Who could it be!!!!! Thanks for reading.
Paige had pinned Gage up against a storage locker, holding him aloft with eerie strength. “Do you know... how hard I work,” she hissed through gritted teeth, “to keep you two from turning into monsters?”
The bewilderment on Gage’s face slowly sank to mute defiance. Across the room, a pang of jealousy hit Ritz amidst her extant pangs of bloodthirst, and she wondered if asking nicely to be ragdolled in a similar fashion would make Paige mad enough to acquiesce regardless of her answer
Ritz’s daydream was dispelled when Paige suddenly pointed in her direction, causing her to fully swallow the spider she’d been nonchalantly teething on.
“She’s seeing ghosts and goblins, Gage, the whole year-round Halloween menagerie. Do you know what that means?!”
Gage didn’t know. Not exactly. At first, he’d chalked the sounds he’d heard and phantom touch he’d felt since becoming a vampire up to one more spooky side effect, but Paige insisted there were invisible creatures all around them they could only echolocate. She’d learned as much from that freaky Witch that Davy worked with, who’d told her that their progenitor had gained special senses for the spectral after nearly drowning long before he’d turned. Gage couldn’t picture Davy having ever needed to breathe in the first place, and he knew to stay away from Davy’s haunted hook without grasping the science of the color-coded ghost gas that the Witch claimed was its fuel. Paige, however, had lapped up every detail she could get.
Gage didn’t see what any of that had to do with Ritz. The more Paige leered at him, the less and less he cared. He shrugged at her, meeting her glare without blinking.
The locker creaked as she redoubled the force with which she’d pressed Gage up against it. “It means she almost bought it, you absolutely brainless clod! A fluke saved you from having that on your hands, Gage—”
Gage’s eyes flashed in the darkness. “Yeah. A fluke,” he droned indifferently. “Not you. You watched us drink our fill until she got away, remember? Why’re you all high and mighty now?”
A wince pierced Paige’s anger, but her grip on his collar only tightened.
Gage scoffed and shrugged again. “I was hungry. She got us stuck under that friggin’ bridge, slummin’ it up with us for yucks until the sun rose. A meal was the least that she could—”
Clawed fingers raked across the metal beside Gage, stopping just a hair's breadth from his cheek. Neither of them spoke in the aftermath of Paige’s outburst. Its shrill, scraping echo slowly settled on the room like falling dust
“...So, what? You’ve had your nose up lookin’ down on us this whole time? Well whatever.” Gage gestured with a glance toward Paige’s hand, still embedded in the metal it had torn through. “We ALL turned into monsters a long time ago.”
If a retort came to Paige, she kept it clenched between her fangs, chewing at her own lip in frustration. Then she cursed, dropped Gage as suddenly as she’d grabbed him, and whirled to walk away.
Gage slumped limply to the floor, waving off Youth Culture when she scuttled to his side to check on him. “So what’s the plan, huh?” he called out after Paige. “Your highness.”
“...We’re using her, of course,” she shot back bitterly, ignoring the scoff that emerged behind her and marching in a straight line right towards Ritz. “She’s a thrall that Davy doesn’t know about with the same spectral powers as him. I’m not letting this chance pass.”
Ritz watched Paige approach with clammy reverence. She didn’t know exactly what was going on, but it seemed like the others had been fighting over her, which was only natural, and that Paige had won, which was by far the ideal outcome. Cut off by her blood haze from the cachet of infallible pickup lines she’d paid a consultant to teach her in anticipation of Mayview Academy’s senior prom, Ritz instead croaked “Use me?” and was rewarded with a look of pure disdain. Awestruck as she was, she barely flinched when Paige whipped her latest insect snack from out of her mouth and hurled it across the room.
“We’ll hide her here for now,” Paige said, disgustedly dusting bug juice off her hand. “Not a word to anyone. If Davy has a single reason to suspect us of anything, he’ll command us to confess... so make certain that tonight’s meeting—”
The soft squeak of a rusty hinge and a sudden swell of royalty free disco music cut Paige’s orders short. Four pairs of reflective eyes shot over to the source of the disturbance. A cone of colorful light from the arcade floor had spread out across the backrooms, leaking past the silhouette now standing in the doorway.