Home > Phantom (The Last Vampire #4)(17)

Phantom (The Last Vampire #4)(17)
Author: Christopher Pike

It is a terrible thing to be afraid of one's own daughter.

"I will take only a little of his blood," she repeats.

"How much?"

"Eight ounces."

"That is not a little, not for him. He is weak, don't you care?"

Kalika is thoughtful. When she gets that way, she stares at the ground. I have no idea what she looks for. Her eyes close halfway, and her breathing seems to halt. The overall effect is disturbing. Finally she looks up.

"I care," she says. "But not in the way you mean."

I am curious. She is still an enigma to me. "What do you mean?"

She shakes her head. "I cannot explain, Mother."

Kalika leaves me to get dressed. Knocking lightly on Eric's door, I step in his room. I have not been able to untie him as I had hoped. As his strength has failed, his behavior has become more desperate. He thinks only of escape, or of his own impending death. I wish I could release him. An unhappy bundle of nerves stuffed in a stale corner, he twitches as I step into the room.

"No," he moans. "I can't."

I kneel by his side. "I need just a little. Less than last time."

He weeps. "Why?"

"You know I can't tell you why. But it will be over soon, Eric, I promise. I'm going out right now to—to get someone else."

He shakes his head sadly as he stares up at the ceiling. "I'm not stupid. You're never going to let me go. You're going to keep me here till I die."


He speaks with passion. "Yes. You're evil. You're a vampire. You have to kill me to keep your evil ways secret."

His words hurt. "I'm not a vampire. I don't take this blood for myself."

He is not listening. He continues to sob but grows more animated. "You're some monster from another planet. You're going to rip me open and eat my guts. You're going to have a glass of wine and have my guts all over your face, dripping on your clothes, on the floor..." He raises his voice. "You're going to eat me alive!"


"You're an alien monster!"


"Help! The monster's got me! The aliens are coming!"

I am forced to strike him hard in the face to shut him up. My reflexes are still excellent, my martial art skills sharp. I believe I break his nose. Yet he continues to moan softly as I tighten the tourniquet. After Ihave drained away eight ounces—I know Kalika will count them—he dozes, probably out of sheer loss ofblood. I kiss the top of his head before I leave theroom.

"You will go home, Eric," I whisper. "I am not a monster."

While Kalika has her breakfast, I dress in my bedroom, in black leather pants, a tight leather coat. Ray sits up in bed. I do not need to turn to feel his eyes on me.

"Are you going out?" he asks.

"Yes. You know why."

"Yes. You've waited too long anyway."

"It's not an enjoyable task, you know, finding people to kill."

"Eric's still alive."


"Find someone you don't like. A criminal, a rapist—you used to specialize in them if I remember correctly."

I turn on him. "I may not be able to handle a criminal or rapist nowadays, or does that concern you, my love?"

He shrugs. "Take your pistol. It has a silencer on it. Just get someone you're not going to go to pieces over every time you have to take blood."

I speak with thinly disguised bitterness. "You didn't answer my question, my love. But I suppose that is answer enough. You know I enjoy this little family we have here. A gorgeous daughter who is a medical and historical first, and a supposedly loving boyfriend who has forgotten what the words friend and love mean. I mean, you've got to admit, five thousand years of intense experience has really helped me create the perfect domestic environment. Wouldn't you agree?"

He is unimpressed by my outburst. "You create what you want You always have. If you don't like it, you can always leave."

I snort. "Leave you with Kalika! She would starve in a day."

"I doubt that Kalika will need either of us soon. She's not a normal child, you know." He adds, "Not like Paula's child will be."

I stop. "Why did you say that?"

He ignores me. "When is her baby due exactly? Soon?"

I frown. Why were they both dropping remarks about Paula? "She's not having a baby anymore," I say carefully. "She lost it."

He waves his hand. "Yeah, right, she got kicked by a donkey."

A donkey, I think. "Yeah, that is right." I turn away. "Seymour was right about you."

Ray is instantly alert. "You spoke to him. When did you speak to him?"

I reach for my black boots. "None of your busi­ness."

"What did he say about me?"

I glare at him. "He said that Eddie Fender's blood has warped your mind. He told me not to trust you, which was probably good advice."

Ray relaxes. "Good old Seymour. Did you invite him down for a pleasant evening of food and conver­sation?"

I have my boots on and stalk out the door. "He is not interested in our problems," I lie. "He has better things to do with his time."

But Ray's final remark makes me pause outside the door.

"I hope you didn't tell him about Kalika. I really hope you didn't."

I glance over my shoulder. "Of course not. He would never have believed me if I had."

Ray just nods and smiles.


Kalika drives with me to a club in Hollywood. It is one in the morning but the place is still hopping. What I'm supposed to do with my daughter, I'm not sure. It is she who suggests she hide under a blanket in the backseat until I bring out whoever it is who is to be our next barrel of blood. As she crawls under the blanket, she peers up at me with her serious dark blue eyes.

"You'll be warm enough?" I ask.

"I am never cold," she says.

"If you want, you can sleep. Just don't make any noise when I return to the car. I'll take care of everything." I glance at the crowded parking lot. "But I won't be able to knock him out here."

"Take him to a secluded place," Kalika says. "I will help you."

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