In Darkness We Must Abide (The Fallen King, Episode 8)

In Darkness We Must Abide (The Fallen King, Episode 8) by Rhiannon Frater

Book: In Darkness We Must Abide (The Fallen King, Episode 8) by Rhiannon Frater Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rhiannon Frater
    Nostalgia gripped Vanora as her car wound through the neighborhood where she had spent so many happy times with Rhonda. Her best friend was gone and with her so was Vanora ’s tether to the life she had created in Austin. Though her aunt and uncle had offered her a place to stay, she couldn’t risk their lives. They had the luxury of having a home, family, and love. She couldn’t bear the thought of her presence ripping that away.
    The darkness that Roman had set free when he ’d unchained the moldering coffin he had brought home from Romania had swept into her life with the crushing weight of a tidal wave. She was drowning and wondered if there could ever be any escape. Yet, she knew she wouldn’t stop fighting to break free.
    The light pooling at the base of the street lamps illuminated the wet asphalt. The lighted path beckoned her toward the downtown area. She couldn ’t leave Austin without one last sweep through its heart. Turning her car onto Congress Avenue, she drove toward the glowing visage of the Texas State Capitol building. The pink granite appeared ivory in the glow of the spotlights. The downtown skyscrapers stood like sentinels along Congress Avenue, their glittering glass facades and windows reflecting the lights of the busy city.
    Tears lingered in her eyes, but Vanora refused to let them fall. She didn ’t want to hold onto the sad memories, and instead tried to concentrate on the good. As Vanora circumvented the grand building and headed toward the University of Texas, she felt her chest tighten.
    Soon after Rhonda had moved to Austin, the two friends had walked all around the capitol and downtown area, giggling. The two friends had hopped onto a bus, rode around the capitol complex, then disembarked on The Drag. Strolling along the line of shops and restaurants while gazing at the University of Texas bordering the other side of the street, they had made grand plans for their intertwined futures. Everything from scheduling classes on the same days to possibly moving to somewhere fabulous like New York or Paris after graduation had been discussed, dreamed about, and plotted.
    Of course, real life had revealed those grandiose plans to be nothing more than daydreams. Their friendship had remained as they endured their share of ups and downs, but Vanora had cherished every second. Rhonda had been more than just her best friend. She had been the anchor to a life that wasn’t filled with vampires, death, and fear. Vanora had been able to finally live a life that was free of all the darkness that had nearly drowned her.
    Or had she?
    As Vanora steered her little sedan along Guadalupe, the university loomed over the strip of street that was dubbed The Drag. She shivered inwardly in spite of her determination to not let her thoughts dwell on the maudlin and horrific. The darkness caught in the swaying boughs of the trees lining the road brought to mind a spider’s web wiggling with terrified bugs caught in its fine silk.
    “ Okay, get your head out of morbid town,” Vanora chastised herself.
    It was to be expected that she ’d be unnerved by the events of the last few days, but she had to keep her head together. Yes, there were forces at work that she did not fully understand, but it wouldn’t do her a bit of good to freak out just because the shadows in the trees appeared a little too dark. She had to remain focused and strong. Dealing with her brother was not going to be a difficult task. Roman was very stubborn, a Socoli trait, but she was determined to wear him down. She wasn’t sure where they could go to be safe, but her dreams and Armando’s warnings had convinced her that she had to persuade her brother to flee Houston.
    “ Oh, Rhonda,” Vanora sighed. All their dreams born in youthful hope were shattered and strewn across the city, tangled in the fabric of her memories.
    There was no solace to be found.
    Guadalupe Street merged into Lamar Boulevard. It was a route she had taken with

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