Home > Bloodlust (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #2)(4)

Bloodlust (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #2)(4)
Author: L.J. Smith

Another gunshot rang out behind us, followed by the twang of a bow. Mezzanotte reared up, letting out a high whinny. Damon slipped, grappling to hold on to the underside of Mezzanottes neck, while I tugged at the leather straps, trying to keep us upright. Only after a few steps backward did all four of Mezzanottes hooves get back on the dirt. As Damon righted himself, I saw a slim wooden arrow jutting out from the horses haunches. It was a clever tactic. At a distance, the mob had a far better chance of slowing down our horse than of striking one of us straight through the heart.

Hunched low over Mezzanotte, we galloped under branches and pressed on. She was a strong horse, but she favored her left side, where the arrow had gone in. A wet streak of my own blood was streaming down my temple and onto my shirt, and Damons grip on my waist was dangerously loose.

Still, I urged Mezzanotte forward. I was relying on instinct, on something beyond thinking and planning. It was as if I could smell freedom and possibility, and just had to trust that Id lead us to it. I pulled the reins and steered out of the woods and into the field behind Veritas Estate.

On any other rainy morning there would have been lights in the window of our old home, the lamps giving the bubbled glass an orange-yellow look of sunset. Our maid, Cordelia, would have been singing in the kitchen, and Fathers driver, Alfred, would be sitting sentry by the entrance. Father and I would be sitting in companionable silence in the breakfast room. Now the estate was a cold shell of its former self: the windows dark, the grounds completely silent. It had only been empty for a week, yet Veritas looked as though it had been abandoned for ages.

We leaped over the fence and landed unsteadily. I just barely managed to right us with a hard tug on the reins, the metal of the clacking against Mezzanottes teeth. Then we thundered around the side of the house, my skin clammy as we passed Cordelias plot of vervain, the tiny stalks ankle-high.

"Where are you taking us, brother?" Damon asked.

I heard three sets of splashing hooves as Jonathan Gilbert, Mayor Lockwood, and Sheriff Forbes cut along the pond at the back of our property. Mezzanotte wheezed, a peach froth lining her mouth, and I knew that outriding them wouldnt be a possibility.

Suddenly, the throaty wail of a train whistled through the morning, blocking out the hooves, the wind, and the metallic rasp of a gun reloading.

"Were getting on that train," I said, kicking Mezzanotte in the flanks. Bearing down, she picked up speed and sailed over the stone wall that separated Veritas from the main road.

"Cmon, girl," I whispered. Her eyes were wild and terrified, but she ran faster down the road and onto Main Street. The charred church came into sight, blackened bricks rising up like teeth from the ashen earth. The apothecary had also been burned to the ground. Crucifixes were affixed to every single doorframe in town; vervain sprigs were hung in garlands over most. I barely recognized the place Id lived all my seventeen years. Mystic Falls wasnt my home. Not anymore.

Behind us, Jonathan Gilbert and Mayor Lockwoods horses were approaching faster and faster. Ahead of us, I could hear the train drawing nearer, grinding against the rails. The froth at Mezzanottes mouth was turning pink with blood. My fangs were dry, and I licked my parched lips, wondering if this constant desire for blood came with being a new vampire, or if I would always feel this way.

"Ready to go, brother?" I asked, yanking Mezzanottes reins. She halted, giving me just enough time to jump off before she collapsed onto the ground, blood rushing from her mouth.

A shot rang out, and blood spurted from Mezzanottes flank. I yanked Damon by the wrists and hurled us onto the caboose just before the train roared out of the station, leaving Jonathan Gilbert and Mayor Lockwoods angry cries far behind.

Chapter 4

The car was pitch black, but our eyes, now adapted for nocturnal vision, allowed us to pick out a path through the piles of sooty coal in the caboose. Finally we emerged through a doorway into what appeared to be a first-class sleeping car. When no one was looking, we stole a few shirts and pairs of trousers from an unattended trunk and put them on. They didnt fit perfectly, but they would do.

As we ventured out into the aisle of the seating coach, the train rumbling beneath our feet, a hand grabbed my shoulder. Reflexively, I swung my arm at my attacker and growled. A man in a conductors uniform flew backward and hit the wall of a compartment with athud.

I locked my jaw to keep my fangs from protruding. "Im sorry! You startled me and " I trailed off. My voice was unfamiliar to my own ears. For the past week, most of my interactions had been in hoarse whispers. I was surprised at how human I sounded. But I was much more powerful than my voice betrayed. I hoisted the man to his feet and straightened his navy cap. "Are you okay?"

"I believe so," the conductor said in a dazed voice, patting his arms as if to make sure they were still there. He looked to be about twenty, with sallow skin and sandy hair. "Your ticket?"

"Oh, yes, tickets," Damon said, his voice smooth, not betraying that we had been in a gallop to the death only minutes before. "My brother has those."

I shot an angry glance toward him, and he smiled back at me, calm, taunting. I took him in. His boots were muddy and unlaced, his linen shirt was untucked from his trousers, but there was something about him--more than his aquiline nose and aristocratic jaw--that made him seem almost regal. In that moment, I barely recognized him: This wasnt the Damon Id grown up with, or even the one Id gotten to know in the past week. Now that we were hurtling out of Mystic Falls toward some invisible, unknowable point on the horizon, Damon had become someone else, someone serene and unpredictable. In these unfamiliar surroundings, I was unsure if we were partners in crime or sworn enemies.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology