All that was left of her hand was a bump at the end of her wrist. Tears streamed down her face.

“That…will…teach you….to touch….what belongs to…another…woman,” he said, gasping. The pain in his groin was unbearable. He was burned pretty badly from the feel of it.

“Ephraim, are you okay?” Chris and Madison asked in unison.

He tried to nod. The motion triggered pain in his groin. The sensation shot to his stomach. His legs gave out, leaving his body hanging by the chains. He gasped desperately before he began vomiting blood.

“Oh god, Ephraim!” Madison screamed.

“My hand!” Caroline screamed as she ran out the back door in the basement.

The two men holding guns looked nervous. The third man ran after his mistress. “What do we do?” one of the men asked.

“We stay here! She’ll be back!” The other man fidgeted nervously.

“Holy shit, I’m an idiot.” Ephraim chuckled weakly.

“What are you talking about?” Chris asked. His eyes were darting between the two very nervous men. The guns in their hands were shaking. “Hey! Point that damn thing elsewhere before you accidentally shoot her!”

Ephraim pulled in a deep breath as he pushed up with his feet. Once he was standing erect he turned as far as the chains would allow him. He studied the two men for several minutes before he realized what didn’t feel right about this situation.

He cursed under his breath as he reached up and wrapped a hand around each chain until they were tight. The men watched with wide eyes as every muscle in Ephraim’s body tightened and twitched.

“Stop or we’ll shoot them!” the man standing over Madison said.

Ephraim exhaled before pulling again. This time a loud creaking sound accompanied the action. “No, you won’t,” he said simply.

The sounds of guns cocking had Chris and Madison grabbing each other, trying to protect the other. “Ephraim, stop! He’ll shoot her!” Chris screamed.

“Not with blanks he won’t.” A loud painful grunt erupted from Ephraim as he arched himself backwards and broke the chains from the ceiling.

The men turned in unison and began firing at Ephraim. He stumbled towards them, but didn’t drop. Madison forced herself to watch. She scanned his body for bullet holes, but couldn’t tell if there were any fresh injuries since his body was already covered with large wounds.

Another gunshot and then another. The sound was deafening. With each shot she looked for some kind of sign that he was hit, a jolt, a stumble, a word, but there was nothing, no reaction.

“They’re blanks,” Chris whispered.

The two men seemed to agree. They threw the guns to the side and backed off towards the door their master escaped from. “Go, I’m sure she’ll be hungry.” Ephraim dropped to his hands and knees, but didn’t stop moving. “That’s what you were, a meal. She wouldn’t hire two idiots who’d never handled a gun before to keep them hostage. You were my meal. I’m an idiot.”

“No, she loves us. She would never do that.”

“Yeah, keep telling yourself that,” Chris said dryly. “She just left you unarmed with a seriously pissed off Pyte. That’s real love.”

“Oh f**k!” one of the men whimpered.

“Go, just go,” Ephraim said weakly. He didn’t look at the men as he continued his slow crawl forward. He didn’t stop until he dropped his head in Madison’s lap. His arms wrapped around her waist. He pressed a tender kiss to her leg.

“Ephraim, oh god, Ephraim,” Madison sobbed as she hugged his head to her body.

“We need to get out of here before psycho bitch comes back,” Chris said. He jumped to his feet and looked up at the ceiling where their chains hung from. He used his chains to pull himself up to the ceiling. “They’re on hooks!” he said excitedly.

“Can you get them off?” Madison asked, her eyes never left the back of Ephraim’s head.

“I think so…hold….on….just a little-“ The front door to the basement exploded into the room. “Shit!” Chris lost his hold and fell the short distance to the floor with an, “Oomph!”

Madison sobbed softly as she watched two men and two women in black fatigues enter the room with their weapons drawn.

One of the women spotted the second door and with a signal to the other woman she walked to it.

“A vampire with one hand and three of her followers went through that door over five minutes ago,” Chris informed them.

The women nodded. “Eric, we’re going to see if we can’t catch up to them.”

“Go,” a man with short spiky black hair said. “We’ll see what we have here.” The two men walked over to them and began looking them over.

“This one is a Sentinel, unmated,” the other man said after he quickly looked over Chris. He ran a hand through his messy blonde hair, sighing.

“Release him. What about the woman and this man?” Eric ran his eyes over Ephraim’s torn and bloodied back. The other man grabbed Madison by the arm, yanking her to her feet. Ephraim rolled off her onto the ground without a sound.

“Hey, be careful with her, she’s pregnant,” Chris snapped.

“Sorry,” the man mumbled. He looked Madison over for bite marks. “One last thing.” He pulled out a cross and pressed it to her forehead.


“She’s human.”

“Good, get those chains off her then,” Eric said.

“What do we do with this one?” The blond man pushed Ephraim over. He pressed the cross to his head. “I think he’s human.”

Eric sighed as he bent over and pushed Ephraim’s lips apart. “Pretty big fangs for a human, wouldn’t you say?”

“Holy shit!”

“What is he?”

“He’s some kind of bloodsucker.” Eric looked Ephraim over.

“What should we do?”

“What you’re supposed to do. Stake him.”

“No, stop!” Madison pushed away from the man and dropped in front of Ephraim. “Stop!”

“Oh great, a fang banger,” the blond man said with obvious disgust. “Move, we have a job to do. I don’t know what this creature has told you, but you are in very real danger.”

“Ma’am, I really need you to move,” Eric said as he tried to grab her.

“No! He’s one of you! He’s a Sentinel!”

“No, ma’am, he’s not. He’s a vamp or a demon,” Eric said softly, probably hoping not to frighten her.

Madison wiped her face frantically with the back of her hands. “No look.” She pushed Ephraim over onto his back with great difficulty. Chris grabbed a shoulder and helped. “See?” She pointed to his tattoo.

“Ma’am, all I’m seeing is a bloody tattoo,” Eric said.

“What?” She looked closely only to realize it was completely covered in blood. She used her hand to try to wipe it away only to smear it worse. She saw a large bottle attached to the man’s belt and grabbed it.

“Ma’am, wait!” She didn’t listen to him. She flipped open the cap and poured the liquid over his tattoo. The blood washed away, revealing his tattoo. Then she poured the liquid over his face, washing the blood away from his face and body until his wounds were visible against tanned skin.