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Redemption(4)

By:Amy Miles



“There has to be a way,” Nicolae cries, the pitch of his voice rising. His eyes bulge as he contemplates the alternative. He can’t accept it, let alone begin to process the scene before him.

Fane dips low, his gaze direct as he tries to reason with Nicolae. “Most of her stomach is on the floor and the other half has been severed beyond repair. It’s not humanly possible.”

Nicolae shakes his head, rocking rapidly as he wails. He can’t breathe, can’t think beyond the acute pain. His entire body trembles as his cry fades out and sobs take their place.

William stares blankly down at his sister, his gaze unfocused. Fane places his hand on Nicolae’s shoulder, squeezing it. “You need to say goodbye.”

A gargled moan rises from Nicolae’s throat as he stares at Fane. How can he say goodbye when he’s hardly had a chance to fall in love with her? Has he even told her yet? Said the actual words? Will she die never knowing that she has captured his every waking thought since the first time she rejected him in Chicago?

“No,” he croaks, reaching out to take Sadie’s hand in his, feeling her rough leather bracelet rub against his arm. Her skin is cool to the touch and unnaturally waxy. He swallows hard, pushing past the fear rising within to stare hard at Fane. “How long?”

Fane’s shoulders rise and fall with uncertainty. “A minute. Maybe less. Her heart is barely beating.”

“No, no, no,” he mutters, wishing more than anything that he could run and hide, only to later crawl out from his hole and find Sadie laughing and joking around with William again. “She deserves better than this.”

“I am sorry,” Fane says softly. He sinks back onto his heels, giving Nicolae some space.

Anger rips through Nicolae’s gut, deep and visceral. It winds through his stomach and into his chest, clenching so tightly he fears he will lose the ability to take another breath.

Slowly, his fractured thoughts begin to clear as he looks at Fane. “Turn her.”

Fane’s eyes bulge in disbelief. “You can’t be serious. Think about what you’re asking, Nicolae.”

“I am.” The grief is too raw, sealing out logic and years of training. None of that matters right now. He closes his eyes and clings to Sadie’s lifeless hand, knowing that no matter the cost, he will not let her die like an animal, gutted and left for dead. “Save her.”

Fane grips his shoulders, forcing Nicolae to release his grasp on Sadie’s hand. “I know it hurts and that you would do anything to save her, but…”

“No,” Nicolae holds up his free hand, his voice threatening to give out on him again. “I know what I’m asking for.”

William glances between them, his rocking slowing to a halt. “Are you saying there’s a chance she can live?”

“Maybe.” Fane’s expression is troubled as he turns to William.

Nicolae’s gaze trails down to the floor, noticing how Sadie’s blood has seeped into the cracks of the aged hardwood floor as Fane responds. “It doesn’t always work. She has to possess the right bloodline. I’m not even sure she would be strong enough to survive the transformation. She’s lost too much blood.”

Fane waits for Nicolae to look up from Sadie and acknowledge him. “Sadie might not survive.”

“She’s dead either way,” Nicolae replies, his voice choked with tears.

“But if you could save her, she’d become like you? An immortal?” William gently brushes aside wisps of bloodstained hair from his sister’s face.

“Yes,” Fane nods stiffly. He looks to Nicolae. “If I do this, and I’m not saying I’m going to, but if it works, I can’t guarantee that she will remain pure. She might not be the girl you knew.”

Nicolae’s eyes darken as his expression grows rigid with determination. “Just do it.”





Two



Nicolae paces at Sadie’s bedside, his frustration mounting with each tick of the grandfather clock that stands like a sentinel against the wall opposite Roseline’s bed. His hairline is damp with sweat, his bare skin still caked with dried blood. His disheveled uniform began to stink a day ago, but he has hardly noticed. He absentmindedly chews on a cracked fingernail only to grimace at the taste of blood and dirt in his mouth. “Why isn’t it working?”

“Magic cannot be rushed.” Fane blots Sadie’s cheeks with a damp cloth, cooling her feverish skin. Although William has grumbled several times about the chill in the air, Fane refused to stoke the fire and risk Sadie’s teetering health for William’s comfort. Her breathing has slowed so much that he doubts Nicolae can sense its presence. Her chest lies eerily still.

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