“Alice!” Mae shouted from downstairs, emphasizing his point.
“Tell her I’ll be down in a minute.” I sighed and got out of bed.
Peter lingered in the doorway for a moment as I grabbed a pair of jeans off the bedroom floor. I’d only worn a tank top and underwear to bed, but they were full-on panties that covered everything.
“Peter, why don’t you go let Mae know?” Jack suggested, not unkindly, and Peter took the cue and disappeared downstairs.
“Sorry,” I told him as I slid on my pants. “I mean, that we didn’t get to talk.”
“No, it’s no big deal.” He waved it off. “We’ve got time, right?”
“Yeah,” I smiled.
By the time I made it downstairs, Mae had completely torn through the linen closet in the hall. She’d gone over to Olivia’s to get everything straightened out with Rebekah, and afterwards, she came over here with Daisy and Peter to start packing.
They were leaving tomorrow for Greenland, but they’d left most of their belongings in Australia because they’d been forced to leave in such a hurry. Mae had gone on several shopping trips lately, but she still had things she wanted to get from the house before she left.
“Alice!” Mae yelled again, tearing an old quilt from the closet.
“I’m right here, Mae,” I said walking up to her.
“Oh. Sorry, love.” She pushed a curl back from her face and smiled at me. “I’ve just been so frazzled with all of this.”
“It’s alright. What did you need?”
“This blanket my mother gave me. It had roses on it.” She held up the quilt, which did not have roses on it. “Have you seen it?”
“No, I don’t think so,” I shook my head. “Didn’t you take with you to Australia?”
“No.” She put her hands on her hips and sighed. “I don’t think I could find it then.”
“Are you sure it’s even here? I mean, maybe you left it the last time you moved,” I said.
“I thought for sure it was here.” She shrugged helplessly, staring into the closet.
“Well, just make sure you pick up your mess when you’re done,” I teased, since she’d said that same thing to me a dozen times before. She shot me a look as I walked away, and it made me laugh.
I left her to finish sorting through what few undisturbed linens we had in the house and went to the living room. Milo had set up a game of Candyland on the floor, and he sat cross-legged across from Daisy.
“How’s it going?” I asked, crossing my arms over my chest.
“Great.” Milo shrugged.
“Where’s Bobby?” I asked.
“I sent him away.” Milo motioned to Daisy, who seemed more interested in making the colored pawns dance with each other than playing the game. “I think Ezra and Peter are working on getting money transferred for them to leave and all that.”
“How does Ezra feel about them leaving?” I lowered my voice, and Milo shrugged.
“These dolls aren’t as much fun as my real dolls,” Daisy sighed. She spun around the blue pawn and stuck out her bottom lip. “I wish Mae would let me take them out.”
“You’re getting ready to move,” Milo said, doing his best to sound cheerful. “Remember, Daisy? Mae talked to you about all the work you had to do.”
“I’m sick of moving.” Daisy spun the pawn harder, and it went flying under a nearby chair. Her face crumpled, like she might start sobbing over a missing pawn.
“I’ll get it. Don’t worry,” Milo rushed to appease her. He crawled over to the chair and reached underneath it, feeling around for the pawn.
“He’ll get it, Daisy,” I said and put my hand on her back, and her lip quivered. “It’s okay. You don’t need to get upset.”
“Is she getting cranky?” Mae asked from the hall. “It’s been a few hours since she ate.”
With his arm still stuffed under the chair, Milo arched his eyebrow at the words a few hours. Daisy was crabby because it’d been hours since she’d eaten. Even when I was brand new, I’d been able to go a day or two without any problems.
“Ouch!” Milo winced and yanked his hand back from under the chair.
Before I saw it, I could smell it. A shard of glass left over from the broken picture frame had been under the chair. In feeling around, Milo had managed to impale it in his forearm. Some blood seeped around the edges, already smelling sweet and strong, but when he pulled the glass out, it bled faster and harder. The air filled with the scent.
Daisy was on him before either of us could react. Her mouth clamped onto his arm, and Milo grabbed onto the back of her hair. He yanked her back, but she took a chunk of his flesh with her, which only made her more insane.
I bolted up and wrapped my arms around her waist, but she wriggled free. She was so small, she slid out, and launched herself at him. This time she went for his neck, and Milo couldn’t even push her off. If he did, he risked tearing out his throat.
“Get her… off me.” His words came out garbled, thanks to Daisy’s teeth in his neck.
Mae ran in, yelling her name, but I wouldn’t let her near them. I didn’t trust her to do everything she needed to do save Milo.
I used the same trick Jack had used on me when I wouldn’t stop drinking from Bobby. I wrapped my hand around Daisy’s throat, squeezing as tight as I could so she couldn’t swallow. Not that I could tell if she was even swallowing. Her bites seemed to be random attacks that had less to do with drinking blood than they did uncontrolled rage.
Daisy did stop biting him long enough to turn around and clamped her mouth on my hand. I moved back, dragging her with me so I could get her away from Milo. The wound in his neck poured all over the floor, and he pressed his hands to it, trying to stop the flow.
I wrapped my arms around Daisy, pinning her to me in hopes she would calm down, but she only seemed to get crazier with bloodlust. She clawed at my arms. Her little fingernails were like steel and raked through my skin, and she bit me anywhere her mouth could reach.
“Daisy, honey, calm down!” Mae begged her with tears in her eyes.
“Do something about that child now!” Ezra boomed, standing at the side of the room. “Or I will.”
“Alice, let me have her!” Mae held her hands out to me.
Daisy bit my arm so hard, her teeth smashed into my bone. I winced, but I looked uncertainly at Ezra. I wasn’t doing a great job of holding her back, but at least when she was biting me, I knew she wasn’t hurting anyone else.