WARNING: This chapter contains strong language and violent content.
“Calm down, Linley,” Allanna said worriedly as she placed her hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “We’ll get there.”
“How do you know that?” Linley hissed under her breath. “Who knows what that fucking bitch will do…”
“Mom, my language isn’t the problem now. Don’t you get it? She has Craig, and all because of something I didn’t even know about! Why does she have it in for you and Dad so much? She said you killed her father, but what really happened? Is it true?”
Allanna looked down and sighed. She’d hoped this subject would never come up again. When Mortius had been killed, she’d hoped that would be the last she’d ever see of the Caldwells or any other vampires from Duskwood.
But alas, she and Xavier had been wrong to assume that Gloria would just shrug off her father’s death as though it were nothing. So she looked at her daughter’s frightened face and explained the situation that had happened when she’d only been a toddler.
“We were living in Bridgeport,” she clarified, “and one day Mortius came in and kidnapped you. Your dad and I were able to track his scent to find him, and it turns out that…Linley, he wanted to kill you.”
“Kill me? Why?”
“Because you’re a hybrid,” Allanna whispered, wary of the human passengers around them. “To him, you were a threat and a freak of nature. You’re more powerful than any vampire or werewolf could be on their own because you have both types of blood in your body. He didn’t want you to live because that could have been the end of all vampires. Of course, your dad and I didn’t know what he had planned for sure, so when we found him, it was a trap. He’d planned to kill all three of us, but I managed to bite him since I could still turn into a wolf back then, and your dad brought a stake with him. We…took care of him and managed to get you home safe.”
Allanna could see Linley’s eyes growing wider as the story progressed. Xavier then cut in with, “Gloria managed to get away during that confrontation. Which isn’t surprising, the coward she is. She’s never been one to sully her own hands. She tends to let others do the work for her.”
“Dad…if she isn’t the type to do things for herself, what’s to say she doesn’t have someone helping her?”
“We’ve already thought of that, which is why we brought several stakes with us. I don’t know how many we’ll need, but at least we’re prepared.”
“You guys are forgetting something,” Cynthia said from the aisle seat. “Didn’t you say Gloria’s dad was able to control others? Wouldn’t she be able to do that too, considering she’s been a vampire for as long as he has?”
“I won’t let that happen,” Xavier said, fierce determination in his voice. “Her son of a bitch father made me turn Allanna against both of our wills. I won’t let his bitch daughter control any of us.”
Linley sighed inwardly and leaned her head back against the seat. There was some turbulence, but it was nothing compared to the bouncing she felt in her chest as her heart rate kept climbing. Her stomach also began twisting and turning near the point of nausea, but her own anger and plot kept her from staggering to the lavatory.
At last, the plane touched down at the Vegas airport. The Deitrechs and Cynthia extracted their bags from the overhead compartments (they’d managed to conceal their stakes very carefully underneath and in between multiple layers of clothes) and left the terminal.
Xavier had called ahead and rented a car, which was thankfully in the underground garage of the airport terminal. This allowed them to avoid the sun for Xavier’s and Allanna’s sake.
When they pulled the car out of the garage, no one spoke. They just sat in silence as Xavier drove them to his old house.
Xavier hadn’t been back to his house since before Allanna’s abduction. He remembered where it was, but barely what it looked like inside. It seemed so strange to think about his old bachelor pad after having not seen it for nearly 18 years, and now it was being used by his arch-enemy as a prison for an innocent human.
Though he wasn’t that innocent considering he’d taken his daughter’s virginity, but he could see the look of anguish in his daughter’s eyes when she thought about the dire situation. Even though she had her mind turned off so he couldn’t read her thoughts, it was easy to tell that she was thinking about Craig and what danger he might be in. She cared deeply for Craig, and Xavier would do anything he could to make his little girl happy. If that meant rescuing her boyfriend of three years who’d obviously deflowered her, so be it.
But, unbeknownst to Linley, he and Allanna both cared more about putting an end to Gloria once and for all than rescuing a human that knew their secrets. Linley also didn’t know that, if deemed necessary, Xavier and Allanna would have to secretly “deal” with the situation. But he didn’t want to think about that at the moment.
It was mid-afternoon when they arrived at the house at last. It hadn’t been kept up well in Xavier’s absence. The bricks were falling off and the shrubs had turned to brambles. Paint was peeling off the front door and the interior was dark. Still, though the place looked abandoned, he proceeded with caution before parking the car in the old driveway.
“Why don’t you just put out a huge sign that announces we’re here?” Allanna hissed from the front seat. “Can’t we be a little more discreet?”
“There’s no point,” Xavier said as he faced his wife. “She’ll sniff us out, and she’s expecting us. There’s no point in procrastinating.” He then looked at Cynthia, who nodded and sunk down into the seat. Their strategy was that Cynthia would burst into the house in wolf form when she heard Xavier call for her, giving the element of surprise. He, Allanna, and Linley would make sure not to think of her at all so that Gloria couldn't read their thoughts.
The Deitrechs then sprayed themselves with cologne and perfume to mask Cynthia’s wolf scent, got out of the car, and hiked up the front porch steps. Xavier banged on the door and Linley felt her heart beating as rapidly as his incessant pounding.
Gloria answered the door in a matter of moments.
“Welcome,” she said with a sneer. “I was beginning to think you’d never make it. Which is too bad, because I was getting quite parched.”
Linley, forgetting all about her parents’ orders, jabbed a finger at Gloria’s chest and demanded, “You let Craig go! We’re here, we did what you told us to, so let him go!”
“But that wasn’t the deal,” Gloria chortled in arrogance. “The deal was that, if you brought your parents here in two days’ time, you’d see him again. I said nothing about him ever leaving.”
Linley lunged at Gloria, who easily dodged her attack. Xavier reached out and grabbed his daughter, preventing her from propelling herself forward to claw Gloria’s Barbie-doll perfect face off. The plan that they’d created was rapidly falling apart.
“Calm down!” he bellowed as his daughter tried to wriggle free from his steel-like grasp. He then frowned at Gloria and said, “Enough of the small talk bullshit. We’re here, now let the boy go.”
“Now, why would I do that? You didn’t think I’d be unprepared, did you?”
With that, about a dozen other vampires filled the room, emerging from behind closed doors. Linley looked around and felt her temper rising.
“Now,” Gloria continued in an irritatingly smug voice, “do you really think you have the means necessary to make it out of here alive? You took someone dear to me, Xavier, and now I’ll return the favor. You’ll be forced to watch as I take the life from one of these two women that you love so dearly. The question is, which one do you love more? Your bitch or your brat?”
“You won’t touch them.”
“I fail to see how you can possibly stop me. And no need to worry about your precious daughter; I know how to kill a hybrid, and lucky for her, the only way for her to die is quickly.”
“Don’t you dare threaten her!”
“I think I know who matters most to you, thanks to that little outburst.”
Gloria snapped her fingers, and before Xavier could react, three vampires had pounced both him and Allanna. Their vigorous grips held their arms behind their backs, and Gloria grabbed Linley and pulled her to the center of the room.
“Now, I suppose I’ll do one act of kindness before I do this,” Gloria cooed. “You’ve been wondering how to kill a hybrid. I’ll wager that you aren’t aware that Linley’s precious boy toy once tried to kill her by driving a stake through her flesh. But, obviously, that effort was in vain. That’s because a hybrid can’t be killed with a stake, or silver for that matter. The only way to kill a hybrid is to either rip its heart from its chest or decapitate it. Now, Xavier, which would you prefer as Linley’s way to die?”
“Cynthia!” he called.
The door then banged open and Cynthia, fully transformed into a wolf, stood at the door growling. She then lunged toward the nearest vampire and sunk her teeth into his neck. He fell to the floor and began writhing in pain. Cynthia didn’t even hesitate to watch. She went right on to the next one.
Gloria, shocked to see a werewolf in the vicinity, screamed at her minions to take care of her. But they were no match for Cynthia’s sharp claws and fangs.
She freed Xavier and Allanna first, greatly evening the odds. A dozen vampires weren’t enough to take down two other vampires and a werewolf.
Then, with Gloria distracted, Linley broke free of her arms and leaped into the air. When she landed on the ground, she was on all fours and covered in fur, her clothes shredded on the ground.
Glaring up at Gloria through her yellow eyes, Linley said in her mind, “I know you can hear me, and I just wanted to tell you goodbye. You’re gonna pay for kidnapping Craig and threatening me and my family.”
Gloria then gripped the side of her head and squinted her eyes closed. Linley felt a strange sensation pass over her, but it subsided quickly. By now, the other vampires were lying on the floor in pieces, and with their attention on Gloria, Linley’s parents ordered her to run.
“She’s trying to control you!” Xavier shrieked at her. “Get out of here!”
“But it’s not working!” Linley replied in her mind. “I don’t feel anything!”
This was clearly not what Gloria wanted to hear. She let out a blood-curdling scream as she cried, “Why won’t this fucking work! Father said I could control hybrids!”
“Bullshit,” Allanna cut in. “I did some research myself after Linley was born, and it turns out that if you want to control a hybrid, you need a lot more strength than you’d need for just a vampire or werewolf. And you’re just too weak to take over her mind.”
Gloria screamed like a banshee again, but Linley didn’t want to hear it. She jumped onto Gloria’s chest and pinned her down. She put her snout in Gloria’s face and demanded, “Where the fuck is Craig?”
Gloria’s eyes clouded over with fear and hatred as she sputtered, “He’s in the bedroom! Now get off me you fucking mutt!”
Linley had no intention of getting off of her prey. What was the point of hunting if you were just going to let your prey go? Instead, she leaned down and bit a huge chunk out of Gloria’s neck. She shrieked in agony, then Linley hurled her into a nearby wall. Gloria hastily got to her feet, but not fast enough. Xavier dashed forward and plunged a stake into her lower back. She spun around to angrily face him, and he then forced the splintered weapon between her ribs.
“Damn you to hell!” Gloria cursed as she fell to the ground, writhing in pain. In a matter of moments, her eyes glazed over and her body lay motionless.
Gloria Caldwell was dead.
Linley, realizing belatedly that she couldn’t transform back into a human without being naked, begged her father through her mind to go get Craig. Xavier obliged, and found him unconscious on his old bed. He picked him up and carried him into the living room, then they all went back to the car.
As they drove, Linley looked at Craig, who was still out cold, and hoped with all her might that he was okay, and that this horrific scenario wouldn’t alter his feelings for her.