Stalking Dead (Vampire Hunter Book 2)

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Stalking Dead

Book 2 in The Vampire Hunter Series

By S.C.Reynold
s

Text copyright © 2013 S.C. Reynolds
[email protected]

All Rights Reserved

For Johanna

Chapter 1

I could feel my shoulder moving, but my eyes were glued shut. I groaned and tried to scoot away.

“Aurora! Wake up!” Henry hissed.

I managed to pry my eyes open. Henry looked relieved.

“I’
ve been trying to wake you for
ages
. I almost started to check your pulse, but realized
that
wouldn’t do any good.”


Ha ha. Don’t be dramatic.” I rolled my eyes, hoping I sounded normal. I’d had another blackout; they were getting more intense. What if one of these times I
didn’t
wake up at all?


Me
?” Henry joked. “You’re the drama queen around here.”

I threw my pillow, hitting Henry square
ly on the forehead.

He ignored me. “My parents are both working today. They just left a little while ago. I was thinking we should prepare…you know, for tonight.”

I wasn’t ready to think about tonight. After last night at Lucas’ house, my mind was in overdrive.

Aloud I asked, “Prepare how?”

“Well,” Henry seemed to be weighing his words slowly. “Maybe we should take some supplies with us?”

“Like shovels?”

“Obviously, those, but I was thinking of something else – for protection.”

I propped myself up to a sitting position on the bed. “Henry, haven’t we had this conversation a million times before? I don’t think Lucas plans to kill us!”

“No, no,” Henry assured me. “I don’t even mean for
him
necessarily. Lucas told you there are all sorts of monsters living on earth, right?”

I nodded.

“So what if we run into one of them? Doesn’t a graveyard seem like the kind of place they’d like to hang out?” Henry was exasperated.

And he doesn’t even know about the werewolf attack. Lucas made the right call not to tell him.

I shrugged noncommittally. Truthfully, I wasn’t that worried. After seeing how Lucas had handled the werewolf, I figured we were pretty well protected.

But I could understand
why Henry was concerned. I was getting tired of keeping track of all the secrets I hadn’t told Henry. It was sad, really, that a vampire I’d met merely a few weeks ago knew more about my life –
post
resurrection – than my childhood best friend knew.

But I would tell Henry everything
, in due time.
Well, maybe not about the kiss with Lucas.
And besides, all the other stuff – his dad’s sneaky meeting, my blackouts, the werewolf attack – I’m keeping them from him for his own good.

I pushed down the guilt from lying to my best friend.

“So what do you think?” Henry was asking me.

“Sure. What did you have in mind?”

Chapter 2

What Henry had in mind was not
quite
what I’d expected when I’d agreed to let him get ‘supplies’ for tonight.

I had
wanted to go with Henry to get stuff –
begged
to go, actually. I was so sick of being at home by myself all day.

Henry had immediately said no. “If you’d told people you were back yet, like I’ve suggested many times, you could come with me,” he’d said patronizingly. Unfortunately, it was true, and it had shut me up pretty quickly.

So when Henry came back with an arsenal of stuff, I couldn’t hide my surprise.

“I thought you were just getting some silver bullets.”
To kill any werewolves we might see
.

“I couldn’t find those,” Henry explained.

I had actually been banking on that. I really wanted to go to the cemetery with as little as possible.

“So what did you get instead?” I asked
warily, eyeing the bags in his hands.

“Oh, nothing much,
” he said innocently.

I lea
ned forward and snatched one of the bags out of his hand, spilling the contents onto the kitchen floor.

“Hey!” he protested. “I was going to show you; you don’t have practically knock me down.”

I didn’t answer. I was too busy studying the long wooden spikes that were now on the floor. I picked one up and ran my finger along the point.

“Are you going to try and kill Lucas?” I asked in alarm.

Henry laughed. “Of course not! I just want to be prepared if we run into any other vampires.”

I don’t like the sound of this.

“And the others?” I pointed to the bags in Henry’s hands.

Without protest, he dumped the contents onto the kitchen counter.

“Henry, why!” I blurted out. Bulbs of garlic, cross necklaces, wooden crosses (as if the necklaces weren’t enough), and vials of water (holy water, I assumed) were laid out on the counter.

“So basically you have
everything to kill a vampire – according to legends, if those are even accurate?” I demanded.

“I didn’t know what else to get,” Henry said lamely.

“Okay.” I tried to think. “If you really didn’t buy all of this stuff to try and kill Lucas, can I at least
tell
him? Warn him you’re coming with a freaking stock pile of weapons?”

“Suits me,” Henry replied.

With one final glare, I left the kitchen to call Lucas.

Chapter 3

The rest of the day passed in a blur. Lucas had sounded more amused than worried when I’d called to tell him about Henry’s vampire slaying kit.

“I can hold my own,” he’d assured me. I had sensed that Lucas was fighting back laughter.

Henry didn’t say much to me for the rest of the day; I could tell he was a bundle of nerves, and I was on edge myself. The thought that something personal of mine could be buried in my grave, like the story Lucas had told us about Tobias, was creepy and brought new meaning to the whole situation.

If there was something in my grave, I would 100% be able to rule out the possibility that this whole back-from-the-dead thing was
not
a fluke of nature. Up until now, I had held onto this notion that maybe, just
maybe
, my coming back had been an accident. Like two stars collided somewhere in the universe and the resulting energy was thrown into my body, magically jolting me back to life.

Y
eah, I knew it sounded crazy, which is why I hadn’t shared it with anyone. But it was far less scary than thinking someone – or some
thing
– had taken the time and energy to go through an elaborate process to bring me back. I mean,
what for
?

Henry had suggested – based on his research – that I had been brought back for something epic, but why?
I was just an average teenage girl, a blip on the map. What significance could I possibly hold in the grand scheme of things?

We were supposed to meet Lucas at the back entrance of the cemetery at 11:30. They locked the gates at dusk, but Lucas said he had a key that would get us in. Lucas had surveyed the area a couple of nights ago to get an idea of the night staff. The cemetery was large, but they only had one night guar
d for the whole of the grounds.

The plan was for me to stand watch while Henry and Lucas dug like crazy. Then we would check the contents of the grave, and repack the dirt as fast as possible.

Henry and I arrived right on time. At first I thought that Lucas wasn’t there yet, but he immediately emerged from the shadows. “Hey,” he whispered.

I
nodded hello, trying not to think about the passionate kiss we had shared the night before. If Lucas was going to act like nothing had happened, then so was I.

“It’s awfully bright out here,” Henry said n
ervously, eyeing the humongous moon directly above us. “May not be a full moon tonight but it practically looks like one.”

“It’ll be fine,” Lucas assured us.

“As long as we don’t get caught!” Henry snapped.

“Aren’t your parents criminal lawyers?” Lucas asked. “I’
m sure they could get us a reduced sentence if needed.”

I looked hard at Lucas, trying to figure out if he was joking or not. His black eyes looked like they were twinkling, but that could easily have been because of the moon.

“What!” Henry somehow managed to screech and still keep his voice barely above a whisper. “My parents would kill me! And besides, they only represent human beings. They would lock me up in the loony bin if I said I was hanging out in the graveyard with a vampire and my dead best friend! Are you nuts?”


Woah, woah. Take it easy.” Lucas laughed. “I was kidding. A
joke
. To lighten the mood. Apparently we are past that point.”

Even in the moonlight, I could see Henry’s face turn a deep crimson. “I knew that,” he muttered.

“Well, let’s not stand here all night,” I hissed. “I’m as unhappy about this as you, Henry.” I pointed at Lucas. “Not sure why he’s Mr. Cool-as-a-cucumber tonight.”

“I watch people for a living, remember? I know how to not get caught doing stuff I shouldn’t be doing.”

“Whatever. Let’s just get on with it,” I said impatiently.

I looked around nervously. The back entrance was off of the main road, so there was very little chance of any cars going by. Through the tall gates, I could see rows and rows of headstones
. I knew by now that my grave was a short trek once we got inside.

Lucas pulled a key out of his coat. “That’s really going to open the gate?” I asked skeptically.
“Maybe they don’t lock it at night anymore. It was open when I crawled out of my grave.”


That’s strange,” Lucas commented. He looked up at me from the key he had been tossing back and forth between his hands. “Just remember: there are no coincidences. I’m sure whoever got you out of the grave needed you to leave the cemetery before anyone noticed you. A big locked gate could have made that a bit more challenging.”

“Yeah, Aurora, you never told me that,” Henry piped up.

I waved my hand dismissively. “You guys really want to have this discussion
now
?” I pointed to the key in Lucas’ hand, which
was tiny and didn’t look like it would open, well, anything. Maybe my 9
th
grade gym padlock. “Let’s make sure that thing works and get a move on!”

“It’s a very special key,” Lucas
said mysteriously.

“And you’re sure there’s not
an alarm system?” Henry chimed in nervously.

“Nah, not too many people looking to break
into
a cemetery.”

“So the gate is
in place to keep the undead creatures from escaping, like in
Thriller
?” Now Henry was starting to look a sickly green. He clutched the satchel containing all of his vampire hunting gear against his chest protectively.

But Lucas just laughed.
“You two need to calm down. We’re covered. I checked everything out ahead of time. The gate is to discourage kids who think it’s funny to run around in the dark, drinking beer and trying to scare each other.”

Henry and I exchanged nervous glances as Lucas sl
otted the key into the gate lock. “The moment of truth,” I whispered to Henry.

Lucas turned the key
, and with a tiny
click
the large gate swung open. He looked over his shoulder and gave Henry and me an
I
told you so
look, then led the way into the cemetery.

We stepped onto the paved path and Lucas quickly closed the gate behind us.
My grave was a couple minutes walk from where we were. “Stay close together,” Lucas whispered. “And flashlights off, for now.” He reached into the backpack he was carrying and handed Henry and me each a flashlight.

“This way is quicker.” Lucas led us off of the paved path so that we were walking amongst the graves.

“I don’t like this,” I protested. “Isn’t it disrespectful to step where people have been buried?”

“Would you have cared if someone stepped on your grave when you were in it?” Lucas asked me.

“Well, no, but it just seems
wrong
.”

“Respect aside, this is fucking creepy,” Henry hissed from behind me.

Woah. He hardly ever swears. He’s usually the one telling me I cuss too much.

“I keep thinking that some hand is going to reach out of one of these graves and drag me down into it,” Henry continued. “I can’t believe I agreed to come here. You know it’s practically midnight now!”

“You’ve watched too many scary movies,” was Lucas’ only response. “Besides, didn’t you bring your anti-vampire gear?”

“I wanted to ask you, does thi
s stuff really work? Garlic, holy water, stakes, crosses…” Henry’s voice trailed off.

“Garlic works on the younger ones,” Lucas replied. “I’m immune to it. I would prefer, however, that you don’t spray me with any holy water. It won’t kill me, but it will sting like hell.”

“Okay,” Henry whispered. “What about the crosses? And the stakes – you know, through the heart?”

“I’m walking in front of you so you should know that means I trust you,” Lucas replied. “I hope that answers your question about the stake,” he said pointedly.

“As for the crosses, I’m not quite sure how that silly legend came about. Just because we’re not human doesn’t mean that we hate God.”

After Lucas’ explanation, w
e moved forward in silence for a while. Lucas was leading the way, me in the middle, and Henry was in the back. Every time a leaf would crunch underneath someone’s foot, I would jump, and Henry was no better.

At least I’m
in the middle. If something leaps out in front of us or attacks us from behind they’ll have to get through Lucas or Henry first.
I wasn’t very comforted, though. If a creature like that werewolf were to come out of nowhere, we’d be toast. I found myself wishing I’d been more receptive to Henry’s plan to bring weapons tonight.

Suddenly, Henry grabbed both of my
shoulders and huddled against me. “What was that?” he hissed.

We all stopped in our tracks. “I don’t hear-“ I started to say
, but was stopped midsentence when Lucas swung around and clamped his hand over my mouth. With his other hand, he put his index finger to his lips, motioning for Henry and me to be quiet.

For a split second, I thought they had both imagined it. But then I heard it, too.
Voices. Very faint in the distance. We all stood there in shocked silence, unable to move. The voices were getting louder.
They must be getting close to us!

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