Vesik 3 Winter's Demon

Free Vesik 3 Winter's Demon by Eric Asher

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Authors: Eric Asher
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he glided from Zola’s shoulder over to mine. “More trouble than he’s worth.”
    The innkeeper raised her eyebrows and then barked out a laugh. She started down the hall again. “That leaves you in the Nile,” she said to me.
    My first impression of the room was blue. Lots of blue, from the comforter on the canopied brass bed, to the area rug over the dark hardwood, the walls were a deep blue, and even the small porcelain hats laid out across the bench at the foot of the bed were a light blue. The painted parts of the wall were covered in drywall, but every few feet a section of old brick was exposed and trimmed in wood. The effect was stunning.
    “This is huge,” I said.
    “It was the last room we had available,” the innkeeper said.
    Aideen glided past me and settled on a small armoire set against the wall beside the door. Further into the room, a table with two leaves folded down sat beneath a brass chandelier. I tossed my bag down by the vanity on the far wall and glanced at the bathroom.
    “Holy crap,” Foster said as he swooped by. “That’s a whirlpool tub. Oh, sweet, sweet whirlpool. You’re sharing, right?”
    “We’ll talk,” I said as I made my way back to the hall.
    “What about Dad?” Sam whispered to me. Christ, I felt like an idiot.
    “Uh, Dimitry?” I said, trying out Dad’s real name for a change.
    He smiled and winked at me. “Yes?”
    “Where are you staying?”
    “He is welcome to stay with me,” Mike said. “Of course I will understand if my nature makes you uncomfortable.”
    “Take my room,” I said. “I can grab the couch.”
    The innkeeper sighed. “No, that room is for you, and you alone. I have another room I can open. I didn’t want to clean an extra set of sheets if it wasn’t necessary. It’s the first room on the second floor. I’ll have it ready for you.”
    “Thank you,” Dad said with a nod to the innkeeper.
    “Feel free to explore the mansion on your own,” she said, “but I warn you to stay out of the basement. I’ll not be cleaning up the mess if one of you decides not to listen.
    “I’m sure Edgar is in the kitchen, if you care to join him.” With that, she nodded and started to walk away.
    “We don’t have keys,” I said.
    She didn’t bother to turn around. “Your rooms know you now. No one outside your party can enter.” As if on cue, all three doors slammed shut and the locks clicked in rapid succession.
    I blinked and looked at Sam.
    “It’s a little creepy,” she said with a smile.
    I sighed and slowly started for the stairs. I let everyone go ahead before I pulled on Sam’s shoulder to slow her down.
    “Are you okay?” I asked. “You seem … off. Is it Mom?”
    She glanced down the hallway at the others.
    “You know what Dad said to me?” she asked as her voice grew quiet. “Do you?”
    I shook my head.
    “They felt like I abandoned them. Like I walked out of their lives when I joined the Pit. Like I was already dead.”
    “They’re wrong,” I said.
    Sam’s lip trembled before she gathered herself. “That’s what Dad said to me at the house. After I helped him fight off those necromancers.”
    “He what?” I stared at Sam until she looked up and met my eyes. She still seemed like the kid I grew up with sometimes, but I could feel her aura shifting when she stared back. Her vampire instincts were always hunting and prodding their surroundings for a potential meal.
    “That’s why they always asked what could be done about my condition.” Sam reached out and grabbed my hand. “Mom always thought if I was human again, I’d be around more.” A tiny note cracked in her voice. I wouldn’t have even noticed it if I hadn’t known Sam so long. Her words came out in a whisper. “He said he was sorry.”
    I turned my gaze back down the hallway. Our party had already descended the stairs, but I pictured our father there, apologizing. To say it was unlike him would be the understatement of the century.
    Sam’s grip

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