Authors: Jillian Eaton
Tags: #Children's Books, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy & Magic, #Children's eBooks, #Science Fiction; Fantasy & Scary Stories, #Paranormal & Urban, #Vampires
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
ABOUT LOLA SANCHEZ…
“[Lola] is one kick ass chick.” Genie (Goodreads)
“She’s the perfect heroine, with the right amount of fear mixed in with courage… Lola is in it to stay alive.” Rola (XO Reads)
“I loved Lola! She was gutsy, sarcastic, smart, but still down to earth.” Ornella (Goodreads)
“Lola is pretty badbutt whether she’s hijacking a car or battling an angry horde of blood-thirsty apocalyptic vampires.” AnQui (Goodreads)
A Night Without Stars
is a work of fiction.
All of the characters, organizations, and events
portrayed in this novel are either products
of the author’s imagination or
are used fictitiously.
Copyright © by Jillian Eaton 2014
All Rights Reserved.
Except for use in any review, the
reproduction or utilization of this work in
whole or in part in any form is
ALSO BY JILLIAN EATON
A Night Without Stars
The Runaway Duchess
The Spinster and the Duke
The Winter Wish
The Risqué Resolution
A Brooding Beauty
A Ravishing Redhead
A Lascivious Lady
A Gentle Grace
“Death is when the monsters get you.”
The End of Everything
I can smell the blood.
It tastes metallic on my tongue and I close my mouth tight, clamping my teeth together until my jaw aches. Still the scent of it invades my nostrils, sweet and ripe as an apple left out to rot in the sun. My stomach cramps, a knee jerk reaction to what the smell of blood has come to signify: death.
A drinker has been in the hotel. I can see the claw marks running down across the woodwork of the main desk. What little furniture remained in the lobby has been completely wrecked, as if the drinker went into some kind of mindless rage, destroying everything in sight.
With my heart in my throat I sprint across the lobby and fly up the stairs, screaming their names with every step. But they aren’t in their rooms.
They aren’t anywhere.
I search the fourth floor. The second. The third. The first. Then all that is left is the basement, the one place we have never gone.
When I see the light blossoming from the edges of a door at the end of the narrow corridor my knees nearly buckle with relief. I have found them and they are hiding away, just like they should have been. A breathless laugh forces its way past my lips. I have worried myself to death for nothing. Except the scent of blood is stronger than ever, and I cannot shake the terrible feeling of dread that is threatening to choke me.
I push open the door and instantly cover my eyes, blinded by the light after running so long in the dark. For a few seconds all I see are two blurry shapes. One sprawled lifeless on the ground and another hunched over it.
My vision refocuses like a camera lens. Sharpening slowly around the edges before spiraling in towards the middle until everything is clear. Clear as crystal. And I see who is on the ground. And I see who is standing over him. And I see what I have chosen to overlook for far too long.
“Is he dead?” My words come out flat. Emotionless. It is a rhetorical question. I know he is dead. No one can lose that much blood and survive. It seeps across the tile floor, reaching all the way to the door, and I am forced to step in it as I walk across the room.
The survivor turns to face me and my breath whooshes out to stain the air with shock and betrayal. I had not thought… I had never imagined… But the blood does not lie and his face is covered with it.
“You,” I whisper in agony. “How could it be you?”
His mouth opens and closes. Quick, so quick, but I see the flash of tell tale silver before he can conceal it. He reaches out his hand to me. A silent plea. Blood drips from his fingertips.
“This is not what it looks like,” he says quickly. “Lola, you don’t understand. Let me explain.”
“Isn’t what it looks like?” I repeat dully. “You’re one of t
. You’re a… a… drinker. You’re a monster.” My voice thickens with tears. “And you killed him.”
He says nothing. His eyes dart to my right hand.
The gun. It has become such a part of me I almost forgot I had it. I raise it now and point the muzzle true. His face pales. He takes a step back, then stops. Goes still. “Do it then. I showed you how. One shot to the head, one to the heart. Just do it, Lola. If you think I could have done this I am dead already.”
“No.” I look at the body on the floor. “He’s the one who is dead.”
I aim the gun dead center of his chest. Aim it right at his black, lying heart.
“Lola, I love–”
I pull the trigger.
Fourteen Days Before
Once upon a time there lived a beautiful girl. The beautiful girl had two parents who loved her and an older sister who doted on her. She had a golden retriever named Buddy who knew all kinds of tricks. She lived in a perfect house on a perfect street in a perfect neighborhood. The beautiful girl got straight A’s in school and wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up. She was captain of the varsity soccer team and cheerleading squad. She had a handsome boyfriend who treated her like a princess and she was always very, very happy.
Yeah, that girl is not me. If you want to read a fairytale, pick up another book. There won’t be any happy endings here.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
My name is Lola. My parents are divorced. My older sister hates my guts, and my dog got run over by a car two weeks ago. His name was Bacon, not Buddy, and he smelled like old takeout food.
After the Big D my mom moved across the country to California and got married to some guy who rides a motorcycle and has a fu Manchu (for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a really stupid looking mustache). I decided to stay with my dad because I love him so much.
Translation: My mom didn’t want me to come with her, so she only bought one plane ticket.
We lived in a crappy apartment building on the wrong side of the tracks in Revere, Pennsylvania. It was where I’d been born and raised: a prestigious little town filled with old houses and family owned coffee shops and tree lined streets marked with signs like “have a wonderful day” and “please pick up after your precious pooch”. It was the quintessential home of the free and the stuck up middle class.
Don’t even get me started on the hipsters.
Big Sis followed Mom out to California after she graduated this spring and I haven’t heard from her since, which is probably for the best. It’s no secret we never got along. We were always too different. She worried about her hair and if her eyeliner matched on both sides. I worried people would figure out we were actually related.
I’ve never had a boyfriend. I don’t play sports. The last time I got anything close to an A was in seventh grade English, and that’s only because I sat next to Patricia Clark, the smartest girl in the entire school. But this story isn’t about me. Not really. This story is about them. The drinkers.
No one knows where they came from.
In the end the government blamed the terrorists. The terrorists blamed the American people. The American people blamed the Jesus freaks. The Jesus freaks blamed the sinners. The sinners blamed the hippies. The hippies blamed the owners of gas guzzling SUVs. The owners of gas guzzling SUVs didn’t blame anyone due to the fact that they were the first to die. Turns out gas guzzling SUVs can’t go very far before they run out of gas.
Personally, I am of the opinion that the drinkers have always been here. Lurking in the shadows. Biding their time. Waiting for just the right moment to strike.
Curiously enough, they decided on a Tuesday in the middle of August to begin their attack on mankind. Just a normal day like any other. No holiday to speak of. Nothing to make the date significant. At least not then. Now we call it Death Day, but before that was just plain old Tuesday, the seventeenth of August.
I wish I could say I was doing something life changing on the day the world came crashing down. Saving a life. Coming up with a cure for cancer. Rescuing a cat from a tree. Instead I was stealing a car.
“Lola, are you sure you want to do this?” Travis Henderson, my best friend and reluctant partner in crime, peeked over the top of the dumpster we were huddled behind and quickly ducked back down. “I think it’s a bad idea.”
I glanced at him sideways. Tall and thin with bright red hair, brown eyes, and crooked teeth Travis hadn’t exactly won the genetics lottery. He was a geek of the first order, but he was
geek and so I tolerated his chicken shit ways. Most of the time.
“Don’t be a such a little bit…jerk,” I said, amending my word choice at the last minute. Travis was wound up so tight that any cursing would send him right over the edge. I reached across the gravel and patted his hand reassuringly. “It will be fine. It’s not as if we’re
the car anywhere. We’re just starting it.”
“But why?” he said miserably.
“Because we can.” It was my new mantra for everything. Why steal one of my dad’s cigarettes and smoke it out behind the apartment even though it made me sick?
Because I can
. Why toilet paper Missy the cheerleader’s house even though we used to be best friends in the fifth grade?
Because I can
. Why make out with bad boy Everett James in the boy’s locker room at school even though he sucked at kissing and tried to feel up my boobs?
Because I can
The truth of the matter was, I was bored. Bored of high school. Bored of summer. Bored of my entire mundane, predictable life. I craved change like a drug. I wanted excitement. I
excitement. And what was more exciting than stealing a car?
I mean starting a car.
Travis was so gullible sometimes.
“Come on,” I said, grabbing his pencil arm – the guy seriously needed to work out if he ever wanted a chance with the ladies – and hauling him to his feet. “We have to go now, before the street lights kick on.”
The car I had decided to hot wire was located on one of the quiet, tree lined streets with the lame signs, ten blocks away from my suck ass apartment complex. On this side of town the sidewalks were litter free and every lawn in front of the elegant row homes with their fancy shutters and crown molding was mowed to perfection. Even the garbage bin we were hiding behind smelled nice. Like some kind of fancy organic food and Febreze. I took a deep sniff as we slowly edged out to the street and my empty stomach growled in reply.
“Shhh!” Travis hissed.
“I can’t help it if I’m starving.”
“What! We ate, like, half an hour ago.”
“I didn’t eat that much,” I protested.
“You had two cheeseburgers, an extra large fry,
I elbowed him in the ribs. “What are you, the food police? You know I have a fast metabolism.”