Welsh Road (The Depravity Chronicles) (26 page)

BOOK: Welsh Road (The Depravity Chronicles)
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Matthew reached
into his bag and pulled out an impressive machete.

“Jesus,” Jena
said. “That looks like something you would use to hack vines in the jungle.”

“Been to the
jungles have you?” Simon grinned.

“Of course not,”
Jena said. “But I’ve seen Lost. You know, like, when they had to travel across
the island and whatnot.”

Matthew said. “Cover me,” he said to the others. Anish nocked another arrow,
while Anna and Sam each pointed their Berettas at the vampires.

“We’ve got you,
brother…or, uh, Father,” Sam said with a laugh.

“Off with their
heads!” Jena cried triumphantly.

Matthew walked
up to the first female vamp, whose arrow and bullet wounds were still slightly
steaming. She continued to vomit Jena’s blood, heaving and crying all the
while. Jena actually heard the
of the machete as it separated the
vampire’s head from her body. She quickly burst into flame, both pieces of her.
The flame quickly died, leaving two heaps of black ash in its wake.

The second
female vampire, whose scorched skin and eyes were still bubbling from the holy
water attack, began cursing at them. She knew her death was imminent, and she
was not going to go quietly. Jena gestured to Matthew for him to hand her the
machete. At first he seemed reluctant to let her commit this violent act, but
he recognized that Jena needed to do something proactive. She had narrowly
escaped death after being in their clutches, having been held captive by one of
them even if only for a few moments. So Matthew handed Jena the colossal,
curved blade.

“This is for
Nicholas,” Jena said. The machete was heavier than she expected, but as she
swung it and decapitated the vampire, Jena marveled at how easily it cut
through flesh and bone. It was as if the blade met no resistance. As if she was
just swinging it through empty air. In short order, two more piles of ash
joined the others.

“Well, that
was…fun,” Trevor said. But he spoke too soon. There was sudden movement in the
branches above them, but it was difficult to see now that the sun had all but
set. The branches were thick, providing excellent cover.


Anna fired a
flare into the trees, making Jena jump.




Sam, Anish, and
Trevor followed Anna’s lead. For thirty seconds, the small area around them was
bright as day. Sure enough, lurking above them and no longer covered in
darkness were three Mantis Demons.

“Jesus! Do these
stop?” Jena complained, stomping her foot again. Without
another word, Jena threw the machete into the air toward one of the demons.
Simon could tell that she was focusing intensely on the trajectory of the
blade, using her telekinetic power to guide it. Almost like a boomerang, the
machete cut a demon in half before returning to Jena’s hand. She nearly dropped
it, forgetting its bulk and weight.

“I think I’ll be
taking that back now,” Matthew said.

“Yeah, sounds
good,” Jena agreed.

“I must say,
Jena,” Matthew began, taking a deep breath. “Most impressive. Well done.”
Matthew smiled approvingly, as did the rest of the group. Jena curtsied, and
then rolled her eyes at the absolutely ridiculous WTF moment she was having. A
part of her remained convinced that this was some sort of vivid nightmare
caused by the car accident. Every now and then she pinched herself, hoping to
wake up in the hospital bed. Then she found herself wondering if pinching
yourself actually made any difference. It had always seemed like a profoundly
stupid thing to do, like so many other old wives’ tales.

Just then, a few
additional Mantis Demons joined the others in the branches above them. Everyone
in the group pulled out Berettas and Winchesters, while Sam whipped out an AK47
from his duffel bag.

“Holy crap!”
Simon said, gawking at the artillery. “I must have missed that one on Anish’s

“Let’s do this,”
Sam said. Jena thought he looked like Rambo.

Anna took the
lead. “Ready. Aim. Fire!”

And boy did they








One by one, the
Mantis Demons fell dead from the trees. The group’s assault was tremendously
fast, and wonderfully successful.

“We are totally
unstoppable!” Jena shouted at the woods. She was absolutely beaming, basking in
their impressive victories over four vampires and more than half a dozen
demons. Jena’s confidence was rapidly increasing; she found herself having
complete faith that they would soon be defeating Nina and bringing Nicholas
home, safe and sound. The fact that she was a witch had been shoved to the back
burner. It was one thing to be telekinetic, but a witch? Wasn’t that
hereditary? Wouldn’t that mean that
in her family would have

Don’t think
about it now
Jena told herself.
Unstoppable. That’s what we are.

“Everyone and
everything can be stopped at one point or another,” Anish said cautiously.
“Remember that.”

It wasn’t long
before Jena would be offered a painful reminder of just how true Anish’s words
could be.


* * * * * *


Nina had known
quite a few vampires in her life. Too many. Though there was a wide range of
unique vampire archetypes, in her experience the entire vampire species seemed
to have one thing in common: they grossly overestimated their invincibility.
There was no such thing as infallible immortality. This point was driven home
hard as she and Keenan stood over five large piles of undead ash.

“Son of a
bitch,” Keenan growled.

“I warned you to
keep your subordinates away from my guests,” Nina reminded her brother.

“Yes, but I
assumed that was because you wanted to protect your precious humans. I never
entertained the notion that it was because you were protecting my sires. Next
time I will heed your warning.”

“Master, I am
confused,” Drew, the lead vampire from the woods, said. “While you did tell us
not to harm the humans, you also said…”

“Enough,” Keenan
said. “You have failed.”

“But Master,
there was nothing I could do to stop our brethren. You know how they get when
they feel disrespected or when their honor is called into question.”

“You exceed
their age by two centuries. You could have prevented this.”

“But, Master…”

Without warning,
Nina plunged her hand into the vampire’s chest. When her hand reemerged, dripping
with thick black blood, she was clutching his heart. It continued to thump for
a few beats as its former owner could only stare in shock and horror. Nina
clenched her hand into a fist, the vampire’s heart ballooning and then bursting
in his face. He erupted into flames, becoming another pile of black ash.

Nina could feel
Keenan’s anger, and she sensed that he was considering an outright attack
against her. Even on his best day, and Nina’s worst, Keenan stood no chance.
None. So rather than embark on a suicide mission, Keenan bowed his head.

“It was necessary,”
Nina explained, attempting to add a touch of remorse to her voice. It had been
so long since she had actually experienced anything resembling guilt, or a
conscience, Nina hoped she would sound convincing. His next words proved that
she could still fake it with the best of them.

“I understand,
my sister,” he said, falling in line. “As I said before, next time I will heed
your warning.”

Nina choked back
a laugh. Keenan could be immensely clueless at times. “Even when we were small
children, you
listened to me. Why on earth would you suddenly
start now? Besides, where’s the fun in that? Life is so much more interesting
when you defy me.”

Keenan chortled.
“And deadly. I recall the last time I defied you. Well, it is the punishment I
remember more so than the circumstances surrounding it.”

“Did you notice
the remains of some of my Mantis Demons on our way to mourn your children?”
Nina asked, deliberately changing the topic.

“Yes, I did. My condolences.”

“Please,” Nina
snickered. “They are expendable and I don’t require your sympathy. That wasn’t
my point.”

“Well, then,
your point?”

“Listen to your
surroundings, Keenan. Tell me what you hear.”

Nina waited as
her brother tuned in to their environment. She found Keenan to be an interesting
creature, occasionally even warranting her admiration. This, however, was not
one of those times.

“I’m not sure,”
he said. “Am I supposed to be noticing something in particular?”

“It is more the
absence than the presence of something,” Nina hinted.

Keenan shrugged.

“There are seven
humans coming to my soiree,” she said. “The same who killed your children. Do
you see or hear them?”

expression betrayed his feeble attempts to act confident. He was downright
worried…even afraid. He wasn’t about to admit that to his sister. Though
somehow he figured she already knew that. “How is this possible? How can we not
detect their presence?”

“Because they
have been cloaked,” Nina mused.  “It was not until just a few minutes ago that
I myself realized this. And, along with it, uncovering a most unfortunate

“What reality is
that?” Keenan asked.

“Jena’s mother,”
Nina hissed, her lips pursed and brows drawn together in a malignant scowl.

“What about

“She is a
witch,” she spat.

“Ha!” Keenan laughed.
“You, Nina, afraid of a little witch? Say it ain’t so.”

Nina joined her
brother’s laughter, but followed it up with another warning. “This is no
ordinary witch. Do not make the mistake of underestimating the threat posed by
a supernatural witch. Oh, my brother, how naïve you can be. Mark my words. A
well-equipped witch can be much more fatal than the bite of a werewolf.”

Keenan snorted.

“This family can
trace its lineage back to the roots of the Druid faith itself.”

nonsense.” Keenan seemed unimpressed and not even remotely concerned by what
Nina believed was a credible, formidable threat.

“It’s your
funeral,” Nina retorted. “I’d hate to see additional piles of ash.”

By this point
they were nearing the farmhouse. Both of them noticed the commotion on the

Keenan asked.

“A pain in my
ass,” Nina mumbled. She silently scolded herself for having miscalculated the
threats posed by Jena’s friends and family. This victory, though certain, was
not going to be without significant sacrifices, along with personal distress.

Standing in a
circle on the porch of the farmhouse were Nina’s party guests. A strange white
glow emanated from them, as if they were an organic lantern illuminating the
immediate vicinity.

“What are they
doing?” Keenan asked.

“Well they’re
probably not singing Kumbaya, are they? If I had to venture a guess, I would
say they are breaking through the magical barriers I erected.”


“Yes, Keenan.
Barriers. Think of it as a magical alarm system. The further I travel from the
property, the more extensive the variables that trigger the alarm. Given the
fact that we have not ventured far, it would be relatively easy for certain
humans or magical creatures to breach the hull.” 

“Then we need to
stop them,” Keenan cried as he began to sprint toward the house.

But Nina grabbed
him by his bicep, painfully forcing him to stop. “Calm yourself, brother.”

“You’re just
going to let them in? They will kill my children, not to mention rescue your
precious Boy Wonder.”

“I will ignore
your attitude,” Nina said softly as she dug her nails into his skin.

“It doesn’t feel
like you’re ignoring it,” Keenan said as he winced from the sting.

Nina loosened
her death grip. “My home is a house of horrors. Although their arrival is not
quite the same as I envisioned it, things will once again be in our favor as
they cross the threshold.” Nina explained. She paused for a moment before she
began belly laughing.

“What happens
then?” Keenan asked. “And why is it so amusing?”

“Once they enter
the house, well, that’s when the real fun begins.”

“I think I like
the sound of that,” Keenan said as he watched the deep puncture wounds on his
arm begin to fade.

“You will enjoy
the sound much, much more once the screaming begins.”

BOOK: Welsh Road (The Depravity Chronicles)
2.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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