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I bit my tongue. If it hadn't been for me, this never would have happened.
Dredge wouldn't be here causing havoc, preying on my friends. But what might
have been was irrelevant. What mattered now was where we were.
If there was one thing I'd had to learn over the past twelve years, it was to
let go of regret. Baggage, sure, it would always be there, but there was no
turning back the clock. We could only change the present and future. And now,
my cords to Dredge cleaved, I could focus on destroying him and ridding the
world of a terror that should have been obliterated hundreds of years ago.
I looked up at Tim. "Go get Delilah, would you?"
He nodded, scurrying out the door.
Erin gasped suddenly. "I can't breathe!"
"No, remember? You can't, not like you used to. Don't try. Don't let it worry
you. As I told you, you won't die, you won't suffocate. You see, we only
breathe when we consciously make the effort. Your brain is trying to repeat
the patterns that worked for your body in life, but as a vampire you don't
need oxygen so your body won't know what to do with it."
"How am I going to learn all of this?" she cried, for the first time looking
petrified.
I grabbed her shoulders. "Listen to me. Listen. First, stop struggling.
Exhale. Don't inhale, just let go of the breath you tried to take."
She focused on my gaze, and I felt her deflate, the air whistling out of lungs
that no longer needed to breathe.
"Good. Now I want you to close your eyes. Look inside of you and pay
attention. Are you dizzy? Do you feel like you'll pass out if you don't
breathe?"
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She obeyed and after a moment of stillness, said, "No. No, I think I see if I
don't struggle for breath, I don't notice that I'm not breathing."
"That's absolutely correct. You'll only go into a panic when your brain tells
you to breathe and your body isn't prepared for it. You can take a deep breath
and let it out, but you have to prepare the lungs for movement or you'll
disrupt your body. It's all part of the transformation." I kept hold of her
hands as she focused on relaxing.
Delilah entered the room at that point, followed by Tim. "Is everything okay?"
She knelt a few feet away, watching cautiously.
Erin looked over at her. "Hey, Delilah. I& I'm not sure& I mean, what do I do!
I can't ran my shop, can I? I can't just go home. Menolly, what happens to me
next?"
I gave her a gentle smile. "You learn from the best. Delilah, take Roz and go
over to Sassy Branson's house. Ask her to come back here. If she's not there,
call Wade. In fact, call him first. He specializes in helping newborns
adjust." I tossed her my cell phone. "He's in my contact list."
Delilah punched a few buttons. "Static. I'll have to go topside."
"Don't go alone. Take Roz with you. Come back and let me know if you get hold
of Wade before you head out for Sassy's. We don't have time to waste so don't
dawdle."
Tim cleared his throat. "Erin, I can call someone to take over your shop for a
few days. Lindsey, from the Green Goddess Women's Shelter. She has clients who
need a temp job." He bit his lip and I shook my head at him, motioning to the
blood that welled up on the pale pink flesh. Wiping it away, he shrugged a
smile at me.
Erin was still fighting for control. And doing a damned good job. Most vamps
went a little crazy when they turned the ramifications don't sink in until you
realize that your entire life has just been turned upside down and you can
never, ever go back to the way things were.
"Thanks," she said. "Please, don't tell her what happened. Not yet. I need to
come to grips with this first. Just tell her I'm sick."
"No problem," Tim said.
"You'd better go into the other room," I broke in. "She needs to rest and to
quit thinking about your heart, which is beating a staccato tremor so loud I
can hear it all the way over here."
He nodded. "Okay. But, Erin, I still love you. I wouldn't have offered to be
your donor if I didn't."
She managed a faint "thank you" as he left the room. We sat in silence until
Delilah returned.
"Wade will be here in a few minutes. He said not to bother going to Sassy's,
he's coming from her place, and she's already preparing a room for Erin." A
few moments later the door opened and Wade strode in.
"Delilah told me all about it," he said. "You took out the newborns?"
"Most of them, though I think a few might have escaped. We'll have to all be
on our guard. We'll talk about catching them after I destroy Dredge. But for
now, can you escort Erin to Sassy's? And will you make sure Tim gets home
safe? He's still in danger since he's my friend, and frankly, Erin drank a
little too much from him, I think. He's pretty wiped out, even if he doesn't
realize it."
Wade shook his head. "I think it would be safer if Tim went back to your
house. Iris is more than capable of protecting him, isn't she?"
"You're probably right. Delilah, ask Roz to take Tim back to our house and
then return as soon as possible. I'm not sure just how he travels so fast, but
the important thing is that he does."
As she headed out the door, I turned to Erin. "Listen to me. Wade is a good
friend of mine. He runs an organization that I belong to. You've heard me talk
about it. Vampires Anonymous?"
She gave me a vigorous nod of the head. "Yeah, I know what you're talking
about. Hi, Wade."
"Hey, Erin," he said softly. "Welcome to the underworld."
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"Wade's going to take you to Sassy Branson's house. She helps out at the V.A.
and she's a vampire, too. She and Wade will keep you there for a while and
help you learn how to adjust. I've got a battle to fight tonight. If I win and [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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