Vampire Games (Chapter Thirty-three)

Fang settled back down onto the couch. The shaking, I noted, had stopped. His panting, too, stopped.

I suspected, on some level, that his body had expired…that it was now being fueled supernaturally by the dark entity that had entered him. I also suspected his soul was now trapped in this supernaturally vivified body. Forever.

"His mortality ends," said Hanner next to me. "And his immortality begins. Everyone should be so lucky."

Fang was closed off to me. Our connection was forever severed. I had mixed feelings about that. My connection to Fang had been turbulent, at best. At times, it had been comforting. To know that I had instant access to someone who seemed to legitimately care for me – and perhaps even love me in his own way – was a rock I had relied on for many months now.

Except that Fang always had an ulterior motive. Considering how the man had grown up and issues he'd dealt with, his ulterior motive would surprise no one. That he stalked and befriended and ultimately loved a real vampire should be of no surprise either.

I had seen more than enough of Fang's mind to know the man was single-mindedly obsessed. His desire to be a real vampire trumped anything, perhaps even his love for me.

As I looked at him now, lying there quietly, I noted that the wound in his neck – the wound I, myself, had felt just the night before – had already healed.

Yes, his desire to be a vampire had trumped even his love for me.

"Why did you do it?" I said to Hanner, without looking at her.

"I saw his potential, Samantha."

"He's not stable," I said.

"I'm not looking for stability. I'm looking for potential."

I nodded, understanding. "His potential to kill."

"So much potential."

"That's why you turned him," I said, looking at her. "To kill for you."

She calmly looked up from Fang and at me. She held my gaze. The fire just behind her pupil flared brightly. "He is his own free man, Samantha. But I am sure he will show his appreciation when I am done revealing to him all that I know."

"You're doing this because I shut down your operation," I said. "You're punishing me. You're stealing my friend – "

"I'm giving him everything you wouldn't, Samantha."

"You'll create a killer."

"He will be tamed, Sam. Even the worst of our kind can be tamed."

"Or what?"

"Or they are removed."

"You mean killed."

"You cannot kill what's already dead, Sam. The entity within will simply withdraw, sacrificing its existence for the betterment of our kind."

"And when the entity withdraws?"

"The body will perish. Instantly."

"Jesus."

Hanner winced slightly at my involuntary utterance, which I noted. The name "Jesus" had no effect on me, but it appeared to on Hanner.

Interesting, I thought.

"And what happens to his soul?" I asked.

"His soul?" asked Hanner, looking at me and making an almost comical effort to blink. "But whatever do you mean?"

"His soul," I said, my voice rising. "Where is it?"

Hanner smiled and it was, perhaps, the most unpleasant smile I had ever seen on anyone. Ever. "Why, Samantha. His soul is long gone."

A wave of panic swept over me. I wrapped an arm around myself. Hanner's unpleasant smile remained frozen on her face. The smile was not human. She did not look human. She looked slightly misshapen, hunched. She looked like pure evil.

"You're not Hanner," I said. "You're the thing that lives in her."

"Very good, Samantha Moon," she said. Or it said.

"And you're trying to freak me out."

Hanner continued smiling that wicked smile. Or the thing within her did. "Is it working, child?"

"Go to hell," I said.

"Been there, done that," it said in a monotone, tilting its head slightly.

"Where's Hanner?"

"She's here. Next to me. Waiting. I've come for the big show."

"Big show?"

Hanner nodded toward Fang, who lay motionless on the couch. "I wouldn't miss his transformation for the world."

"Who's in me?" I asked.

Hanner grinned, except I knew it was not Hanner grinning. "One of us, child."

"Who?"

But Hanner shook her head. "Not now. Not now." And Hanner kept on shaking her head…and finally blinked. Hard.

She was back, looking slightly confused, and the thing within her – the thing that galvanized her dead body – had retreated, and was gone.

That such an entity was in me, watching over me, living through me, was almost enough to drive me insane.

Almost.

There had to be a way to fight back. To remove it.

And with that thought, I remembered the angel, Ishmael. He had told me he knew of a way for me to be free, to forever remove the thing within me. I thought about that, even while Fang continued to lay motionless, his chest unmoving. But alive. Supernaturally alive.

Fang had gotten his wish.

He was one of us now.