No Use Crying Over Spilt Blood

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Portal Keepers Book 2 (The sequel to 'Would You Like Brains With That?').
Danira travels back to the Realm of the Undead to stop humans being used as blood-slaves.

Cover by Zillah Designs.

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8. A Blind Date and Arm Wrestling

 

      The newspaper landed with a dull thud on the table in front of me. Looking up I saw Dad towering over me. His arms were crossed and his expression gave nothing away.

      “What’s this?” I asked realising that it was the first time Dad had approached me since he found out that I was half vampire.

      He silently tapped the area that he had circled in pen. My eyes scanned the words. It was a lonely hearts ad.

      Anger gnawed away at me. Shoving the newspaper away I demanded. “What has that got to do with me?”

      “You’re going on a date with him.”

      “I am not.” I retorted. “There’s no way in hell I would ever do that.”

      Dad clenched his hands into fists. “Ridge is gone Danira, face it.”

      Rising from my chair I glared at him. “How dare you say that. He’s coming back. He wouldn’t leave me, not ever.”

      “He’s a vampire. You can’t trust a word he says.” he snapped. A vein on his temple was sticking out, betraying how furious he really was.

      “I’m part vampire.”

      Dad pointed a meaty finger at me, his eyes hard. “You are going on that date whether you like it or not. You can have a boyfriend, but it needs to be someone that I approve of. Do I have to remind you that you promised to do whatever I asked?”

      It was as if he had grabbed me by the throat. Crap, I had forgotten about that. I had promised to do whatever he wanted, just as long as I could see Ridge.

      “You’re meeting him tomorrow at a restaurant. Make an effort.”

 

      Eugene Percy. Seventeen years old. Loves: maths, science fiction and fantasy, swords, elves, watching films and playing games online. Hates: rap music and chocolate.

      I re-read the hates section. Chocolate, how could someone hate chocolate?

      Sat in the restaurant waiting for my date to appear I tapped my fingers on the table. Make an effort Dad had said. So of course I had done the opposite. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

      “Danira?”

      Glancing up I saw a nervous and extremely geeky looking guy stood by the table. He was tall and lanky with short hair and glasses. Dressed in a suit, yes an actual suit, and carrying a red rose, Eugene was definitely giving off a ‘this is my first date ever’ vibe.

      “Eugene?” I asked standing up.

      His eyes widened when he saw what I was wearing. “Oh dear, am I overdressed?” he gave a laugh which failed to hide his apprehension.

      “Just a tad, but it doesn’t matter. Do you want to sit down?”

      “What? Oh yes, brilliant.” Eugene pulled my chair out for me and once I had sat back down he settled himself opposite me. He stared at me not saying anything.

      Suppressing a sigh I gestured to the rose that Eugene was gripping in his hand. “Is that for me?”

      He looked down at the rose as if seeing it for the first time. “Oh yes, I forgot. Here you go.”

      The rose was slicked in sweat from Eugene’s hand and I placed it on the tablecloth. “Thanks.”

      A waiter appeared and we ordered drinks. If I had been old enough I think I would have asked for a bottle of wine, but as I wasn’t, I got a coke. I had the feeling that alcohol might have made the evening more bearable. Eugene had water.

      I browsed at the food menu wondering how long it would take for Eugene to pluck up the courage to say something.

      It was after we had ordered, five minutes later that he finally spoke. “I didn’t think that anyone would answer my ad, especially not someone as... like you. My mum made me do it. The websites haven’t worked so she thought that maybe the newspaper would.” his words were a jumble and his cheeks were slightly red.

      I had been planning on not saying a word the whole dinner, but I was feeling sorry for Eugene, and so asked. “Are you at college?”

      “Yes, I go to the college over in the next town.”

      “Oh I go to the college here. What do you study?” I sipped at my drink, leaning back in my chair.

      “Maths, Chemistry, Biology and Physics.”

      “That’s pretty hard core.” I commented.

      The conversation took a turn for the worse after that as Eugene bored me with a monologue about his favourite online game.

      “I’d really like to see you again.” Eugene told me as I stood up pulling my jacket on.

      We had split the bill fifty-fifty, though he had wanted to pay for all of it.

      Regarding Eugene silently I decided that I wanted to let him down easily. He seemed a really nice person, just not my type. “Look Eugene, I probably should have told you this earlier, but I only came on this date because my dad made me. I have a boyfriend already but my dad doesn’t like him. You seem like a great guy, and I enjoyed the meal. I’m sorry.”         

      His face dropped. “Oh I... I see.”

      I felt awful seeing him look so sad. “We can still keep in contact if you want?”

      “Yeah, I’d like that.”

      “How are you getting home?” I asked as we left the restaurant.

      Eugene gazed around with a miserable expression. “There’s a bus stop not far from here. What about you?”

      “I live a few streets away.”

      Dad had chosen the nearest possible restaurant to the café. I was surprised that he hadn’t insisted on accompanying me there.

      “I’ll walk you home.” Eugene told me, putting his hands in his pockets to warm them against the bitter wind.

      Pulling my scarf tighter around my neck I nodded and we walked down the street. We turned down an alleyway and I gazed up at the cloudy sky, trying to spot the moon.  

      The next thing I knew I was being forced against the cold wall and Eugene was holding a stake to my ribcage. His hand was shaking but his eyes were harsh.

      “What the hell are you doing?” I demanded. I was quicker and stronger than Eugene, but I didn’t want to give him a reason to drive the stake through my heart. Would I become a pile of ashes if he did?

      His voice was weak and he sounded unsure. “I know what you are. I know all about your kind.”

      “My kind? You think I’m a vampire?” laughing I shook my head. “Eugene, if I was a vampire how could I wear silver?”

      “Silver?” he asked, his eyes losing their severity.

      “My necklace,”

      Eugene hesitated, his expression changing to one of fear. The stake fell with a clatter to the floor. “Oh I’m so sorry. Please I didn’t... I thought...”

      Pushing myself away from the wall I picked the stake up and examined it. It was homemade. “Why did you think I was a vampire?” I asked intrigued.

      “Who else would want to go on a date with me? That’s what they do. They lure you into a false sense of security and then they kill you.” he mumbled not meeting my gaze.

      “Vampires aren’t real you know.”

      Eugene’s eyes filled with tears. “Yes they are. My father was murdered by one.”

      He went on to explain that his dad had been a lawyer, and that one evening after leaving the office late, his dad had been murdered. The body had been found drained of blood and covered in bite marks.

      I made sure that he got to the bus stop safely. The poor guy. Some vampires were so cruel.

      Dad was silent when I described that Eugene had nearly staked me. When I said that I wouldn’t be seeing Eugene again, Dad left the room without a word.

 

      For the next three nights I went running in the public gardens, and each night Jayden followed me. But it wasn’t until the third night, now two weeks and five days since Ridge had left, that he talked to me again. I was lying on the roof of the café, sweaty from my run as I stared up at the starry night sky.

      “You live here.”

      Turning my head I saw that Jayden had silently lay down beside me. His eyes were fixed on me, his bracelet covered wrists resting on his stomach.

      “Yeah, so what?” I asked glaring at him.

      He shrugged and smiled. “I was just surprised.”

      I frowned and looked back up at the stars. Jayden didn’t seem like a threat. He hadn’t tried to drink my blood yet, which made a nice change.

      “Why are you following me?”

      “I’m curious about you.” he admitted. “How does a human come to be part vampire?”

      He was starting to annoy me, but I took a deep breath to calm myself. “Ever heard of the Infinity Blade?”

      Jayden whistled. “That shit really went down?”

      I rolled my eyes at his foul language. “Yes it did. Where were you, out in space?”

      “No I was meditating.”

      I didn’t know what to say to that. How long had he been meditating for to miss the whole thing?

      “It must be hard keeping this side of your life secret from your friends.” Jayden commented.

      I rubbed my tired eyes. “You have no idea.” sitting up I rested my head on my knees. “You know, you’re the strangest vampire I’ve ever met.”

      Jayden grinned. “Thanks.”

      It hadn’t been a compliment, but whatever.

      “I don’t know your name.” he sat up peering at me.

      My eyes went to his pale outstretched hand and I surprised myself by taking it.

      “I’m Danira.”

 

      “Whoa, Danira have you grown?”

      I blinked at Faith aware that she was talking to me. “No.” I muttered, returning to reading the newspaper I had brought to college.

      There was no way I hard grown. All my clothes still fit me fine.

      Faith tilted her head to the side and said. “Oh you look taller somehow...”

      “You’re totally muscular as well. Are you on steroids?” Debbie asked poking my arm. 

      I nearly choked on my drink. “No I’m not on steroids” I gave her an annoyed look. “I’ve been going running that’s all.”

      Gina gave a snort and sneered at me. “It’s all for show. I bet you wouldn’t even be able to beat me in an arm wrestle.”

      I narrowed my eyes at her and smirked. “Oh yeah? How about I challenge Russell Pitts to an arm wrestle?”

      Faith and Debbie gasped with wide eyes. Russell Pitts was the biggest, meanest guy in college. He was at the top of the food chain and could get away with anything. It probably helped that his dad was on the board of trustees.

      Gina laughed. “Purlease, you wouldn’t last five seconds against Russell the Hairy Pitts.”

      “In that case, why don’t we make a deal?”

      Debbie and Faith leaned forwards waiting to see what Gina would say.

      “Fine,” she sighed, flipping her hair. “How much?”

      “I don’t want your money. I want your respect.”

      Gina’s eyes expanded and seeing that Faith and Debbie were staring at her, she reluctantly agreed. Smirking I stood up before walking across the courtyard to where Russell and his cronies were sat. Debbie, Faith and Gina hurried after me. I was glad to see Gina looking worried.

      “Russell.” I said interrupting him as he spoke to his friends.

      He looked me up and down. “What can I do for ya, darlin’?” he drawled in a fake American accent.

      “Arm wrestle,”

      Ten seconds later I was back to reading my newspaper and Russell was clutching at his hand crying like a baby, even though I’d gone easy on him.

      “Oh my God, Danira, that was amazing!” Debbie gushed.

      Gina glared at me with eyes full of hate while Faith and Debbie talked excitedly. But I was concentrating on my newspaper. More people had gone missing.

 

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