He always put that word in quotation marks. True recovery to him was a return to what he had been—and that was never going to happen even if he were able to walk right, eat right, sleep through the night.
Come on, he said to himself. Get with the program.Alas … no. For some reason, the door out of the cottage was talking to him more than the Beefeater when it came to things he needed to open.
The day had been a long one, what with a trip to Steeplehill Downs to check on his two horses and make the call, with his vet and his trainer, that Bouncin’ Baby Boy had to be scratched because of that tendon problem. Then he’d been back here, getting an assessment on five of his broodmares and their pregnancies, and reviewing the books and accounts with Moe. At least there had been good news on that front. For the second month in a row, the operation was not just self-sustaining, but pulling a profit. If this kept up, he was going to end those transfers from his mother’s trust, the ones that had been providing a regular injection of cash into the business since back in the eighties.He wanted to be totally independent of his family.In fact, one of the first things he’d done when he’d gotten out of the rehab hospital was refuse his trust distributions. He didn’t want to have anything to do with funds even remotely associated with the Bradford Bourbon Company—and the entire stock position of his first- and second-tier trusts was straight-up BBC. In fact, he hadn’t found out about the transfers from his mother to the Red & Black until about six months in, and at that time, he’d been barely waking up to life at the stables. If he’d stopped them at that point? The operation would have gone under.
It had been a long time since someone with any kind of business acumen had been at the horse enterprise, and whatever his weaknesses were now, his knack for making money had remained unscathed.One more month. Then he’d be free.
God, he was more exhausted than usual. More achy, too. Or maybe the two were inextricably intertwined?
And yet he still couldn’t pick up the bottle.‘It hurts too much! Just end it,’ she sobbed, her head drooping once more. He knew unconsciousness would soon envelop her, sheltering her from the pain. He would not let her get away that easily. He took hold of her neck with both hands, wrenching her free of the ropes.
‘You’re lucky that I am a merciful vampire.’With that, he broke her frail neck, almost snapping her in two. The crack echoed in the stillness as he felt her go limp. So thirsty now, he yanked her neck towards his waiting fangs and began to drink.
Her blood was bitter and nowhere near satisfying, but it would do for now. He picked up the mangled body in his arms and walked outside, tossing the corpse into the dark forest.A tiny trickle of blood escaped his lips and slid down his chin. He wiped it away, smiling to himself, already wishing for more.