Would You Like Brains With That?

Currently re-writing.

Portal Keepers Book 1.
A job at a café for the Undead, a ghost best friend, and an annoying handsome vampire protector. Danira has it all.

Danira isn't your average girl. For generations her family has looked after the portal that links the Realm of the Undead to the Realm of the Living, by running a cafe for the Undead that are travelling through the portal. Then news reaches Danira and her parents that the Vampire Lords want to take over control of the portal and wreak havock amoung the Realm of the Living.
An adventure of hot vampires, zombies, ghosts, mummies, and life-threatening danger is thrust upon Danira, and she must try her best to protect the Realm of the Living, by preventing the Vampire Lords from obtaining the Infinity Blade, which has the power to change the portal. As well as saving her world can Danira resist the dashing vampires that cross her path? Some are more dangerous than others.

Cover by Zillah Designs.

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23. The Maze of the Hunted

 

When I woke many hours later, it was to find that we had reached the Maze of the Hunted. Ridge was stood on the ground holding the horse’s reins while gazing at the Mountains of Despair. I didn’t say anything at first because I was annoyed that Ridge had sent me to sleep. I guessed that my chatter had annoyed him and he had probably wanted some peace and quiet.

“Good sleep?” he asked turning to face me.

I sent him a glare. “No, why’d you do that?”

Ignoring my question, Ridge helped me down from the saddle, and that was when I noticed the ghost hovering near the point where the ground disappeared.

“Bertie!” I cried in delight.

He turned around to face me and grinned. “Danira.”

“When did you get here?” I asked, stretching my stiff legs.

“Not long ago. Listen, I’ve got some news.”

Ridge tensed at this and I felt a mixture of emotions, but mainly apprehension.

“Do you have any news about Mum and Dad?”

Bertie nodded his expression grim. “Your dad is still at the café, but the Vampire Lords have taken your mum to the Castle where their headquarters are.”

I ground my teeth together and forced the tears in my eyes away. “Do you know if they’re ok?” I whispered.

He shook his head. “That’s all I know about your parents, but you two are the talk of the Realm of the Undead. ‘The human and the traitor’, they’re calling you.”

I winced. Poor Ridge, I hoped that he wouldn’t get into trouble with the Vampire Lords because of me.

“How do they seem to know our every move?” Ridge asked his jaw clenched.

“I’m sorry but I don’t know. You guys should hurry though. There are loads of vampires and zombies on the way.” Bertie was anxious.

I nodded. “Ok thanks, Bertie. Let us know if you find anything out.”

He gave a small laugh. “That’s if I can find you. It took me ages to track you down. Good luck.” Bertie gave a small wave and then he was gone.

I pointed over to where Bertie had been hovering, where the ground gave way. “Is that...”

Ridge nodded. “Yes and we should hurry before the vampires and zombies get here.”

I gulped and he placed a hand on my shoulder.

“Before we go in, I want to warn you there may be spirits of the hunted zombies in there. There may also be corpses. You may not be able to trust your senses either as the vampires of old enjoyed tormenting their prey by taking away whatever senses they had remaining or by tricking them.”

I nodded starting to get worried. “Ok.”

Ridge sighed. “I really wish that we didn’t have to go down there.”

Then leaving the horse, Ridge and I walked over to the hole in the ground. There were steps leading down and Ridge descended first, with me following not far behind. I soon lost count of the number of steps that we walked down.

After what seemed like an age the stairs ended. When my eyes had adjusted I could see that we had reached what seemed to be an observation point. Looking out I saw the maze which seemed to extend for miles. Everything was carved from stone, and there were beams of grey light falling from several holes in the ground above.

“It’s huge.” I gasped, my voice echoing around the massive underground cavern.

Ridge didn’t reply and turning my attention to him, I saw that he was peering over at the maze.

“What is it?” I asked, dreading his answer.

He glanced at me, frowning slightly. “There is something glowing near the centre of the maze.”

I brightened at this. “Could it be the Infinity Blade?”

“Possibly, or it may be a trap. Come on, we had better go and investigate.”

He led me down some side stairs which took us to the maze. There was a huge, rusty metal gate open at the arched entrance, and the maze was made out of the same stone as the observation point. However this stone seemed to be emitting cold air which made my skin crawl.

“You alright?”

I turned and looked at Ridge who was peering at me with concern. I nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

He gave me a weak smile and took my hand. “Come on, let’s go.”

 

After a while the cold didn’t seem to affect me as much as it had before, but soon I could see my breath in the air. Ridge noticed as well but as I was still wearing his cape as well as mine, there was nothing he could do to help.

It was a long time before we saw anything apart from the same grey stone.

“Oh God.” I muttered before turning away and retching.

I felt Ridge’s hand on the small of my back. “Danira, do you want some water?”

I nodded still crouched over, and accepted the bottle he handed me. Rinsing my mouth with some water, I spat it out before having a drink.

“Thanks.” I said standing up straight.

“Maybe you should close your eyes.” Ridge suggested sounding concerned.

I shook my head. “I’ll be ok. It was just a bit of a shock.”

Looking back at the disfigured and desiccated remains of a dozen zombies I shuddered. My stomach threatened to make me throw up, but after a few deep breaths I was fine. Ridge silently took my hand again and led me past the horrific sight. I’d only just noticed how often he held my hand. Strangely it reassured me.

“How long ago was it that vampires stopped using this maze?” I asked.

“Centuries ago.” he answered with a scowl. “But those... corpses seemed fresher.”

Something told me that getting the next clue, or maybe the Infinity Blade was even in the maze, was going to be harder than our previous trials.

We reached a dead-end and so turned around to walk back the way we had come, only to find that a stone wall had slid up silently behind us, so that we were now boxed in.

“I guess that means that we aren’t alone anymore.” I said looking up at the tall walls that surrounded us.

With a glance at Ridge, I saw that his expression was strained. I supposed that he was using his finely tuned senses to work out if there were any vampires, or zombies for that matter, converging on our location.

Without saying a word, Ridge pulled me to his side and jumped into the air in one smooth movement, and just in time because a stone slab slammed over the top of the box sealing it shut. Ridge landed on top of the slab and whirled around, eyes quickly scanning the surroundings. My breath was caught in my throat and Ridge set me down beside him. He was snarling and muttering curses so it looked like we were trapped.

I made sure that I had a stake in my hands which was just as well since half a second later I was grabbed by a vampire and went flying through the air.

 

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