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|Night School(Blood Coven Vampire,book 5) by Mari Mancusi|
“Wait! You’ve got to—!” Rachel cries out after me. I stop, turning to question ...
... and an alarm starts blaring through the building.
Uh-oh. Did I do that?
“You’ve got to watch for the infrareds,” Rachel says with a sigh. “Or, you know, not.”
“Too late now,” Corbin cries. “We need to get out of here, fast!” He runs out the door and down the darkened hallway, which flashes with red lights, pulsing in time with the siren. We reach a set of double doors and push them open, bursting into the same laboratory I woke up in. At the end of the room, a large, bright exit sign is illuminated. We rush toward it, but Corbin stops short, forcing Rachel and I to slam into him. A few beakers fall from the table and shatter with a loud sound. Corbin puts a finger to his lips.
We listen. From below we can hear shouts, footsteps pounding on the stairs, doors slamming. “We can’t go this way,” Corbin says. “We’ll run right into them. Go back the way we came!”
So we head back through the double doors and into the red flashing hallway. This time we take a left and shoot down another dark corridor.
“In here,” Rachel says, pointing to an unmarked door. We push through, entering a large, high-ceilinged room, filled with ... beds?
“What the ... ?” Corbin looks down in horror at the bed nearest him, his face whitening and his mouth opening into a scream. Rachel catches it just in time, covering his mouth with her hand.
“Shhh!” she commands him. “Don’t give us away.”
He manages to close his mouth and Rachel removes her hand. He points at the bed with a shaky finger. I look down at the figure lying upon it. A boy, probably about eighteen. Blond hair, pale skin, eyes closed. He looks almost dead, but I can see the slow pulse at his neck. Coma, perhaps?
“Parker ... ?” Corbin whispers hoarsely, staggering backward. Rachel catches him and holds him up until he can regain his balance.
“Who’s Parker?” I ask curiously, grabbing the chart off the end of the bed. Sure enough the paperwork identifies him as Parker Anderson. “Injected with nine milliliters of vampire blood,” I read. “Current condition: comatose.”
Corbin shakes his head in horror. “No ...” he whispers.
“This is what I’ve been trying to tell you,” I say gently, believing he’s finally ready to hear the truth. “The Alpha program? They’re trying to turn you all into vampires—so you can fight as soldiers in their war to take over the world. But evidently they haven’t gotten their formula quite right yet.” Thank goodness, too, or we’d be in even more trouble than we are already.
“Trinity, Taylor, Conner, Julian—all of Riverdale’s former Alphas are here,” Corbin says, going from bed to bed. “I thought ... I thought they were ...”
“James Bonding out there in the otherworld?” Rachel says wryly. “Yeah, not so much.”
Before anyone can answer, we hear a door open and what sounds like a hundred footsteps clomping just outside. Rachel dives for the door, locking it behind us. “We need to get up to the roof,” she says. “To the helicopter.”
“Um, can anyone here actually fly a helicopter?” I venture as we run through the room and to the back door. Behind us, I can hear them banging on the door, trying to break it open.
“I can,” Corbin says, his distraught face thankfully morphing into a determined one.
Rachel looks at him skeptically. “A real one, or are you talking video game simulation?”
He scowls. “Well, unless you’ve got your pilot’s license, honey, I’m the best chance we’ve got.”
“Less fighting, more running,” I call breathlessly up at them.
I lose track of floors as we run up flight after flight. After what seems a million years, we finally reach a door at the top. I wrap my fingers around it and turn.
“Great. Now what?” Corbin asks angrily. “You vampires have advanced lock-picking powers, maybe?”
“Nope, but I’ve got super strength,” Rachel says with a smile. She slams her body against the door. The wood creaks and moans, but doesn’t give way.
“Might want to turn up the ‘super’ a little,” Corbin suggests, unhelpfully.
Below, the voices are getting louder. “Up here! They’ve gone to the roof!”
“Come on, Rachel!” I urge. “You can do it!”
Rachel slams the door again. And again.
“Hang on,” Corbin says after her fourth attempt. “Allow me.” He backs up and charges the door, throwing his full weight upon it. The wood gives way and Corbin crashes through.
He grins mockingly at Rachel. “After you, vampire.”
Rachel gives him a grudging nod of respect, then dashes through the hole that used to be the door. I follow directly behind, out onto the roof. It’s nighttime and the wind whips through my hair as we make a mad run for the small chopper sitting on the helipad. Corbin takes the driver’s seat and starts fumbling with the controls. The propellers begin to slowly whirl and a moment later we’re hovering a few feet off the ground.
“Let’s go!” I cry.
“Hang on,” Corbin says, madly working the gears. “This is supposed to just be a two-person helicopter,” he says. “We need to throw some stuff off.” He grabs a parachute case and tosses it to the ground.