Zero sank slowly and tiredly down onto a pew. Layla wandered over and placed her head on his knee. She looked up at him with a mixture of repentance and sympathy—repentance because she had been utterly wooed by two strangers and had largely thrown her guard dog duties to the wind on the promise of a slice of salami and a tummy rub and sympathy because she too had just heard that Zero’s attempts to disappear from all that had plagued him for the last two hundred years had failed.
“I believe the appropriate phrase is ‘Oh Shit’, Layla.” Zero said quietly, rubbing the dog behind its ears. It wasn’t that he didn’t concede he had done a lot of bad in his life (and death)—he had. He knew that. That was part of the reason he had made the move to Australia. To peel away the rotten layers and start anew. He had beaten people, he had maimed people, he had tortured people, he had killed people. And he had enjoyed doing it. He had laughed when they begged him for mercy, when they cried for their mothers. It had all been a delicious, orgiastic prelude to drinking their blood. Pushing his face down into their life force, smearing it all over himself and licking it longingly from his fingers. He admitted it—all of it! How could he not? Their faces swam up before him every time he closed his eyes.
But it had all changed one night. Everything had changed forever and he couldn’t be himself anymore. He no longer relished the premeditative hunt, the desperate chase and the brutal killing. He knew he needed blood and it disgusted him. He hated what he was, he hated himself. He was neither human nor vampire anymore. He was nothing. And now it seemed he would not even have peace all this way from Europe.
“They know you’re here.” Luna and Helia had told him. “They know.”
And they would come for him.