“What are you doing?” Thea asked. She came up behind her and kept rolling her shoulder, making her broken wing crack.
“Saying a few words. I mean, I know he’ll have a funeral later, but it never hurts to say something like that when they’re freshly dead,” Marcy said. “His spirit’s probably close by, and I just wanted him to know that I’m sorry.”
“Why’d you cover him with branches?” Thea asked.
“So the animals don’t get him.” Marcy turned around. “All right. Let’s go.”
“Where?” Thea shook her head. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“What? You don’t need to just sit here and lick your wounds. My friends are in trouble, and I’m not just gonna wait around back here to see if they need help.”
“Who died and made you king?” Thea asked.
“You did, when I saved your life like two minutes ago.” Marcy limped over to her and held out her arm. “Now help me get up to the top of the hill. You owe me one.”
Thea stared at her and didn’t move to help. “And this is how you’re using the one?”
“Yep. This is it.”
“But you’re hurt.” Thea pointed to her leg. “You can barely walk. How are you gonna help them?”
Marcy shrugged. “Maybe I can be bait or a distraction, or maybe Penn will just eat me instead, and she’ll be too full to eat anyone else. I don’t know what I can do, but I know for damn sure that if I stay down here, I can’t help anybody. And I won’t do that. I’m not you.”
Thea ignored the dig and eyed her. “You’re gonna get yourself killed.”
“You should like that. Then I’d be out of your hair. Now let’s go. Once we get up there, you can go back to not-helping Gemma or Penn.”
A crashing and squawking sound interrupted the relative quiet that had fallen over the hill. Once Thea and Liv had started tearing through the trees, all the birds and other animals had scattered, making it almost eerily quiet.
But now Marcy looked up to the sky. The moon was clear and bright, and she easily saw the forms of two giant birds clawing at each other over the tops of the trees.
Thea sighed. “That can’t be good.”
She put her arm around Marcy’s waist, so Marcy could lean on her, and the two of them started making the steep trek up the road. It was a nice gesture, but every time they took a step, Thea’s broken wing would swing forward and hit Marcy in the back.
“This would be easier if you put that wing away,” Marcy said as she brushed a bloody feather out of her face.
“I can’t. It’s broken. It’s healing, and it won’t go back until it’s done.”
“Well, hurry up then,” Marcy said, and picked up her pace. Gemma was clearly in trouble, and she probably needed all the help she could get. “Maybe a car will drive by and stop for us.”
“Penn chased away the neighbors because she likes privacy, so we’re the only ones who live up here now,” Thea explained. “And I’m also pretty sure that nobody would stop for the two of us.”
“What? You have wings. You could be an angel,” Marcy said. “Who wouldn’t stop to help an angel?”
“You realize I’m actually more of a demon, right?”
“Yeah, I do, but a car driving by wouldn’t.”
Alex was almost to the top of the cliff when he heard the crash. He’d been running up through the trees, trying to go a shorter route than on the road, and he’d had to stare up through the branches. But he’d seen it just the same. Two large birds crashing into each other.
They were in the sky, so Alex couldn’t really help much, but if he got to the house now, it would probably be a good time to try to get Harper and Daniel out of there.
When he made it to the house, the front door was still open, and Harper’s car was parked and running right next to it. Before he even made it in, he could see that it was a disaster. Pieces of wood, food, appliances, furniture—everything was broken and strewn all over the house.
“Harper?” Alex shouted as he stepped over the debris.
“Alex!” Harper shouted from the back of the house. “I’m back here.”
He ran back to see the sitting room near the windows that faced the bay mostly intact, and Harper was sitting in a pile of fragmented wood and random knives. He was about to ask her what was going on when he heard a banging sound.
“What’s that?” Alex asked, looking toward the ceiling and the bedroom directly above them.
“Daniel. He’s fine.” Harper shook her head and stared at the mess around her. “I need to find something to help Gemma.”
Alex crouched to look at what she had. “Like a weapon?”
“Yeah, anything that can help when they come back down.”
He turned back and looked up through the hole in the ceiling. A solitary black feather had fallen through and was slowly floating to the ground.
“What if they don’t?” Alex asked thickly, and he hated to even think it.
“Daniel is trapped here. Penn will come back eventually, and when she does, we have to be ready for her.”
But she’d failed to say that Gemma would come back, and that’s when Alex knew the situation had to be dire. He knew that Gemma had been practicing to control the monster, so she could fight Penn, but he had no idea how strong she was. She might be drastically outmatched.
If she was, that just meant that he and Harper would have to step up their game.
“Okay, so what have you found?” Alex asked, looking back at her.
“It’s mostly stuff like this.” She held up a broom that had been snapped in half so the end came to a sharp point. “I can stab her, but she’s not a vampire. Staking her won’t do much good.”
“What does kill them? The head and the heart, right?” Alex asked, and Harper nodded. “So let’s find something…” He’d been looking around the room, but he stopped when his eyes landed on the sharp, jagged edges of the broken fridge door. “What about that?”
“I thought about it, but I can’t really lift the thing. Gemma might be able to, but…” She trailed off. If Gemma were incapacitated, it wouldn’t do them much good if they couldn’t easily maneuver it.
“The steel is just a façade. It’s like glued on, sorta.” Alex walked over to it and pulled at the metal to confirm this. “We can rip it off.”