Allanna felt like she couldn’t drive fast enough. The pack wasn’t as fast as a vampire at night, and they probably weren’t as fast as her father’s car, but they were deadly in such great numbers. Either way, if Xavier didn’t get killed, then someone else would. It could be Devan or it could be one of her siblings. It might even be Cynthia’s father. This was going to end badly if she didn’t do something.
Normally she’d hesitate before getting so close to the invisible vampire/werewolf barrier, but tonight she sped right on through the mist. It was already dark by the time she got to the invisible wall that had separated the two species of Duskwood for so long. She had no idea where to look for Xavier, but her scent would surely draw out one of the leeches long enough for her to warn them of the impending attack. She didn’t care what happened to them – it was Xavier she cared about. And if she could warn one of them, maybe she could distract them with preparing for the battle long enough to save Xavier.
Her plan worked. A vampire leaped out of the shadows to investigate the stench she was emitting, and Allanna saw that it was Xavier’s younger brother, Jebadiah. She pulled over and jumped out of the car.
“Jebadiah,” she said hastily as he made his way toward her angrily, “listen to me. My pack is on its way. They’ll slaughter you all. You have to tell me where Xavier is.”
The red-headed teenager sneered. “Why the fuck would I help you? You’re just like that asshole that seduced my mother and caused her to end up killed. Only you seduced my brother. Nice move drawing that stupid pentagram on his palm. We couldn’t even kill him for treason.”
“Jebadiah, I swear to you that I mean your brother no harm. Now listen, if you tell me where he is, I’ll leave you alone.”
“No way. Mortius gave instructions to kill any wolves on sight, and that’s what I’m gonna do.”
“What’s going on out here?” a third voice inquired. Malik stepped out of the shadows.
“You,” he said when he saw Allanna, recognizing her smell.
“Malik, my pack is coming. They’re coming for Xavier and the rest of you. Please, where is he?”
Malik gaped at her. For a moment, Allanna thought he’d listen to her. Then he frowned at her before saying, “Why would I do anything to help Xavier? Or you, for that matter? He betrayed all of us and got you, the enemy, pregnant. You’ll probably end up with some devil child or something.”
“Xavier’s your best friend!”
Allanna wanted to transform so badly to rip the throat out of this bastard, but he turned to Jebadiah and said, “Go tell Mortius the mongrels are on their way. I’ll deal with this one.”
Jebadiah took off. When Malik turned back to Allanna, his face was softer. He said, “If you want to see Xavier, get your ass over here now and keep moving.”
Allanna had a million questions fly through her mind, but she didn’t waste time trying to answer them. She listened to Malik and followed him. He led her to a gothic-style library, then circled around to the side of it to enter a side door that led to a cellar. He closed the door behind them and ushered her down a hallway until they came to a big room. In the center of the room was a coffin. That coffin was emitting a noise from inside. The noise sounded like…
“Xavier!” Allanna cried as she ran toward the coffin. She threw the lid up, and Xavier sat up abruptly, rubbing his head.
“Allanna!” he said as he stepped out of the coffin to embrace her. “How did you find me?”
“Malik showed me,” she said. Xavier looked at his friend and said, “If this is a trick…”
“No, it’s not. I can tell how you feel about her. Just like your mother. But it’s not my place to come between you guys. Both of you better get the hell out of here while you still can. Oh, and the wolves are coming.”
Allanna looked down and said glumly, “I’ve got some news for you, and my dad found out, so he’s declared war on your kind.”
“You mean the news about how we fell in love? I presume you told him that?”
Allanna bit her lip as Xavier drew her closer. This wasn’t the time. They had to get out of here. Xavier read that in her mind, so he threw Allanna onto his back and carried her out of the cellar.
The streets were quiet, but they wouldn’t be for long. No sooner had the three of them emerged from the cellar than Mortius himself looked at them with a smug expression on his face.
“Malik,” he said snidely, “I wondered if you would do anything you could to help out your dear friend Xavier. It seems that I was correct. Even you have sided with the enemy.”
“I just want to see Xavier happy,” Malik amended. “I don’t care about the girl, but if she’s what my idiot friend wants, then so be it.”
“I wish I could believe that. But I know better. Now, why did Jebadiah tell me that the wolves were coming? Was that a means of distraction so you could show our uninvited guest where her lover was?”
“No,” Allanna spoke from Xavier’s back, “my father’s furious. He’s coming with the rest of the pack. Malik didn’t lie.”
Suddenly, a shrill howl ripped through the night. Mortius turned to see a large black wolf romping toward him. Allanna recognized her father.
“Dad, wait!” she called. “We’re all here now! Mortius, just talk to him!”
“You don’t have to fight like this!” Xavier added.
But their pleas went unheard, their cries unnoticed. A bloody brawl formed right there on the street. The pack wasn’t far behind Darius, and Mortius’s right hand vampires showed up to join the fight, including Gloria and Jebadiah. One vampire looked to be an older version of Xavier, so that was undoubtedly his father. Even some vampire children joined the cacophony.
Allanna didn’t care to witness any more. “If you want to kill yourselves for some stupid war that started before we were even born,” she shouted, “then go ahead! I’m done! Fuck all of you! Xavier, let’s go.”
Xavier didn’t argue. He gave Malik one last glance, saying something in his mind to him. Malik sadly shook his head, so Xavier zipped through the night with Allanna on his shoulders. She just hoped that Cynthia would get and understand the note she’d left on the kitchen table.
Sneaking one last look back, Allanna gripped Xavier’s shoulders tighter as he carried her to a new destination, this one unknown even to him.
They could have gone back to Vivica’s and Savek’s hideout, but the place just didn’t seem as appealing now. Plus, Allanna insisted that they better find a really nice place considering the news she was going to have to share. She told Xavier not to read her mind about this – she wanted to be able to tell him herself.
Finally, they stopped at a bank and Xavier withdrew as much money from his account as he could. He then opened a new account in both their names, almost as though they were posing as a married couple. Allanna found this pretty appropriate considering the news she was about to break.
Allanna had a few hundred dollars in her account, so she withdrew that as well and the two finally managed to find a large skyscraper two-bedroom apartment in Bridgeport, at least temporarily. It was a nice place, not the biggest apartment around, but it was better than nothing.
“All right,” Xavier said as he set down the bags full of even more clothes they’d had to invest in, “what’s the big news you have for me?”
Allanna told Xavier to sit down. She then explained the predicament they’d put themselves in.
“I was showing all the signs, so Cynthia and I went to a drug store and bought two boxes of pregnancy tests, so that was four tests. They all came out positive.”
Allanna braced herself for Xavier’s reaction, but he thankfully didn’t go berserk. Instead, he pulled Allanna close to him on the couch and cradled her in his arms.
“And you’re scared because you don’t know what it will be.”
Allanna nodded as Xavier's fingers intertwined with hers. “I don’t know what to do. I can’t even go see a doctor because werewolves have our own. Our body’s designed to change from one form to another, so it would look very weird to a human doctor.”
“Vampires have their own doctors as well. Our bodies are exceptionally strong, not to mention cold to the touch, and we have no heartbeat. But in this situation, I’m not sure who to go to. We don’t know what the baby will be.”
“And we’re both pretty much ostracized now anyway. Do you think you could try to read its mind? Maybe when it gets older, since it’s probably too little now, but when it can hear our voices? Maybe you can find out what it is?”
“I don’t know. It’s worth a try, but I can’t guarantee anything. No one’s ever been able to read the mind of a fetus before. We’ve all had to wait until after it was born, and even then it’s difficult because they’re incapable of speech.”
Allanna felt her nausea come back, and she bolted for the bathroom before throwing up. Xavier followed her in and said in an attempt to lighten the mood, “I didn’t mean to make you ill with that information. I’m sorry.”
Allanna sat down on the ground in a depressed stupor. Xavier had basically said their situation was hopeless and unpredictable. They’d have to wait and see what happened.
“Xavier,” she asked suddenly as she stood up to wash her hands, “why did those vampires have you in a coffin?”
“I have you to thank for that, actually. Your pentagram saved my life. They were going to kill me, but they couldn’t because I was marked as your victim. Instead, they put me in that coffin in a cruel twist of irony. I couldn’t get out because it only opened from the outside. So I guess we’re even now.”
“What do you mean?”
“I saved your life a few times, remember? You saved mine. Thank you.”
“Don’t mention it, you still got into big trouble because of me. And why didn’t Malik get you out of there?”
“Malik didn’t free me before because he was afraid.”
“Well, what about now? He helped me find you, and then he helped us both escape. What will happen to him?”
“I asked him if he wanted to come with me in my mind, and he said no. I think he shares my feelings and he’s tired of the tumultuous fighting. I can’t do anything to change his mind about coming with us, but hopefully Mortius will spare him.”
“You know he won’t. The guy’s a monster.”
“Cedric is Malik’s father, and Cedric is Mortius’s right-hand man. Things might be different.”
“I hope so.”
At last, Allanna yawned and stretched. “I’m tired; I think I’ll go to bed.”
“I’ll join you.”
The two made their way to the bedroom where they both stripped down to their undergarments. Allanna stretched out across the bed and threw an arm onto Xavier’s chest as they both closed their eyes.
Sleep came relatively quickly for Allanna, but Xavier had a hard time submerging into unconsciousness. Allanna was pregnant with his child, and neither one of them had any idea what it would be. But one thing was certain – the werewolves and vampires may be in a stalemate battle, but when word got around that she was carrying an unknown species, neither kind would hesitate. Fear of the unknown was a powerful thing, and with the rivalry already going on, neither species would allow their child, uncertain of what it was, to live.