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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10. The Slave Market

 

      I was in a world of my own the next day at college so it was already lunchtime by the time I realised how quiet it was.

      “Where’s Gina?” I asked, startling Faith and Debbie.

      Faith sighed. “I don’t know. I rang her mobile earlier but she didn’t pick up, so I called her home number and her mum answered. Apparently when her mum went to wake Gina up this morning she wasn’t there. Her bed hadn't been slept in.”

      “She’s missing?” I whispered my blood running cold.

      Faith shrugged. “I guess so.”

      Debbie frowned at me from behind her glasses. “Are you ok? You look kinda weird, like you’re gonna throw up.”

      “Don’t feel well.” I muttered, grabbing my bag and running across the courtyard.

      Russell Pitts suddenly appeared in front of me, making me nearly slam into his huge bulky form.

      “Rematch,” he growled, puffing out his chest.

      I cast a glance around and saw that everyone was staring at us waiting to see what would happen. I gritted my teeth in frustration. I didn’t have time for this! I had to get to the Realm of the Undead and save Gina as well as the others that had been taken and were being used as blood-slaves. Also I desperately needed to find Ridge.

      “Another time,” I told Russell, walking around him.

      He wrapped a meaty hand around my wrist. “Now,”

      Turning to face him I raised an eyebrow. “Let go of me.” my words were laced with menace but Russell only increased his grip. “Fine, have it your way then.”

      In the blink of an eye I had flipped him over my shoulder. Russell cried out in pain as he slammed onto the concrete. Ignoring him I sprinted towards the college gates wanting to get home as soon as possible.

 

      “Dad, where do you get your holy water from?” I gasped when I got home.

      He was in the garage sorting through some boxes and I was panting, out of breath and all sweaty from my sprint home.

      “Aren’t you supposed to be at college?” Dad asked, standing up.

      “Gina’s missing,”

      “Oh. Holy water? I get it from Jim. Why?” narrowing his eyes at me he took in my strained features.

      “Would it be possible to buy a bulk load?” I asked, dumping my schoolbag on the floor.

      Dad shrugged. “Maybe but holy water is expensive. What are you up to?”

      “The Vampire Lords are abducting humans and using them as blood-slaves. I want to find a way of making human blood poisonous to them. I thought that maybe if humans drank holy water then...” I trailed off figuring that Dad would get my drift.

      “Yes that could work, but the only problem is that holy water is hard to get hold of in large quantities, and it's expensive.”

      Rubbing my forehead I said. “It’s the only thing that I can think of that will work, unless we can find the Infinity Blade.”

      Dad nodded looking thoughtful. “I’ll ask around, but you’re not going to the Realm of the Undead.”

      I glowered at him. “Dad, I need to find Gina and Ridge, and save everyone.”

      Dad’s voice was full of authority as he spoke. “Danira, you do not need to go to the Realm of the Undead. Let someone else do it. I nearly lost you once. I can’t let that happen again.”

      I cried out in frustration. “I need to go there, Dad. Lady Prenalla told me that I have to stop them!”

      Dad was surprised. I had told him about Lady Prenalla. Shaking his head he said. “I don’t care. No, Danira, I forbid it.”

      “Well who else is going to do it?” I demanded hotly. “Are you?”

      He was growing angry. I could tell by the way the vein in his temple was throbbing. “Lady Prenalla can deal with it. Danira, I am your father you will do as I say, and you are not going to the Realm of the Undead.”

      “Oh yeah? Just try and stop me.”

 

      He locked me in my room. But since I had the strength of a vampire I didn’t see how Dad could keep me cooped up there. That didn’t stop me from prowling around like a caged animal though. After a while I got over it and went on the Internet, looking for anything that could be used against the Vampire Lords, but my search didn’t yield any positive results.     

      “Why is your dad outside your door with a Taser?”

      I was lying on my bed and sat up to find Bertie floating upside down.

      “He has a Taser?” I asked an eyebrow slanted in surprise.

      Bertie laughed. “Yeah, plus he looks seriously mad. What did you do?”

      Crossing my legs I pulled a face. “I told him that I’m going to the Realm of the Undead.”

      “Has he forgotten that you have vampire abilities?” Bertie asked.

      “Looks like it.” I told him. “I can totally just jump out of the window.”

      “Any luck with the holy water?” Bertie replied, taking his cap off and ruffling his hair.

      “Nope, Dad said it’s pretty hard to get hold of and is expensive. Did you find anything else that we can use against vampires?”

      “I asked around about plants and herbs but there is only one that will kill vampires.”

      I brightened at this and was filled with hope. “What is it?”

      “Garlic,”

      “Oh...well at least it would be cheaper and easier to get hold of than holy water.”

      Bertie grinned. “Do you think we could get everyone to eat garlic?”

      I shrugged. “Maybe, it seems to be the best plan we’ve come up with so far.”

      “What’s that then?”

      I jumped at the voice and turned to see Jayden sitting on my windowsill.

      “To get everyone to eat garlic,” I explained.

      He nodded thoughtfully. “That could work.”

      “Did you not find anything out then?”

      Jayden’s green eyes were full of disappointment. “Only that holy water is expensive and hard to get hold of.”

      I scratched my head, saying. “That’s all I found out too.”

      The door suddenly swung open nearly giving me a heart attack. Dad appeared and gazed around, inspecting my room, which was now empty apart from me.

      “Jeez Dad, ever heard of knocking?” I scowled still angry that he had locked me in my room.

      Narrowing his eyes at me he said nothing. Dad made one final sweep of the room before leaving, closing my door behind him. There was an audible click as he locked it.

      I blinked to see Jayden and Bertie back in my room. Jayden looked curious.

      “Gina is missing and I told Dad that I’m going to the Realm of the Undead.” I explained.

      He smiled. “It seems like he took it well. When are we leaving then? We will have to take some garlic with us.”

      “Tonight,” I said grimly and with determination, aware that with every passing minute the Vampire Lords could be taking more humans through the portal and ruining their lives. “We have to leave tonight.” I stood up suddenly filled with purpose. “Actually we're leaving now.”

      Bertie and Jayden watched as I grabbed a bag, stuffing some clothes and food into it, as well as random everyday objects that could be used for bargaining, like socks, jewellery and even a nodding dog.

      “Are you sure that you want to do this?” Jayden asked me, sitting down on my bed.

      I met his eyes and when I spoke my voice was firm. “Yes I’m sure. I have to stop them, find Ridge and Gina and bring all the humans back. Anyway Lady Prenalla said that I have to do it.”

      Bertie frowned. “Isn’t it a bit odd that you have to do this? Why can’t she do it?”

      I shrugged. I had been thinking the exact same thing. “I’m not sure.” I gathered my usual arsenal of weapons against the Undead, also putting them in my bag. There were several stakes, a lighter and a tub of salt, a small bottle of holy water, pieces of silver and an enchanted dagger.

      Not for the first time I wished that Ridge were here.

       As if he could hear my thoughts Jayden’s eyebrows slanted even more. “You’re not just going to the Realm of the Undead to find Ridge are you?”

      “No,” I lied. It was one of the reasons, ok the main reason that I wanted to go. “I have to save all the humans as well.” I told myself that the humans should be my main priority. That didn’t stop my thoughts from wandering to Ridge though. I missed him so much. Butterflies swarmed in my stomach at the thought of him.

      Deciding that I might as well stay in my jeans and long sleeved top I put my boots on and my jacket. Seeing how humans were now in the Realm of the Undead I felt that I didn’t have to hide my humanity. What was left of it that was.

      “I’ll have to pretend to be your slave.” I told Jayden as I slid a stake down one of my boots. “I'm ready.”

     “Are you sure you want to do this?” Bertie asked me, his eyes filled with concern.

     I pulled my bag on. “I have to.”

      Jayden opened my window and jumped outside, landing in front of the café. I joined him seconds later and Bertie swooped down to us. We ran, or floated in Bertie’s case, around the back of the café, keeping low so that we wouldn’t be seen. I vaulted over the broken stone slab and landed directly in front of the portal. Staring into it I could see that the swirling darkness was distorted and after a while I had to look away, bile in my throat.

      “Ready?” Jayden asked me anxiously.

      I nodded and took his hand, placing my free hand on Bertie’s shoulder. Bertie concentrated and made his shoulder solid so that my hand didn’t just pass through it. Taking a deep breath I stepped forwards into the portal hoping that it would send us straight to the Castle and not to a distant part of the Realm of the Undead.

      “Danira!” Dad’s angry cries reached my ears when it was too late.

      Inside the portal I was being thrown around like clothes in a washing machine. My eyes widened in horror as I felt Jayden’s hand being torn from mine and Bertie’s shoulder disappeared from my grasp.

      The portal spat me out and I landed on the ground gasping for air. Something was seriously wrong with the portal. The journey shouldn't have been that bumpy and I shouldn't have been separated from Bertie and Jayden.

      I was hauled to my feet by someone that I couldn't see, and then I was being pushed through a crowd. Feeling disorientated I blinked, wincing at the loud cries coming from the swarm of people all around me. I was in the Castle, I could tell that much from my surroundings. I stumbled when someone shoved me, and fell against a vampire who grinned at me, his fangs glinting. He tore my bag from my back and threw it away.

      “Hey,” I cried in fury, reaching for the stake in my boot.

      I didn’t have time to grab it though, because the next thing I knew I had been forced up some steps and then I was standing on a stage. Hundreds of vampires stared up at me, their fangs glinting in the dull grey light of the Realm of the Undead. I gaped at them, trying to gather my thoughts. Cries went up from the crowd and then I was being shoved off the stage down some other steps. A burly vampire grabbed a fistful of my jacket to stop me from trying to escape. Then a well dressed vampire with shoulder length brown hair appeared and handed the burly vampire some gold coins. That was odd. Since when was there an actual currency in the Realm of the Undead?

      The well dressed vampire took my wrist and yanked me after him as he glided around the back of the stage where there were only a few vampires wandering around. “Put this on.” he told me, handing me what looked like a collar, the kind you put on a pet.

      “No, let me go.” I cried, pulling my wrist from his grasp.

      He stopped mid-stride, looking surprised and gripped my arm. His grey eyes were pleading as he spoke to me, his voice quiet. “Please just put it on. You don’t want to be mistaken for a free human and sold again do you?”

      I shook my head and looked down at the collar as the vampire started walking again, pulling me after him. The collar was made of red leather and there was a silver crest on it, which I presumed belonged to the vampire that had bought me. Putting the collar around my neck I blinked away tears. How had things gone wrong so quickly? Where were Jayden and Bertie? I glanced around to see if I could spot them anywhere but we were no longer in the lower town of the Castle where the slave market had been. We were now in the posh part of the Castle, which was made up of hundreds of estates belonging to rich and powerful vampires. I turned my attention to the vampire that had bought me, my owner. He was leading me down a barren path towards a mansion built from white stone. The massive black door opened and then we were inside. My owner was talking to the human that had opened the door, and I gazed around taking in the paintings that lined the hallway.

      My owner spoke to me, making me focus my attention on him. “I imagine that you are very confused right now. Aidan will explain everything to you.”

      The human that had opened the front door for us, Aidan, smiled at me. My eyes went to the collar around his neck. He was a blood-slave too.

      “Follow me.” he said kindly.

      I walked after him as he led me down the hallway into what seemed to be a separate part of the mansion.

      “This is the slave area of the mansion.” Aidan explained to me.

      We were in a narrow corridor that had five doors evenly spaced along it.

      Gesturing to the first door, he said. “This is my room, but you will be next door.”

      Aidan opened the second door and went inside. I followed him and was surprised to find a spacious and well furnished room. There was a double bed, a big wardrobe, a table and chair, a gilded mirror on the wall, a nice painting, a red rug on the wooden floor, and matching red curtains which were pulled back to reveal a big window that looked out onto someone else’s estate. To think that I had expected the room to be the size of a box with only a mattress inside, this was a lot better.

      “Ferriday likes us to feel at home.”

      I presumed that Ferriday was our owner. Walking over to the bed I sat down on the edge of it and put my head in my hands.

      Aidan sat down beside me and placed a hand on my shoulder. “I know it’s a lot to take in, and that you must be confused. I felt exactly the same way when I was brought here. You’re probably thinking what was that big swirly thing? And what is this place? Well it was a portal and this is the Realm of the Undead.”

      Aidan kept on talking, explaining about vampires etc but I tuned out. I knew it all already. What I didn’t know was why Bertie, Jayden and I had been separated when we had gone through the portal. I also didn’t know what I was going to do now that I was a slave, a blood-slave, and had nothing with me except the stake in my boot and the clothes I was wearing.

      Looking up at Aidan I took in his appearance as he continued to talk to me, unaware that I wasn’t paying attention. He seemed to be about my age, maybe a year or two older and had short dark hair and blue eyes. He was wearing jeans and a smart shirt.

      “Aidan,” I interrupted him. “I already know all this.”

      He looked surprised. “You do?”

      “Yes, but what I really want to know is how to get out of here.”

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