“We’ll take you to the police station,” the cop said, “but first I thought we could have ourselves a little party.”

“Party?” I breathed, but I knew what he meant and I rattled the door handle. It was locked and couldn’t be opened. “Just release me.”

Ignoring me, the happy-zapper glanced at the other cop and said, “I don’t know about you’

but human women are so freaking horny, don’t you think?”

The cop in the passenger seat just grunted and stared straight ahead.

Grinning to himself, the other looked back at the road and smiled, “I’ve seen some beautiful female humans, but you are lush! ” and I saw him wink back at me in the rear view mirror. “I bet you’re gonna be so sweet.”

I rattled the door lock again, my heart pounding in my chest. The driver saw the fear in my eyes and this seemed to excite him somehow as he twitched in his seat and straightened his trousers at the crotch. Then the other officer suddenly spoke and said, “Lady, if I were you I’d put on your seatbelt.”

“Say what?” I spat.

“So you don’t get hurt in the crash,” he said calmly, his eyes fixed straight ahead.

The happy-zapper cop must have read my mind as he glanced at his colleague and said, “What crash?”

“This crash, you fucking animal,” the cop whispered. Then with lightning speed, he shot his arm out, gripped the back of the happy-zapper’s head, and drove his face into the steering wheel.

A jet of black blood sprayed from the cop’s face and showered the windscreen. The cop made a screeching sound and took both hands from the wheel as he tried to fight off his colleague. The back of the police car zigzagged violently across the road, and I yanked the seatbelt across my chest.

Over and over again, the cop, who had sat silently for most of the journey, drove the happy-zapper’s face into the steering wheel and dashboard. The attack was relentless. Blood with flecks of flesh sprayed around the interior of the car, spattering my face and the backseat. The attack had been so sudden and unexpected that I sat rigid in my seat, unable to breathe.

The car lurched left and right across the narrow country road as the cop fought for his life.

He reached for his attacker, but the other was too strong. Then, the happy-zapper cop began to change. What was left of his face began to contort and twist as if he were growing a giant snout. There was a tearing sound as the back of his shirt began to rip apart, chunks of black fur bursting through. As he changed, it was like he grew stronger too.

The other cop sensed this and roared, “Oh, no you don’t, Skin-walker!” If the attack hadn’t been frenzied before, the cop then went berserk as he took the Skin-walker’s head in both of his hands. There was a sickening crunch as the cop crushed the Skin-walker’s skull. Its eyeballs burst from its face and splattered the windscreen, like red and white jelly.

The Skin-walker flopped to one side and fell forward in his seat, the remains of his head running all over the steering wheel. The police car veered to the right and the cop reached for the wheel, but it was wet and slippery with the Skin-walker’s brains and he lost his grip of it. The car spun out of control, and I was thrown sideways across the backseat. And as the car flipped onto its side and rolled into a ditch, I screamed until my throat felt sore.

I lay in the foot well, my body shaking in shock and fear. What the fuck had just happened?

Why had that cop just slaughtered his colleague?

What was going on here? Was he going to do the same to me? A splinter of pain cut through the right side of my ribcage and I cried out in pain as I tried to lever myself up. The car was on its side and at first I couldn’t figure out which way I should head to get out.

There was a grunting sound from the front of the car. The passenger door wailed as the cop forced it open. I crawled forward, wedged between the seats, my hair hanging down over my eyes. Then, one of the back doors was yanked open, and I could feel a rough pair of hands grabbing for me.

“Get off me!” I screamed, kicking out with my feet.

“Get out of the car,” the cop grunted, seizing one of my arms and pulling me up and over the backseat. He was extremely strong and within moments, I was laying on my back, next to the ditch and the upturned police car.

“Get away from me!” I shrieked at him as I tried to scuttle away. He went back to the rear of the car and pulled out my holdall. The cop unzipped it and pulled out the tube of blood.

He came towards me, holding the glass tube in his hand. He was tall and broad-shouldered. Mud from the ditch and blood from the Skin-walker covered his crisp blue uniform.

He looked older than the other cop had, but it was hard to say exactly how old, as his black police cap was wedged firmly on his head, the peak pulled down so low it almost covered his face.

“Who was the girl in the morgue?” he suddenly asked me. He sounded slightly out of breath as if he were in a rush.

“What girl?” I stammered as I lay on my back looking up at him.

“I’m in no mood to play games, lady,” he barked, waving the tube of blood in my face.

Why was everyone so interested in the morgue girl? I wondered. Something told me that I shouldn’t tell him what I knew. I had told Marty and he was dead now. Marty told me that I should keep that blood safe – he said it had come from a vampire bat – but could that be true? With so many conflicting thoughts racing through my mind, I tried to scramble away from him again.

“Tell me her name!” he roared, taking hold of my shoulder with his free hand.

With our noses almost touching, I looked beneath the peak of his police cap and could see that, unlike the other cop, his eyes were grey with flecks of radiant blue. His lips were bloodless and pressed tightly together, and after witnessing what he had just done to his colleague, I whispered, “She said her name was Kiera Hudson.”

As soon as her name had passed over my lips, the cop froze, those blue flecks flashed like lightning in his eyes.

“Who else was with her?” he demanded.

“No -”

“Who else?” he roared.

“A teenage boy and girl,” I cried out, his grip now hurting my shoulder.

“What were their names?”

“I don’t know!” I shouted, just wanting him to let go of me.

“What did they look like?” he hissed.

“The girl was real pretty with bright red hair,” I murmured. “The boy was tall, had black tattoos up his neck and a little beard...”

Before I’d finished telling him what they had looked like he said, “Was there another with them?”

I shook my head.

“Are you sure?” he snapped. “He’s in his early twenties, dark hair and black eyes. Smokes like it’s going out of fashion and is a real wise guy?”

“There was no one else!” I shouted, trying to convince him.

“Are you sure?” He pushed me. “He calls himself Potter.”

Then, as if being slapped across the face, my mouth fell open. For a moment everything seemed to slow down. The sound of the wind rattling through the trees and the sound of crows squawking in the unploughed fields was deafening.

Noticing the look of shock on my face, the cop shook me and said, “What is it? What do you know?”

“Nothing,” I whispered, but that was a lie.

I knew that the letters in the bag by the cop’s feet had been sent to me by a man who called himself Potter. The cop said that this Potter had smoked. I had hated Marty smoking – because when he did, he’d reminded me of someone else – someone I had been scared of. But there was something else; my feelings were changing, too. It was like there were feelings inside of me for whoever this Potter was or had been. But these feelings weren’t just of fear, they were of love, too. But how could I have feelings of love for someone I didn’t know – someone I had never met before?

“What do you know of Potter?” the cop said, shaking me, and it felt as if I were waking from a dream.

“I don’t know him,” I whispered. Was that a lie? I didn’t know anymore.

“Why do you look so shocked?” he came back at me, his eyes searching mine.

“You just killed a man in front of me,” I gasped.

“He wasn’t a man,” the cop hissed, loosening his grip on me. “He was a Skin-walker – an animal, and he was going to hurt you.”

“Why did you save me?” I asked him, rubbing my arm as I lay in the street. “I thought you were partners. Aren’t you just like him?”

“I’m nothing like him,” the cop snapped, slipping the tube of blood into his shirt pocket out of sight.

“What are you then?” I asked him.

He stared down at me and said nothing.

Then, when the silence became more deafening than any noise that I’d ever heard, the cop took his gun from his belt and pointed it at me.

Inching myself away, I held my hands up and said, “Please don’t kill me. I won’t tell anyone about that woman called Kiera Hudson. I only told my friend, Marty, but he’s dead now.”

Then, coming closer, the cop shoved the gun into my hand and said, “Shoot me.”

“What?” I gasped, throwing the gun into the ditch. “I’m not shooting a cop. I’m in enough shit as it is.”

The cop went to the ditch, picked up the gun and went to the car. He aimed the gun at what was left of the Skin-walker’s head and fired.

There was a booming sound that echoed back off the fields which surrounded us on either side of the deserted road. Then, he came back towards me. Pulling me to my feet, he stuck the gun in my right hand and curled my fingers around it. “Shoot me,” he said, his eyes fixed on mine.

“Are you out of your freaking mind?” I gasped.

“Shoot me,” he insisted, as he wrapped my forefinger around the trigger.

“Why?” I begged, tears starting to well in my eyes. I wasn’t crying out of sadness, but through fear.

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