My name is Andra and I find lost children.
I was nineteen when I learned that the things that go bump in the night are real. They killed my mother and stole one sister and destroyed the other. Since that night eight years ago, I’ve spent every ounce of effort, every scrap of strength, fighting the monsters. Sometimes I get so tired I want to give up, but then I think of Mom, Nika and Tori, or I see the desperate fear in the eyes of a father or hear the anguished pleas of a mother and I know I can’t rest. Someone has to find those stolen children and I seem to be the only one who can. This gift was given to me for a reason. Whether or not I like it, I have to use it.
The police think I’m guilty of kidnapping. They think I actually take the kids myself so I can bask in the glory of finding them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There’s no glory in what I do. Only necessity and the grim reality that if I stop, countless people will suffer through the ruins that remain of their lives.
The monsters never stop. More children go missing every day, though I have no idea why they’re taken. Sometimes I find them. Sometimes I don’t. But the worst is when I find them too late. Those are the nights I can’t think about, so I don’t. I move on and keep fighting.
The one thing I do know is that my days are numbered. The monsters are stronger than me, faster than me. And there are so many of them. No matter how many I kill, there are always more. One of these nights I’m going to be too slow, I’m going to make a mistake and I’m going to get myself killed.
When I’m really tired—when I fail and have to look into the eyes of parents whose lives have been destroyed by my failure—the idea doesn’t sound so bad.
But my sister needs me and the stolen kids need me, so I keep fighting. Let the monsters come. Bring on the teeth and claws and hungry, glowing eyes. However scary they are, however many of them there are, I won’t stop fighting.
I just wish I didn’t have to do it alone.
My name is Paul and my soul is dying.
I made a deal with the devil, so to speak, and now I’m bound by my blood oath to a man I dare not trust. The Sanguinar, Logan, claims he can find the woman who can save my life, and despite everything I know to be true—despite the odds—I am desperate to believe him.
We’ve been searching for days and I’m beginning to think Logan is stringing me along, using me for my blood. But what can I do? I’m nearly out of time, unable to find the woman who can save me without Logan’s help.
Maybe tonight will be different. Maybe tonight the trail we’re following will bring me the hope of salvation I’ve been looking for for decades.
And if not, I’m going to have to accept the truth. It’s over. I can’t keep fighting the pain growing inside me. I can’t keep fooling myself that I can hold out for just a few more months.
My time is at an end. If we don’t find her soon, I know what I have to do. I’ve lived a long time and done as much good in the world as I could. I hate to leave it all behind—leave my brothers to fight the battle alone—but it’s time to accept what I know I cannot change.
I can’t allow myself to become like the evil I hunt. I can’t live long enough for my soul to die. The pain and suffering I’d cause then would undo the labor of my long, long life. I’ll have to take my own life—find a nest of Synestryn and take down as many of them as I can before they kill me. It’s an honorable death. A good death.
I wish I was ready to die. I’m not. I want to live, but I can’t do it alone.