Cleo hit the ground hard.
All of her breath left her lungs and she lay there for a moment before pushing herself back to her feet. She stood firmly in front of Kendall.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Kendall shrieked.
Cleo snarled at her, teeth flashing in the sunlight as she crouched.
“I saved your life, you ungrateful parasite, and this is how you repay me?”
“You saved no one,” Cleo hissed. “You’re the one who caused my accident. You killed my friends, you b****.”
Kendall tossed back her head, blonde curls tumbling over her shoulders, and laughed. “So that’s it,” she said. “Such a waste, but there’s nothing else I can do since you’ve turned against me.”
Flames erupted around Cleo.
She screamed as they clutched at her skin, devouring her. The smell of burning flesh reached her, and she realized faintly it was her own. It burned. There was no other way to describe it. It felt as if her skin were melting away, sizzling and peeling off in strips.
She fell to the ground.
The fire disappeared as quickly as it had sprung up.
The burning sensation remained as her skin baked, throbbing and reddening as blisters bubbled on her skin. She curled in on herself, but her eyes remained on Kendall as her breath came too hastily.
Kendall turned to the blonde-haired boy and Doll Face.
Their names suddenly struck Cleo, even as Kendall spoke them out loud. She’d heard them once before when speaking to Shay, and there had been a flicker of recognition, but she’d gotten distracted.
She knew suddenly why they were Kendall’s favorites, why Kendall had chosen them specifically.
“Bring them back,” Kendall told them. “I don’t care about the others, but I want Shay alive. And if you don’t, I’ll kill both of you. I’ll kill all of you. Let this” —she nodded at Cleo—“be an example of what happens to those who disobey me.”
Cleo needed to stand, she needed to warn Shay, but she couldn’t feel her body. It was as if she wasn’t even there at all. As much as she wanted to get to her feet and rip out Kendall’s throat, she could barely even move a finger.
She just stared and listened as Kendall continued to threaten the two vampires.
“Remember what she’s done to you,” Kendall said. “She used you, and when she was done with you, she left you to die. But I saved you. I rescued you and I healed you, and now, you will receive your revenge. For we all deserve it. She must pay. Bring her back to me.”
A soft light was beginning to grow around Cleo, but she fought against it. She needed to—She needed to warn Shay. Because Shay knew them. The blonde-haired boy and Doll Face were coming for her, and she knew them. She thought them to be dead, but they were here. They were alive. She needed to warn Shay.
“Can you do it?” Kendall asked.
Rowan’s lips skinned back from her teeth in a smile, revealing two sharp, curved fangs. Beside her, Matt nodded.
Then the soft light enveloped Cleo like a cocoon, and everything began to slip away. The last thought she had as the light pulled her in was, Jessica, Avery, I’m coming to see you.
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