“Dad, stop it!” Milton screams.
“Milton,” Elijah wheezes. “Get Milton . . . out.” If we don’t do something soon he’s going to pass out. If I don’t do something.
I step forward to pull Mr. Galloway off, but Kai beats me to it. “Marshall!” Kai yells, grabbing his shoulder. His dad immediately lets go of Elijah and swings around, using the momentum to punch Kai in the process. Amazingly, it barely affects Kai. His head just jerks to the side a little. Then, he swings his own arm back and hits his father right back. Marshall–Mr. Galloway–pauses, his expression shocked. He brings his hand up to his face, staring at Kai.
The tables have turned.
I can see the wheels spinning in his brain as he realizes what just happened, and his face changes from shock to anger. He tackles Kai to the ground, punching him in the face several times. I stare, still frozen in shock as Kai somehow stops one of his fists in mid-punch, then shoves him off with the other hand. Marshall lands on his back and Kai jumps on top of him, now beating him over and over.
I realize during all this Elijah has fallen to the ground, gasping for breath. I’ve been too appalled by what was happening to make myself move.
“Elijah,” I say, rushing over when I realize.
“Please . . lock Milton in my room,” he gasps between breaths. I hesitate and he looks up at me. Now I see the blood on his face; his dad must have hit him before we made it to him. “Do it! He . . he doesn't need to see this. I’ll be fine.”
Though Milton is plenty capable of walking himself, I pick him up, running to the first door on the right of the hallway–Elijah’s room. I sit Milton down on the floor, kneeling in front of him and placing my hands gently on both sides of his head.
“Milton, I need you to stay in here, okay?” I’m trying to be as fast as I can because I need to go back out there.
“I know,” I say. We have it under control, okay? Just stay in here and I’ll be right back.” He nods and I leave, making sure to lock the door behind me. I’m not sure I want to know why the lock is on the outside of the door.
I rush into the kitchen, finding that Elijah has gotten to his feet now. He stands behind Kai, trying to make him stop.
“Kai. Kai, stop. You’re gonna kill him!” Elijah says.
“I don’t care,” he snarls, still hitting him. Elijah can’t see it from where he stands, but I can see Kai’s eyes from here. They’re glowing, just like mine, but they’re not green. Or red. They’re blue. I don’t know if that means something or not, but I can figure it out later.
I make it to Elijah, who sets his hand on Kai’s shoulder. In his fury, Kai spins around and snarls at him, with his bright blue eyes looking particularly large underneath the dim light of the kitchen. He’s so angry right now I’m not sure if he’s thinking clearly, or if he can control himself. He’s not touching Elijah, I think.
Elijah flinches and steps back, as I step forward to take his place on instinct, a growl rising from my throat. It sounds similar to a wolf, a sound I didn’t know I could make. I’m prepared to defend Elijah, but as soon as he took a step back Kai seems to realize what he’s doing. The next time he blinks, his eyes return to their normal color.
“I’m–I’m sorry,” he says. He pushes himself up and walks to the kitchen sink, eerily calm. I stay where I stand in front of Marshall’s limp body, while Elijah drifts over to Kai after looking between us. Kai’s wetting a rag and is cleaning off Elijah’s face when I hear something move behind me. Suddenly, my head is yanked back and something sharp pokes at my throat. Is that–is that a knife?
“Dad!” Elijah yells, fear showing clearly across his face. “What are you doing? Let her go!”
“Elijah,” Marshall says in my ear, his voice now raspy sounding. He’s completely lost it, I think. I was well aware of this earlier, but I never imagined that he would go this far. I can feel his heart thudding rapidly against my back, and his warm blood runs from his face onto the top of my head. “Don’t you see? Everything I’ve done–it’s all been for a good reason and I’ve been going easy on you all this time. You both deserve much worse, but the police won’t see it that way.” The knife digs into my throat, cutting off my air supply. “She’ll tell them what she’s seen here and they’ll haul me to prison. I can’t have that,” he hisses, the knife cutting in hard enough for blood to trickle down my neck. His voice is completely hysterical. I’ve never–never heard anyone this delusional before. Does he seriously think everything he’s been doing is okay?
I don’t know what will happen if he decides to slice my throat. I mean, I’m not sure if it will kill me; we heal, right? So, I can heal if he cuts my throat? I don’t know how extreme something has to be to kill one of us, but I’d rather not find out. I’d prefer to not add “getting throat cut open” to the list of terrible things that have happened to me. A little too painful sounding for my taste.
For whatever reason, I don’t feel as scared as I should be. Instead, I feel strangely calm, and I’m seeing everything happen with clarity I’ve never experienced before. I can hear every noise in the house, from the cricket chirping in the bathroom, to the clock ticking on the wall, to the breaths and heartbeats of everyone around me. I can smell the soap from the bathroom even here, and my eyes take in every detail around me, looking for a means of escape.
“Dad,” Elijah says cautiously, his hands raised by his sides. “Just put the knife down. We’ll convince her not to go to the police.” The knife loosens a bit on my throat, Marshall wavering. On pure instinct, I elbow him in the stomach and writhe out of his loosened grip. He bends over, clutching his stomach.
“You fucking bitch!” He screams the last part, blood splattering from his mouth. His eyes are rabid, a crazed look in them. “I’m going to kill you!” He lurches forward, arms stretched out for my neck. Elijah must forget for a second that I’m a werewolf, that I’m supernatural and can heal, because he knocks his dad’s hands away and steps in front of me. Blocking me.
Marshall’s demented, hate-filled eyes switches from me to his son. He grabs Elijah with such brutal force that I’m afraid he’s going to snap his neck. He flings Elijah to the ground as if he’s a rag doll, though Elijah isn’t exactly small. Something inside me clicks and the one and only thing that enters my mind is that I have to protect him.
I snarl–an actual snarl–and I can tell by my change in vision that my eyes are glowing. Sharp teeth pierce my lips. Before Marshall can react, my feet seem to move on their own, propelling me forward. I feel like I’m watching things happen in slow motion, still having the same prime clarity from earlier. My hands grab Marshall’s head, no thoughts running through my mind except to protect Elijah. I watch them twist in front of me, and right now they look like someone else’s hands. Marshall’s head turns with them, and a loud, snapping noise echoes in my ears. Something pops against my hands.
His body falls to the ground a few feet from Elijah, his neck twisted at an unnatural angle. It’s broken.
I killed him.