Preview of The Veiled Monarch, Chapter 10
Catherine’s apartment looked very lonely in the wee hours of the morning. A worn sofa stood in the middle of the living room, facing a TV hung unevenly on the wall. The small dining table with one chair, one cup and one plate was a stark reminder to Catherine that she was alone. Normally, she enjoyed the solace. That night, her apartment was cold and no lamp was able to break through the dim shadows creeping over the walls.
She fell asleep moments after she got home and found herself jarred awake by a presence in her room. Faulkner stood over her with a grin. Catherine tried to sit up, but he held onto her shoulders. His calloused hand covered her mouth, and a pain shot through her right shoulder. Catherine flailed to fight off the feeding Vampire, but the more he drank, the weaker she got.
Finally, he patted her unconscious form on the head. "Next time I won't stop. Sleep well, Miss Kleyman."
My phone rang at nearly three-thirty in the morning. Brutus groaned next to me, stretching himself out on the bed. He looked at me as if I were the one ringing and waking him from his slumber. The phone number was listed as "Unknown". My hand was like a club, smashing the phone to quiet it. Another noise. This time, a notification.
“Catherine needs your help. Go quickly.”
Something deep in my gut twisted into a knot. Something about that message made me jolt out of bed, looking around the guest bedroom I was staying in. I had a few drinks with Kevin and Ronan earlier that night, and I was smart enough to stay at their house instead of driving home. I was double glad for that decision after seeing the message on my screen.
“Get Kevin and Ronan up.” I told Brutus.
All three of us made it to Catherine’s apartment building in record time. When I approached her unit, the door was ajar about two inches. Cop mode kicked in, and I pressed myself against the wall, pushing on the door before peering inside. The apartment was silent. No hum of the fridge, no breeze through the open window and no traffic from the main road. It was as if someone took the very sound from these walls with them when they left.
Ronan pushed past me, “She’s not in here?”
I ran into her bedroom, skidding to a stop. Catherine lay on her bed with one leg hanging limp to the floor. A gash on her neck stained the sheets around her. It should have clotted long ago, but a Vampire could keep that from happening.
“She’s bleeding!” I didn’t have to shout. Ronan and Kevin were right behind me.
"I'll call an ambulance." Ronan handed me a towel.
"Call a Vampire! Unless someone has a Vampire Doctor, we're screwed!" I held the towel tight against Catherine’s neck.
Kevin looked at his phone, "Jackson Memorial has one...."
"Kevin!" Ronan sighed.
"I'm dialing now!" Kevin frowned.
"Hang on Catherine. Help is coming." I didn't know if she could hear me, but I needed to say it.
My phone kept ringing. Isaac. Vince. Brian Neason. Anika Hines. I didn’t answer a single call. My focus was on Catherine and making sure she was going to survive this. A few minutes later, the silence broke with a rush of wind. Anika stood inside of the doorway, leaning against it while she smoothed her hair back into place.
“I think he got to her.” She said.
“I’ll take her to Vince’s. Follow us.” Anika answered.
“Anika!” I threw the towel on Catherine’s bed, “Who was it!?”