Part 4

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“They didn’t card me?” Della said, following Chan into the club several hours later. The place was dark, lit up by only a few candles, but amazingly she didn’t have much trouble seeing. Or hearing. Noise, crowd noise, the chattering of different conversations, and people shifting in their chairs, came at her from every direction, but somehow she could shut out the parts of it that she didn’t want to listen to. However, the ambience didn’t stem from the noise or the lighting.  Energy vibrated in the place. Della felt it, felt it feeding her, like some forbidden drug.  

“The only card you need for this place is right here.” He touched her forehead.

Immediately, Della remembered the weird things she’d been seeing on everyone’s forehead. She grabbed his arm. “What is that? The forehead thing?”

He grinned. “It’s your ID. All supernaturals have the ability to read brain patterns, and eventually you’ll learn to tell who is what. And if you concentrate just a little bit you can get behind their shields and know if they’re friend or foe.”

He pointed across the room. “Look at the guy in the green shirt. Tighten your eyes, and stare at his forehead and tell me what you see.”

At first all Della saw was his forehead and then . . .  “I see . . . swirly lines.” 

“Now look at my pattern. “Do you see the similarities?” Chan asked.

“Yes. But they’re not identical,” she said.

“Not identical, but he’s vampire. Brain patterns are like tracks in the snow, sooner or later, you’ll be able to know what kind of animal made that print.”

She nodded and glanced around the room.

“Look at that big guy’s pattern, the guy in the black coat,” he said.

She did. The pattern was completely different. Horizontal lines and . . .

“Now look deeper. Keep staring. Open your mind.”

She concentrated and what she saw was black and dark and gave off the impression of danger. She took a step back. 

He laughed. “It’s okay.  He’s not going to hurt you. Not here, anyway. But meet him in a dark alley, and who knows.”

“I wasn’t scared,” she insisted, but she knew it was a lie and she heard her own heartbeat speed up as if punctuating the fib.

”You should be. He’s Werewolf and not someone you want to associate with.”

Della remembered. “The doctor. He was a werewolf and he didn’t seem . . . bad.”

“They are all bad.” He looked around. “There’s a fae, the pretty brunette in the pink dress. Well, she’s half fae, half human.”

Della tightened her brows and recalled the pattern of the nurse in the hospital. “I think I sort of understand. But if these people don’t get along, how come they come to the same bar? And why would they work together?”

“Because some supers think we should live as one big happy family. Like humans who want to live alongside lions. And I admit I’ve had my fair share of fun toying with a few breeds.” He wiggled his brows. “Especially humans.  It’s fun to play with our food.”

Della took a step back. “You’re human. How can you . . .”

“I told you earlier, I’m not going to sugarcoat it. I’m not human anymore. Neither are you. You need to start looking at humans as prey because that’s all they are for us.” 

Della put a hand over her mouth. “The blood earlier, you didn’t . . . hurt anyone.”

“Got it from a blood bank.” He glanced away, almost too quickly, as if he were lying. “Oh, see the little guy in the black shirt? Check his pattern out, but . . . if he looks this way, glance away, quick.”

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