Ironic Sacrifice

Brides of Prophecy, Book 2

Book Cover: Ironic Sacrifice

Jayden Leigh wants to commit suicide. Her clairvoyant powers have become so intense that she lost her job and home. Death is the only way to make them stop. Opportunity presents itself when she comes across a sinfully handsome vampire ready to make a kill. Jayden begs for him to take her instead. A blissful death in his arms, or the visions ravaging her mind? She'd gladly take the vampire.

Razvan Nicolae is captivated and amused by the beautiful seeress who sacrifices herself for a stranger. Killing such a pleasing asset doesn’t interest him. If he could get her powers under control, she just might be the key to finding his missing twin.

Controlling her visions and working for a seductive vampire? Razvan’s offer is like a dream come true. But her dream turns into a nightmare when a mad vampire cult leader seeks to exploit Jayden’s powers to stop an ancient prophecy.

As Jayden finds herself at the center of a vampire war, she realizes that the biggest threat isn’t losing her life, it’s losing her heart.

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“Oh God, please, make them stop!” Jayden dug her fingertips into her temples as if she could tear the horrid visions out of her skull.

Long after the police officer left, the imprint of him invading his daughter’s room every night and the sound of her terrified whimpers was irrevocably burned in her memory. For the rest of her life, along with her worst visions, it would flash behind her eyes like a bad commercial, leaving behind a chill in her soul and a bitter taste in her mouth.

Again the temptation beckoned to end it all, to climb over the Division Street barrier to the dam churning the waters of the Spokane River and jump, drowning the visions permanently.

Oblivious to curious onlookers, Jayden sank to her knees on the cracked sidewalk.

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The visions were getting stronger. The cop’s hand barely grazed hers when she handed him her driver’s license after he checked her ID. Immediately she’d been pelted with vile images. It had been agony for her to keep a straight face as he interrogated her. She wanted to hit him— no. She wanted to tear his balls off and make him suffer a thousand-fold for what he did to that innocent child.

But there was nothing she could do. He was a man of the law while she was just a crazy homeless twenty-three year old woman. Once he confirmed her age and finished harassing her, the policeman left, free to rape and molest again while Jayden Leigh was trapped with terrible revelations of suffering that she could do nothing to prevent or free herself from.

“Are you all right, dear?” A gentle hand touched her shoulder and for once Jayden didn’t get a vision. Although for a moment it seemed she could smell fresh baked bread.

Jayden looked up into the compassionate blue eyes of an elderly woman.

“Yeah,” she croaked, licking dry lips. “It’s just a… migraine.” She fell back on the usual excuse for these situations, though she was tempted to shriek the horrible transgressions she witnessed.

The woman nodded, brushing a snowy lock from her forehead. “Don’t you fret, dearie. I’ve just the thing for that!” she declared, reaching into her gargantuan red leather purse.

Jayden began to protest, but the matron cackled, “Ah-ha! Here you are, dear. Keep the bottle. My doctor gives me plenty of pills as it is.”

Jayden smiled at the Excedrin. If only a little pill would cure her problem. Or perhaps it could, if she took the whole bottle.

“And take this too. It looks like you’ve fallen on hard times.” The kindness in the woman’s voice was enough to make Jayden’s throat tighten with humble gratitude and the barely suppressed desire to cry on the stranger’s shoulders and pour out her sorrow.

“Oh no, Ma’am, I couldn’t.” She tried to return the twenty-dollar bill, but the woman had already walked off and was getting into her Buick.

Her eyes brimmed with tears at the generosity. She pocketed the pills and money, picked up her bottle of cheap Chardonnay and resumed walking to her car, where she lived. She could always jump into the dam tomorrow. After all, it wouldn’t do to waste the wine.

***

Sleep came hard that night. It wasn’t the wailing of police sirens, or the rumble of semi-trucks on the freeway, or even the sounds of a couple screaming at each other a block away. Something else drowned those incessant city noises.  A voice in her head sobbed despairingly, “Why? Why? Why!”

That voice had grown so loud that she could barely hear anything else. And still the keening cry rose higher… “Why? Why? Why!”

A real headache was dangerously close.

“Why indeed?” she murmured as she uncapped the wine bottle and took a deep drink. She knew perfectly well what the voice was asking.

Why have I been reduced to this pathetic state?

Jayden still did not have an answer.

Only three months ago things had been normal. Or had they? She’d had a decent job that fit with her college schedule, taking care of people with developmental disabilities. It fulfilled her hungered spirit and was a step closer to becoming a counselor, a secret dream she’d nursed since childhood. Jayden had been working in the group homes for almost a year when she began having the visions. They were quick and faint at first, making her blame her imagination even though her instinct argued furiously. Just too much work, she would tell herself. All I need is a break. Things will get better when the semester ends.

But the next day the visions would come back stronger and soon the breaks did little to hold them off. Jayden became convinced that she was losing her mind. It was beginning to look as if she was going to end up like her mother after all. Stark raving mad in a psychiatric ward, heavily medicated in a padded room until, unable to take it any longer, she died a slow painful death of a broken heart and shattered mind.

Shortly after summer break began, Jayden’s supervisor fired her for being unproductive and upsetting the clients.

The next month, her landlord evicted her from her apartment. By then Jayden was half-insane from the severity of the visions, so she didn’t really care.

Mechanically, she’d packed what little belongings that would fit in her little Toyota and left the apartment. She then withdrew the rest of her money from the bank and closed the account. Going back to school in the fall was not an option.

Besides the hassle of showering, going to the bathroom and having to move to a different location every night, living in her car was kind of liberating. She didn’t have to pay bills or work or answer to anyone. The self-delusion only lasted a week when Jayden saw how quickly she was running out of money. She tried a few times to get a job, but every place she walked into and every person she encountered gave her such a cacophony of visions that she soon gave up, realizing that she would probably never be able to exist with the rest of humanity ever again.

Now it was early October and she almost froze to death every night.

“Why? Why? Why?” the voice cried again, despite all the wine she drank to muffle it.

“I told you already, I don’t know!” Jayden growled. “Besides, why doesn’t matter anymore. What I need to figure out is what the hell am I going to do?”

She put on her headphones and turned the volume up on her MP3 player, seeking solace in the music of her favorite band. For a blissful half hour, Rage of Angels’ latest album blocked out the voices until she turned it off, mindful to conserve her batteries.

Her heavy eyelids drifted closed.

Glowing eyes… Blood-dripping fangs… A dark shadow closes over the figure of a woman, about to drain away her life. Jayden’s voice screams, “No! Take me instead! I want to die, I need to die.” Mocking laughter rings in her ears, “An ironic sacrifice I do say. Very well, a life for a life.”

The shadow gently engulfs her and she begins to drown in thick velvet blackness. The sinister voice echoes, “A life for a life… A life for a life… a life for a life.”

The piercing trill of a car alarm shunted Jayden from the dream.

“Damn it,” she groaned and pulled the blankets over her head. Even nightmares were preferable to her miserable consciousness.

As she shifted in a fruitless attempt to seek comfort, Jayden realized that she had to pee. Cursing again under her breath, she sat up and pulled her shoes on. It was freezing cold outside. She shivered and her breath came out in big puffs of steam. She hurried into the alley to find a safe spot to relieve herself. When the street was out of view she crouched and unzipped her pants.

Just when she finished, a scream of terror tore the air close by, making her jump. Jayden yanked her pants up, zipper forgotten, skin prickling with acute alertness.

“No. Don’t you dare touch me!” a woman demanded haughtily. She had to be only twenty feet away.

Jayden knew she should get the hell out of there and drive as far as her near empty gas tank would take her, but her legs propelled her relentlessly forward. Her heart pounded with a heady mixture of terror and anticipation as she came upon a scene that had only before existed in her dreams.

The woman was a tall leggy blonde in designer clothes. Jayden fleetingly wondered what such a classy lady was doing in a dark seedy alley. But then a vision assailed her. This woman had been so spoiled all her life that it was sickening. Her love for herself and utter scorn for all others rose up more noxious than the scent of her expensive perfume. Scenes of her temper tantrums flitted through Jayden’s mind. She didn’t really start to hate the woman until she saw her kick a bum on the street.

“H-how did I get here?” the woman demanded shrilly, trying to hide her fear. “I don’t belong in this filth!”

“As a matter of fact, this is exactly where you belong,” another voice replied. His voice was deep, smooth as velvet and faintly accented.

Jayden’s eyes shifted to the dark form looming before the woman. It looked like a man, but it wasn’t a man. This thing was far older and far more terrifying than a mere mugger. She started to take another step closer, but then it spoke again. His voice was so rich and enchanting that it held her motionless.

“I have brought you here, Charise, because it is time for judgment to be passed upon you.”

Charise’s eyes widened in terror. She gasped and put a dainty hand to her throat as if she were rehearsing for Broadway.

The creature nodded. “Yes. I know of your crimes. I know everything. And it is I who will decide your fate. In fact, I already have.”

“What is it then?” she whispered.

“Death.”

Slowly, he cupped her face in his hands. She shrieked and tried to scratch out his eyes with her long manicured nails, but the man easily restrained her, seizing her anorexic-thin wrists with one hand and tilting her neck to the side. His eyes began to glow with an unholy light, reflecting on his bared fangs.

Jayden saw the monster for what he was immediately and at the moment she didn’t take the time to examine the impossibility of it all. She just flat out accepted it. Vampire.

“Wait!” she cried out, surprising herself.

Those glowing eyes now turned upon her, freezing her heart. Jayden stumbled back with an icy intake of breath.

“Yes?” The whisper was silky, invoking tendrils of fire in her belly despite the chill of the night and its events.

“D-don’t k-kill her,” she found herself stammering. “T-take me in-instead. I want to die.”

COLLAPSE

Bonus Content:

Ironic Sacrifice Soundtrack

 

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