“See? Firecracker,” Olivia smiled at me.
“We need a better plan than arguing with each other,” Ezra said. “The lycan will track us soon.”
“Maybe sooner than you thought,” Olivia said, and she reached back for her arrows.
As she set her crossbow, I peered down over the balcony. A dirty, disheveled lycan was walking down the center of the aisle of the church. I heard the click as she set it, and then he looked back up at us, his brown eyes wide and innocent. I can’t explain it, but as soon as I saw him, I knew he wasn’t with them.
“Stop!” I shouted, my voice reverberating off the ceilings, and I held my hand up in front of her crossbow. Leif stood in the center of the church, staring up at us. He would willingly take whatever fate we dealt him.
“What? Why?” Jack looked at me like I was crazy.
“No, she’s right,” Peter agreed. “He’s not like the rest of them.”
“Leif!” I leaned over the balcony, as if I thought that would help me speak to him.
“I’m not with them!” Leif yelled back. “I came here to warn you! It’ll be harder for them to find you with me. I’m the best tracker they have, but you’re so close, and Stellan tasted your blood. I’ve beat them by a matter of minutes.”
“Why would you help us?” Ezra asked. Leif looked at Ezra for a moment, then looked back at me.
“Really?” Milo scoffed. “Does every vampire in the whole world want to tap my sister?”
That wasn’t it, and I knew that, but I couldn’t explain it. There was nothing sexual about the way Leif looked at me, and I wasn’t even remotely attracted to him. It was something else entirely.
“No, I don’t want to … ‘tap’ anyone,” Leif looked unsure of the word. “I’ve just had enough. They are cruel and sadistic, and I’ve seen that vampires can live another way. I don’t want to stay with them anymore. They shouldn’t even be alive. They are abominations.”
“How do you propose we stop them?” Ezra asked.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” Leif said sadly. “But I will help you anyway I can. Even if you just want me to bait them. If I can save you, I will do it.”
“Do you trust him?” Jack looked seriously at me.
“Yes,” I said, and Peter nodded in agreement.
“I think he’s okay,” Milo said.
“Hey, how did you find Jane?” I asked, looking down at Leif. It made sense to me that they’d be able to find me since they had met me before, but I didn’t understand how they’d even know she was associated with us.
“She was wearing your clothes walking around downtown,” Leif said, sounding ashamed. “I smelled you on her. We tracked you down to Minneapolis by asking around. Gunnar knew people that knew Ezra.” His face flushed guiltily. “I never should’ve come with, but if I hadn’t they would’ve killed me, and they still would’ve killed you. When we got on the boat, though, I knew I had to find a way to help you. That was a complete massacre.”
“Oh my gosh.” My jaw dropped as it hit me. “That was you? On the tanker that crashed into Newfoundland?”
“I’m not proud of what they did, and I will pay for my sins,” Leif raised his chin when he looked at me. “I assure you that I will make amends.”
The cathedral echoed with the sound of broken glass, but Leif stood his ground. The stained glass windows shattered, sending bits of broken glass raining down all around him, as the lycan crashed in through them. The lycan walked slowly in the pews towards him with Gunnar leading the way.
- 35 -
“Bear told me you were Judas,” Gunnar said to Leif. “I thought he might be right, but I knew that you would still lead us right to them. You failed at killing them and at saving them. You’re absolutely useless, aren’t you?”
“Dying now would be far better than serving you,” Leif growled at him.
“Stop!” I shouted, hanging over the balcony. The lycan already knew we were there, so it wasn’t like I was giving away our position, but Jack glared at me anyway. “He’s not the one you want!”
“You have no idea what I want,” Gunnar looked up at me. His face was that of pure evil, and a shiver ran down me.
He walked to the center aisle, and the other three lycan moved in closer to Leif, but he didn’t run. They were going to slaughter him, but he just stood his ground and held his head high.
“They’re going to kill him,” I said, looking at Ezra. “We’ve got to do something!”
He looked at me helplessly. We hadn’t yet figured out how we were going to save ourselves. Jack was looking down at Leif, and I could almost see his mind racing. He wanted to think of something, but he was taking too long.
I launched myself over the balcony and heard Jack calling my name. When I hit the ground, I expected my legs to snap, but they barely even hurt. I even landed on my feet, and if the situation weren’t so incredibly terrifying, I would’ve felt pretty damn cool for making a landing like that.
None of the lycan looked back at me, but then again, I wasn’t much of a threat. I stood up and I heard the sound of Olivia’s crossbow click back as she loaded an arrow, but I wasn’t the only one.
Dodge and Stellan cocked their heads at the balcony, but Bear kept his attention fixed on Leif. Dodge moved first, but he wasn’t as fast as Stellan, so the arrow sliced straight through his heart. He collapsed to the ground, and I thought he might burst into flames like in the movies, but he just laid there.
Stellan was standing in front of me, smiling, and in a blur, he was gone. Olivia fired an arrow at him, but it flew through the air behind him and landed in a pew. Using his speed as momentum, Stellan leapt from off the back of a pew up into the balcony. No other vampire moved as fast as he could, not even Ezra, and even with the five of them up there, they could barely hold their own against him.
In the moment of distraction, Leif took his chance to counterattack Bear, sending him crashing into the pews. Wood splintered everywhere, and I realized too late that Leif had the situation under control.
I looked back up at the balcony, feeling helpless as they struggled to keep Stellan at bay. Ezra was trying to defend Olivia so she could load her crossbow, but even when she did manage to get a shot off, Stellan was impossible to hit.
“Hello, Alice,” Gunnar whispered, and his voice was right in my ear.