Requiem for the Dead

By: Kelly Meding

For every Dreg City fan who has supported this series since day one, this book is for you. It wouldn't have happened without you.

Chapter One

Sunday, August 31

1:15 a.m.

I don't like morgues. Never have, never will. My life started over again in a morgue, so naturally I have a pretty negative association with them—and with this one in particular, since it's where I was reborn. In the basement of St. Eustachius Hospital, not twenty feet from where I was standing, right behind that solid metal door.

Plus morgues smell to high hell and that's just never pleasant for anyone, especially a half-human, half-werewolf with an extra-sensitive sense of smell.

Not me. I'm completely human (well, kind of). The half-and-half I live with (he despised the word half-breed, so I gave him a nickname he despised just a little bit less) would be Wyatt Truman, my boyfriend, work partner, and also the guy creeping into the morgue with me late on a Saturday night. We never seemed to manage anything normal couples did together, like dinner and a movie, or even just a long walk in the park on a sunny afternoon. Our "dates" usually included any combination of hunting, capturing, questioning, killing, and breaking-and-entering. Normal has never been in our relationship description.

This particular morgue wasn't providing us with much of a challenge in regard to breaking and entering. The lower level of the hospital was nearly deserted at this hour, the corridor barely lit, and the only way I imagined we'd be interrupted during our little job was if a pileup on the city bypass resulted in a mad rush of casualties into the ER. And even then, our eyes and ears on the outside would give us ample warning.

Getting access to our objective was as easy as using the keycard we'd had copied for us the day before. In the dim corridor of the hospital basement, I slid the card down the door lock while Wyatt waited behind me, every muscle in his body tense and alert. Shadows made his black hair seem impossibly darker, and the telltale ring of silver around his otherwise black irises glimmered in the light of a nearby overhead. The silver was the only outward sign that he was no longer human—hadn't been for five weeks.

The lock light turned from orange to green, and something inside the door popped. I grabbed the handle, but didn't pull.

"Evy?" Wyatt said softly, his voice strangely loud as it burst the silence.

"Just reflecting," I said. "A few months ago, I was sneaking out of this place in sweats eight sizes too big and with every intention of stealing a lab tech's car."

"And now you're breaking back in."

"Yeah. Funny how life comes full circle." Usually right before it turned around and bit you on the ass, but I was trying to stay positive about tonight's adventure.

I pulled the door, and Wyatt and I slipped inside. The familiar smells stung my nose—formaldehyde and industrial cleaner and a deeper, darker scent of death. I felt along the wall to my right until I found a switch, then blinked as my eyeballs were assaulted with light. It took a minute for the room to come into focus.

Same plain gray walls and yellow tiled floors, with two beds on either side of a floor drain. Instrument tables stood clean and organized, waiting for their next victims to be brought in for autopsy. Just past those tables was the wall of doors that held individual trays, and some of those trays held bodies. My body had been in one of those for a few hours, until being put out for autopsy. Fortunately, I came back to life before they could cut me open, and I scared the hell out of a lab tech named Pat.

I was forever grateful I hadn't woken up still locked in one of those little cubicles; I'd have probably lost my shit completely and never adjusted to life in someone else's body. Or simply frozen to death before anyone knew I was back, and then Wyatt's sacrifice would have been for nothing.

The mental image of me, blue and cold, zipped up in a black bag, burrowed into my brain like a tick and refused to let go. I took a deep, steadying breath so the macabre thought didn't show on my face.

Keep it together, Stone.

"It's in number four," Wyatt said.

He crossed to the wall of doors and stopped near the top one, far right. He pulled the door lever and it creaked open with a hiss and burst of cool air. I waited a few feet away while he pulled the tray out, along with the black bag on top of it. It put the body at about chest-level.

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