The shopkeeper cowered as Stacy Quinn aimed the shotgun at him. An excited smile appeared on her face when he began pleading not to be hurt.
She teased him by beginning to lower the shotgun, before firing it at him point black. The back of his head exploded, showering the wall with blood.
Grabbing the rest of the cash from the register, she strolled outside and jumped into the back of a yellow van. There was no remorse in her voice when she tapped the driver's shoulder, "Go."
The approaching police sirens made her glance out through the window. She hoped it wouldn't be too long before she got to have some more fun.
Kicking the small piles of garbage on the walkway outside the row of apartments, Jennifer Costas twisted the key in the lock and opened the door. Clasping her hands over her spiked black hair, she kicked the door shut with her boot.
Her mother was standing patiently by the kitchen table when she entered. Her arms folded, she watched her daughter pull open the fridge. "The school phoned me at work, again. You've not been there nearly all week. I want to know where the hell you've been and I want to know right now, young lady."
Jennifer ignored her and took a deep gulp from an open milk bottle.
Maria Costas grabbed her daughter's arm, "Don't you turn away from me."
Pulling herself free, she appeared ready to strike her mother. "Cool out, Mum. I was hanging with Angel and the others."
She was sick to death of hearing that girl's name, "I don't like you spending time with her. She's nothing but trouble. If I find out you've been meeting with her again, you'll only be leaving this house to go to school, is that clear?"
"Whatever." Jennifer shrugged her shoulders and began to walk back toward the front door, when her mother caught up to her in the hall.
As she caught hold of her daughter's jacket, she felt something in the pocket. She couldn't believe it when she removed the small blade. "What the hell is this?"
Jennifer snatched it back, "It's mine."
For an instant, the blade remained pointed toward her mother. Then she replaced it in her pocket and walked out, slamming the door shut behind her.
Maria stood there, having to wonder whether her daughter would actually have used the blade.
The sun was set by the time Jennifer entered the loading yard behind the old warehouse. She slapped her hands against the palms of some of the other girls leaning against the van used in the earlier hold-up.
Angel was just beyond the large doors, Stacy at her side as they went through a mass of jewellery.
Joining them, Jennifer began shifting through the loot. "Awesome."
Stacy repeated the gesture of killing the shopkeeper, the thrill of it still evident on her beaming face. "It was great. I love it where they're scared."
Revealing a butterfly tattoo on her left shoulder as she turned, Angel finished counting the money. "A couple of thousand pounds, give or take a few hundred. Good job, Stacy."
Jennifer glanced at both Angel and Stacy ecstatically, "That's our best score yet."
The scraping of the wooden gate against the concrete yard made her look back out. She watched a car pulling inside and Angel leap to greet Adrian. He looked so hot, with his goatee and everything.
Adrian glanced at Angel as he walked past her, "I heard about your little escapade earlier today. Was it necessary to kill that man?"
Stacy was ecstatic about the slaughter, "It turned me on, Adrian."
He reached the table and gave the jewellery a quick once over, "Is it all here?"
Jennifer noticed how much Angel appeared hurt that Adrian didn't seem to trust her.
Removing a small case from the limousine, Adrian placed it on the table. "Four thousand should cover this little lot." About to leave, he stopped and looked back at Stacy. He decided that the way she liked killing had potential, "And another five hundred for this young lady's services."
A tremor of nervousness entered Stacy's voice. The other girls Adrian hired never came back. "I'm not sure about this."
Angel was at her side in an instant, "Unless you want to go back to your mother, you have to earn money for us and it's not like you're a virgin. This is five hundred pounds and half is yours. And you will possibly be given a position within Adrian's organisation."
As Stacy disappeared behind the dark glass of the limousine, Adrian lashed out and grabbed Angel's long brown hair. "I'll take good care of her."
Still in the background, Jennifer watched him release Angel and collect the jewellery. She caught a final glimpse of Stacy sat on the backseat of the limousine, before he climbed in and closed the door.
Turning away from the limousine pulling out of the yard, a smile appeared on Angel's face. "Party time."
The limousine disappeared into an underground car park near a small lighthouse. Adrian was the first to emerge, then Stacy.
She still felt uneasy about this. All her friends knew about her passion for screwing, but she had never done it for money before.
As if sensing how nervous she was feeling, Adrian took her arm and escorted her to a room which she figured must be underneath the lighthouse. It was quite bare apart from the roughly made bed tucked away in the corner.
Stacy thought the room looked too much like a prison cell she had seen watching 'The Bill.'
The door slammed shut behind her and she heard a massive bolt being shoved into place. She panicked, beginning to hammer relentlessly on the metal.
She was still feeling the effects from the booze when she reached the steps of the apartment block. Almost at the front door, she stopped as her mother opened it. The sight of her so pissed off actually made Jennifer smile.
Maria forced her inside and slammed the door shut, "It's nearly five in the morning. I've been worried sick."
She just shrugged, "So what?"
"So what? Is that all you've got to say?" Maria focused on her daughter's face, "You're only fifteen years old."
Jennifer's fingers encircled the blade in her pocket, "I'm not a little girl." Then she stormed into her bedroom, slamming the door as hard as she could.
Her hand hovered over the door handle. Maria thought about going inside to continue the conversation and stopped. She decided it'll best to let her daughter sleep it all off and continue the talk first thing in the morning.
Detective Inspector Philip Reese emerged from his black land rover. He was dressed like all the other detectives on site in a plain grey suit. Passing two officers stood at the gate of a construction site, he walked casually to the officers stood by a large sheet covering part of the ground.
He promptly knelt down and lifted the sheet.
The girl's body had been stripped naked and dumped. What was left her looked like it had been ripped apart by some kind of wild animal, right here in the middle of Manchester.
"Has she been identified yet?"
Detective Sergeant Sharon Granger shook her head. "There's an indication that she's a suspect in the robbery of that jewellery store yesterday. Looks she and her friends might have had a falling out."
Reese remained silent. He knew full well that this wasn't do by people who could be described as remotely human, but the truth was something that had to remain hidden whenever possible. "Make sure Doctor Thorne performs the autopsy as soon as possible."
As he replaced the sheet over Stacy's mutilated features, Reese glanced at Sharon. He was satisfied that she didn't suspect a thing.
The woman was almost invisible, her dark skin making her blend in with the shadows of the closed down amusement park.
Reese closed the door of his car and approached her. Glancing back to make sure no one was watching, he looked back at her and noticed the bulge of a handgun under her jacket. "There's only been one victim, so far."
Linda Stanton nodded, "There will be others. The police report indicates that the victim was part of a local street gang, it'll be a suitable cover for the moment."
The memory of seeing the eaten flesh made him shudder, "I know I'm only supposed to be an observer and report any suspicious events, but I want to look into this personally. This street gang is suspected of committing a dozen robberies during the last month and two killings."
Clearly expecting the request, she nodded quickly. "I'll leave you to it then. I'll report back to Alex and inform him that the investigation is underway."
He turned away, letting her walk into the darkness without another word. Then he wondered where he was going to begin.
Maria dressed quickly for work, made her bed and then turned her attention to getting her daughter up for school. She didn't waste time knocking on the door.
She stood there, glaring from the open doorway.
The bed was empty, the covers still arranged neatly to suggest that Jennifer hadn't even used it. Then she saw the open window.
Reese noticed the concern on Sharon's face as she entered the office.
She gave him the bad news, "I've heard from Doctor Thorne. The girl's body never got to him. We're still looking for the people who were transporting her. But on the plus side, we have made a positive i.d. Her name is Stacy Quinn, she's a runaway. Her family have been looking for her for a couple of years now."
Knowing that her family had been searching for her for so long didn't make the truth any easier to take. He began going over everything Sharon had dug up about the girl, trying to come up with a way to advance the investigation. "I want a full list of everyone in this gang that we know about. One of them might help us catch this monster."
The last word puzzled her, "Monster?"
He realised he had said too much and tried covering himself as best he could, "What else would you call him."
Jennifer rose from the small bed that Angel was allowing her to use. She saw Adrian's limousine when she reached the window overlooking the yard. Adrian himself was standing by the gate, talking with Angel and Lisa, a girl who had just joined the gang after getting kicked out of school for trying to sell drugs.
She hurried out, ready to ask about Stacy.
The limousine was leaving when she emerged from the warehouse and there was just Angel standing by the gate, ready to close it.
Jennifer looked around the empty yard, "Where's Lisa?"
Shoving a couple of hundred pounds into her jacket pocket, Angel smiled. "She's working for Adrian now. Don't worry, honey. Your turn will come."
She was still worried, "What about Stacy? She's not been back yet."
"There is no need to concern yourself about Stacy. Adrian will take good care of her. He'll take care of all of us sooner or later." Angel decided it was time to step up Jennifer's involvement in the gang, "I've got a small job for you, Jen. There's this old man who refuses to pay us for protection. Make an example of him." She removed an Uzi from a case on the table and handed it to Jennifer.
The Uzi was pressing into her ribs as she entered the restaurant. She glanced quickly at the man standing behind the counter and passed him, continuing to the toilets.
With deliberate slowness, she took out the weapon and looked at it. Then she vomited. It took her a few minutes to get enough nerve to do what she had been told. Grabbing the Uzi, she emerged from the bathroom and scanned the restaurant. There was only one couple at any of the tables. Her gaze returned to the man behind the counter and she rushed forward, not giving herself time to think.
The man remained motionless as she thrust the Uzi into his face, "I don't believe you really want to do this."
She fired and she watched him fall.
Afraid that she may have killed him, she advanced to the counter. She was grabbed from behind by the couple as the man stood up and disarmed her.
He instructed the couple to release her. Once she was free, he offered her the chance to take back the Uzi. "I'm Philip Reese. I won't try to stop you leaving, but I would hate to see you end up like Stacy Quinn."
It took her a minute to take in what he had said. Then she turned away, hiding her face as she began crying.
Motioning the couple to leave, Reese walked round to face her. There had to something she knew that would help find this monster. "Her body was found early this morning. We have reason to suspect that she was murdered."
She thought about revenge. The first thing she learnt that she joined Angel's gang was that they looked after each other. "Who did it?"
"We don't have any suspects yet." Reese had been hoping for a lot more, "Is there anything you know that might help catch this maniac?"
"Angel gave Stacy to her..." Jennifer stopped abruptly, afraid to implicate her friends.
He sat at one of the tables, "Listen, I don't want to sound like I'm ganging up on you, but if this guy is what I think he is. Then by keeping silent, you could be causing the deaths of your friends."
Jennifer broke down, more tears soaking her face as she nodded. "Adrian. He's Angel's fence. Everything we get, she sells to him."
There was just one last piece of information he needed, "And his last name?"
She shook her head, "I don't know. Angel never told any of us."
Reese smiled, "Okay. You can go."
It surprised her that he was letting her go, she had been sure he was a cop. "You're not going to arrest me?"
"No. If you need to talk to someone you can trust, call me." Reese scribbled his telephone number on a slip of paper, "That's my private number." He once more offered her the Uzi, "Tell your friends that you killed Mr Thomas, I'll arrange for it to appear like you're telling the truth."
After she had gone, Reese headed into the back room and up the stairs. Stopping by a sealed metal door, he typed in a long code on a small panel. He was inside as soon as the door opened.
Ignoring the mass of weapons all around him, he watched Linda emerging from the small office. "I suppose you heard all that?"
She nodded, "What's your next step?"
Reese thought about it for a minute, knowing that he also had to keep the rest of the police from getting too close to the truth. "I was hoping the girl will help us." He smiled, thinking about the irony of how easy this had been. It had been a lucky break that the gang had been extorting money from one of the Trust safe houses for the last few months.
Her fingers trembled as she still held the Uzi, Jennifer entered the warehouse. She carefully placed the weapon on a table, ignoring Angel and several girls partying on the other side of the room.
Angel approached her the instant she saw that she was back, "Is it done? Is that bastard dead?"
Jennifer nodded without saying a word. The next thing Angel said made her feel scared.
"You may be ready sooner than I thought."
Reese descended into the bowels of the police station. Entering a small room full of computers, he approached a dark haired woman sat at a desk.
He smiled, "Mel, I need a list of every fence with the first or last name of Adrian."
Melissa Pike nodded, "I'll get on with it as soon as I can." As soon as he was out the door, her skin began to blister.
He turned from the view of Liverpool and leaned against the railing of his balcony as he heard the front door opening.
Melissa closed the door behind her, "We may have a problem."
Returning inside, Adrian gave her a long drawn out kiss, his hands sliding over her body. "What could possibly be wrong? We have a steady supply of victims coming from the various gangs around this wonderful country. That is more than adequate to fulfil our hunger and to increase our numbers."
She shook her head, "One of the detectives at the station has requested details on your background. I won't be able to delay him for long."
Adrian didn't consider a routine police officer to be much of a threat, "So we kill him."
Jennifer jumped down from the back of the van, another girl at her side. As a couple of the other girls closed the gate, she saw Angel emerge from the warehouse and begin heading toward her.
She produced a Colt 45 and handed it to Jennifer, "I've got another job for you. Amy here will help you. I have received information that a police officer is getting close to us. His name is Reese. Kill him for me."
The smile she saw on Amy's face scared her, "I can do it alone."
Angel smiled, "It's not fair letting you have all the fun."
Reese approached his small house. Reaching the front door, he slipped a key from his jacket pocket, as Jennifer emerged from behind some bushes before him.
She aimed the gun and fired.
An abrupt scream made him turn rapidly. Amy lay on his lawn, her knee shattered and covered in blood. Jennifer kept the weapon trained on her carefully, "Angel wants you dead."
He glanced at Jennifer, thinking rapidly. "That's for the warning. But you better get back." He pointed at Amy, "You better tell them your friend here has been arrested."
Everyone in the gang was there at the warehouse when Jennifer returned. She felt like a wounded bird trapped by a circle of very hungry cats.
The other girls departed when Angel emerged from the warehouse, Stacy and Lisa at her side.
Jennifer stared at them, angry that Reese had lied to her all along. "Stacy?"
Angel waited until Stacy and Lisa had blocked the gate, "There's one last test you must undertake." She removed a large machete from behind her back, "Bring me your mother's head."
She took it and looked at it for a moment. Then she decided on what to do and thrust it into Angel's chest. Blood spilling over her hands, she stared as Angel remained standing.
Angel grabbed the sharp blade and slid it from her flesh, "We're not killed that easily."
Jennifer made a desperate dash for the gate, but Stacy moved faster. As she felt the cold fingers begin to choke her throat, she swung the machete. The blade sliced Stacy's head from her shoulders.
She reached the gate and managed to dart outside.
Angel held Lisa from going after her, "She'll go to the one place she'll feel safe, home."
The banging on his front door woke him. Stumbling down the stairs, he opened it. Jennifer stumbled inside, the machete still held by her trembling fingers.
Her eyes revealed the horror of what had happened in the yard of the warehouse. "They're not normal."
Reese took the machete, "I know what they are. But I promise they won't kill us, I won't let them." He smiled gently, "But I do need your help to destroy them, you know where they're holed up."
She wanted to feel safe, "I just want to go home."
He realised that she was right. There was no reason to place her in further danger. "I'll give you a lift if you want."
Reese parked the land rover at the block of flats. He accompanied Jennifer up to the door of the flat. Outside, he nodded.
"I'll wait out here."
She figured it had been a couple of days since she sneaked out of her bedroom, she felt scared about what her mother was going to say. She removed the key from her pocket and unlocked the door.
Passing through the hallway, she felt nervous when she saw her mother standing by the lounge window. "I'm home."
Her mother turned and smiled, "Hi, honey."
She had been expecting to get yelled at. Then she noticed the blood soaking her mother's blouse.
Maria sensed her daughter's sudden fear and knew that Jennifer knew what she had become. Her skin across her face began to blister, continuing until the flesh began to rot.
As her mother began to resemble a grossly rotting corpse, Jennifer saw the row of sharp teeth forming between the decaying lips.
A grotesque formed across the putrefied face, "Angel is worried about you, honey."
The scream erupting from inside the flat, Reese kicked open the door without thinking and raced inside.
He ran head along into Maria. Her arm smashing into him, he was catapulted against the wall and slumped to the carpet. She was standing over him in an instant, the large teeth ready to tear at his flesh.
Maria grabbed him by the throat.
A piece of the frame from the front door burst out through her chest, spraying Reese with her blood.
She turned and lashed out, smashing her daughter into the wall.
Jennifer screamed as her mother gripped her throat with one hand, lifting her off her feet.
The machete ploughed into the side of Maria's rotting neck.
Reese watched the severed head roll from the shoulders, the rotting corpse crumpling to the carpet. He slithered out of his coat and used it to cover the body. He glanced at Jennifer, "I'm sorry, but it was necessary. That wasn't your mother, it was Angel and the others who killed her by making her into something like that."
Jennifer stared at the shape under the coat, "I wanted to tell her I was sorry."
He tried to comfort her, "There was nothing you could have done. Angel expected you to come back here. She was left here to make you one of them."
His words convinced her that it was her fault, "All this is because of me."
Reese made her sit on the couch, "It doesn't do your mother any good to think that way. These monsters are everywhere. Give her death meaning. Help me destroy those things that turned her into this."
Standing outside the gates of the warehouse, Reese handed Jennifer a second axe and entered the yard.
Venturing inside, Jennifer pointed to a flight of wooden steps. "We all used to hang out up there."
Reese stopped her from going first, "Just stay behind me."
The thought of what they did to her mother gave her the courage to head past him, "I want this over with."
His eyes searched every inch as they entered an empty room filled with beds, "All these are empty, where are they all?"
She realised for the first time how little she had actually been told about Angel's criminal contacts, "I don't know."
"They chose to join us." Angel stepped out of the shadows, her face a mass of rotting flesh. "I must complement your taste in men, Jen. Once you joined us, I guarantee you'll enjoy them a whole lot more."
Reese gazed toward Angel, concerned about Jennifer's safety. "Jennifer, get out of here."
The fear she saw in the girl's eyes was good. It made the anticipation of tasting her flesh all that more enjoyable. "Yes, Jen. Run along back to Mummy, like a good little girl."
Jennifer exploded with rage.
Angel caught her without effort and ripped the axe from her fingers. She pulled the girl's head back sharply, the threat of snapping the neck keeping Reese at bay. "One more step?"
He raised the axe, "Let her go or I'll rip out your heart myself."
His threat was amusing. Angel pushed Jennifer aside and studied her opponent, "What are you? Thirty, thirty-five. You think that insignificant amount of time makes you capable of killing me. I have seen civilisations destroyed. I have killed people like you by the thousands."
Reese stared at Angel with determination, "It ends here."
A smile appeared on Angel's rotting features. Her decomposing tongue licked her lips, "At least we agree on something."
She grabbed him with one hand when he attacked. Her fingers tightened on his throat.
Jennifer watched him smash into the far wall. She rushed forward and snatched up one of the axes.
Sensing the girl approaching, Angel turned.
Closing her eyes, Jennifer swung the axe.
He watched her standing over the rotting corpse lying at her feet, approaching her as she threw up. Waiting until she had finished, he gave her a tissue to wipe her mouth. "You did what had to be done, there was no other way. She would have killed me and turned you into a monster."
She looked around the empty room, "They're all gone."
Reese placed his hand on her shoulder, trying to reassure her. "We will find them. Creatures like these don't stay hidden for long."
Reese checked that Jennifer was sleeping peacefully in the spare room, before walking onto his lawn. Linda was waiting, sitting against the wall surrounding his front garden.
"What have we got on this Adrian?"
Linda tapped a finger against the folder in her hand, "I've got it narrowed down to these possibilities. We'll need the girl to identify the precise target."
He glanced at the window of the spare room. He didn't really want to involve her any further with this horror, "I don't want to disturb her, not after everything that's happened to her. But I would prefer it if a sweeper team was put on standby."
Linda managed a faint smile. "I'll take care of it."
Jennifer emerged from the bedroom, dressed in an oversized pink robe she had found hidden at the back of one of his closets.
Reese looked at her, smiling gently. "Morning."
She indicated the robe innocently, "I hope you don't mind."
It brought back a host of long forgotten memories, "It's used to belong to my wife."
Feeling guilty, Jennifer realised how awkward she was making him. "I'll find something else."
He stopped her and shook his head, "It's been nearly four years since Micki died, she died fighting for what she believed in."
Her curiosity got the better of her, "What happened to her?"
Walking to the window, Reese gazed out at his rear garden. "She was killed by a follower of a demon called a Langsuir up in Mexico. When I began digging into it, I was recruited by the Trust to continue her work."
Nothing he had said meant anything to her, "The Trust?"
Taking her into a small study, he gave her a small journal. "It's a group, a very large group of people who have sworn theirs lives to fighting things like what killed your mother. That's a record of my activities while working for the Trust." He headed to his desk and took the folder left by Linda. Returning, he laid it on the table before her and opened it. "Do you recognise any of these people?"
Beginning to leaf through the pages in the folder, she noticed that the photographs were actually of old looking paintings. She stopped on the last painting, the image of the French Aristocrat fixed in her mind. "That's Adrian."
As he saw the attached file to the painting, Reese realised how dangerous their enemy really was. "He's been around for nearly two thousand years, using one name or another." He leaned back, trying not to show how scared he felt at going up against someone so powerful. "So that's what we're up against." He glanced at Jennifer's puzzled face and decided to explain, "The Pisachas disciples are flesh-eating demons."
Jennifer skimmed over the file, her eyes widening as she saw Adrian's suspected age. "If he is that old, then how can we possibly stop him?"
Reese opened a cupboard near his desk. It was full of weapons from wooden stakes to crossbows and sharpened axes. "There are ways."
She glanced back to the portrait, needing more convincing. "We don't even know where he is?"
Grabbing a stake from the cupboard, Reese used the sharp point to highlight a section of the file. "Several of his disciples have linked to a nightclub on Garrison Lane. He might not use it himself, but if any of your friends turn up. Well, we'll be able to follow them."
It took a few moments for her to put everything together, "You need me to identify them, don't you?"
He wished she had been wrong about that, “If there was another way I would take it, there isn't."
Jennifer walked into a noise filled and glittering chamber, full of people either dancing wildly or sat at tables, chatting quietly to each other. Climbing the metal steps onto a balcony overlooking the dance floor, she searched the crowd for anyone that she thought she knew.
It was two hours before she saw a familiar face below. She followed Amy's progress as she led her dancing partner through the main door. Rushing down the steps, Jennifer ran into the empty street.
Hearing someone knocking over a metal garbage bin, Jennifer turned her attention to a dimly lit alleyway. Peering into the gloom, she saw Amy pinning the man against the wall. The sight of her friend tearing chunks of flesh from the man's flesh almost made her scream.
Only the thought of her mother making her remember the importance of her task, she dashed back to the Land rover.
It was empty. As she approached the window, she braced herself to find his body.
A hand grabbed her shoulder and spun her round.
Reese's voice relaxed her, "I'm didn't mean to frighten you, I just wanted to take a scout around."
Jennifer told him about everything she had seen in the alley.
"Get in. Pretend you're trying to start the engine." He rushed to the front of the Land rover and opened the hood, making it appear that they had broken down. "Where is she?"
She pointed to the alley, "In there. She was feeding on someone."
He kept his eyes on the narrow opening between the buildings for a few minutes until Amy emerged into the glare from the streetlights. He saw her wipe the last trace of blood from her lips as a black Rolls Royce pulled into the car park and halt in front of her. After she had climbed inside, the Rolls Royce did a complete U-turn and exited the car park.
Reese dropped the hood and raced back behind the wheel. His attention firmly focused on the Rolls Royce, he began following it.
It looked like it was nearly dawn when Jennifer saw the Rolls Royce enter the grounds of the lighthouse and stop.
As Reese continued past, she glimpsed Amy climbing out and entering the building.
Parking the Land rover several yards beyond the gate, Reese got out and crouched down at the fence surrounding the lighthouse. The door slamming shut made him look toward Jennifer crouching next to him, "Are you sure you want to come?"
She had reverted to the tough little girl he had first met in the restaurant, "That thing wanted to give him my mother's head as a test of loyalty. I want his."
Reese crossed the fence and helped Jennifer over, handing her a wooden stake. They reached the walls of the lighthouse and moved toward a side door. Approaching it, they entered a well furnished kitchen with an open door leading down into the cellar. Finding the light switch, Reese turned it on.
He wished he hadn't.
The bodies of the other girls in the gang were strewn over the concrete floor. Most of them looked like a pack of wild dogs had been eating their flesh for days.
The sight made Reese even want to throw up, but he had to go down there. ""We better take care of these first, I don't like the idea of them waking up hungry."
Adrian appeared at the far end of the cellar, watching them descend the concrete steps. He stepped over the mutilated bodies, "You will not be harming my daughters. As for little Jennifer, she will make an interesting replacement for Angel." He produced a small device from his pocket, "One last detail. The entire building above is filled with explosives. Once I press this, everything above us will be destroyed. We will be listed as dead and free to go where we please. As for you, Mr Reese. You will be the first thing my new daughters will eat. "
Shoving Jennifer back toward the stairs, Reese took the small stake from under his jacket and ran forward.
Jennifer screamed as Adrian twisted it from his fingers and thrust his hand through Reese's ribs.
Tearing out Reese's heart, Adrian let the body fall among the girls. The soft flesh in his hand making him hungry, he managed to maintain his human facade. "Give yourself to me, Jennifer, and you will have more power than you ever thought possible."
She ran up the steps, dashing into the kitchen. Reaching the door, she tried opening it, but it was locked. Not giving herself time to wonder who did it, she instinctively raced through another door and emerged into an elegant dining room. Glancing for an exit, Jennifer heard the door close behind her.
Lisa locked it. Her face began to decay rapidly, the jagged teeth becoming visible between the peeling lips. "Join us, Jen. We can be friends again."
As she advanced hungrily, Jennifer backed against a chair and smashed it over what was left of Lisa's face.
The chair broke into pieces as Lisa lashed out wildly, catapulting Jennifer to the other side of the table.
Jennifer saw that one of the chair legs had been broken into a sharp point. She dived for it.
Quickly rising to her feet, her fingers circled around the chair leg as Lisa lunged violently toward her. Instinctively thrusting the point forward, she felt the blood flow profusely over her hands.
Someone began banging on the door.
Rushing to the window, Jennifer tried opening it.
Hearing the hammering stop, she glanced at the door.
Smashing through it, Adrian entered and placed the trigger device on the table. "Congratulations. You passed your final test. You have killed and are ready to join us. Your flight is over, little girl."
The words enraged her, "I'm not a little girl."
Expecting her to attack, it startled him when she headed for the shattered door instead.
Almost reaching the shattered wood, she felt Adrian's fingers grab her wrist tightly.
Stretching for a piece of snapped wood, her fingers encircled it. She reacted automatically and he released her, falling across the table.
She approached the body, looking at the piece of wood implanted firmly in his chest. It dawned on her that she was the only one left to finish it. She returned to the kitchen and peered down into the cellar.
The other girls were standing, their skin rotting on the bone.
Jennifer remembered what Adrian had said about the explosives and slammed the door shut, hoping that the bolt would keep them down there long enough.
She ran back to Adrian's corpse and snatched up the trigger. Hearing the hammering on the cellar door begin in earnest, she ran from the lighthouse. Reaching what she thought might be a safe distance, she pressed the single switch.