Home > The Craving (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #3)(3)

The Craving (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #3)(3)
Author: L.J. Smith

Human blood would do far more than sustain me. It would fill me with warmth and Power. Nothing tasted like human blood, and nothing felt like it. Just a mouthful and I would be back to the vampire I’d been in New Orleans: invincible, lightning fast, strong. I’d be able to compel humans to do my bidding, I’d be able to drink away my guilt and embrace my darkness. I’d be a real vampire again.

In that moment, I forgot everything: why I was in New York, what happened in New Orleans, why I left Mystic Falls. Callie, Katherine, Damon . . . All were lost, and I was drawn mindlessly to the source of my agony and ectasy.

I knelt down in the grass. My parched lips drew back from my mouth, fangs fully exposed.

One lick. One drop. One taste. I needed it so badly. And technically, I wouldn’t be killing her. Technically, she would die because of someone else.

Narrow streams of blood ebbed and flowed down her chest, pulsing with her heart. I leaned over, my tongue reaching forward. . . . One of her eyes fluttered open weakly, her thick lashes parting to reveal clear green eyes, eyes the color of clover and grass.

The same color eyes Callie had.

In my last memory of her, Callie was lying on the ground, dying, in a similar helpless pose. Callie had died of a knife wound in her back. Damon didn’t even have the decency to let her defend herself. He stabbed her while she was distracted, telling me how much she loved me. And then, before I could feed her my own blood and save her, Damon threw me aside and drained her completely. He left her a dry, dead husk and then tried to kill me, too. Had it not been for Lexi, he would have succeeded.

With a tortured scream, I pulled my hands back from the girl and pounded the ground. I forced the bloodlust that was in my eyes and cheeks back down to the dark place from which they came.

I took a moment longer to compose myself, then pulled the girl’s bodice aside to view her wound. She had been stabbed with a knife, or some other small and sharp blade. It had been shoved with near perfect precision between her br**sts and into her rib cage—but had missed her heart. It was as though the attacker had wanted her to suffer, had wanted her to slowly bleed out rather than die immediately.

The attacker had not left the blade behind, so I placed my teeth against my wrist and tore open the skin there. The pain helped me to focus, a good, clean pain compared to that of my fangs coming out.

With incredible effort I pushed my wrist to her mouth and squeezed my fist. I had so little blood to spare—this would nearly kill me. I had no idea if it would even work now that I was feeding just on animals.





Her heart continued to slow.

“Come on,” I pleaded, my teeth gritted in pain. “Come on.”

The first few drops of blood hit her lips. She winced, stirring slightly. Her mouth parted, desperate.

With all my strength, I squeezed my wrist, pushing the blood out of my vein and into her mouth. When it finally hit her tongue she almost gagged.

“Drink,” I ordered. “It will help. Drink.”

She turned her head. “No,” she mumbled.

Ignoring her feeble protests, I shoved my wrist against her mouth, forcing the blood into her.

She moaned, still trying not to swallow. A wind picked up around us, rustling her skirts. An earthworm dug itself deeper into the soft, moist earth, avoiding the cold air of the night.

And then she stopped fighting.

Her lips closed down on the wound in my wrist, and her soft tongue sought out the source of my blood. She began to suck.



Thump thump thump.

Her hand, the one in the blood-soaked glove, came fluttering up weakly and grasped my arm, trying to draw it closer to her face. She wanted more. I understood her desire all too well, but I had no more to offer.

“That’s enough,” I said, feeling faint myself. I gently disengaged my arm despite her mewling cries. Her heart was beating more regularly now.

“Who are you? Where do you live?” I asked.

She whimpered and clung to me.

“Open your eyes,” I ordered.

She did, once again revealing her Callie-green eyes.

“Tell me where you live,” I compelled her, the world spinning around me as I used the very last remaining drops of my Power.

“Fifth Avenue,” she answered dreamily.

I tried not to grow impatient. “Where on Fifth Avenue?”

“Seventy-third Street . . . One East Seventy-third Street . . .” she whispered.

I scooped her up, a perfumed confection of silk and gauze and lace and warm, human flesh. Her curls brushed my face, tickling across my cheek and neck. Her eyes were still closed and she hung limply in my arms. Blood, either hers or mine, dripped down into the dust.

I gritted my teeth and began to run.

Chapter 3

No sooner had I left the park when a hansom cab flew around the corner, followed by a policeman on horseback. I fell back into the shadows, for one breathless moment overwhelmed by the clamor.

I had thought New Orleans was big—and compared to Mystic Falls, it was. Buildings, businesses, and boats were crowded into a small, frenetic area by the Mississippi River. But it was nothing compared to Manhattan, where alabaster buildings rose high in the sky and people from Italy, Ireland, Russia, Germany—even China and Japan—walked the streets, selling their goods.

Even at night, New York City pulsated with life. Fifth Avenue was lit by a row of happy, hissing gas lanterns that gave a warm, rich glow to the cobbled street. A giggling couple bent close together, wrapping their coats more tightly around themselves as the wind whistled past. A newsboy shouted out headlines about factories on fire and corruption in city hall. Hearts beat in a frenetic cacophony, thumping and racing. The trash, the perfumes, and even just the simple smell of clean, soapy skin clung to the streets like ropy vines of kudzu back home.

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