Part Two of An Empty Grave begins. Below are the first two chapters. It’s the beginning of the end, I’m afraid. I hope you enjoy. Happy reading!
I can feel her breath on my cheek. Her taste on my tongue. Her touch against my skin. I reach out for her but she’s not there.
Where is she?
“Bianca,” I moan.
I can imagine her standing in front of me, her long blond hair falling along her neck. I focus on her vein in her neck, the blood pumping through it. My mouth waters. I can almost taste it. I need it. I need her.
I. Need. Blood.
I reach out, grasping at whatever I can. I don’t get far, my body seemed covered in something… soft and warm. I curl my fingers, moving slowly from the resistance. Something calls to me, beckoning me forth. Stilling for a moment, I try and listen for what’s around me. I hear heartbeats near me, and the need courses through me. It gets me moving. I scrape my arms, moving as fast as I can. I reach the surface, my head bursting through. I look around, finding myself buried in dirt. I pull myself out of my grave, search for the source of the blood I’m smelling.
Something hits me in the side of the head.
I growl, spinning around.
“Drink, you big baby,” a humorous voice calls out. “And don’t start growling unless you want a bite from a wolf. It’s almost the full moon and my wolf does not like vampires much if you remember.”
The haze clears, the need for blood lessening for just a little, and suddenly I can see. Duke and Alec stand a few feet away, leaning against a headstone. At my feet is a bag of blood.
“Drink up,” Alec insists, nodding to the bag.
I bend to grab the bag, nearly ripping it in half in haste to get at what’s inside. I thrust the tip of the bag into my mouth and suck until there’s nothing left.
“You couldn’t have gotten me a coffin?” I ask once I’m done. I throw the bag down on the ground, and wipe my arm across my face.
Duke scoffs. “I’m not spending money on a coffin that you’re not going to stay in for long.”
“Where’s Bianca?” I ask, glancing around, expecting to see her.
There’s a long silence, and I look back to Alec and Duke. They look at each other and then at the ground.
“What is it?” I ask, my brow furrowing.
Duke looks up at me, his hand coming up to rub the back of his neck.
“Uh, Bianca’s not around,” he says.
“Okay,” I reply. “Let’s go. I want to see her.”
He shakes his head. “We, uh, we can’t do that.”
This time I frown. “What do you mean?”
“She’s gone, Chase,” Alec says. “She left town this morning.”
“No,” I say, scoffing. “No way.”
I wait for the laugh. For the punchline to what has to be a joke, but Alec and Duke just stare at me with hard eyes.
Anger rises in me, sparking a deeper need. Suddenly, I can’t stop myself.
I lunge at Alec, my fangs descending.
Three weeks later…
“I’m so tired of cheeseburgers,” Hayden says with a groan as she falls back on the bed in our crappy motel room. She let’s her feet hit the front of the bed dramatically while letting out a deep sigh.
I roll my eyes as I place the brown paper bag on the small round table in the corner of the room. I sit in the crappy plastic lawn chair next to it, sliding into the table.
“How can you ever get tired of cheeseburgers?” I ask as I start emptying the bag. “Plus, you’re the one that picked the place.”
Hayden sits up, and eyes the bag with disdain. “I know. But, our only options were this place or the Taco Burito King, and I so don’t feel like being gassy all night long, cause of too much beans.”
I shake my head as I unwrap the greasy cheeseburger. Looking back at her, I nod to the adjoining room next to the bathroom.
With yet another sigh, she heaves herself off the bed and treks over to the door. She unlocks it and knocks on it three times before coming back over to the table and grabbing a cheeseburger from the stack in front of me.
“You know what I really want? One of the burgers from the Blue Tavern,” She says, sitting back on the bed and proceeding to take a bite of her burger.
“The Blue Tavern? In downtown Evanston? That’s a bar. How did you get in?” I ask between bites.
She peers at me with thoughtful eyes. “My sweet Bianca. There is such a thing as a fake ID.”
I scoff. “Well, I didn’t know you had one.”
She smiles at me. “Maybe when we get back, I’ll get you one and then you and I can go together.”
Go back. Right. We’ve been on this adventure of ours for three weeks and so far we haven’t found anything that seems to be entirely helpful. Actually, nothing has been helpful. Killian keeps insisting that we’re getting closer , but a part of me is afraid we’ll never find anything. And I can’ t go back with nothing. Without something to help Chase… I won’t go back.
I turn back to my cheeseburger, acting severely invested in the bland burger and waxy cheese.
“Have you talked to Duke?” Hayden asks, and I busy myself with chewing.
When I take too long to respond, she continues. “He’s worried that you’re not taking his calls. And if he keeps calling me I’m going to start thinking he actually likes me.” Hayden chuckles, but it isn’t heartfelt and we both know it.
Three weeks. I haven’t spoken to anyone in my family, blood or not, in three weeks. Hayden talks to them, and fills me in even when I don’t want to know. But, we don’t talk about Chase. Whether she knows how he’s doing or not, we don’t speak about him. I don’t ask and she doesn’t tell.
The door next to the bathroom opens and out walks Killian in a black t-shirt and jeans.
“Ooh, burgers,” Killian cheers when he see’s what’s in front of me. “Did you bring me – ”
Before he can even finish his sentence, I’m holding up a bag of blood for him. I toss it at him, and he catches it, ripping the top of the bag ruthlessly. I watch him for a moment, my stomach turning over. I stand up abruptly, letting what’s let of my burger fall to the table.
“I’m going to get some air,” I say out loud.
I don’t wait for a response before pulling the door open and stepping outside into the dark warm night.
When we first got to this hotel a few nights ago, I took a look around, clocking exits and fire escapes. There’s a ladder on the left side of the building that leads to the room. I walk over, casting a glance over my shoulder. I don’t see anyone. I climb up the three flights to the roof, before taking a seat looking out over the trees and buildings in the small town. I fold my legs underneath me and take out my phone.
Duke answers on the second ring.
“It’s about damn time,” Duke says gruffly.
“I know,” I tell him. “I just… I couldn’t call.”
“What? Your fingers broken?”
“Are you alright at least? You all set on money? Finding good places to stay?”
“Yeah. Yeah, we’re fine.”
“How is… how is everyone there? Everyone okay?”
God, this is awkward. Duke and I have never been awkward.
“How is he?” I whisper out.
The real reason why I didn’t call Duke was because I knew that I would ask about Chase. How can I not ask?
Duke inhales sharply. For a moment I don’t think he’s going to respond, and then…
“I think it’s best if you don’t ask.”
My shoulders fall.
“Duke, I – ”
“You left, Bianca. And he’s – he’s doing the best that he can. We’re all doing that best that we can. So for right now, I’ll focus on him and you focus on whatever it is that you’re doing.”
“Don’t do that,” I force out, fighting back tears. “Don’t make it seem like I’m just out here having fun. I’m trying to fix this. I’m trying to fix all of this.”
“I’m not – ”
There’s a loud crash on his end, and then silence.
“I’ve got to go,” he says in a rush. He takes a deep breath. “I love you. Be safe.”
He disconnects before I can respond.
I look down at my phone, thinking about calling back. Or maybe calling Alec to see what happened, but I know that Duke is right. They’ll focus on Chase. I’ve got to focus on what I’m doing. Still I can’t help but pull my knees in front of me and wrap my arms around them in hopes of comforting myself.
I don’t know how long I’m up there before Hayden finds me.
“You up here feeling sorry for yourself?” She asks, coming to sit next to me.
“No,” I tell her. “I’m just wondering.”
“What if I made a mistake by leaving?”
I look over at her and our eyes meet for a moment.
“Then we’ll just have to prove that it wasn’t.”
She makes it sound so easy.
Hayden reaches an arm around my neck and pulls me against her. I lean my head on her shoulder and she rests her chin on my head.
“It’ll all be worth it,” she says, sounding so self-assured.
I just hope she’s right.