A Dark Desires Origins Novel
© 2020 Nina Croft
“Live, for a day will come when you will be happy and bless life.”
—Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo
Milo blinked his eyes open and frowned.
For a moment, he wasn’t sure where he was except in a small, enclosed space that felt like a fucking coffin. He tried to move, but bands held him tight around his chest and head, and every muscle in his body tensed.
He slowed his breathing and forced himself to think. What was the last thing he remembered?
Walking out on a meeting with Rico. After turning down his offer of a place on the fleet leaving a dying Earth and heading for “a new and better world.”
Ha—he’d believe that when he saw it. He was guessing more of the same old shit. No way. He’d rather stay on Earth and take his chances.
He’d been leaving the building and then…damned if he could remember.
The light was dim, but he could make out movement through the opaque roof of his tiny prison. Something was happening. A door opened above him, and the restraints pinged and released their hold.
As soon as he could move, his right hand reached out for his wand—never far away—and found…nothing.
“You looking for this?”
The voice was familiar, low, with a hint of amusement, and Milo swore again. Aloud this time. He tried to sit up, but something was stuck to his chest—some sort of monitor. He swiped it off, then sat up and swung his legs over the side of the box he’d been lying in. Scrubbing a hand through his short hair, he blinked a few times to clear his vision. He was naked except for a pair of black boxers.
A man—though he used the word loosely—stood in front of him, with Milo’s wand in his hand. Tall, olive skin, black hair, eyes so dark brown they were almost black, and a smirk on his face. Ricardo Sanchez. Vampire and—Milo supposed—savior of the supernatural world. He was also Milo’s uncle, though no blood relative. A long time ago, and in a faraway place, Rico had been married to Milo’s mother’s sister. Until she’d been burned at the stake as a witch.
Rico, having spectacularly failed to save his wife’s life, had once promised Milo’s mother that he would look out for his nephew. Milo had been six years old at the time. He’d never seen his mother again. But centuries later, and against all the odds, Milo was still alive. So he supposed he should be grateful.
He pressed a finger to his eyes. “Where the hell am I?”
Rico grinned. “Guess.”
God, he could be annoying. Milo looked around him. They were in what appeared to be a storage facility. In the low light, he could just make out rows and rows of containers similar to the one he’d woken in. Thousands of them. Cryotubes… He’d seen pictures on the newsfeeds.
The lids were closed, and a green light glowed on each one. Milo was getting a bad feeling about this.
He concentrated. There was no sense of movement, but all the same he couldn’t shift that feeling that everything was about to go to shit.
He’d told Rico “no.” He didn’t want to go into space. He wanted to keep his feet firmly on the ground. Flying was not his favorite thing—in fact, he hated flying. Why the hell would he voluntarily step foot on a spaceship? Besides, he had things to do on Earth.
The vampire wouldn’t have ignored his express wishes. Would he?
Stupid fucking question. “I’m on a spaceship, aren’t I?”
“Welcome to the Trakis Two.”
Milo blew out his breath. Maybe there was still time to get off. “Tell me we haven’t left Earth yet.”
“I’d love to, but…”
This was just getting better and better. “Why?”
“I promised your mother I would look after you.”
“That was five hundred fucking years ago.”
“A thousand, actually.”
He went still. He’d been asleep for five hundred years? His mind didn’t want to process that information.
When he remained silent, Rico raised Milo’s wand. “Abracadabra,” he said, waving it between them. Luckily, nothing happened. “Piece of crap.”
Milo held out his hand, and for a brief moment he thought Rico was actually going to return the wand. But it seemed his luck had run out. At the last moment, Rico snatched it back.
“On second thought, I’m going to keep this for a while. Never know when it might come in useful.” He tucked it down his boot, and Milo gritted his teeth. The wand was a part of him, an extension of his very being. He snarled.
“Who’s a grumpy warlock?” Rico teased.
Milo studied him for a moment, trying to decide whether he could take the vampire. Nothing fatal, just one good punch on the nose might make him feel better. Rico watched him, that small smile playing about his lips as though taunting him. The tip of one white fang showed. Milo tensed his muscles.
Then a growl rumbled behind him and he glanced over his shoulder. Two men—and, again, he used the word loosely—stood shoulder to shoulder. He recognized the taller of the two—Dylan, alpha werewolf and an asshole. The second he didn’t know, but he was clearly another wolf. Crap. No way could he take a vampire and two werewolves. At least not without his wand. He turned back to Rico.
“I don’t suppose there’s a way to get me home?” Except his home was gone. Even if the Earth had survived, it would have changed beyond imagination after five centuries.
“Not a chance.” Rico gave a casual shrug. “Besides, you have a new home now. You’ll be pleased to know we have landed on our brave new world.”
Would it be any better than the old one? He doubted it.
“And,” Rico continued, “as much as I’m enjoying this little family reunion, right now we have more important things to do. Get dressed—there’s a bag under the tube—we have a meeting in five minutes. On the bridge.” And he was gone.
On the bridge? Hell, this was like something out of Star Trek.
Maybe it was all some elaborate practical joke and they were really back on Earth. But Rico wasn’t one for practical jokes. Which meant…
He was trying to wrap his head around the fact that Rico had somehow got the jump on him, knocked him out, and he’d been asleep for…five hundred fucking years. And Earth was far, far away. Or maybe didn’t exist anymore.
He jumped to his feet. For a second, he thought his legs were going to give way beneath him. He steadied himself with a hand on the cryotube as he heard one of the wolves give a snigger.
Two werewolves he could definitely take. Even without a wand. But then what? Where was he supposed to go?
And he had to admit that he was curious. So he ignored them, bent down, reached beneath the cryotube, and tugged out a bag. Inside, he found the clothes he’d been wearing for that last meeting. He pulled on a pair of jeans, a T-shirt, socks, and boots, and he was ready to go.