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.“We put it there to throw them off.We may not have your strength and speed but we are pretty smart.”Nicole’s witty remark was rewarded with a smile from Zander.Violeta made a quick turn in the direction of the South wall.There was no time to second guess where we were going or if our footfalls were being heard.All that we knew was that we had to run or die.The ground was beginning to slope upwards and my legs were killing me as we continued to run under the compound.At the next corner, Violeta hesitated, not going left or right.She quickly reached in her pocket and retrieve the two pieces of her collar, throwing one of them to Sebastian.He nodded his understanding and placed the half collar on his neck.Both of them had to slightly tilt their heads to keep the halves from sliding off, but from that angle they looked attached.Sebastian had just lowered his hand when a group of vampires rounded the corner.They stopped and looked at all of us, wondering why we were in the tunnels, no doubt.They asked Sebastian and Violeta what we were doing.“There was a breach and we are taking all of the prisoners to Grigor.Did you not hear? He does not want to take any chances.”Sebastian’s thick accent and deep voice had just the right amount of authority to keep the group from asking any more questions and they continued moving in the direction that we had just come.We reached the cellar door that led to the South wall a few minutes later.The sun would be rising soon and we still had to scale the wall and drive away.While the Vampires made sure we were not followed, the rest of us made sure the vehicle was still there.Just over 400 yards from the wall was a small hill of sand.Nicole had said that there was a Humvee on the other side of it.All we had to do was run for it.One by one the Vampires leapt to the top of the 8 foot wall while the rest of us climbed.The sound of barking dogs grew after the last of us landed on the ground.We had mere seconds to make our way across the sand.Knowing that the Vampires would have no problem making it to the vehicle, I stayed with Chloe.Being the youngest, she was also the slowest even if she could run the 400 in sixty seconds.I ordered our Fare to go and tried to keep pace in the sand.The barking grew louder; the dogs had been let out.We were running for our lives.I urged Chloe on, but she was running as fast as her legs could take her.Our backs were being covered by our brothers but we still needed more speed.We were almost there when I heard my earpiece crackle on.“Cheyenne? Cheyenne, baby.Please don’t leave me.”I came to a dead stop at the sound of Zola’s voice.Despite all that I had learned, I wanted so much for her to mean those words that I forgot everything that I had just learned about her.Since Violeta and Sebastian were the only ones who would have heard Zola call to me, everyone else kept running and were rounding the hill to the Humvee.I was alone and without cover when Grigor and Raphael came into view.They each had a dog leash in their hand and were flanked by the same Vampires we encountered in the tunnels.The Vampires notched their bows and Grigor released the dogs.I knew I had two choices: hit the ground and avoid the arrows or risk getting shot in the back and run for it.Weighing my odds for point zero seconds, I turned and ran.I mentally thanked my track coach for having us do high knees because I called upon that skill to lift my feet out of the sand.I pumped arms and extended my stride like my life depended on it, which it did.The roof of the Humvee had just come into view when I felt something warm on my back.I tried to take another step but couldn’t quite lift my leg.then I felt three more hot spots.My legs became dead weight and I went down.As I was falling I could see my shadow.And the four arrows sticking out of my back.Chapter 26The last thing I remembered was falling down.There were four arrows sticking out of my back and Grigor’s dogs gaining on me.I tried to get to the Humvee but my legs wouldn’t move and my arms wouldn’t support my weight.Bright light shone through my eyelids, making it impossible to see straight.Damn.Was that little boy who wrote about Heaven right? Does a light come to guide you? And what would happen if I fought against the light? Is there a truly darker, hotter alternative? I had about 2 seconds to ponder the concepts of Heaven and Hell before I was hit with a wave of pain.At first it felt like someone had lit a match under each of my fingernails.It was very uncomfortable but bearable.A few moments later the pain moved up into the joints of my arms and shoulders until it took hold in my throat.Gagging, I convulsed until I was sure I was dying.I reached out for the light, hoping for any type of relief and felt the cool sensation of flesh.The contact immediately pushed the fire back down to my fingertips where it waited like an attack dog.I squeezed the flesh to try to identify what it was.It felt like a hand; long fingers and a slim wrist.I cracked an eyelid open and saw Pleasant.Her eyes were filled with concern but she managed to smile at me.I opened the other eye and glanced around the room.I wasn’t sure where I was but I knew that I wasn’t in Vegas anymore.Pleasant glanced behind her at something unseen and shook her head.She turned back to me with tears in her eyes.I was wondering what had made her so sad right before I passed out.It is not clear how long I was out.I remember Pleasant crying and the pain that had filled my body but not much else.Still laying down, I was colder than before, almost as if I was in a freezer of some sort.There was no bright light peeking beneath my eyelids this time; only darkness creeping into every centimeter of my being.My blood pressure decreased and my heart had slowed down.So, this was death.I was coherent for hours before I heard anything other than my own heartbeat.Other sounds joined it in a macabre type of song; dripping water, ants crawling on the outside of the window, bird feathers rustling in the wind.I could hear everything.The realization caused me to inhale deeply; so deeply that my body rose off of the bed and crashed back down before I could catch myself.I waited for the pain to come but felt nothing.I inhaled again and felt only crisp clean air filling my lungs.There was soft material beneath my fingers and I curled my hands into fists as I opened my eyes.I was in my room at the compound.There was an IV in my arm with four different bags of fluid dripping into it.One of the bags was undoubtedly blood but I wasn’t sure what the other three were.On the nightstand was a copy of a vampire romance novel and a half glass of water.Tabitha had been there.She was addicted to those mushy romance books.She had tried to get me to understand the appeal but I was more into subtle romance if any at all.My room was empty and quiet except for the new sounds I could hear.I swung my feet over the side of the bed and rolled my IV stand to the bathroom.What I saw in the mirror scared me.I was looking at a woman with chocolate brown eyes and clear, smooth mahogany skin.Any sign of adolescent acne was gone along with the scar on my elbow from crashing my bike when I was eight.I looked perfect.The sound of footsteps in the hallway caught my attention and I waited for a knock on the door.There were at least two shadows standing right outside as if trying to decide what to do next.Not possessing the virtue of patience, I swung the door open to find Jordan and Tabitha standing on the other side.They looked at me as if they had been caught in some sort of conspiratorial plot.Tabitha opened her mouth and then closed it several times making her look like a pretty goldfish with long blond hair.Jordan, on the other hand, had a smile on his face that was getting larger by the second.He looked me up and down and even went so far as to step to the side so that he could see all the way around me [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]