Sunday, May 19, 2019
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner Chapters 1
THE NEWSPAPER newspaper headline GLARED AT ME FROM a little metal vending machine SEATTLE UNDER SIEGE DEATH doorbell RISESAGAIN. I hadnt seen this one yet. Some paperboy must have bonny restocked the machine. Lucky for him, he was outrighthere more or less now.Great. Riley was discharge to b impoverished a gasket. I would make sure I wasnt within reach when he saw this paper. Let him rip both(prenominal) proboscis elses arm false.I stood in the shadow behind the e disruptionogical niche of a shabby threestory building, trying to be inconspicuous while I waited for someone to make a finish. Not desireing to meet anyones eyes, I stared at the wal beside me instead. The intellect floor of the building housed a register shop that had long since closed the windows, lost to weather or street violence, were fil ed in with plywood. everyplace the top were apartments empty, I guessed, since the normal weighed downs of sleeping humans were absent. I wasnt surprised the place looked same(p) it would col apse in a stiff wind. The buildings on the other side of the dark, narrow street were just as wrecked.The normal scene for a night out on the town.I didnt want to say up and draw attention, but I wished somebody would decide something. I was real y thirsty, and I didnt carry on much(prenominal) whether we went right or left or everywhere the roof. I just cherished to find some unlucky people who wouldnt even have passable time to think rail at place, wrong time. Unfortunately tonight Rileyd sent me out with two of the most useless vampires in existence. Riley never seemed to care who he sent out in lineing groups. Or particularly bugged when displace out the wrong people in concert meant fewer people climax home. Tonight I was stuck with Kevin and some blond kid whose name I didnt write out. They both belonged to Raouls gang, so it went without saying that they were stupid. And dangerous. But right now, loosely stupid.Instead of picking a dir ection for our hunt, suddenly they were in the middle of an argument over whose darling superhero would be a better hunter. The nameless blond was demonstrating his case for Spider-Man now, skittering up the brick wal of the al ey while hum the cartoon theme song. I sighed in frustration. Were we ever going to hunt?A little flare of movement to my left caught my eye. It was the other one Riley had sent out in this hunting group, Diego. I didnt know much slightly him, just that he was older than most of the others. Rileys right-hand man was the word. That didnt make me analogous him any more than the other morons. Diego was looking at me. He must have heard the sigh. I looked a route.Keep your head down and your mouth shut that was the appearance to stay alive in Rileys crowd.Spider-Man is much(prenominal) a whiny loser, Kevin cal ed up to the blond kid. Il show you how a real superhero hunts. He grinned wide. His teething flashed in the glare of a streetlight. Kevin jumped into the middle of the street just as the lights from a car swung nigh to il uminate the cracked pavement with a blue-white gleam. He flexed his arms back, thusly pul ed them slowly to sign onher like a pro wrestler showing off. The car came on, probably expecting him to get the hel out of the way like a normal person would. manage he should. colossus mad Kevin bel owed. Hulk SMASHHe leaped precedent to meet the car before it could brake, grabbed its front bumper, and flipped it over his head so that it struck the pavement upside down with a squeal of bending metal and shattering glass. Inside, a adult female started screaming.Oh man, Diego said, shaking his head. He was pretty, with dark, dense, curly hair, big, wide eyes, and real y ful lips, but then, who wasnt pretty? level off Kevin and the rest of Raouls morons were pretty. Kevin, were supposed to be laying low. Riley said Riley said Kevin mimicked in a harsh soprano. operate a spine, Diego. Rileys not here.Kevin spran g over the upside-down Honda and punched out the drivers side window, which had somehow stayed intact up to that point. He fished by the shattered glass and the deflating air bag for the driver.I turned my back and held my breath, trying my hardest to score on to the ability to think.I couldnt watch Kevin feed. I was too thirsty for that, and I real y didnt want to pick a fight with him. I so did not need to be on Raouls hit list.The blond kid didnt have the same issues. He pushed off from the bricks overhead and landed light behind me. I heard him and Kevin snarling at each other, and then a wet tearing thinking(a) as the womans screams cut off. Probably them ripping her in half.I tried not to think about it. But I could feel the heat and hear the dripping behind me, and it made my throat sheer mark so bad even though I wasnt breathing.Im outta here, I heard Diego mutter.He ducked into a pass between the dark buildings, and I fol owed right on his heels. If I didnt get away f rom here closely, Id be squabbling with Raouls goons over a body that couldnt have had much affinity left in it by now anyway. And then maybe Id be the one who didnt come home.Ugh, but my throat burned I clamped my teeth together to keep from screaming in pain.Diego darted through a trash-fil ed side al ey, and then when he hit the dead end up the wal . I dug my fingers into the crevices between the bricks and hauled myself up afterwards him. On the rooftop, Diego took off, leaping lightly across the other roofs toward the lights shimmering off the sound. I stayed close. I was younger than he was, and therefore stronger it was a good thing we younger ones were strongest, or we wouldnt have lived through our first week in Rileys house. I could have passed him easy, but I wanted to see where he was going, and I didnt want to have him behind me. Diego didnt stop for miles we were almost to the industrial docks. I could hear him muttering down the stairs his breath.Idiots Like R iley wouldnt give us instructions for a good reason. Self-preservation, for example. Is an ounce of common sense so much to ask for?Hey, I cal ed. Are we going to hunt anytime soon? My throats on fire here.Diego landed on the edge of a wide factory roof and spun around. I jumped back a few yards, on my guard, but he didnt make an aggressive move toward me.Yeah, he said. I just wanted some distance between me and the lunatics.He smiled, al friendly, and I stared at him.This Diego guy wasnt like the others. He was resistant ofcalm, I guess was the word. Normal. Not normal now, but normal before. His eyes were a darker red than mine. He must have been around for a while, like Id heard.From the street below came the sounds of nighttime in a slummier part of Seattle. A few cars, music with heavy bass, a couple of people walking with nervous, fast steps, some drunk bum singing off-key in the distance.Youre Bree, right? Diego asked. One of the newbies.I didnt like that. Newbie. Whatever. Yeah, Im Bree. But I didnt come in with the last group. Im almost three months old.Pretty slick for a three-monther, he said. Not many would have been able to leave the scene of the accident like that. He said it like a compliment, like he was real y impressed.Didnt want to mix it up with Raouls freaks.He nodded. Amen, sister. Their kind aint nothing but bad news.Weird. Diego was weird. How he sounded like a person having a regular old conversation. No hostility, no suspicion. Like he wasnt thinking about how easy or hard it might be to kil me right now. He was just talking to me.How long have you been with Riley? I asked curiously.Going on eleven months now.Wow Thats older than Raoul.Diego rol ed his eyes and spit venom over the edge of the building. Yeah, I remember when Riley brought that trash in. Things just kept getting worse after that.I was quiet for a moment, question if he thought everyone younger than himself was trash. Not that I cared. I didnt care what anybody thought anymore. Didnt have to. Like Riley said, I was a god now. Stronger, faster, better. Nobody else counted. wherefore Diego whistled low under his breath.There we go. Just takes a little brains and patience. He pointed down and across the street.Half-hidden around the edge of a purple-black al ey, a man was cussing at a woman and slapping her while another woman watched silently. From their clothes, I guessed that it was a pimp and two of his employees.This was what Riley had told us to do. Hunt the dregs. Take the humans that no one was going to miss, the ones who werent headed home to a waiting family, the ones who wouldnt be reported missing.It was the same way he chose us. Meals and gods, both coming from the dregs.Unlike some of the others, I stil did what Riley told me to do. Not because I liked him. That feeling was long gone. It was because what he told us sounded right. How did it make sense to cal attention to the fact that a bunch of new vampires were claiming Seattle as t heir hunting ground? How was that going to help us?I didnt even believe in vampires before I was one. So if the rest of the world didnt believe in vampires, then the rest of the vampires must be hunting smart, the way Riley said to do it. They probably had a good reason.And like Diegod said, hunting smart just took a little brains and patience.Of course, we al slipped up a lot, and Riley would read the papers and groan and yel at us and get a line stuff like Raouls favorite video-game system. Then Raoul would get mad and take somebody else apart and burn him up. Then Riley would be pissed off and hed do another search to confiscate al the lighters and matches. A few rounds of this, and then Riley would bring home another handful of vampirized dregs kids to replace the ones hed lost. It was an endless cycle.Diego inhaled through his nose a big, long pul and I watched his body change. He crouched on the roof, one hand gripping the edge. Al that strange friendliness disappeared, a nd he was a hunter.That was something I recognized, something I was comfortable with because I still it.I turned off my brain. It was time to hunt. I took a deep breath, drawing in the twine of the blood inside the humans below. They werent the only humans around, but they were the closest. Who you were going to hunt was the kind of decision you had to make before you scented your prey. It was too late now to choose anything.Diego dropped from the roof edge, out of sight. The sound of his landing was too low to catch the attention of the crying prostitute, the zoned-out prostitute, or the angry pimp. A low growl ripped from between my teeth. Mine. The blood was mine. The fire in my throat flared and I couldnt think of anything else.I flipped myself off the roof, spinning across the street so that I landed right next to the crying blonde. I could feel Diego close behind me, so I growled a warning at him while I caught the surprised girl by the hair. I yanked her to the al ey wal, p utting my back against it. Defensive, just in case. Then I forgot al about Diego, because I could feel the heat under her skin, hear the sound of her meter thudding close to the surface.She opened her mouth to scream, but my teeth crushed her windpipe before a sound could come out. There was just the gurgle of air and blood in her lungs, and the low moans I could not control.The blood was warm and sweet. It quenched the fire in my throat, calmed the nagging, itching emptiness in my stomach. I sucked and gulped, only vaguely aware of anything else. I heard the same noise from Diego he had the man. The other woman was unconscious on the ground. Neither had made any noise. Diego was good.The problem with humans was that they just never had enough blood in them. It seemed like only seconds later the girl ran dry. I rattled her limp body in frustration. Already my throat was beginning to burn again.I threw the spent body to the ground and crouched against the wal, wondering if I could grab the unconscious girl and make off with her before Diego could catch up to me. Diego was already finished with the man. He looked at me with an expression that I could only describe as sympathetic. But I could have been dead wrong. I couldnt remember anyone ever giving me sympathy before, so I wasnt corroboratory what it looked like.Go for it, he told me, nodding to the limp girl on the ground.Are you kidding me?Naw, Im good for now. Weve got time to hunt some more tonight.Watching him careful y for some sign of a trick, I darted forward and snagged the girl. Diego made no move to stop me. He turned away slightly and looked up at the black sky. I sank my teeth into her neck, keeping my eyes on him. This one was even better than the last. Her blood was entirely clean. The blonde girls blood had the bitter aftertaste that came with drugs I was so used to that, Id barely noticed. It was rare for me to get real y clean blood, because I fol owed the dregs rule. Diego seemed to fol ow the rules, too. He must have smel ed what he was giving up.Why had he done it?