“Shit, thanks for that, would’ve been a nasty one,” Zach said, mentally praising the gods of all things good that he was working with Erin again. Had he been alone, the near seven-foot drop would have been much more terrifying and painful.
“Where the fuck are we? Or don’t you know?” she asked looking around. It was a dank, basement-like area, lit with torches that were secured to the walls.
Zach had a pretty good idea where they’d ended up and didn’t like it one bit. “Could be the sleeping chambers.”
“Ding ding ding! You’d be right. Not just a pretty face, I like that Mr. Warden.” They turned to face Lisbet, who had jumped down behind them. Her supernatural abilities made things that would kill another human, simple for her.
“So what? Is daddy going to come rip our heads off now?” Erin asked, her tone soaked in sarcasm.
“Why don’t we head back upstairs and talk about this rationally, we don’t want to end up hurting you,” Zach tried, but this only made Lisbet laugh.
“You mean you can’t hurt me.”
“Maybe he can’t.” Erin ran towards Lisbet, punching her hard in the face. The girl seemed too shocked to respond to the abuse for a moment and held her jaw.
“Erin what the hell?” Zach exclaimed, but by then Lisbet had dissolved into another fit of giggles. The bruise that had begun to form was healing just as quickly and the pain that would have been associated with it, was clearly disappearing as well.
She held her hands up in surrender, “Yes please, take me Mr. and Mrs. Warden, take me back to my hellish mother, I’ll go, please.” She was laughing so hard now that she fell back against one of the pillars and Erin, fighting to control her irritation – but failing – approached.
Zach, stepped between the two and faced his partner. “This isn’t worth it Erin, we’ll call in back-up and work it out, at least we know where she is now.”
Erin agreed, her hands dropping to her sides. “Fine,” she mumbled, looking around him at Lisbet, “But I won’t like … fuck.” She saw the danger too late. Lisbet’s polished red fingernails came bursting through Zach’s stomach with a force that left him breathless. She pulled her hand out and he fell to his knees, looking up at Erin, then at his wound as though he couldn’t believe what had happened. He tried to press his hand against it, but with the wind knocked out of him, simply fell face-first against the damp stone floor, as Lisbet laughed at her own joke.
Erin’s heartbeat sped up. Her head pounded and her vision blurred. The laughter in her ears grew louder and she tried to swallow past the knot forming in her throat. She tried to speak, to say anything. She tried to reach for Zach, but her body wasn’t moving. She wasn’t moving. Only, she was.
When her faculties returned to her, Erin heard not laughter, but Lisbet’s gasping breaths. She had her poised against the pillar, her forearm jammed up under her neck. The dhampir tried to get out of the hold but could not. Erin was a woman possessed and as she thought of the fact that Zach could be dying at her feet, she pressed harder, pushed harder, until Lisbet’s brown eyes rolled to the back of her head. Erin could hear the dhampir’s breaths coming slower now and zeroed in for the kill, looking at her victim as her eyes fluttered close, when a hand pulled her away violently.
She struck one of the supporting pillars and the figure came at her again, this time grabbing her by her own neck and flinging her against another. Erin fought back, bringing her defenses up, but disoriented from the suddenness of it all, her aim was off and the phantom figure got her again, this time lifting her high into the air, before slamming her body down to the dusty floor.
A voice whispered in her ear, “Lay thy hand on her flesh ne’er again.”
She knew who it was without seeing him. Nikolai spoke as many of the vampires of Roman times did. Erin rolled over on her back, hearing a frenzied, “Daughter, you must wake,” as she did. She coughed, using her resources to heal, rather than hurt and having enough energy to crawl to Zach’s side, pressed her hand against his wound. He lay shivering as Erin whispered every healing spell she knew one after another, but did not open his eyes. “Rest my child, heal,” Nikolai whispered, laying Lisbet down carefully.
When he was sure his offspring would survive, he came at Erin again, walking over to her purposefully, “You raise your hand against my house? You try to steal my daughter?”
Erin didn’t speak, her bloodstained hands glowing a dull blue as she tried to heal Zach. She looked up at Nikolai. His skin seemed golden and he shared his daughter’s dark hair and eyes, though the latter were a paler version. He was a muscular man, wearing a knee-length toga and with scars wrought before he had become immortal. He looked at her hard, eyebrows crinkling, then touched her chin, tilting it so he could look at her properly.
“You are … no,” he began, then frowning, “this is a thing that cannot be.” His hand fell away from her face as his puzzlement grew, “The fifth priestess? When not but a century has passed?” His eyes fell again on Erin, who by this time was only concerned with Zach’s safety. Nikolai grimaced and strolled as a man broken back over to his daughter. He knelt, stroking her hair as she slept.
“Dark days cometh.”
Thank you for reading The Wardens Series S01E04: Taken! To purchase a signed PDF copy for $8, contact me with your request.
Read on to The Wardens Series S01E05: Cemetery Party!
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