Did they reach him in time? Will Tommy survive? If so, how will he feel about being a vampire?
Suddenly, he shivered and took a deep breath. Coughing and hacking, he struggled to sit up. Vestigial fangs brushed his lower lip and he ran his tongue over them experimentally.
“Tommy!” This time, full of joy, Margo hugged and kissed him. “I thought I’d lost you!”
“I’m okay,” he said with a smile. “Wow, everything’s different!” He looked around him with awe.
“Enjoy it later, kid,” Nero said gruffly. “First we have to get the hell outta here and get you something to drink.”
“You’re still weak,” Margo said. “Can the others walk?”
They nodded agreement, saying little. Struggling to stand, the less injured helped those in worse shape. Stumbling and tripping over one another, they headed in a tight group across the foyer to the front door. Phillida and the others had secured this part of the house, though fighting raged in other parts of the castle.
Once outside, a limo pulled up, the door popping open automatically. As many as would fit scrambled in behind Margo and Tommy. Nero, Kirk and Oded kept a watchful eye as the others loaded into other limos and headed back to Andres’ compound.
Soon, the remaining occupants surrendered. Phillida had them gathered in the ballroom, secured with silver lined handcuffs. They were very subdued, some almost comatose. Andres appeared shortly after. Tattered and dirty, he’d been in the thick of things in another part of the castle assault.
“Thank you, Philly,” he said. “We couldn’t have done this without you.” He kissed her. “Be my queen, Philly,” he murmured.
“What of your little pet?”
“I’ve been a fool more than once,” he said. “But it’s time I settled down with a woman my own age.”
Phillida laughed, accepting his proposal. Celebration would wait until later. Now, there were prisoners to interrogate. None of the vampires seemed ready to cooperate. There was no one better at extracting information than Andres. The messy business of questioning began.
Kirk and Scott hitched rides with other teams who had lost members. There were far fewer of them than had made the ride out. Thinking back over the battle though, Kirk realized that they’d fared better than he’d expected. The best part was that he and all his friends had lived through it. There would be huge gaps in their ranks, but they’d get past their sorrow. They always did.
Back at Andres’ compound, they availed themselves of the hospitality of the house. They were given rooms and clothing. After bathing, the friends joined in the parlor. Even Scott and Sandra were treated like honored guests. Tommy was given his first dose of their medicine and a large glass of synthetic blood. At first, he was dubious of the liquid, but Margo took a sip, kissing him afterward so he could taste it in her mouth. Little by little, she persuaded him to drink.
“I almost lost you,” she said over and over.
“I’m okay. I’m here with you now—forever.”
Acting much like a newly married couple, they were making the others somewhat uncomfortable. Silas’ entrance with a tray of canapes put an end to it. His loud, boisterousness made them all laugh as he castigated Margo for her antics.
“Stop acting like a school girl in heat,” he boomed. “You’ll make my souffle drop.”
They laughed and teased one another until others joined them. Among the first to seek them out were the twins. Vincent was with them as well as Rubina. They shared a glass of blood mixed with brandy and enjoyed some of the canapes.
“I never thought I’d get out of that horrible place alive,” Rubina said with a shudder. “It was horrible there. For the first few days, I was there alone.”
“What did they want?” Kirk asked.
“We couldn’t be sure,” Vincent replied. “They tortured us but never asked any questions. It was as if they were toying with us.”
“What happened to Gene,” Tommy asked. “The first human they took.”
Rubina looked sad. “They killed him,” she whispered. “They wanted to turn him, but he refused. They ripped his throat out in front of us.” She shuddered. “No one should have to die like that.”