‘Legend has it – back before the Dark War, a child was placed into hiding… We have but to find her to restore freedom to the humans and rid the world of the vampires.’
Relying on an uneasy truce with the vampire, Darin, Amanda begins a desperate hunt for Ascensis, in a race against not only the pursuing vampires, but Darin’s own nature – and his need for human blood.
‘The dungeons are here, sir.’ The first vampire gestured along the stone slabs, indicating a number of grates spaced in the floor. The grates covered circular holes. Amanda tried to see the base of the one closest to her, but darkness enveloped everything below floor-level.
Darin moved towards the dungeon they stood next to. ‘This will be perfect.’ His voice was devoid of any human emotion.
Amanda wanted to hit him. Why didn’t he feel anything? Was he really going to leave her in that bottomless black hole for a host of vampires to feed off in twenty-four hours?
Darin gestured to the wall where a metal chute hung from a crude-looking hook. ‘We can use that slide to lower her down. See to it.’
The vampires released her, scrambling to do as Darin requested.
While they opened the grate and positioned the slide, Darin stepped close to Amanda, his face a cold mask.
‘This is an oubliette, human,’ he said softly, a silken edge to his voice. ‘The name is from another word meaning “to forget”.’
Rage bubbled up, heating her skin. How dare he betray her like this! She clenched her hands into fists.
He leaned into her, his breath brushed her ear. ‘I am interested to see how you enjoy being forgotten.’
Something snapped inside her. Her left arm rose of its own accord, palm flat, ready to hit him.
She didn’t get the chance.
His hand caught her wrist, stopping her arm before it had moved a centimetre towards him.
Empty deep blue eyes stared into hers; there was no emotion for her to cling to. She glared at him, pouring every bit of hatred she could into it. If she could somehow make her eyes into daggers and spear him with them, all the better.
A touch brushed her wrist.
She faltered, and her jaw relaxed, aching where she had clamped her teeth together.
The touch came again, a gentle circle against her skin, as though a thumb swirled an attempt at comfort. But Darin had betrayed her. He wouldn’t be trying to comfort her… would he?
Amanda took a step towards Darin, trying to see something, anything, that explained what was happening. His gaze remained cold and impassive.
Suddenly, he used his grip on her to swing her off her feet. He dropped her down the slide, and, screaming, she descended into never-ending blackness.