Drinking Death

The Blood Princess Chronicles: Book One

Mara Lee

 

Chapter One

There was a giant cross strapped to the front of her house. Measuring at least seven feet tall and four feet wide, it rested comfortably amidst silver chains. To add injury to insult, pinned against the cross was a crudely penned note that read: Die, you bloodsucking bitch.

Annaleigh Savage sighed. It was on nights like these that she really hated being dead. Walking up to the cross, mindful of the silver chains used to strap it down, she tore the note off the front and grimaced at the silver, it was nice to know her admirers were so original. The scene lacked imagination, but was certainly annoying. Tearing the note in two, she tossed it away. Pulling out her cellphone, she dialed one number and waited for the line to be picked up. She didn’t have to wait long.

“Hullo?” The voice that answered the phone was sleepy.

Annaleigh clucked her tongue. “Come on, tell me you weren’t sleeping.”

“It’s four o’clock in the morning. Fuck yeah, I was sleeping, or trying to.”

Annaleigh grinned into the phone. “Well, get your ass over here, I have a slight situation I need your help with.”

“Anna, for God’s sake, it’s fucking four in the goddamn morning.”

“You shouldn’t swear so much, you have ten minutes to get over here. I’m counting.” Annaleigh pushed the end button on her phone, sat down on her front porch and looked at her watch, nine minutes and forty seconds to go.

* * * *

Sharon Nealy was barely five feet tall, but what she lacked in stature she more than made up for in personality. A petite, green-eyed brunette, her hair was straight and glossy, her temper legendary and her need for sleep a necessity … she did not appreciate being dragged out of bed at four in the morning.

Shutting the engine off, Sharon exited her beat-up Volvo station wagon and turned, hands planted on hips, ready to lay into Annaleigh.

“So, what the hell is so important that you dragged me out of bed…” The rest of her words died a quick death in her throat as she took in the scene before her.

Annaleigh jumped up from her perch and ran over to give her friend a quick hug. She nodded when she saw Sharon’s shocked expression. “Uh-huh, that was about the sum of my reaction.” Annaleigh motioned toward the cross and rolled her eyes, “You see now why I need your help.”

Sharon laughed. “Crosses don’t do anything but make you laugh.”

“Not the cross, silly, the silver.”

“Ohhhhhh, now that would be a problem.” Sharon took several steps up Annaleigh’s porch and studied the cross and silver. “They really did a number here, didn’t they?”

“Yeah, they did.” Annaleigh rolled her eyes and stomped her foot impatiently. “Now, can you get rid of the silver, please … you know I can’t touch it.”

Sharon snorted. “Anna, the cross must weigh, like, over two hundred pounds. It’s not as if I can just pick it up and whoosh, throw it across your yard.”

“You are dense tonight.” Annaleigh cocked her head to one side. “Get rid of the silver, Sharon, I’ll do the rest.”

Sharon’s eyes widened as she realized her stupidity and she laughed. “Of course, yeah, stupid me.” Her eyes narrowed and she shot Annaleigh an accusing look. “Then, of course, you did wake me up at four in the morning.”

“Blah blah blah blah blah, can you yell at me later?” Annaleigh looked up at the night sky. “I sort of have an expiration time here, you know.”

Sharon inspected the silver chains and when she found where they hooked around the cross, she laughed. “These guys are dumbasses as well as assholes.” She noticed that Annaleigh flinched at her choice of words and grinned. “They wound the silver chains, that’s all, they didn’t even bother locking the ends together. I mean, come on.”

“Shaarooooon,” Annaleigh whined.

“Fine, fine, I’m getting there.” Sharon pulled the end of the chain until it worked itself free from the cross and fell harmless to the ground. “There, all better.”

Annaleigh waited until Sharon had shoved the heavy chains across the porch before she picked up the cross easily and dumped it unceremoniously in her yard. She turned to Sharon. “Want to come in, have some coffee?”

Sharon pushed past her and grumbled, “Fuck yeah—it’s the least you can do since you woke me up.”

Annaleigh watched as Sharon sashayed into her house, and grinned. Who said the dead couldn’t have friends?

* * * *

“The bad guys always lack imagination.” Sharon sipped her coffee and regarded her dead friend from the rim of the cup.

Annaleigh changed into her pajamas and rolled her eyes. “You would rather they have invaded my house brandishing stakes?”

Sharon flipped her hair out of her eyes. “Well, that certainly would have given you more of a workout than that stupid ol’ cross.”

“That stupid ol’ cross was wrapped in silver, Sharon.”

“Yes, which they looped around, instead of locking or welding together. Like I said before, dumbasses.”

Annaleigh pulled the trap door in her bedroom floor open and crawled into the shallow based box. It was comfortably padded and sported two shiny pink satin pillows. “You’re more than free to spend the night here, Sharon. I wouldn’t mind the company.”

Sharon laughed. “Oh yeah, company. You’ll not even know I’m here, princess.”

Annaleigh’s pretty face twisted. “You know how much I hate that nickname. Stay or go, it’s your choice.” With those words, Annaleigh shut the trap door behind her, effectively shutting out anything Sharon would have said.

Sharon heard the click of a lock and knew that her friend was settled and shut in for the remainder of the night—or in this case, day. She stripped down to her skivvies and crawled into Annaleigh’s large king-size bed. Giving the trap door one final look, she flipped off the light switch and pulled the downy-soft comforter up to her chin. “Night, princess,” she whispered into the darkened room just before she closed her eyes and let sleep claim her.

 

 

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