“We’ll go on foot from here,” Murphy told us, pulling the collar of his coat about his throat to protect himself from the driving rain.

I stood next to Isidor and watched Luke and Potter conceal their wings beneath their coats and hide their naked chests. Their shirts lay in tatters back on the carriageway. With rain streaming down our faces, Isidor slung his crossbow over his back, and pulling his baseball cap low over his brow, he said, “I don’t know why we can’t just fly…what’s with all the walking?”

Wiping rain from his face, Murphy looked at him and said, “Listen kid, you fly off from here and you’ll be telling every goddamn Vampyrus that’s tracking us where we are. You might as well send up a couple of flares and scream at the top of your voice ‘Here we are!’ Besides, my boys still haven’t recovered from what happened at Hallowed Manor. Their wings -”

“My wings are just fine,’ Isidor cut over him. “I don’t see why Luke and the wise-guy over there should hold me back from finding Kayla – my mother’s life depends on it.”

“And what are you going to do even if you find Kayla, huh?” Murphy asked, his eyes narrowing. “Do you really think I’m going to let you use her as some kind of bargaining tool so you can get your mother back? What’s the plan? How are you intending to trade Kayla for your mother?’

“I don’t know,” Isidor said.

“You don’t know much,” Murphy muttered.

“But my mother…” Isidor started.

“Is probably already dead,” Potter cut in.

I saw Isidor clench his fists as if to punch Potter, but instead, he said through gritted teeth, “I don’t need this shit. I’m outta here.”

“Listen, boy-wonder,” Potter continued, and I noticed rivulets of rain pouring down his face and chest where his coat hung open. “Nothing would make me happier than to see you fly away from here and never come back, but like the sarge says, you start beating those pretty wings of yours and -”


“And what?” Isidor said, not backing down.

“What my friends are trying to say, Isidor,” Luke said, coming forward in an attempt to calm the situation, “is that those Vampyrus sent to hunt us have been chosen for a reason. They use echolocation to track us.”

“Echo-what?” Isidor smirked.

“Echolocation is similar to sonar,” Luke explained, his voice, unlike Potter’s, was calm and full of patience. “Every time you beat your wings they create a vibration – an echo – and it’s these vibrations that the hunters will use to locate us.”

“That’s such bull-crap,” Isidor said, stroking the short beard that protruded from his chin. “If that were the case – they’d be hunting every sparrow and crow…”

“It’s not the same,” Luke explained. “Our wings are far bigger than that of any other flying animal, and they give off massive vibrations far bigger than any other bird.”

“Give it up, Luke,” Potter said from the corner of his mouth as he tried to light a cigarette in the rain. “You’re wasting your breath.”

Placing my hand on Isidor’s arm, I looked at him and said, “Listen to what Luke says. You can trust him, Isidor. I know you want to save Kayla…we all do.”

“But it’s more than that,” Isidor said staring at me from beneath the brim of his cap. “They have my mother.”

“They have my mum, too,” I told him and gently squeezed his arm, “but if we are to save any of the people we love, we have to make sure that we don’t get captured ourselves or we won’t be any use to anyone.”

“When you’ve finished, Doctor Phil,” Potter said looking at me, “perhaps we can get going?” Then, throwing a soggy-looking cigarette to the ground, he walked away.

“Are you coming?” I asked Isidor and with a faint smile, I tugged at his arm.

Without saying a word, Isidor turned and started off in the direction that Potter had taken. Glancing at me from the darkness, Murphy winked at me and then walked away. Taking me by the arm, Luke whispered, “Thanks.”

“What for?” I asked him.

“For being you,” he smiled, and we made our way after the others.

All of us walked in silence for a time, not a word was spoken between us. It had stopped raining, but the fields were boggy and uneven and it made our progress slow. Our feet made squelching sounds as we made our way from the abandoned car across the fields. During the weeks since leaving Hallowed Manor, Murphy had led us across country, avoiding all major towns and roads. Most of our journey had been made during the night on foot, sleeping the days away in cheap motels. Once or twice, Potter had managed to haggle the price down on second-hand cars and we had made part of our journey in those. They were the better days, as often I could snuggle-up on the back seat and sleep against Luke. Murphy had led us to the north west of the country and we now found ourselves in Cumbria, where we had spent the last two days crossing the rugged terrain of the Lake District. The scenery at times was breathtaking as we reached a high summit and looked out across the lakes and the streams that threaded their way through the hills like silver strips of silk. Murphy had made much of the journey in silence. Since discovering the bodies of his two daughters and those other children in the attic at the manor, Murphy had seemed different – distant. He hardly spoke to any of us and when he did, it was usually a command or a brief summary of where we were headed next. Even though we followed him, he never once said where he was leading us, and none of us asked. When we did have the luxury of a car, he did most of the driving. For hours he would go without sleep, and often I would wake while the others slept crammed in the car around me. Sometimes I would steal a quick glance at him. He looked drawn and tired in the gloom of the car, his face severe-looking as if it had been carved from alabaster. But despite his wan complexion, his eyes shone the fiercest of blues, like nuggets of ice, as if his soul had frozen over with rage. I couldn’t even begin to understand his suffering. How would any father come to terms with the murder of his children? On those lonely nights, when the others were huddled asleep on the back seat, I often felt like talking to him, but I couldn’t think of one thing to say. So I would close my eyes and pretend that I, too was asleep and leave him to his thoughts and pain.

Often in those quiet moments, I would think of my mum and wonder where she was. Since meeting Kayla and Isidor, I understood that I wasn’t the only one who had one of my parents taken. Like I’d often thought about confiding in Murphy, I thought many times about talking to Isidor about our missing parents, but like with Murphy, I just couldn’t find the right words to say. Maybe I couldn’t find the right words because I didn’t truly understand what was happening myself. I would often watch Isidor, and despite his cocksure demeanor, the tattoos that covered his neck like black flames, the eyebrow piercing and trendy little beard, I knew much of it was bravado. But if I were to be honest with myself, I hated that part of me, too. It was more than just hatred – I was scared of what I might yet become. Out of all of us, Isidor, Kayla, and I had much in common, and as far as I knew, there were only the three of us. I wished that I’d had a chance to speak with Kayla about it – maybe I could’ve helped – maybe we could’ve helped each other come to terms with the fact that we were both half-breeds. I had so much I wanted to talk to her about, I had so much to tell her, but the hardest thing I would have to explain to her was that her mum wasn’t coming back – that her mum was dead – murdered by my ‘friend,’ Sparky.

By the time the first shards of daylight filtered through the rain-swollen clouds, I was almost numb with cold. My hair and clothes were still wet from the heavy rainfall, and they clung to me like a heavy layer of skin. It seemed that we had trekked for miles through the night. Murphy had always impressed on us the importance of finding shelter by daylight, as since being banished from The Hollows, their skin had become hypersensitive to daylight.

Just as the night began to turn grey, I could sense Murphy, Potter and Luke’s fear that we wouldn’t find a place to hide and get some much-needed sleep and shelter from the sun. But as Potter began to light one cigarette after another, and Luke started to claw at the scars that marred his face, we came across an empty battered barn on the outskirts of a farm. The barn itself looked disused and housed a broken-down tractor, and to my delight, masses of dry hay to rest on. From the doorway of the barn, I could see the farmhouse someway off in the distance. The warm glow of lights seeped from the windows and smoke tumbled up out of the chimney. I imagined sitting by the warmth of that fire, curled in a large comfortable chair and falling into a deep, refreshing sleep. Not only was I tired and cold, but also incredibly hungry. I couldn’t remember the last time that I had eaten anything and I wondered how many days Luke, Potter, and Murphy would last without blood before they started craving for it.

Murphy beckoned us into the barn and closed the door behind us. We sneaked to the back where Luke and I lay on the large piles of hay next to each other. Isidor sat against the barn wall. He pulled the baseball cap down over his eyes and cradled the crossbow in his lap. Murphy sat by the barn door as if on guard and Potter sat beside him.

“How are you doing?” Luke whispered in my ear.

“Tired,” I said, resting my head against his chest.

“Try and get some sleep,” he hushed and gently stroked my damp hair.

Listening to the soft beat of his heart, I looked across the barn at Isidor who was already asleep. His knees were drawn up, and his hands laced together with his head resting against them like a pillow. Then I heard the gentle sound of Luke’s breathing and I knew that he had fallen asleep. Trying not to disturb him, I rolled onto my back and stared up at the large wooden planks that formed the underside of the barn roof. I wondered where Kayla was and I hoped that she was safe. Where had Phillips taken her? What had he done with her? Then I turned my thoughts to Sparky and it still hurt me to think of how he had betrayed me – betrayed all of us. How hadn’t I seen it coming? I was meant to be able to see things, right? But I was glad of one thing, over the last week or two, my eye had stopped bleeding. I still got the visions – if that’s what they were, but no blood and I was grateful for that. When the visions did come, they seemed more controlled. They still came suddenly and when I least expected it – but somehow I seemed to be able to have power over them. When they came, it was like I was looking through the lens of a camera, which I could pan, tilt, and turn three hundred and sixty degrees. I was able to focus the images too – almost as if I could zoom that lens in and out.

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