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.


22. The Next Clue



Ridge’s voice sounded far away and when I blinked it was like I was looking at him through a telescope. His fingers were on my throat checking my pulse and I realised that his touch felt warm. Surely it should be cold? I coughed, water spurting out of my mouth and closed my eyes. I was so tired.

“Danira, don’t go to sleep. You must not go to sleep.” Ridge’s voice was urgent.

I frowned. I wasn’t sleeping I was just resting my eyes.

“Please for... for your parents. Think of your parents.” Ridge told me his voice desperate as he placed a hand on my cheek. “Please Danira don’t you want to see them again? You have to save them from the Vampire Lords.”

Something stirred in my chest and I had to fight to open my eyes, but I won.

“That’s right.” he encouraged. “Here drink this.” Ridge held his bleeding wrist in front of my mouth and my eyes grew wide.

“No,” I cried struggling away from the sight of his blood. “I can’t.”

“Danira you must. You are weak. You were in the River of Death for a long time, it affected you.”

“You don’t understand.” I whispered my lips numb.

Ridge’s dark eyes were locked on mine. “What happened in the caves?”

I drew a rattled breath, tears in my eyes. “Please don’t make me drink it.”

He wanted to know but didn’t press me. I sighed in relief. Would I have become a vampire after drinking Ridge’s blood? Was Xavier’s blood still in my system? Combined would it have been enough to change me?

“We need to go, here take this.”

Ridge handed me his cape and I wrapped it around myself, realising that I was shaking. I slowly stood up and nearly fell down but Ridge linked an arm through mine to support me.

“How did you escape?” I asked as we walked alongside the river.

“I knew that you were in danger.”

What was that supposed to mean? Had my being in trouble given him the strength to overcome all those vampires?

Ridge’s voice broke through my thoughts. “Are you alright? I was so worried.” his tone was anxious and I looked up to see him staring at me.

“I’ve been better.” I muttered, pulling the cape tighter around me.

We suddenly stopped walking and Ridge put a finger under my chin, lifting my head so that I was looking him in the eye. “Danira what happened?”

I tried to look away but he wouldn’t let me. “Please,” I whispered tears forming in my eyes. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

This only seemed to make Ridge want to know more than ever. “What happened? Did someone hurt you?” he asked sounding angry.

I took a deep breath to calm myself.

“Tell me.”

Gazing up I saw that Ridge was staring at me intensely. “Yes.”

Ridge pulled me into his arms, surprising me. “I am so sorry I wasn’t there to protect you. Please forgive me.” his voice was so full of pain that anyone would think that he had been the one that had been attacked.

“Of course I forgive you.”

“I should have been more alert, if I had then...”

I cut him off. “It’s not your fault. But I think that I should definitely learn to swim when I get back home.”

Ridge was practically clinging to me, but he gave a weak smile. Then he pulled away and his eyes turned cold. “Who was it? Who hurt you?”

I opened my mouth to speak but then closed it. Should I tell him that it had been Xavier? He would be furious.

“Whoever it was won’t be bothering us anymore.” I replied.

Ridge’s eyes widened slightly but he didn’t say anything. Instead he kissed my forehead and helped me as we made our way along the riverbank. Ridge treated me like I was a china doll as we walked. I guessed it was because he was so sorry about not having been there to protect me earlier. My strength slowly returned and soon I didn’t need to rely on Ridge for support. I watched as he practically glided over the rocky mountainside whereas I clambered ungraciously over any objects in my path.

“How did they know we were going to be there?” I asked, lifting my still drenched and rather heavy skirts as I hopped over a rock.

Ridge looked troubled. “That’s what I’ve been wondering too.”

I glanced up at him. “Do you think they are following us now?”

He shrugged. “Maybe.”

I gasped, stopping in my tracks.

“What is it?” Ridge asked looking around to see if we were being attacked.

My eyes grew wide. “The clue, where’s the metal triangle?”

Ridge patted his pockets. “I’m sure I had it earlier... ah here it is.” he pulled the triangle out of a pocket in his jacket.

I breathed a sigh of relief. “Is there a new clue?” I asked eagerly, hoping that our trip to the mountains hadn’t been in vain.

I peered at the triangle which was in Ridge’s hands. He moved his hand so that the surface was visible. A new phrase greeted us.

From the highest of heights to the deepest of depths.

I glanced up at Ridge wondering if he knew what this meant. From the distressed look on his face I presumed that he did. “Where is it?” I asked.

His dark eyes met mine and I could see worry in them. “The Maze of the Hunted.” Ridge started walking again, the triangular piece of metal gripped tightly in his hand.

“Wait,” I cried, stumbling after him. Grabbing his sleeve I demanded. “What is the Maze of the Hunted?”

He sighed and stopped walking, making me bump into him. Looking down at me, Ridge answered. “It is a place that I had hoped we wouldn’t have to go.”

When it was obvious that he wasn’t going to elaborate I asked. “Why?”

His mouth was grim. “It is a place that has seen much death and horror. Centuries ago vampires made a sport of hunting zombies, the Maze of the Hunted was where it happened.”

I blinked. It didn’t sound like a very welcoming place. “Do vampires still do that?”

Ridge shook his head, looking disgusted. “No, but the Maze is said to be haunted by the souls of the zombies that were slaughtered there.”

“I guess I see why you don’t want to take me there.” I muttered. “But it may be where the Infinity Blade rests, or where the next and maybe final clue is.”

He nodded. “Yes, so it seems that we must go there.”

We started walking again.

“The clue said ‘from the highest of heights to the deepest of depths’, so is the Maze of the Hunted deep underground?”

“Yes, it is deep down in the earth, a long way from here. We have a long journey ahead of us.”

“How long?” I wondered, already feeling tired and exhausted, having not fully recovered from my dip in the River of Death.

Ridge glanced at me. “Ten, maybe eleven hours, but it would be quicker if you would let me carry you.”

I merely replied. “I wish we had the horse.”

Ridge suddenly let out a low hiss and crouched protectively in front of me. Whirling around I tried to see what was wrong, but couldn’t find anything. Then minutes later a familiar black shape appeared in front of us.

I smiled. “Hey, it’s the horse!”

Ridge held out an arm preventing me from moving toward the horse. “Stay back.” he told me.

I stood still and watched as he slowly approached the horse, which was staring at us.

After a while Ridge turned back to face me. “It’s safe, let’s go.” he hopped up onto the saddle before helping me up.

I felt safer back on the horse and stroked its scaly skin as we rode along the riverbank. “How did he know where to find us?”

Ridge’s tone was wary as he replied. “I don’t know.”

Finally we left the mountains, and kept to the riverbank.

“We will be travelling past Mourner’s Lake near to the Mountains of Despair.”

“Back the way we came then.” I sighed.

“Unfortunately, yes.”


As the hours passed the barren surroundings stayed the same.

“Mum and Dad are going to be so angry with me.” I sighed twisting the ring on my finger.

Ridge chuckled. “I’m sure that they will forgive you.”

“Hmm, maybe.” I said. “You know, I only just realised but I’m missing college. I wonder how many days I’ve been gone.”

“We have no way of telling. Time is a curious thing in both of the Realms and does not appear to follow any rules.”

“Ridge, I hope you don’t mind me asking but, how old are you?” I was hesitant, not wanting to pry.

Some vampires don’t like to talk or even think about their human lives, and I was curious as to how Ridge would react.

“Very old,” he replied with a sigh, sounding slightly depressed. “I’m three hundred and twelve.”

I opened my mouth to ask another question, but Ridge placed a cool fingertip to my temple. “Time to sleep now, you need to be rested for what is to come.”

I would have protested but I was already asleep.


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