Other World Series Books 1-3
Copyright 2020 Ramona Gray
Abigail Winters had no idea what was happening. One minute she was hurrying home from her mundane job as a coffee barista in the worse thunderstorm she had ever seen. The next, she was lying flat on her back in the middle of a forest with the rain falling on her face.
She sat up, rubbing the knot that was forming on the back of her head, and peered around curiously. She was sure she had seen a bright orb of light hovering to the left of her before everything went black. She looked around for her purse, wanting to grab her cell phone and call someone. Who she wasn’t sure – the police maybe.
Her purse was nowhere to be seen and she sighed and stood cautiously, waiting to see if she was going to pass out. Her head was aching and her new jeans, the ones she was so proud to buy because they were a size smaller than her last pair, were shredded at the knees and covered in mud.
Was she dead? Didn’t people say there was a white light when you died? She looked around as the rain continued to fall. It was dark and scary and if this was heaven, she would hate to see what hell looked like.
She moved forward slowly, squinting in the dark and watching her feet so she didn’t trip over the exposed roots of the trees around her.
She was frightened, but not panicking. At least, not yet. There was a part of her, a very large part, which was convinced she was dreaming. Any moment now she would wake up in her bed with the sheets tangled around her legs and her alarm clock shrieking at her.
She took a deep breath. The air smelled sweet and clean, nothing like the smog of the city, and she wondered vaguely if someone had kidnapped her and dumped her in the country.
Don’t be ridiculous, Abby. Who would kidnap you? You’re a nobody.
All perfectly true. She wasn’t an heiress with a million-dollar inheritance, she wasn’t a famous singer or movie star. Truth be told she had less than twenty dollars in her bank account at the moment. She was just plain, fat Abby. Always had been, always would be.
Yes, but don’t forget that you’re fat Abby with fifteen pounds less fat.
Also true. She ran her hands down her size eighteen jeans. She was thrilled when she went down a size in pants. She carried most of her weight in her ass and her hips, and to be down a pants size meant that her healthy eating and exercising was working. She hated exercising but she was becoming addicted to the results.
Um, Abby? Not to rain on your parade but in case you’ve forgotten, you’re either dead or something very, very weird is going on. Maybe celebrate your weight loss victory another time, what do you say?
Very good advice. If she wasn’t dead then she needed to find the nearest phone and call the police.
She stumbled through the trees. She had no idea if she was moving deeper into the woods or not but she couldn’t just stand there. She had to keep moving.
“She looks like a lost lamb. Does she not, Toron?”
Abby shrieked and whipped around. Two men were standing behind her. They were dressed similarly in faded green pants and white shirts. One was tall and dark and the other short and blond.
“Aye, she does, Alex,” the blond man said gravely.
“Are you lost little lamb? Lost in the woods?” The one named Toron crooned.
Abby backed up a step. There was something about the two men that was making all the hair on her body attempt to stand up. Adrenaline was flooding through her veins and her limbs trembled in response.
She stumbled back another step as the men moved closer. Alex inhaled deeply. “I can smell her fear. It smells delicious.”
Toron grinned at him. “I’m feeling generous this evening. Why don’t you have the first drink?”
“Don’t mind if I do,” Alex said cheerfully. He was standing in front of her and pushing her against a tree before Abby had realized he’d moved.
Her head banged on the tree, the knot screaming in protest, and she screamed shrilly into the cold night air.
“Oh yes, little lamb – go ahead and scream. There’s no one to hear you and I do love it when the lambs scream,” Alex whispered.
He was holding her with one hand across the top of her chest and she grabbed his arm and tried to yank it away from her. His arm was hard as iron. She struggled futilely, unable to believe that the small man could hold her so easily with just one hand. She stared at his pale skin, her eyes dark and wide with panic, and he giggled like a demented child.
"You’re a big one but I don’t mind. More of you to drink, right?”
She slapped him across the face as hard as she could. His head rocked back but his hand never moved from her chest.
He hissed at her and she screamed as fresh adrenaline poured into her veins. Alex was grinning at her and exposing his long, white fangs.
“You don’t ever want to hit me, little lamb. Not that it matters – you’ll be dead in a few minutes.”
“Oh, get on with it, would you, Alex. I want my turn. You shouldn’t play with your food anyway. Didn’t your mother ever tell - ”
Toron suddenly arched his back as a startled look crossed his face. “Alex - ”
Abby sucked in her breath when Toron suddenly exploded in a shower of ash and blood. Alex screamed, a sound of rage and fear, at the man standing in the trees. He held a long, curved blade in one hand and he smiled bitterly at Alex.
“You would kill your own kind!” Alex screamed again and, forgetting Abby entirely, he lunged for the stranger. His fingernails were lengthening, becoming long and wickedly sharp talons, and he moved so quickly that he was nothing but a blur.
Alex was quick but the stranger was faster. The blade plunged through Alex’s chest and his scream of fury became a long, gurgling moan. Abby sunk to the ground, wrapping her arms around her knees as the stranger yanked the blade free and wiped it on Alex’s shirt. He stepped back as Alex exploded.
Abby watched disinterestedly as the man approached her, sheathing his blade into the holder at his waist. He crouched in front of her and took her chin in his hand, tilting her head first one way and then the other as he examined her neck.
He was tall and broad with long dark hair tied back in a neat ponytail. His eyes were a silvery grey and his skin was pale and smooth. He had a broad nose and high cheekbones, and his jaw was covered in dark stubble.
“Are you going to kill me?” Abby asked dully.
He shook his head. “No. Get up, girl.”
He heaved her to her feet with one hard hand under her arm and gave her a look of disgust when she swayed. He eyed her up and down and another grimace of disgust passed across his face.
She would have been offended if she hadn’t noticed his teeth. They were very white and, despite the rain and the darkness, she had no problem seeing his fangs. She moaned and he shook his head impatiently.
“I said I wouldn’t hurt you. Come on, girl.” He dragged her through the trees, moving so quickly that she was soon out of breath and struggling to catch up.
He grunted with frustration and slowed down a fraction, his hand tightening on her wrist when she tried to pull free.
“Please let go of me,” she panted.
“So you can run? You’ll be dead before morning if I do,” he snapped.
“Where are we going?”
“I’m taking you to your own kind. Now keep your mouth shut and hurry up.”
In less than fifteen minutes they were at the edge of the forest. He stopped, his eyes roaming the large field in front of them. She stood next to him, panting and trying to control her runaway heartbeat as he rolled his eyes.
“Have you considered eating less and moving more, human?”
“Fuck you,” she puffed.
He laughed. “The lamb shows spirit.”
She glared at him and he suddenly cupped her face and pulled her forward until her face was only inches from his. He grinned at her, his fangs looking very long and very sharp, and she swallowed nervously.
“Although I do enjoy fucking a human, you’re not my type.” He let his gaze travel down her body and back up to her face. “A little too big for my tastes. Still, you are rather attractive – perhaps I could make an exception.”
She flushed bright red and yanked her head from his grip. He returned his gaze to the field. “We’re going to be moving very quickly across the field. Keep up. You’ll regret it if you don’t. Do you understand me?”
He stared into her dark brown eyes. His eyes were grey and cold and she nodded, although she was almost positive that she would not be able to keep up with him. She wasn’t going to tell him that. He would probably kill her rather than give her the chance to try.
“Good. Let’s - ”
He stopped, his head cocked to the side, and his eyebrows drew down in a frown.
“What - ”
“Shut up!” He hissed.
She closed her mouth with a snap as he dropped her wrist. She took a few steps backward, wondering if she could sneak away without him noticing. Before she could dart into the trees, a silver mesh dropped onto the man in front of her.
He hissed in agony as he collapsed to the ground. She watched in horror as his skin began to smoke. She reached for the net but two men and a woman dropped from the skies above her and blocked her from grabbing it.
“Hello human.” The woman smiled at her, revealing her own set of fangs, and Abby moaned with terror.