Betrothed, p.35
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       Betrothed, p.35

         Part #6 of The Vampire Journals series by Morgan Rice

  Caitlin flew through the night sky, racing for all she was worth. In one hand, she clutched the three keys, feeling her father's presence with her strongly. In the other, she clutched the vial holding Violet's blood, feeling the energy pulsing through it, praying, hoping beyond hope that this small vial of blood could save Caleb's life. And praying that then, somehow, they could figure out how to save Scarlet's life, too.

  On her way from Bodium Castle to Warwick, Caitlin had to fly over London, and as she approached it, she was completely caught off guard. On the horizon, even from this great distance, she could tell something was terribly wrong. Huge clouds of fire rose up into the sky, and as she got closer, she could already feel the heat.

  The sight below her took her breath away. The entire city seemed to be a great ball of fire. The few survivors she could spot ran through the streets, screaming, shouting. Others lay in the streets, lifeless, looking as if they had been infected by the Plague. Caitlin could sense that a great evil had been perpetrated here, and she could sense that it had been done by Kyle and his people. She felt sick to her stomach, and more intent than ever on killing him, if she should ever find him.

  Caitlin also sensed Aiden's presence here, and the presence of his coven members. It must have been very bad, if Aiden and his men all mobilized to save the humans in the city. But she didn't sense Sam or Polly's presence here, and she prayed that they were back at Warwick, defending Caleb and Scarlet, should anyone attack.

  Caitlin desperately want to dive down below, and help the others. But she knew she didn't have time. She clutched the vial more tightly, and continued on, speeding through the air, knowing she had to get to Warwick as soon as possible, that Caleb's and Scarlet's lives hung in the balance.

  Caitlin closed her eyes and flew past the horrible landscape, breathing short to prevent the huge clouds of black smoke from entering her lungs. Within moments, the sight was behind her, even as images of humans on fire flashed through her mind. She felt sick to her stomach. But she had to focus on saving the people that she could.


  Caitlin dove for Warwick, and had a sense of dread as she swooped down low. She landed in the courtyard, at a running clip, and sprinted for Caleb's and Scarlet's room. She sensed immediately that this place was empty. She could not understand how that could be possible. How could Sam, Polly and Lily not be here? How could they possibly leave Caleb and Scarlet unprotected, when she had specifically asked them only for that?

  She prayed that her senses were misleading her, and that they would be there, in the room, waiting as she entered.

  Caitlin burst into the room, and a pit grew in her stomach. As she feared, Sam and Polly were not there. And neither was Lily.

  Caitlin's heart dropped, as she walked slowly into the darkened room. She saw Caleb and Scarlet still lying there, on their beds. From here, she could sense they were both still alive, although they both looked deathly ill, and the sight felt like a knife going through her.

  Caitlin could not conceive what could have happened. Where could Sam and Polly be? Where was Lily? And where was Ruth?

  Caitlin looked around more carefully, and as she did, her heart stopped. There, lying against the far wall, unconscious, was Ruth.

  Caitlin walked over to her, knelt down, and felt her rib cage. Ruth was breathing, but in a shallow way. Caitlin looked up and saw signs of blood, of a struggle.

  Suddenly, she realized someone had been here, had hurt Ruth. But who? How? And if so, why were Caleb and Scarlet unhurt?

  Before she could figure out the answers, she heard a shriek and a snarl, and out of the corner of her eye, saw something plunging for her.

  Caitlin was so caught off guard, she could barely react in time, as Lily lunged at her, fangs extended, snarling, and threw her.

  Caitlin went flying across room and crashed into a far wall, hard enough to shake the entire room. She slipped to the ground, dazed, and looked up to see Lily charging her again.

  Caitlin couldn't process what she was seeing. It was definitely Lily. But Lily was a vampire. And was attacking her. And was stronger than nearly any vampire she'd ever fought.

  She had been turned, Caitlin suddenly realized.

  And by an evil vampire.


  "Yes, that's right," Lily said, in a deep, guttural voice. "Kyle is my master now. "

  Lily lunged again, but this time, Caitlin was ready. She rolled at the last second, and Lily went head first, right into the wall, and Caitlin turned around and elbowed her hard in the small of her back.

  Lily screamed out in pain, as she collapsed to the floor. Caitlin saw her chance to really hurt her, but she couldn't bring herself to. This was still Lily. Her old friend. Who had been turned by an evil, monstrous vampire. It was not Lily's fault.

  Caitlin could sense that deep down, the good was still in Lily. And that she could break free of this.

  So, instead, Caitlin jumped on Lily from behind, and held her in a deadly lock, keeping her from moving, from hurting anyone, or herself. Lily writhed and squirmed for all she was worth, but Caitlin held her tight, as if trying to hold a demon in place.

  "Get off of me!" Lily screamed.

  "Lily, it's me! Caitlin! You've been turned. By an evil vampire. I know that the good Lily is still inside. It is still with you. Release the evil strain. Become the Lily that I know. " Lily writhed and squirmed and screamed, and Caitlin sensed a tremendous battle going on within her. It was as if Lily were battling with herself, as if she were possessed.

  "Caitlin," came a voice, a new voice, from within Lily. "Free me. Please. I don't want to hurt you. "

  Caitlin slowly got up, and took several steps back, watching carefully.

  Lily turned and looked at her, breathing deep, guttural breaths, like that of a wounded animal.

  Lily stared at her, and as she did, her eyes glazed over, turning colors, from brown to black to green.

  For a flash, Caitlin recognized the old Lily. She sensed the epic struggle happening within her.

  Lily suddenly reached over, grabbed a silver knife off the floor, raised it high and began to plunge.

  But she wasn't trying to attack Caitlin.

  Rather, she was trying to plunge it into her own heart. To kill herself, Caitlin realized.

  Caitlin jumped out and grabbed Lily's hand, just before the knife could reach her heart. She held her grip with all she had, but Lily's grip was so strong, it was an epic struggle just to hold it back.

  Their struggle seemed to go on forever, both of their hands shaking, until finally, Caitlin squeezed as hard as she could, and got Lily to drop the knife.

  Lily leaned her head back and roared, as if trying to exorcise the demon within her.

  Suddenly, Lily turned and sprinted across the room. She headed right for the huge stained-glass windows, and without pausing, leapt right through them, glass shattering everywhere.

  Caitlin watched as Lily flew out into the night, her huge wings flapping, flying as fast as she could to get away from this place.

  "She disappointed me," came a dark, guttural voice.

  Caitlin slowly turned, knowing whose voice that was.


  He stepped from out of the shadows, missing one eye, his skin charred, and now, Caitlin could see, missing a finger.

  He was a grotesque monster, from the depths of hell

  He walked slowly towards Caitlin, facing her head on.

  "You are a sick, evil creature," Caitlin said. "And you're going to pay for what you did to my friend with your life. "

  Kyle smiled back at her.

  "You couldn't kill me the first time: what makes you think you can kill me now?" Caitlin fearlessly took two steps towards Kyle, squaring off with him.

  "And you couldn't kill me the first time: what makes you think you can kill me now?" Kyle snarled and roared, the roar of an animal in its fury
- and Caitlin did the same.

  Two adversaries, squaring off, neither willing to give an inch, they lunged for each other, both aiming right for each other's throats.

  This time, it would be life or death.

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