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From Inside the Flap
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES...
Thirty years ago, Zachary Cane was held prisoner and tortured by an ancient vampire known as Caitlin. With the help of a local coven of witches, and a vampire hunting order called the Gwyliad Wriaeth, they destroyed Caitlin.
Or so Cane thought...
Now, with the help of three fledgling vampires, Caitlin is ready to extract her revenge... one drop of blood at a time.
On an adventure that spans from Washington D.C., to Cairo, and beyond, the Office of Paranormal Research must team with a legendary group of vampire hunters to save their missing teammate!
Caitlin is the third novel "From the Files of OPR" and will change the lives of Team OPR forever.
? The entire novel is based on a single line from The Abydos Triad.
? The book features the debut of the Gwyliad Wriaeth (White Guard)--a group of ancient Celtic Vampire Hunters. Terence had written a short story entitled Specter’s Lost Journal Entry before this book was started. It features the characters of Marcus Specter and Caitlin early in their shared histories.
? This novel changes the OPR Universe irrevocably. Several of the major characters die (one of the core team members as well).
? The cover was designed by an incredibly talented digital artist known as Lunar Dollz. It truly captures the look of Caitlin for the book.
? As with the zombies in The Abydos Triad, Terence tried to re-vamp the image of vampires. From their ominous glowing eyes, to their ability to take whatever form they wish, these aren?t your standard "Hollywood" vampires.
A lone drop of water fell from somewhere above. It splattered against his forehead and ran down over the bridge of his nose, finally pooling under the tip. Letting his head fall forward, he shook the drop free. A spasm of pain arced up his neck from the deep wounds on both sides. He wondered how much blood he had lost. His thoughts were beginning to lose coherence as his mind became increasingly muddy. His body was bruised and broken. He tried to take a deep breath but stopped. It was too painful. He felt a cough welling up in his throat but did his best to stifle it.
Pressing his eyelids tightly together, he tried to relax his eyes. He could feel a bruise high on his right cheek with a small laceration running through it. His arms had gradually become numb from inactivity. They were chained to the wall above his head, his wrists bound together by two iron cuffs. A long, taut chain connected them high on the wall. He couldn?t remember how long he had been a prisoner here as the days and nights bled into each other in this dark place. He slowly opened his eyes. There was a thin strip of light bleeding from under a far door, barely enough to illuminate the room.
Through the haze behind his eyes, he could vaguely remember being brought here and why. It had been his fault. As a flash of fear gripped him, he remembered his companion. Was she alive? Holding his breath for a moment, he listened for any sounds of life. The silence became deafening. Only the slight creak of his restraining chains filled his ears. His head fell forward in defeat. She was dead and he was next, but the point was moot. Without her, he was already dead.
He needed to relax for a moment, but his predicament made that almost impossible. He was standing flat-footed on the floor with his arms raised straight above. Little leeway was allowed in this position. Shuffling his feet back against the wall, he pushed up onto the balls of his feet until he was standing on the tips of his toes. He let out a long sigh as the pressure was taken off his wrists. He could feel how raw they were. Even the slightest movement of the restraints stung the wounds.
Cane was completely naked. His captors had taken joy in ripping his clothes from his body and exposing his pale flesh. They had taken care of some of the wounds on his body, especially those on his chest and upper thighs. Cotton bandages were being held in place by generous amounts of tape. He found it odd they would even attempt to take care of him. They were keeping him alive just to watch him die.
A cough shattered the silence followed by the rattle of chains and a soft moan in the darkness. Zachary Cane perked up his ears as a look of hopefulness crossed his face. "Lydia?"
There was another cough, but no reply.
"Lydia, are you okay?" Cane asked again. His voice sounded strange in his own ears. It was slightly younger, and his British accent was a bit thicker. He cleared his throat. Maybe he was going mad?the combination of constant darkness, pain, and blood loss had a way of doing that to a person?but something about this entire situation wasn?t right?.
"No," came Lydia’s voice. It was weak and engorged with pain. "I?m dying. How do you think I feel?" A cough interrupted her anger. It gurgled from deep within her lungs, bringing blood with it. She could taste on her lips. Leaning her head back slowly, she found it increasingly difficult to catch her breath. Her lungs were filling with fluid. She was slowly drowning.
Lydia Katran wasn?t pinned to the wall as Cane was, instead, her captors had chained her feet and hands to the floor. She was stuck with her legs crossed behind her and her palms flat on the floor in front of her. Her back ached, but there was no way for her to sit up or lie down. As with Cane, she was completely naked except for a scrap of her shirt that hung from her collar. Her long brown hair, matted with blood and dirt, hung over her face in a mess. The smell of blood was beginning to make her nauseous, but that was the least of her problems. "They?ll come for us," she said after a moment.
Cane furrowed his brow. "Lydia," he said cautiously, "I don?t think anyone’s going to bloody find us here. We really screwed up this time," he said more to himself than her.
Lydia threw her head back trying to get the hair out of her face. "Have faith in the God and Goddess," she rasped. "They will find a way to free us. My coven knows we came here."
Cane remained quiet for a long time. Lydia knew he didn?t believe in any kind of God, or Goddess for that matter, and that he only tolerated her Wiccan beliefs. It was strange. He was an avid believer in the supernatural, magick included, but he refused to believe a higher power could exist. She forced a smile. Cane was a riddle, wrapped in an enigma and tucked nicely in a basket of fish and chips.
"I don?t think even your mates could bust us out of ?ere," Cane said finally.
"You have to have faith," Lydia’s voice was filled with wheezes and pops, but she still managed to bring a small amount of comfort to Cane. "I may still be a new initiate, but I have felt their power. We will be rescued soon."
Cane ran his tongue over his dry, cracked lips. It had been some time since any liquid had touched them. If there were to be a rescue, surely it would have happened by now. He didn?t want to voice his doubts to Lydia, but he had the nagging feeling an attempt had already been made, and their captors had wiped out the coven. It was just a feeling. He hoped to Hell he was wrong. Taking a deep breath, he felt a twinge of pain run up his side. Cane gritted his teeth, fighting the urge to cry out. After a moment, the pain began to subside, returning the familiar numbness. As he relaxed his jaw, he scanned the room with his eyes. He was barely able to make out a few dim shapes in the room, but it wasn?t enough to allay his worries. As his eyes stopped on the small sliver of light at the base of the door, his heart begin to race. A pair of shadows passed through the light. Someone, or something was there, just outside?waiting.
He perked his ears at the slight sound of the door handle being grasped. Pushing up as high as he could on his toes, he leaned his body forward and pulled on the chains. Every muscle in his upper body strained against the iron shackles. He heard them creak and groan in protest, but it wasn?t enough to break free. There was nowhere for him to go, no way he could get to Lydia.
He listened to the door mechanism click. A burst of light blinded him temporarily as the door was thrown open. Turning his head away, he continued to listen. There was nothing. No footfalls and no whispered voices. Not even the sound of moving fabric could be heard. The sharp scent of a woman’s cologne suddenly stung his nostrils. Opening his eyes slowly, he faced front with hesitation. He could make out a woman’s form, her face shadowed by the backlight. It looked as if a glowing yellow aura surrounded her entire body, but Cane knew it was just the light spilling in from the hallway just beyond the open door.
"How’s my pet feeling this morning?" a soft voice asked.
Cane ignored her, but kept his vision trained on her.
The woman leaned close, pressing her hand gently against his chest. She moved her fingernails softly through his chest hair. "I see someone’s grumpy today," she said. Cane wasn?t quite sure, but he could make out the slightest Gaelic accent in her voice. It was barely perceptible.
She glanced over her shoulder and nodded. The room was instantly filled with a hard, white light. Cane clamped his eyelids shut as he turned his head away. He had been in the dark so long, the light hurt him. Opening his watering eyes again, he blinked rapidly as he tried to adjust. Slowly, everything in the room came into focus. They were in a wine cellar. Tall shelves lined the far walls filled with bottles of numerous label and vintage. The floor was covered with deep, red tile, but he could still make out several bloodstains below himself and Lydia. The room was much smaller than he had estimated, measuring probably ninety to one hundred square feet.
Looking up, Cane could see two men standing on either side of the open door. They were dressed casually, but impeccably. Both were clean-shaven and appeared to be of Caucasian and Hispanic?respectively?descent, but seemed extraordinarily pale in the light. Their eyes had a slight yellow tint to them.
Cane returned his attention to the woman in front of him. She was beautiful. Long, wavy, red hair hung down around her face, terminating just below her shoulders. Her eyes were lush and as green as sea foam. They almost appeared white as the light danced off them. There was nary a blemish or scar visible anywhere on her face. Her alabaster skin was flawless, appearing very much like porcelain. The blood red lipstick she was wearing on her full lips and dark eye shadow complimented her perfectly.
Her body, wrapped in a tight black dress that ended just above her knees, was equally impressive. She could easily have passed as a model or movie star. Her breasts appeared firm and full, but weren?t overly large. She was definitely fit and trim, and Cane would describe her body type as "athletic". The beautiful curves of her hips gave way to long, slender legs. He glanced down at her hand, which was still firmly against his chest. They were immaculate to the very tips of the sharp nails painted almost the same color as her lips. A pair of black heels and a long, dark brown leather jacket completed the package.
She pulled the corners of her mouth up into a seductive smile, barely exposing her flawless white teeth. "I?m going to give you a choice tonight," she breathed. She leaned close to his ear. "Do you want to die first, or second?"
Cane remained silent.
She ran her hand up his chest to his throat and stopped. Curling her fingers over, she sunk the tips of her fingernails viciously into his flesh. Cane gasped, but remained resolute. "Let me ask you again, pet. Do you want to watch us abuse the witch, or would you rather go first?" She dug her nails a bit deeper producing a bead of blood.
"Why don?t you sod off?" Cane growled through gritted teeth.
The woman smiled. "Fine. The witch is first." She lifted her free hand and snapped her fingers. Her two men moved quickly toward Lydia. Dropping to their knees on either side of her, they held still for a moment just watching her. Then, with movements so fast it was hard for Cane to track, they were on her. Lydia screamed in pain and terror as the first man grabbed a fistful of her hair and yanked her head back. The second man straddled her crossed legs, pressing his cupped hands against her breasts. The two men paused and looked back at the woman. A smile crossed their faces as she nodded.
Tossing his head back, the second man opened his mouth wide. Cane watched in horror as the man’s canine teeth grew into fangs. Snapping around, the second man bent down and ran his tongue over Lydia’s right breast and nipple. Lydia struggled vainly to get away but the men easily overpowered her. The second man turned his head back slightly to watch Cane’s reaction. His eyes were changing into a deep, mustard yellow as an evil smile grew on his lips. Grabbing her breast again with his pale hand, he exposed his fangs and bit into her flesh. She screamed in pain, but it quickly died in her throat as the first man bit into her neck. Lydia’s head fell back as a moan escaped her lips as the two men worked over her.
Cane turned away from the sight. Anger burned in his eyes as he stared at his captor. "Vampire," he hissed.
The woman laughed. "Human," she said mockingly. She slowly pushed herself against Cane’s naked body, grinding her hips slowly between his legs. "You know," she smiled, exposing her own fangs, "even though you die when we feed, most victims find it quite," she paused for effect, "pleasurable. Look at your woman. She’s loving every minute of it," she whispered. "If she could move her legs, she would probably spread them wide for?"
"You bitch!" Cane yelled as he lashed forward, barely missing the woman’s face. She was too fast for him. He struggled angrily against his restraints.
The woman pressed her finger against Cane’s lips. "That wasn?t very gentlemanly. You should save the dirty talk for when we?re alone," she laughed. She pulled slightly away from Cane. He watched as her eyes dissolved to yellow and her iris and pupil quickly vanished. "It’s your turn, love. Try to relax."
Lunging forward, she pressed her mouth to Cane’s neck, just below his jaw. She drug the tips of her razor sharp fangs over his skin, then with one push, bit down. He felt both pop through his flesh. Pain radiated out in every direction as she removed her fangs from the holes she had just created. She worked the tip of her tongue around what felt to Cane like gaping craters. Quickly, the pain subsided as a wave of pleasure began to wash over him. The woman pressed herself firmly against him as she moved her hands up his body. Cain’s eyes rolled back in his head and the light around him began to fade, but he didn?t care. If he could move his arms, he would return the embrace. The analytical portion of his brain realized her bite had triggered a kind of euphoria in his brain, but he didn?t care. He hoped she would never stop touching him?. He felt his life begin to slip away.
* * *
Cane sat straight up in bed. His heart pounding, he immediately moved his hand to his neck and let out a long sigh of relief. Propping himself up on his hands, he took a deep breath and tried to calm down. Glancing to his right, he saw the familiar red glow of his alarm clock. It was a little after three in the morning. His entire apartment was still dark. He looked down at his bed. His sheets and comforter were in a state of disarray. It was a dream, he reassured himself, but he knew the awful truth. He reached for the glass of water he kept next to his bed. Lifting it to his lips, he took a long drink of the clear, cool liquid, then deposited it back onto the nightstand.
Lying back down in bed, he pulled the covers up to his stomach. He briefly wondered how Lydia was. Now that they were back on speaking terms, they had been talking much more often. He would have to call her first thing in the morning. Cane ran his hand through his graying hair as he closed his eyes. He needed to get some sleep. He couldn?t waste anymore time dwelling in the past, awake or asleep.
* * *
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