Today, Tomorrow and Always (Phenomenal Fate #3) by Tessa Bailey

“Oh, sound plan,” the second man crooned, looking Tucker over. “He’s got a lot more meat on his bones. We could have spared the others and simply dined on him.”

“So wasteful. Can humans be recycled?”

“Yes! It’s called Silencing, silly. We’ve literally just been discussing this.”

“Shut up,” Tucker growled. “Explain what you mean by…you could have spared them. You…” Attempting to swallow, though his mouth was bone dry, he glanced over at the tangled limbs off the side of the road. “You did this to them? You did this and you caused the accident. How? Why? Why the hell would you do that?”

“Answer the question.” The man sounded impatient. “Would you like to trade yourself?”

“Tick tock, big boy. Simple question. Needs a simple answer.”

Oddly, Tucker thought of his father in the following moments. Thought of him at the home they shared, in the barn out back, babbling to himself, making notes. Staring at screens and holding his breath every time he thought the seismograph moved. Trying to make contact. Desperate for interaction with other beings.

Could these be them? The other beings his father swore were out there? The creatures from another planet that his father believed had taken his mother away?

After a decade of nodding through his father’s ramblings, Tucker was floored to even be considering the possibility. But hell, his heart was beating like it never had before. He was in fucking danger, plain and simple. His body and mind and gut knew it. Their gazes cut through him like a warm knife through cake, dead, blank, but highly intelligent—and that wasn’t good. Wasn’t right.

“Are you aliens?” Tucker whispered.

That set them off laughing again.

Just as fast, they turned serious. “No.”

“Good try, though.”

Tucker stepped back, put up his fists. He’d never fought with anything else and didn’t have time to learn a new method, even though he sensed with every fiber of his being that fists weren’t going to do the trick. “Me or them? Take me. Let’s go.”

One of them tilted his head. Too far. Too quickly. “You realize this means your death, don’t you?”

“You know, it might be kind of funny to leave him pudgy for eternity.”

Tucker glanced behind the men and saw the second driver had roused, was beginning to sit up, bloody but alive. Tucker looked to his right at three unmoving bodies. And he knew, he knew these strangers were going to kill him. There was no way out of it. Any men who were capable of something so sinister, so violent would have no qualms killing a man.

But furthermore…these weren’t normal men.

When they smiled at him, fangs protruding in slow motion from their gums, that theory was set in stone. It was either a dream, a hell of a party trick, or these dudes were other. There was a word for them winging around in his skull, but even in those dire circumstances, he couldn’t bring himself to believe anything so absurd.

The men swapped places at a sickening rate of speed, leaving outlines of their silhouettes in the air, like smoke. Approached him without moving their feet.

Tucker’s whole body went cold. Instinct warned him he was in a point of no return.

I should have tried harder.

I should have made a home, grown up, done something better with my time.

Maybe this is it. Maybe this is all I can do.

“Run,” Tucker roared, loud as possible, making sure to lock eyes with the drivers who were helping each other to their feet now. “Run!”

And then Tucker took off toward the river as fast as he could, knowing he’d be caught, but if he could just draw them away from the crowd, even just divert their attention for a few minutes, he’d do it. He’d finally find a purpose.

It didn’t take long for them to catch up and set upon him, but the distant roar of engines and burning of rubber comforted Tucker when the fangs sank into his neck, rendering him paralyzed. His final breath—as a human, anyway—carried one word with it, mired in disbelief.


Chapter 2

Present Day

Why did there always have to be a quest?

Vampires and their endless drama.

Humans were out in the real world running around, trying to figure out ways to stay alive longer. Juice diets and squats and vitamins. Little did they know immortality was exhausting and they should count their lucky stars to be decomposing. They should really just relax.