Daniel made a move toward the steps, but lightning quick, Penn was around him and standing in front of him, blocking his path.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Penn asked.
“To get rid of her,” he said, then he slid around Penn.
Harper raced up the stairs, and he met her in the middle. She wanted to throw her arms around him, but when she tried to touch him, he grabbed her arms and stopped her.
“There has to be another way,” Harper said. “A better way.”
“The only other way is death, and pretty soon, I won’t care, and I’ll just kill all of you,” Penn said. “This is starting to prove to be far more work than it’s worth.”
“I would rather die than spend the rest of my life as a siren or see you spend the rest of your life as a siren,” Harper said, her eyes fixed on his. “And I know that you feel the same way. I know this isn’t what you want. We can fight her.”
“The hell you can,” Penn growled, and walked toward the steps.
Daniel turned around to face her and stood in front of Harper, shielding her. “Penn, I’ve got this.”
“You do not.” Penn glared down at him from where she stood at the top landing. “You don’t have anything. You are weak, and you are a waste of my time. I don’t care what you say or what you want. I’m killing her, and I’m doing it now.”
Without waiting to see if she would act on her words, Daniel ran up the stairs. He knocked her back down on the ground and climbed on top of her. He’d straddled her and pinned her hands to the ground, and even though Harper had never fought Penn, she knew that had to be too easy. Penn had let him do it.
“Now this is hot.” Penn smiled up at him. “This is what I was looking for from you.”
Then she lifted her legs, pushing him upward, and did a backward somersault, rolling him so that he landed on his back with her on top of him, pinning him on the ground. He grunted as he tried to push her off, and Harper raced up the stairs to defend him.
She jumped onto Penn’s back, hitting her as hard as she could. But a second later, Penn hit her hard enough to send her flying back into the railing. The wind was knocked out of her, and for a moment, she was too dazed and in too much pain to do anything except lie there.
“I should’ve killed you a long time ago,” Penn said, and she got up to take care of Harper.
She didn’t make it very far before Daniel was up. He grabbed her arm, meaning to stop her, but Penn had had enough. She grabbed him around the throat, so tight that he struggled for breath, and she lifted him off the ground that way, carrying him to the bathroom off the bedroom.
Penn threw Daniel into it, then slammed the door shut. A small fireplace was in the corner, and Penn grabbed a poker from it. With her superior siren strength, she easily twisted it around the door handle and the frame, making it impossible for Daniel to pull the door open.
Harper got to her feet, leaning back against the railing, and she could hear Daniel pounding on the door as he tried in vain to open it.
“Harper!” Daniel shouted as he beat on the door. “Run, Harper! Get out of here!”
“Now that he’s out of the way, us girls can finally have the heart-to-heart we’ve been needing for so long.” Penn walked slowly toward her, and as she smiled, her smooth teeth gave way to rows of jagged fangs.
Gemma had her hand around Liv’s throat, squeezing it hard. She wanted to be able to pop her head off, the way that Penn had done to Lexi, but she couldn’t seem to do it. It might have been because Liv was staring up at her.
Or it could’ve been because Liv had her claws out, and instead of tearing Gemma’s hand away from her throat, Liv was trying to break through her chest and get to her heart. She could feel the talons piercing her skin and scraping her ribs.
She should let go and jump off, before Liv succeeded in breaking through and ripping out her heart, but Gemma didn’t want to let her go. Not after what she’d just done to Kirby.
Then she felt a hand tugging on her wing, pulling it so hard that Gemma let go of Liv’s neck and stood up. She whirled around, preparing to fight whoever was pulling at her, but it was Thea, with her own crimson wings stretched out.
“Always guard your heart,” Thea said, as Liv got to her feet. “That’s a siren tip.”
“What the hell, Thea? You’re helping her?” Liv asked with an incredulous whine.
“You really thought I would help you? After the hell you’ve put me through?” Thea asked.
“Whatever.” Liv cracked her neck, stretching it out after Gemma had been choking her. “It’s better this way. Now I can kill two birds with one stone.”
Thea shook her head. “Unlikely.”
Liv growled and charged at her. Thea spread her wings wide and put her hands out in front of her. When Liv hit her, Thea sent her flying back, crashing through several yards of trees.
“You saved my life,” Gemma said, looking at Thea in a bit of awe.
“Don’t get used to it,” Thea said in her usual husky, nonchalant way.
“I hadn’t planned to.”
“I got this, if you want to go help your sister deal with Penn,” Thea said. “I’m assuming that’s where she went.”
Gemma eyed Thea uncertainly. “You aren’t gonna try to stop me from hurting Penn?”
“Honestly? I’m not convinced that you’ll be able to, but I wish you the best of luck,” Thea said, and the trees and underbrush were crackling as Liv made her way back toward them. “And I’ve got my hands full down here.”
Liv came charging through the trees, and Thea jumped at her. They both crashed into a pine tree so hard, they knocked it down. The trunk made a splitting sound, and when it thudded to the ground, sending up a billow of dirt and pine needles, the ground around them trembled.
With Thea handling Liv, Gemma joined Marcy and Alex. Marcy knelt on the ground next to Kirby’s body, and Alex had covered him with a blanket from Marcy’s car, giving him some privacy.
“Marcy, I am so sorry,” Gemma said. She’d never wanted anybody to get hurt over this, especially not someone as nice and innocent as Kirby. He never should’ve gotten mixed up in any of this.
But she didn’t have time to mourn his passing or feel guilt about it. She could spend the rest of her life regretting this moment, but right now, she needed to help Harper and Daniel unless she wanted to spend the rest of her life mourning them, too.