, and right back up again. Vincent smiled that cruel grin holding up a can of AMP, waggling it enticingly. Ellie sighed, she seriously needed the caffeine. She replaced the nozzle, screwing the gas cap back on before she reached out to take it. He moved away so quickly, like a high speed whisper. Her foot slipped on a patch of ice she nearly fell. She managed to grab hold of the open truck door, but it wasn’t enough. She knew she was going down.

 

She tried to get her arms beneath her to break her fall. Vincent was there so suddenly. He wrapped his arms around her, saving her from the fall. He held her there frozen; those overly warm arms gave her the sensation of flying. Heat spilling into her everywhere skin touched skin. His dazzling eyes inches from hers, she could feel his breath on her flesh. It made her shiver made her heart beat wildly in her chest. She swallowed past the tightness in her throat.

 

Ellie stared up at him as the seconds ticked by. His eyes were the color of storm clouds, dark swirling gray with little flecks of silver and blue. She had never noticed his eyes do that before. His body was so warm, almost feverishly so. She relished in the sensation as it washed over her his body that close to her was making it difficult to breathe. The triangle of skin that showed on his chest was smooth, and hairless. She wanted to touch it, but didn’t dare. Her fingertips ached with the need.

 

Ellie had never been the kind of girl to deny herself anything she wanted. So refusing herself the chance to satisfy her curiosity made dealing with him a challenge, to say the least. Her pulse sped in her throat, she felt as though she were choking on a piece of candy. It was hard to hide the way her body reacted to him a slight blush marching across her cheeks.

 

A smile slipped across his lovely flushed lips. He was breathing just as heavy. He splayed his hands against her, kneading them gently into her skin. She expected to feel the pierce of his claws, but he was ever so careful. His touch was feather light. He pulled her in closer to him, tighter, so that her thigh slipped between his.

 

Anyone looking on might have thought that they were lovers. He leaned his face close to her ear, and breathed against her. She closed her eyes worried that the look in them might give her away. She swore she could feel his lips moving. That sensation spilled down her spine and brought on a breathy moan that she bit back hard on.

 

"Wouldn’t want you to fall."

 

She had to try twice before she found her voice. “You can put me down now.” Her voice trembled and cracked, and it had only a little to do with her fear.

 

"You’re not scared of me, are you, little Ellie?" he whispered in a sing song, playful kind of way. His voice was deep, rich. It made her skin tighten made the breath catch in her throat.

 

That was it. All she needed to break the spell. He knew exactly how to bait her, and she fell for it every single time. She placed both hands flat on his warm chest, and pushed him off of her so forcefully that they both nearly fell.

 

If he wanted to he could have hurt her, torn her to little bits right then, and she knew it. Hell that was part of the excitement. Like a circus performer putting his head inside the lion’s mouth. It made her new life seem real. Most of the time she seemed to drift through it almost dream like. Some may have called it more of a nightmare.

 

"Let me go." she growled, fighting to keep her voice steady as she pushed against him with all her might.

He smirked, just a pull of his lips. He lifted her up without any effort at all. He took a step to his left, before setting her down gently. He let go, not a single extra caress stepping back from her creating that illusion of space. This close, it would have been more natural to touch. 

 

His long black hair shimmered in the light above them, the loose strands falling into his face. His brows came down in a deep V over his eyes and something slithered through them. He looked sad almost. For just a split second before his expression fell back into smugness.

 

Her lip trembled. She bit down on it to make it stop. She hated showing any weakness, because he thrived on it. He fed off of her fear, and deep down he had to know just how attracted to him she was. The darkness that optimized what he was drew her in like gravity. So strong, she could not escape it. She knew, because she had tried.

 

"You’re a jack ass," she said, trying to stomp away angrily. It turned out to be more of a slip, sliding, wobble. She could hear him snickering behind her. It turned her frown into a scowl. She could shoot him, one bullet wouldn’t be enough to kill him. But that would just make him angry, angry was bad. No, she could put up with this for a few more hours. She could put up with Vincent, because she loved Reese. He was her best friend, the only friend she still had left.

 

That was it though, the sixty four thousand dollar question. She loved Reese, but she wanted Vincent. She hated to admit that. But it was the truth. That darkness pulled her in. She didn’t understand why. They were the same person weren’t they? Two parts of the same coin, how could she want one more than the other? They were the same person even if they wouldn’t, or couldn’t admit it.

 

She climbed inside the truck, turning the key in the ignition. He slid inside slamming the door to make sure it would stick. She stole a sideways glance at him before she eased the truck out onto the deserted road. He rested his elbow on the door, his head in the palm of his hand as he stared out the window intently.

 

The little white lines ticked past hypnotically. Ellie could feel the sunlight at her back, rising against the mountains. The caffeine and the adrenaline were fading fast leaving her arms tingling with exhaustion, her head aching. She reached over turning the radio on, dialing past the static. She found a song that was up beat and loud, anything to keep her awake. She blinked her eyes several times trying to drive away the fatigue. Her eyes burned with the need for sleep. It had been nearly thirty six hours since the last time she had any. A yawn escaped her.

 

Vincent reached over to touch her shoulder. She yelped dragging in a sharp breath the truck swerving on the empty road. She looked over at him her eyes wide, showing too much white. He swore she was a skittish as a colt. She looked at him, then back at the road. She had to put both hands on the wheel to win back control. Once the truck was straight again she looked back at Vincent.

 

"Jumpy?" he asked innocently. She gave him a withering look. He sighed, shaking his head giving his eyes a roll. Vincent pointed past her. "Pull in over there," he said. "Before you crash, and kill the three of us." His idea of a joke she figured.

 

If they did crash, she was the only one that wouldn’t walk away from the wreck. He would be just fine. But she couldn’t argue, she needed sleep. She pulled into the parking lot of the tiny roadside motel. She had twenty bucks left in her pocket, so she prayed that the stolen credit card she had still had something left on it.

 

Vincent watched her climb out heading toward the little booth. Her long blond hair swishing back and forth as she walked. His eyes were drawn to her ass. Her tight Levis hugged her every curve. She disappeared inside, and just as he began to get antsy came back out with the keys. He handed her jacket out through the rolled down window. She hesitated a moment before chiding herself, she reached out. Her fingers brushing his, she looked up and caught his eye. He swallowed, giving her a small smile.

 

"You going to be okay?" he asked looking at her. His eyes lingered on the curve of her lip.

 

"I’ll be fine," she said flippantly handing him the extra key. "Since when are you worried about my well being?" She meant it to be a joke. The look on his face made the cruel smirk drop from her lips. She was not used to his eyes looking that vulnerable. He frowned at her, that fake little smirk of his pulling up at his lips. She was not supposed to feel bad for him.

Ellie huffed out a breath. “Seriously, I’ll be okay,” she said much more gently.

 

"I won’t be gone long," he said, trying to be reassuring.

 

Ellie nodded her head. She opened her mouth to say, she didn’t know what she should say, so she closed it again. She turned and walked away as he scooted into the driver’s seat. She looked over her shoulder at him, reaching up to push a swath of her hair back behind her ear. Getting the room was easier than she thought; however, she made a mental note to cut the card up just in case. Ellie turned the key in the lock pushing the door open. She stopped, walking over to the railing on the walkway.

 

Ellie leaned against it; she watched the truck drive away lost in her own thoughts. She really did not get him. Worse, she couldn’t get him off her damned mind. The sound of the gunshot echoing in her ears. His body flying, slamming into the wall. All of it played out in her minds eye. The look on his face when he took that bullet meant for her. The grimace of pain that contorted his lovely features. That one just wouldn’t go away.

Vincent said he would take care of the truck, and again she didn’t argue. She opened the door feeling against the wall for the light switch. When she found it, she flipped it on. Ellie shut the door with her foot looking around the room. She took in a deep breath, staring longingly at the shower. Later, she decided, right now the bed practically screamed her name.

 

That’s it my lovelies. Hope it’s enough to peak your interest. Keep checking back I will be posting more information about the books release. And if my tumblr posts are too slow you, you can always check me out on twitter.

@Naralim33

There are more paintings of the main characters posted on my deviant art page

http://naralim.deviantart.com/

Big hugs and sloppy wet kisses

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