By Blood We Live Page 59

We didn’t get all this from peeking through the windows.

We got it when Maddy kicked the door down and we leaped in and tore them to pieces and ate them.

Tough not to fuck.

It’d always been there between Madeline and me. She Turned me, after all. We’d kept out of each other’s way for that very reason. I knew, she knew, Lula knew. (It’s okay, I want you to, Lula’d sent me, back at the chateau, before everything kicked off. I want you to so I can feel better about leaving you for a vampire is what she meant. I hated her for that. For trying to manage it. For trying to manage me. It had never really been love. First it was love minus what she kept for Jake’s ghost. Then love minus what the vampire had left her with. Too many minuses. I’d always been making do with leftovers.)

The family looked up at us. Time stopped. There they were, perfected by fear. At your death your life gathers, adds itself up, reaches its last shape. You. Humans. It tips us, that moment. There’s the perfect freeze, when you know, and we see you, complete. It’s like a shared joke. Like the pause when lovers look at each other because they realise—oh God, oh God—that they’re both about to come, together. Then the moment’s done its work—and we fall on you, and the life goes, in greedy bites and bloody swallows, into us.

It was hot and fast. It was a blur. The first minute or so always is, for me, a car-crash of joy and disbelief, total blindness and 20/20 smashed together like a pair of cymbals.

But that phase passes. You come back to yourself. To the world, and the solid, filthy reality of what’s happening. The solid, filthy reality that’s better than anything you’ve ever felt before.

Madeline with her snout in the girl’s flank and her ass in the air, legs spread. The smell of her cunt was sly and sweet and full of tortured willingness. And me with a hard-on that could’ve broken a piano in half. I used to think I liked sex. I used to think I’d had sex as good as you could have it. Then I Turned. You Turn, and it’s as if until then you’ve been fucking in two dimensions instead of three.

CAN’T Madeline—just about—gave me.

I KNOW.

Didn’t stop her lifting her head and rolling her shoulder. We were close. We were so close.

THE KID.

I KNOW.

TALULLA.

I couldn’t answer. Didn’t know what I would’ve answered. Instead I reached into the son’s chest cavity and tore his heart out and bit it in half. Sorry, kid, but that’s what mine feels like.

Afterwards we did what we never do. We stayed with the victims’ remains. No choice. The situation had everything we needed. It was remote, there were clothes, there was money, there was transportation. I’d never cared much for Fergus, but there was a feeling like a ragged burn in me when I thought of Trish, dead. She’d had so much life in her. I’d liked her in the mornings, sitting big-eyed and hungover, knees hunched up, fingers wrapped around a mug of black coffee, not watching TV or reading a magazine—just blinking, just existing, happily. I could feel the loss in Madeline, too. Big loss. She’d loved Cloquet. And Trish. Even Fergus. They’d made money together, amazed when it turned out they could trust each other. We had no clue what the fuck had happened to Lucy. Reaching out gave us nothing. If she was alive she was out of range. Both of us were thinking the same thing, that the old days were over, that the world was waking up to us, that from now on nothing would ever be the same.

Lorcan curled up on the couch. I could feel the thought pounding in his skull. THEY’RE DEAD. THEY’RE DEAD. THEY’RE DEAD. Mixed in with the swirling bits of the lives he’d just taken in. I’d wondered about this: How did he and Zoë contain experience that couldn’t be anything other than ahead of their years? They do what kids do, Talulla had said. Put it aside until they’re ready. Like clothes they’ll grow into, eventually.

THEY’RE DEAD. THEY’RE DEAD.

I grabbed his ankle and gave it a little shake. It made no difference. He’s a tough kid to comfort. He doesn’t believe in it. It’s like the world declared itself his enemy at his birth. (Which, given he started life as a kidnap victim, I guess it did.) There’s no self-pity in him. Just a kind of remote determination. Zoë expects love. Lorcan expects zip. Hard to imagine him growing up and having lovers. Or at least hard to imagine him loving someone.

Madeline and I took turns keeping watch outside, though the truth was neither of us was expecting pursuit. The truth was both of us thought the Militi Christi had got—in Talulla and Zoë—exactly what they were after.

The dogs kept us company, wagging their tails.

When the moon set we showered and kitted ourselves out as best we could with our victims’ clothes. Nothing fit Lorcan. We improvised. A pair of the girl’s cut-offs and a t-shirt, with a string belt. The kid had to go barefoot, but it didn’t matter: If we found ourselves on foot, we’d have to carry him anyway. We found the keys to the Land Rover.

Without any hope, I called Lucy’s cell phone from the house landline.

She answered after two rings.

She was in a house thirty miles away.

And she had a hostage.

54

INCREDIBLY, THEY’D MISSED an exit. From the house’s cellar. Double wooden doors completely overgrown with ivy. Lucy had burst up through them and caught two Angels off-guard. She’d ripped the throat out of one of them then turned to see the other—the dark-haired acne-survivor in his mid-thirties—staring in disbelief at his jammed AK-47.

“He ran,” Lucy told us. “But he didn’t get very far.”

He got as far as the tree line, where Lucy had knocked him unconscious.

“No, you see,” she said, Maddy and I silently marvelling, “I thought I might need a driver.” She’d told us this as if she’d been weighing up how to get home from a flower show.

She dragged him into deeper cover and waited it out. Watched them take down Talulla and Zoë and body-bag the remains of Fergus and Trish. When the unit moved out there were still seven hours till moonset. Cool as you like, she hauled her captive back to the house, trussed and gagged him, then slung him over her shoulders and set off in search of the Fleetwood.

“Which was, surprisingly, just where we left it,” she said. “I did wonder if they’d booby-trapped it or something, you know, but … Well, there wasn’t much of a choice. I brought him round and put him behind the wheel. Drove the whole way here with my hand around his throat.”

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