Tessa was lying on her side, clothes ripped and face bruised, her blonde hair tangled and matted. She wasn’t moving, and as Alex watched her, his heart seemed to cave into his chest and all at once he stopped seeing.
“You wanted this,” Ian said, crouching beside the man. He wound his fingers in his hair and slammed his face into the concrete. “You wanted to see her, and now you have. Are you satisfied?”
Alex lifted his head, feeling the blood slide down his face, and glared at the young boy. With a weakness that made his body tremble, he rose to his knees, and reached out, his hand fastening around Ian’s throat.
Something in Alex snapped and he was able to stand. He rammed Ian into the oil burner and the demon child let out a low growl, blood spurting from his mouth. His black eyes bore into Alex’s green ones. It was just enough. Over the hissing of flames, someone screamed. They screamed until they were hoarse.
His body dropped, and as he held his broken wrist, Ian smiled. He watched the monster in the child’s skin bend down and take hold of his neck, twisting it to the side, preparing to snap it. It would be so easy and yet so unfair.
Alex closed his eyes, waiting. But pain and death had never come. Instead, he felt Ian let go. He opened his eyes and they widened at what he saw.
Ava was holding a rusted iron pipe, the end splattered with blood. Ian was at her feet, growling and holding his head.
She looked at Alex with her sad, scared, green eyes and dropped the weapon. Then she started to cry as he hugged her.
“Ava! Alex!” Cole was shouting, coughing, and stumbling toward them. He was holding Ari, who was slowly regaining consciousness. “Is it over?”
“I don’t think so,” Alex said, shaking his head. He looked down at Ian, who was writhing, then still. “But I guess she knocked something loose since you’re able to talk.”
Cole flinched slightly and opened his mouth to speak. Instead, he let out a blood-curdling scream and dropped to his knees. The air around them seemed to thicken without the presence of smoke.
A ripple of laughter erupted from Cole as he stood, lifted his head, and exposed his eyes. Beside him, Ari woke. It was only for a moment and before she could cry out, he reached out and touched her chest. Then something horrible happened.
She dissolved into blood and bone in seconds as if by magic.
Ava screamed and picked up the pipe again, this time aiming it at Cole, who stood and glared at her with black eyes, his arms spread wide.
“You’re not going to win,” Cole said, his voice melted with Ian’s. “It’s impossible. You can’t kill me.” He reached out and took the pipe, then jammed it into Ava’s stomach, knocking her down. “And you,” he hissed at her, gripping her face as she cried, “I’m not done with you yet.”
Then he kissed her, holding her tightly against him. Cole fell away from her, trembling and confused, his grey eyes tense.
Ava stood, her eyes wide and black. “You’ve all got to die, and die you will. We aren’t finished.” She reached down blindly and gripped Ian, pulling his slack body up.
As the smoke finally cleared, allowing all of the damage to be seen, one thing was for certain.
They were gone.