“What did you call me?” Isidor asked again, his voice taking on an angry tone.

Closing his eyes, Potter rolled onto his side and said, “Go away.”

Swinging his foot back, Isidor kicked Potter in the ribs. Potter grunted, but stayed still. Isidor kicked him again and shouted, “How many times do I have to tell you that my name ain’t Kid, Wonder-Boy, Houdini, Van Helsing, or Face-man!”

Putting a hand to his ribs to control the pain, Potter whispered, “I never called you Face-man – he had some class.”

Hearing this, Isidor repeatedly kicked and punched Potter, and as he did so, tears streamed down his cheeks. “I hate you! I hate you!” Then as Isidor took one giant swing at Potter with his foot, Potter snatched it with his manacled hands and threw Isidor back across the room. Pouncing to his feet, Potter was on him in an instant. Looping his thickset arms over Isidor’s head, he pulled the chains that hung between his wrists tight about his neck.

“You need to lighten-up, kid,” Potter whispered in his ear, and I could see that his eyes had taken on that fiery look that I had seen so many times before.

Getting to my feet to stop Potter from strangling Isidor, I stumbled towards them. But as I drew closer, Isidor winked at me and smiled.

“I didn’t think I’d ever hear myself say this,” Isidor croaked as Potter drew the chains tight across his neck, “but it’s good to have the old Potter back.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Potter hissed into his ear.

“The whole I’m-having-a-nervous-breakdown routine doesn’t suit you,” Isidor said. “What were you going to do next, Britney? Shave your head?”

Realising that Isidor had deliberately provoked him, he lifted the chains from over his head and shoved him away with his shoulder.


“Very cute,” Potter said.

“Murphy wouldn’t have wanted you to give up,” Isidor said, and his voice was soft – encouraging. “He’d want you to find a way out of here.”

“What do you know about Murphy? Huh kid?” Potter barked. “You knew him five minutes – that was all. I’ve known him for years – he was like a father to me.”

“I knew him well enough to know that he wouldn’t have wanted you to wallow in self-pity,” Isidor said. “He would have wanted you to get the sonofabitch who killed him. And how are you ever going to do that if you give up. If you give up now, Potter, not only do you give up on Murphy – you give-up on all of us.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” Potter said, looking away.

“Yes he does,” I cut in, “You’re not the only one who cared for Murphy. He was our friend too – he was like a father to all of us.”

Tilting his head to look at me, the torchlight spilt across his face; and although his eyes had come alive, they were full of pain. “I have no one now,” he said.

I wanted to go to him so much it hurt. I wanted to hold him, and as I took a step forward, the door to the cell was swung open and Sparky sauntered in. Taking one look at his flushed and spotty face, I sprung forward.

“You!” I screamed, clawing at him.

But Isidor had hold of me, and was dragging me backwards.

“No, Kiera,” he said. “You’re better than him.”

“But I’m not!” Potter hollered and was on Sparky so quickly it was as if he’d disappeared before us only to reappear a fraction of a second later on the other side of the cell. Before Sparky had any time to react, Potter had removed half of his face with his chained claws.

Screaming, Sparky threw his hands up. But it wasn’t blood that oozed from between his fingers. I recoiled in horror at the sight of the thick grey fur that glistened in the torchlight. Pulling his hands away, he threw his head back and howled as the flesh fell away from his face in thick strips to reveal a long, grey snout that was covered in white whiskers. With long, hooked fingernails, he clawed at his neck, and dragged away the skin that covered his bony chest, to reveal the body of a wolf. Pushing Isidor away, I stumbled backwards against the wall of the cell and watched as Sparky dropped onto his four giant paws. Shaking all over like a dog that has just clambered from the sea, the wolf looked at me and woofed.

“I don’t believe it,” I stammered as I thought of all the hours we had spent together in my flat back in Havensfield, all the take-out pizza we had shared, the movies, the coffees at Starbucks – and all the time he had been a Lycanthrope.

“Believe it,” he howled at me. Then seeing Potter edging forward again, Sparky snarled and showed his pointed teeth. “Get back, Potter,” he barked.

“Why?” I asked, and I know it sounded dumb, but it’s all I could think of saying. “We were friends – but you deceived me. You killed Murphy’s daughters and poor Mrs. Lovelace – what did she ever do to anyone?”

“Kiera, why do you have such little vision?” the wolf asked. “You have such potential – you just don’t realise.”

“Why did you befriend me if all you wanted to do was kill me?” I breathed, still not believing what I was seeing.

“Kill you? I was guarding you.” Sparky said shaking his giant head. “No, we don’t want to kill you.”

“Who’s ‘we’?” I asked, pressing myself as flat as I could against the wall as he sauntered towards me.

With his head so close to mine that I could feel his whiskers brushing my face, he said, “The one who believes it’s time that the Vampyrus and Lycanthrope come out of hiding and become the dominant species on Earth. And you, Isidor over there, and the beautiful young Kayla are going to help us.”

“But I thought the Vampyrus and the Lycanthrope hated one another,” Isidor said from the other side of the cell. “How come you were working with them?”

Licking his massive snout with his tongue, the werewolf turned to look at Isidor. “Murphy’s plan to ask the Lycanthrope for help – to make a pact – was anticipated. The Vampyrus came to us first and we have become allies – unlikely ones I know – but allies all the same.”

Coming forward, Potter looked at Sparky and said, “I should tear you a new arsehole for what you’ve done.”

Turning as if chasing his own tail, the wolf whirled round and came face to face with Potter. “Brave to the last, Potter. But it will do you no good. You’ve finally been caught up with and it won’t be long now before you join your friend Murphy.”

Standing firm, Potter stared into Sparky’s brilliant yellow eyes and said, “If you’re gonna kill me, why don’t you just get it over and done with. I can’t bear all this hanging around.”

“What?” Sparky howled. “Kill you now? No, I don’t think so.”

“Because you don’t have the guts to do it yourself,” Potter pushed him.

“No, Potter,” the wolf said, “We can’t get rid of you just yet or what would we have left to bargain with?”

“Bargain for what?” I asked, my heart sinking.

“Do you want Potter to die?” he asked, his voice a deep rumble.

“Of course not!” I spat.

“Then you and the boy over there will do exactly as we ask or Potter ends up the same way as Murphy – as dog food,” and even though Sparky had a long white snout, I knew that he was smiling.

Then, turning and sauntering back to the cell door, he barked, “Isidor, you’re first.”

“First for what?” Isidor asked, swallowing hard.

“Now if I told you, I’d spoil the surprise,” Sparky woofed, “and where would the fun be in that?”

Reaching for him, I grabbed Isidor’s arm. “Don’t go with him,” I pleaded and pulled him towards me.

Prying my fingers free, Isidor looked into my eyes and smiling, he said, “I’ve gotta go, Kiera – don’t wait-up, I’ve got a feeling that I might be gone some time.” Then turning, he headed towards the open cell door.

I glanced at Potter, who was watching Isidor as he made his way from the cell. Suddenly, he raced forward and threw his arms across the open doorway, barring Isidor’s exit.

“I can’t let you do this,” Potter said. “You know they’re gonna kill me anyway.”

“We don’t know that for sure,” he said, looking straight at Potter as he gently moved his arms out of the way so he could pass by. Then looking back, he said, “Say it just once for me.”

“Isidor,” Potter said.

“Thank you,” Isidor smiled and turned away.

The cell door was slammed closed and I started to cry.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Potter came towards me, but with his hands bound in front of him, it was difficult for him to hold me. So instead, he gently knocked the fringe from my eyes and said, “Don’t cry, Kiera, I’m sure he will be okay.”

“He won’t be okay, and you know it,” I said, looking at him.

“What I mean,” Potter said, “is that they need him alive if they’re gonna workout how to…”

“You’re not making me feel any better,” I told him.

“No, I guess I’m not,” he said, turning away.

Watching him go, I said, “I’m sorry, I know you’re just trying to make me feel better.” Then sliding down the wall of the cell, I sat down and pulled my knees up beneath my chin. Potter turned and sat next to me.

Resting my head against his shoulder, I said, “It’s over, isn’t it?” “What is?” he asked, stroking my hair with his fingers. “Us trying to save the world,” I scoffed. “We gave it our best shot, don’t you think?”

“I guess,” I whispered, not wanting to think about the situation that we were in. It seemed hopeless and I didn’t want to spend whatever time I had left in a state of despair. So desperate to block out the realisation that Luke and Murphy had gone and that Potter would probably soon be dead too, I said, “Tell me about your home.”

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