Dark Hunger


Chapter 11


Slaine's bite hadn't been horrible. And that made Carrow furious.

Luckily, she could now vent her fury because she'd sucked in his happiness as if through a straw. Power! A swift, scorching infusion of it. She was even stronger this time.

"You shouldn't have done that again." Was she just like the bite whores in New Orleans who got off on having their blood drunk?

The bite whores Carrow loved to ridicule.

With a wave of one of her glowing hands, the rope around her ankle disintegrated, allowing her to stand. Another wave brought her missing ring flying to her as though magnetized. As she slipped it on, she gave him a cruel smile. "Double, double toil and trouble," she murmured. "Where do you want it this time?"

His tone stern, he said something in Demonish that sounded like an order. Carrow didn't like orders, was accustomed to giving them.

So she fired on him, propelling him across the clearing. He staggered to his feet, looking disappointed with her.

"You think I should respond differently?" She fired again. "Though I warned you to keep your fangs to yourself?"

When he growled at her, frustration stamping his rough features, she cried, "Then treat me differently, goon! I'm as simple as that."

On her third strike, he tensed his body, bowing up to take the hit directly in the chest, almost proudly. Then he narrowed his gaze on her neck and smirked, as if to say, It was worth it, honey.

Her eyes went wide. "Oh, you are so dead," she vowed. "You don't even know how dead you are!" Using the last of her strongest magic, she launched another shot and heard something snap that time. Maybe his ribs? A collarbone?

Yet he was still standing! She'd tapped herself out - no more spells, no more cloaking or firing - and for what?

Gnashing his teeth, he held out his hand to her. As if with great difficulty, he sounded out, "Home."

Though shocked that he knew even one word of English, she said, "Go home with you? Not likely." But her curiosity got the better of her. "Oh, so now you know English?"

He frowned.

"Heh. Or not."

Still he tried to communicate with her. He waved a hand at the surrounding area, then ran his finger over his neck.

"You're telling me there's danger around here? Duh! How about danger with you? You bit me twice, broke my wrist, and bruised my sternum - all in twenty-four hours!" At the memory of each incident, her temper rekindled. "Why would I ever voluntarily go anywhere with you?"

With obvious irritation, he made a dampening motion with two flattened hands - to tell her to shut up?

In a tone as dangerous as she was feeling, she bit out, "Did you just shush me?"

He put his finger over his lips, then motioned around them again.

"You did! You freaking shushed me? Word to the wise, demon ..." She trailed off when something rustled the brush nearby. Pointing in that direction, she asked, "What the hell is that?"

He glowered at her, as if he'd already explained this.

"Yet another thing that can kill me? Besides Cloverfield monsters and demon rapists - present company not excluded." Yet as she spoke, she recalled how he'd saved her from the monster Xs and Asmodel's gang.

With difficulty, she acknowledged that she wouldn't have lasted the day without him - and likely wouldn't survive a second night with no magic for a cloaking spell.

She remembered him warning her to run before his first attack. He'd wanted to spare her.

Unless, of course, he merely liked the chase.

Maybe he lost control solely in the heat of battle? Perhaps it wasn't Carrow who'd triggered him last night and today, but the clash with those demons and then the monster X attacks.

More scrabbling sounded, this time accompanied by a new sucking sound - from above. Of all the creatures she'd heard, the calls and cries at night, she'd never heard anything from the sky.

"Alton, ara." He held out his hand for her.

What would Ripley do? She'd face the known rather than the unknown and accept help from unlikely allies. An extra gun was an extra gun, no matter who was pointing it.

Still Carrow was hesitant, absently reaching up to feel the demon's bite. Then she asked herself, What's more dangerous than Malkom Slaine biting and claiming me?

Answer: Everything - else - out - here.

Case closed.

She had two goals. To stay alive and to free Ruby. Carrow needed him for both. But she knew a male like him would expect sex from the female under his guard.

She would have to manage him, appeasing him short of sex. She ignored what might have been a flutter of excitement at the idea.

"Home," he repeated.

I'll try to establish some ground rules. "No biting." She pointed at her neck, then at his fangs while vigorously shaking her head. "Biting ... nooo."

He gave her a look of disbelief, clearly taking her meaning - and not liking it. A spate of stern Demonish followed. Was he justifying it? To argue his point? She knew he'd enjoyed drinking her, but was it this important for him not to give up?

She made a peace/viper fangs hand sign, tapping her neck while shaking her head. "No biting, demon."

He flung his hands out in a What gives? gesture.

With her palms on her head, she mimed that the bite had made her woozy and her head hurt.

His lips thinned. Then, with a wary glance upward, he "uickly crouched in the dirt, drawing three circles in an arc with lines between them. Once done, he pointed at the indistinct sun.

"Okay. I think I'm with you. Morning, noon, and dusk. This represents a day?"

He held up two fingers.

"Two days? Without biting? No dice, demon." She held up eight fingers.

With a warning growl, he held up five.

Perfect. When she nodded, he held his hand over his chest, his expression pained. He'd just sworn he wouldn't bite her. Though it was obviously a huge concession for him.

Could she trust his vow? In her situation, she had to trust this demon to a degree, had to believe he wouldn't bite her.

Her next condition wouldn't be so easy. "No sex."

Not understanding, he shrugged, then motioned for her to hurry.

How to say sex? How to mime sex? "Ah, gods, are you really going to make me do this hand gesture?" She made an okay sign with one hand, then threaded the forefinger from her other hand through it.

His eyes widening, he nodded emphatically.

Until she did it again while saying, "Noooo sex. NO."

He growled, pounding his fist over his heart again.

"Yes, I know I'm ... yours. But you're too strong." She made a muscleman arm, pointing at her bicep, then pointing at him.

"Fortis?" he said.

"Latin?" I suck at Latin. Carrow just memorized it for spells or used it for fun. More than once, she'd slurred, Carrowicus much drunkicus or Hot-assicus in my greedy handsicus.

But she thought fortis meant strong. Maybe. "You" - she pointed at him - "are fortis ... maximus?"

His chin went up, and he nodded arrogantly, as if saying, Tell me something I don't know.

She scooped up a twig, pointing to herself, saying, "Me." Then she broke the twig.

He gave another nod of understanding, and again she noted the cunning in his eyes.

"So nooo sex."

Before she could extract that promise, a roar from above sounded. "Oh, shit." With a gulp, she sidled up to him. "And we're off!"



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