“Good luck,” Potter said, “‘cos you’re gonna need it.”

Seth looked at Potter with his yellow eyes and growled, “My people will be safe here now.”

“Thanks, Seth,” Murphy suddenly said dryly. “Thanks for everything!”

“What are you saying to me?” Seth spat.

“You’re a real hero,” and now Murphy chuckled.

“What is it?” Seth barked.

“See that beautiful girl over there,” Murphy nodded in my direction. “Of course you’ve seen her - men like you always see women like her. By bringing her to Phillips, you’ve just signed your own death warrant.” And he chuckled again, but it wasn’t a happy laugh, it was full of resentment and hatred for Jack Seth.

“Tell me what you mean?” Seth said, and I could tell that he didn’t like to be made a fool of.

“I was stupid to have trusted in you,” Murphy said, the chains around his wrists jangling. “I should have listened to my friends. But that girl over there is special - she doesn’t know herself how special she is. But there is someone that does - the man that is behind all of this - he knows what her true power will be. But it’s worse than that for you, Seth, and I pity you.”

“What the fuck are you talking about, old man?” Seth hissed. I could feel the frustration building within him.

“See Kiera over there - well she is going to be powerful enough - but she is just one part of a three-piece jigsaw. Bring those three pieces together and you create a force so strong that whoever wields their power will be invincible. Create more of them and you become…God!”


I heard the sound before I realised what had happened. But it was a hideous sound and one that will stay with me forever. Phillips sprang forward and drove his fist into Murphy’s chest. In one quick and fluid movement, Phillips had yanked his fist out again and was holding Murphy’s heart between his fingers. It was so sudden and so quick, that Murphy glanced down at the gaping hole in his chest, then in shock he stared at his heart which still pumped even though Phillips clenched it in his fist.

“No!” Potter roared, lunging forward.

But he was too late. With one last turn of his head, Murphy looked at me, and giving me a knowing smile, he made a rattling sound in the back of his throat, then dropped to his knees and toppled face first into the dirt.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Potter shot forward in a spray of black shadows and knelt beside Murphy’s lifeless body. Then, hoisting him up into his arms, he cradled his friend.

“What have you done!” Potter roared at Phillips with such venom that spittle flew from his lips. “You’ve killed Murphy, you piece of shit!”

“What did you think, this was some kind of game?” Phillips screamed back with just as much anger. “You’re all gonna die!”

I looked at Potter and I’d never seen such a look of sheer desperation. It bordered on anger, pain, and confusion. It was like he couldn’t comprehend what had just happened. None of us could. I glanced at Isidor and he just stood with his mouth open and eyes wide as if he had just been punched in the stomach. I looked down at Murphy’s body lying in Potter’s arms, and my legs began to buckle beneath me. Holding my hands to my face, I tried to stop the tears in my eyes from falling onto my cheeks.

How could he be dead? my mind screamed. He was our sergeant and friend. What were we going to do without him? It was Murphy who held us all together. Then, before I’d even realised what I was doing, I was running towards Phillips, my hands out before me. I just wanted to rip his eyes out – tear his cruel heart from his body. The desire to kill him, to make him hurt for what he had just done, was overwhelming. I’d never felt such hatred before and it consumed me like a wave. But before I could reach him, Jack Seth had stepped in front of him and knocked me away as if I were some insignificant insect. I flew back through the air and landed on my arse, the air from my lungs being forced from me. Seth hadn’t seen Isidor dart through the air, and before the giant knew what was happening, Isidor was on his back like a child being carried by their father. Isidor screamed as if he were in pain – but it wasn’t that which made him cry, it was the anguish at seeing Murphy die. Bucking like a bull, Seth tried to throw Isidor clear, but Isidor had his claws buried into his back and he wasn’t going to let go. Blood and hair oozed from the cuts that Isidor was opening down the length of Seth’s back.

“Get him off me!” Seth roared, his yellow eyes spinning wildly in their sockets.

On his command, one of the wolves bounded forward and with one swipe of its massive paws, it knocked Isidor clear off Seth’s back. He howled with fury at the sight of the slashes that Isidor had made, but instead of releasing his anger on him, Seth turned on Phillips.

“What in the name of fuck is going on here!” he screeched so loudly that I thought his eyes were going to pop from his emaciated face. “You said no one was gonna die!”

Phillips looked at him, unnerved by Seth’s display of fury and shrugged his shoulders.

“You said that you just wanted Kiera and Isidor!” he seethed. “You said that Murphy and Potter would be left here, beneath the mountain with me.”

“So I lied,” Phillips said. “Sue me!”

“I ought to rip your fucking head clean off, you double-crossing scum!” Seth roared striding towards Phillips.

Phillips stood and looked up at Seth, a defiant stare in his eyes. “You’re not going to kill me,” Philips said.

Seth loomed over him and staring just as hard back, he said in voice that was so calm that it was almost chilling, “I might not kill you, Phillips, but if you ever double-cross me again, I promise you on everything that I hold sacred, I will hunt down anyone or anything that remotely means something to you. And when I lay my hands on them, you can’t even begin to imagine what I will do to them. After I’ve finished with them and they’re on the brink of death, I’ll cut their fucking hands and feet off and watch them come crawling to you, begging to be put out of their misery. Do I make myself clear, you filthy-scum?”

Totally unmoved by Seth’s horrific threats, Phillips took another step closer to him. Looking up into his crazy, yellow eyes, Phillips said, “And you, Jack Seth, better pray that I don’t change the terms of our agreement any more. The death of Murphy was nothing. Why are you getting so upset?” Then looking down at Potter as he cradled Murphy, he lashed out with his boot, striking Potter in the chest and sending him sprawling to the floor. Completely unlike Potter, he didn’t spring from the floor, biting, tearing, and clawing like I’d seen him do so many times before when under attack, he just sat there numbly and stared at the body of his friend.

Seeing the trauma that he was in, and barely able to function myself, I crawled over to him and pulled him close, holding his head against my chest. Phillips saw me comforting Potter and with a look of revulsion on his face, he said, “Christ, I’m gonna puke in a minute. Somebody please just get them out of my sight.”

Before I realised what was happening, my hands were bound together with thick chains by one of the Vampyrus. Once Potter and Isidor had been restrained, we were dragged to our feet and pushed roughly towards a narrow tunnel that led from the main chamber. As we reached the entrance to the tunnel, I glanced back over my shoulder to see Phillips reach down, pick up Murphy’s corpse and throw it to the yapping wolves that waited hungrily nearby.

We were thrown into a cell and the door was slammed shut behind us. The room was narrow and made of rock. There were no windows and the only light came from a burning torch in one corner, which made the walls flicker with orange shadows.

I looked at Isidor, who crouched by the door and sniffed at it. Turning, I looked at Potter, who was slumped against the far wall. His head was bent forward with his chin resting on his chest. He looked lost and beaten. To see him like this only darkened the dire situation that we now found ourselves in. If my hands hadn’t been manacled together, I would have leapt forward and hugged him. Dropping to the floor, I noticed that my whole body was shaking. I didn’t feel cold and I had gone past being scared – I was in shock.

My brain felt scrambled and I could barely comprehend everything that had happened in the last few hours. Luke was gone and my heart told me that he was dead, although my mind refused to think about that possibility. Murphy had been murdered right in front of me and I’d lost the closet thing I’d had to a father since my own had died. It felt as if my world was unraveling around me – coming away at the seams like a threadbare carpet – and I didn’t know what I had to do to put it back together again.

I looked at Isidor and he was on his hands and knees sniffing around the edges of the door like a bloodhound.

“What are you doing?” I asked him.

“There’s two of those Vampyrus out there,” he said, without taking his nose from the ground.

“So?” I sighed.

“You’re not giving up, are you?” he said, and now he did look back at me.

“We’re not ever getting out of here, Isidor,” I said, my voice bordering on hysteria.

“This isn’t the time to panic,” he said, pressing the side of his head to the door.

“This is the perfect time to panic!” I snapped at him.

“We can’t give up,” he insisted. “There’s got to be a way out of here.”

“Go for it, Houdini. Knock yourself out,” a voice whispered from the corner of the room. Turning, I could see that it was Potter who had spoken and he now sat with his head in his hands as if waiting for his executioner. It scared me more than anything to see him like that. It should have been Potter trying to figure a way out of our cell, not Isidor – but it was as if he didn’t care anymore.

Moving away from the door, Isidor crossed the cell and stood before him, the chains around his wrists clanking. “What did you call me?” he asked.

“Go away,” Potter mumbled, “I’m not in the mood for your theatrics.”

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