Chapter 12: Family Reunion

Start from the beginning

Lucia was gone.

I dropped the blankets in a heap by the door and scanned the area. Where is she? The marks in the snow indicated she'd gotten up on her own. I followed her footprints around a couple of the larger planters and the maintenance shed; she was standing on the far side of the patio, looking out at the city. Snow clung to the back of her jacket in clumps.

“Lucia? Are you alright?” I called out. My words buoying above the traffic sounds emanating up from the street below.

“Just fine,” she drawled. Her voice was contorted, dipping far deeper than her natural octave.

“Why are you talking like that?” I said, stopping a few feet behind her. That instinctive feeling that I can only describe as “sorcerer’s intuition” was rattling up my spine, warning me that whatever was going on here, it was very, very bad.

“Why do you think?” Lucia intoned. Her voice – but not. She stared out at the New York skyline for a minute more, then turned around. Her movements were jerky, as if she’d forgotten how to control her limbs. But it wasn’t until I saw the red eyes glowing out at me from my friend’s face that I put it all together. This was not Lucia. Or at least, not all Lucia.

I immediately threw up my shield.

Magic thrummed through me into my barrier, but my weariness siphoned off much of its usual vibrancy. It flickered and strobed around me. There was no telling if it would hold, or for how long.

“Do I look like that much of a threat?” Lucia sneered at me, sounding utterly demonic.

“What have you done to my friend?” I demanded. I wasn’t going to answer any questions until the thing in front of me did some answering of its own.

“I borrowed her body. Whether she gets it back depends on you.”

“Is that a threat?”

“It’s the truth.”

“Who are you?”

“I doubt you need to ask.” He forced Lucia’s mouth into an uneven, flinching grin, and all that horror and hatred I’d felt for him back at the compound came rushing back. He was wearing my friend like a skin suit, violating her in a way that might just be worse than anything he’d ever done to me. And I was helpless; attacking him would only harm Lucia’s body, which she needed.

“What do you want?” I asked. I was trying to sound brave, fierce, but I could hear my voice wobbling.

“I want you to take this girl – this Lucia – to my son.”

“What?” I balked.

“You heard me.”

“That’s impossible.” 

“He’s not dead. It’s possible,” he refuted.

“No, it isn’t. I’m under the sorcerers’ lock and key.”

“Then escape,” he said. “You escaped my compound; surely you can escape a human residential structure.”

“I won’t do it. I refuse.” If we went to the Nosferatu compound, we'd never be allowed to leave. Keel would be able to stop playing with substitute-me, because he’d have the real thing, and if he didn’t immediately see the advantage Lucia’s abilities could grant him, then Arthos and Boras certainly would. The sorcerers wouldn’t even be able to enforce the terms of the blood contract if I went there of my own volition.

Of course, the former king knew that, or he wouldn't be trying to trick me into making the same sorts of mistakes that Ephraim had made during his dealings with the Nosferatu.

Letters From New York [Blood Magic, Book 2]Read this story for FREE!