Ironic Sacrifice

By: Brooklyn Ann


“I’m Jayden. It’s nice to meet you… and sure. I’ll have one.” She shot Razvan what she hoped was a defiant glare.

She didn’t have time to gauge a reaction. Akasha pulled out two bottles of Kokanee, twisted the tops in an expert motion, and handed her one. When their fingers brushed, Jayden gasped and was thrown back as she was sucked into a vision.

A little girl screaming as bullets sliced up a man and a woman…running in the blood stained snow…in an orphanage, can’t speak…in a home filled with robotic children in matching uniforms reciting under a stern woman’s eye…the woman beating Akasha with a bible…running away…starving, cold, alone…a man takes her in, she is happy for a while…she cries as the cops take him away…alone again…pinned on the hood of a Cadillac, a gun pressed to the back of her head as a man tears her body with his violent lust…beating the man…bashing his head into the pavement until his skull comes apart in her hands… throwing up..driving…

“Jayden!”

Strapped to an operating table…a scientist poking, and prodding…trying to make sense of the freak… going to kill her when it’s all over…

“Jayden!” Razvan’s command pulled her from the vision.

The beer bottle smashed on the floor, adding another mess to the concrete.

Her eyes met Akasha’s. “Oh, God, you were so young! And…and so much pain!” Jayden’s voice cracked as she was overcome with sympathy.

Akasha’s lower lip trembled as if she were about to cry, then her eyes narrowed to slits and in a blur of speed, she backhanded Razvan.

He rocked back on his stool with the force of the blow and crashed to the floor. Jayden leapt up, heart in her mouth.

“I’m sorry!” she cried. “I can’t help it! Please, don’t fight.”

She couldn’t bear it if Razvan killed this woman who had suffered so much.

Akasha ignored her and hauled Razvan to his feet with strength that shouldn’t be possible for her size. He spit blood on the concrete floor and laughed, fangs flashing. His cheek was already swelling and turning purple. She must have cracked the bone, and still he laughed as though the mechanic had done the cutest thing in the world. As Akasha marched Razvan back to the parts room, Jayden didn’t know who to be more afraid of: The vampire or the girl who was strong enough to take one down. Who were these people? She shivered. Was it too late to get away?

***

“What kind of sick game do you think you’re playing?” Akasha demanded.

She’d had a bad feeling the second Razvan arrived with the statuesque redhead. They may have been all dolled up like a couple on a dinner date, but the girl looked like a frightened rabbit as she huddled in her faux fur coat and darted nervous glances around the shop as if looking for an escape route. Razvan, on the other hand, looked way too pleased with himself, like the villain who’d just tied the screaming damsel onto the railroad tracks. And there was another look in his eyes, something she couldn’t read in him…and it disturbed the hell out of her.

“Is she willing?” she whispered to him.

He avoided her eyes. “We had a bargain.”

“That’s not what I asked.” She clenched her fists and stalked towards him. “Is. She Willing?”

“You saw her power,” he said, ignoring her question again.

It dawned on her. Centuries ago, Razvan’s twin brother, also a vampire, disappeared and he’d been using psychics to try to find him. Silas was the most powerful clairvoyant Razvan recruited, and even he failed. Jayden’s detailed glimpse into Akasha’s head implied that she may be even more powerful than her husband.

She glared at the vampire. “You may have used Silas for your quest, but hell if you’re going to use this poor terrified woman.”

Razvan drew himself up and opened his mouth, ready to fire back a smart-ass remark, then he slumped and sighed.

“She was going to kill herself, Akasha,” he whispered, actually sounding sympathetic. “She even wanted me to kill her.”

Her jaw dropped. “What?”

“Jayden is so powerful that she can’t control her visions and they’ve driven her insane.” He gave an uncharacteristically helpless shrug. “She was reduced to living in her car, half-starved. She was going to jump off a bridge the next day but instead she found me in an alley with my prey and offered to take her place.”

Akasha hugged herself as goosebumps crawled over her skin. “Do you kill your prey?” It was supposed to be illegal under vampire law, but she knew there were loopholes.

Razvan chuckled. “Not usually. I just like to play with them a little.” He put his index finger to his lips in a hushing motion. “Now don’t go and destroy my reputation.”

Akasha rolled her eyes at him before returning to the matter at hand. “Does she know you’re not going to kill her now?”

“Yes,” he replied impatiently. “Now would you please watch her so I can find Silas? Only he can teach her to control her powers so she can be well again.”