Chapter Twenty-One

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Jensen lurches forward

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Jensen lurches forward. His horde behind him, throbbing with anticipation. With violence. I can see the bloodlust in their eyes, the garish prom lights flashing on their bared teeth. My heart leaps into my throat. I can't breathe, dots dance before my eyes as I try to pull myself together. Swallowing hard, I step forward and away from the solid comfort of Henry. Jensen's eyes bore into me, flashing with hatred.

"You all need to follow me. Now. " I lift the pulsing bloodstone. Letting it swing like a pendulum, it's red glow bouncing off the walls in the dark hallway. The undead crowd behind Jensen shuffle towards me in a haze of cracking bones and savage growls. Jensen grunts, his eyes narrowing.

Slowly, I take a step back, and then another. My friend's shoes squeak against the shiny floor as they scatter, letting me move back through the hall as the grey-skinned wretches follow me, hissing and snarling with every step. Jensen doesn't move, doesn't take his eyes off me. I can see the tension in Henry's shoulders, his eyes fixed on his best friend.

"Jensen? I know you're still in there. Please mate, if you can hear me..."

The gasp of wind and car engines drown Henry's words as another group heading to prom shove open the exit doors. Two laughing girls, followed quickly by two chatting boys walk into the hallway. The boys dressed in sharply tailored suits. The girls in flowing dresses shimmering with beads and sequins. They waft into the hall in a cloud of body spray and hairspray. They're laughing until they sharply freeze, spotting the dozen corpse-like bodies lurching towards me. The zombies twist, the bones in their jaws creaking as they open wide and shriek.

The group's smiles drop. Their bodies tense. And then they scream.

The distraction is enough. Jensen leaps forward, his arms outstretched he claws at me. I step back, but I'm too slow. His silvery skin like veined marble, those glassy red eyes, the oily black of his snapping teeth are inches from my face. I scream, bracing my arms against his chest.

"Jensen, stop. Stop!" I wail, but there's nothing. No connection. No pull. Whatever exists inside Jensen is bigger than him now. Bigger than me. Henry rushes towards him, gripping him by the dirtied and torn fabric of his shirt and tries to pull him off me. We struggle, both of us trying to avoid Jensen's cracking jaw and clawing nails tugging on my dress and straps.

Through the gap between Jensen's snarling face, and Henry's desperate eyes I see the group scrambling towards the door, their high-pitched wails echoing through the hall. Ros, Becca and Mia slip through the horde who are still lurching towards me, slamming the doors shut once the couple are outside. Their scream fade as they run from the school, and down the street to safety.

"Guys!" I call to them. "A little help!" The horde is on us now, their scarlet eyes and open dripping mouths just inches away from Henry's back. My three friends leap into action, running past the zombies and joining Henry's attempts to pull Jensen off me. With a heave and a screech the four of them launch Jensen off me. He slams into the wall and I stumble back, slipping onto the ground.

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