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Authors: Carla Krae

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BOOK: Compelled
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Impure
.

I prayed for forgiveness, then yelled for
help. The vampires might ignore me, but surely someone would show
compassion?

****

No one came for hours and I drifted back to
sleep. I woke to feeling the cuffs removed from my wrists and
gnawing hunger pains in my belly.

“Thank you,” I said to the maid. The wounds
on my wrists were closed, a ring of dried blood around them. The
bedclothes had been pulled up to my ribs.

She was a plain-faced girl in peasant
clothes, her skin browned from labor in the sun.

“Please, miss, what is the time of day?”

“Not yet evening, sir, but the sky is dark.
They say it might rain.”

Late enough to escape the house. “Is there a
way out that the guards cannot see?”

She turned to me with wide eyes. “Do not ask
such things, sir. Please.” So she was a captive, too.

I wouldn’t endanger her. There had to be
another way.

Thump-thump. Thump-thump.

What was that sound? “Do you hear a
drum?”

“No, sir.” She brought my clothes to the bed.
The sound grew louder.

I was so hungry.

She glanced at my face and screamed. My hand
shot up to cover her mouth and muffle the sound. The drum beat
faster.

The girl was in my arms and my teeth in her
throat before I could think to do otherwise.
Oh, sweet
… Hot
blood filled my mouth as I gulped it down like water from an oasis.
She struggled, but it was useless, my arms bands of iron.

The drum beats slowed.

My God, what was I
doing
?

I dropped the maid like she’d burned me and
scrambled to the far side of the room. The beat of her heart
pounded in my ears. I almost killed her. Almost took an innocent
life. Curled naked in the corner, my mind chanted
monster,
monster, monster
.

Juliet found me this way minutes later, the
maid sobbing quietly on the other side of the bed. I felt the
presence of my maker the moment she entered the room, though I
hadn’t looked up when the door opened.

“Pathetic,” she spat. “Take her to the
cellar. I’ll deal with
this
.”

“Yes, my lady,” a man said.

She crossed the room to me, heels clicking on
the wood floor and skirts swishing around her legs, and grabbed my
hair, hauling me to my feet. I howled in pain.

“We do not cry over
food!

“Please…end this.”

Her blue eyes narrowed, her lip curling up
when she snarled, “
No
.” Yanking my head back, she forced me
to look at her. “
Look at me
. You will do as I say when I say
without thinking, Adamo. As of this moment, your mind is no longer
your own.”

“My mind is no longer my own,” I heard myself
echo. I couldn’t look away from her eyes despite wanting to.

“You live to please me and perish only when I
wish you to.”

“I live to please you and perish only when
you wish me to.”

Her grip on my hair eased. She stroked my
face with her other hand. “There…that feels better, does it
not?”

“Yes.”

"Now, Adamo, dress your self and come
downstairs. It is time for your lessons to begin."

"Yes,
signora
." Mechanically, I walked
to the bed where my clothes had been left and picked up the folded
shirt. From inside, I watched my body go through the motions,
following her commands, and felt an all new level of fear.

If she could command me to do anything, what
would she think of next? What might she make me do?

I found her waiting in the foyer dressed in a
simple shift, like an undergarment. Had she no modesty around all
these men?

"You are hungry, Adamo, are you not?"

"Yes, my lady." My voice came out in a dull
monotone.

"Follow me." She headed down the same hall
she went to when we first arrived and opened a door to stone steps
leading down into the earth—the cellar.

A lit torch on the wall at the bottom of the
stairs led the way. It was an open room under the house. The scent
of earth, dirty humans, and old blood came to my nose. Chains
scraped and rattled somewhere in the dark recesses.

"Welcome to my larder, Adamo. What is your
preference? Young, old, man, woman?"

"I do not--"

"
Adamo.
"

I felt a stronger wave of compulsion hit me
and was forced to say, "As is your will, my lady."

"Good boy." She took a set of keys from her
pocket and walked into the dark. I waited. She soon walked back,
guiding a young woman by the arm. The girl's eyes were empty. "Eat
her."

My feet moved forward though I did not tell
them to, my arms reached for the young woman, my head bent to sniff
her neck, and my fangs sunk into her tender flesh. The first bite
was into muscle and didn't feel right. The monster inside me took
over using my new senses and bit into the girl's neck where the
drumbeat pulsed in her throat, releasing a hot flood of blood into
my mouth. To that dark force, it was the best thing I had ever
tasted.

The more I swallowed, the more I felt
Juliet's pleasure, first from her smile, then her soft hand petting
my hair and the nape of my neck. When I heard the young woman's
heart slow and stutter, I dropped her and looked to my mistress for
approval. She stepped up to me and reached out to wipe a dribble of
blood off my chin with her finger, licked it, then kissed me to
suck up the rest. The monster inside kissed her back and purred,
holding her curves close to my body.

The girl didn't move, but she was still
alive. I hadn't taken a life.

One victory for the night.

"Juliet."

"What is it now, Vittore?" She let go of me
and faced him, hands on her hips.

"Full moon tonight, my lady."

"What is the significance of the moon?" I
asked.

"We have not heard a wolf howl throughout
this countryside, Vittore," she said, ignoring me. "I am not
worried about the hunt."

"More things are ruled by the moon than the
lycan. Take the boy out once it has passed."

"Vittore...do you honestly think I cannot
take care of myself? I walked this earth a hundred years before you
were born."

"I have eternal faith in you, my lady, but
the boy is a weakness the clan does not need. Send him out to Fate
or be done with him."

A low growl started in my chest. The demon
was posturing.

"Silence, childe." She walked to Vittore on
silent feet. "Are you jealous of the puppy, lover?"

"Of course not. I merely question the
strategy of bringing a newborn into our house. He could bring ruin
upon us with one night of folly."

"Pffft. The boy is enthralled. He can't
scratch his nose right now without my command."

Vittore did not look convinced. My mind was
open to her, yes, but I was listening and learning and so was the
darkness inside. Juliet might make my life miserable, but she had a
short attention span. He was the bigger threat. Could he be made
into an ally? Perhaps we could reach a mutually beneficial
agreement that would let me escape.

His eyes narrowed at me. He could see me
thinking. I lowered my gaze and waited for instruction.

“Come, Adamo,” she ordered. I followed her
upstairs, through the house to the kitchen, and out the back
door.

The moon was the only light for miles.

“It is time for your first hunting lesson,
childe. If you catch me, there may be a reward.”

Juliet took off running, her ebony hair
flying behind her like a horse’s mane. Feeling excitement and
anticipation well up from the demon inside me, I gave chase.

****

The weeks that followed were a blur to my
conscious mind. Juliet existed to shun boredom. Never satisfied,
she moved the clan from town to town, region to region, acting like
a noble or princess all should bow to one night, then masquerading
in boy’s clothes the next. From how skilled she was at it, I
guessed she’d been keeping the ruses for most of her four hundred
years.

She dressed me in fine clothes and made me
dance at balls while she lured some poor unsuspecting gentleman to
his death. Women fancied me wherever we went and I did not
understand why. Though I wasn’t experienced in the ways of the
world, I had been classically educated and could handle small talk
with them. I wanted to scream at them to run, but that was the
first thing Juliet took from me when she allowed me in public.
Couldn’t they see…
sense
…I was evil? A wolf in sheep’s
clothing.

The sights, though…sheltered in the
monastery, I had lived as if wrapped in wool batting. The vampire
senses were so acute, even the taste of human food still appealed
to me. She never ate more than a bite or two at the fancy suppers,
but I reveled in every normal morsel served to me, hoping they
would lessen room for the blood she would force me to drink later.
For minutes, a precious hour, I could pretend I was like them.

I would give it back in a heartbeat to be the
master of my thoughts again.

When we weren’t charlatans, there were
lessons.
So
many lessons. Vampire codes of conduct, human
codes, languages, politics, fencing with Vittore where he took
pleasure in every drop of blood, and pleasing her. A prisoner to
her spell, I watched myself do things I never would have imagined.
I retreated furthest into my mind during the sex, letting the demon
take over. She was sick and twisted, and pleasure and pain went
hand-in-hand, though the pain was usually mine. She punished me
until I got the lesson perfect.

There was no such thing as
perfect
.

Juliet left me with few moments of autonomy,
preferring to mold me into her image of the perfect vampire.

Bits of information tucked into the back of
my mind, though, the safe place where I plotted my escape or
revenge in my dreams. I took note of Vittore’s jealousy of the
attention she showed me. She made me hunt, but didn’t order me to
kill. The discovery of that loophole gave peace to my soul and I
drank only enough to quiet the hunger. The compulsion made me
answer her commands with honesty, but the literal nature of the
magic gave me choice.

I watched, and I waited, and hoped something
would break me free of her will.

****

My moment came in 1731; nearly a year after
Juliet changed me. She ordered me to tell her my past.

We were in her bed, after a morning of
fornication. She sat up, her palms on my chest, and asked, “Do you
still have family alive, Adamo?”

In my fatigued and sleepy state, I made the
mistake of saying, “What does it matter? I could never go
back.”

She leaned her weight on her hands. “Look at
me.”

I felt the compulsion make me meet her eyes,
and locked my jaw. She would have to take information about my
family by force.

“You will tell me where they live,
Adamo.”

“I…will not.”

Her eyes widened. “You refuse me?” Her nails
sunk into my skin. “How dare you, you insolent little worm.” Her
hand shot for my throat, but I caught her wrist.

Months ago, the pain would have helped her
cause. Now I was used to bearing it.

“I’ve let you corrupt me in every other way.
My past is not important.” Using all my speed, I grabbed her at the
waist and threw her off the bed.

She’d landed gracefully by the time I was on
my feet. Her eyes were glowing red and I had never seen her so
furious.


Vittore!
” she yelled.

I put on my trousers and dove for the window.
With any luck, the awning still shaded the wall outside and I could
get away without burning.

Damnation!

The shutters were nailed shut. The moment I
gripped the edge of them to rip them off the wall I felt Juliet’s
claws in my back, shredding skin while she shrieked like a banshee.
Striking on instinct, she was knocked back, a ribbon of flesh going
with her. The scent of cold blood filled the room. Her nostrils
flared and she pounced at me again. Using her momentum to roll both
of us, I caught her and flung her away.

Despite the power of her age, she was a small
woman and light in weight.

With another burst of speed, I reached the
door and opened it, prepared to run.

Vittore was there.

When I regained consciousness, I was chained
to the bed. I hated chains almost as much as I hated Juliet. They
were arguing, and she was dressed again.

“How can he fight me? It should not be
possible!”

“Perhaps you underestimated his will. I told
you he was trouble when you found him.”

“Say ‘I told you so’ one more time and I will
wear your tongue for a
pendant
.”

“Threaten me all you like, my love, but truth
is truth. The boy isn’t right. His heart still rules the demon too
much.”

“Killing his
heart
is the point of
finding his family!” She suddenly turned to me. “You understand
that, don’t you? We are your family now, Adamo, and the sooner you
accept that, the easier the world will be. The humans did not want
you. Cast you aside. Couldn’t see your potential.” She leapt onto
me. “I do. Don’t you want to be powerful? Feared? I gave you sight,
childe. Would you throw that away over people who never loved
you?”

I laughed. I couldn’t help it. A recruitment
speech? “What do you know of love, demon? Kill me or let me go.
This farce has reached its end.”

She shook her head, clucking her tongue.
“Silly fool. I always get what I want. Vittore.”

He handed her a flask. When she moved it
toward me, I struggled with the chains, trying to buck her off of
me and make her spill whatever potion he had concocted. She punched
the side of my face, rattling my brain and making my jaw go slack
for a second. It was all she needed to force my mouth open and poor
the foul brew down my throat.

BOOK: Compelled
10.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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