Harper got up and rushed over to help him. They carefully grabbed the edge and tried to tear it off, but the sharp edges made it harder for them to grasp it. The metal was slick and glued down tightly, but Alex had just started tearing up one of the corners when the remaining windows behind them shattered.
He leaned over, shielding Harper with his body since his back was to the windows, as glass, feathers, and wood rained in around them. Penn was screaming in an odd, birdlike way, as she and Gemma crashed back into the house and rolled across the floor.
Gemma got up and shook the glass from her hair. She could feel the blood soaking the front of her shirt. Her entire body ached, and Penn had bitten into her left arm so hard that it had snapped the bone, and the arm hung at an odd angle.
Penn stood across from her, circling her slowly, and at least it was nice to see that Penn didn’t look that great, either. Bites and claw marks had left her a bloody mess. Two of her fangs had broken in half, and she had a limp.
It was good to know she’d inflicted some damage, but her energy was waning. She wasn’t sure if it was because she’d lost so much blood from the throat wounds or simply because she hadn’t eaten in so long. But the fight was going out of her.
This was her last chance to get Penn, so she had to make it count.
She waited until Penn charged at her, then stepped to the side at the last minute. As Penn ran past her, Gemma grabbed onto her wing and spun her around. Then she leapt on her back and knocked her down.
Penn’s wings flapped hard, beating against Gemma, but her teeth and claws couldn’t reach her. Gemma pushed her down, stepping on the small of her back with all her weight. And then with the last of her strength, Gemma tore her talons into Penn’s back, between her wings.
Penn shrieked and tried to buck Gemma off, but Gemma just tore in deep, breaking through her bones until she could feel the beating of her black heart. She wrapped her hand around it and ripped it out.
And then Penn pushed back, finally knocking Gemma off her. She fell back and tried to get to her feet, but her legs kept slipping underneath. They were weak, and the floor was slick with blood.
Penn came at her with full force. Gemma held her arms up to shield herself, but Penn was like a rabid animal, just biting and clawing without reason.
“Gemma!” Harper shouted, and Gemma saw her sister running toward them holding a long sheet of metal in her hands.
Penn was too focused on getting her anger out on Gemma to see Harper. Not even when Harper ran at her. With the steel in one hand, she swung to the side, like she meant to slice through Penn’s neck.
Unfortunately, breaking the siren’s bones required more strength than Harper had, so the metal only made it through her windpipe and throat before stopping against the bone. She tried to push it in deeper, but Harper only succeeded in slicing her hand open. As the blood began to flow, her grip began to slip. When Penn staggered back as blood flowed from the wound, the sheet of metal sliced all down Harper’s forearm.
Blood began to pour from Penn’s throat, and she made an angry, guttural sound.
Still lying on her back, Gemma reared up and kicked the steel. The sharp edge cut the bottom of her foot, but she pushed it through Penn’s neck.
With her mouth still open in an angry smile, Penn’s head slid off her torso and fell to the floor with a disturbing splat. A few seconds later, her body collapsed next to it.
“Harper! Harper!” Daniel shouted, and he slammed into the door again. His shoulder would be bruised after this, but he didn’t give a damn.
Trapped in the bathroom, he’d been unable to see anything or help in any way. The only thing he’d relied on had been listening to the sounds of things breaking and people shouting at each other.
But a few minutes ago, everything had gone silent.
“Just a second, Daniel,” Gemma said, and he heard metal groaning.
When the door finally opened, he’d never been so relieved in his life. Gemma was standing in front of him, looking fully human. She was covered in blood, her clothes were ripped, but he couldn’t see any wounds.
He put his hands on her shoulders, just touching her to make sure that she was real and safe. “You’re okay?”
“Yeah.” She nodded. “Penn’s dead. And Harper’s fine. Mostly.”
“Mostly?” Daniel asked, and his eyes quickly darted past Gemma and saw that Harper had just reached the top of the landing, with Alex’s help. Her right arm was covered in blood, but she was alive, and she smiled at him with tears in her eyes.
He ran over to her and pulled her into his arms, probably hugging her more tightly than he should’ve, but she didn’t complain. She hugged him back, and he lifted her off the ground.
Then he set her down to get a better look at her. He brushed the hair back from her face and looked her in the eyes. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” She smiled. “What about you?”
He grinned. “Never better.” Then he looked at the gash running down her arm from her inner elbow to her palm. “Your arm. You need stitches.”
“No, it looks worse than it is,” Harper assured him. “It’s not that deep. I don’t think it hit any of the major veins.”
His eyes darted around the bedroom, looking for something to wrap Harper’s arm with. Penn had torn his shirt to bits, so it was little more than fabric and confetti; and he doubted that Harper would want to use the silk sheets Penn had just tried to bed Daniel on, even in an emergency.
Penn had draped a shawl across her headboard, and it was still there, so Daniel ran over and pulled it off. The fabric felt like gauzy satin, so it didn’t feel superabsorbent, but it would help slow the blood flow at least.
“Here.” He wrapped it around Harper’s arm, tying it tighter just below her elbow, so it would work like a tourniquet. “That’ll tide you over.”
“What’s going on? Is the party over?” Marcy asked.
Daniel glanced over the railing just as Marcy and Thea came into the house. Marcy looked a little rough, but Thea looked like she’d really been through hell. She was fully human, no wings or claws, but she was completely covered in blood.
As soon as Gemma saw Thea, she took off downstairs and ran over to her.
“Every time I come to this house, there’s a decapitated body in the living room,” Marcy said. But she didn’t seem to mind it. She crouched to inspect Penn’s headless, winged body.