We walked down the streets slowly, her arm tucked in the nook of my elbow, her body pushed against mine, her eyes focusing anywhere and everywhere except on me. She was mad. She had been mad at me since our argument in the inn room. I felt it boiling under her skin, burning her gentleness that laid not too far from the surface. Her arm squeezed mine tightly, as if the slightest distance between us would form a gaping hole too wide for either of us to cross. Although the majority of my brain was preoccupied with the current spat I was having with Emily, I scanned around us, trying to catch some glimpse of Judas, a hint that he was near and watching us. I knew he was there; I felt his eyes on us.
As we walked along the cobblestone sidewalk I quickly became aware that we were being followed. I squeezed Emily closer to me and forced myself to keep a steady pace. I glanced over a her; she had no idea.
"I'm sorry," she said quietly, her head hung low as she walked along.
"Don't be," I responded quickly, keeping my focus on the man who was following us.
"But I am. I was wrong to tell you. I-"
Emily's voice became distant to me as I focused harder on the footsteps that followed us. They picked up speed, the heart that drove them pumped faster, harder with adrenaline. I felt a shiver run down my spine as I suddenly realized that he was going to do something. I waited, holding my ground until the absolute last moment. He closed the distance between us and I suddenly shoved Emily and myself into a side alley. I grabbed her arm and tore her away from me, sending her forcibly into the side of a building and wrapped my arm around the man's. I flung him against the wall opposite of Emily and pressed my forearm against his throat.
Emily let out a cry and stared in disbelief, unaware of what was unfolding in front of her.
It wasn't Judas.
It was a human.
He clutched a stake in his hand and fought to get free of my arm, which was pressing harder on his neck. His eyes bounced wildly between her and me, a fire of hatred burned brightly around his pupils, fueling his fight.
I let my fangs slide from my gums and hissed at him. A vampire hunter. "Who the hell sent you?" He coughed under the pressure on his neck and spat in my face. His grip on the stake tightened and he swung at me, trying to pierce my chest. I chuckled and slapped his weapon from his hand, sending it flying down the alley and bouncing its way to the ground. "Don't be stupid."
"Arsenic, you are choking him," Emily said from behind me.
I rolled my eyes. Of course I was. What else did she possibly expect me to do? "Who sent you?"
"Maybe he just came on his own."
I shook my head. "No, look at him. He's someone's bitch."
I pressed my forearm harder against his throat, putting more strain on his windpipe. The man gagged and grabbed at my arm desperately. He tried to speak but could only form words with his mouth, choking sounds filled the air between his silenced gasps.
"Maybe he'd be able to talk if you let him go."
I sighed and released him. "Here, Em. Maybe you would like to speak with the vampire hunter."
The man bent double and grabbed at his throat, struggling to catch his breath. He glared up at me ."You-you- have n-no idea what you just d-did."
"No, actually, I know exactly what I just did, and I'll do it again too, if you give me a reason," I retorted, crossing my arms over my chest and eying him intently. "Who sent you?"
"I'll die before I tell you anything, vampire."
I shrugged and gestured to him. "See, Em, he wants to die. I was only doing him a favor."
The man choked violently as I sucked air into his lungs and grasped his hands on his knees, supporting his weight as he heaved heavily for air. “You aren’t going to get anything out of me, monster. You should have just killed me.”
I laughed and seized him by the collar, slamming him back up against the wall. His head cracked off the side of the brick building, sending a thud through the alley. “I can still do that, asshole. Start talking.”
Emily shifted uncomfortably behind me, unsure what to do with herself in the face of such
“They’ll get you; they’ll get both of you. You can kill me if you want, but they’ll only come for you more.”
“Who? Who sent you?”
He chuckled and locked eyes with me, curling his lip at me before he spoke. “I told you; I’m not saying a damn thing. All I can say is that they are bigger than you and your little harpie there. They will get you and they will stake you both. You don’t stand a
“Arsenic, what is he saying? I don’t understand.”
What the fuck does it sound like he’s saying? My mind raced. What was he talking about? Who would possibly want to kill us? Judas? Surely rejecting him wasn’t reason enough for him to want us dead. It had to be something else, something more. I opened my mouth to speak but my voice was drowned out as a gunshot sounded from the street. Emily screamed and jolted backwards and my eyes darted instantly to the street behind us. No one. There was no one there. I turned my eyes back to the man to find him dead, a bullet wound in his heart.