Aleron: Book One of Strigoi Series (Stringoi Series) (39 page)

“You’re too weak to fight, my love. Remain perfectly still here, and I’ll return. Sakina has been summoned. Raya is to continue with Mynea.”

Eliza fled for position as the chatter grew thunderous in my head.
You can’t hide from us. You stink of fear, and it’s the fear that will lead us to you
.

Eliza purposely led them away from where she hid me. However, only three followed her. The others continued to search for the wounded male.

Eliza’s blood allowed me to close my mind and seal my thoughts, for if I hadn’t, I would have been found lame and unfit for battle. The two vampires continued in their search, swiftly moving about in the vicinity of my wooden cradle, which could very well serve as my tomb.

It was in those moments that I felt my insides begin to boil. This wasn’t the feeling of Mynea’s blood coursing through my veins for the first time. This was something completely different. My lungs and heart felt as if they were aflame. I was being burned from within! In reflex, I clinched my chest and used all the strength that remained within me to extinguish the assault. I accomplished this, but the relief lasted only seconds as a vampire hand grabbed my shoulder and yanked me out of
the hollowed tree into the snow. I cleared my eyes as I lay on my back and saw one of them.

The vampire had long reddish blonde hair. Her eyes were completely pearl white with a tiny pupil in the center. She wore a billowing, silky red gown, which flowed like blood as the wind tossed it at will. She wore no shoes, yet she still stood over six feet. Her retreating lips made her deathly expression even more menacing. I wasn’t afraid. If Death awaited me at her hands, then I would meet him with dignity.

I slowly raised myself to one knee. My heart and lungs recovered from their fiery possession. I smelled the other vampire just moments before she scored and tore open flesh on my face. As I was reduced to kneeling, both knees planted on the ground, I looked upon two completely identical vampires, not only identical in physical appearance but also in garment.

They began to speak. It was peculiar, for they spoke perfectly in sync with each other. The oneness in speech created an unnatural and lingering echoing effect, Vlad’s sirens of death.

“It’s futile to stand against us. Either of our powers could easily destroy you, for the master’s bite has imprinted you with certain death.”

I gripped the cold, wet mud and snow between my fingers. This allowed me to focus on the matter at hand, for it distracted my thoughts from the pain of Vlad’s bite. They could have easily attacked me, but they allowed me to stand.

“What are you waiting for?” I questioned. “Am I not a fitting meal? Or has fear changed your miserable minds?”

They both giggled then suddenly lunged at me from opposite sides. From some unknown depth, I drew on strength that I hadn’t felt since my deathly encounter moments before. I moved with such speed the two of them nearly collapsed into each other, narrowly escaping inevitable and momentarily crippling injury. They redirected and came for me again. This time one secured my legs as the other grabbed my arms. They had me. And I had them.

I forced myself backward, dragging one twin, who held onto my feet into unforgiving brush; it was a minor annoyance for the vampire but an annoyance nonetheless. The other’s grip slightly loosened out of concern
for her twin, whose screams echoed loudly from the discomfort of the tiny branches scraping her eyes. I threw the vampire holding my arms into the hollowed tree Eliza had previously picked for me. She landed squarely with a thump.

I then kicked the remaining vampire on her forehead with enough force to crack her spine, and she let go. It was only seconds before the fallen twin lunged from the tree and took hold of me from behind, biting and clawing at my flesh. It took all my remaining strength to pull her by her head and force her release from my back. I threw her over my head and dropped again to my knees. And like a feline, she landed squarely on her feet near her sister, who turned and contorted her neck until the spine resumed its function. She then, too, stood as they both began to smirk while looking at me.

“You’ll be a scrumptious meal, Aleron. You must know your death is upon you.”

“And what of my death? Will I be as tasty as my master?” Sakina swiftly descended upon them both from above the tree canopy and landed next to me. Shortly thereafter, Eliza returned. She was caked in blood, and the garment she wore hung about her in tatters. She tossed the heads of three vampires at the feet of the twins.

“They were but a minor delay,” Eliza said, showing her crimson-soaked teeth. “You’ll prove less worthy than they!”

The twins suddenly felt doubt, and in an instant, they were gone.

Sakina was preparing to give chase, but Eliza spoke before her feet left the earth. “Let them go, my child. We need to leave these lands now.”

That night seemed to last an eternity, yet, like all others preceding it, it too came to an end.

We settled in a vessel, which had been previously readied for our voyage by Raya. The ship’s crew had met an untimely death at her hands, save one who could guide us under Sakina’s spell. Mynea lay beneath the main deck inside a coffin that was filled with earth that Raya had gathered from the ground surrounding the pier. There was another coffin next to hers, which lay empty. When it was offered to me, I accepted.

Eliza laid me in the wooden box and kissed my mouth before closing it. The earth within this coffin began to soothe me. It created a new
cradle, one that would heal my wounds inside and out. Then I heard a familiar voice.

La Noua lume trebuie sa te duci Aleron. Departe de el!

To the new world you must go, Aleron. Far from Him!

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
 

Special thanks to Mr. And Mrs. C. Jones Jr. Thank you for your unwavering support. Your faith has allowed me to accomplish wonderful works that will forever be immortalized in the minds and thoughts of all those touched by this literary work for generations.

Special thanks to Kane and Kai. You two are what is pure within me. You are my very reason to keep going. I pray when it is your time, you, too, never stop. Be the best you can be in whatever you do.

Special thanks to my parents. Everything begins with you. You have encouraged me in all of my endeavors, from taking my first step to writing my first book, and everything in between. To make you proud has always been my goal; however, to make you smile is all that truly matters. Thank you.

Thank you A.R. Crown. Though we may not always agree on what should be captured by the pen, you make me think, and for that I am grateful.

Thank you Elaine Bell. Your influence on me began many years ago, and, still, it has a positive effect on me. Thank you for helping me achieve my dream.

Thank you L.A. Milton. It is your patience with me and understanding of my ways that has helped me reach out beyond my own boundaries. Thank you for your support.

Thank you Bert Fitts for setting a wonderful example of remaining chaste in business dealings and a great friend to everyone, including those who are less than great to you. You are truly inspiring.

Thank you Leonard Millsaps for listening to my imaginative ideas and for sound, constructive criticisms.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 

Kane has been interested in fantastical creatures for as long as he can remember. His fascination with the paranormal grew as he studied witches, warlocks, and werewolves. Finally, he sank his teeth into the world of the vampire.
Aleron
is his first of five novels that detail the challenges of being immortal.

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