Back for another chapter of Gemini! For more details on this, please check out:
By Elena Yazykova
Anthony’s warm palms caught her waist, and for a moment she was suspended over the darkness, blind and weightless. He set her down more gently than she had expected, and closed the trapdoor shut, bolting the lock over her head.
“I’m sorry for leading them here,” Stacey whispered. In the dark, she could feel the warmth radiate off his body, unnervingly comforting. “I thought I’d dodged them.”
“They can track Lilit blood.” He didn’t add “you, moron”, but she heard it in his tone.
When the demons first bust out of hell in the First Uprising, the vampiric disease they spread affected humans differently. Gemini had always told her that she became a Lilit, not a Biter, because her soul was more resistant to “hell’s persuasion”. She was young and pure of soul when she was infected twenty-two years ago. Or so he claimed.
“Vampirism isn’t just skin deep,” he’d said after her first Biter hunt. She had been fifteen and terrified. He’d just finished wiping his blade on a restaurant napkin in a diner that had suffered an attack. Gemini liked to lecture after a hunt. Stacey figured it was because killing made him pensive. He had doused a nearby Biter body with gasoline and lit a match. “It seeps into your soul, paralyzing the sanity and the goodness. It takes a strong sort to withstand that attack.” She watched the Biter’s body twitch as the flames enveloped it. Gemini watched her watch. “Your pure soul saved you. Take care of that soul. Or…” He gestured at the body with his now-clean iron dagger. “You never know when the virus will make you…that.”
Stacey shuddered all over at the memory. “How do you know they won’t smell me down here?” she whispered.
“They won’t get the chance. I’ve carved Garni and crossed it with Junoo, all over the door and windows.” He didn’t sound too confident, and Stacey knew why.
Garni and Junoo, “shield” and “spear”, were effective—against burglars. And Anthony, a symbol mage, knew that. Protecting his home from Biters had simply never crossed his mind. Stacey watched the trapdoor. The dark was transparent to her now.
If only she hadn’t lost so much blood…Biters could smell a drop of Lilit blood for miles. But the shop above them was quiet. Too quiet. The monsters should’ve been attacking the windows and doors minutes ago. Maybe Anthony’s wards worked. Maybe they couldn’t get inside. Unless… Unless…
“Anthony,” she said, in panicky realization, “give me the knife!”
She groped for him in the dark, fingers shaking. “The one in your boot, give it to m –“
The floor shuddered with a loud crash. An enormous force had ripped the couch off the floor and threw it against the wall. The trapdoor shook, accompanied by snarls and clawing. Biters had not only found them. They knew where they were all along.
“They have sniffers with them!” Stacey yelled over the noise. “Someone sent them here! Like they sent them after me this morning! It wasn’t an accident!”
Anthony responded something, but she couldn’t hear him. With a sickening tearing sound, the trap door turned into wood chips and splinters. They were discovered.