Taking hold of the wooden rail, I raced around the inside of the wall, brick dust and stone falling all around me.

“Are you crazy?” I shouted over the sound of screeching vampires and falling masonry. “The whole place is gonna collapse!”

“That’s the idea!” Luke shouted back at me as he smashed another vampire into the wall.

The crack was so big now, that you could actually squeeze through it and out into the sky three-hundred feet up above the ground.

“Give me a hand with this, Potter!” Murphy shouted as he started to claw bricks from the wall, making the hole bigger.

Potter was beside him in a spray of shadows, tearing and ripping at the hole. With their backs turned away from the approaching vampires, Isidor covered them with his crossbow. The tower lurched violently to the right and losing my balance, I clattered into the wall.

“The whole place is gonna come down!” I screeched at them, holding onto the railing so tightly that my knuckles glowed white through the skin.

With their arms pinwheeling like pistons, Murphy, Luke, and Potter punched and clawed at the hole, sending forth clouds of rock and stone showering down on the vampires that still tried to work their way up the tower.

The tower listed to the left this time, and I watched as Isidor steadied himself, to take aim at the vampires. The tower made an earsplitting creaking noise as it lent forward at an impossible angle. And just as I thought it was going to collapse, Murphy roared, “Let’s go!”

Racing around the wooden platform, I glanced through the gaping hole they’d made. Looking down at the ground below, I gasped at how far away it seemed.

“What now?” I asked breathlessly.


“Hold on!” Luke grinned as he grabbed hold of me and jumped.

With his wings spreading out on either side of him, we tore through the night sky. Rain spattered my face and the wind yanked at my hair. With his arms tight about me, I pressed my face against his chest. Treetops whizzed beneath us, and looking back, I could see Murphy and Potter racing after us as the tower toppled to the ground like a pile of children’s building blocks. But I couldn’t see Isidor, and my heart began to race. Then I saw him, his monk robes falling away in tatters as he spread his wings and soared through the night. This was the first time that I’d seen Isidor fly and it was breathtaking to watch – his wings rippling in the wind beneath his arms like that of a vampire-bat.

As I peered at him from the safety of Luke’s arms, I wondered how soon it would be before I had wings. Would they look like Isidor’s, or be pretty like Kayla’s?

We hit the ground with a thud and I rolled clear of Luke’s arms. We were back on the other side of the monastery wall. Looking up, I watched the others swoop out of the sky and land beside us.

Within seconds, their wings had slithered back inside them, and Isidor was fastening his coat.

“That went well,” Potter said, wrapping what was left of his tattered coat about him and lighting a cigarette.

“What about Kayla?” Murphy asked me.

“We found something,” I said glancing at Isidor.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Luke said, coming towards me.

“Remember Doc Ravenwood said that they wanted the DNA from the half-breeds…to breed more?” I reminded him.

“Sure,” he said, pulling the torn robe from over his head.

“Well, I think they’ve already started breeding them,” I said, looking between him and Murphy.

“Why, what did you find?” Murphy asked, his silver eyebrows making a v-shape above his eyes as he stared at me.

“We found a girl – she looked liked Kayla – but it wasn’t her,” I started to explain.

“How can you be so sure?” Murphy asked me.

“Believe me, it wasn’t Kayla,” Isidor said.

“What would you know?” Potter cut in.

“Look,” I said, turning on him. “I saw her, and although it looked like Kayla, it wasn’t her. Whoever told the Sarge that it was Kayla got their facts wrong.”

“That isn’t possible,” Murphy said. “They assured me Kayla was in that monastery.”

“So who did tell you?” Potter asked, eyeing Murphy and drawing on his cigarette.

“I don’t understand it,” Murphy said to himself, ignoring Potter’s question.

“Who told you Kayla was in that place?” Luke pushed, and I thought of that long, black shadow I’d seen with Murphy in the derelict farmhouse.

Then looking at all of us he said, “The Lycanthrope.”

As if he had just been punched in the face, Potter spat the half smoked cigarette from the corner of his mouth and said, “Did you just say Lycanthrope? Tell me I’m hearing things. You’ve got to be kidding us, right?”

Murphy looked at Potter and for the first time since meeting him, he had a look of shame splashed across his face.

“No, Sarge,” Luke said, his voice sounding breathless. “Tell me you didn’t -”

“I was desperate, okay!” Murphy barked at them, and that look of shame had disappeared and was replaced with anger.

“What was I supposed to do? They murdered my daughters!”

“But the Lycanthrope!” Potter snapped back. “I’ve got one word to say to you Sarge – insane! If you think they are going to help you – us – you must have lost your freaking mind!”

Then going to him, Luke placed a hand on Murphy’s shoulder and said, “Tell me that you didn’t really -”

Brushing his hand away, Murphy snapped, “It’s done now and I can’t take it back – so get over it, for Christ’s sake.”

“What’s the Lycanthrope?” I asked feeling bewildered and left out.

“Lycanthrope is Greek for wolf-man,” Isidor said, “You know – werewolves!” And even he was looking at Murphy as if he were mad.

Chapter Nineteen

The sound from the vampires trying to scramble over the wall could be heard through the darkness, like rats scurrying through a sewer. From our hiding place beneath the clump of trees, I could see Vampyrus swooping above the grounds of the monastery in search of us, their giant black wings casting shadows like sails on the ground.

“It isn’t going to take them long to work out where we are,” Murphy muttered. “We should keep moving.”

Before we had a chance to say anything, Murphy was bent over and crawling away into the night. I saw Potter and Luke pass a concerned look between each other. Then crouching low, they followed their sergeant. Without saying anything, Isidor and I followed.

With the muscles in my legs burning, I wondered how much longer I could crawl through the undergrowth following Murphy. My hands and face were covered in a crisscross of tiny scratches from the thorns and nettles that snagged at me. Glancing back over my shoulder, I could see the outline of the monastery in the distance. Behind it, I could see a faint glow of an orange autumn sunrise. The sight of it filled me with hope as I knew that the vampires wouldn’t be able to pursue us once the sun was up. As for the Vampyrus, I knew that some of them would be able to carry on their search. Murphy, Luke, and Potter would need to shelter though, since being banished from The Hollows for respite from the sun, their skin had become more and more intolerant to its ultraviolet rays. Facing front again, I continued on, my back aching and legs burning. Ahead, through the bushes and thickets, I could see a mountain and the first rays of sunlight glistened off its peak like snow.

Murphy headed towards it and I could now sense his desire to find shelter for the day. We all sped up, as we clambered from our crouching positions and raced across the wide open, barren landscape towards a narrow gorge set in the side of the mountain. Reaching it, we slipped between the black slices of granite rock to find ourselves in a deep-set overhang. It was covered on three sides and would prevent the sun from spilling in and burning my friends. Murphy dropped to his knees, crawled to the furthest part of the overhang, and slumped against the wall. He looked exhausted and I wondered how long it had been since he had slept. His eyes were tired and dull-looking.

Luke, Potter, and Murphy ignored one another and the tension between the three of them was unbearable. Potter stood away from them, scowling and sucking on the end of a cigarette.

Without looking at anyone, Luke said, “I’m going to see if I can find some fresh water for us to drink.” I guessed he just wanted a few moments on his own. Although the ground was dry, protected by the rocks above us, it was cold and I couldn’t help but shiver. Wrapping my arms around me to keep warm, my stomach rumbled and I couldn’t remember how long it had been since I’d eaten anything. I was beginning to feel weak and tired. Isidor looked at my stomach as it rumbled again.

“I’ll be back in a minute or two,” he said. Then sniffing the air like a dog, he raced out from beneath the overhang.

Needing to rest my aching legs, I sat on the ground. I felt dirty and a total mess. Looking down at my hands, I could see the red goo from that Vampyrus’ eyes streaked down my fingers and under my nails. Putting my head in my hands, I closed my eyes and thought of my snug little flat back in Havensfield and I just wanted to be back there – in the warm, wearing my dressing gown, drinking a nice cup of sweet tea and reading ‘MIA’ by Sienna Rose, which I’d started but never had a chance to finish.

“Are you okay?” Luke asked, sitting beside me.

“Not really,” I sighed.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Look at me,” I said. “I’m a mess. I’m filthy-looking and I stink like a pig!”

“Oink! Oink!” Luke said with a smile.

“It’s not funny!” I snapped.

Then taking my hand, he gently pulled me to my feet and said, “Come with me.”

“Where?” I asked, just feeling tired and wanting to rest.

“I’ve found something that will put a smile back on that pretty face of yours.”

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