Chapter Nine

"Aidan, I have to go. I have to go back to the hospital. I have to know when my mom died." Riley slides off of the sarcophagus.

"Here. Take this." Aidan hands Riley a silver dagger. A symbol is engraved near the handle. "You know how to use it, I hope."

"What does this mean?" Riley asks, pointing to the symbol.

"It means fear. Look," Aidan says, pulling up his shirt sleeve. The same symbol is tattooed on the inside of his right wrist. "It's Chinese."

"I like it." Riley smiles, fingering the design. "Why is this dagger so special?"

"It's been charged with power. It will draw the blood of a vampire and slow the healing of the wounds."

"Vampires don't exist."

"How are you so sure? What makes you think I'm making all of this up?" Aidan slides off the lid of the sarcophagus and folds his arms across his chest.

"Vampires aren't real. What you're saying is all made up."

Then how can I do this? And how could I find you and your mother after you moved out of New York? If vampires aren't real, then please explain this. Aidan smiles and his canine teeth grow to sharp fangs.

Riley jumps. She stares at Aidan, confused.

So? Do you know how to explain it?

"Vampires—if they are real—are evil. If you were a vampire you'd have killed me by now."

"What makes you so sure I won't?"

Riley holds up the dagger. "You gave me this. If it'll work against Kali, it'll work against you."

"Okay. Fair enough."

Riley smiles and slips the dagger back into its sheath. She walks to the door, opens it, and is gone.

Aidan sits down on the floor and watches her go. He grins as he thinks of her. "Soon, Rye. Soon you'll be like me."