Melissa took Lazarus' hand, walking by his side to the clearing. James and the other werewolf – Fenris – were waiting in the clearing already. Lazarus eyed Fenris apprehensively, taking in his unkempt brown hair that sat on top of his head like a shredded carpet. The snarl on his face seemed to be a permanent feature. His body was heavy set although he was short and his muscles almost threatened to rip his shirt. Melissa squeezed Lazarus hand firmly before letting it fall.
‘James. You stand here under the rules set by the duel challenger. So by coming here you choose to hold to them.’ She recited the words she had heard Logan speak not so very long ago. James looked at her and sighed, making a circular motion with his hand.
‘Yeah, yeah. Get on with it!’ He laughed, his impatience angering Melissa. She ran toward him, something within her snapping, leaving nothing to hold her back. She thought of an animal, fast, strong, supple; a cheetah. As she ran, the shadow encased her, blowing backwards as she ran against the wind. When the transformation had finished she held her head up high, the darkness evaporating into the wind. She could see in her peripheral that as she lunged at James, whose head was flung back in laughter, that Lazarus’ fight had already begun.
The werewolves’ fight began without the verbal exchanges and feinting that is so often featured in fantastical films. Lazarus wasn’t given much time to think, let alone to force his transformation, but the change was not something that could be hurried. Fenris lunged for the skinny Aryan with a growl that made Melissa’s skin crawl. Lazarus raised his arms, catching the bulky man in his bony fingers. Fenris swiped at Lazarus, but the blow was neatly avoided. Lazarus threw Fenris aside and kicked him swiftly between the legs, attempting to buy himself some time. He called for the wolf and leapt to one side as Fenris began to recover. He cursed, hoping that the transformation would put the other werewolf off.
He lost all sense of timing as the transformation took over. He felt a rip in his leg, but he wasn’t sure if that was Fenris attacking him, or the transformation pains. Whichever it was, it made no difference to the wolf, which emerged angrier than it ever had in all its years. It howled at Fenris whose eyes widened in shock.
The wolf snapped his teeth around Fenris’ arm, pulling the man down to the ground, snarling. Lazarus wasn’t in control, the beast was, but their objectives were the same: kill Fenris and then James. He gnawed at the man’s arm, his eyes glinting with a savage light. Fenris smacked the wolf in the face, dislodging his hold. Lazarus growled and opened his maw, ready to chew Fenris’ face off.
But Fenris had cheated – he had a knife.
Melissa tore at James’ leg, her white teeth staining as James’ life poured down her throat, turning her green eyes into a deeper red her pupils turning to slits as she savoured the rich, deep, copper taste of the crimson liquid. She tore at his leg as James kicked her in the side making her release her grip. He placed a hand upon his head and growled:
‘Are you forgetting I can read your mind?’ He laughed as he delved into her head, making her freeze still, his eyes frozen and glazed over as he scanned her mind. He came to a door, a dark, looming door with steel chains barring his path. He reached out a hand to touch it and Melissa snarled.
‘No! Get out! Get away!’ She screeched within her mind. She tried to think of something that would repel him away from her darkest secret. Then her mind snapped back to the night before.
Images of Lazarus and Melissa’s naked bodies intertwined, breathing heavily flashed through her mind and instantly James pulled away, a look of disgust replacing his usual cocky smile. Melissa laughed, but her attention was taken when Fenris unsheathed something. She immediately changed into her human form, screaming:
‘No! This is against the rules. Either he disbands with his weapon or you forfeit your lives!’ James shrugged but didn’t smile; the image of Melissa and Lazarus still plagued his mind.
‘So? Who’s going to reinforce them?’ He laughed, his grin appearing again. Fenris stabbed at Lazarus and drew a short red line on Lazarus’ pale fur. The wolf yelped, but shook it off quickly, resuming his attack on Fenris. Fenris growled and threw Lazarus aside, standing over Lazarus. The wolf tried to pick itself up, but Fenris grinned, bringing his foot down on its ribcage. The wolf screamed and passed out. Melissa spun around, running, reaching her hands out to grab at Fenris as she got closer to him. James followed with an irritated growl. She clawed the man’s face as she got a grip on him. He yelled at her as she dug her nails in.
She swore at Fenris, cursing him, but she saw Lazarus’ shallow breaths still come. She grimaced and snapped Fenris’ neck with a savage snarl. She let his body fall and faced James. She transformed herself into a deep black panther. Its fur as dark as the shadow that had encased her. Her deep red eyes glared at him with hatred and anger. The moon made the cross around her neck glint, the little splats of blood covering its surface. She snarled, bringing her lips back to reveal her shiny, deadly teeth.
‘Now. You die.’ She growled in her mind, knowing that he could hear her. She gracefully placed one paw in front of the other, prowling towards James. The vampire stumbled backwards, letting fear show for the first time. The venom in her mind when she thought of him was too much; this was his end, and he knew it was coming.
She stopped. She bent back on her haunches, flexing her claws. She jumped bowling him over. Her ears pinned back she opened her great jaws, wrapping them around his neck. She bit down hard, feeling the bone in his neck snap. She lapped up the blood pouring out of his wound, keeping her jaw locked around it so it didn’t heal.
James’ eyes flickered as his consciousness wavered, his body writhing under her grasp. She pulled away, his wound still flowing with blood. She looked into his eyes, returning to her human form. He slowly wrapped his arms around her neck looking into her dangerous red eyes. He used her to lift himself up, kissing her again. Melissa pulled up her arm and punched his face, slamming his head into the ground before getting off him. She looked down at his broken form, pathetic and beaten before running over to Lazarus.
His cold eyes fluttered open, feeling her put a cold hand delicately on his shoulder blade. She saw the pain in his blue orbs and bit her lip. He burnt more with the humiliation of being beaten so quickly than the physical pain.
‘Lazarus! Lazarus, are you okay?’ she cried, kneeling beside him. He rolled his eyes. Stupid question, he thought, though she couldn’t hear that. ‘So you had enough laughing at death, then?’ she asked with a sigh, running her thumb over the fur on his head, keeping away from his ribs. He didn’t know how to answer that question, so he just gazed at her, doing his best to hide his pain. She kissed him softly and shifted, picking the huge wolf up. She breathed heavily as she heaved him back to the cave.