To Kill a Vampire - A.K. Koonce
Meet Her Maker
The witch waits for my request. I came to her with a sense of desperation clinging to my every breath. The person staring back at me physically makes me sick; the feeling twists and turns until vomit burns up my throat with a vengeance. I’ve avoided the Infinity witch all this time because of its appearance.
It looks just like me. They appear as our darkest hopes and dreams … my hope is to one day see my brother again. My twin, my mirrored opposite. He assesses me, unaware of how he looks.
He isn’t real, though. He’s dead. Because of me.
“Say what you came here to say, hybrid.”
Dark eyes glisten in the moonlight, sparking to life. I woke the witch the moment we returned from the Red Hills. After hours of hiding in the shadows of the cursed land, Fallon was finally able to walk away from the vampire’s lair once nightfall came. They made her one of their own, and it hurt me to watch her cower where they once cowered. And although I didn’t say it, it pains me to see her in her newly changed form.
As a vampire.
She said she wouldn’t be accepted in the Wanderer’s community anymore; that she’d be better off alone. Honestly, she might be right, but I’ll never let that happen. I’ll always accept her, and she’ll always have me.
“Change her back,” I say through gritted teeth, but the witch already knows why I am here. This is the mystic who cast the curse on the last remaining vampires, and I know she feels it. The witch had to have felt it the moment it was broken.
The unnatural glare in the witch’s eyes makes my skin crawl, but I can’t back down. A shine glints through my brother’s dark brown irises changing from gold to silver to white.
“Careful. I am not someone you make demands of, hybrid. Who do you think created the Crimson Sword that gives you so much courage? Do you think you stumbled upon a second one in the Red Hills by mere accident?” The image of my brother leans closer to me, his lips tensing into a thin line as forced composure pushes through his lean body. With a confidence I’ve never seen a mystic possess, he runs his finger along the blade of the Crimson Sword at my waist. “I like Fallon, but you and I both know I can’t change her back.”
The two of us stand outside the witch’s home; a teetering stack of a towering house that reaches high into the dark heavens. What lies within the unnatural walls of this home? Loud and complaining creaks come from the structure with every strong wind that rolls in off the Emerald Ocean.
“Then tell me how to fix it. Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it.” My heart pushes painfully against my chest, wishing to escape its prison. My lungs search in desperation for air, but every breath isn’t enough.
The witch’s eyes settle back into their warm chocolate color, sadness pulling at my brother’s solemn face.
“Have you ever thought this is what the Fates destined her to be? If I told you you’d have to trade your soul for hers, would you?”
It’s that simple to me. It isn’t even a question. Rip my soul out right now and fix this injustice.
The Infinity witch’s thick brows rise high; a rarely seen look of shock crosses the witch’s face.
“Interesting …” Relaxation calms his features as he stares out into the crashing waves. “That isn’t the price, but it’s still interesting.”
All my life people have told me how utterly interesting I am, how spectacularly unique and interesting hybrids are. Right now I don’t give a damn about any of it.
“What’s the price?”
His attention drifts over every single wave, calculating each reaction of the sea. In this moment, I can see the centuries of time this witch has lived despite his youthful appearance.
“Fallon must meet her maker.” A chill shudders down my spine, dropping my heart through my stomach. “She must … destroy the one who made her.”
That doesn’t seem so bad. We can do that. Irrational optimism is all I can manage to find within my anxious mind.
“The vampire must die by her hands.”
Eagerly, I nod at the witch, understanding and realizing how easy it will be. Then, my brother stares back at me with terror in his eyes.
“Not a drop of blood can touch her hungry lips. She cannot feed, or she will be cursed in this form