‹ Prequel: Shadow Kiss
Status: This is the sequel to Shadow Kiss. If you have not yet read Shadow Kiss all the way through, then please do so before continuing with this story. Thanks! And remember comments are always appreciated!

The Freeing Blood

Chapter 10

Chapter 10

Approximately 9 hours earlier
4:09 A.M.

******Zak’s P.O.V******

I didn’t drive very far. After I had left Aerolynn’s apartment and scary brother behind, I had stopped by the motel to pack up my things. I had accidentally woken Nick up whilst packing, but thinking back on it…it was probably a good thing that he had woken up as I recalled our conversation.


“So, you’re going to leave her? Just like that?” my best friend hissed quietly so as not to wake Aaron who was still dead to the world.
“What other choice do I have, Nick?” I snapped throwing a pair of pants into my suitcase.
“How about trying to talk it out with her? That seems like a good choice to me.”
I vehemently shook my head at his idea. “You know I can’t do that. I can’t be around her anymore, Nick.”
“Why, Zak, why? You love her, man. I know you do,” Nick pleaded.
“I just can’t, Nick,” I sighed in frustration. It wasn’t like Nick to constantly pick at something like this. He usually just went along with whatever I told him.
“Don’t be such a pussy, Zak!”
“I almost killed her, alright?!” I growled, turning on him. Nick stumbled back a couple of steps at the venom laced throughout my tone.
“You what?” he quietly inquired not sure what to make of my confession.
I raked my hand down my face and rubbed the back of my neck.
“I-I almost killed her man. Her fragile neck fit so perfectly in my hands and I could feel her throat slowly being crushed under my grip. A-and the most horrifying part was…I enjoyed it.” I gripped my friend’s shoulders tightly. “I was enjoying it, Nick. How twisted is THAT? I could feel my blood racing through my veins with adrenaline and excitement at the thought of taking her life. How…how could I even THINK like that?” I quietly cried out holding back my sob as the memory of what I had almost done came rushing to the forefront of my mind.
Nick grasped my upper biceps in his hands and locked those dark eyes with mine.
“It wasn’t you doing that, Zak. You have to remember that. You weren’t feeling the excitement…your demon was. YOU weren’t thinking of killing her…IT was. You HAVE to remember that,” Nick calmly explained.
“I know. I know,” I sighed releasing the tight grip I had on my friend’s shoulders. His arms fell back down to his side as well. “But we both know there is no talking to Aerolynn about this. The more I am around her while I have little control over this thing; the more likely I am to kill her. And unlike last time—”
“There may be no stopping you,” Nick finished for me.
I nodded. “Yeah. It was hard enough trying to gain back this amount of control. My fingers are itching to close around her neck again. My mouth watering at the thought of tasting her metallic blood on my tongue…”
I squeezed my eyes tightly shut as I did my best to shove those thoughts aside. Nick was right. These kind of thoughts weren’t mine. They belonged to something else entirely.
“Nick,” I interrupted snapping my eyes open. “You have to promise me something. Promise me…that you will make sure she doesn’t come looking for me. Make sure…she lives a happy life with Luke or someone else. Just…watch over her for me. Ok?”
Nick nodded. “I promise, man. I’ll do the very best I can. I mean, you know how stubborn she can get sometimes.”
I cracked a small smile. “Yeah, I know, but if her brother does his job whenever she wakes up later today….then she’ll already hate me enough to not even want to bother.
Nick nodded and helped me finish packing my things. As I tossed the last suitcase in the trunk of the car, I turned around to face Nick. His hands were shoved deep into the pocket of his pants that he had thrown on before coming outside with me. His gaze was fixated on the gravel beneath his bare feet as his big toe rolled a small rock around. I slammed the trunk shut and fingered my keys.
“Well…I guess this is goodbye. For now,” I quickly tacked on.
“When do you think you will be back?” He asked with his gaze still fixed on the rock he was playing with.
I lifted my broad shoulders in a shrug. “I don’t know, man. I honestly don’t know. I hope it falls into the category of being sooner rather than later though, dude.”
Nick’s dark eyes lifted from the gravel to clash with my own stormy blue eyes.
“Come back a better man, Zak, alright? Because there is no way Aerolynn is settling down with Luke. Not when it’s obvious she only has eyes for you and you for her.”
I bit the inside of my cheek and merely nodded. That was something I wouldn’t be able to promise, but would do my best at trying to accomplish.
I clapped a hand on my best friend’s shoulder and gently squeezed it.
“Later, bro,” I quietly said.
“Yeah. Later,” he mumbled.
I watched him watch me as I backed out of the driveway with no particular destination in mind. I kept sight of the motel sign glowing in the night up until the point where it became just a small lit dot in my rearview mirror and then it was nothing but darkness around me.


I had stopped at a rest area to maybe sleep off some of this tiredness I was feeling. But every time I shut my eyes, I saw her mouth open in a silent scream; her eyes burning with fear. Each time I snapped my eyes open clutching my hand to my chest where I could still feel the deep sated ache at having to leave her the way I did, but I had no other choice.
I laid my head back against the headrest of the seat and released a long, tired sigh.
“Please, Nick…” I whispered into the silent car. “Keep her safe.”


Present time of 1:53 P.M.

~~~~~~Aerolynn’s P.O.V~~~~~~

I drove up into the gravel parking lot of the motel relieved to see the GAC van still parked in front of their rented room. I cut the engine and got out. I glanced around the parking lot saddened to see that Zak’s car wasn’t here. I had been hoping he would return back here to catch up on some sleep and I might be able to give him a good piece of my mind. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
The gravel crunched beneath my combat boots as I walked up to motel room number six. I took a deep breath and wrapped my knuckles against the door. At first there was no answer even though I had waited a few minutes. Were they still asleep? It was possible. They were men after all that usually were active during the night and asleep during the day. I tried again. Only I pounded my fist against the door this time.
Finally, the door swung open to a sleepy Aaron.
“Aero?” he yawned covering his mouth with a large hand.
“Is Nick here? I need to speak with him. It’s urgent,” I demanded trying to peek around Aaron to see if I could spot Nick.
“Um, yeah, but he’s taking a shower right now. You can come in and wait on him though. He should be about finished,” Aaron informed me stepping to the side allowing me access into the room.
I nodded my thanks and stepped inside the poorly decorated motel room. Not much had changed since I was last here with Luke. Although that now seemed like an eternity ago. Which I guess since it had been a little over four months…it wasn’t too surprising. The room seemed different somehow though. It seemed….emptier. It wasn’t just because Zak himself was gone, but…all of his stuff was gone as well. So he HAD been here. I had just been too late.
“Make yourself at home,” Aaron suggested waving a hand over at the small round table in the corner of the room.
“No, I’m fine,” I assured him.
Just then the bathroom door opened to reveal Nick standing amongst a cloud of steam. He stopped in the doorway at seeing me standing in the middle of the room. His eyes flicked over to Aaron, who had went back to laying down, before focusing back on me.
“Well, I guess it’s a good thing I decided to wear pants, then,” Nick joked making his way over to the bed where a black hooded shirt rested. He slipped it on over his head before facing me.
“You know why I’m here,” I quietly stated making sure my honey brown eyes never left Nick’s own dark eyes.
“Yeah, I do,” he sighed plopping down on the end of the bed. “Hey, Aaron?”
“Hmmm?” Aaron groaned rolling over in bed to face Nick.
“Can you go off and do something for a while? I need to talk with Aerolynn about some things,” he quietly insisted of his friend.
Aaron’s eyes went back and forth between Nick and I before realization slowly dawned on him. He slipped a shirt on and stepped into a pair of pants lying beside his bed.
“Sure thing, bro,” he nodded grabbing the keys to the van. He gave me a grave look before leaving the motel room.
My gaze fixated back onto Nick whose dark eyes were staring down at the floor.
“Nick…I need to know. Where is he?” I quietly pleaded of the man.
“That…I can’t answer because I don’t know. He never told me when he stopped by to pack up his things.”
“And around what time was that?”
“A little after four in the morning, I think?”
I slowly nodded. We had gone to bed a little before three after we had made love that second time which meant he had left shortly before an hour had passed by. I must have been out to not have noticed the bed shift beneath his weight as he got up.
“There’s one more thing I need to know and I think only you can provide me with the answer.”
Nick’s eyes grew solemn at my words. He knew exactly what it was I needed to know.
“You want to know what the darkness inside of him is,” he answered.
I nodded. “I want to know what it is, where it came from, when it started…anything that might help me save Zak. Please, Nick,” I begged. “I need to save him. He’s your best friend. Neither of us wants to lose him to whatever he has living inside him be it a demon, a darkness, a darker half….I don’t care. I just want whatever it is OUT so he can go back to being the Zak that we both love and remember.”
Nick released a sigh of defeat and patted the bed next to him. I eagerly plopped myself beside him and swept my eyes over his face.
“The change in him first started that night during our very first lockdown at Bobby Mackey’s Music World…”