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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
I want to say more—a thousand things more—but the blackness chooses that moment to sweep in and take me away…forever.
“Sunny! Rayne! Are you two still in bed? The bus will be here in ten minutes!”
I rub my eyes groggily, confused at what sounds like my mother’s voice, just outside my bedroom door. Something I know is impossible, since she’s off ruling Fairyland and I’m, well, stuck in the land of the dead. The same place I’ve been hanging out ever since that fateful night under the streets of New York City when Bertha the Vampire Slayer decided to go and kill me.
You know, I have to say, I’m still pretty freaking ticked off about that whole thing, by the way. I mean, hello? She’s a vampire slayer. I’m a fairy. Killing me is so not part of her job description. Unfortunately there’s really no way to lodge a complaint against her with the powers-that-be from down here in Hades, where I’m stuck for eternity.
I pull the covers over my head and close my eyes, trying to go back to sleep. I’m exhausted after spending most of yesterday playing softball with my dad in the Elysian Fields. I know it sounds bad-daughter-ish to say, but I have to admit, I like the fact that he’s dead, too. It’s nice to have family around. I only hope when I’m finally judged, they let me stay living with him in his little white picket fence split-level in the nice neighborhood of Elysian Heights instead of sending me off to someplace like Tartarus, where the really evil people go. (Like, imagine trying to borrow a cup of sugar from your neighbors bin Laden and Gaddafi…)
“Sunny?” The voice sounds again, this time louder. I reluctantly manage to sit up in bed. It’s then that I realize I’m no longer in the cozy little guest bedroom my dad offered to me the day I showed up dead on his doorstep. Instead I somehow appear to be back in my old bedroom in Oakridge, Massachusetts, where we used to live before the fairies came after us and we fled to Vegas. My familiar posters hang on the wall and the patchwork quilt my grandmother made me sits folded at the end of my bed.
Which is completely impossible, of course, seeing as this bedroom, as it looks now, no longer exists. The fairies burned down the entire house months ago.
Which means…I sigh, flopping down on my bed…I must be having a dream.
A moment later my mother sticks her head through the doorway. She’s wearing some kind of long, colorful hemp skirt and peasant blouse, the kind of outfit she used to favor before taking on her current role of Queen of the Light Court. (Fairy wardrobes require a lot more bedazzling.) It makes me smile. What a lovely dream. My old life, nice and normal, just as it used to be long, long ago.
Mom doesn’t smile back. Instead, she crosses her arms over her chest, a frown etched on her face. “Sunshine McDonald,” she scolds. “Get up this instant. You’re going to be late for school.”
I contemplate telling her I’m going to skip—after all, dream attendance doesn’t affect one’s GPA. But then I reconsider. If I manage to stay asleep, all the way to school, I might actually get to dream up some of my old friends and field hockey teammates. That would be pretty awesome—even if they are only figments of my own imagination.
“Sure, Mom,” I agree, rolling out of bed, enjoying the feel of soft Victoria’s Secret silk pajamas sliding against my skin. Not many people know this, but when you die, you’re stuck in the clothing you died in until your judgment day. (Yet another reason it’s important to wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident.) The day I died, I’d made an unfortunate wardrobe decision of an itchy wool sweater that I’ve been regretting ever since.
Mom nods, seemingly satisfied that I’m up for good, then heads out of my room, presumably to go bug my sister. As I search through my closet for a nonitchy outfit, I hear a sudden scream coming from the next room.
What the—? Afraid the dream might be turning nightmare, I rush out of my room and into my sister’s. Rayne’s got the covers pulled up to her chin and she’s staring at Mom as if she’s some kind of ghost of Christmas past.
“Oh my God, it worked! It really worked!” she starts babbling, over and over again.
“What worked?” I ask curiously. Her gaze sweeps over to me and she bounds out of bed, throwing her arms around me and squeezing me tight. She’s dressed in her favorite Emily the Strange nightgown and I realize she has dirty-blond hair—like she used to before she dyed it last year to differentiate herself from me.
“You’re crushing my ribs,” I point out. In fact, for a dream hug, it really kind of hurts. I attempt to pry her fingers off me, but she clings on tight, as if she hasn’t seen me for years. From the corner of my eye I can see Mom shake her head.
“The bus will be here in less than ten minutes,” she announces. “I would like to see you both be on it.” And with that, she walks out of the room.
“Ohmigod, ohmigod,” Rayne cries, thankfully releasing me from her death hold and bouncing over to her bed. “I can’t believe it. It really happened! He really did it!”
“Who did what?” I ask, starting to get a little annoyed. My dream was much more peaceful before Rayne decided to invade it.
My twin turns to me, her eyes wide. “Don’t you remember?” she asks. “Oh, please say you remember. At the very least I need you to know what’s going on here. I can’t be the only one.”
I draw in a slow breath. “Remember what, Rayne?”