“Well, we have lived together for nearly two-hundred years,” Peter pointed out. “We ought to have some things in common.”
“Yeah,” I said and pressed my hand to my stomach. The strangest wave of nausea hit me, and I stopped, waiting a moment until it passed.
“Are you okay?” Peter asked, pausing to wait for me.
We stood in the middle of the sidewalk as art students and their friends and family brushed past us. Peter put a hand on my arm and ushered me off to the side so we weren’t blocking traffic so much.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I nodded.
“You’re sure?” he asked.
“I’m fine,” I insisted, and the queasiness had passed, so I thought I really might be.
Twice more on the short drive home, I felt that same weird nausea pinching my stomach. I rolled down the windows, hoping the cold night air would help, and it did help, a little bit. Peter asked me about it, but I didn’t want to talk, so I turned up Julian Plenti on the stereo so I wouldn’t have to.
As soon as he pulled into the garage, Peer jumped out of the car and ran around to help me out. I tried to brush him off, but I doubled over when I stood up. The nausea was so intense, I almost threw up all over his shoes.
“What’s wrong?” Peter wrapped his arm around me and helped me hobble to the house.
“I don’t know.” I shook my head. “It just… hit me. Maybe I have the flu.”
“Vampires can’t get the flu,” he said and pulled open the door to the house. “Oh fuck.”
“What?” I lifted my head, but when I saw the kitchen, I understood.
The house had been ransacked. Broken appliances and a dining room chair were splintered all over. Blood stained the tiles, splattering red on everything.
I ran into the house, pushing past Peter, and I found the source of the blood lying in the corner of the kitchen. Matilda’s fur had been soaked red, and she whimpered up at me, thumping her tail on the floor. I wanted to crouch down next to her and tell her everything would be alright, but I couldn’t.
“Ezra!” I shouted, holding my stomach to fight the pain growing inside me. “Mae!”
“I’m looking!” Peter ran ahead, and I went after him.
He went upstairs, and I searched the downstairs. Every room I went through looked like it had been demolished. But I never found anybody.
“Nobody’s here,” Peter said, running down the stairs to me.
“Maybe they weren’t here.” I ran a hand through my hair and tears stung my eyes.
“I think their cars were gone in the garage,” Peter said, rushing back to the garage. He pushed open the door to check, but he paused there.
“What?” I asked.
“The Lexus is gone.” He looked back at me. “But the Delorean is here.”
“Jack was supposed to come back tonight,” I remembered, and the pain in my stomach intensified. I put a hand over my mouth to keep the sob back. “Oh my god, Peter, what if he was here?”
“Call him,” Peter commanded pulling out his own phone. “I’m calling Ezra. Maybe they went somewhere together.”
I pulled my phone out of my pocket, and Matilda whined. Kneeling down next to her, I listened to the phone ringing in my ear over and over again. While I listened to Jack not answering his phone, I stroked her wet fur, trying to comfort her.
Peter called Ezra, and I heard him talk excitedly when Ezra answered. But Jack never answered. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew he wouldn’t.
“Ezra and Mae are safe. They went to the headstone of her other child.” Peter hung up his phone, and then he saw my face. “Jack didn’t answer?”
“No.” I swallowed hard and stood up. “Where is he?”
The nausea hit me again, much harder this time, and it sent a shooting pain all over my body. I bent forward and collapsed on the ground on my knees. The pain had gotten too intense for me to stand.
“Alice!” Peter crouched down next to me and put his hand on my back.
“Oh, hell.” I gritted my teeth to keep from crying out.
“When was the last time you bit Jack?” Peter asked me, and I shook my head.
“I don’t know,” I managed when the pain subsided a bit. “What does it matter?”
“That pain you’re feeling, do you think that could be Jack?”
“What?” I looked up at Peter.
“Maybe you can use it to track Jack.” He put his arm around my waist. “Come on.” He stood up, pulling me with him.
“The pain?” I held my stomach. “That’s coming from Jack? He’s feeling that much pain?”
“Don’t think about it.” Peter put his hands on my shoulder and looked me in the eyes. “If you wanna find Jack, you need to focus on him. You can tell where he’s coming from.”
“How?” I asked.
“Think about him. Not the pain, him.”
I closed my eyes and thought of Jack. The pain jolted through me again, and Peter squeezed my shoulders, keeping me here, in the moment. I thought of Jack, his smile, his laugh, and the tether that kept us connected… and then there it was. I could feel it – him – pulling me.
“I don’t know where he is, but I can take us there,” I opened my eyes. “We have to go.”
As we ran out the door, I promised Matilda we’d come back for her as soon as we could. I sat in the passenger seat of the Lamborghini, holding my stomach to keep from throwing up, and I told Peter where to turn. I couldn’t tell him directly where to go – it was just a pull in a certain direction.
We were almost there when I realized we were going to the tunnels where Peter, Mae, and Daisy had stayed. Jack had been taken underground.
“Do you know what he’s doing there?” I asked Peter as he pulled up next to the bridge.
“No,” he shook his head. “There shouldn’t be anybody here at all. If Leif has been staying with your mother… The tunnel should be empty.”
The pull and pain got stronger when we reached the tunnels, and I ran down them as fast as my legs would carry me. Peter called for me to slow down, to wait for him, but I couldn’t. I knew how much pain Jack was in, and I had to get to him.
Before I reached the cavern where Peter had been staying, I could hear Jack’s screams echoing through the sewers. My skin crawled, and adrenaline pulsed through me. Something else, the animal part of me, started taking over, blocking out the way Jack felt. It even blotted out my connection to him, but I didn’t care. I needed to be strong to help him.