While Liv stared down Gemma, Harper snuck around them to help Marcy get out, but Marcy moved much more slowly than Alex had. Her glasses were crooked but unbroken, and there was a nasty gash down Marcy’s shin that seemed to be making it harder for her to walk.
“Enough is enough, Liv,” Gemma said, and using the focus she’d learned from practicing with Alex, she made her wings spread out behind her. Each time she used them, it got a little less painful, but she still heard her flesh tearing as the feathers broke through.
“Ooo.” Liv pretended to be impressed. “Look who finally came out to play.”
Kirby had gotten out of the car, and he helped Marcy off to the side of the road, where Alex was standing. Harper stood closer and seemed to be debating what to do.
“Harper, go,” Gemma told her. “Stop Daniel before it’s too late. I’ll be up there in a few minutes.”
“Cocky, aren’t you?” Liv asked.
“I’m a fast eater,” Gemma replied. “It should only take me a few seconds to swallow your heart.”
Harper still appeared unsure, so Alex told her, “Go. I’ve got her back.”
Alex had brushed the glass off himself, and he moved closer to Gemma, so he could defend her if he needed to. Daniel was alone with Penn, but Gemma had her siren strength and her boyfriend to help. So Harper nodded and ran to her car.
“Look at you,” Liv said after Harper sped off up the hill. “You have a posse of invalids to defend you.”
“It’s not them you have to worry about,” Gemma said.
She opened her mouth, letting her jagged fangs show in the moonlight, then she jumped at Liv. Liv was slammed back against Marcy’s car, crushing the metal in, and shards of glass stabbed into her skin and wings.
Liv let out an angry squawk and punched Gemma in the face. Gemma flew back, but used her wings to catch herself before she hit the ground. Liv jumped up, flying in the air to meet the other siren, and Gemma rocked forward, then back, propelling her legs so she could kick Liv in the face with all her strength.
As Liv sailed backward, Gemma glanced down at the ground below them. Marcy had popped the hatchback of her car. It didn’t open all the way, but that didn’t stop Alex and Kirby from looking through it.
Gemma didn’t have time to see what they were searching for because Liv had come back at her. When Liv hit her, she grabbed Gemma’s dress and slammed her back into the top of a cypress tree. The branches smacked her and tore at her wings.
Liv was right. Feeding all the time had made her incredibly strong, probably even stronger than Penn. But Gemma had a lot of anger in her, and she was ready to let it all out on Liv.
“Not so tough, are ya?” Liv asked, smiling to reveal her fangs.
In response, Gemma thrust her forehead forward and head-butted her. Liv didn’t fall, but she let go of Gemma and flew back a bit, her wings flapping haphazardly for a second. Unfortunately, the head butt also left Gemma a little dazed, so she didn’t recover as quickly as she’d hoped.
Her wings were tattered from the branches clawing at them, and that made it harder for her to pick up speed when she charged Liv. She grabbed Liv to throw her to the ground, but Liv only laughed, then got the best of the situation.
She gripped Gemma and pushed her downward, slamming her into the hard pavement of the road. Her wings crunched underneath, and agony shot through her back. But she gritted her teeth and refused to cry out.
Instead, she punched Liv in the face again, and again, until Liv grabbed her wrists and pinned them to the ground. All her jagged teeth were out, and a bit of saliva dripped down onto Gemma’s cheek.
“I bet you’re tasty,” Liv said, her saccharine voice mixed with the demonic monster’s.
Then she heard a bang. A flash of orange light cut through the air, then it sliced straight through Liv. It landed on the road, only inches away from Gemma’s head, burning brightly. It had gone through the middle of Liv, right above her navel at an odd angle, and since it had been on fire, it left a nice singed ring that Gemma could see through.
And through the hole, she could see Kirby, looking rather dumbfounded as he held a flare gun in his hand.
“Great shot!” Marcy shouted.
Liv looked back at him and growled. “You stupid son of a bitch.”
“Kirby! Run!” Gemma shouted as she tried to push Liv off her.
But when Liv did get up, she moved much faster than Gemma, much faster than Kirby. She raced over to him, and before Gemma had even gotten up on her feet again, Liv had ripped out his throat, and Kirby fell back to the ground, holding his hands futilely against the surge of blood.
The car skidded to a stop, nearly driving right into the front of the house, and Harper leapt out. The engine was running, the door was open, but she didn’t care. She didn’t have time to waste.
She wasn’t sure if she did the right thing, leaving Gemma alone with Liv, or if coming here was even the right thing to do. But for the first time in her life, she didn’t care what was right or wrong. She couldn’t let this happen, and she’d do anything to stop it.
“Daniel!” Harper shouted as she ran into the house.
“What is that bitch doing here?” Penn growled from the upstairs loft.
“Harper, get out of here!” Daniel yelled.
She’d started running toward the stairs, ignoring him, but then Penn appeared, leaning against the railings and looking down from the bedroom. She’d slipped out of her dress into a black negligee, and Harper hoped that she hadn’t made it too late.
But even if she had, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. She did not want Daniel to have sex with Penn, but the main thing she needed to prevent, the thing she’d risk her life to stop, was his becoming a siren. And that couldn’t have happened yet, not if Liv was still alive.
“I’m not letting you do this, and I’m not leaving without Daniel,” Harper told Penn.
Penn smiled. “It’s cute that you think you have control over anything that’s happening.”
Daniel appeared at the railing next to Penn. His shirt was off, and a line of red scratches ran down his chest. Jagged dots on his arm looked like bite marks.
“Oh my god, Daniel.” Harper gasped. “What is she doing to you?”
“Just get out of here. Please,” he begged her.
She shook her head. “No. It was stupid for me to agree to this, and I take it back. Leave with me, now, before it’s too late.”