Whatever that was, Amory hated it. She pulled away from Kael sharply, swaying dangerously. “What the hell was that?” she cried, trying to keep her balance. “What the hell are you and what exactly is going on here?” then she grimaced, and clutched her stomach. “I might be sick.”
“No you won’t. At least not till we’re in the house.”
“What?” She looked up and around her. “This is my house,” she mumbled.
“Yeah,” Kael said, steering her towards the front door. “Let’s get inside before the neighbors start looking, ok?”
She stumbled up the driveway, head still a bit foggy and not quite caring what was going on around her. “I don’t have a key,” she remembered. “Never needed one.”
“Ok then,” Kael said, trying to keep a cool head. “Is there a back door, or something?”
Amory nodded, and let the way. As they passed the Horowitz’s back door, she felt Kael stiffen, before he more or less dragged her towards her own back door. Not missing a beat, he smashed through the small glass window, reached in, and unlocked the door. Once inside, he pulled the curtain back a bit, and peeked out at the house. “Do you know who lives there?” he asked in a hushed voice.
“Just the Horowitzs,” Amory answered, fiddling with the duck-shaped potholder her mother adored. “They’re pretty much ok, really. Why?”
“One of them’s a Hunter?” Kael said, walking backward until he reached her. Gripping her hand in his, he pushed her towards the stairs. “We’ve got to make this quick. Those wolves are still after us; I only bought us some time. You’ve got to change. Be quick, okay?”
Amory was confused. “What’s a hunter? And why are you so freaked out?” In the ten minutes she’d known him, Kael had not seemed the one to be easily rattled. He had stood up to a group of werewolves like he was buying grocery. To see him so worked up over her slightly whorish neighbor was giving her all kinds of bad feelings.
‘I’ll tell you as soon as you get out of that dress,” he said, spinning around to pin her with his eyes. “Though I really would like to take it off myself.”
Amory’s eyebrows rose to her hairline. “Excuse me?” she exclaimed, yanking her hand away from his.
“What? It’s a great dress, really, but you’ve got the most amazing melons -“
Amory slapped him. Hard. Before he had the chance to respond she was halfway up the stairs, stomping all the way.
Kael grinned, and walked into the living room. That was easy. The house was nice; he assumed they were well off, whoever they were. All he knew about the people that lived here was that werewolves had tried to kill them, and the resulting danger had called, no screamed at him to do something about it. From two thousand miles away.
There was thumping upstairs as he considered the situation. The only possible way someone in danger could call to a Vampire like himself, if there hadn’t been any blood letting, was a Blood Debt. As he was a turned vampire rather than a birth vampire, the only one who could have had a Debt and have it affect him was his Sire. Who was dead. But who had he owed the Debt to?
It was something to ask Amory when she came downstairs. Speaking of which…
He slipped out of the living room and bounded up the stairs. Figuring that the only closed door would belong to the teenage girl who was most likely sulking, Kael knocked once, then walked in.
“Hey!” A flower-shaped pillow came flying towards his head. “You can’t come in here! This is a no-boy zone!”
“Would you stop fooling around?” Kael asked, flinging the pillow to land on the end of her bed. “I only bought us some time. We’re not camping out here.”
Amory folded her arms from where she sat perched on her bed. “I heard you the first time,” she snapped.
“Then will you get off your butt so we can get moving?”he cried, in exasperation.
“I’m not going anywhere with you, pervert!”
“And that suits me just fine, Amory.”
She had one split second to spin and look behind her before Kael had grabbed her arm and was headed for the window. Behind them, Darren’s dad had morphed back into his hairy form, and had leapt across the bed.
Kael swore, and spun to put himself between Amory and the wolf. Now closer to the window, Amory saw at least thirty werewolves down in her back yard, circling the door, standing to peek in windows….. She swallowed hard, and clutched at the back of Kael’s jacket.
“Now do you see why I wanted you to hurry?” he asked, pulling the long, heavy blade from its hidden sheath.
The werewolf growled, and Amory took an involuntary step back. “Stay close to me,” Kael hissed, grabbing at her blindly. He knew they were in a very, very bad situation. That one wolf had managed to get inside meant that more were in already or were likely to be very soon. Normally he’d think a bunch of criminals would all do the smart thing, and work with their advantage, but the werewolf gene made the mind less prone to sensible thought. Even though they could all turn back into their human forms, for whatever reason they chose to stay wolf, and wait till they both ran from the house screaming. Not about to happen.
“C-can’t you just zap us out of here like you did earlier?” Amory asked, far too frightened to remember to be angry.
“Not for another two days, babe.” He slid into a crouch, nearly eye to eye with the wolf that was slowly advancing on them. “Doggie want a bone?” he asked in a sickly sweet voice. “ Doggie want a treat? Do you? Do you boy?”
She couldn’t believe it. “Do you seriously expect that to work?” Amory asked, incredulous. The werewolf was literally drooling on her rug, his eyes filled with hatred. Her mind idly wondered how long it would take for those teeth to rip through her arm, right before the beast lunged.
In one smooth move, Kael had her held tight against him as he rolled away from the window, one arm raised to slice the wolf in half right before it went soaring through the glass, taking her flimsy curtains with it.
Kael looked down at her from where he was propped up on an elbow on her bed. “It turned out even better than I planned!” he chirped.
“Get off me!” Amory snapped, shoving at his chest. He obligingly rolled over and helped her out of bed. “How do we get out of here?”
“Out the front, I guess,” Kael murmured, stashing the blade away again. “I don’t suppose there’s another car just lying around here, somewhere?”
“No, but my dad’s old motorbike is in the garage.”
Kael gave her a wide grin. “Show me.”
The garage was the emptiest garage Kael had ever seen. There were four giant boxes sitting in a corner, and the rest of the spare room was bare. There wasn’t even an oil stain on the cement floor. But there, leaning against a wall, sat an old, slightly rusted motorbike. Or what had passed for one maybe a century ago.
“You don’t have to look so disappointed,” Amory scolded him. “I told you it was old.”
“Babe, you said old, not ancient.”He ran his hands through his hair, considering his options. Their options. But it was hard when he kept getting that uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. “Has that Mrs. Horowitz ever been over here?”
Amory shrugged. “I dunno, maybe. Why? Shouldn’t we be leaving?”
From the house, they heard the sounds of breaking glass. Kael was at the door immediately, locking it and pulling a few boxes over to hold it closed. Amory knew from experience that those boxes were heavy, but Kael moved them like they were filled with air.
More glass broke, and Amory whimpered. “You’re going to be okay, Amory,” Kael said, coming up behind her and taking her by the shoulders. “You and me have got plans for the future, and they can’t come through if you’re dead.”
He sat on the bike, and pulled her down in front of him. “If I’m dead?” she asked, mostly to pretend to ignore the awkwardness of the situation. Her back was pressed flat against his chest, something she had never experienced before. “What about you? Won’t you die too?”
He pulled her unnecessarily closer and started the bike up. “I’m already dead,” he said, right before they went crashing through the garage door.
It took a minute for the werewolves to realize what had just happened, and in that minute Kael pushed the old motorbike to its limits. Even so, they couldn’t out run the shower of wooden bullets that hit them before they even reached the next street.
“LET HER GO, YOU MONSTER!” a woman screamed. Amory’s eyes widened in shock.
“Mrs. Horowitz?” she whispered, peering around Kael’s arm to stare in amazement. The woman was riding in an open top Jeep, one hand on the wheel and the other holding what looked like a gun out of an army movie. “She’s finally gone crazy.”
“She’s not crazy,” Kael snapped as they banked a corner. “I told you, the woman is a Hunter.”
“You still haven’t told me what that means,” Amory cried, holding on for dear life as they took another corner, and turned into on-coming traffic.
“She’s what you’d call a bounty Hunter. She hunts everything fairies, werewolves, vampires; anything that’s abnormal from a human standpoint is something she wants, something she gets paid to bring in.”
Amory shook her head, trying to wrap her brain around everything that happened so far that night. Around them the sun was beginning to set, the sky a curious mixture of pink, orange and blue. She could almost forget that there was a crazy woman trying to shoot them off the road, werewolves out for her blood, and that Kael was weaving in and out of cars on the street going in the opposite direction. She could almost forget that today was the day she was supposed to have graduated from school, the day her mother died. Almost.
There was a defeaning boom, followed a second later by the road behind them erupting into a shower of asphalt. The impact sent the bike feet into the air, shaking Kael’s grip on the handles. Amory screamed as they fell, landing hard on the uneven surface. Before she could get her breath back, Kael had them rolling away, and for one painful moment she were dragged along the road. Kael shifted, and Amory was up off the rushing ground, yet still in a prone position.
They were under a truck. A large one, judging by the number of wheels in her line of sight. She craned her neck and gazed up at Kael, momentarily lost for words. Where she was sure she was a bit bruised and had a few cuts on her arms and maybe her legs, Kael looked as if he had been used as a playtoy for a raging bull. Amory realized that he had taken the brunt of the fall, and the blast, shielding her from injury. She wanted to punch him. Punch him, and then maybe smother him a bit. She couldn’t understand it. Why couldn’t he just let them both fall? He’d already been protecting her from the werewolves, he didn’t have to put himself through so much, really.
But even as she watched, his skin began knitting itself, the dirty blood drying quickly and falling off his face. The arm around her shifted, and Amory supposed a bone had just been reset.
“Why are you protecting me?” she whispered. Dark eyes pierced into hers.
“Because I must.”