Luke looked just as I remembered him to be, his thick black hair was swept back off his brow, the lower half of his face was covered in a black shadow of stubble, the deep cleft in his chin looking like a puncture mark. He wore a white shirt open at the throat and faded blue jeans.
“You were meant to be my friend!” I bellowed at him. “You were meant to be Murphy’s friend, Kiera’s friend. We trusted you.”
“No, it was I who trusted you,” Luke said softly. “It was you who betrayed me.”
“Betrayed you?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “How did I betray you?”
“You knew I was in love with Kiera, but you took her for yourself,” he said.
“So that’s what this is all about?” I stammered. “Because you lost the girl to me?”
“Not just any girl,” Luke said matter-of-factly. “A rather special girl, as you have probably now discovered.”
“Kiera has always been special to me,” I barked at him.
“Touching,” Luke smiled, getting up from his seat. The office was small, and lit with a lamp on the desk. Blinds had been pulled down at the windows, and I couldn’t tell if it were day or night outside.
“So why have you come back?” I asked.
“I thought you were dead.”
“I wouldn’t have had to come back if you hadn’t have ruined my plans,” Luke said. “If you had just left me and Kiera alone, none of us would’ve died, I would be ruling the world that we had once known...”
“And we would’ve all lived happily ever after,” I smiled at him. “What a load of old bollocks. You just wanted to use Kiera. You only wanted her to love you so when it came to Kiera making her choice between the humans and the Vampyrus, she would’ve chosen the Vampyrus.
She would have chosen you.”
“And would that have been so bad?” Luke snapped. For the first time since entering the room, Luke now sounded rattled. He was starting to get angry. “The Vampyrus could have ruled the Earth.”
“No, you would have ruled the Earth,” I cut in.
“With Kiera at my side,” he said. “I would have made her a queen. What have you made her?”
“Happy,” I smiled.
Springing from the table, Luke smashed his fist into the side of my head. I flew from the chair and onto the floor. Fuck, that really hurt! Seth hoisted me back onto the chair. With the side of my head feeling as if it had been struck by a train, I raised my head in defiance and looked Luke in the eyes.
“You will never ever get Kiera to be with you,” I whispered.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that,” Luke said.
“Kiera is in love with me,” I said. “You’ll never get her to look twice at you with me in her life.”
“Exactly,” Luke said. “That’s why you’re going to have to die. And then I will slowly take those who mean anything to her and kill them. In the end, she will be begging to get into bed with me to save those she loves. I already have Kayla,” he smiled.
I looked into his eyes, and I wasn’t sure that he did have Kayla. If he did, then Luke would have already used her as pawn in his sick game.
He wouldn’t have been using this wolf Lola to masquerade as her. He was bluffing. I didn’t know where Kayla was, but something was telling me that Luke didn’t know either.
“If Kiera won’t marry me, perhaps Kayla will,” Luke smiled. “After all, I got her to fall in love with me once before. And boy was she sweet.”
“You fucking pervert,” I spat at him.
“Fucking Kayla, that’s what I’ll be doing,”
Luke grinned at me. “I’m sure Kiera will happily swap places to save her friend.” Then, leaning in close so our cheeks were almost touching, Luke whispered in my eyes, “It’s a shame you won‘t be around, I could have invited you to our wedding.
You could have been my best man. I might have even let you watch.”
The thought of Luke with Kiera made my stomach knot. Hot bile rushed up into my mouth, and my heart raced. If only I could get my hands free.
“Tell me, Potter, is Kiera a screamer?”
Luke laughed in my ear.
I couldn’t listen to him anymore, so snapping my face quickly to the right, I smashed the side of my head into his. Luke staggered sideways, clutching his head in his hands. A thin line of blood trickled from his ear.
Luke twisted his head to look at me, and I could see the hate in his eyes. He wanted to kill me.
“If you want to kill me, why don’t you just do it right now!” I roared at him. “Go on, kill me while I’m chained up. That’s what a coward like you would do.”
Rubbing the side of his face with his hand, Luke forced a smile and said, “This place is way too private. I want your execution to be very public. I want everyone to see what I do to people who betray me. I want everyone to know what I do to traitors. I want Kiera to understand my threats aren’t idle. Jack could have taken her as simply as he took you. But I want Kiera to come to me. I want her to come into this town, crawling on her hands and knees, begging me to make her my queen. Only then will I know she is mine.”
“She’ll never be yours,” I said stubbornly.
“It’s a shame you won’t be around to see how wrong you are,” Luke said, heading for the door. “But perhaps in another time – in another when – you’ll see.”
Keeping my head held high, wanting to show him he could never beat me, Luke stared at me from the doorway. I looked at him with utter defiance.
Turning to look at both Seth and Lola, Luke said, “Get his execution ready. I want him dead already.”
Without another word, Luke left the room, leaving me alone with Lola and Jack Seth.
We swooped over the hills and mountains in the direction of Wasp Water. Murphy took the lead. No longer fearing that we might turn to stone at any time and drop from the sky, we raced towards Wasp Water. Although Murphy’s sole purpose for heading straight there was to rescue Potter, in the back of my mind, I had another reason, too. In my recent nightmares, I had seen Jack Seth being executed in the town square. He had been accused of being a traitor. But I had seen him in those flashbulbs inside my mind. He had confessed to setting a trap for me and my friends. Which premonition was true? I sensed that I would find out in the town of Wasp Water.
We flew side by side, me and the others stretched out across the sky. The mountain peaks whisked past below us, and just like in my nightmare, they were covered in snow. The sun was peeking over the top of them, making the snow look orange in places. The air was crisp, and the membrane covering my wings rippled like washing hanging out to dry.
With the town of Wasp Water looking like a faint smudge in the distance, we swept towards it. Believing we had almost reached Wasp Water without warning the wolves gathered there, the dawn sky suddenly lit up with gunfire. A girl to my right yelled out in pain as her wings became tattered with holes. She spiralled away towards the ground at great speed, her wings beating uselessly on either side of her. I snatched a glance over my shoulder to see three helicopters sweeping in towards us like giant wasps.
I banked immediately to the left and swooped down, away from the helicopters which were now pursuing us.
“We’ve got one right behind me,” I heard Meren yell.
I twisted around in the air as another helicopter roared past, its rotatory blades a thundering blur. The word POLICE was printed down the side of its black metal body in white letters. Whoever the Wolf Man was, he had anticipated the fact that we would fly into Wasp Water, so he had the skies surrounding it patrolled.
I shot forward, then rolled into a three hundred and sixty degree spin. My stomach lurched so violently, I thought for a moment that I was gonna be sick. I was now behind the helicopter which was racing after Meren. A Skinwalker leant from the inside of the machine and fired wildly at her.
All around me, I could see the other half and half’s and Murphy scatter as the remaining helicopters buzzed after them.
I righted myself in the air, then flew alongside the helicopter. The Skinwalker firing from the side of it had no idea I was there. He wore a black flight suit, with a black helmet and visor. He fired another volley of shots. The bullets thudded into the body of one of the half and half’s, who then dropped lifelessly from the sky. Perhaps I had been wrong about us controlling the skies after all. We could easily outrun these helicopters, but what would be the point? They had seen us now. If we brought them down, we might buy ourselves a little more time to get in and out of Wasp Water.
Then over the roar of the rotary blades, I heard Peter shouting triumphantly, “We got one!
We got one!” as he yanked one of the armed co-pilots from his seat and tossed him through the air.
Alice was holding onto the side of one of the helicopters, her wings just a blur as they flapped behind her. With her claws buried in the side of the machine, she hung from it, as if pulling it out of the sky. The pilot turned the helicopter around in a full circle, as if trying to shake her free. Peter scurried over the front of the thundering wasp, and climbed inside. Blood splattered the front window as Peter removed the pilot’s face with his fangs.
He leapt free, snatching hold of his sister as the helicopter spun out of control as it raced towards the rocky ground below. It crumpled into a seething ball of flames and black smoke as it collided with the side of a mountain. A cheer went amongst us as we watched it burn.
I heard another volley of gunfire snake across the sky. The co-pilot in the machine I was chasing was firing at Murphy as he soared through the sky towards Meren. Suddenly, Murphy began to plummet out of the sky, holding his side.
“I hit him! I hit him!” I heard the Skinwalker say into his mouthpiece.
Meren raced through the sky after her father.
I banked sharply to the left and swooped round to face the helicopter. The sky pulsated and exploded with colour as gunfire and smoke lit up the dawn. The rotary blades were whizzing around and around like a huge silver spinning top. They spun through the sky as if slicing it open. The helicopter’s surface was shiny as glass and lights flashed on its belly. In its smooth black surface I could see my own reflection, my bright yellow eyes and fangs were gleaming back at me as I raced towards it.