Flutter / Page 25

Page 25


“I agree, but you need to take a minute to calm down. We’re going to a vampire club, for the first time since you turned, and it would be helpful if you were in control of yourself.” Jack smiled wryly.

“Okay,” I nodded and looked down at myself. The casual jeans and top combo I was going for would never work at a club, or at least Jane would say it didn’t. If we were going there, I might as well fit in. “I’m gonna go get ready. Why don’t you let Milo know, and we can get out of here?”

“Sounds good.” He kissed me gently on the lips, sending tingles through me so much that I almost forgot about Jane. “Everything will be okay.”

I smiled like I believed him, and I went into the closet to look for something to wear. What exactly did one wear when going to rescue their former best friend from an underground vampire club?

- 13 -

Milo and Bobby took the Jetta down to the club because Jack called dibs on the Lamborghini. Jack was a notoriously speedy driver, but the trip downtown had never seemed so long.

Since it was after two in the morning, most of the clubs and bars had cleared out, and he found a parking spot a block away from V. Milo pulled up behind us a minute later, meaning he had sped as well. I considered launching into a speech about the importance of driving safely, but then I saw a vampire walking towards us.

After becoming a vampire, other vampires are a lot easier to spot. A vampire’s heart beats much slower and much quieter than a human could and still walk around.

The one walking towards us was tall and slender and pale, reminding me of the way Tim Burton would design a vampire. The human girl at his side looked even shorter and chubbier in comparison to him. Her skin had a blotchy ashen quality to it, a symptom I associated with recent blood loss, and her eyes were glassy with overly dilated pupils.

Her Tim Burton companion led her along carefully to keep her from stumbling or simply passing out right there, and while he smiled, there was an offhand way that he treated her. Like he was leading a cow to the slaughter.

I shivered involuntarily, and she smiled dazedly at me, her pudgy cheeks dimpling. She couldn’t be more than sixteen herself, if that, and I wanted to steal her away from him. He wouldn’t be eager to part with her, though, and even if I could get her away, she wouldn’t appreciate it.

Besides that, the horrible truth of it was that this was the way of life. My way of life. Vampires are going to drink from people, and at least this way they’re both willing participants. This is probably the best I can hope for.

“Come on,” Jack said, putting his hand on my back. He saw me watching after them, and while he empathized with her, he knew there was nothing we could do. “We should get going.”

“Yeah, come on. Before Jane leaves,” Milo agreed. He held Bobby’s hand and walked ahead of us.

Milo turned off Hennepin Ave onto a darkened street. The nearest streetlamps had gone out, and I suspected that was a constant occurrence. Vampires liked night as dark as it could be, which was why the doorway of the club was hidden on the darkest street in Minneapolis.

Bobby held onto Milo more tightly, probably because he couldn’t see where he was going and didn’t want to trip over anything. Jack and I followed directly behind them, and Milo glanced back at us before opening a nondescript door.

The bouncers stood inside the door. They were two massive vampires, and they barely looked at any of us, but they sniffed at Bobby. We squeezed in between to them to the narrow hall lit by a single red bulb.

At the end of the hall, a steep set of cement stairs led down into black nothingness. The only light came from the red one upstairs. It was more than enough for me to see the way down, but Bobby went down slowly and carefully, and Milo kept his hand on him to catch him if he fell.

As soon as we had opened the doors upstairs, I had been able to hear the faint sound of the music, but I’m sure that Bobby was just starting to hear it when we hit the landing. The hall went on forever, but we stopped at a pair of massive doors.

Milo pulled them open, bathing us with a blue light that was almost blinding after the darkness of the hall. To all the people dancing inside, it seemed dim and reasonable for a club, but it was different for vampires.

A long, metallic bar ran along the far side of the room, and bottles lined the back wall, full of alcoholic drinks for the humans. Several very attractive vampires stood behind it, bartending. The stools in front of it were full, and a line of people were waiting to get drinks.

The ceilings of the room were amazingly high for a basement. Electronica filled my ears, blotting out any sound of heartbeats, which was a relief. Nothing could be done for the smell. At least five-hundred people were smashed onto the floor, dancing wildly. And they all smelled deliciously of blood and sweat. Jack squeezed my hand tightly, drawing me back to him before bloodlust hit me.

The dancers were a mixture of vampire perfection and people, but the bouncers sifted through the humans to make sure only the more attractive specimens made it down here. Every one of them was beautiful and delectable. For Bobby’s part, he seemed just as entranced by the vampires. I wanted to be angry with him for it, but they were still captivating to me.

“She’s probably in the other room,” Milo leaned in closer to us. He didn’t raise his voice at all, but I could hear him above the echo of the club.

Wrapping his arm around Bobby’s waist, Milo waded through the crowd. Jack looked down at me, checking to make sure I could handle crossing the floor. It required me to push up against lots of people, to physically be able to feel their rapid pulses beating against me, but I had to learn willpower sometime. Swallowing, I nodded and gripped his hand, and we followed Milo.

Everyone was hot from dancing, and I could feel it radiating from them. Jack pushed headily through, purposely being rough to get them out of the way. He wasn’t a threatening person, but he was strong, and they parted for us. It was still a fight to keep back my thirst. I had no idea how Milo had been able to handle himself so well after he first turned.

We made it across the room, where the blue lights started to fade and a doorway  led into the next room, glowing warm under the dim red lights. Milo waited at the door for us, Bobby pressed up close to him, his head resting on his shoulder.

Just before we reached them, I heard something disturbingly familiar. Jack and Milo didn’t seem to notice it, buried in the sounds of the club, but I froze in my tracks. The sound was sweet yet fragile, like a tinkling bell… on helium. I pulled away from Jack, scanning the crowd for bright purple hair.

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