Shay jumped as there was another crash.
“What now?” Kendall snapped, and threw down the doll.
Anna pushed open the door, and they were met with the vicious snarls of what sounded like wolves. She just sighed, as if it were a normal everyday occurrence that she’d learned to tolerate.
“It’s Laurie and—”
“I’m not blind. I can see them.” She stood and walked towards the door, waving her hands at Elijah and Anna. “Move, move! Get out of my way!”
With Elijah and Anna’s attention diverted, Isobel dove forward and snatched up the voodoo doll. She scrambled to pick it up with her bound hands. She succeeded in pulling out the pins and untying the dark strands of hair.
She dropped the doll and fell back as Anna turned to look at her.
Anna peered at them for a moment with narrowed eyes, and then looked back out the door as Kendall’s screams rose above the other noises in the next room.
“You idiots! You’re not supposed to be fighting each other!”
Shay supposed Kendall had hit them with a spell because the growls suddenly cut off. Shay stared at the open door, willing her to stay out there.
“Anna!” Kendall snapped.
Anna started. “Yes?”
“Get my box and shut the door. We’re done for the day.”
“Yes,” Anna stammered, and gathered up the box in her arms. She followed Elijah out the door, and then shut it behind them.
Silence stretched on for a moment.
Someone whimpered, and Shay looked over at the others. It was Isobel. Her sister was huddled against her, and they were both watching Shay with wide eyes. They didn’t know what to do. They were looking to her for a plan.
Theo’s breathing was heavy and slow. She was leaning back against the wall behind her, eyes closed and a hand held to her stomach. Aubree had stirred and sat up, blinking and looking around.
“Theo,” Shay whispered, voice cracking. “I’m so sorry. This is all my fault.”
Theo’s eyes didn’t open as she shook her head.
“Yes, it is. She hates me. It’s me she wants revenge on. She’s hurting you because of me,” Shay said. “It’s all my fault. I should have—I could have—” Tears trickled down Shay’s cheeks. “I don’t know what to do . . .” she whispered softly.
Theo’s head continued to faintly swivel back and forth.
“I just want you to know,” Shay persisted, “that you are like a sister to me.” She glanced at Isobel and Ivory. “You all are. You are my family. No matter what we’ve been through, no matter what challenges we’ve faced, we’ve always gotten through things together. And I promise, I will find a way out of this. No matter what it takes. I promise.”
Shay heard Kendall’s voice in her mind. “You can’t save everyone, you know.”
“I promise,” Shay repeated.
The door of the room opened, and Shay turned towards it sharply.
No they can’t come back yet, Shay thought. Not yet. I’m not strong enough. They’re going to kill us—
“Shay?” Cleo’s tentative voice asked, and then her head peeked in.
“Cleo!” Shay jumped in surprise.
Cleo glanced around behind her, and then rushed over to Shay. She fell to her knees and took hold of Shay’s chains, breaking them away as if they were made of paper.
“What are you doing?” Shay hissed. She rubbed at her wrists. It felt good not to be bound, but she was cautious and frightened.
“I’m helping you,” Cleo hissed back. “Kendall took us all out hunting. As soon as we split up, I came back here. They shouldn’t be back for a while, but we’ve got to hurry.”
She went over to free the other girls, but drew back suddenly when she got to Theo. Isobel paused from undoing Ivory’s gag to cast a look over at her. Theo’s eyes opened, staring at Cleo as Cleo took in the blood soaking Theo’s shirt.
Cleo swallowed. “I’m fine,” she assured her. She broke Theo’s chains and stepped away.
“Why are you doing this?” Shay asked, climbing to her feet.
Cleo was helping Isobel get Theo to her own feet and she shot a glance back at Shay, a secret smile pulling at her lip. “I’m choosing to do the right thing.”
Isobel looped Theo’s arm around her neck, and Cleo moved out of the way as Ivory came over to her other side. Theo’s legs wobbled beneath her, but she managed to stay standing with their help. Aubree managed to get to her feet on her own.
Shay felt almost as if her own legs would give out, but she didn’t say anything.
“Come on.” Cleo beckoned them to the door. “Follow me.”
Isobel and Ivory went first, stumbling and dragging Theo along between them. Shay let Aubree go first, and then went after them, trying to keep up with Cleo’s quick, anxious pace.
She led them down a dimly-lit hallway, and then hung a left at the end of it. A flight of cement steps extending upwards, meeting a rotting wooden door. Cleo helped Isobel and Ivory carry Theo, and Shay clung to the railing as she followed. Her head reeled and she felt faint, but she was determined to make it on her own. Theo needed more help than she did. Aubree was still silent, her arms drawn around herself.
The door opened to a vacant warehouse. Dusty boxes were stacked in the corners and rat pellets dotted the floor. Sunlight showed faintly through cracks in the ceiling and through the grimy windows.
Cleo led them over to a set of double doors and pushed them open with a dull creaking.
There was a vast stretch of overgrown field in front of them that met with a thick line of forest after several hundred feet.
“Keep straight through the forest,” Cleo said, pointing. “You’ll eventually come to a road. If you follow it left, it’ll take you back to town where you can call for help.”
Shay stared at her with wide eyes. “You’re not coming with us?”
Cleo shook her head. “I’m going to stay here and lead them in the wrong direction. I won’t be able to divert them for long; they’ll pick up your scent fairly quickly. But you’ll have had a good head start by then.”
“Thank you,” Shay said. “For everything.”
Cleo shook her head. “No, Shay. Thank you.”
Shay nodded, a small, understanding smile on her lips. “You’re welcome.” She turned to the others. “Let’s go.”
They’d gone a few feet through the field when Shay looked back over her shoulder, Cleo watched from the doorway. Shay couldn’t see her expression, but after a moment, she lifted her hand in a wave.
They reached the trees just as Shay heard the scream.
“You!” Kendall shrieked. “Get out of my way!”
Shay’s eyes widened. Her head swiveled back to the warehouse. She could just make out Cleo blocking the doorway with Kendall and the other vampires behind her.
“I said, get out of my way!” A wave of energy threw Cleo backwards.
“Cleo!” Shay yelled. She turned, but Isobel grabbed her wrist with her free hand.
“Shay, we have to keep moving!” Isobel said. “There’s nothing we can do!”
Shay looked at Isobel’s terrified face, and then down at the wilting form of Theo. Her eyes were closed again and her face was unnaturally white, drained of all color.
“We have to keep moving!” Isobel said again.
They turned, and Shay forgot about the fact that her legs felt like jelly and that she might collapse at any moment, and somehow she forced herself to keep up with Isobel and Ivory as the took off through the trees with Theo between them.
Fallen leaves and twigs crunched under their shoes. It sounded deafening in the quiet forest.
Then far behind them, Shay heard shouting.
They quickened their pace.
When they came to a stream, Shay began looking for a way around it, but Theo lifted her head.
“Go through it,” she breathed, her voice hoarse. “Throw them . . . off the scent.”
Aubree went first. Isobel and Ivory shifted Theo’s weight, and then they stepped into the water. It came up to their knees, but there was no current, and so they waded along smoothly, pulling Theo with them. Shay sank into the freezing water behind them, and pushed through after them.
They didn’t stop when they reached the bank on the other side.
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Author’s Note: Let me just start off by saying I am so sorry to have waited this long to write more. But I’ve been working on another story and this one just began to slip away. But I’m going to try and get it finished soon for you guys. Thank you so much for all your support with this story. You deserve an ending, and I’m going to try and give you the best one possible.