Dark Wolf(8)

By: Christine Feehan

She watched them come close, noting the two hanging back were clearly drunk. They couldn’t walk a straight line, but one had a gun. She could see him stroking the barrel, and to her, he appeared the most dangerous. She kept her gaze glued to him.

“Well, look what we found?” the self-appointed leader said. He pointed to Skyler and crooked his little finger. “Come here.”

Josef smiled at them, deliberately showing his longer, sharper teeth. “You’d better leave while you have the chance.”

“No one’s talking to you,” the leader snapped. “Get over here,” he added, his hand on his knife.

“She’s not going anywhere,” Josef said, his eyes taking on a red glow. “I’m giving you one last warning, although I am a little hungry. I just woke up, but you all reek of alcohol and I’m opposed to drinking on so many levels.”

“Look at that ride, Gustoff.” The one directly to the right of the leader indicated the truck. “And a cool coffin. I want that.”

“That’s my bedroom,” Josef said. “And I didn’t invite you in.”

Gustoff had had enough of dealing with Josef. He drew his knife and immediately the others followed suit. Skyler wasn’t so much worried about the knives as she was the gun the drunken man pulled. He pointed it straight at Josef. She concentrated on the object. The gun seemed to take on a life of its own. Slowly the smirk faded from the drunk’s face as the gun began to turn on him. No matter how hard he tried to turn his hand back, the gun kept coming around until it was pointed at him.

“Gustoff!” he exclaimed.

Gustoff glanced over his shoulder. “Stop messing around.”

“I’m not,” the drunken man insisted. His hand shook. He tried to open it, but his palm was firmly latched around the gun, his finger locked on the trigger. “It’s going to shoot me. Do something.”

Gustoff scowled. “Petr, help that idiot.”

Petr sprang into action, grabbing at the gun. He couldn’t budge it, nor could he remove the drunk’s hand from it.

Alarmed, Gustoff turned back to Josef, his knife in front of him, blade up.

“Hey, don’t look at me, that’s all her,” Josef said, indicating Skyler. “She’s got a mean streak. Me, I’m the nice one.” As he spoke buttons began popping off of Gustoff’s shirt. The seams of his jeans split.

Paul snickered as the pants fell down around Gustoff’s ankles. “Nice one, Josef.”

“Get them!” Gustoff shouted, furious.

The others rushed them, knives drawn. One swung a heavy metal chain. Skyler stepped back behind Paul and Josef, extending her concentration to the other weapons. This time she changed the temperature so that even as the drunken fools wielded them, the knives and chain began to grow warm and then hot.

Paul slammed his hand down hard on the wrist of the one coming at him, gripping the knife hand and turning it up and to the side as he stepped forward. The man went down hard, an audible crack signaling a broken wrist. Paul kicked the knife away and delivered another kick to the man’s head.

Two rushed Josef. He dissolved just as they reached him, leaving them standing looking at one another. One of the two had been swinging his chain, but now the metal links glowed red in the night, a bizarre streak of fire spinning over his head. The chain was suddenly wrenched away from behind and just as fast looped around the man’s body. He screamed as the burning hot links touched his skin.

The remaining man spun around, trying to find Josef, nearly hysterical with fear. The metal of his knife began to glow as the temperature rose. He opened his hand fast and the knife fell to the ground.

Paul was on him immediately, smashing his fist into the man’s mouth, driving him backward. He followed up his advantage with a front kick to the stomach, using his steel-toed boots.

Josef emerged out of thin air directly in front of Gustoff. The leader stabbed at him, but Josef caught his wrist in a deadly grip and spun him around, so that his arm was locked around Gustoff’s throat. He was enormously strong, his grip unbreakable. He bent his head to Gustoff’s pounding pulse.

“I haven’t eaten in a while,” he whispered. “And I need blood to survive. Too bad you came along and didn’t heed my warning.”

He sank his teeth deep into that drumming beat, allowing Gustoff to feel burning pain. Fear laced his blood with adrenaline, helping to wipe out the bitter, disgusting taste of alcohol. Gustoff screamed and screamed, horrified at the vampire draining him of his life force.

His band of toughs went rigid, just watching in absolute terror.

You’re always so good at theatrics, Skyler said, trying not laugh. You’re putting on quite the show for them.

Josef’s eyes were all red now, glowing like twin embers in the dark. He enhanced Gustoff’s looks, making him grow paler with each passing moment. His body appeared to begin to convulse. Josef dropped him to the ground. Two thin trickles of blood ran from his mouth to his chin.

Skyler rolled her eyes. I can’t keep this gun pointed at him forever.

Josef suddenly turned his head toward the drunk who held the gun. His gaze fell on the man. “You look tasty.”

“I’m not. I’m not.” The drunk shook his head and tried to stagger back.

Josef waved his hand, and the drunk couldn’t move. Josef floated to him, taking his time, making little swimming motions with his hands.

Oh for heaven’s sake. Must you? Skyler demanded.

Paul bent over laughing. When one of the men on the ground moved, he delivered another kick, but even that didn’t deter his amusement over Josef’s antics.

Yes, my little dove. I must. What’s the fun in being Carpathian if you can never actually scare the crap out of someone?

Josef, you have a mean streak in you.

Josef reached the drunk. He held out his hand for the gun. The drunk extended his arm and to his shock, the gun dropped into Josef’s palm.

“Thank you,” Josef said with a little formal bow. He removed the bullets and then crushed the gun in his fist.

Paul slipped into the driver’s seat. “Come on, Skyler, let’s get out of here.”

She took the little jump seat in the back. Josef was tall and would need the legroom to stretch out. Paul started the truck and drove around the five men, leaned his head out the window, and called to Josef.

“Come on, man, let’s go.”

Josef waved him away and turned back to gather up the weapons. One by one he destroyed them. Next he waved his hands toward the men and their clothing disappeared, leaving them naked on the ground.

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