Revenge P.2 | iii

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Nerina scanned the group but was unable to distinguish from that distance who was a vampire and who was not. Eve was gathering humans to change them but the batch below her did not look like they could make much of an army. On the other hand, they would be able to help Eve do what she had threatened—turn the world red. Newborns had no control and no other objective than to feed. She had stayed in that stage for a long time. Even now, she still struggled to keep the urge for blood controlled. Some without knowing would flip the switch connecting them to their human emotions and that would make them even bigger threats.

"Where is she?" As far as plans went, she had not seen this one. Nerina cringed internally at the fact that a massacre would have made more sense to her. At the fact that it would have been easier for her to deal with.

"We go to her now."

The young woman led Nerina down to where the vampires and  zombified humans herded the villagers like cattle. They were forced to walk to their final destination, shuffling on, chained together by the ankles. Nerina walked with them. They looked at her as they did the others who had forced them out of their homes. Silent hatred. Fear. Anger. A black eye was the worse physical injury she could see.

At the end of a beaten path, nestled in deep overgrowth, they came to a wall. Made out of wood it had spikes at the very top. The spikes may have been unnecessary since the wall was almost thirty feet high but Eve seemed to be erring on the side of caution.

The large gate opened and the humans ushered in. Nerina remained behind, the last to go through. She knew the minute she entered and the gates closed behind her it would be her, and who knows how many vampires, zombified humans and caged casualties. Nerina knew the minute she entered the compound, the minute the gate closed, she would be at a fatal disadvantage. At the gate, the girl stood waiting, her hands behind her back. Nerina wanted to slap the patience off her face.

Head tilted to the side the young woman watched Nerina. A Shadow of malice was there in her eyes.

"Follow me."

Nerina did, knowing the possible risks. She did her best not to flinch when the gate closed behind her. Inside now, so close to everyone, she knew human from vampire individually. The villagers they had rounded up joined others who were already caged. Nerina knew once they were changed she would have to kill them. The thought made her sick but it also made her angry.

At the wave of the woman's hand Nerina entered one of the two makeshift buildings she saw inside the compound. Eve was standing before a full-length mirror when she walked in without knocking. Nerina knew Eve already knew she was there and pleasantries were not a part of their ever-rotating relationship. On her sire's head was a crown.

"What do you think?" Eve asked of Nerina as soon as she stepped in. She adjusted her hair to suit the position she wanted the crown to rest.

Nerina looked around the modestly decorated room. It had all the necessities, nothing that one would not be able to leave behind in a hurry. "It would suit a queen."

Eve turned to her. "That is exactly the look I was going for."

"One problem with that, though?"

"Which is?" Eve asked genuinely puzzled.

"You're not a queen."

Eve's face tightened. She turned stiffly to face the mirror again. Nerina saw Eve rub her wrist, an action she had seen her do a few times out of habit. Once there had been a mark there, now there was none. With care, Eve took the crown from her head and placed it into a cushioned box on a table beside the mirror. Other than the mirror and the table, there was a chair and some other wooden boxes of various sizes. Eve seemed to have a thing for wooden boxes.

Slightly amused, Nerina took care to ensure her face remained blank. A wooden box had gotten her into this position. Maybe that was why Eve had continued to hunt her for so long. However, it was odd that in all their encounters her sire had never mentioned it until recently. Eve closed the box running her hand over the lid before facing Nerina again.

"I would have been a great queen if it had not been for your meddling. Now that is lost and I have moved on to other—opportunities."

Nerina slanted her eyes. "That's why you have all these people here? You want them to be your loyal subjects?" Nerina had many questions. How had she stopped her from being queen? And Queen of what exactly? And what did have that to do with a little wooden box?

Eve smiled. As usual, it was more a sneer from a predator. Her smiles were never able to melt the cold hate and malice in her eyes. Eve was a hardened shell, void of any good. Nerina often feared she would become what her sire was—overtime— an eternity would certainly come at a great cost. Either the years or some troubling experiences had burnt her heart black and unsalvageable. Nerina brushed the thought aside. She was going to be fine. She was nothing like Eve now and she would never be.

"What was in that box?" Nerina asked,

"It doesn't matter now, does it?"

By the edge in her voice, Nerina could tell it still did. Eve was one to hold a grudge for a very long time.

"I will simply make my own kingdom," Eve continued.

"Of vampires?"

Eve laughed. "Of course, what else?" She walked away to one of the many wooden boxes stacked in piles. She ran a finger over the lid and all Nerina wanted to know was what was in those boxes.

An entire world of vampires. Nerina found it hard to picture when she set her other curiosities aside. If all humans were turned, there would be nothing to feed on. None of Eve's vampires would choose to go animal blood and how long would the wildlife sustain them? So she would have to keep some of the humans. Treat them like cattle.

"I believe you have met Cassandra. Brilliant at the piano." Eve could admit to herself that Cassandra was everything but still a little less than Nerina ever was. Eve's inability to break Nerina puzzled her but she was determined not to get distracted. Nerina, once her prize, was now a tattered end to be snipped.

"I have grown bored of this back and forth, cat and mouse between us. I must be moving on as I have much bigger plans. Plans I can't afford for you to ruin."

"What you're doing is an abomination." Nerina's objection was firm. It seemed the yet had come. Much sooner than she had anticipated but it mattered little. Eve had lost the last thread of her sanity. There was madness and then there was Eve's plan.

"What I am doing is creating a whole new world. A better world. I promised you the world would run red and it will. In time. Vampires will come from the shadows and we will rule."

Other things went bump in the night. Nerina did not know much about the world she was a part of but she knew enough. How would they feel about her plan to rule the world? How would the werewolves take her claim? She could potentially start a war. Now of that seemed to be a down sell factor for Eve's plan.

Eve sighed dramatically. "Sadly you won't be around to see it."

And she wouldn't be around to cause it if Nerina had anything to say about it. Nerina took a step forward before she felt a sting at the back of her neck. Behind her, Cassandra stood moving a thin tube from her lips. It was the second time Nerina had felt that sting and knew what was going to happen next. Struggling, she made her way out of the quarters into open air. Everything was melding. Dancing before her eyes. She stumbled falling on her hands and knees. Eve toppled her to the ground with a foot to her side. Nerina tried to move, stuck like a turtle on its back.

Cassandra came to stand on the other side of her. Nerina could have sworn she saw a glint of triumph in the young woman's eyes. The red hair devil and her new blonde pet. Her limbs were going numb and heavy. In seconds, she would be unconscious. It was a cocktail Eve had made years before to keep her sedated. Made from the sap of a white cedar tree the effects lasted for as long as the poison remained in her system. There was no cure. There was only the blackness as it sucked you in.

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