Blood Origins


(Black #1)


by Jessica L. Padilla



Red pain, Red need, Red hunger... Nightmares filled with red, dripping with death. The lines between predator and prey have blurred, nightmares have become a reality and choices must be made. Adelin, half in each world, must choose between a lost mother, found, or a dad who's always been there... The black world, a world filled with darkness and death, or the human.... Will she choose humanity or will she let the darkness consume her? Blood has never been so red.



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book cover for Blood Origins


Prologue



Oh, no, we're going to be late ... again, Sera thought. What in the world was so hard about being on time just once? What could he be doing up there? “Paul, come on or we’re going to be late!”

“Sera, calm down or you'll go into labor,” Paul said, smirking as he began walking down the stairs.

“Well, what took you so long?” Sera demanded.

“I had to find my tie. Now who’s the one holding us up?” he teased with a laugh.

Together, the two walked out the door and to the green sedan parked outside. Gingerly, Paul helped a very pregnant Sera into the car and jogged around to the other side. Tonight was their four year anniversary and they were on their way to Sera's favorite restaurant, Angelina’s, to celebrate. Paul had called a month earlier to make the reservation, which they were now ten minutes late for.

They pulled up a few minutes later to the side parking lot of Angelina's and hurried inside. The young girl behind the counter took their coats and led them near a back corner to a small table. A moment later a young blonde waitress appeared to take their drink and food orders before promptly whisking off. They sat joking and talking together, without a care in the world, until their food arrived.

“So,” Paul started, “have you thought of any more names for our little girl?”

“Well, I was thinking … Maybe something that starts with an A …”

“An A? Like, Alice or Anna or something?” Paul questioned, face slightly scrunched.

“Yeah only, I don’t know, prettier. Maybe something French for my mom.”

“Hmm … something French that starts with an A?”

“I was thinking of maybe … Adelin,” Sera shared, looking at him for a reaction.

“Adelin. Hum, maybe. Have you thought about this long?”

Instead of responding, Sera startled Paul by suddenly jumping up, a look of genuine concern on her face.

“What is it, Sera? Is it the baby? What's wrong?” Paul asked worriedly.

“I'm fine, honey. No, it's not the baby. I forgot my purse in the car.”

“Oh,” Paul breathed in relief. “I'll go get it for you.”

“No, no. I'm fine. The walk will keep my legs from going to sleep. Sitting like that for too long isn't good for me; I don't care what the doctors say.”

“Sera, sit down. Please. I said I’d get it. I have to use the restroom anyway.” He stood, walked around to where Sera had sat back down, and planted a soft kiss on her forehead. “I’ll be right back.”

Worried that Paul might find the anniversary gift she had hidden inside her purse, she glanced around anxiously before making up her mind to sneak outside while he was in the restroom. Throwing one last nervous glance over her shoulder, she stood and made her way outside, stopping only briefly to speak with the hostess.

There it is! Sera thought as she caught sight of her purse on the front floorboard. Exactly where I left it. I am such a ditz. She shut the door before turning and heading back towards the front of the restaurant when suddenly the parking lot lights shut off, sending her into a world of darkness, the only light filtering dimly out from the windows of the restaurant, shades drawn tight. Caught off guard and unable to see, she stood there, dumbfounded.

What in the world? I can't see a thing. I hope I don't trip, Sera fretted anxiously.

Suddenly, a shape began to solidify in the blackness in front of her, followed by a voice.

“Hello, pretty lady. Need some help?” the silhouette called.

Thank goodness. “Yes, please, if you wouldn't mind. Do you have a flashlight or something? I can't see anything.”

“No, but then again, I don't need one. Here, let me help you. Take my arm,” the voice replied close by.

As her eyes adjusted to the dimness, a handsome face appeared in front of her, seeming to come from thin air. Shocked, Sera automatically took a step backward.

“Well, well,” the husky voice chuckled. “Dinner … and a snack. I didn't realize you were pregnant. What a good night this turned out to be.”

“Please,” Sera stuttered, suddenly very afraid. “If you could just help me back to the front of the restaurant, my husband's inside waiting. Please.”

“Oh, I'm afraid that's just not possible any more, not in your state. I didn't know tonight was going to turn into such a good night for me. I thought I'd have to go out after I was done with you to find someone else to fill me up. But, since you're with child, this is really all I need. What an exquisite night. I'm so lucky to have found you out here, all alone. It's been decades since I had such a delectable treat! I'm really going to enjoy this,” the once handsome stranger sneered, advancing into full view. His face contorted grotesquely as he bared his teeth and snarled, “You, on the other hand, are not.”

Before Sera could scream, the savage beast leapt at her, attacking her throat with its teeth. She could feel the warm blood flowing out of her gaping wound, but could not feel the pain itself.

Oh my god. I can’t feel anything. I must be in shock. I'm going to die, aren't I?

She tried to scream for help, but only a feeble squeak spilt out, barely audible, from her mouth. Her eyes began to fall shut on their own accord and her limbs grew heavy, numb.

Paul?! Oh god, my baby! My Adelin!! Help!!

Then the world shifted into blackness and her along with it.

* * * * *


Immediately after exiting the restroom Paul’s eyes automatically swept over to the table he had been sitting at, needing the reassurance of seeing Sera sitting there before going out to the car to fetch her purse, only to find that her seat was empty. His first thought was that maybe she had gone to the restroom herself, only somehow he knew better. He knew without a doubt that she had gone outside to get her purse herself. She had always hated not being able to do things herself and didn’t like being told she shouldn’t do something. A curse escaped his lips as he stalked across the room towards the hostess stand in search of his wife.

“Excuse me, miss?” He questioned the brunette behind the podium. “Did you happen to see my wife step outside? She’s pregnant – due in a month – and I worry about her being alone by herself outside.”

The girl took a moment to contemplate before answering, “Oh, the pregnant lady? Yeah, she stepped out a minute or two ago. Said if her husband asked to tell him she’d be right back in, that she went out to get her purse.”

A mixture of relief and agitation passed through his thoughts as he headed outside. Going out the front door, he headed toward the side parking lot. Rounding the corner of the building, he couldn’t make out much of anything in the darkness. That’s odd, he thought, slowly surveying the outlined forms of the cars. Not seeing his wife or a light or anything, he started back towards the restaurant’s front door when he heard a commotion. Slowly he started towards the noise, picking his way across the gravel.

Just then a car pulled into the lot from the road, its headlights illuminating the area. In the eerie yellowed light, he could see a man hunched over a form on the ground. Fear jumped to his mind as he recognized his wife’s clothes on the still form and he broke into a run towards them. The car’s headlights froze over the scene as the hunched over man lifted his head and looked at him. Red was all over his face and was dripping onto his clothes. Paul hurled himself onto the man, knocking both of them off their feet. Scrambling to his feet, he rushed over to the still form of his wife. Blood was flowing freely from an open wound on her neck. Snatching his handkerchief from his pocket, he pushed it into the gaping hole and held it tightly against her neck.

“You’ll pay for that,” he heard the man say just before he was knocked sprawling onto the sharp gravel of the parking lot. Moaning, he tried to get up but was kicked solidly in the side, knocking the wind out of him. In the beams of the car’s headlights, he could see a foot rearing back for another shot when a voice rang out, “Hey you, get off of him!”

The foot hesitated and then disappeared from his view. He forced himself to sit up and felt an arm assisting him and the same voice asked, “Are you alright, Buddy?”

“My wife,” he managed to gasp and point to the still form a few feet away, “is she OK?”

The man hurried over to her and he crawled behind him. Seeing the handkerchief lying beside her, he picked it up and once again applied pressure to the ugly wound. “Call an ambulance,” he told the man.

The next hour was a nightmare. He sat next to the still form of his wife holding the makeshift bandage against her neck as people poured out of the restaurant and huddled in small groups around them. Paramedics and police arrived and loaded him and his wife onto stretchers. She hadn’t moved since he saw her on the ground and the look on the paramedics’ faces as they treated her was grim. He must have passed out as the next thing he saw was the worried look of a woman in scrubs looking down at him.

“My wife. Is she going to be okay? What about the baby?” he managed to ask through his fog of pain.

Her eyes said it all and he began to weep. Through his grief he heard her say, “I can save her and the child, but she won’t be the same.”

Hope flooded his heart and he tried to sit up. Gently the woman held him down and said, “You need to listen and decide now.”

Relaxing back onto the bed, he listened intently to her and then nodded yes before passing out again.




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