The tension in the air was almost palpable; both of us were waiting for the other to make a move first. I could tell Aaron was on his guard in case I tried anything, his fists were clenching and unclenching slowly and his eyes were bright and alert. If any of us made the slightest move that could be seen as threatening, a fight would ensue. There was no doubt about that. The only thing that I was worried about was who would win?
‘You should go home,’ Aaron nodded in the direction that I had come. I didn’t want to turn my back though, not like I had earlier. Back then I had protection in case anything had gone wrong, but now it was just me.
I had been about to reply when Aaron shouted something incomprehensible and I was shoved roughly to the ground. All the breath had been knocked out of me and a sudden bolt of pain flared in my ribs as someone planted a kick directly into me. Disorientated and angry I tried to stand and face my attacker. Another kick, this time with a lot more force sent me flying into a nearby tree. Pain exploded throughout my body and I could taste blood in my mouth.
I heard Aaron hiss somewhere close by.
I growled, managing to get a good look at my assailant. It was a woman, completely unfamiliar, with bright red hair and cold gray eyes. She was smirking at me, sauntering closer. I could see Aaron trying to fight off two guys.
I shoved myself forward, ignoring the pain and narrowly avoiding her fist. I ducked under her arm and spun round, planting my foot with as much force as I could muster into the small of her back, sending her to the ground.
‘Loren!’ Aaron shouted. He grunted as one of the guys punched him in the stomach. He produced something from his jacket and brought it high above his head. The other guy grabbed Aaron’s arms, restraining him and exposing his chest through a half torn shirt. Within a split second I knew what the object was: a wooden stake. The guy was arching it through the air, too fast. Aaron would nearly be dust and then it would be my turn…
‘No!’ I shouted, launching myself forward. I ran straight into the guy’s body, sending us both to the floor. The stake was knocked out of his hand, several feet away. I tried scrambling for it but the guy shoved me off him and swept it up himself. He turned to face me, a demonic smile playing on his lips. Aaron’s body came out of nowhere, mimicking my move and shoving him away from me. The guy tumbled backwards, his expression suddenly turning to one of shock and pain when he connected with the oak tree. A large branch stuck out of his chest, right where his heart was, lined with a circle of vivid blood. Seconds later, he crumbled to ash.
We barely had time to recover when the girl was on me again. The other guy grabbed Aaron’s head and shoved it hard into the brick wall lining the forest. The girl leaped for the stake, with all the grace of a crazed lioness, but I was quicker this time. I held it pointing upwards just as she jumped on me again. I heard a whoosh of air as she was killed.
Aaron was in serious trouble. He was semi-conscious after getting pummelled by the stranger.
‘Hey!’ I shouted. ‘Leave him alone!’ Not a very original remark to make, but I had to think fast. It worked though; the guy dropped Aaron’s body and instead headed towards me. I held the stake high above my head, trying to take on an intimidating stance.
He laughed. ‘What do you think you are? Buffy the Vampire Slayer?’
‘I should be asking you that,’ I said, trying to control my breathing. ‘You’re the psychos who attacked us. What do you want?’
He licked his lips. ‘I’m going to enjoy killing you, you sweet little thing.’
An involuntary shudder rippled through my spine at his words.
‘Is that before or after I stake you?’
He laughed again and charged forward. He was stopped however, by Aaron who had grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. The stanger let out a confused cry as he was thrown to the ground. I wasted no time and brought the stake down directly into his heart.
Aaron and I both collapsed to the floor, breathing heavily.
‘What was that?’
No reply. I looked over. Aaron was fully unconscious, thick blood streaming at an alarming rate from the corner of his head. That wasn’t all though: he had been staked himself, by the stranger no doubt whilst I was killing the other one. It went straight through his abdomen, all the way to the other side.
This wasn't good.