Generation V

Generation V by M. L. Brennan Read Free Book Online

Book: Generation V by M. L. Brennan Read Free Book Online
Authors: M. L. Brennan
Tags: Fiction, General, Fantasy, Urban
wasn’t any hiding from vampires, of course, but I managed to give the rest a very wide berth.
    But for the woman herself who wields so much power, it’s easy to underestimate her. At first.
    I opened the door and entered a room that was all things pink and frilly, with spindly-legged chairs and a preponderance of mother-of-pearl gilding any available surface. Madeline sat in the middle of it, a tiny woman with a Barbara Bush hairstyle, pink fluffy slippers and matching bathrobe over a standard little old lady dress, cornflower blue eyes, and a face so wrinkled that she made the Dalai Lama look like a third grader. It was a perfect illusion of innocence until she set down her Sèvres teacup and gave me a smile that showed off a perfect mouth of teeth—and a set of fangs that a tiger would be jealous of.
    Madeline’s fangs are another sign of age. Chivalry and Prudence have fangs, but they retract so that both of them pass through the human world normally enough that they could probably sit in a dentist’s chair and just get a lecture on flossing. When they do emerge, their fangs are thin and sharp, designed to make surgically precise punctures on their victim to get the blood flowing, but not leave large marks behind. I don’t even have fangs at all, just the human incisors that are basically vampire baby teeth. But Madeline’s fangs are fixed in place like a cat’s, and are the size and sharpness for ripping and tearing.
    “Darling,” Madeline said, taking off the large grandma glasses that she doesn’t need, but likes to wear for effect. “What an unexpected pleasure.” Her voice is another giveaway. It’s low and sweet, with some age showing in her pauses, but it sets every instinct in you on edge. I’ve known Madeline my entire life, yet listening to her stillmakes all the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and I hate turning my back on her.
    The knowledge that at some point I’ll start the transition that will make me a full vampire like my siblings and Mother makes me dread every birthday and routinely check my teeth in the mirror. Because popular vampire lore is wrong in another key aspect: vampires do age, and we aren’t immortal. Each of us will eventually succumb and die of old age, a thought that is not as comforting as it should be, given that every person in my graduating high school class as well as their great-grandchildren will be dust in the ground before I’m even ready for vampire AARP, but even for us, Madeline is very old.
    “It’s not a surprise if you send people to get me, Mother,” I said. Sometimes I wonder what a psychiatrist would make of my relationship with my mother. If I could go to a psychiatrist, of course, and tell him everything about my life without his immediately throwing me into an insane asylum. Or, worse, believing me.
    She just gave me a grandmotherly smile, completely ruined by the fangs that rested against her bright coral lipstick. “But it is still a surprise. After all, you could’ve refused to visit. And yet here you are, my darling baby. Youngest of my little sparrows, hopping home into the nest. Isn’t that lovely?”
    I hate coming home.
    Before I could come up with a suitably smart-ass response, Madeline had breezed the conversation forward. There’s a great French expression that I learned during a foreign film class called
l’esprit de l’escalier
, which basically means “staircase wit.” It refers to when you thinkof a great comeback line, but it’s too late to deliver it. I experience that a lot around my mother.
    Madeline’s sweet smile of fang never wavered. “We have exciting things to speak of, darling. But first, let’s get this out of the way.” And she rolled back her sleeve, exposing her pale wrist. Her wrist isn’t smooth—there are liver spots, and the skin has lost elasticity as she’s aged, leaving it to hang droopily, bumping here and there with the long veins that have darkened from the blue you’ll see in very

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