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Authors: Kim Culpepper

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BOOK: The Blood Talisman
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Oooo, feisty this one,”
she remarked to John.

John nodded an irritated

How in the hell do you
figure into all of this and what the fuck did you do with my wife?”
Alex yelled at John.

Oh, he doesn’t know who I
am, Johnnie. Why don’t you enlighten him?” Ember said.

Don’t call me Johnnie.” He
rolled his eyes. “We were sent by Administration at Blearney
Hospital. I think you already know why and your wife is safe. She’s
in a holding area at the hospital. We will be happy to take you to
her as long as you cooperate with Ember,” John

Alex looked over at Selene. Her tears
had dried up and her eyes flicked back and forth at all of them.
The wind picked up and the sky darkened. She closed her eyes and
there was lighting behind the gas station, then in front of it. One
bolt struck close to Ember.

Let go of her, John. She’s
a witch,” Ember yelled.

John released his grip and backed away
slowly. Alex ran over and pulled her close to his side. She opened
her eyes and could see he was searching for answers in them, but
receiving none.

Are you okay?” Alex asked

Selene nodded her head. John crept
over to Ember.

I think we will be
arriving in Blearney all on our own,” Selene said to

You don’t get a say in
this, witch!” Ember yelled at her.

She strode forcefully over to Selene
and pulled her unwillingly from Alex’s arms. Selene’s concentration
was lost and the clouds parted to sunshine again. Ember held Selene
against her body. With one hand on Selene’s waist and the other on
her forehead, Ember licked her neck teasingly.

Alex jumped forward to stop Ember but
John pushed him back against the car.

Let it happen,” he
whispered. His eyes and head shake were telling Alex ‘no’, but he
couldn’t trust John anymore and he struggled to gain freedom from
his embrace.

Ember bit into Selene’s neck and drank
from her for a few seconds before she completely let go of her.
Ember fell backwards onto the ground and grabbed her own throat.
She cried out in agony and threw up the blood she had just gorged
herself on. She coughed and sputtered up at John.

Help me!” she shrieked at

Her tanned skin had a turned grey and
her darkened veins showed throughout her body.

John let Alex go and raced over to
pick Ember up and tote her like a baby back to the big rig. He
started it up and they were gone in an instance.

Alex walked over and helped Selene
towards their car. He set her on the ground beside it, leaning her
against it. Blood bubbled at the surface of her neck and Alex
placed his hand over her wound.

Let me run into the store
and find something to stop the bleeding.”

No, I will be fine… help
is coming… don’t leave me,” she managed to sputter out.

Okay, but Selene, you’re
going to die if I don’t stop it.”

She reached up and grabbed his hand,
looking into his eyes. They searched each other’s souls for
minutes. The blood continued down her blouse and through his
fingers. Her face had become pale from the blood loss. She looked
like a bloody angel.

Police car sirens sounded in the
distance. Help was obviously at hand but Alex wasn’t sure he wanted
to be there when it arrived. He nervously looked for them to come
down the road any second. He looked at Selene then back at the
road. She stopped his face from leaving her gaze with her

It will be okay. You’ll
see,” she whispered.

Three cop cars spun gravel and dust
onto the blood-soaked pavement at the gas station. They surrounded
the car like Ember’s wolves had earlier. The officers got out of
their cars quickly, two at a time. Six cops in total, one a female.
Alex expected guns to be drawn any second but they weren’t. They
encircled Alex and Selene. The female cop squatted down on the
pavement next to Alex and moved his hand away from Selene’s

I’ll take it from here,”
she said.

Sister!” Selene

You’re her sister?” Alex

Yes. We don’t have a lot
of time. Take a few of my guys with you and go into the gas station
and bring me salt and a wet towel, and if you can find witch hazel
that would be helpful,” she answered.

Sure, no

Alex and a couple of the cops searched
the gas station in silence for a few seconds. Alex paused at the
feet of the gas attendant that he'd unwillingly killed earlier. He
looked down at him and stared. He felt as if his soul had left his
body and he was merely a shell of the man that he used to

Is that your first human
kill?” a deep voice said behind him.

I… didn’t have a choice,”
Alex said despondently.

The deep voice put a hand on Alex’s
shoulder and said, “I have some clothes you can change into. We’ve
found everything that Rose needs to help her sister. You need to
take care of yourself.”

Alex looked outside at Selene and her
sister, Rose. She seemed to be conducting some sort of ritual. A
couple of the other cops were pouring salt on the ground into the
form of a circle around them.

She’s amazing, isn’t she?
My Rose, that is. Of course, Selene is amazing in her own right. So
are we. I’m Ben, by the way.”

Alex,” he said, shaking
Ben’s hand. The handshake left blood on Ben’s hand and he looked a
little disgusted by it.

Sorry,” Alex mumbled,
looking down at Ben’s hand.

Wouldn’t be the first
human’s blood I had on my hands. You will come to learn to let it
go. It just takes time. I wasn’t forced like you were to feed on a
human but I wasn’t in control of my emotions the first time I
changed. I regret that day more than any other day in my life. Rose
has helped me to learn control but, as I’m sure Selene has told
you, it’s not easy.”

She’s taught me a little
about it. I really don’t understand how anybody could be so
heartless to force someone to kill for them though,” Alex sighed,
gazing back down at his victim.

Don’t even try to
understand those soulless fucks that consider themselves vampires.
Us werewolves believe their disease has caused them to lose their
conscience. Rose says it’s only a symptom of it, but I like to
believe a conscience is something that isn’t affected by

A tall and intimidating cop came
through the door to the gas station carrying a change of clothes
with him. He ducked his head to avoid hitting it the doorway and
passed several rows of disarrayed snack chips and candy

Here you go, sir. Anything
else?” he asked, handing the stack of clothes over to

Yes, get some police tape
and the camera. We’ll pin this on wild animals again,” Ben

The officer turned and left the gas
station. Alex snuck off to the bathroom near the back of the store,
leaving Ben to the crime scene.

He reached down for the door and
stared at his hand as it slipped around the handle. Blood smeared
on the knob as he turned it to the left. Inside was a typical
southern gas station bathroom. A gathering of scented pine cones
were displayed on top of the aged toilet. A beige sink struggled to
hang onto the wall and the fluorescent light above seemed to hum a
judgmental hymn.

Alex laid his fresh change of clothes
on top of the scented pine cones and leaned forward over the sink.
He stared at the image of himself in the mirror. His face was
nearly unrecognizable and the rest of his body was a tainted shade
of red. Blood covered the bottom half of his face, his torso, his
arms and his hands. He glanced down at all of himself and followed
the blood patterns back up into his own eyes. They had even
changed. They seemed somewhat darker and less inhibited. He
couldn’t stare into them for long.

He turned the water from the sink on
and placed his hands under the cool substance. It washed over him
in true baptismal style. He washed his sin away at first slowly,
then hurriedly as it became harder to make it disappear. He
splashed some water on his chest and his face, then wiped them with
paper towels.

The bloody water swirled down into the
dark drain. He turned the water off and looked at himself once
again in the mirror. The blood was gone but the darkness in his
eyes hadn’t. He didn’t recognize the man he had become. The wolf
had corrupted who he was as a person and he had to find a way to
get that back. The man staring back at him seemed evil. He punched
the mirror, breaking the glass and cutting his own hand. A few
shards landed in the empty sink below and shattered.

Shit!” he yelled

He wrapped some towels around his
injured hand and grabbed the change of clothes off of the scented
pine cones. A knock came on the door and a familiar voice

Are you okay in there?”
Selene asked.

Alex threw on the shirt quickly and
yanked the door open. There she stood. Good as new. She looked
positively radiant. Her blonde hair glowed vividly and her bright
blue eyes looked clear. She smiled at him, waiting for an

I’m better.” he finally

Me too” she said, doing a
curtsy to solidify her statement.

He grabbed her and hugged her to his
chest. There was some wetness from his washing that seeped through
his new shirt along the middle of his sternum. She didn’t mind as
she wrapped her arms around him in return. She could feel his heart
beating against her cheek. She listened to each thump lovingly.
Because of that heart beating, she could be happy, even if just for
a moment. She pulled away from his chest and grabbed his face in
her hands.

You seem different
somehow. Don’t let what has happened change who you are. You didn’t
have a choice,” she said to him.

Tears formed in his eyes and they
looked back and forth into hers, searching for more. He leaned
closer to her face and a single tear dropped from his face onto
hers. She leaned in closer and kissed his lips. He let her and
kissed her back in return. Their tongues rubbed each other gently
and passionately. He slid his hands down her back to her waist and
pulled her in tighter. He stopped kissing her and looked into her
face again, searching.

Chapter 13

Amalia had picked nearly all the paint
off of the strip of wall behind her cot. It looked like her white
wall had a grey stripe. She wandered where Alex was and what he was
doing. The pink pajamas with grey poodles that Ram had brought her
were giving her a headache. The hot pink color glowed against the
cold, grey and white concrete wall.

She heard footsteps hurrying to her
cell. The keys outside jingled and a small, stumpy man barged into
the cell, slamming the door against the opposite wall.

“Come with me. Hurry, Ram wants to see
you immediately and he’s pissed,” the man said.

“And he sent
to retrieve me?”
Amalia laughed.

She left her cell with him. She didn’t
know if it was because she was being imprisoned, or her anger for
being brought here against her will, but her inhibitions had
changed drastically. She threw caution to the wind. Her normal
caring personality seemed to have disappeared and she was
surprisingly fine with it.

They arrived at a set of big mahogany
double doors. The stumpy man opened one side and ushered Amalia in.
The scene was one of chaos. Doctors and nurses encircled a woman
lying on a California king-sized bed. Her clothes were drenched in
blood and sweat. Her face was pale and there were small veins that
had popped to the surface all over her body which faded to a
blackish brown color. The veins resembled small, brown tree limbs.
She continuously gasped for air although an oxygen mask covered her
mouth and nose.

The short hobbler exited the room and
shut the door behind him. Ram and a tall, bulky man were quietly
chatting in the corner of the room. He motioned to the man to wait
and walked over to Amalia, aggressively. She backed herself against
the wall. She realized the hobbler was right: Ram was

“Who in the fuck is this witch that
your husband has with him?” he yelled at her.

The doctors and nurses paused to look
at Amalia and Ram, and then continued working on the woman gasping
for air on the bed.

“Wh…what? I don’t know what you’re
talking about,” Amalia answered.

“Only a descendant of the Immortal can
do this to a vampire. A witch like that would not be with some
no-name werewolf if she didn’t already know him.”

“I swear to you, Ram, I have no idea
what you are talking about. “

Amalia stared into Ram’s eyes searching
for answers. They were cold and dark. There was no soul behind
those eyes but she seemed okay with that. She peered around Ram’s
shoulder at the girl on the bed.

BOOK: The Blood Talisman
3.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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