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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23. A Freaky Nightmare and Kelsey

 

      I opened my eyes to find myself in a cage with my hands shackled.

      “Not again,” I sighed.

      The chains clinked together as I moved, and I winced as they cut into my skin. Standing carefully, I was aware that I was dressed in my usual getup of jeans and a t-shirt. An eye-watering light filled the cage blinding me, and blinked away tears. My eyes slowly adjusted to the light and my surroundings became visible. The small metal cage was in an arena of some sort, and there was a small crowd gathered around the cage. Most of their faces were blurry, but I recognised some of the people that were staring at me in disgust.

      “Aidan, please help me.” I cried, reaching out a shackled hand.

      His blue eyes glinted coldly and he sneered at me.

      The person stood beside him giggled saying. “Such a shame,”

      Recognising Leila hope bloomed within me. “Leila, please you’ve got to help me.” I begged, gripping the bars of my cage.

      She laughed cruelly and smiled at Aidan. “It’s a shame that she turned out to be a liar and a fake.”

      “A freak.” a new voice commented.

      I felt as if I had been stabbed in the heart.

      “Ridge,” I gasped, tears filling my eyes. “Ridge...please help me.”

      He glared at me, his dark eyes and handsome face filled with hate. Sobs escaped from my lips and I sought the crowd for someone that would help me, and as I did so their faces came into focus. I knew them all. There was Luca, Ferriday and Pegasus, Scott, Jet and Nevrac, Bertie and Jayden, Gina, Faith and Debbie, even Mum and Dad. Seeing my parents standing there was the final straw and I was filled with such anguish that I ripped the chains from my wrists, creating rivers of blood that flowed down my arms. I covered my ears with my hands and howled in pain as the air was filled with the sound of chanting.

      “Freak! Freak! Freak!”

      “No!” I screamed, trying to pull the bars of my cage wider so that I could escape. “Please stop!”

      “Freak! Freak! Freak! FREAK!”

      I was jolted awake to find myself bawling. I could still hear the chanting echoing in my ears and sweat was rolling down my face. My wrists were burning and I looked down to find them smeared in blood. My heart rocketed into my throat and I rubbed my eyes. When I did a double take there was no blood.

      I tried to fall back asleep but every time I closed my eyes I saw Ridge’s hate filled face. Instead I forced myself out of bed and had a bath. I was just about to get out when the bathroom door suddenly burst open, even though I was certain that I had locked it, and Leila bounded in.

      “Danira, guess what?” she sang, her bob bouncing as her brown eyes danced in joy.

      “Ever heard of knocking, Leila?” I demanded roughly, as I hurried to cover myself with the small amount of bubbles that remained in the bath.       

      My nightmare was still fresh in my mind and I feared what Leila’s reply would be.

      “This couldn’t wait.” she told me, skipping around the bath.

      I wondered how Leila was so happy all the time. I wished that I could be that carefree.

      “What is it then?” I asked.

      Leila grinned. “It’s Aidan’s nineteenth birthday tomorrow!”

      “Oh,”

      I hadn’t expected her to say that. I had thought that maybe another gift had come from Luca, or that Xavier had turned up on the doorstep. At the thought of Xavier I realised that I hadn’t seen or heard from him since I had attacked him while wearing a toga. Maybe he had finally got the message and had decided to leave me alone. I certainly hoped so.

      “That’s nice, but couldn’t it have waited until I was dressed?” I said gesturing to my bubble covered body.

      Leila threw a towel at me, which I caught before it touched the water. She turned around and started singing so I quickly stood up and dried myself off before dressing in a t-shirt and jeans. Walking past Leila out to the hallway I went into the kitchen and got myself some breakfast, wondering where Aidan was; he usually cooked me breakfast.

      “I thought that we should talk about it while he’s not here.” Leila told me, perching herself on one of the counters.

      “Where is he? Have he and Ferriday gone out?”

      She gave a nod. “Yep, I think they’ve popped to the lower town. Anyway, I’ve asked Pegasus to get some alcohol, but I was thinking that we should have a surprise party for Aidan.”

      “That sounds good. Have you talked to Ferriday about it?”

      “I did and he thinks that it’s a great idea.” Leila smiled. “Scott’s agreed to sort out the balloons and banners.”

      I sipped at my orange juice and laughed. “You mean you told him that he’s sorting out the balloons and banners.”

      Leila grinned sheepishly. “Ok maybe I kind of ordered him to.”

      “We will have to keep Aidan busy while we decorate.”

      “Ferriday said that he will do that. All we need is someone to make a cake and cook some food.” she smiled, batting her long eyelashes at me.

      “Let me guess, that would be me?” I asked, with a laugh.

      “I’m a terrible cook.” Leila told me honestly. “So unless you want Aidan to have a char grilled birthday cake that would probably give everyone food poisoning, then you should do the cooking.”

      “Alright, but what are you going to be doing?”

      “Helping Scott decorate,”

      It seemed that Leila was getting off lightly compared to everyone else. The door opened and Aidan appeared looking solemn.

      “What is it?” I asked, feeling dread seeping into my bones.

      Leila had gone silent, and was biting her lip anxiously.

      “This is Kelsey.”

      A small girl that looked about seven or eight years old peered out from behind Aidan. She was dressed in Hello Kitty pyjamas and had shoulder length curly ginger hair and startled, round brown eyes.

      “Kelsey this is Danira and Leila. They are my friends.” Aidan said kindly.

      Her eyes darted from me to Leila and her bottom lip wobbled.

      “Oh, come here, sweetheart.” I muttered, kneeling down on the floor.

      Kelsey ran into my arms and sniffed as she tried to hold back tears.

      “Hush,” I said, stroking her back. “It’s ok.”

      Aidan sat down in the barstool I had just vacated and rubbed his temples. “We found her at the slave market.” he told us disgusted.

      Bile rose in my throat as I pulled the collar of Kelsey’s pyjamas down to reveal a red slave collar with Ferriday’s crest on it. Fury sparked within me and I clutched the crying girl to my chest.

      “Where’s Ferriday?” Leila asked.

      “Settling payment,”

      I raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”

      “He didn’t have enough gold on him so he has to give the dealer some of his antiques collection.”

      Leila gasped. “How much...” she glanced at Kelsey whose head was buried in my chest and lowered her voice to a whisper. “How much was she?”

      Aidan ran a hand through his hair looking drawn. “A lot...everyone wanted her. She’s the youngest human that’s been brought through the portal.”

      “Have you explained everything to her?” I asked, kissing Kelsey’s trembling head.

      Aidan nodded.

      I gazed at him and Leila, my expression hard. “We have to do something.”

     

      I called a meeting that night. Well I say I called a meeting, all I really did was gather everyone up around Ferriday’s round table. Kelsey was asleep in the third bedroom of the slave’s quarters, but the rest of us were all there; Ferriday, Pegasus and Aidan, Leila, Scott and Bertie, Jayden and me.

      “Hey, look at us all.” Bertie laughed from where he sat in a high backed wooden chair. “We look like the knights of the round table!”

      I knew that he was trying to lighten the mood, which was currently so heavy that it felt like the ceiling was pushing my head down, but it didn’t work.

      Aidan cleared his throat and stared at his clenched fists that were resting on the table. “This cannot happen again.” he said, sounding determined. “They cannot start bringing children through the portal.”

      We all murmured in agreement.

      “The only hope we have of stopping the Vampire Lords is to find the Infinity Blade.” I replied.

      Leila and Scott both looked perplexed.

      “What’s the Infinity Blade?” Leila demanded.

      Pegasus answered. “The Infinity Blade is an extremely powerful ceremonial sword that was created at the Beginning of Time to make the portal and link the Realm of the Undead to the Realm of the Living. It was adapted thousands of years ago so that it could be used as a weapon against the Undead, and was scattered into pieces around the Realm of the Undead. A few months ago it was reconstructed but then it was lost.”

      I nodded in agreement. “It was drawn back through the portal, which means that it could be anywhere in the Realm of the Undead.”

      Aidan, Leila and Scott’s heads all whipped around to face me. Their expressions were identical, and that of curiosity, wondering how I knew so much.

      Jayden gave a small cough. “The way I see it, we need to find the Infinity Blade as soon as possible, otherwise the Vampire Lords will be unstoppable.”

      “Exactly,” I nodded. “We can’t go around staking loads of vampires as it would draw too much attention and we would get caught and killed.”

      “If we got close to the Vampire Lords it might be possible to catch them by surprise.” Pegasus suggested, looking nervous.

      I gave a sigh. “If the new Vampire Lords are anything like the old ones, then they will be hard to get to and very powerful.”

      “I will ask around my contacts and see if a ceremonial sword has come onto the market recently.” Ferriday told me.

      “Thank you. It has a ruby in the hilt.” I said.

      The meeting ended after that, and we all said that we would ask around about ceremonial swords, and that we would have a think about other ways to stop the Vampire Lords and their growing blood-slave trade.

      “Danira,”

      I turned to see Aidan, Scott and Leila stood nearby.

      “Yes?” I asked, stepping over to them.

      It was Scott that had spoken and he said. “How do you know so much about the Infinity Blade?”

      Leila and Aidan were peering at me and I ran a hand through my hair.

      “The former Vampire Lords’ plan involved a human sacrifice.”

 

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