Generation V

Free Generation V by M. L. Brennan

Book: Generation V by M. L. Brennan Read Free Book Online
Authors: M. L. Brennan
Tags: Fiction, General, Fantasy, Urban
be given a hearing within three months!” she called over her shoulder as she left.
    Then she was gone, and I was left with that familiar feeling of having just been caught in a hurricane. I tried calling her phone, but I went straight to voice mail three times. Finally I glanced at my watch, swore when I saw the time, and had to focus on getting myself to Madeline’s on time and presentable.
    I barely had enough time to run a load of laundry to get the stain out of my khakis and take one rushed shower before I dodged through the obstacle course of drums currently gathered in the living room and ran out the door. I tried calling Beth twice more on the road, again getting sent to voice mail, and ended up stewing in irritation for most of the drive down to Newport, until nervous anticipation slowly pushed its way to the foreground. Chivalry had been very specific about when I was supposed to arrive, because apparently vampire shindigs begin precisely at ten at night. Probably for the ambiance. I was secretly hoping that our visitor would have a Dracula fetish and would show up in a cape.
    Thanks to an elderly driver on Route 138, I pulled into Madeline’sdriveway at a quarter of ten. I tucked my Fiesta next to Chivalry’s Bentley and hurried inside.
    Madeline and Chivalry were standing in the foyer. Madeline stood on the fifth step of the staircase wearing a long golden gown and an ermine overrobe, lacking only a crown to look like Helen Mirren in the opening shot of
The Queen
—assuming that Helen Mirren decided to revisit the role in about thirty years. Chivalry stood two steps below her and slightly off to the side, wearing a black silk three-piece suit complete with an ebony dandy’s cane and an actual top hat that brought to mind all manner of Oscar Wilde jokes.
    At that moment, I was extremely grateful that I’d splurged on the OxiClean and had gotten the stain out of my khakis. I was also very conscious that when it came to my shirt I’d been relying on bounce sheets and quick hanging to substitute for ironing. Chivalry had been very specific that this was a formal event, but given the way he was glaring at my tie, apparently I’d missed the mark a bit. Maybe it wasn’t Brooks Brothers, but it had looked pretty good in the thrift store. It didn’t exactly match the color of my shirt, true, but neon orange could be an accent color to green, right?
    As I stepped farther into the lobby, I felt a chill at the back of my neck and that innate lizard/vampire-brain knowledge. I turned and saw without surprise that Prudence was standing behind me.
    The fine tracings of early wrinkles around her eyes are what make Prudence look like she’s in her early forties. She works out a lot, and her extremely impressive body was on display in a floor-length gold satin dress that was cut to offer everyone a generous view of her overflowing décolletage.Her hair is cut in a severe bob, and I happen to know that its brilliant red color is the work of chemicals, not nature. It’s been dyed the same color since the late ’fifties, but Madeline has a turn-of-the-century oil painting of Prudence hanging in her sitting room that shows that her real hair color is a mousy brown. I try to focus on small personal hypocrisies like that whenever I’m around Prudence. I’ve learned that screaming and throwing myself at her might be personally satisfying, but ultimately comes to nothing more than a cracked rib.
    “Hello, sister.” I forced myself to speak normally. I can never look at her and not remember the way that Jill’s and Brian’s blood dripped off her shoes. Unfortunately, interacting with her is a fact of life.
    “This greeting is a sign of our strength and power,” Prudence said, her high voice cutting. She’s never been much for pleasantries. Her bright blue eyes were slitted in temper, and she looked over at Chivalry. “Didn’t you tell him how to dress?”
    “I believe that by the standards of his generation,

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