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Cloaked by shadows and driven by my instincts to remain unseen, I watched the massacre unfold on a charming residential street in Dallas.
My initial elation at locating the immortals I'd tracked for three weeks morphed into mind-numbing panic at finding them under siege. Then my brain registered what my eyes were seeing and relief swept through me. The vampires who lived in the small Dallas house, the ones I so desperately needed to ally with, were beating the living hell out of the psychotic immortals attacking them.
Having driven myself to the limits of physical endurance, I leaned heavily against a large oak and took a rare moment to enjoy the one-sided fight. Hope warred with exhaustion as I let myself wonder if those I'd tracked across four states could provide the help I so badly needed.
Like any war veteran would, I watched the battle with a critical eye. The attackers' tattoos and clothes confirmed the same pattern I'd noticed in Atlanta and New Orleansthese newly made vampires originated from the lowest ranks of human gang members and criminals. Fighting with the mindless ferocity of rabid animals, they depended upon their numbers to succeed when their pathetic skills could not. I curled my lip with disdain. Their clumsiness was an affront to the bloody art of war.
Watching the defenders fight, however, brought my heart to my throat. Like killer angels, their movements were sure, lethal and exquisitely beautiful. I stood mesmerized with admiration as a handsome dark-haired immortalthe one called Jamestore through three changelings with astonishing grace and economy of motion. A lovely female named Evie fought by his side, moving with him like they were partners in a graceful, deadly dance. There was an odd blue glow limning her slim form, as if some kind of energy sought to escape her hold.
While the strangely silent battle spilled from the tidy front yard onto the sidewalk, I reached into the pocket of my black leather jacket and winced to feel just a handful of jelly beans left. I'd need way more sugar than this before the night was done. My hypermetabolism burned calories like a hummingbird in flight and I'd been going full-out for far too long.
Standing there under the tree, seeing from their lethality that the immortals whose aid I sought were even more dangerous than I'd dared to dream, I felt an unaccustomed smile stretch my lips. Only having more candy on hand could've made the moment betterthere's nothing like always being a few hours from starvation to establish priorities.
Without warning, the street lights popped, plunging the quaint neighborhood into pools of impenetrable darkness. Alarmed, I shoved away from the tree. Vampires could see at night as well as I could, but it wasn't to confuse the defenders that the sodium bulbs had been killed.
It was to give entree to new attackers, the genuinely nasty kind that can't tolerate light.
Extending my senses, I probed the deepest shadows as the hair at my neck stood up. Sure enough, low-slung forms seethed out from under parked cars and thick shrubs. Grinding my teeth with rising fury, I counted twenty bodach taking form and padding out into the night. The size and shape of black bears, the creatures were eyeless, furred, fae inventionsa ghastly outcome of supernatural genetic experimentation. The vile beasts' serrated teeth more closely resembled a shark's than any land animal's and their two-inch claws carried a flesh-melting toxin that acted on contact.
Until recently bodach couldn't harm vampires, since only vampire teeth and blades made of ehrlindriel metal could penetrate the immortals' skin.