Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Faithless by Laura Legend
Cassandra Jones has never been that good with people. She's blunt. She's a terrible barista. To let off steam, she prefers kickboxing to yoga.
And then she learns that her life has been a lie.
Magic is real. Vampires hunt the living.
And her mother's death was no accident.
Now Cass is in the crosshairs thanks to her newfound powers as a Seer—an extremely rare ability within the magical world.
Caught up in an ancient battle, Cass must decide who to trust as she races against time to stop the leader of the Lost vampires before he becomes too powerful.
But things aren't always black and white.
Sometimes you have to kill the vampires.
And sometimes you want to keep one alive.
With blazing speed, backlit by a crack of lightning, he rushed her, leading with his shoulder, looking to tackle her.
Normally, Cass wouldn’t have stood a chance. But as he made his move, she felt the heat flare through her body again. With her eyes focused and her vision clear, time slowed to a crawl. Rather than ducking or trying to slip to the side, Cass took a running step toward the vampire, met him halfway, and vaulted neatly over his back, sending him sprawling.
Key fob still in hand, she popped the trunk of her car before she’d even landed. She took the landing in stride and, before the guy could even get to his feet, she was already pulling a sword from the trunk of her car.
Now who’s in charge, asshole, she thought as she brandished her sword.
This last guy was back on his feet now. His eyes flashed with fear and anger when he saw the sword and she grinned back at him.
But this only lasted a moment before he started laughing.
What the hell?
Case looked down at the sword in her hand.
It was a padded practice sword.
What was she going to do, tickle him with it?
The guy was on top of her in the blink of an eye, batting the sword from her hand and pinning her against the rear of her car. He seemed even larger than he had been a moment before. She tried to knee him in the balls but he blocked her blow.
His teeth shone in the dark and he leaned in toward her. Was he going to bite her?
He really does think he’s a vampire! What the hell?!
Cass knew she only had a moment left to act. Shifting all her weight, she stomped on his foot, knocking him off balance, and then used that momentum to flip their positions. Now he was pinned against the back of her car, leaning back into the open space of her trunk. With one hand on his throat, Cass reached over him and grabbed the trunk lid. She smashed the trunk lid down onto his face again and again.
That’s gonna leave a mark.
And it did. But it didn’t seem to slow him down. It only seemed to make him angrier.
He roared back at her and, as she leaned past him to root in the trunk for some other kind of weapon, he tossed her into the air. Cass flew backwards and landed hard on her back, knocking the wind out of her.
The guy moved to pin to her to the ground before she could recover but froze mid-stride. His eyes were locked on her right hand.
Case had found what she was looking for in the trunk: a razor sharp katana.
In one smooth motion, Cass flipped back onto her feet. Time slowed even more. The guy didn’t even have time to react. Swinging the sword through a tight round, she screamed at the top of her lungs and then, with one decisive stroke, separated the man’s head from his body.
She squinted her eyes and turned away, expecting blood to jet everywhere. But, instead, the man just burst into a cloud of chalky ash. In this gale, what was left of him was gone before she could register what had happened.
Cass blinked, struggling to make sense of what had just happened.
“Huh,” Cass said to herself out loud. “I guess they really were vampires.”
As quickly as it had come, Cass felt all the heat and strength drain right out of her. It was like someone had pulled the plug from the bottom of the tub.
She dropped to her hands and knees in the middle of the street. She felt sick. The rain was still pouring.
The other two vampires had, in the meantime, disappeared entirely.
Cass felt her vision cloud and her weak eye lose focus.
But in that moment, just before her eye returned entirely to normal, something else happened: time stopped entirely. It was like she’d slid sideways, for just an instant, outside the normal flow of time. In that frozen moment, Cass had a vision of her mother. Or, rather, Cass had a vision in which she was her mother.
She saw, from her mother’s perspective, that bright summer morning when the two of them had sat on ten-year-old Cass’s bed and her mother had squeezed her hand and given her the pendant that she wore to this day. Her mother made her swear—literally, swear with an oath—to care for this pendant with her life.
At the time, Cass had been enthralled by the necklace. But seeing this scene from her mom’s perspective, she could see what she’d taken for granted at the time. She could feel how much her mom loved and trusted her. She could feel the strength of her hand. She could feel how deep her hopes ran for her.
And then the vision ended.
Time started again.
And Cass was alone in the middle of the wet street, clutching her pendant in one hand, crying.
Posted by MFox at 10:36 AM