Authors: Sophia Gray
The Zoey Chronicles
By Sophia Gray
© 2013 BCN Press
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
And above all – Enjoy!
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Galahad stood with his back to me, his neck muscles shifting under his shirt as he stared intently at the deer. The day was sunny, and I had to squint past him to see the animal. It was grazing. It looked so peaceful. Unbidden, imaginations started to fill my head; I imagined the deer’s family and its life, roaming around the forest in search for food and a mate, and then I realised how stupid I was being. I had no right to care about a deer.
I was a killer.
The memory still sent shivers down my spine. I was a monster. I hadn’t been myself. That I knew for sure, but it was still my body and my responsibility. I could remember everything, which was the worst part. I wished time upon time that I’d blacked out, before I realised how cowardly a wish that is. She had shaken as I drank from her. Her arms and legs had thrashed wildly, and her neck had pulsed as the blood flowed into my mouth. The taste was salty and wonderful, and to my shame I found myself craving it even now.
Was I evil? I turned the question over and over in my mind. I’d always thought that killers were evil. Did they not have to be, to take another life? But I didn’t feel evil. I felt like I’d made a horrible mistake, but I didn’t feel like a deranged murderer who’d gotten any sort of pleasure from what I’d done, apart from the blood, of course. I could almost convince myself that I wasn’t, that perhaps I could forgive myself, until I thought of Ben.
What had I done to Ben? Not only had I nearly killed him in my vampire fury, but I’d also abandoned him. I couldn’t get his face out of my head. He’d looked so sad when Galahad and I had left him, standing there alone with a tear in his eye. What would become of him? Suddenly, a horrible thought came into my mind. What if he was blamed for the killings? But then I realised that that was silly. The school cameras would have captured everything. That was something, I supposed. At least he wouldn’t end up in prison, but it didn’t exactly make me leaving him any easier.
Galahad was staring at me. I’d been so deep in thought that I hadn’t realised. “What?” I said.
He put his fingers to his lips. “Shh,” he said, quietly, and gestured for me to join him.
He’d shaved since he’d taken me out in the forest. For the first few days we’d just rested and regained our strength. He’d told me what was going to happen to my mother; another vampire had picked her up and we were going to meet up with them at some later point. When I’d asked him when, he’d said, “Soon, but first I need to train you to become a vampire.”
His face looked better without a beard. His jaw was square and strong, and his skin was light brown, which contrasted beautifully with his blonde hair. As the sun shone, so did his luminous green eyes.
He’d also told me about the effects of the sun on vampires; it didn’t affect us along as we didn’t go into what we called a ‘blood frenzy’. The moment we went into one of those, like I did, it started to burn our skin. I hadn’t realised, but I’d burnt my skin pretty bad when I’d gone to my school in search of blood. Galahad had had to rub lotion on the worst of the burns, which were on my neck and arms. His hands were firm as they massaged my skin, and the feeling sent surges of pleasure all over my body. I’d craned my neck as he did it, savouring his touch, and was sad when he’d finished.
I walked across the grass and knelt down next to him. He pointed at the deer. He wanted me to kill it, to feed from it. There was a part of me that was disgusted by such a thing, the part that had imagined the deer’s life a few moments ago. But there was another part, a new, frightening part, that didn’t care. That part could smell the blood coursing through the deer’s veins, could see its meaty legs shifting ever so slightly as it ate, and could hear the pump, pump, pump of its heart.
I stood up. My legs and arms felt strong, stronger than they’d ever felt before, and my senses were on overdrive. I could see details from trees miles away and discern the tiniest noise amidst a storm. My taste buds were much more receptive, too. Vampires still had to eat normal food to survive, so when Galahad had given me a chocolate bar that he had left over from his time in the town, I almost fainted with pleasure. The taste was like nothing I had ever tasted, except Jessica’s blood. It seemed to massage my whole body and envelope me in a blanket, and when I finished the sensation lingered for almost an hour.
I examined the deer, deciding which part of the body to go for. I could tear out its neck, which would see it bleed out in a matter of minutes, or I could go straight for its heart. In the end I didn’t have to make the decision, because Galahad leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Neck.” His breath was hot on my ear, and that too sent surges of pleasure all over my body. I didn’t know if it was my newfound vampire receptiveness, or just Galahad himself, but what I did know is that when he pulled away from me I wished he hadn’t.
I bent my legs and leaned forward, ready to spring across to the deer. There was about five yards between us, which for a vampire was nothing more than a hop. I’d killed a few animals over the past few days with Galahad, but this would be the first one I’d killed alone.
Beads of sweat trickled down my neck, making my shirt stick to my back. My palms were sweaty too, and my heartbeat quickened. I’d asked Galahad about that as well, why my heartbeat had stayed so steady when I’d beat up those boys, killed Jessica, and tried to kill my best friend. He’d told me that it was the blood frenzy. When a vampire is in a blood frenzy nothing can make them lose their cool. Now, as my heartbeat thumped in my chest, I wished that I could retain that coolness.
“Do it,” Galahad said.
“Okay,” I said, and leaped forward.
Time seemed to slow down in the air, and I could see the deer’s scared expression as he turned his head at me. Not quick enough, I thought, as my nails connected with his neck and gouged out a large chunk of his flesh.
The animal went berserk, squealing and coming up on its hind legs. I tried to finish it, but even with my vampire speed and strength I couldn’t get close to it as it kicked wildly. Its moans of agony were hard to hear, but harder still was the sight and smell of its blood. My body started to shake. I brought my hand, which was covered in blood, to my mouth and sucked.
Immediately my body tingled. I lay back, no longer caring about the deer or the hunt, and enjoyed the feeling of the blood. I stared up at the clouds, and in my blood-induced state, they seemed to shift and shimmer, and dance across the pale blue sky. The bright blue sky reminded me of Ben’s bright blue eyes, and then the sensation of pure pleasure was replaced with a mixture of pleasure and regret. What was I doing, lying in the grass enjoying myself when Ben was alone? What right did I have?
I was so out of it that I didn’t hear or see Galahad spring from where he’d been crouching and take down the animal. He did it with the ease of someone who has done the same thing over and over again until it has become second nature. He jumped across to it, almost lazily, and casually swiped at its neck. The animal suddenly fell and stopped moaning, Galahad turned to me with concern on his face.
“You need to do better than that,” he said.
I stood up and wiped my mouth, embarrassed by how I’d let the blood affect me.
“Sorry,” I said, staring at the ground, unwilling to meet his eye.
I heard, not saw him walked over to me, and then he reached up and held my chin. Once again I was surprised at how his touch could be so soft yet so firm. He tilted my head up and for one beautiful moment we stared into each others eyes. His eyes seemed to look into my soul, and a shudder went down my back. A wild thought entered my head. What if he kisses me? My body tensed in anticipation at the idea. I wanted it, I realised then. I wanted it badly. But then he smiled and dropped his hand. “Just try harder next time, Zoey,” he said.
He turned and walked back to the deer, and knelt down and started to harvest it. The blood was nearly impossible to resist, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself again by giving in to my urges. A long silence hung in the air, broken only by the tweeting of a bird or a gust of wind in the trees. “You can all me Zoey,” I said, just to break the silence.
“No, it’s okay,” he said, tearing the deer apart with deadly efficiency. Once again I marvelled at his muscles, shifting powerfully with each deft movement. “Zoey is the name my master, your father gave you, and so that’s what I’ll call you. Plus, it is a lovely name.”
“You were close with my father?”
For a second his body froze and he stopped dismembering the deer, and then he resumed. “Yes,” he said after several seconds, his voice distant. “He was a great man, one of the most honourable vampires I’ve ever met and will ever meet. He fought for what was right and he did everything in his power to make sure that the Council of the Undead ruled well. Even when Mordrain started to gain support and it looked like he was going to take over, your father never gave in.”
A question came to me, one I’d asked my mother countless times. She’d never given me an answer, but maybe Galahad would, I thought. “What was his name?”
“He had two names,” Galahad said. “His human name and his vampire name. Some vampires keep their human name, like me, but your father changed his. His human name was Varo.”
“Varo,” I said, almost tasting it. It was amazing to learn it after so long. Varo. It sounded strong and just, I thought. “What was his vampire name?”
I almost collapsed as he said it. Ben. My father’s name was Ben. It was a complete coincidence, I knew. Benjamin was a very common name, but the mention of it flooded my head with thoughts.
I remembered Ben’s face when he’d tried to kiss me, how sad he’d looked when I’d rejected him. I remembered how pitifully happy he’d been when he’d given me the chocolate bar, and his eagerness to carry my bag. I remembered how brave he’d been, standing up to Jessica’s friends for me. Not for the first time in the past few weeks, I felt a stab of guilt in my chest.
Galahad must’ve notice my silence. He turned around and looked at me. “What’s wrong?” he said.
“It’s just . . .” What was it? I was a killer. I’d abandoned my only friend. I’d never known my father. My mother hated me. It was hard to get all of that into one sentence, so I just stayed quiet.
He stood up and walked over. “Zoey, what is it?”
I realised how self-pitying I’d sound if I suddenly blurted out all my problems, so I just said the first thing that came into my head. “It’s just I’m really happy that you were the vampire who my father trusted to guard me. You’re doing a really good job.”
He smiled then, and I realised that it was the first time I’d ever seen him properly smile. I’d seen him smile before, but that had been a controlled curling of the lip. This looked like an involuntary grin. His whole face lit up. “Thank you,” he said, moving closer to me. “That is a wonderful thing to say.”
His body was pressed against mine now. Sweat trickled between my breasts and down my back, and my heart was beating faster that it ever had before. Suddenly all thoughts of my mother, my father, Ben and my own imperfections disappeared from my mind. It was just me and Galahad.
I could feel his chest rise and fall against mine, his breath on my forehead. He placed his arms on my shoulders, and a warm chill went down my spine. I found myself shuddering, and I knew that it was with anticipation and pleasure. It was like how I’d felt before tasting the deer’s blood, but I wanted this much, much more.
He leaned in and I turned my head up. My heart was hammering in my ears now. What if I do it wrong? I thought. I’d never kissed anyone before. What if I mess it up? I brought my hands up and wrapped them around him. His body was hard under my touch, his muscles tense.
I could feel his breath on my lips now. I could almost taste them. I urged him to hurry up. I dug my fingernails into his back. I wanted him. That’s all I could think. I wanted him. I wanted him. I wanted him. I opened my mouth to him, and he brushed his lips against mine. Electric pleasure ran through my body. Every pore tingled. Every nerve pulsed in ecstasy. But then he pulled away.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
I still had my hands on his back. He looked away from me as he pried them free and walked back to the deer. He knelt down and continued his work, not saying a word. I stood there, dumbfounded.