If I had said my dad was a softy before, recently I’ve been thinking otherwise. Over the years since acquiring three newly orphaned children, I watched as dad worked them harder than he ever worked me. In a few short years, alright half a dozen, the oldest, Jensen, learned everything from martial arts to taking a gun apart and putting it back together. The younger brother, Jared, was following in his footsteps, though a little slower because he was still only ten while Jensen was fourteen.
With the girl, Katey, dad took a different approach. He pushed her harder than he pushed the boys, making her learn more, harder stuff, until she collapsed into bed each night, exhausted. She was only twelve, but she could kill a full grown man in three seconds flat and take apart a handgun then put it back together blindfolded.
Of course, dad conveniently forgot to teach them the other stuff, like what they would actually be hunting and fighting and how to destroy each one. He left me to take care of that. So whenever the kids had time, which was very rare, I taught them Latin, the names of as many demons and monsters as I knew about, and how to kill them. It was slow going because they were always tired and didn’t have empty time very often, but they were all smart and quick to memorize.
Katey was the best at the Latin. She picked it up like it was her first language and I had to struggle to keep up with her. Jared was best at identifying the monsters and finding ways to kill them. He seemed to enjoy the research. Jensen on the other hand, voiced his opinion that he would rather be learning from dad. I didn’t let it bother me; he was more of a fight-it-out kind of kid. He would grow up to be a deadly opponent.
To me, it was a little disturbing how deadly these kids were turning out to be. They were all younger than sixteen, and yet they were all better than the most competent soldier. I felt like they were missing out on a real childhood, but I couldn’t complain or try to change things; it had been my idea to take them under our wing.
“Cassie, stop your daydreaming and come help,” dad called from outside the motel room. I sighed, getting up off the bed, and stretched. We had just arrived in Long Creek, Oregon, on suspicions of a werewolf sighting; and since I had been the one driving, while dad explained to the three sitting in the back what a werewolf really was, I was tired and sore. It hadn’t been the longest drive, we had come from Helena, Montana, but it was still a ten hour drive.
As I walked towards the motel room door a headache attacked me, nearly blinding me with pain. I doubled over, hands going to my head to fruitlessly try to alleviate the pain. I barely heard little Katey shout my name before I was lost in a vision.
There was a man. I recognized him but couldn’t put a name to his face. He looked, and felt, like a hunter and had the glowy edges of someone with abilities, like myself, Katey, and possibly Jared. But there was something wrong, something sinister about him. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it made me uncomfortable.
Then it was over, the pain and vision fading away again. I took a deep, shuddering breath as I tried to refocus, and straightened.
“I’m alright,” I told Katey, who was clutching at my shirt, practically in a state of panic. I patted her on the head, trying to be reassuring, but my own head was still ringing and I’m sure she could tell.I finished my walk out to dad and the car to help unloading, and when dad threw me a worried expression I ignored him. I would tell him all about it when there weren’t three kids listening in.