“You know,” he murmured. “Most people would've said thank you by now.” she wanted to give some smart retort, but Muriel had force-fed her courtesy. She murmured her thanks, feeling far from grateful. Though she knew that was unfair. She'd hardly reacted well, letting panic take over.
“What was that thing?” she asked.
“A demon.” he replied. She bite back the urge to yell they couldn't be real. “A tracker one. I doubt it would've hurt you. But I needed to make sure it couldn't return to whoever sent it. No doubt a demon far more dangerous” he said.
“What about my friends?” she asked, worrying about Sophie and Martin at the party.
“They won't be in harms way. They're not what the demons are after,” he reassured. She felt relief but it didn't last long.
“Demons are after us. Me and Jordan?” she asked, her voice gaining a higher pitch. She was still trying to decide how to respond to all this, caught between disbelief and hysteria.
“Yes, as I said-” he began.
“Not fully human. Got it the first time round,” she finished. He frowned at her then looked away, deciding not to respond.
“We're here,” he said. He slid her from his arms gently, so she was stood facing him. She stared up at him, he towered over her. “You usually enter the house at this point,” he said, regarding her with a rueful smile. She blinked, realising what she was doing and stepped back. She turned and headed for the house, aware her cheeks were burning up a little. It's cold outside, She told herself, ignoring the fact that summer was fast approaching. She didn't have much time to convince herself of this when she saw the open door and the trail of blood.
“Jordan,” she whispered, she raced inside, feeling fear coil through her body. She raced down the hallway, pausing to see the demolition in the kitchen. She shoved away the growing panic and slid to a stop outside the living room, where the light was on. The mess and trails of blood where in here too, but most of it had been tidied away. Muriel was leaning over Jordan, who was lying on the sofa. She looked up at her, mouth opening to speak. Alivia ignored her, pushing her her aside to bend by Jordan. She pushed his shaggy hair out of his face, her brows furrowing as she checked he was still alive. She saw the bandage on the back of his head and rose up.
“We need to call an ambulance,” she said, determination lacing her words.
“No we don't. I've ensured he'll recover. Except a mild concussion,” Muriel replied. Alivia studied her, Muriel looked the same, but there was a new harshness to her eyes. The weariness that had always seemed to pull at her wrinkles was also there. Alivia was quickly starting to understand why. She slotted so many pieces together, so many instances. Alivia opened her mouth, ready to demand an explanation but Muriel cut her off.
“We should wait until Jordan wakes up,” she turned her glance to the guy who was leaning against the door frame, watching the exchange silently. “Morael, any word from Her?” she asked. So that's his name. She blinked at Muriel, never having heard such a bitter tone leave her lips before.
“Beats me. Probably helping the demons,” Morael spat, his contempt for demons and this mysterious Her clear. Not that Alivia cared for the demons, the memory of the wolf-like beast made her shudder.
“What happened here?” Alivia asked, her eyes taking in the ripped furniture. A vase lay broken by the doorway. With a sickening start she realised there was blood on it. What had Jordan been attacked by? Obviously not the same thing as her, not if it was able to grab the vase and hit him round the back of the head with it.
“A higher-level demon tried to attack, luckily it happened after the two of you left. I was trying to chase him down and alert Morael of what was happening, when Jordan must've returned. The demon retraced his steps and attacked him. I scared him off. Obviously he didn't want a repeat of our earlier encounter, when I'd almost killed him,” Muriel explained.
“Jordan must've been terrified,” Alivia whispered, recalling how shaken she'd been when she'd seen that thing.
“Jordan does not share your natural perception Alivia. He would've had no clue what was going on, never even saw what was attacking him,” Muriel replied. Alivia's hands became fists. Tiredness and frustration pulling thin what little restraint she had.