Slave to a vampire boo.., p.1
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The chill of the night air swept across Catherine’s face and she turned, pulling the rough wool blanket up around her neck. Her face scrunched as she tried to cling to the last remnants of sleep before they were yanked away. It was not yet morning, the birds had not yet started to chirp and the moonlight shone through the window. She reluctantly let her eyes open just a sliver and glanced around. Her twin brothers were both breathing steadily nearby, every now and then a snore. Better than most nights when she would have to kick either Liam or Dan to get them to stop.
She rolled over, hoping to fall back into a deep slumber when a wolf’s howl broke the silence of the night. It wasn’t what she wanted to hear. Tomorrow was her wedding day, she was to marry Michael and her nerves were on edge as it was. She didn’t need to hear the cries of a wolf out on the moors.
“Enough with you,” she whispered and placing her hands over her ears she tried to block out the noise.
But the cry only grew louder. Picked up by another, and another. Catherine sat up slowly, blinking in the darkness of night. Something was amiss. As the wolves continued to howl and the hair on her neck stood on end, she stood up and nudged her brother Liam awake with her foot.
“What, what’s wrong,” he asked as he shot up. “Catherine? It’s the middle of the night. Get some sleep before the Fae take you.”
“It’s not the Fae I’m worried about,” she whispered. “Liam…something’s out there.”
He grumbled but sat up listening. “Just the wolves, sister. Go back to sleep. You don’t want bags under your eyes for your wedding.”
Catherine glared at him, but didn’t move. She glanced around their small bedroom in their two-room home. Liam settled back down on the floor as she crept into the main part of the home where her mother slept. But she was nowhere in sight.
“Mother,” she hissed in the darkness. There was no response.
This wasn’t right. Her mother never ventured from the house in the middle of the night. Catherine was about to fetch her brothers when she heard the first screams. At first she thought it an animal, the way it screeched and howled in pain. But then it was followed by another and another. Liam and Dan were at her side a moment later.
“What was that?”
Through the slats of the walls they saw lights flickering. The sharp taste of smoke hit their mouths and Catherine ran to open the door. Fire, the village was on fire! The siblings stood there in a panic as they watched those they’d known all their lives scream and run through the night, now lit with the flames of evil. Catherine had heard of these raids farther up the coast, but she never thought it would happen here. Not to them.
“Dan, we have to find mother,” Liam yelled as the boys raced outside. “Catherine, move, you can’t stay in there, the fire is spreading!”
She ran and joined her brothers, not sure where they were going, but Liam took her hand and they dashed between others racing for cover. Over her shoulder, Catherine saw large men in uniforms chasing the villagers down. The young were scooped up, thrown over shoulders and hauled off. But the others were not so lucky.
“Liam! Oh my God!”
He paused when she came to a sudden stop. They watched as the old couple, Paddy and Alice, were surrounded by three men, swords held at the ready. As the two clutched each other tightly, begging for their lives, the three moved in, running through them over and over until they fell, bloodied and dead to the ground. The men laughed as they removed their blades and wiped the blood on their sleeves as if it was nothing.
“Catherine, Dan,” Liam hissed. “We have to hide! They’ll take us away if we don’t!”
Too frightened to do anything else, Catherine stumbled over her feet as she followed her younger brothers through the village. Smoke blinded her and burnt her eyes, tears streamed down her face. She coughed harshly and all around her were the screams of the dying. Blood splattered up her legs from the muddied ground. And the bodies…so many already dead. How had they not heard any of it? How had this happened so quickly? Liam yanked her down, they were hiding behind the church, the one building left untouched by the raiders.
Hands shaking, Catherine sat beside her brothers, listening to the carnage around them. Tomorrow was supposed to be her wedding day and now here she was, squatting in the shadows like a rabbit cornered by a wolf, waiting to die. She closed her eyes and did the only thing she could think of...pray.
“How dare you slaughter these innocents,” a voice cried out and Catherine’s eyes shot open. “Put down your swords at once or you will face the wrath of God!”
Father John had rushed from the church bearing nothing but a cross in his hands.
Two soldiers stalked towards him, leering at the priest. Catherine held her breath, wanting him to turn around, run and hide like they were doing. But Father John held his ground and continued to yell at the men, damning them for their deeds.
“You know what I think you need, father,” one of the soldiers sneered as his companion loomed closer. “I think you need a good tongue lashing yourself! Grab him!”
Father John was no match for the soldier. The larger man grabbed him from behind and his metal cross fell to the ground. Catherine felt her heart thunder painfully in her chest as she watched, helpless to do anything for the man that had practically raised her and her brothers. Liam started to rise, but Dan yanked him back down. The other soldier had drawn a dagger and as they watched, reached into Father John’s mouth and gripped his tongue.
In one swift movement, he brought the dagger down. Catherine whimpered and felt sick as the piece of flesh fell to the ground. Father John reached up to hold his bleeding mouth, sputtering and gurgling as the soldiers laughed.
“There, priest, now you can speak no more of heresy to us,” the soldier mocked as he sheathed his dagger.
Before Catherine knew what he was doing, Liam was on his feet and charged at the soldiers. He yelled as he leapt on the first one’s back. The soldier tried to fling him off, but Liam held on tight. He lowered his mouth and bit the man’s ear until he screamed in pain.
“You little bastard!” The other soldier rushed over and yanked Liam off, tossing him hard to the ground. The soldier pinned Liam to the ground with his huge body and put his hands around his throat. Liam struggled, but it was obvious that soon his fight for air would be over. Dan took my face in his hands, “Stay hidden Catherine,” and he ran to try to save his twin brother. Rushing at the soldier on top of Liam, he smashed into the man’s body, pushing him off Liam.
Father John bleeding and badly hurt ran to try to help the boys, but the other soldier drew his sword. The moment he ran him through, Catherine felt her heart break. The breath went out of her and she stared in stunned silence as his body was shoved mercilessly off the blade, even before death had fully taken him. The first soldier had now recovered from the shock of Liam biting him and angrily stalked towards Liam, sword held high as he wiped the blood from his ear.
“You little mongrel! I’ll teach you some manners,” he yelled and raised his sword above his head.
Catherine grabbed the first thing she could find and ran out from her hiding place. With a yell, she crashed into the soldier, sending them both to the ground. Before he could react, she picked up the rock in her hands and bashed it into the soldier’s head until he stayed down.
Her eyes widened in horror as she stared from the dead man beneath her to the bloodied rock in her hands. Suddenly numb, her fingers let it fall and Liam hauled her to her feet.
“We have to go! Now!”
They ran as the screaming continued around them, but by then most of the village was on fire. Catherine slid to a stop and frantically searched for their Dan and her mother. Liam yelled at her to keep moving, but she wasn’t going to leave without trying to find them.
“Caught me another one!”
Catherine screamed as strong arms roughly grabbed her around the waist. A short sword appeared at her throat as Liam whipped around to save her.
“One step, boy, and I’ll slit her throat.”
“Liam run! Please run!” Catherine gasped as the blade pressed against her skin hard enough to make her bleed.
“One more word and I’ll slit it, too.”
Another soldier hurried over and punching Liam in the head and knocking him to the ground. Liam tried to rise, but his hands were clasped in irons before he was roughly pulled to his feet. Catherine was also put into irons. She felt her entire body shivering as they were dragged away from her village with so many others. Catherine’s eyes wandered back to the burning homes and saw bodies being tossed onto the fires. Tears streamed down her cheeks at the sight of so many she knew and loved, dead.
The soldiers roughly pushed them all towards the jetty where a ship waited for them to be loaded onto. Catherine felt her heart leap into her throat. They were taking them away. She didn’t want to leave her home!
“Move out of the way,” a voice cried out as a horse pounded over the ground and down the jetty. “What are you doing? Release these people at once!”
“Charles?” Catherine squinted against the torchlight blurring the man’s face, but it was most certainly Charles. “Help us!”
Charles moved the torch then jumped down from his horse. “Catherine? Where are you taking her?”
“That is none of your concern. Get back on your horse and ride off,” a soldier snapped, giving him a shove, but Charles didn’t move.
“I demand to see your Captain at once! These people are not slaves! They are free folk.”
“Not what our Captain says,” the soldier spat at Charles’ feet. “Says they’re nothing more than peasant waste needing to be relocated for better use.”
Charles glared at the man then thrust his torch in the soldier’s face, so close the man jumped back with a shriek, fire narrowly missing his face. “The Captain. Now!”
The man cursed, but yelled at another to fetch the captain as a second rider appeared at the end of the jetty and rushed forward. “Son, what are you doing here? Are you trying to get yourself killed?”
“These are our people, we can’t just let them be taken away,” he snapped as he rushed to Catherine. “I’m going to get you out of here somehow,” he whispered as he worked at the iron cuffs on her wrist. “I will not let them just take you.”
“I’d thank you to get your hands off my cargo.” Charles and Catherine turned to see a man standing on the gangplank. Scars covered his face and he walked with a bit of a limp as he made his way to the jetty. There were two short swords sheathed at his hips and a pistol already in his hands that he pointed at Charles. “Back away lad if you know what’s good for you.”
Charles’ father reached out and dragged his son back. “Begging your pardon, sir, my son is young and doesn’t understand.”
“No! You can’t take them!”
The captain leered, flashing a mouth of yellowed teeth as he glared at Charles. “I can and I will. You will not be stopping me. Load them up! We are leaving!”
Catherine screamed as a soldier moved her forward and she tried to shove past him, needing to get to Charles. He yelled her name as their hands nearly met, until the Captain himself picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder.
“Catherine! I will find you again I swear it! I’ll find a way to save you all!”
“Shut your mouth, girl,” the Captain snarled, “or you’ll be my entertainment tonight.”
Catherine clamped her mouth shut as he carried her up onto the ship, then without any warning at all, flung her off his shoulder and down into the darkness of the hold. The others were being tossed into the hold as well, chains clinking together as they tried to climb back up, screaming for mercy. There were already other prisoners down there and as Catherine looked at their frightened faces, she knew they had been captured this night as well.
When the last person was thrown down, the Captain leaned over and grinned wickedly. “The voyage is long, my friends. Take heart. When you arrive, your life will be forever changed and my pockets lined with gold.” He tipped his hat to them and had the hold closed.
What little light had come from the torches and moon disappeared and Catherine widened her tearful eyes as she tried to see in the darkness. She knew that Liam was on board and she needed to find him. Others were calling out names, searching for who might have made it aboard and who was just another dead body tossed onto the fire. The hold stunk of fear and sweat as Catherine gingerly moved through it, trying not to step on anyone, but the going was hard.
“Liam! I’m here,” she cried out as a hand found hers. “Liam. Oh thank God!” They held each other close and she felt his body shivering from fright just as much as hers. “Did you find mother or Dan?”
“No not yet,” Liam looked despondent. “But I did find Michael, he’s unconscious. Tried to fight ten of them off from the look of it.” Carefully Liam guided her through the hold to Michael’s body, propped up against the side of the ship. His face was a bloodied mess and he was falling in and out of consciousness. “He should be alright soon enough.”
They sat down on either side of him, Catherine pulling his head close to rest on her lap. Numbly she smoothed his hair back over and over, feeling the drying blood that covered his head. Oh how her life had changed so quickly. Trapped on a ship bound for she knew not where, it was a nightmare of darkness and despair. Catherine listened to the cries of the crew up above then felt the ship start to push through the waves. She closed her eyes and tried to picture her home, the beautiful green lands that she would probably never see again.
One more tear slipped down her cheek and Catherine vowed to the darkness it would be the last.
Slave to a Vampire - Book 1 Catherine by Katrina Kahler / Fantasy / Romance & Love have rating 4.1 out of 5 / Based on45 votes