Obsessed (the Vampire Journals)

By: Morgan Rice

(book #12 in the vampire journals)



CHAPTER ONE




From the roof of the ancient Boldt Castle, Scarlet Paine could hear Sage’s agonized screams. They echoed through the cold November night, each one feeling like a knife slicing into her heart. She could not bear the thought of it, of Sage being tortured to death by his own kind because he loved her, because he would not kill her in order to live two thousand more years. Scarlet had never dreamed she would be loved so fiercely by someone, so fiercely that they would actually die for her. And yet here she was, about to do the same for him.

Lore, Sage’s cousin, had lured her to Boldt Castle. The Immortalists’ two-thousand-year life span would be over once the moon waned, and Lore was desperate to take her life—the only way to save theirs. She, the last vampire on Earth, had to be sacrificed. Even though Scarlet knew it was a trap, she had to come. She knew her life would end here tonight, yet it would be worth it for a chance to save Sage.

Another one of Sage’s screams pierced the night. Scarlet couldn’t bear to listen to his agony any longer. She drew herself to standing and flapped her wings so that she was hovering an inch or two above the castle’s old, sloping slate tiles. Then, heart pounding, she flew down through the window.

The room was at least a hundred feet high. Scarlet swooped through the shadows of the vaulted ceiling and perched on one of the old wooden ceiling beams. She felt a wave of heat coming from below her and glanced down. The hall was filled with an agitated, angry crowd of Immortalists. There must have been at least a thousand of them in here. The crowd looked like a swarm of insects from this distance, some pacing back and forth whilst others were swooping a few yards above the ground. They were far enough below, at least, for them not to notice her hiding there.

Scarlet clung to her perch, feeling her palms grow slippery with anxious perspiration, waiting for her chance, psyching herself up to jump.

Down below, the Immortalists were fixated in one particular direction: a slightly raised platform that stood at one end of the room. There was an impossibly tall man on the stage, holding a long staff. He seemed to be jabbing the staff against a large cross.

Scarlet cocked her head in confusion as the cross appeared to move. It was then that she realized there was someone shackled to the cross, someone who writhed in pain every time the man’s staff was jabbed into him.

Her heart lurched as she realized: Sage.

Anger rippled through every fiber of Scarlet’s being. The man she loved was strung out by his arms and legs. His head was drooping forward onto his chest with exhaustion and his hair was slick with sweat. Blood had dripped down his torso and pooled at his feet. Scarlet wanted to scream out for him but knew she had to keep quiet or risk being spotted by the braying crowd. She felt sick to her stomach knowing that Sage’s torture was on display, that he was at the center of their hatred.

Scarlet watched in horror as the man in the long crimson cloak on the stage brandished the staff with a cross at its end before slamming it against the floor. The stone tiles made a loud noise that reverberated through the cavernous space.

“Will you relinquish?” the man screamed. “Will you give the girl up?”

He appeared to be the instigator of the torture and Scarlet concluded that he must be the Immortalists’ leader. She remembered Sage telling her about the man who commanded his race. His name was Octal and from what Sage had told her, he was a violent tyrant.

“Answer me!” Octal screamed.

The crowd joined in with a loud jeer.

Scarlet could not hear Sage’s answer from this distance but she knew that whatever he had said was not what Octal wanted to hear, because he leaned forward and pushed the metal staff into Sage’s chest. Sage let out a blood-curdling scream.

Scarlet could hold herself back no longer. She leapt from the beam she’d been crouched on and screamed at the top of her lungs.

“STOP!”

As she began soaring down toward the crowd, the Immortalists below turned their gazes up to her in one sharp, sudden movement. Scarlet faltered and her wings suddenly seized up with terror. She began plummeting through the air on a collision course with the angry mob below.

From far away, Scarlet could hear Sage scream her name. It was the scream of a desperate man in love, a man whose heart was being torn from his body, a man whose pain at seeing his lover race toward death was far greater than the pain of the torture he’d just been enduring.

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