Slowly, shakily, I held back the next blow and looked down at his body-and the head no longer attached to it. She was right. He was dead. Very, very dead.
I looked at the rest of the room. There was blood everywhere, but the horror of it didn’t really register with me. My world had slowed down, slowed down to two very simple tasks. Kill the Strigoi. Protect Mason. I couldn’t process anything else.
“Rose,” whispered Mia. She was trembling, her words filled with fear. She was afraid of me, not the Strigoi. “Rose, we have to go. Come on.”
I dragged my eyes away from her and looked down at Isaiah’s remains. After several moments, I crawled over to Mason’s body, still clutching the sword.
“No,” I croaked out. “I can’t leave him. Other Strigoi might come….”
My eyes burned like I desperately wanted to cry. I couldn’t say for sure. The bloodlust still pounded in me, violence and rage the only emotions I was capable of anymore.
“Rose, we’ll come back for him. If other Strigoi are coming, we have to get out.”
“No,” I repeated, not even looking at her. “I’m not leaving him. I won’t leave him alone.” With my free hand, I stroked Mason’s hair.
I jerked my head up. “Get out!” I screamed at her. “Get out, and leave us alone.”
She took a few steps forward, and I lifted the sword. She froze.
“Get out,” I repeated. “Go find the others.”
Footsteps and voices eventually sounded, and I lifted my head up. People poured in through the door, lots of them. I couldn’t really make out any of them. I didn’t need to. They were threats, threats I had to keep Mason safe from. A couple of them approached me, and I leapt up, lifting the sword and holding it protectively over his body.
“Stay back,” I warned. “Stay away from him.”
They kept coming.
“Stay back!” I yelled. They stopped. Except for one.
“Rose,” came a soft voice. “Drop the sword.”
My hands shook. I swallowed. “Get away from us.”
The voice spoke again, a voice that my soul would have known anywhere. Hesitantly, I let myself finally become aware of my surroundings, let the details sink in. I let my eyes focus on the features of the man standing there. Dimitri’s brown eyes, gentle and firm, looked down on me.
“It’s okay,” he said. “Everything’s going to be okay. You can let go of the sword.”
My hands shook even harder as I fought to hold on to the hilt. “I can’t.” The words hurt coming out. “I can’t leave him alone. I have to protect him.”
“You have,” said Dimitri.
The sword fell out of my hands, landing with a loud clatter on the wooden floor. I followed, collapsing on all fours, wanting to cry but still unable to.
— Frostbite, Chapter 22