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|Blood Forever(Blood Coven Vampire,book 8) by Mari Mancusi|
“Um, the whole unleashing-an-army-of-zombies-on-the-world thing?” I remind, gesturing to the front cabin. “You gotta admit, that’s pretty harsh.”
“Once again, I can assure you—”
“—you’re just after Slayer Inc. So you say. But how do you really know?”
“How do you really know? You were obviously wrong before.”
I knew he was going to say that. And what am I supposed to tell him? That the future him came to me in a dream and warned me about Pyrus’s real intentions? He’s so not going to buy that.
“Dude, I totally get that you’re out for vengeance and all,” I say, trying a different tack. “But from personal experience, let me tell you, that whole eye-for-an-eye thing never really works out in real life. And you have to admit, the Slayer Inc. of today provides a valuable otherworld police force. They keep the peace. They protect both humans and vampires from those who want to do them harm. Imagine a world without them. It would be chaos. No checks and balances. No laws. Any evil dictator could just swoop in at a moment’s notice and wreak havoc on the world.” I shrug. “Bottom line, Lucifent is still alive and no worse for wear. Isn’t it best to make peace and move on?”
“I will never make peace with Slayer Inc.” Jareth declares vehemently. “You weren’t there. You didn’t see my sister’s face when that slayer stabbed her through the heart.”
Maybe not, I want to say. But I did see your sister and the rest of your family living happily ever after in an awesome castle down in Hades, loving their afterlife.
If only there were a way I could let Jareth see his sister’s smile. Let him hear his mother’s laugh. Smell his dad’s barbecue. I feel like only then—knowing how happy and safe they are, and knowing how much they want him to feel happy and safe, too—only then will he be able to let go of the hatred, anger, and guilt he’s been harboring for so many years.
I turn to Spider. “Do you mind if I talk to Jareth alone for a second?” I ask.
She looks hesitant. “You don’t want me to go…out there…again, do you?” she asks warily, pointing to the zombie cabin with a shaky finger.
Good point. I scan the room. “How about the bathroom? We won’t be long, I swear.”
Thankfully she nods. “Good idea. Then I can wash off some of this nasty zombie goop.” She skips over to the bathroom, ducking inside and closing the door behind her. Once she’s gone, Jareth turns to me.
“So tell me,” he says in a tight voice. “Who are you really and where did you come from? And don’t pull any more of this mere-mortal crap with me. I know there’s something you’re not telling me, and I want to know what it is.”
“You’re right,” I reply, drawing in a breath. Here goes nothing. “I’m Rayne McDonald. And I’m from the future.”
“Right.” He snorts. “That’s a good one.”
“It’s good because it’s true,” I insist. “Think about it for a second. How else would I know all the things I know? About your family. About you.”
“And what, pray tell, do you know about me?”
There’s so much. Where can I even begin? “I know you used to be a sculptor,” I start. “And that you can still see much of your work around Europe. I know you loved your art but gave it up after your family died—too painful of a reminder of what you’d lost. I know that after their deaths you vowed to walk the earth alone and swore never to love again.” I pause, then add, “And I know that you will change your mind. That you will fall in love. That you’ll fall in love with me.”
Jareth frowns. “Impossible!”
“Is it?” I cry. “Is it so hard to think of a future where you’re not full of hate and rage and revenge? Where you’ve been able to let go of your deepest fears and most painful memories and dared to trust another person besides yourself?”
“You’re making this up,” Jareth insists angrily. “And you’ve told me nothing that you couldn’t have found out on your own. If you’re really from the future—if I’ve really shared all this so-called pain with you—then tell me my deepest secret. The one I’ve never told anyone before.”
I nod slowly, wishing I didn’t have to do this. He may be asking for it, but he doesn’t really want to hear it.
“You think it’s your fault your sister was slain,” I say at last. “Because you ran away instead of helping her.”
Jareth’s face turns white as a ghost. He doesn’t speak. He doesn’t move. He just stares at me with eyes clouded with confusion and fear. I hold my breath, praying I haven’t made a wrong step. That he won’t erupt in rage and kill me on the spot for saying the words aloud. But I had to get him to believe me. Otherwise none of this will matter.
Finally, after what seems an eternity, he opens his mouth to speak. “I’ve never told anyone that,” he says in a quiet voice.
“Not yet you haven’t,” I correct kindly. “But you will. Because you trust me. And you know I’m worthy of your trust.”
He closes his eyes, his face a war of emotions. I wait patiently for him to digest all I’ve said. I know it’s a lot to take in. Too much, perhaps. But the clock is ticking. And I have to convince him I’m worth trusting in other matters as well, before we land and it’s all too late.