I heard Dezyre suck in a sharp breath. “Oh my God,” she whispered. “You’re one of them.”
Her voice was so soft, I would have missed it if I didn’t have vampire hearing. What is she talking about?
I turned back toward her. Her face was completely drained of color, and she looked like she might pass out any minute. Her eyes were fixed on my right wrist. My tattoo barely showed above my sleeve, which had slipped down when I’d gone to pay.
Damn! That was careless!
The clerk, completely oblivious to the unfolding drama, handed me back some tiny silver coins with the forget-me-not emblem stamped in the center. Whatever currency they used down here wasn’t anything I was familiar with.
I masked my alarm with boredom. “What? This?” I pointed to my wrist before casually pulling the sleeve back down, covering the tattoo. “It’s just some ink. No big deal.”
“That’s the Black Cross.” Dezyre’s voice trembled slightly. “No wonder Aden’s keeping such a close watch on you. You’re a hunter, aren’t you?”
Forcing myself to stay calm, I didn’t let her comments show how close they had hit home. “First I’m incompetent, now I’m dangerous? Please. It’s just a stick-on tattoo that could mean a million different things.” I turned my back. “Maybe you shouldn’t spray so much of that perfume,” I called over my shoulder. “I think the fumes are going to your head.”
I walked off, hoping she wouldn’t report me. I need to eat and get out of here before I’m the one getting staked by Scarlet Steel.
I hurried through the buffet line, which actually had a nice assortment to choose from: two kinds of salad with an island of various dressings, entrées of fried chicken or steak, and a bar full of side items, like steamed veggies and fruit. The most surreal part – and the one that woke me up, reminding me I wasn’t human anymore – was the ice box full of cartons of blood, all labeled by blood type. I guess O negative had a different taste than B positive or something. Shuddering, I meandered away from the ice box.
I’d have to be near death before I’d ever consider drinking blood.
Quickly, I filled up my tray and grabbed a bottle of water. I had started walking back to the booth when my leg caught on something, and I lost my balance.
Everything moved in slow motion. Despite my best efforts, the tray went flying, and my plate shattered on the ground as I began to fall. A hand reached out and grabbed my right forearm, jerking it up high in the air. My elbow popped as it hyper extended, and I swore. Razor sharp nails dug into my wrist, which was bare since my sleeve had gathered at the crook of my arm.
I looked up to see who had caught me.
Dezyre’s magenta lips were pulled into a vicious smile. And hovering just above her clasped hand was my cross tattoo, clearly exposed and held high for everyone to see.
“You seem to like it in the spotlight,” she said. “That’s good, because you’re about to be a freaking celebrity.”
There was no time to react. By the time I realized what she was going to do, she had already inhaled a huge breath right before she screamed, “Vampire hunter!”
Krystle Jones was born and raised in the small, southern town of Tullahoma, Tennessee. Reading and writing have been lifelong passions of hers. In addition to being a novelist, she is also an award-winning flutist, and moonlights as a voice actress. Her voice can be heard in the popular online game, Alice is Dead 3.
1 ebook copy of The Red Sector Chronicles - Books 1, 2, & 3. Open internationally.