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Midnight Poison (The Paranormal Poisons Saga #1)

By:A&E Kirk

Midnight Poison (The Paranormal Poisons Saga #1)
        Author: A&E Kirk

       
         
       
        
CHAPTER 1





A violent crescendo of screams slashed through the gentle harmonies of Mozart's haunting melody. Bright crimson sprayed the white ceiling of the massive party tent, the glowing chandeliers swayed upon impact. The scarlet liquid dripped off the thousands of glittering crystals. Leontes stared at the droplets on the back of his hand, rested his cane against the round table, and then licked away the blood.

Silence hushed through the space around him. The large crowd of rich, beautiful, powerful-and soon-to-be-dead-people attending the charity ball looked around with curiosity. Many of those sitting at the tables rose to their feet. Dancers paused their steps.

A rumble from above brought all eyes upward. The center-most chandelier trembled as shadows snaked over the white ceiling. Black vines serrated with sharp thorns ripped through the fabric. Twisting like serpents, the thick vines hissed against the material before they coiled around the chandelier. As the crystals trembled and clinked, deep red flower petals fluttered down over the crowd.

Something hit the table with a wet slap, toppling the floral centerpiece with a crash and speckling moisture onto Leontes' cheek. The human heart, so recently removed from its owner, gave one final pathetic pump and then lay limp. Black blood oozed like foul-smelling wine over the white tablecloth. The woman sitting beside Leontes gasped and clutched his hand. The others at the table choked on screams of shock.

When a slow laugh wound through the air like wind chimes on an ocean breeze, chills erupted down Leontes' spine.

"No," he whispered.

The vines strangling the chandelier burst with blooms of large black flowers.

Several partygoers shrieked in horror. "Oleander!"

A group of men ran, tossing aside tables, chairs, and each other. Anything standing between themselves and escape. More blossoms burst to life. They overflowed around the remaining chandeliers and smothered the glowing bulbs. Light faded into darkness and fueled the rising terror.

Snatching his cane, Leontes rose and took the hand of the woman sitting beside him. The stench of soured blood and eviscerated organs surged through the air. His feet slipped on something wet as he backed toward the exit. He looked down at the dark pool growing larger by the second. The woman screamed and pointed over his shoulder.

Leontes turned. He barely registered the flash of metal before his head fell from his shoulders. It hit the ground with a wet thud. A moment later the cane clattered beside it as the vicious sounds of the massacre echoed to nothing.





CHAPTER 2





For Leontes, everything became startlingly black. No emotion or power in the abyss of nothingness. He could not remember a time death had not ended like this. He took a deep breath and slipped from the void. Faint light called to him. Shapes pushed through and took on substance and color. He rubbed his neck, head still firmly attached. 

Always a comfort.

He shook his head and broke free from the vision of the past. With another deep breath, he focused on the world around him. The present.

Police officers and technicians hurried about in a professionally panicked manner through the wreckage. Overturned furniture. Broken china. Scattered food. The remnants of what had been a four-foot-tall swan ice sculpture now lay melted on the ground. White curtains, ripped and bloody, draped in elegant arcs around the open-air tent big enough to house a circus.

Or in this case, a slaughter.

The wood dance floor gleamed slick with smeared blood, like a macabre modern art piece. Strings of miniature lights hung in a broken, haphazard mess. Several spit sparks.

Outside the tent, floodlights illuminated the expansive green lawn rolling up to a stately mansion. Littered with dozens of misshapen forms hidden beneath body sheets, the grass looked like a blizzard had dropped masses of snow in its wake.

Leontes flexed his fingers around the cane in his hand. He could still feel the pull of the memories attached to it. The endless loop of someone else's pain and fear yearned to yank him in to relive it all, again and again, but his centuries of experience made him more than able to resist. He knelt and set the cane on the blood-soaked sheet that covered what remained of the cane's owner.

He pulled a pair of black leather gloves from his coat and slipped them on. He had touched enough of the various victims' items to piece together what had happened here.

A middle-aged, mustached detective in a cheap sports coat and latex gloves entered the tent and gazed around.

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