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|Girls That Growl(Blood Coven Vampire,book 3) by Mari Mancusi|
Tonight's the perfect night to do some recon. Even if it does mean attending a cheerleader party at my archenemy's house.
I reluctantly head back to the locker room entrance, wrap my hand around the door handle, and give it a pull. It doesn't budge. That's weird. Why would they lock the door? Are they happy to be rid of me and want to make sure I don't come back? Nah, that's stupid, right?
I rap on the door. "Hey! Let me in!" I cry. There's no an-swer. I put my ear to the door, trying to figure out what's go-ing on. It's then that I hear a strange noise.
Almost like . . . growling.
I leap back from the door. Isn't that what Teifert had said to look out for? Girls that growl? But why would the Oakridge High squad be growling? It doesn't make any sense. I put my ear back to the door to get a better listen.
Growling, snapping, howling. Almost like there's a pack of rabid dogs behind the door. What the . . . ?
I yank on the door handle again, but it's stuck fast. What if they're in trouble? Cait's in there, after all!
And Shantel! I bang on the door with both fists. "Let me in!" I cry. But there's no response. What if they're all being eaten by a pack of werewolves or something? Do werewolves even exist? I guess if vampires do, it's certainly possible . . .
Why, oh, why do I have to be a powerless vampire? My undead brothers and sisters would have no problem at all breaking down the door and rescuing those trapped inside. Me, I'd have to wait for a locksmith to show up before I could save the day. By then, everyone's likely to have been beaten to a bloody pulp.
Desperate, I send out a mental alert to any vamps in the vicinity. That's another one of the few powers I did inherit, go figure. Yup. I'm a supernatural creature of the night, whose superpower consists of . . .
well, calling for help. And unfortunately I can only send, not receive answers. So I have no idea whether anyone's even paying attention.
A smashing of glass from behind the locked door brings me back from mental telepathy land. I hear a shuffling of feet and the growling fades into the distance. Whoever— what-ever—it was making all that noise has evidently left the building. I've missed everything. I suck. Slayer Inc. is going to be so sorry they didn't get my replacement up to speed before doling out this latest gig.
"Rayne!" I whirl around and catch sight of Jareth striding across the gymnasium floor, an anxious look on his tanned face. "Are you all right?" he asks, approaching me and giv-ing me a once-over with concerned eyes."Iheard your call for help and came as quickly as possible."
I sigh. "Great. Just what I need. Another powerless vamp," I mutter. I'd so been hoping Magnus or one of the other uninfected vamps heard my call for help. "Now we can both stand here looking stupid 'cause we can't break down a simple locked door."
Jareth's face falls and I instantly feel bad for opening my big mouth. After all, the guy used to be all-powerful. The im-penetrable General of the Blood Coven Army. Until, of course, he willingly sacrificed all of his powers for the rest of eternity just to save my miserable little life.
How about a little gratitude, Rayne?
"Sorry," I mutter. "It's been a long night."
"Right," he answers stiffly. But he doesn't look com-pletely appeased. Not that I blame him.
But now is not the time for apologies. "I need to get back into the locker room," I explain, gesturing to the door. "The cheerleaders are inside and there's been all this crazy growl-ing and glass breaking going on. I think they might be in danger!"
Jareth grabs the handle and pulls. To my shock, the door swings open with ease.
"What the hell?" I cry, staring at the door, amazed. "How did you do that? Did you get your powers
back or some-thing?" Wow, wow, wow. If he got his powers back maybe I could, too. I'd become an all-powerful vamp just like every-one else.
Jareth shrugs. "It's just a door, Rayne. Even mere mortals can usually manage to pull them open once in a while."
I scrunch my face in confusion as I walk inside. "But just a moment ago it was—"
The words die in my throat as I get a good glimpse of the locker room. Or should I say what's left of it.
The place is trashed. The bathroom stall doors have been ripped from their hinges. Garbage cans have been turned on their sides, regurgitating used feminine hygiene products and other disgusting trash. Claw marks mar the shower stalls and the smoked glass windows at the far end of the room are smashed out.
But the cheerleaders are nowhere to be seen.
"And I thought guys' locker rooms were messy," Jareth remarks drily.
I approach the windows, trying to peer out into the night. Whoever caused this mess must have escaped through there. I notice something caught on one of the jagged glass shards and pull it free.
A tuft of hair. Like . . . dog hair.
I turn to Jareth, questioningly. "Jareth," I say softly, "are there such things as—?"
But Jareth, suddenly very alert, puts a finger to his mouth. I cock my head in question. What does he hear? He tiptoes over to the last bathroom stall, the only one left with a door on its hinges, and yanks it open.
"Don't hurt me!" cries a female voice inside.
I rush over. It's Cait. Curled up on the toilet seat so her feet don't show under the stall. Like she's hiding from some-one ... or something. She's quivering, trembling.