“He’s telling you to run, Alice,” Gunnar told me. I was curled up on the ground, and I could see Gunnar through Stellan’s legs. His expression was blank, and that was strangely disturbing. “I suggest you listen to him. Stellan loves a good chase, and believe me, you want him happy when he catches you.”
I didn’t give a shit what Stellan wanted, but if I ran, he would chase me. I was what they were really after, so maybe they would all follow me away. They would leave Jane and Bobby behind for sure, since carrying humans along with them would just be cumbersome, but maybe even Milo and Jack. And even if they didn’t, it was the only plan I had.
My head stopped hurting, but I still felt dazed. I tried staggering to my feet, and immediately slipped and fell onto my knees. Stellan laughed, so I tried again. This time, I got up, and I ran.
- 34 -
Sliding through the grass, I fell more than I actually ran. Stellan was clearly giving me a head start, because I wasn’t making it very far. He was going to be awfully disappointed when he caught me, but I didn’t know what more I could do. I was running as fast as I could. If he hadn’t head butted me so hard and the ground wasn’t so slushy, I might’ve actually made it somewhere.
I only made it about twenty feet before I felt him pounce on me. It was how I imagined a tiger attack would be. His claws dug into my back, and then I was down, the wind knocked out of me. He pressed my face into the ground, so I was drowning in the watery snow and grass.
When he finally let my head up, I spit out chunks of grass and dirt. I tried to push myself up, with him on my back, but he was too strong and the ground was too slippery.
In the distance, I heard police sirens wailing. It seemed very far in the distance, but that was because my level of consciousness was changing. The adrenaline and panic changed my thirst into something different. I wasn’t blacked out exactly, but I felt like I was fighting underneath water.
Stellan laughed, and I felt the weight move off me. His hand went between my legs, and I scrambled to crawl away from him, but that just made him dig his fingers into my inner-thigh.
When I say “dig into” I mean literally dig. His claws and fingers tore through my jeans and flesh into the muscle. I screamed as the searing pain shot through me. I turned around to fight him off, and he jerked his hand back, taking a massive chunk of my leg with him. He laughed, showing me his handful of flesh, and then disappeared.
I tried to sit up and look down at my leg, and it was then that I realized what he’d done. The femoral artery runs through the inner thigh, and if severed, a human would bleed out in a very short time. Unfortunately, it’s not that much different for vampires.
In an ordinary situation, my heart would be beating much slower, which would give my body a chance to heal before things got out of hand. But I was scared as hell and my heart was beating to match that. My blood was spilling out all over the ground, and I could feel it.
When I bled as a human, it had never felt like this. It was pressure and pain and weakening. It was almost like a vacuum, and I could feel my life being sucked out of me with every drop of blood.
Jack appeared at my side. I might’ve noticed him approaching if I wasn’t so focused on the blood. I held my hands over it, trying to stop the flow, but there was a big gouge in my leg. My hand wouldn’t cover it. The blood just flowed out over it, and it was coming too fast for me to heal.
“Oh, hell, Alice.”
“Where’s Milo?” I asked, and my voice sounded weak. Jack put his hand over mine, trying to stop the blood. “Is he okay?”
“Yeah, he’s with Bobby. They’re fine,” Jack bit his lip and looked back over his shoulder. “The lycan took off when the cops showed up. We gotta get out of here before they find us.”
After the lycan attack, dealing with the cops didn’t seem like that big of deal. Except that I was bleeding like crazy. They would take me to a hospital, where everything would get very, very complicated, and I couldn’t handle that.
The wound itself wasn’t deadly. Or at least I didn’t think it was. I tried to remember if vampires could die from blood loss. I knew starvation could kill them, but it had to be a very long time. But by looks of the puddle growing underneath me, I had lost almost all the blood I had in me.
My insides felt like they were burning and shriveling up. I had this weird painful sense of being deflated. My mind had fogged up so much I couldn’t understand anything Jack was saying to me, and everything I could see had blurred completely into a red haze.
I couldn’t feel actual bloodlust because I was too weak. All the strength had seeped out of me, and it was replaced with some of the most intense pain I had ever felt. I started screaming until Jack put his hand over my mouth. I could smell and taste my blood on his hand, and my stomach lurched.
The ground seemed to move around me, falling away. A cold wind blew over me, but I could barely feel it. I couldn’t see anything. There was just the pain.
I could smell blood, and that frantic animal part of me was barreling in. I tried to move, to fight to get at the blood, my arms wouldn’t work. They were shaking violently, and I wondered dully if I was having a seizure.
The world swayed and bowed around me, and I was about ready to kill Jack to get his blood. The pain was so excruciating that I would’ve killed anyone to make it stop.
“Alice, drink.” Jack’s voice in my ear, but I didn’t know what he was talking about.
I could smell him, but it wasn’t his blood. It was warm and fresh and pounding quickly. I wanted to drink it, but I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t speak or move.
Warm skin pressed against my lips, and I felt the pulse of veins throbbing on my mouth. Without thinking, I sunk my teeth and drank. Almost instantly, my strength picked up, and I grabbed onto whoever I was drinking. I pressed them closer to me and drank furtively.
My mind flashed onto when I saw Milo biting Jane and how he had looked like an animal, and I knew that I was eating like that, but I didn’t have a choice.
The pain stopped, then pleasure slowly trickled in. Delirious heat spread over me. Pleasure exploded all through me, and I drank more deeply. I could feel how kind they were, and the acidic aftertaste from the adrenaline. They had been afraid, but they weren’t now. They trusted me and cared about me, even though I was drinking them dry.
Some part of me knew I should stop. I had already drank enough where I would be alright, and it was almost more than a human could spare.
But the rest of me refused. I couldn’t stop. It felt too amazing and tasted to wonderful. I needed this, and I couldn’t stop, not until I had it all.