Chapter One

Holy Necrophilia, Batman

I slid across the slick gym floor in the lightweight boots, a fourteen-inch, silver-plated vamp-killer in one hand, the other hand back in a fist. I slammed the fist into the vamp’s head, deflecting the fang-strike away from the boy’s throat. Caught the collar of the fanghead’s jacket and spun him after me. Around me. His rotting jacket ripped. I stuck out my boot. Shoved him across my foot.

He crashed to the floor. As he fell, I raised the pommel of the blade and brought it down onto the top of his head. It connected with a satisfying bonk. The vamp’s eyes rolled back, yellowed sclera exposed.

I stomped his chest to make sure he was staying down. Brought the vamp-killer across his throat and took off his head except for an inch of spine and a few stringy tendons. The stink of sweat and fear and blood hit me when I took a breath, my first good one in the last ten minutes. I registered the screams of the teenagers and adults in the gym but discounted them as panic, and the stink in their sweat as terror. There was no smell of death, so the rev hadn’t gotten to them. I took another breath. And a couple more to restore the oxygen levels and throw off some carbon dioxide from my full-out sprint.

Eli Younger stepped close, weapons pointed at the floor, his matte-black fighting leathers a faint gleam in the overheads. He wasn’t even breathing hard. “Silver didn’t stop him,” he said. “Six shots.”

“Maybe you missed,” I said.

Eli snorted.

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