Welcome to day three of our Halloween event. Be sure to enter the rafflecopter at the bottom and have you been looking out for bats? We need you to keep an eye on those cheeky creatures to win an additional prize!
“The cellar?” I gaped at Neal when he shot the bolt and hauled open the thick wooden door. A staircase led down into increasing gloom and blackness. “No way. There’s nothing down there but dust, a shitload of cobwebs, spiders, and that goddamn incinerator I hate so much.”
As apprentices, Neal and I were required to take the bloody sheets and clothing generated over our weekend of lust and dump them into the fiery maw of the ancient incinerator. It squatted like a malevolent idol in a corner of the room at the bottom of the stairs. A more horrible place for sex I couldn’t imagine, unless it was the inside of a full trash bin.
“That’s just the room at the bottom of the stairs.” Neal paused halfway down the staircase to grin back at me. “There’s that wicked stone corridor I’ve never been able to entice you to explore before. Tonight’s the night.”
“Bullshit.” I hesitated at the top of the stairs, clutching the railing after letting go of his hand. “Let’s go to my room, Neal. This is like the beginning of a slasher flick.”
“That’s the point,” Neal said, laughing. “We’re vampires, Claire. We’re the monsters. What the hell can happen to us? A spider bites us? Who cares? Think of the ambience.”
“Ambience is supposed to mean something gorgeous or exotic, not doom, gloom, and torture chamber.” I considered going back to the media room on my own. Only, I’d waited weeks to feel him slide inside me, but there was no way he was doing it to me against the slimy stone wall of an ancient cellar.
“This is spicy. Forbidden. Dark. Secretive,” Neal coaxed, as if those were enticing things. “We’ll always remember our first time, won’t we?”
I didn’t want to concede he might have a point. As immortals, Neal and I would likely have thousands of trysts over the years. Soon, our first one would sink into the oblivion of time. Unless we made it somehow memorable. But a dust-choked stone cellar? With spider webs?
“Parker told me never to go past the incinerator. He says the corridors are like a maze. What if we get lost and can’t find our way out? It’s dark. There’s no electric light past this point.”
I was grabbing at straws, considering vampires could see perfectly well in the dark. Even though I could see through darkness, it still spooked me. Anything could lurk in the shadows. I preferred the crisp clarity of electric lights.
Neal fished in his pocket and extracted a lighter. He flicked it to life, and shadows leaped across his grinning, happy face.
“You told me you and Andre watch horror movies every Friday night, you little liar. What are you afraid of?”
“It’s one thing to watch a scary movie in your own living room, snuggled against your lover. It’s quite another to waltz onto the set and be a living part of it. And this is no movie either.” I remained on the top step as he skipped down the last few and landed in the dust at the bottom.
“You chicken-shit coward,” he said, still laughing. “I dare you.”
“What are we? Twelve?” I stomped down three of the stairs, rolling my eyes. “This really is like the start of a horror movie. You dare the blonde girl with the big tits to come into the spooky corridor, and then there’s some heavy petting before—whomp—somebody’s head gets cut off by an axe-wielding maniac.”
“Nobody’s going to chop off your head,” Neal assured me.
“No, because I’m ducking so they get you,” I muttered.
“You’ll always belong to me.”
Arbor’s eyes flew open as the harsh whisper cut through the air. Even with her eyes open, she couldn’t see and her lungs still weren’t working. Panic sent her scrambling from the bed. The second her feet hit the floor, light and sound rushed back to her, filling the void with such vehemence, Arbor’s stomach churned. The sudden assault on her system was too much. Even as her mind accepted the shift, the walls of her apartment refused to obey. They shook with such violence, several pictures came crashing to the floor. Her ragged breaths filled the air, seeming overly loud in the absence of all other sounds. She covered her ears against them and everything stilled.
A cold breeze skittered over her skin, leaving her chilled. She watched in horror as the green sprigs covering her white wallpaper grew in size, stretching outward as the wall bulged. They appeared rubberized rather than solid. The shape of a large man formed for a moment before the wall snapped back into place and he disappeared. Her feet moved in its direction. She was powerless to stop it from happening. There was something just out sight—waiting.
A noise, reminding Arbor of hundreds of people whispering simultaneously, came from inside the wall. There were too many of them at the same time. She couldn’t understand what they were saying. When she was close enough to inspect the surface, it still looked solid enough. She poked it. Nothing. It didn’t give at all. She tapped her knuckles against it. The final picture shot from the wall, shattering with such force, slivers of glass bounced off the floor and bit into her skin. One piece lodged in her wrist.
Arbor didn’t have time to react. The solid surface bulged once more, and the whisper returned. The pitch increased until coming together as one clear voice and sounding demonic. “You belong to me. You will always be mine.”
The room spun. Darkness hovered at the edges of her vision. The world tilted. Thankfully, the floor was there to catch her as everything went black.