“You could never have me, Robert, I’d die before you did,” Catalin said, trying to sound brave when, inside, she was terrified. If she angered him in the slightest, she had no doubt he would kill her. To Robert, killing was a game of cards, something to do when he was bored.
Robert chuckled. “No, Catalin, that’s the thing. You would fall before me, begging me for mercy, just as that woman did for you. Nothing is out of my reach, nothing. Remember that. It could be you, or your new friends, or Beth maybe.”
Catalin knew that Robert was threatening them. Then, suddenly, he was gone, leaving Catalin stood alone in the clearing, her hands trembling. She had to get home; she had to tell Alex, now.
Alex was sat at the end of the sofa, Beth’s feet in his lap as she lay down. They were watching the TV—well, Beth was. Alex was trying to be patient and wait for his sister to return. But she’d been gone an awfully long time and it was getting dark outside. Twirling his gold bracelet around his wrist absent-mindedly, Alex became more and more worried with every turn. He stopped, looking down at the bracelet. It was a Celtic-fashioned torc, made of pure gold. It reminded him of what he was, of what Catalin was too.
Alex sighed, looking over at Beth’s face, lit up by the TV. He shouldn’t have dragged her into his life; he shouldn’t have fallen in love with her. If anything happened to her... It would be his fault.
Then the front door opened and slammed. The familiar scent of human blood drifted into his nose through the closed door. Catalin was back. And she was upset. Alex could sense it in her thoughts. The living room door opened and Catalin was there. She was sopping wet with melted snow and her hair was a total mess, with leaves stuck in it. Her cheeks were tear-stained and blood soaked into the lower leg of her trousers, which surprised Alex; it was her own blood.
“He’s here,” she said before collapsing to the floor in tears.
Beth pulled her legs out of Alex’s lap quickly. Alex jumped up and knelt in front of Catalin. He tilted her head up, so she would look at him. She tried to get control of her breathing so she would be able to tell him about what had happened. He didn’t hurry her at all, just waiting until she was ready to speak.
“I... I was in the woods, and there was a woman there. When she was dead, I turned around and... And he was there, smirking as usual. He said he’d been here as long as we had, and he knew about Beth. When I said he was jealous, he laughed at me. He said that he could have any girl he wanted, that he could even have me. I was scared. He told me I would be begging for mercy. He said that nothing was out of his reach, not me, not my friends, and not Beth.”