Rising Darkness (Rylee Adamson #9) - Page 40

“Shit.”

“Yeah.”

Four of the big apes stumbled into the tiny clearing we stood in. They were all sick, and one carried a child. Not again, I couldn’t do this again. “I don’t want to fight them.”

“We aren’t exactly being given a choice, Rylee.” Faris’s tone was dry and full of sarcasm.

“I know.”

Faris met the first big foot, swung around and was up on his back in a split second. “Let me see what I can do. Just keep clear.”

His mouth buried into the big foot’s thick scruff around his neck. The vampire jerked up, spitting and gagging. “This is worse than biting Alex.”

Alex shook a fist at him. “I is clean, dumbass.”

I danced to one side, avoiding grasping hands. From the sidelines, Griffin let out a couple of short barks that could have been encouragement or laughter. I was betting on the latter.

Faris clung to the back of the big foot, who spun and tried to pull him off. “Probably thinks you’re a giant tick,” Berget said, and I did laugh, though it was short lived.

“Ha! You’re probably right.”

Griffin let out a snorting bark that was definitely a laugh. I ducked and dived between the hairy, stinking land apes, avoiding them fairly easily, considering. Then again, they were sick. Their bodies were covered in hair, but huge patches were missing, showing skin blistered and swollen with pustules. I brushed against one and the pus sack broke open, spewing its contents down my arm. I gagged, and had to drop to my knees to avoid the furred frying pan hand that swept over my head.

“Hurry up, Faris!”

“Can’t find a vein under this matted hair,” he shouted back.

I didn’t have time to ask him how that was possible. A set of large feet were stomping my way. I hit the ground, rolling so that I slammed into the feet.

Alex, beside me yelled, “Log rolls!” He flopped down and rolled around, taking out the big foot family like he was bowling. They howled and moaned as they went down and most didn’t get back up. They were that weak. But the one with Faris was obviously the alpha male. Even sick, he fought for his family. Even though it was a serious pain in the ass, I understood why. To my death and on pain of torture, I would fight for my family.

I backed until I was beside Griffin, watching Faris.

The vampire ripped away a huge chunk of hair, revealing bright pink skin underneath. I didn’t even see him move, his strike was so fast. One second he was upright on the big foot, the next, his mouth was on the bare skin. The big foot went to his knees with a groan, then he fell forward to his hands.

“Faris, don’t kill him.”

The vampire pulled his head up. “Not. Spelling him. He’ll take them back to their nest now.”

He slid from the big foot’s back and stumbled toward us. Falling to his hands and knees almost a parody of the big foot’s fall, he threw up. Blood, black and thick, that was visible . . . .

Visible.

Shit.

“Sun is coming, we need to get you clear. Now!” I grabbed Berget. “Griffin, where? A cave, something like that close by.” I was stuttering my words out and they weren’t even in full sentences.

Griffin leapt to his feet and grabbed Berget with his mouth, dragging her with him. She gave a squeak, but I waved her forward. “Go, I’ll grab Faris.” I ran to Faris and helped him up, Alex on the other side of him.

We stumbled after Griffin and Berget. I could almost feel the sun rising, feel the warmth of it licking at our heels as we bolted after the black shadow of Griffin.

Faris jerked us to a stop, puking up more blood, black and stinking of death. The price of biting someone infected. I took him by the arm and yanked him forward.

“Keep puking, I don’t care, but keep moving your fucking feet.”

He groaned. I didn’t look at him, didn’t need to. He retched and heaved as we ran, the sound of splattering vomit was more than I needed. In the past, I had a stomach of steel. Now, after giving birth . . . not so much.

Alex gave a low whine. “Sun is coming.” I dared a glance back to see the tops of the trees lighting up. Fucking hell.

“Faster, we have to move faster. Berget, help us!”

She was my side in a flash. She grabbed Faris and hefted him over her shoulder like he was nothing. Score one for vampire strength saving the day. Maybe that was a bad choice of words.

“Go, just go!” I waved her forward and she took off running faster than I could ever hope to, a blur of black wolf at her side. I hoped Griffin was actually helping, and not take them to some open clearing where they’d both fry. I didn’t slow down, and Alex kept pace with me easily. He could probably keep up to the others, but I would need him to find them if they got too far ahead.

“Fuck,” I snapped out, as I jumped a log. Alex sailed over it beside me, his mouth open and tongue hanging out.

“Fuck,” he yelped as we jumped another log. And the next log was the same. My lips twitched and I remembered something Erik had said while we’d trained.

“Don’t forget to laugh, Rylee. I know it will be hard, but it isn’t just love that you should fight for, but joy too. Without it, your heart will be empty.”

So on the next log, when Alex let out a tremendous “FUCK!” as he leapt, I let the laughter come. Two more logs like that and of course, he knew he was making me smile, making me laugh.

“Fuckity fuck!”

“Fucker duckers!”