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my boots. I've said it once, and I'm saying it once more. I made
an excellent choice with you. Your time will come soon. If
something should happen to me, I've made arrangements for
you and those loyal to me." Renee smiled sadly, genuinely.
Charlotte's expression changed from fear to confusion.
"You speak like someone who is dying, but I know better. Is
there something I need to know?"
Renee continued to smile. "Just know that I am tired of
needing, wanting, and not having. I do not know what that
means for me anymore, just that I am tired." Renee's smile
faltered. "Thank you. Leave it be. I'll handle this my own way.
You can go."
After Charlotte closed the door, uncertainty struck her.
Was this the same vampire who killed that kid just because she
bored her? What does she mean that she'll handle this in her
own way?
"What's going on here?"
* * *
Again, Renee took her seat. If Charlotte only knew., I'm
sure someday I'll meet an enemy clever enough to do what I
can't. She sighed as her thoughts took a turn. I bet I know what
you're doing right now, Tasha. Painting something nice and
dark. I miss you. She glanced at the desk calendar, pondering
the year. If I had not touched you, you would be 73. Older, but
just as beautiful. Did I make a mistake? Did I? Would you have
stayed? Or would my heart still be just as dead? Renee let out
a bitter laugh. "I guess I will never know."
A hollow emptiness settled over her, and she knew of only
one way to fill it now. There were still hours left until daylight
- 75 -
and maybe just a few women would meet her morbid
specifications. Renee knew it was insanity, but it was one of
the only things keeping her together, however tenuously. That
and the brief glimpses she was allowed of Natasha from time to
time. How much longer until this ritual is not enough?
She knew the answer, but did not dare speak it out loud.
* * *
Jordan scowled at the car radio and turned it off. The
constant static was starting to get to him. It had been a long
time since he had last made this trek through Terrebonne
Parish. In fact, he was barely out of boyhood the last time he
was here. If the public only knew what he had seen and
sometimes participated in, he knew his fall from grace would
be swift. He would be a laughing stock. Voodoo was
commonplace in Louisiana, but it had become commercialized.
Still, there were some who took it seriously, some who
practiced and reveled in it as a way of life. This could be said
about his family, especially the older generation, and they kept
the secret well.
He sighed and turned up the air conditioning in the
borrowed truck. It was not what he was used to, but right now,
it paid to be inconspicuous. Unofficially, he had taken the
morning off. On paper, he was attending a lengthy meeting
with city bigwigs.
Highway 56 seemed to go for miles. The ride was scenic.
One minute the land was lush trees and the smell of
honeysuckle, and the next it was marshy and almost looked
dead. Jordan smiled as he finally saw the sign telling him that
he was entering Cocodrie.
The roads were barely paved and the small town was
surrounded by a body of water, Bay Cocodrie. Jordan
remembered fondly riding on shrimp boats and watching the
men haul huge nets out of the water filled with the small
- 76 -
aquatic creature. He peered out of the car window as he drove
further in. The town had not changed a bit. Most houses were
on stilts because of frequent flooding and the danger of
hurricanes. Yearly predictions were habitually ominous,
warning of history-making storms that had yet to arrive and
wash the coastal town away.
Through it all, Cocodrie remained.
The place itself could be a nice escape for those wishing to
put city life behind them. It was slow, everyone knew
everyone, but they kept to themselves. They were a God-
fearing bunch, like most in these parts, but Jordan did not
blame them one bit. "You have to believe in something," his
mother used to tell him.
He pulled the beat up Ford truck into the dusty parking lot
of a small, non-descript convenience store. The old men sitting
on the porch in rocking chairs eyed his every move. Jordan got
out of truck. He pulled the wife beater out of his jeans and
wiped the sweat off his face. His appearance was derived to [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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