Authors: E. B. Hood
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Horror, #Occult, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Paranormal, #Paranormal & Urban
For I Am
This book is dedicated to my brother Nick Hood. Wish you were here bro. R.I.P 4-12-1978 to 11-18-2009.
Melabeth Forgive Me For I Am Sin (Melabeth Series, Book 2)
Copyright © 2013 by Eric B Hood.
Alley Cat Publishing
Editing by: Bill Stanton
Cover: photography and design by Wendy Hood.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the copyright holder, except for brief quotations in reviews and for academic purposes in accordance with copyright law and principles of Fair Use.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Special Thanks to my wife, she has become part of my marketing team, an editor and moral support. It would be tough to do all that needs to be done, without the love and support she offers.
, very special thanks to my test subjects –who have read every chapter after I had written it, and before they had been edited - they gave input and the motivation to keep writing. So, thank you Mom, Dad, and Joyce.
o my oldest son Tyler, who is serving our great country in Afghanistan. I wish he was here and cannot wait until his safe return. I am so proud of him for his service and bravery. Hope he is in back in time for the big release party!
To my second son Cory, who happens to be my biggest
fan. Not only does he read his dad’s writing, but he has been my sounding board; he has allowed me to speak my story out loud for hours, refining the details of the story. Cory has gone word to word with me on the final rewrite. What a trooper!
Thank you Sonja, my youngest, only six. She has b
rought so much fun to the process of writing. She has provided relief and joy when a break is needed.
To Bill Stanton, has devoted countless hours editing my book. Bill is my father-in-law, and a professor of English at Clemson University. Bill's input has been great and encouraging. His wife, Debbie has also put countless hours into editing my book. They are a amazing team and great parents. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart.
To my sister in-law Wendy, and my older brother Donny, who own and operate their photography studio; Wendy edited all of the book art. She is very talented in her skills and it is eye opening to see her work, from beginning to end. Wendy and my brother have brought a very personal touch, and face to my book, so thank you, for all your help.
It has been
heartwarming to receive so much support from so many great people. Since the last book it would be hard to list all of the individuals that help me, or encourage me. Still I'll have to try.
Susan, thank you
, for all your hard work. Susan is new to my editing team and volunteered to participate in the final edit. She was under the gun for launch date. Thanks for your hard work and not giving up.
also stepped up in helping with final edits. I appreciated all that she has done. It is more work than I ever could have imagined producing a piece of literature. Thanks for your help and being a fan.
In closing, Mom,
Dad, for not only for everything, but also for everything! They helped with edit, re-reading, marketing, book distribution and even financial support. How do you say thanks to all that? I guess by saying, Thanks!!!
Aaron, Erica, Mark and Bridget without friends and support I would be lonely.
Thank you fans, for without my fans I would be talking to myself.
1990, it has been three days since the fight in the cemetery. Yet it feels so long ago.
Charlotte interrupted my thoughts, “Are you ready yet?” she was yelling
through the door.
I yelled back through the door,
“Ready for what?”
Can’t a girl
bathe in peace? I have been in this stupid hotel for two days and was told to stay put. Then Charlotte showed up unannounced and was in a hurry, no less. Charlotte barked, “We have stuff to do; get a move on girl,”
replied irritated, “Let me get dressed, I wouldn’t want to be late for whatever the hell we're doing.”
A few minutes later I came out of the bathroom with my hair in a towel
. I was only wearing my undergarments; my clothes were in the room. Just as well because Charlotte had an outfit laid out on the bed. It was a red skirt with a black blouse.
“Great, you’re here to help, I have a fear of dressing myself.”
arlotte gave me a half smile, “You have never been able to dress yourself, but don’t worry; I don’t mind helping.”
My tone was nastier than I meant it to be, “So, where are we going?”
“You’re grumpy; have you eaten?” Charlotte asked, but she knew the answer.
I had been told not to leave this room, and I was starving.
I snapped, “Have you noticed any missing room service? Or perhaps, the smell of a rotting corpse? No, well that must mean that in the last two days I haven’t…”
held her hands up in surrender. “Ok, ok don’t get so excited. You’re in Vegas now, and there is plenty of blood in this town.”
“Could have fooled me,
I haven’t even seen a bag of blood”
She became stern.
“Stop with the unpleasantness. We’ve had problems to deal with… ones you created. This city is a safe place for vampires, but you have to know the rules. There are plenty of people to feed off. Why bother with importing blood bags? Once I give you a tour, you’ll love it here, trust me,” Charlotte insisted.
pulled the towel off of my head and started to brush my hair. It was still dyed black and I hadn't grown out blonde again. Me and David were still going with the Goth look.
exchange words as she fixed my hair into a braid. Then I got dressed. After two days stuck in that room, I didn’t care where we were going. As long as there was blood, I would be happy. My stomach ached for nourishment, and for the first time since I had become a vampire, I felt weaker.
e headed out the door, Charlotte said, “You look weak, like you haven’t fed for two days.”
“I haven’t fed for two days. I keep hearing a lot of remarks on my strength from you, Alice and Ezra. What does it mean?”
Charlotte looked thoughtful, looking back and forth down the hall checking if anyone was in earshot, “Let’s talk about this another time, another place. I will say that in Vegas, blood will be the only source of power. Let's go.”
I didn’t understand what Charlotte was going
on about, but I knew better than to have this conversation out in the open. Whatever it was, it had something to do with Las Vegas, being one of the dead places of the world.
, some gangster came out here to set up some legal gambling. Apparently, lots of gangs had magic users, vampires and other supernatural creatures working with them. I also found out that the government hires supernatural beings. The supernatural are just like humans in the respect that they can be on either side of the law.
I guess after Vegas established
it didn’t take long for a couple of things to happen. First, the power that most magic users draw from is very weak here. The magic users call the energy of their power manna, and from what I understand it comes from life. There is not much life here, so there’s not much manna, but there is more to it than just that. I do understand that hunters who normally use magic against us can’t do it here. And something about where Vegas is located happens to be where the veil between life and death is thinnest. The closer magic users get to these dead spots, the more they became powerless.
I guess that’s why vampires love the dead places of the world, and this one especially. Unlike other locations, this one doesn’t have a strong go
vernmental influence. Gangsters control the local government with all the money they are making. That’s why no one pays state taxes in Vegas; the casinos do, and therefore they control the local government. Blood and money comes from all over the world here. To make vampires more at home, you will not find a window in a casino; all the stores are open twenty-four hours a day. You can even do your banking at night. This city will drain your wallet, as well as your body.
large tunnels under the casinos. Most believe that they are for service employees, but there is a lot more to the tunnels than that. In fact, there is an entire city underground; that’s where my room is now. Me and David were moved into the underground dwellings after the first night. It was so strange seeing other vampires walk around like it was nothing. Ezra said that one reason for free drinks is that the humans are too drunk and mesmerized by all the lights to notice us. It’s these reasons that Las Vegas is perfect for vampires and a safe place for us to live, but there are different rules here, and I needed to learn them.
I walked over to the next room where David was
staying. It was still daytime and Carrie wouldn’t be around. It never felt like daytime here, but I know that is the way it was designed.
“What are you doing? Does David need blood too?” Charlotte asked mocking me.
“What, he’s not allowed to go?” I snapped back.
“It doesn’t matter bec
ause no one’s home.” Charlotte turned to me as she started walking toward the elevators.
you mean? Where is he?” I demanded, as I flashed up next to her. She didn’t answer me. We came to the elevators and she reached for the button. I stepped in front of her, “What, bad vampire ears? Where is he?”
tte gave me a disapproving look. “You are so pushy, we don’t need another Alice.” I stared her down, “OK, OK, I will tell you.”
,” I said with impatience.
“About an hour ago I saw David leave the hotel.”
I looked at Charlotte waiting for her to finish her story when I realized she was done. “That’s it? You saw him leave; that is the extent of your information?”
Charlotte tossed her arms out as if I were asking her for the secrets of the universe. “See, this is why I didn’t want to tell
you! Look, I’m not,
anyone else for that matter
, keeping track of your Necromancer. In a city of vampires, it’s like bringing a cop to a speakeasy. Sure he might drink and party with everyone, but no one really trusts him. Never quite sure if he would turn you in to save his job.”
I crossed my arms over my chest. “What you just said doesn’t make any sense, but I doubt you care. I am
too hungry to think straight. Let’s just get some food.”
Charlotte laughed, “
the one blocking the elevator, dear.”
I spun around and mashed the button. I took some deep breaths and
attempted to calm my nerves. My temper was bad. It seemed like it was always around the corner, just waiting for a reason to beat someone up. I guess being raped and killed had that effect on me. Charlotte didn’t help, she likes to play mom. It infuriates me, sometimes I like it; most days I don’t.
, picking up on my mood said, with a softer, kinder voice, “Darling you will feel better after you eat. After that you…we can figure out where your friend ran off to. In fact, when we’re done, I am sure he will come out from whatever rock he is under. We can even start looking at the mall for him!”
“You’re probably right,”
I half heartily agreed. Her kindness or at least her version of kindness helped reel in my temper. “Thanks, but I doubt he is at the mall.”
As we stepped inside the elevator, Charlotte lectured, “Now you need to control yourself. We let you go too long without eating, but I know you can handle yourse
lf. Just do what I tell you, ok?”
“Aye, aye, captain,” I responded with a salute.
In the elevator Charlotte started filling me in on the basics. They weren’t that difficult; first rule, don’t make a mess while feeding on someone, not even in the hotel rooms. Blood was hard to clean up. Second, don’t let others see you feeding, which I considered it to be a no brainer.
The only time these rules didn’t apply, was
if you were underground in a vampire bar. They were secret and you could feed in the open; a lot of people in Vegas were blood whores. It feels good to be fed on by vampires, but that’s only half the reason. If you have a gambling habit, vampires pay to bite, but you need to be careful not to kill these people. The bars charged a lot of money, if they had to get rid of evidence. I found that druggies are no fun to feed on, unless you want to be high and out of your head. Once I fed from a drunken kid, I was drunk for almost an hour.
Third, you had to check that whoever you were about to feed on was not wearing a necklace or r
ing with a vampire symbol. This was the hard part for me because I didn’t know all the different symbols. There were dozens of different symbols in existence for different vampire families that lived in Vegas. They gave the jewelry to their human families for protection. If it was a powerful human family who had great wealth in Vegas, they would have many vampires working for them, and the symbol would be specifically theirs. Either way if you fed off the humans with those marks, you may be hunted down and killed.
e the real problem for feeding in Vegas, was the same problem I had everywhere, I couldn’t mesmerize people. Drunken people should have been easy. It only took a few words out of Charlotte’s mouth and some drunk man in the midst of gambling would stop what he was doing and follow me anywhere.
I fed on
three men before my belly was satisfied. I have only been that hungry since the day I had awoken. Charlotte wasn’t ready to introduce me to a vampire bar yet. It was good to feel my strength return, my mood greatly improved too.
Me and Charlotte had a great
time gambling, drinking and we even went dancing. When we went dancing, we were joined by Ezra. It was about ten in the evening when I broke away from Ezra and Charlotte to go check on David. David was still mourning about the loss of his parents, so it was no great surprise that Carrie was bothering him. Last night she hung out with me to give the poor guy some space. I figured that he wouldn’t be out much past dark. Hopefully he was waiting for me.
I didn’t even have to knock.
Carrie was out in the hall waiting for me. She gave me a big hug and said, "Where you been sweetie? David told me to keep a sharp eye out for you. I don’t know why I had to wait in the hall. Do you think he wanted me to wait out here to get rid of me?"
I smiled, "G
ive me a moment with him, if you don’t mind?"
sugar, y’all take your time now," Carrie added with a wink.
"Thanks," and I slipped
into David's room. I didn’t even knock, but unlucky for me, David was dressed. He was sitting quietly, propped up on two pillows, reading a book. "Hey, you up for a little company?" I whispered in a sexy voice.
David marked his spot in the book, looked up at me and
gave me a smile. "Yes…yes I am. In fact, I was waiting for you." He then gestured for me to sit with him.
I couldn’t believe how much he had changed.
His hair hung down just below his shoulders, it appeared wild and was always in his face concealing his eyes. He acted more like a man now. His overall demeanor had changed… darker, maybe? That wasn’t it… he was tougher looking now than when I had first met him. The way he moved, the way he looked, it all said he was tougher now, dangerous even.
I slid right into the bed
, curling my body next to his. “So, what have you been up to today?”
looked across at David’s face. I couldn’t read what he was thinking, but I waited patiently while he worked up an answer. David took in a breath as he admitted, “Don’t get upset, but I buried Lizzie today.”
I did get upset,
“WHAT? I would have liked to have been with you.” Then I paused, “I understand if you didn’t want me there.”
“Can I please tell you the whole story first, before
you jump to conclusions? I know you wanted to be there. I would have liked for you to be there. Lizzie would have liked you to be there too, but I do have reasons.”
“Okay, before I kill
you, tell me your silly excuses,” I teased.
A small smile and a little relief washed across David’s face. “Let’s go for a walk.”
“I like that idea; I am soooo sick of these hotel rooms.” I tried not to whine when I said this, but I missed the mark.