Liv’s body stopped moving, and it slumped forward onto Marcy’s car. Thea stared down at the heart in her hands, then she shrugged and tossed it back into the trees behind her. Covered in blood and dirt, Thea jumped down from the car.
“Holy shit.” Marcy pushed open the car door as wide as it would go and eased herself out. “But your heart is missing.”
Thea shrugged. “It’ll grow back.” She was still holding the stick, and seemed to just now realize it, so she dropped it on the ground. “That’s why you have to cut off the head and tear out the heart.”
“If I cut off your head, it’ll grow back?” Marcy asked.
“Eventually.” Thea shot her a look. “But it’s painful, and it really pisses me off, so don’t even think about trying it.”
Since Liv was gone, and both Thea and Marcy looked like they would survive, Alex turned to start jogging up the hill. He’d helped Thea take care of Liv, so he could help Gemma get rid of Penn.
“Alex!” Marcy called after him, so he stopped and looked back at her. “Where are you going?”
“I have to see if Gemma needs help.”
“Wait for me.” Marcy started hobbling up the hill, but she could barely put any weight on her injured leg, so she went very slowly. “No. Don’t wait for me. I’m too slow. Go, but I’ll catch up.”
“What about you, Thea?” Alex asked.
Thea sighed and shook her head. “I won’t stop Gemma from killing Penn, but I can’t help her, either. I’ll stay back here.”
Alex nodded, and he turned and raced up the hill.
Her blood felt like hot, liquid energy surging through her veins, like she was alive for the very first time. Gemma had been the monster before, but it had never felt quite like this. The strength, the speed, the hunger, it was all there, but this time it was completely under her control. The monster would do Gemma’s bidding.
Penn stood at the other side of the house, and she tossed Harper aside, like she was a scrap of meat. And that was all it took to set Gemma off. She’d been playing Penn’s games for far too long.
She charged across the room, her long legs moving in strong, fast strides, and Penn bent down, letting out an animalistic roar. Just as Gemma reached her, Penn turned around and kicked her right in the stomach. Her claws tore into the soft flesh, then Gemma flew backward, crashing into the kitchen.
As Penn stomped over to her, she laughed, but it sounded more like an evil raven than anything human. Gemma had gotten to her feet instantly, but the floor was littered with silverware and broken glass, making it hard for her clawed feet to get traction.
Gemma backed up around the island, letting Penn come toward her and think she had the upper hand. Gemma hissed at her, but neither of them spoke. They could, but something about being in this form made growling and crowing feel much more natural. Words required more thought, and her brain was giving in to much more primal instincts.
Penn lowered her head and spread her wings slightly, like she was getting ready to pounce. The way she moved was predatory and almost prehistoric, but she was too focused on her prey to notice her surroundings.
One more step back, then Gemma stopped. She waited until Penn jumped at her, and then in one swift move, Gemma reached up and pulled the stainless-steel refrigerator down on Penn.
It wouldn’t kill her, but it did slow her down for a second, and Gemma ran away from the kitchen, looking around for her sister. She found Harper near the back door, tearing through a broom closet.
“Get out of here,” Gemma said in her demonic-monster voice.
“I’m looking for something to cut off her head with,” Harper said as she pushed a vacuum cleaner out of her way. “I won’t leave you.”
The sound of crashing metal in the living room made Gemma turn around. Penn had pushed the fridge off herself and thrown it into the other room. Not before tearing a door off, though. Penn growled at her, and, with her long hands, she snapped the fridge door in half.
It now had a sharp, serrated edge, and Penn threw it at Gemma’s head, like it was a guillotine Frisbee.
Gemma ducked, but she felt the edge knick the top of one of her wings. Penn howled in dismay, and Gemma charged her again. She bent her head low, so when Penn tried to kick her, she opened her mouth and clamped her razor teeth straight through Penn’s leg.
Penn squawked and fell backward, so Gemma pounced on her. Penn was still stronger than her, and any chance she had to get at Penn’s heart, she’d have to take it. Her claws had barely pierced the skin on Penn’s chest when she felt herself being pushed backward.
The ground seemed to float away from beneath them, and Gemma didn’t even completely understand what was happening until she felt the wind from Penn’s wings. Penn was flying up and taking Gemma with her.
Gemma flapped her wings, trying to push back to the ground, but then she felt her back slamming into the peaked ceiling. But Penn kept pushing, using Gemma like a wrecking ball, and wood and shingles poured down around her.
They broke through the roof, and Penn kept going. If Penn wanted a battle in the sky, then she had one coming. With one hand, Gemma clawed her face, and with the other, she grabbed one of Penn’s wings. If she ripped it off now, Penn would tumble back to the ground.
Penn must’ve sensed her plan, because she smiled and lunged forward. Gemma tried to cry out, but she couldn’t because Penn had clamped her jaws around her neck. She was trying to bite her head off.
After Alex had left, Marcy ripped off the sleeve of a sweater she’d left in the backseat of her car. She tied it around the gash in her shin and tied it tight. Now she couldn’t see the bone, and that was kind of a bummer, but at least she could walk better.
Thea had taken the rest of the sweater and tied it around her chest, covering up the gaping hole in her chest where a small, beating, pink blob was apparently growing into a new heart.
While she did that, Marcy had gone over and laid a few of the smaller broken branches over Kirby. He was hidden under a blanket, but she wanted to add an extra layer of protection.
“I’m sorry, Kirby.” Marcy wiped at the tears in her eyes, smearing dirt and dried blood across her cheeks. “I didn’t know you for that long, but you were supernice, and this never should’ve happened to you.”
She took a deep breath and went on, “I’m also sorry that I can’t cry about you a lot right now, and I want you to know that it’s not because I don’t care. It’s because I want to go help kill the bitches that did this to you.”