Bleeding Hearts Page 36

“Home?” I asked. “Where’s that?” That seemed like information a cop might want later.

“I was born in Upper Canada in 1633 as a Huron. We called ourselves Wendat. We were Attignawantan, the Bear People.” He showed me the bear claw hanging next to the leather pouch. “I was turned one night in the woods, 1661 I think it was. Can’t be sure now. Wasn’t even sure then. I woke up in a bear cave past midwinter. Wouldn’t have made it through the madness without that bear’s blood.” He held out his hand wryly, admiring his dusky blue veins and pale, moth-white skin. “Nearly didn’t.”

I was terrified, no doubt about it, but Aidan hadn’t made a single threatening move, not since he’d dosed with me with that white powder. He was talking to me as if I were his little sister. Even my adrenaline was confused.

“I still follow the ways of my tribe as best I can—the feast songs and the proper way to build a longhouse and how to honor the dead. The same way we’d hoped Lucky would learn our ways and become a link between the tribes. She could have carried the wampum to the Blood Moon.”

He was losing me again. But the talk of his life, like something out of a historical novel, was soothing to me. I actually wanted to ask him questions, which was probably ludicrous under the circumstances. But I couldn’t help myself.

“What did you eat?” It was what I always wondered. What kinds of food did Henry the Eighth eat, or Joan of Arc, or Coleridge? Did they eat cucumber salads and drink lemonade? Did they put honey on their toast? I’d have driven my teachers to distraction with these questions if I’d ever let myself talk as much as I’d wanted to in class. But people remembered the girl who asked if Byron really drank vinegar to lose weight.

Aidan looked briefly taken aback before his brow furrowed, as if he was trying to remember. Crazy people who thought they were vampires freaked me out, but crazy people who thought it was 1661 I could gladly get along with. And after what I’d seen him do, I had no trouble picturing him running through the cedars with a musket.

“We ate mostly biscuits and venison when I was a lad, and boiled peas. Tea on Sundays when there was any, after the British came. Before that we grew corn and squash and hunted and fished the lakes.” He licked his lips. “But now, blood.”

Oops, shouldn’t have asked about food.

“What about clothes?” I asked quickly, before he could go back to talking about vampires. “What did you wear?”

“The most beautifully beaded deerskin, soft as butter. And moccasins. Later, after most of the Wendat fell, I lived near the towns for a while, but I never could get used to a roof over my head. And no one could get used to me,” he added drily. “Some can pass for humans. Not the Hel-Blar, and not us. We have to give up everything. Saga sailed with Grace O’Malley,” he said, the lines around his oddly pale eyes crinkling. “She was an Irish pirate, chatted with Queen Elizabeth,” he explained when I looked confused. “But eventually the sun can reach anywhere on a ship—the brig is no exception.”

Pirates and Bear People. Even captured, I was actually itching for pen and paper so I could take notes.

I was as crazy as he was.

He came back to the present with a sigh. He glanced at the sky. “You’d best get inside. We’ve things to do.”

I went inside because I didn’t know what else to do. The glass bottles on the shelves rattled as I crossed the room. How was I going to get out of here?

“Christabel.”

I was standing in the middle of the room now, trying not to hyperventilate. And hearing voices. “Great,” I muttered.

“Pssst, Christa, damn it, come on.”

It took a good long minute for me to register the voice.

“Connor?” I turned, feeling unsteady. “Is it the drugs again? Or are you really there?”

He was crawling through the window, dust coating his hair and shirt. I’d never been so happy to see anyone in my entire life.

But then the door opened and Aidan was there, snarling.

“Run!” I yelled. “Connor, run!”

He ran, but idiotically he ran toward me not away. He was between Aidan and me before I could say anything else. They both had stakes in their hands.

Wait. Connor carried stakes, too? Was everyone in Violet Hill insane?

“Christa, get out of here,” Connor said quietly. “I’ll find you. Just run.”

“No,” Aidan said. “If she runs, she’ll die.”

“Mountain lions,” I told Connor.

“He knows that’s not what I mean,” Aidan said. “If you run, we’ll release the Hel-Blar. They obey us.”

Connor went pale, even paler than he usually was. And now I was actually wondering if he was pale because he spent too much time at his computer or for entirely different reasons.

“And they have Christabel’s scent.”

“You bastard.” Connor went for Aidan’s throat. Aidan was faster. Which made sense if you believed he’d died in 1661 and had spent centuries roaming the continent.

Crap. Did I actually believe he’d died in 1661 and had spent centuries roaming the continent?

Never mind that. He was about to shove a piece of wood into the chest of a guy I kind of liked despite myself. But what the hell was I supposed to do about it? I didn’t know how to fight. I knew iambic pentameter and all the verses of “The Highwayman.” I did have good taste in shoes, though. The steel toes of my combat boots could splinter wood. And maybe bones.

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