That woke him. He groaned and slowly opened his eyes. “Wh-where… what happened?” He sat up, wincing as he rubbed the back of his head.

“I don’t know. I just woke up a few seconds ago.”

“Where are Kristal and Jake?”

“I told you, I don’t know.”

He pulled himself off the damp ground and we both sat on the bench.

“I don’t understand why these vampires want us,” he said. “I thought that vampire left you on the beach, even though he could have easily taken you?”

My brain was throbbing. “Yes,” I said. “He let me go. He even seemed scared to come near me.”

“Then what the hell are we doing here now? Who are these vampires? Where have they come from? They shouldn’t even exist.”

I paused and ran a tongue over my parched lips as a more disturbing question entered my mind. What will they do—or what have they already done—with Kristal and Jake?

“Some supernatural powers would come in handy now,” Ben muttered.

My throat was so dry, I was dying for water. I scanned the room, but there was nothing down here except a few dirty blankets in the corner. I buried my face in my hands and breathed deeply.

If anything happens to them, it will be all our fault.

We should have just gone to that stupid Scottish island.

“Ben,” I said suddenly. “Check your pockets. Is your phone still there?”

He reached into his back jeans pockets and shook his head.

“They must have searched us and confiscated it.”

I swore.

Ben got up and walked over to the metal door of the chamber and banged his fists against it.

“We’re awake, you assholes!” he yelled, his voice as hoarse as my own. “Some water would be appreciated.”

Ben returned to his seat. Several minutes later, footsteps sounded outside and the door creaked open.

A tall ginger vampire stepped in and placed a tin bowl filled with water down on the floor. I recognized those light blue eyes of his instantly.

“What have you done with them?” I hissed, jumping up and running toward the door.

He slammed it shut before I could reach it.

I shouted in frustration and kicked the door. I looked down at the bowl and brought it over to the bench.

“You have some first,” Ben said.

I took a sip, then passed the bowl to him. We alternated until we’d drunk it all up. It tasted stale and metallic, like it had been stored in some kind of old rusting container for too long, but at least it wasn’t sea water.

Ben placed the bowl on the floor and I rested my head against his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me closer against him.

“I miss our parents,” Ben admitted.

“Me too.”

Chapter 12: Sofia

Under the questioning glares of all the vampires on the island, we made them all gather in the large clearing outside the Black Heights and wait in line as we called them into the mountain chambers for interviewing. Claudia, Ashley and Zinnia produced a particularly loud symphony of complaining, so we saw those three early. Eli, Derek and I each interviewed a vampire at a time, but it still took all day even though each interview didn’t last long.

We even interviewed those closest to us: Vivienne, Xavier and my own father, Aiden. Although there was no chance in hell they’d betray us, we had to do it.

Lastly, we asked ourselves the same questions and concluded that each of us had alibis.

As it turned out, every single vampire on the island had alibis for the night the Cancún kidnappings took place… except for Aiden and Abby.

Eli, Derek and I sat alone in one of the mountain chambers we now used for storing sacks of food for the human inhabitants of the island.

“Well, leaving aside my father and Abby for a moment, everyone else seems to be innocent,” I said. “Of course, unless this is a mass operation with multiple vampires going behind our backs and providing each other with alibis.”

“I suppose that it’s possible,” Derek said. “But that would be hard to orchestrate on such short notice. We asked detailed information and it would have been hard to not slip up.”

“So, we’re left with Aiden and Abby,” Eli said, frowning at the long list of names of vampires in front of us.

“Ludicrous,” I said. “Neither of them would do something like this.”

“So, since you’re convinced of that, we can cross everyone at The Shade off of our list of possible suspects,” Eli said, dropping the list on the table and leaning back in his chair, stretching out his legs.

I nodded.

“So we’re back to square one,” Derek muttered.

“I’m going to turn in now,” Eli said, standing up. “I’ll think more about all of this when I’m fresh in the morning.”

Derek and I returned to our own penthouse. We both sat at the dining table and sipped on some blood before heading off to bed. As we were both drifting off, a pounding on our front door sent us shooting up out of bed.

Derek swung the door open to see Eli standing at the door, covered in sweat, eyes alight with panic.

“I just tuned into the news before sleeping,” Eli said, panting. “There have been more kidnappings. Hawaii.”

He came rushing in.

“There were two incidents… some days apart from each other. The second incident,” he said, gasping for breath. “R-Rose and Benjamin Novak, both twenty-one years old. Staying with Kristal and Jake Palmer, eighteen and nineteen. They said on the radio. All four are missing.”

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