The hospital door swung open so hard, it slammed against the wall and sounded as if it took out a chunk out of plastered wall. Della glanced up, but the doctor blocked her view.

"What the hell are you doing to her?" Chan stopped on the other side of the bed.

"Shit," Della said. "It's happening again." And when she glanced at the nurse that crazy thing was on her forehead again. It was as if Della could see inside her head like in some cheesy B-rated movie. She could see the front of her . . . brain. Yup, it looked like a brain, only it wasn't just wrinkled. It had strange looking zig-zaggy lines, a cross between bad modern art and ancient hieroglyphics.

"What's happening?" the nurse asked.

"I'm . . . seeing ghosts." Della had to force herself to stop staring at the woman brain. She looked at Chan and now he had something on his forehead. Only his brain was different.

"We're trying to help her," the doctor answered Chan.

Della's breath caught. "Can you see him, too?"

Chan snarled at the doctor, exposing his teeth, and she recalled the insane talk about vampires earlier. "She doesn't need your kind of help, Werewolf!"

"Did you do this to her?" the doctor asked. "Are you the one who infected her?"

"Yes," Chan seethed. "But I didn't know she was bleeding, and if you must know, I didn't have a choice. It was snatch her up and get her out of the alley or let you dogs kill her!"

The doctor frowned. "Have you at least explained it to her?"

"I tried," Chan said. "She's not buying it."

"Buying what?" Della asked, blinking furiously trying to get the crap off everyone's forehead. "He's dead," she snapped.

"We have to get her out of the hospital before Phase Two hits," the nurse said.

Phase what? Nothing was making sense now.

The doctor looked at Della. "Look, your cousin isn't dead. He's . . . a vampire and thanks to his carelessness, like it or not, you're about to become one."

Della's head started to pound again.

"I have to go," Chan said. "Her parents are coming up the elevator."

"Wait." The doctor said to Chan. "If I get her released, will you see her through this?"

"I don't need anyone's help!" Della insisted.

"Of course, I will," Chan said. "She's my cousin."

The nurse looked back at Della. "When the turn is complete, I want you to call this woman." She handed Della a card. When Della didn't take it, the nurse placed it in her hand.

"Call who?" Chan asked as he backed toward the door.

"Holliday Brandon. She's the director of the Shadow Falls Camp."

"She's not going to that stupid camp to get brainwashed by the government."

The nurse spoke up. "They don't brainwash anyone. They'll help her decide what's best for her."

"I know what's best for her. She's going to come live with me."

Live with Chan? Della struggled to keep up with the crazy conversation, then she heard the elevator bell ding as if it was right outside her door.

"And fake her death, like you did? That's why she thinks you're a ghost, right?" The nurse shook her head. "Is that really what you want for her? To have to walk away from entire life, her family?"

Chan didn't answer. Della only saw a blur appear where he'd stood. The door swung back open and caused another chuck of plaster to rain down on the floor. The doctor and nurse looked back at Della with pity, sympathy. Della scowled at them.

"The nurse's right," the doctor said. "Call Shadow Falls. Trust your cousin to help get you through the next few days, but after that, don't believe everything he tells you. You look like a smart girl. Make up your own mind. With proper planning, we can live normal lives."

"We?" Della asked.

"Supernaturals," he said and pointed to his chest. "Werewolf." He motioned to the nurse. "Fae. And you're vampire. There are others, but you'll learn about them in time."

Della slumped back onto the pillow. "So it's official?" she muttered.

"What's official?" The nurse asked.

"I've lost my mind."

* * *

"You need to eat and drink something," Della's mother said and handed her a cup with steam billowing above the rim.

Della had been out of the hospital for a day. Her head pounded like a mo fo, her body hurt like the worse case of flu she'd ever had. And mentally she was slipping. Her assessment no longer hinged on the fact that she saw Chan. It hinged on the fact that she was this close to believing him. She was turning into a vampire. And according to Chan, the first two days were a stroll down easy street in flip flops compared to what the next two would be. She pulled the cup of hot tea to her lips, pretended to drink, hoping to appease her mom. The nurse, and then Chan, had told her that eating or drinking anything would make things worse. Oh, Della hadn't taken them at their word. Nope. She had to go prove it.

She'd never heard of anyone puking up a vital organ, but odds were she was missing a lung right now. Thank God, she had two.

"Lee called again," her mom said straightening Della's covers.

"Is he coming over?" Della managed to ask, torn between wanting to see him, and not wanting him see her like this. Upchucking a lung didn't leave one looking their best.

"I told him he could, but he said his mom was worried you might be infectious."

"She never liked me." Della closed her eyes.

"Why would you say that?" Her mom stood up.

Because I'm half-white. "I don't know," Della lied and opened her eyes. "Because I'm too ballsy."

Her mom squeezed Della's hand. "You are too ballsy. Too independent. Too stubborn. A lot like your dad. But I love him, too." She brushed Della's bangs from her brow.

When her mom left, Chan stepped out of the closet. He edged up against the bed. "You're about to hit Phase Three."

"How do you know?" she asked and oh, damn but every nerve ending in her body seemed to scream. If this was Phase Three, she didn't like it one damn bit!

"Your heart rate is increasing," he said.

Della pushed her head back into the pillow and muttered some ugly words.

"Listen to me, Della. This is very important. When your parents come in here, you have to act normal. Whatever happens, we can't let them take you back to the hospital."

"Why not?" she asked and moaned. Copyright 2016 - 2023