Angel of Darkness(6)

By: Cynthia Eden


Nicole screamed and did a fast, backward crab-walk away from him. The guy’s eyes were wide open, and his throat—it had been slashed good and deep with ... oh, damn, with the glass that was next to her.

I did that.

Vaguely she remembered her hand wrapping around the glass. She’d lifted it and—

Killed him.

She’d killed a man. Her eyes closed as nausea rose in her throat.

He tried to kill me. The reminder blasted through her head. She’d defended herself, that was all.

The guy had bitten her. He’d ripped into her throat. She’d fought back, and he’d wound up as the dead one.

But ... but she didn’t have a wound anymore.

Nicole rose on shaky feet. Her throat burned, but it wasn’t so much from pain as from thirst. Her throat seemed so dry. Parched. Just how long had she been screaming?

Nicole’s gaze scanned the alley once more. This time, she saw the dark liquid on the ground. Blood. Her nostrils flared a bit. The coppery scent was strong. She licked her lips and realized she was starving.

“Ma’am?” A voice called from the darkness.

Nicole’s head whipped to the right. A man stood at the far end of the alley. She could see his long, tall shadow. Actually, when she narrowed her eyes, she could see his dark hair, the hard lines of his face, and the gleaming badge on his chest.

A cop. Finally.

The beam of his flashlight hit her, and she lifted a hand against the bright light.

“Shit. Ma’am, is that blood?”

Yes, she had blood on her hands. Her blood? His? Probably both. “I was ... attacked.” For all the dryness of her throat, her voice came out perfectly normal. Actually, she sounded way too calm. Maybe she was in shock because she sure didn’t feel calm. Her insides were churning, her heart racing, and—really, really weird—her teeth were starting to ache.

The cop crept closer. “Where are you hurt?”

Nowhere. “I-I killed him.” She’d never lied to the cops before. Why start now?

Silence. Then she followed the slow sweep of his light toward the ground and the dead man.

“He was biting me ...” But she didn’t have the bite-marks anymore. And surely, she’d just imaged those too-long teeth. “He was so strong. He wouldn’t let me go and I—”

Shoved a chunk of glass into his throat.

The wind whispered against her cheek and the breeze brought the scent of blood to her. Blood and ... the faintest aroma of flowers. “Someone else was here.” The certainty filled her. She tried to remember the other guy, but could only recall a dark shadow. A big, strong shadow of a man.

And ... his eyes had been blue. Bright blue.

“A second assailant?” The cop came even closer. “Ma’am, I want you to lift both hands for me.”

She lifted them, aware of the clench in her gut. Why was she so hungry?

“That’s good, that’s real good ...”

A pounding filled her ears. A fast, wild pounding. And suddenly, she could smell everything—blood, flowers, sweat, cigarettes, alcohol, and even incense from the cathedral. Too much.

“I’m gonna radio for backup and we’re gonna get you taken care of, okay?” The cop was right in front of her now, and Nicole realized the pounding seemed to come from him. Her eyes drifted over his face and on down the strong column of his throat. There. His pulse hammered against his flesh in a double-time beat.

His pulse. His blood. So close.

Her hand lifted toward him.

“Is all that blood his, ma’am?”

She shook her head and the move made her feel dizzy. “II think some of it’s mine.” Nicole couldn’t take her eyes off his neck. Then the ache in her mouth turned into pain, and she cried out as she slapped a hand over her lips and tasted the blood on her fingers. As she hunched over, Nicole’s hair formed a curtain over her face, blocking her from the cop’s view.

The blood slipped into her mouth.

More.

The cop reached for her. She snarled as she jumped forward. Something wild and desperate broke loose inside of her. She grabbed the cop’s throat and pushed him back, back. Nicole slammed him into the alley wall.

“Lady, lady what the hell?”

That pounding was even faster now.