Myrnin, Claire realized, was still getting shocks from the col- lar. He was just . . . ignoring them. Hannah realized it, too, and she didn’t like it; she unsnapped the fastener on her sidearm as Myrnin leaped over the balcony’s edge and landed catlike beside the body of his victim.

“You can stop that now,” he said to Hannah. His voice was un- even and ragged, and his eyes were burning red, but she still shook her head.

“I can’t,” she said. “The others are starving. If I release them, they’ll rip us apart. We’ve got blood. We’re bringing it in. Myrnin, back off. Don’t make me have to hurt you.”

He laughed, in a tense and wildly crazy way that made Claire get a very bad feeling in her stomach. “Hurt me?” he asked. “How would you do that? By taking away everything I love? Everything I honor? You’re too late, Hannah. Far too late. Fallon already did that.”

Claire’s terrible feeling suddenly condensed into a heavy, sick- ening weight. “He took Jesse,” she said. “Fallon took Jesse.”

“Because he knew it would hurt me,” Myrnin said. “Fallon likes to pretend his crusade is to save us, but in the end it’s about me. He wants to see me suffer, for turning him vampire so long ago.

For abandoning him once I did. It is my fault, you know. All my fault. But Lady Gray shouldn’t pay the price.”

“We have to save her,” Claire said, and turned to Hannah. “We have to.”

“Never thought I’d say that, but, yeah, she’s our friend, too,”

Shane agreed. He dumped the armload of blood bags on the floor next to the fountain, and Claire added her own to the pile.


“Then the faster we get the blood in, the faster you can go find her,” Hannah said. “Help move it.”

Myrnin, despite the shock collar still crackling around his neck, despite the intense sunlight outside, helped them carry the rest of the blood into the atrium, running back and forth, until the pile of bags was waist- high, and the trunk and backseat of the cruiser were empty.

Claire remembered, despite the frantic pace, that they still had a problem— a big one. “The hellhounds,” she said. “Fallon could activate them at any time. If Hannah turns against us—”

“I’ve been working on adapting Fallon’s filthy cure to the pur- pose,” Myrnin said. “During my time outside this prison. I have a small supply made up in my lab. It’s hidden in the back by my arm- chair, behind a pile of books. Enough for three more doses, if you’re careful. Oh, and while you’re there, do feed Bob. He’s been hunting on his own lately, but he does enjoy being shown a little kindness.”

And that, Claire thought, was Myrnin in a nutshell. He was ca- pable of wild mood swings that went from murder to concern for a spider in under five minutes. In the end, loving Myrnin, real y loving him, would be like living with an unexploded bomb— sooner or later it was bound to go off, and for someone fragile and hu- man, it would be fatal.

It didn’t make her love him any less, but she knew better than to think that she could fix him . . . or survive him, if she let him get too close.

“Mrs. Grant,” Hannah said, “get your folks out of here. Take the prisoners with you. I’m going to release them.”

Mrs. Grant nodded and gave quick instructions. Each team of four took one of the guards and escorted them out. Most looked relieved to be going, honestly.

“We’re going to wait the rest of this out in Blacke,” Mrs. Grant said. “Morganville’s your town, not ours. We said we’d help free the vampires, and we have. Now it’s up to you.” She looked at Claire and Shane, and for a moment she looked as if she was going to reverse that, or at least regret it. She came to Shane and gave him a hug, then embraced Claire. “You two, you take care. I’ve gotten fond of you.”

“Thanks, Mrs. Grant,” Shane said. “You’ve done enough.

You’re right. This is Morganville business now.”

Then they were headed out, back to their bus. Knowing Mrs.

Grant and Morley, Claire was pretty sure that Blacke would al- ready be prepared for an all- out war with the Daylighters, just in case. Armed to the teeth.

She and Shane looked at Hannah, who nodded and backed up toward the doorway. “You two, get in the car,” she said. “Once I hit the releases for their collars, they’ll be shaking it off and getting up fast.”

Myrnin didn’t follow them. He stood where he was, staring blindly at the pile of blood bags. Claire didn’t think he was really seeing them, though. “Find her,” he said. “Find Jesse. I’ll lead the rest of them once they’re fed. Leave Fallon to me.”

“Myrnin— Fallon’s a zealot. He played on people’s fears. He made them believe that killing all of you was the only way to stay safe. Don’t prove him right,” Claire said. “Please. Don’t prove him right.”

She didn’t know if he heard her, or understood; he didn’t give even the slightest indication. But there wasn’t time. Hannah was hustling them out the door, and Claire saw her thumb come off the but- ton. “In the car,” she ordered, and practically shoved them inside.

They were already driving away when the first vampires, collars off their necks and drained blood bags in their hands, appeared in the doorway of the Bitter Creek Mall.

Myrnin’s lab was located in a cul- de- sac at the end of a small, run-down neighborhood. It was next door to a Founder House— the Day House, built along the same plan as the Glass House.

Only the Day House wasn’t there anymore. There was a pile of old timbers, and some construction equipment.

Fallon was making good on his threat to destroy the Founder Houses.

Claire swallowed hard. “What happened to them? Gramma Day?”

“Moved,” Hannah said. “She was grateful to be going, in the end. The Day family never were too comfortable with that house, though they stayed in it for the better part of a hundred years. But she’s fine. Got a brand- new place over on the other side of town, where the new development is going in.”

“And Lisa— did she join the Daylighters?” Claire wouldn’t have been at all surprised by that from the Day granddaughter, who’d been totally anti- vamp for as long as she’d known her . . .

but Gramma Day, ancient as she was, had a broader view of things.

“Lisa did. Gramma declined,” Hannah said. “Gramma said it reminded her of all those speeches out of Germany in the war. I don’t think she was so far off.”

Claire didn’t, either. The image of those banners around Founder’s Square still gave her a chill.

She led the way to the entrance to Myrnin’s lab. It was locked up by an iron grate and a shiny new padlock, but Hannah had the keys. “Fallon had it secured,” she explained. “I have no idea how Myrnin would have gotten into it.”

Myrnin always had his ways, but Claire didn’t explain that; she didn’t think Hannah needed any more nightmares. As they de- scended the steps, the lights came up, responding to motion, revealing . . . a wreck. Well, even more of a wreck than it normally was. The equipment was mostly shattered, the books ripped apart, the furniture broken. Either Myrnin had thrown an epic tantrum— which frankly, wasn’t all that unlikely— or Fallon’s goons had been in here making damn sure nothing useful would be coming out of the lab again.

Claire climbed over the piles of rubble, careful of the broken glass, and made her way to the back of the lab. Myrnin’s armchair had been broken, but the remains of it were more or less where they’d originally been. Bob the Spider’s tank had been turned on its side, but not broken. There was no sign of him in the webs, but he certainly wasn’t starving; plenty of unfortunate insects had been cocooned into his pantry.

Claire combed through the wreckage, and under a pile of books that included a battered first edition of Alice in Wonderland and two sketchy- looking volumes written longhand in a language she didn’t even recognize, she found a box. It didn’t look like much— old, battered, not very clean. She flipped the lid off, and inside, packed carefully in old newspapers, was an old- style sy- ringe full of brownish liquid.

“Got it!” she called back to Hannah and Shane, and scrambled over the piles to them. Hannah was already unbuttoning her uni- form shirt.

“Hurry,” she said. “Something’s happening.” Something was.

Hannah’s eyes looked different, lighter, and between blinks Claire saw them quickly shifting to yellow.

“Crap,” Shane said. He took hold of Hannah’s arm and held it steady. “He’s activated her. Do it fast.”

“In the bite?” Because Hannah’s bite was raised and inflamed and prominent, just as Shane’s had been.

“Yes! Go!” Shane yelled, just as Hannah let out a vicious snarl.

Claire jammed the needle home, and depressed the plunger— but only about a third of the way. She hoped Myrnin was right about the dosage; if she undermedicated Hannah, that might be worse than not doing it at all.

Hannah’s snarl turned to a startled yip, and then she was col- lapsing to her knees, trembling, mouth open in a silent scream.

Her eyes were wild and yellow, but only for a moment. Then her skin took on a muted silvery glow as the cure took hold.

Claire held her breath. Myrnin had adapted this from Fallon’s cure, but what if it had the same shortcomings? What if it only worked part of the time?

It seemed to take forever. Hannah never quite collapsed com- pletely, but she trembled, clearly very ill, and as the silvery glow finally faded under her skin, she looked up at Claire. Her eyes, after one last acidic pulse of yellow, settled back to their normal human brown color.

Hannah pulled in a few hard, quick breaths, and nodded.

Shane let go of her. She made a face. “Tastes funny,” she said. Her voice sounded hoarse. “Aches, too.”

“It’ll pass,” he said, and helped her up. “You took it a lot better than I did.” He wasn’t looking at her face, though, he was examin-ing her arm. The bite was looking a little better. “I think I screamed like a baby.”

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