“Be careful what you say,” Jack Seth growled through a set of clenched teeth. I looked into his eyes and the stare he gave me was dangerous – like that of a mad man. His face was a crisscross-patchwork of white scars and his jaw line was covered in untidy-looking whiskers. His jet-black eyebrows met at the bridge of his long, crooked nose. But what freaked me out the most were his ears. It was like they were set too low on each side of his face, tucked just behind his jaw. He was unnaturally thin, almost emaciated, and his cheekbones jutted from his face, which only gave his serial killer stare more depth. His fingers were long and bony and each of them was capped with curved fingernails. He wore a blue denim shirt that was open and he had a red bandanna knotted about his throat. His stilt-like legs were covered in a pair of black jeans and they were held around his waist by a knotted length of rope. His feet were bare, and just like his fingers, each of his toes had a talon-like toenail protruding from it.

Needing to break his intoxicating stare, I snapped my head away and glanced up at Potter who hovered just above me.

“Please!” I almost begged. “We need to find Luke.”

Without looking at me, Potter swooped back towards the ground and stood alongside Murphy.

Following his ascent with his burning stare, Seth looked at Murphy and snarled, “I should rip your fucking throat out for coming here – this wasn’t part of the deal.”

“Nor was sending us on a wild goose-chase into that godforsaken monastery,” Murphy said, and the contempt in his voice matched that of Seth’s.

“The girl was there,” Seth hissed. “Don’t blame me for screwing up. Just take a good look at yourselves – you’re pathetic –“

“Please.” I said, pulling at Murphy’s arm. “We need to find Luke!”

“Luke Bishop,” Seth sneered. “Don’t tell me you’re still wiping his arse for him?”

Then before I knew what had happened, Potter was in the air behind Seth, digging his claws into the killer’s throat. Instantly, the other werewolves were springing through the air and gnashing their ferocious-looking jaws at Potter.

Digging his nails deeper into Seth’s scrawny throat, blood began to trickle on to his bandanna. Potter said, “Tame your dogs or I’ll rip your fucking throat out. And believe me,” Potter whispered in his ear, “nothing would give me greater pleasure than to slice-up a child-killer – I don’t know why I didn’t do it long ago.”


With his eyes spinning wildly in their sunken sockets, Seth raised one of his painfully thin hands and said to the baying werewolves, “It’s okay my friends. This is just a misunderstanding that I’m sure we can all figure out.”

Hearing this, the werewolves dropped back onto all fours, and skulked away. Not once did they stop looking at Potter. Seeing the werewolves retreating, Potter slowly loosened his grip on Seth.

“We need to find our friend,” Potter said, and I could detect the anger simmering in his voice.

“Impossible,” Seth said, giving a sly, rasping chuckle. “If he is out in that lake somewhere, we’ll never find him.”

“Why not?” I said, not wanting to believe or trust him.

Then looking at me as if he were undressing me, he smiled and said, “Because your Sergeant sunk my boat, and believe it or not, I don’t have another one.”

“There must be another way,” Murphy said, coming forward, his limp more pronounced somehow as if he were dragging his right foot in the sand.

“There might be,” Seth said with a shrug of his shoulders.

“Listen here, Lassie,” Potter hissed, tightening his grip on Seth’s throat, “I’m not here to be jerked-off by you and the cast of One-Hundred-And-One-Dalmatians. So stop pissing me off and tell me how we can find Luke.”

“The sun will be up soon,” Seth said, his voice sounding strained as Potter continued to bury his nails into his throat, “and I’m guessing by the state of you that you haven’t been back to The Hollows in a while, so the sun will soon be scorching your skin. I will get my wolves to search the perimeter of the lake for you.”

“Not good enough!” Potter hissed and tightened his grip.

“Okay! Okay!” Seth wheezed. “I’ll get them to search the forest and the surrounding area, just in case he came ashore someplace.”

But as I glanced back over my shoulder at the mist that crawled across the icy-cold lake, I knew that Luke hadn’t come ashore. Those vampires had been all over him. He would’ve never made it out. Knowing this, my heart sunk in my chest as if being dragged out of me by invisible hands, and my bottom lip began to tremble. I didn’t want to cry, especially not in front of this killer, but the tears leaked from my eyes, ran down my cheeks and off my chin.

I felt an arm slide around my shoulders and Isidor pulled me close against him.

“We have to stay and search for him,” I whispered against his chest. “We can’t just leave Luke at the bottom of that lake.”

“There must be something we can do?” Isidor spoke up.

“If it were down to me,” Seth grinned, “nothing would make me happier than to watch you lot fry beneath the sun as you search for him, but you know I’m trying to make amends for past sins – so I’m offering you sanctuary for the day in our caves. And while you rest, I’ll put my very best wolves on the case. See, I’m a good guy now – just like you.”

Releasing Seth, Potter settled back on the shore and said, “You are nothing like us, killer.”

Rubbing his throat with one of his skeletal hands, Seth smiled, but the fury in his eyes betrayed his true feelings as he said, “Take it or leave it. But thanks to you, Murphy, you’ve lead the Vampyrus and their vampires to our sanctuary and it won’t be long before they return in greater numbers. Stay and search for your friend, but you will all certainly die in the process. Or come with me and let us finally make a truce. We may well need each other more than you think.”

“We don’t need help from your kind,” Potter spat.

“No?” Seth grinned and he truly did look crazy. “Then why did your sergeant come to me for help in the first place?”

From the folds of Isidor’s arms, I saw Potter glance sideways at Murphy, who just looked away.

“Come with us or stay here and burn,” Seth said, “it makes no difference to me.”

Gasping in shock, I watched in grim horror as Seth clawed away the flesh that covered his own face, and as it fell away in thin, fleshy strips, the head of a giant wolf appeared from beneath it. Throwing his head back, he howled and raked his claws down his chest. As the skin sliced open, thick black hair burst out and it glistened in the light of the rising sun. I watched as his flesh fell away, until all that was left was the giant wolf I had first seen bounding from the forest. Rearing-up on its back legs, Jack Seth howled so deeply that the branches of the nearby pine trees shook, releasing their fine green needles onto the ground. Dropping onto all fours, he looked one last time at us with his burning yellow eyes. Woofing at the other werewolves, he turned and sauntered along the shore towards the fountain.

We watched the other wolves bound after him, spraying up plumes of sand from beneath their mighty paws. Without saying a word, or even looking at us, Murphy started off after them. Seeing this, I broke away from Isidor and raced after him. Snatching hold of his arm, I spun him around.

“We’ve got to stay and look for Luke,” I pleaded with him.

Pulling his arm free, Murphy turned and started back up the shore.

With tears of sadness falling from my eyes, I said, “Please Murphy – you can’t give-up on Luke. I can’t believe that you would leave him behind.”

Then fixing me with a hard stare, Murphy shouted, “You think you are the only one that loves him, do you? That boy is like a son to me. I don’t want to leave him behind any more than you do. But however much it pains me to say it, Seth is right – if we stay here we are all dead.”

“But -” I started.

“If the sun doesn’t get us, those that hunt us will!” he barked.

“But I don’t want to lose him,” I sobbed.

“Don’t talk to me about loss,” Murphy snapped. “I’ve lost enough loved ones to last me two lifetimes. If we stay here we’re dead and I’m not prepared to lose any more people that I care about.”

Raising my head, I looked at him and was startled to see tears running silently down the side of his face.

“Believe me, Kiera,” he said, his voice softening, “I’m not going to risk the lives of you all for Luke, however much that boy means to me. And Luke wouldn’t want me to put any of you in danger for him, he would want us to push on – to hunt down this invisible man who has caused us all so much pain.”

Knowing that he was right didn’t take away the pain that I felt inside. It felt as if part of me was dying and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Unable to hold back my heartache any longer, I began to sob uncontrollably. Taking me in his arms, Murphy held me tight.

“I’m so sorry, Kiera,” he hushed.

“Sorry for what?” I sobbed.

“For getting you into this,” he whispered. “That night you walked into the police station in The Ragged Cove I should have told you to get out of there – to run as fast as you could away from the Cove.”

“You didn’t exactly make me feel welcome,” I sniveled.

“I should’ve tried harder,” he said.

“Why didn’t you then?”

“Because I was being selfish.”

“I don’t understand,” I said, my face still snug against his chest.

“Because I knew what you were all along – I knew you were a half-breed,” he said, “and I knew that you were in danger, but I was just thinking about discovering the identity of who is behind this nightmare and I was hoping that you would draw him out.”

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