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Hunters, Part 1

Six years earlier.

Sixteen year old Bella Salvatore had just got in from a friend’s house when she walked into her worst nightmare - a strange man in her living room.

“Mum, Dad, I’m home.” Bella called as she shut the front door behind her. She hung her bag on the coat rack and walked into the living room.

Her parents were sat on the only sofa in the living room holding hands and looking, anxious? There was another person in the room, a man. He was sat on one of the armchairs at the back of the wall the door was on. He was wearing a slick black suit without a tie or the top few buttons done up. He also had his black hair combed over, with that look like it hadn’t been washed for days - probably just gel though. He was in his mid-thirties and a man Bella had never seen before in her life.

“Oh, you’ve got company.” Said Bella. “It’s a bit late for company isn’t it?”

“Indeed it is late.” Said the mystery man with a smile. “Isn’t it past your bedtime?”

Bella sighed. “You’ve called the police again?” She asked her parents. “I told you I’d be home late, what’s your problem!?”

“I’m not with the police honey.” Laughed the man.

“Then who are you?”

The man shrugged. “Let’s say I’m here to tell you and your parents your future.”

“What? Are you serious?” Bella scrunched up her face. “Oh please, why didn’t you get rid of him at the door? Sorry to waste your time buddy but we don’t believe in the whole psychic crap.”

“I like her.” Smiled the man again to Bella’s parents. “She’s very straight forward. No messing about. Angelo will like that.”

“Angelo who?”

“Your new boss.”

Bella scowled at her parents. “You’ve got me a job already? Jesus I’m barely out of school give me a break.”

“Don’t you have respect for anyone?”

“Excuse me?”

“Do you always talk to your parents like this?”

“What business is that of yours?”

“Angelo doesn’t like back chatters. You’ll have to watch your mouth.”

“Dude, you can tell Angelo thanks but no. I don’t want a job right now.”

The man raised his eyebrows. “He definitely won’t like that.”

“Tell him where to shove it.” Bella shrugged.

The man suddenly rose from the chair and went nose to nose with Bella, who froze. “Watch your mouth!” He barked in her face. Bella’s mum, Eden, inched forward on the sofa and gripped her husband’s hands tightly. The man turned away from Bella and to her parents. “Something tells me with your daughter’s behaviour that she doesn’t know a thing about what’s going to happen tonight.”

Eden shook her head whilst her husband, Kain, spoke. “No. We didn’t tell her.”

The man turned his body to face the two. “What’s your excuse for that?”

Eden spoke this time. “She’s just a little girl. She’s only sixteen.”

“You didn’t want to tell her did you?” The man nodded. “Always making us look worse.” He turned to Bella. “For the record, you can go down cussing them, okay?”

“What the hell are you talking about?” The man grinned then all of a sudden his eyes turned pitch black. Bella stumbled back. “What in the hell-”

“What in the hell indeed.”

“What was that? What just happened with his eyes?” She asked her parents.

“It’s called magic honey.” The man replied before her parents could.

“Don’t be stupid there’s no such thing as magic.”

“Psychics, magic…is there anything you do believe in?”

“Um, Alice Cooper’s a big softy at heart.” She said sarcastically.

The man smiled and shook his head in astonishment. “Amazing. Utterly amazing. Here I am a big scary man with black eyes and you’re not scared one bit?”

“Is that the intention you had? Failed dramatically.”

The man looked at Kain and Eden. “She’s a remarkable young girl. Very witty….but also under with knowledge. I’m disappointed in you two and so will Angelo.”

“We thought it was best if she didn’t know.” Said Kain.

“Keep the demon a surprise until the last minute? We don’t want scared souls on our side we want prepared!”

“But she - she’s a smart girl she’ll pick everything up real quickly.” Kain said rushed.

“That has to be put to the test. Unfortunately for you if she doesn’t step up she’ll be killed. Permanently.” He said flatly. “We don’t want sloppy soldiers Kain you should have known that with all the research you’ve done.”

“I know, sir. Sorry.” Kain put his head down.

“Can we all just backtrack a minute. What’s this about demon and me being killed permanently?” Bella asked stepping more into the room looking at the man.

“Don’t ask me ask your parents. They were supposed to tell you this weeks ago…years in fact. Skip the sex talk let’s get straight down to what’s going to happen in sixteen years.”

Bella looked at her parents. “Mum? Dad?”

Kain sighed. “Everything’s true, Bella. The Devil, the demons, the dark side. Everything me and your mother have been studying is true.”

“No.” She shook her head.

“Before you were born your mother and I made a deal so that we would become one of them - a demon. But they wanted more than just the two of us, they wanted another body. Casey wasn’t an option because she was already here whereas you were on the way. They agreed to take you too and in sixteen years’ time they’d send someone to come for us.”

“Oh my god.” She whispered. “That’s why you didn’t want me to go out tonight?”

“He came on the dot. Twelve o’clock and you weren’t here.”

“I wasn’t going anywhere without three bodies.” Said the demon.

Bella shook her head. “You two make me sick. You have a family. Three wonderful children and you decided to throw it all away for some sick little fantasy!” She shouted. “Forget hell you should be carted off to a mental home.”

The demon looked at his watch and sighed. “We don’t have time for this. Throw your temper tantrum in hell sweetie.”

“Screw you arsehole.” Bella spat at the demon then ran out of the door. But the demon was too fast for her, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her back. Closing the door behind him with her screaming bloody murder.

Six years later.

Bella brushes through her thick locks of brown chocolate hair, preparing herself for what laid ahead. She curves the groove of her mascara stick through her long lashes and sprays her eyes in smoky black eye shadow. She pouts her full lips and applies her glossy lip-gloss. She tucks her tight black t-shirt into her jeans and zips up her knee length boots. She also shoves her Colt 1911 A1.45 calibre semi-automatic gold plated gun - which has her initials carved on the sides in silver - down the back of her jeans. To top everything off she slips on her favourite leather jacket. She then picks up her third most pride of joy; her silver knife. “Sorry baby but I won’t need you tonight.” She says to it than shoves it back in her suitcase. She zips that up and pushes it under the rented bed she was having to sleep on in a tacky motel. “Right, got everything?” She thinks for a second. “Yep.” She claps her hands together. “Right then, show time.” She smiles to herself.

She jumps into her first pride of her life; her black Jeep Cherokee. She’s had that car for six years, her Dad bought her it just before her sixteenth birthday and it’s still in tip top shape. She cares more about the car then herself.

She drives the fifty-six minute drive to the place she’s been spying on for most of the week. First she wanted to know all about the bloke and where he liked to go. He liked to go to crowded places which were a bit of a problem if Bella wanted to kill him. But tonight she knew he was home and alone. She gets out of her car and closes the door silently. She sneaks up to the old abandoned house and unlocks it with the pen knife she always carries and opens the door with a little creak. She ducks behind the first wall that cuts off the living room to the hallway. The house is in total darkness apart from the little glint of moon that creeps through the windows. Bella then hears a creak coming from upstairs and investigates it. She climbs the stairs and goes to the first room where the noise came from. She backs up against the wall and takes a deep breath then kicks the door down holding her gun at gun point.

“Shit!” Bella hears a male’s voice say. She sees the outline of a body that’s also holding a gun.

Bella switches on the light and is shocked by who she sees. “Alex.” She says, reflecting the shocked expression he held. “What the hell are you doing here?” She asks putting down her gun, he does the same.

“I could ask you the same thing.” He says, a little shaky in the voice.

“I’m doing a job.” She answers, still too stunned to take any of this in.

“Me too.” He nods.

“This - this is a whole lot of weird.”

Alex smiles and nods again. “You’re the last person I expected to see here.”

“It’s either a sick kind of joke on the vampire’s part or a rubbish coincidence.”

“Thanks.” He grunts.

They both stand awkwardly not knowing what to do or say next. A few intense seconds stroll on by before Alex breaks the silence. “You look good. The year has been good to you - you still look beautiful.” He says with a slight smile. Bella glares at him for a few seconds then darts out of the room. Alex stands in confusion before rushing after her. He stops her halfway down the stairs. “What - what happened? Did I say something?”

“You can’t say that to me Alex! Not now, not after we haven’t seen each other in so long.” She says.

“It was a compliment. I was just saying you look great.” Alex shrugs.

“You can’t say that to me no more.” She says shaking her head.

“Okay, I apologise. I won’t say it again.”

“I have to go.” She says then continues down the stairs.

“Wait, Bella wait.”

She turns to him as she reaches the front door. “What?”

“Do you wanna go for a drink or something?”

“No, no that’s not a good idea.” She says shaking her head again.

Alex gives a stiff nod then gives her a cheeky smile. “Can you at least give me a ride?”

“How did you get here?”

“I walked.”

“Alex-”

“I won’t try anything. I swear.” Bella contemplates with herself for a few moments before she nods. “Thanks.” He opens the door and lets Bella out first. “Besides, what’s a ride between two friends?”

“We’re not friends.” She says bluntly as she walks down the porch steps.

“What?” He asks as he shuts the door behind him.

“When I said I never wanted to see you Alex that cut any relationship we had.”

“Not even friends?” He frowns at the back of her head.

“I won’t let myself be attached to you again. I’m not that stupid anymore.”

“Wow you’re really laying into me aren’t you.” He says sarcastically.

“Can we not talk about this?” She asks as she opens up the driver’s door. “This is not how I pictured my night to end.”

“Picture it with a vampires head in your hands?”

“Something like that.”

“Well I think we got played don’t you?” Alex asks as he fastens his seatbelt after putting his gun in his jacket.

Bella puts her gun in the glove box before she answers. “They’re not idiots Alex. They’re one of the most intelligent creatures roaming this earth.” She says as she starts the engine.

“You’re doing this job alone?”

She nods. “I’m a lone wolf nowadays. Where is it you’re staying?”

“Singer motel. You know it?”

Bella starts the car. “Yeah, I stayed there once.”

“You had any partners?”

“What do you mean?” She asks narrowing her eyes at him.

“Hunting partners. Come on I’m not going to plunge straight into the sex talk am I?”

“You’re one of the most unpredictable people I know, I have no idea what goes on up there.”

“So, have you?”

“There was one.”

“Male?”

Bella rolls her eyes away from Alex. “Female. She was a friend of mine. We met through a mutual friend and got on so well we decided to stick together.”

“What happened?”

Bella hesitated as she pulls out of the street. “She died a few months ago.”

“Oh….sorry.”

She nods her head. “A wolf got her. She got bit whilst fighting it.”

“The bite killed her?”

Bella takes a moment before answering again. “No, I shot her.” She says. “I didn’t want to but she begged me. We both knew what was going to happen - she’d turn into a wolf and kill god knows how many people.” She gives Alex a sly look. “Nearly anyone would do the decent thing, even if they are their friends.”

“That’s awful.” Alex wants to lay a hand on Bella’s to comfort her, but decides against the idea because he knew she’d kill him.

“Yeah well, it was all my fault. They were in a struggle and I couldn’t get my aim right - if I did she wouldn’t have been bit and she’d still be here.”

“Accidents happen Bella.”

“Mostly to me. I mean look what happened to us.”

Alex frowns at her. “We were good together Bella you can’t deny that.”

“We were but your ego always got in the way.” She smiles.

“I’m a changed man. I’m practically religious.” He smiles back.

“Really?”

“I’ve stopped watching porn and picking up strangers.”

“Really?” She narrows her eyes at him again.

“Well, almost every day.”

Bella smiles slightly. “A great achievement for you.”

“You don’t know how it’s been with all those celebrity sex tapes flying around.”

“It’s good to hear you’re on the path of recovery.” She says. “So, what’s the great Alex Rodriguez been up to for the past year?”

“A little bit of everything and anything. Also been chasing myself some monsters.” He says throwing a wink at her.

“Urgh. Fulfilling.” She moans.

“You asked.”

“Not about your sex life.”

“I think you need to get some Bells then maybe you might not be so fridged.”

“Shut up.”

“Seriously, have you had any?”

“I’m not discussing my sex life with you Alex it’s weird.”

“We broke up a year ago.”

“On bad terms.” She reminds him.

“I’ve forgot about all that. It’s in the past and I let go.”

“Yeah.” Bella sighs

“Seriously, again, you haven’t had anything going on?”

“No.”

“No boyfriend?”

“No boyfriend.”

“No fling?”

Bella looks across at him. “I’m not going to deny those.”

Alex’s eyebrows shoot up. “You’ve had flings?”

“The occasional few. Like you haven’t, Alex. I can remember from the first time we started working together, every job every town you always had to have someone.”

“That’s changed also.”

“To what?”

“Every couple jobs every couple towns.”

“You’re creeping me out. No porn, cutting down on the action…what’s going on?” She asks looking at him.

“Nothing I’ve just got bored of it all really.” He sighs.

“Dude?”

“When you left it made me realise that things can change - dramatically and also slow mo. I had to take charge of my life and cut a few of my habits down.”

“You still big on the beer?”

“Never cutting that baby out.” He grins.

“God will be so proud.” She says sarcastically.

“Zac and Rose are proud.” He slips in. Alex watches Bella’s expression closely.

“Zac and Rose?” Bella pipes up at the mention of those names. “How are they?”

“Great. Rose is still hell bent on getting the vampire who killed her Mum and Zac’s still adamant she’s going nowhere near it.”

Bella smiles slightly. “I miss them. They were fun to be around.”

“They miss you too.”

Bella shifts in her seat uncomfortably. “Anything fun happened since…?”

Alex sighs and looks out of the window. “Nothing adventurous. Same old same old really.”

For the rest of the twenty-five minute drive Alex and Bella continue to catch up. They each learn how many supernatural things they’ve hunted within the year, Alex won that one by three. They also learn that they were a town away from each other on more than one occasion. When they get to the motel Bella stops in the car park. Neither of them get out, they just sit there - Bella staring at the room and Alex staring at Bella.

“Come in and see them.” Alex suggests.

“I can’t.”

“It’s only been a year Bella things haven’t changed that much.”

“I know but I moved on from this. Just seeing them again will mess with me and screw everything up.”

He tuts. “You’ve still not forgiven me have you?”

She looks at him. “You almost got me killed.”

“People have near misses all the time in this job Bella!”

“But you moved the danger in with us Alex! That’s my problem you put my life at risk.” She says raising her voice.

“Not intentional!” He shakes his head at Bella. “You know what? You found it easy walking away the first time why should the second be any different.”

“I didn’t walk away you know that.”

“I apologised over and over again I knew we could have fixed the problem.” He says shifting in the seat so his body was pointing towards her.

“You were the problem.”

“Whatever I’m not doing this.” He says getting out the car, but holds the door open and bends down. “It was nice seeing you Bella. I wish you luck on your journey.” He shuts the door and begins                    to walk in head of his motel room - with Bella letting him.

                                                                                   * * *

The next night.

Bella pulls up outside the Singer motel staring at the motel room Alex disappeared into the night before. She hated herself for leaving things so awkwardly - she hadn’t seen the man she once loved in a whole year.  She hesitantly gets out of the car, walks up to the room and knocks on the door. The door is answered within seconds - by Alex.

“Well this is a surprise. Thought you left?” He says, with a bit of hostility in his voice.

“Can I come in?”

“For what? So you can blame me some more?”

“To apologise actually.”

Alex narrows his eyes at her before letting her in. “It took you a whole twenty-four hours to realise you wanted to be back here?” He asks whilst shutting the door behind them.

“No, it took me a whole twenty-four hours to realise I shouldn’t have been so harsh with you.” She says. “You were right of course, everything that happened with Logan wasn’t your fault.”

“No it wasn’t.” He says stiffly.

“I mean, how were you supposed to know he was manipulating you.” Bella says with sarcasm.

He frowns at her. “I thought you came here to apologise not stick the boot in?”

“I am.” She shrugs.

“I’ve yet to hear the apology.” He said folding his arms across his chest.

“You know I didn’t mean anything I said. I sometimes let my feelings get the better of me.”

“Sometimes?” He frowns again. “Seems like you always live in anger.”

“That was when I lived with you.” Alex mockingly smiles at her. “So yeah, anyway I’m sorry.”

“And?” He pushes.

“And I’m going to try to move on and forgive you.”

“Forgive me for what?”

Bella frowns at him. “Being stupid.”

He scowls at her this time. “For trying to look out for my best mate. How was I supposed to know he was a vampire?”

“Oh I don’t Alex it’s not like you hunt them every single month!”

“How long are you staying for?” He barks.

“I only came here to apologise and that seems to be covered so…”

“You’re not even going to say hi to the guys?”

Bella thinks about it for a moment and then says. “A few minutes won’t hurt I suppose.” Alex smiles at her. “Where are they?”

“I dunno.” He says looking around the small motel room. “Zac was around here a minute again. I just nipped out to complain about next door, I mean I’m happy they’re in love and all but everyone doesn’t need to hear it.” Bella pulls a mirrored expression to Alex’s. “Zac?” He calls.

“In here.” Comes a voice from the bathroom seconds later. “Won’t be a minute.”

Bella suddenly gets a warm feeling in the pit of her stomach at the sound of her old friend’s voice. It also brings a little smile to her face. “He won’t be a minute.” Alex says to Bella.

“Yeah I heard.” She says back.

“Want a drink?”

“What do you have?

“Um, beer and water. We don’t really stock up, you should know that.”

“A beer then thanks.”

Alex goes to the fridge whilst Bella takes her jacket off and hangs it on one of the four dining chairs. “So, you three share this room - one bed?”

“No Zac and Rose actually have the room next door - twin beds. Would be a bit awkward, I mean she is sixteen and he’s her Dad.”

Bella nods and smiles as she takes the beer off him. “Thanks.”

“Oh my - Bella?” Comes Zac’s voice from the bathroom sounding much closer.

Bella turns her head to the left and sees Zac standing just outside the bathroom looking stunned to see her. She grins at him and puts the beer bottle on the dining table. “Zachary.”

“I don’t believe it. Come here.” They both meet in the middle and give a warm loving hug.

“It’s good to see you too Zac.” Bella says as they both get out of the hug.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Asks the middle aged man Bella has always saw as a father figure.

“Alex gate crashed my party.”

“What party?” Zac asks looking at Alex.

“Bella was hunting that vampire too.” Alex answers.

“So miracles do happen.” Smiles Zac.

“It got away though.” Alex says after getting one more beer out of the fridge and handing it to Zac.

“What do you mean he got away? Surely you’re both not that stupid?”

“He played us off against each other.”

“So you are then.” Zac sighs. “He got the band back together though.”

“Actually I’m not here to stay.” Says Bella. “It’s just a flying visit.”

“That’s understandable.” He says giving Alex a look - like he knew it was his fault. Alex shrugs at him.

“Where’s Rose?”

“She went to rent some DVDs and get a takeaway. She’ll be back anytime soon.”

Bella can’t help the huge grin that spreads across her face. “Well you look great Zac. Age really taking to you.”

“Hey I’m not that old. Not even half way yet.”

“Give it five more years.” She winks.

“I can’t believe it. I never thought I’d see you again, least of all with him.” He says nodding to Alex who rolls his eyes whilst opening his beer.

“We’ve gone over that Zac it’s in the past, all forgotten.” Says Alex. “Alex is forgiven.”

“Well I’m not going to lie it was a huge shock seeing him in that room.” Says Bella. “I was so close to shooting him too.”

“Real appreciation.” He mutters then takes a swig of his drink.

“Anyway what’s been happening with you?” Zac asks Bella.

“Nothing much, just been on my own the whole time. Although I did hook up with a friend for a while but she died. It was good to have company again though.”

“Hunt anything special?”

“No.” She says disappointingly. “Everything just seems to be in hiding or they choose to come out when I’m gone.”

“Although she did hunt a Kaliger last winter.” Adds Alex, remembering it from last night when she told him.

“Really? I’ve had my fair share of those over the years.” Zac informs.

“Is Rose in on the job?” Bella asks.

“No never. I won’t let her.” He says shaking his head.

“Doesn’t stop her from trying though.” Alex says.

“The only thing she wants to do is get that vampire that killed her Mum. She eats, breaths and lives to kill that thing. And she hates me because I won’t let her. She’s only sixteen for Christ sakes!”

“I know Zac. I’ve known her since she was thirteen, no change in her determination.” Bella sighs.

“I haven’t even tried to hunt it down.” Zac says looking into his beer bottle. “Other hunters give me tips on where it is but I don’t do anything because I don’t know what I’ll do.”

“What do you mean?”

“I won’t get straight in there and kill it, I’ll want to make it pay - slowly. But you know vampires they don’t like to waste time when it’s them on the receiving end. They’re fast, strong and they sure as hell don’t lack in the brains department. Truth is I don’t want to kill it - I want someone else to.”

“Put the word out.” Suggest Bella.

“They’ll think little of me. This thing killed my wife ten years ago and it’s still walking about killing others - I let that happen. I haven’t even attempted and I’ll put word out that I want it dead - people will start asking question why I won’t do it myself. My sixteen year old daughter has more fire burning then I do.”

“It’s okay Zac, I sort of know how you feel.” Bella says. “When my parents died in a car crash because a deer ran out in front of them, I wanted to kill that son of a bitch…but that’s where the similarities end because a deer doesn’t really know what it’s doing - were as a filthy fang only too well. If you want I could?” She offers.

Zac shakes his head. “No I couldn’t ask you to.”

“You can take the credit.”

“No.”

“Zac you can trust me. You’re like a Dad to me and I would do anything for you.”

Before Zac can respond his phone starts ringing. “Oh, excuse me.” He walks a few steps away from Bella and Alex “What’s up?..I don’t mind you choose…Babe it’s your money…Er, Haunting In Connecticut…Is that all? Okay baby, see you in a minute.” He puts his phone back in his pocket. “Rose, she’s stuck for DVD choice.”

“I think I’ve seen the trailer to that movie. It’s supposed to be real but I don’t believe it.” Says Alex shaking his head.

“How can you not believe what you’ve seen in real life?” Asks Bella.

“Because some people are just plain greedy and only after publicity.”

Bella rolls her eyes at him. “Are you staying for late night tea Bella?” Zac asks her.

“Oh no I don’t want to spoil your eventful night of DVDs.” She smiles.

“What do you have to go back to?” Asks Alex. “An empty room?” Bella scowls at him and ignores his questions.

“Seriously it won’t be no bother.” Zac pushes. “You can’t come and go just like that after a year from us.”

Bella shrugs. “I don’t know.”

“Rose would love it.”

Bella debates then smiles. “Alright, but you can’t use the Rose thing again.”

“She really has missed you though Bells. Had withdrawal symptoms when you left.” Bella nods but doesn’t say anything. “She’s picking up some takeaway - we got a family meal, so you can have what we don’t want.” Zac smiles.

Bella nods again. “Yeah that’s fine.”

Just then the door to the motel room opens and Rose walks in with a face of thunder. “Stupid worker at the takeaway shop messed up and had to do the order again!” As she speaks she doesn’t look up and dumps the package of food and the bag which the DVDs are in on the dining table. “Wrong toppings on the pizza, burnt the pizza and garlic bread. How stupid do they have to be!?” She throws her coat on the table also, sighs in frustration and finally looks up. “Bella? Oh my god Bella!” She squeals and runs at Bella to give her a good old squeeze. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“Alex stole my job.”

“He’s not completely useless after all.”

“Hey.” He says.

“I can’t believe you’re here.” Gushes Rose. “I thought Alex had driven you out for good that time.”

“It was a close one. I’m only visiting though.” Bella says to make her intentions clear one more time.

“Stuff how long you’re here for it’s great to see you. You look amazing by the way.” She says stepping back and getting a good look at Bella.

“You look very grown up with your new haircut, suits you.” Bella says of Rose’s short cropped hair.

“It’s what my Mum had and I had it once and really liked it. Didn’t think much of it until last month, really wanted a change.”

“You’ve grown a lot over the year. It’s amazing how much.”

“I’m a little more mature. The big old sixteen”

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there to celebrate your birthday.”

Rose waves her hand. “It’s okay, I knew you was out there somewhere having a drink for me.” She smiles.

“I drank myself into a deep, deep sleep that night.” Bella mutters. The guys look at her questioningly. “That’s the night my friend died.”

“Hey have you guys heard about Carl Davis?” Rose says suddenly.

“What about him?” Asks Zac.

“He got murdered last night in his home.”

“What?” Zac and Alex both ask together.

“Bullet to the head. Police suspect suicide but hunters suspect demon.”

“Demon?” Says Zac.

“Apparently Carl was going after the one who killed his brother but got too emotionally involved and lost all he knew, got off course and now he’s not breathing.”

“That’s a shame, Carl was a great man.”

“When are we leaving?” Rose asks her Dad.

“Leaving?”

“To investigate.”

“We’re not going anywhere.”

“Dad, we can’t just sit back and leave this. This is one of our own that’s been murdered.” Rose argues.

“Other hunters will be immediately on the case and we don’t want to be under their feet.”

“De Javu all over again.” She mutters shaking her head.

“Don’t start Rose.” Zac warns her.

Alex nods to Bella to go over to the dining table. “We better leave them to sort it out.” He says once they meet there.

“She always like this?”

“It eats her up that that vampire is still walking around somewhere.”

“She needs to understand that it was Zac’s wife too and he’s going through a hard time.”

“Just leave them Bella, it’s a father daughter thing.” He says. “Help me dish these out.”

The conversation between Rose and Zac didn’t last long - it ended like normal; Zac telling Rose what’s what and her ending up in a strop. As soon as Alex and Bella got all the food on the plates they tucked in. They had a chatter and caught up, remembering the old days and fun times before they spilt up.

After they all finished their tea Rose got up off the chair. “I’m going to bed you guys I’m really beat.”

“What about the DVDs?” Asks Zac.

“Five day rental.” She gives Zac a kiss on the cheek.

“Night babe.”

“See you guys in the morning. It was really great seeing you again Bella, I just hope next time you don’t leave it so long.” Bella nods at her and Rose walks out the room to next door.

“Look guys, crazy idea - hit me if you want when it’s over - but why don’t you two, you know, be one.” Suggests Zac.

“What do you mean?” Asks Bella.

“Conjoin as one.” He says. “Be two hunters who work together. Alex and Bella, the gruesome twosome.”

Everything was quiet and Zac could see that his two youngest oldest friends were thinking about it. After a moment Bella slides off the chair she was sat on and rounds the table to where Zac is sat, she smiles downed at him and he looks up at her. Then suddenly she raises a mean right fist and strikes it down on his forty-five year old shoulder.

“Ow, what the hell was that for?” He asks holding it.

“You said we could hit you.” She explains. “That’s the most ridiculous idea that’s ever escaped your dirty rotten mouth, Zac!”

“No think about it. Bella and Alex, you two are great together as hunters and off. Supernatural feared you as a duo, once you split up everything went tits up. Killings started going up, possessions, sightings. Be Bella and Alex again, not Alex….and Bella.”

Alex looks across at Bella. “He’s right you know, Bells.”

Bella shrugs her shoulders. “I don’t care. I promised myself that I would never work alongside you again.

“We did last night.” He tells her quite smug.

“No we didn’t. We hunted the same thing that played us and we came back hands clean.”

“You loved it.”

“Do you want to know the reason why I was so shocked to see your face last night? Because I never thought I’d ever see it again. More so I never wanted to see it again.”

“Bella, babe, it’s not overly healthy sucking on the past. Let what happened go and be free of the misery.”

“Misery? I’m lucky to be alive no thanks to you.”

“It was an accident how many times?” He says raising his voice.

“You can apologise until your shit don’t stink I won’t forget what you did to me.”

“It was a mistake I admit I should never have made but like I said, past.”

“You nearly got me killed - in fact you nearly got me turned.”

“That vampire wouldn’t have-”

“You don’t know that Alex. Because he did. He whispered in my ear moments before you came the plans he had for me.”

“What plans?” He asks frowning at this new information.

“Turn me into a filthy fang, watch me become something I hate. Watch me kill time after time after time after time. Watch me suck blood out of the carpet when I got desperate. Make me kill you.”

“I had no idea.” He says taken aback.

“Why would you? You were only out for yourself.”

“He was my best friend Bella I couldn’t let him live like that.”

“And I was your girlfriend Alex you didn’t have to let him live at all! We all made a pact that if anything bad happened to us we wouldn’t hesitate to do the right thing. But instead you move the wrong thing in with us!”

“I didn’t know Bella I swear. I wouldn’t have let him live otherwise.”

“Naive of you. You knew there was a change about him.”

“Like I said he was my best friend.”

“One reason not to get to know people, you start to feel for them and get emotionally attached.”

“I’d known the guy for ages.”

“You don’t mix business with pleasure.”

“You did.” He shot back.

“That was a mistake look what happened it nearly got me killed.”

Alex puts his hands up. “I’m not going through this time after time. Third time it’s been brought up tonight and I’m done with it. I got over it a long time ago to be honest. I forgave myself you should do the same.”

Zac walks over to the fridge and gets three new beer bottles out, he opens them all and places them down on the table. “You two have to sort this.” He says. “It’s ruining the relationship you have whatever level that’s at.”

“Like I said Zac I’m over it. I dealt with it, realised how stupid it was and erased it from my memory.” Alex says grabbing a bottle.

“Stupid?” Asks Bella with raised eyebrows. “How on earth is nearly being killed or turned by a bloodsucker stupid?”

“I meant I realised how stupid it was getting in the way of us. We were tight, the four of us. The tightest I’ve ever been with anyone, apart from Liam and Logan but you know how Logan turned out.”

“Yeah he was the one who tried to kill me!” Bella nearly shouts.

“Speaking of Liam” Says Zac. “he phoned today whilst you were out and asked if you could visit him some time soon.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Alex says, quite irritated.

“I forgot.”

“I’ll phone the prison tomorrow.”

“I’ve got to get going.” Says Bella standing up and grabbing her jacket.

“Where to?” Asks Zac.

“A motel.”

“Stay here we’ve got two rooms.”

Bella starts laughing then realises he’s serious. “I’m not sharing a bed with him Zac.”

“He’ll sleep on the couch.”

“Does he have any say in this?” Asks Alex.

“Would you seriously let a lady sleep on the couch?”

“Find me a lady and I’ll see.” Bella gives him the evil eyes and he smirks at her. “Bella’s not worthy of the couch so she can have the floor.”

“I could always bunk with you Alex.” Zac threatens.

“Er, second thoughts you can have the bed Bells. One night alone with Zac’s snoring will put me right off my pattern.”

“I don’t know about this.” Says Bella with an expression of concern.

“Think about it you don’t need to travel in the dark and rain and it will save you money.” Zac says.

She looks at Alex. “No funny business I promise.” He says.

“I sleep with my gun under my pillow.” She threatens him with. “Just for tonight though.”

Zac and Alex both hold their hands up. “No problem.” Says Alex.

“I’ve just got to get my bag out of the car then I’ll be back.” She tells them.

“I’m going to go to bed now anyway. See you in the morning.” Says Zac.

He and Bella walks outside together and say goodbye out there before Bella goes to her car and gets her bag out, then she goes back to the room where Alex is cleaning up.

“The smell of garlic really gets to me.” He says picking up the box in which the bread came in.

“Cleaning up after yourself, something else which has changed.” She says hovering near the front door.

“Rose is like an old woman when it comes to this. She really hates mess plus she feels sorry for the cleaners.”

“I’m going to get ready in the bathroom.”

Alex nods at her. “No problem.”

Bella changes into some old trousers and a top, she brushes her teeth whilst Alex quickly tidies away, but he does put the three full beer bottles back in the fridge. He gets his jacket off the back of the couch and lays down on it, covering himself with his jacket. Bella comes back out of the bathroom and dumps her bag on the floor outside the door.

She spots Alex under his jacket. “Will you be alright with that?”

“Yeah I’ll be fine.”

“You sure you don’t want the cover?”

“Leave you going without anything; I don’t want to branded as a dick with the whole ‘ladies going first’ thing.”

“Alright.”

Bella climbs into bed and switches the lamp off. She doesn’t go to sleep straight away, instead she lays there and thinks about how she and Alex first met.

Four years earlier.

A twenty year old Bella walks into a bar called Death Trap. It’s a well-known bar that only hunters go into to - normal folk think deer hunting but it’s actually supernatural. She looks round the place and sees mainly middle aged people drinking, talking or cleaning their weapons. She walks up to the bar and orders a beer. She notices a man sat one stool away from her looking really glum - and young. He has three shot glasses lined up and downs one, which leaves him with one left.

“Are you alright. You seem a little bit down?” She asks him.

“My mate’s gone missing.” He answers. “Well he’s a hunter but I haven’t heard from him in four days and it’s not like him. He always calls after a job to brag.”

“What’s his name maybe I’ve heard of him?”

He looks at her. “Liam, Liam Shakespeare.”

Bella contains herself to keep a straight face. She’s quite good at keeping a poker face - the mention of this name really threw her. “Sorry I haven’t heard of him.” Alex looks into his drink and sighs. “I’ll help you look if you want some company?”

“Are you sure you can handle it?” He says looking at her again.

“Hey, I’m wearing a leather jacket aren’t I?”

“Alright then little lady.”  He says jumping off the seat, but Bella instantly stops him with a waving finger.

“Not little lady. I’m Bella.”

“Alex.”

“Aren’t you going to finish that you look like you really need it?” Alex picks up the shot glass and downs it in one. “Wow. You did really need it.”

“Do you have a ride?”

“Jeep Cherokee.”

“Oh, that’s…cool.”

Bella frowned at him. “Does it not impress you?”

“Nope. I’m more of a bike man myself but I’m sure it’s cool.”

“It’s big how can it not be cool?”

“That’s what all the ladies say and that’s what I like to hear.” Alex smiled and threw a wink at her.

“Oh great you’re one of those guys.” Bella sighed. “Look Alex no funny business alright we’re just looking for your friend.”

“No problem. You’re too uptight for me anyway.” He said before walking away leaving her contemplating whether to punch him now or when they’re alone. Bella pushed the urge to hit him out of her mind and led him to her car that was parked outside the bar.

“Oh not bad. Like the colour.” He compliments when he sees it.

“Bike’s aren’t the only awesome thing on the road.” Bella said.

“Car woman?”

She nodded. “Why build a two wheeled thing anyway they’re just dangerous and asking for trouble.” They both get in the car. Alex the driver’s side and Bella the passenger’s side. “I’m sorry about your friend by the way. That’s one reason why I work alone.” Bella says when they pull out of the car park.

“I do work alone mainly. We go off on separate roads doing different jobs but we always call to let each other know we’re alright. It’s not like him to leave it this long.” Alex says giving his phone a quick check.

“Maybe he’s with a girl?”

“Na, he sometimes calls me during.”

“Urgh. Nice friend you have.”

“He is. He’s my best friend.”

“So, where are we starting?”

“I’m going to drive down to where the job was and ask around.” Alex answered.

“What was the job?”

“JinJin. But I have a very nasty feeling he went after something much bigger.”

“Like what?”

“Sydney Donovan. Have you heard of her?”

Bella caught her breath. “I-I’ve heard a few things here and there. Sounds like a right mean bitch.”

“She’s one of the most hunted things on this plant.”

“Is she really that hated?”

Alex looked across at her. “She’s disgusting, sick, twisted and she’s only human.”

“Human?”

“Well, there’s been rumours that she’s a human working with the demons - but I think myself she’s been turned into a demon. A gang just the other week told me they’d caught her, got a few hits in but she got away. Then the other month another gang told me they’d killed her. Humans can’t come back to life now can they?”

“No.”

“Nope. This has demon written all over it.”

“And why would your mate, Liam, go after her?”

“She killed his sister.”

“What a bitch.”

“Seriously, Bella if she’s got him - she’s killed him. I just know it.”

“You can’t be too certain.”

He shook his head. “She doesn’t take being hunted lightly.” He said. “And trust me if I find him not breathing she’ll have me to worry about.”

“If she’s so dangerous maybe you shouldn’t go after her alone.”

“Some of the hunters are too scared to go after her. They’ve heard the stories.”

“I think everyone’s heard a little something.” She said quietly.

“She has the biggest bounty on her head. And I bet she loves it, all the attention.” Alex gritted his teeth. Bella doesn’t know what to say next. They’re silent for a few moments before Alex breaks it. “Shouldn’t you call someone and let them know where you are?”

“I don’t have anyone.” She answered.

“I mean your family.”

“I don’t have family.” She said looking out of the window.

“Wha - hunting?”

“No they all died in a car crash a few years ago.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok I’ve come to terms with it now.”

“Can I ask who?”

“My parents.”

“How did you survive?”

“I wasn’t in the car. I was too busy getting in trouble. The only time I’m glad of it.”

“It’s not your fault.”

“Funny thing is I don’t blame myself.”

“That’s good, right?”

Bella nodded. “Anyway what’s the deal with your family?”

“My Dad died when I was fourteen and my Mum died when I was nineteen. I’ve been living with a close family friend and his family ever since. Although his wife did die a few years ago from a vampire.”

“That’s terrible.”

“Yep. Now his thirteen year old daughter is hell bent on revenge.”

“I hope you’re trying to talk her out of it.” She said strongly.

Alex looked at her. “She’s a stubborn girl and a new teenager.”

“Is that why you got into hunting?”

“No, my parents were hunters and that’s also how they died.”

“You know you’re out there trying to save people when you’re the ones who are in danger the most.”

Alex nodded his head in agreement. “But I’d give my life up to ensure that no-one witnesses what we do.”

Pawprints In The Snow

Chapter one.

Dean.

When my Mum told me that she wanted her, me and my Dad to go out for the day together as a family, I didn’t expect it to be the last day I ever saw the two of them.

We didn’t plan anything adventurous. We went to the amusement park that was just outside of our small town and took just under an hour to get there. My Mum had never been a huge fan of amusement parks and big rollercoaster’s so I was surprised when she mentioned it. My Dad was all up for it though; he was like a big kid all over again at just the mention of it. So we all grabbed our coats and got into my Dad’s black SUV. Mum turned on the radio and put it on low so it was in the background.

“The weather man said it’s supposed to like this all week.” She said.

“Bet there’s going to be plenty of people there with hardly anything on.” I said from the behind my Dad. “It should be a law if you’re wearing more than one layer in this heat.”

“My lawn’s going to grow just nice and perfect.” She smiled.

“You know what’s on the agenda today folks?” My Dad asked with a little smile on his face also.

“Ice cream!” We both said. My mum giggled as she put her hand out of the window.

“I hope you boys don’t expect me to go on any rollercoaster’s.”

“What would be the fun in just watching Mum? You go to theme parks for the experience of rollercoaster’s.”

“Son I’ve been on one before and hated it. I was puking the whole way home! Why would I want to put myself through that again?”

“To prove to me you’re not just like all the other Mums out there.”

She smiled at me through the rear-view mirror. “Ah, bribery’s going to get you nowhere son.”

“Dad tell her.”

“You should know by now Dean your mother’s as stubborn as they come. Once her mind’s set on it there’s no shifting. Plus she is pregnant so she’s not allowed.”

“That’s why her family still hate you.” I teased.

“Ooo snapped me with that one son.” He bent his arm round to give me a high five.

“Now Dean my family don’t hate your father they’re just…still coming to terms with it that’s all.”

“At your last birthday grandpa tried to punch him. He said, and I quote, ‘You’re a worthless piece of scum who should have never married my daughter. You’re not good enough for her and if any of us had it our way she would have took the money!’. End of quote.” My Dad nodded his head whilst my Mum shook hers. “What did grandpa mean about taking the money?”

“Nothing.”

“He meant he tried to bribe her so she wouldn’t marry me.” My Dad answered.

“How much?”

“A thousand. Apparently that’s all I’m worth to him.”

“He was just upset that’s all.” My Mum said in defence to her Dad. “I’m his only daughter and Dads are very protective of their little girls. It was a big step for him letting me go.”

“Why did grandpa only offer you a thousand? I mean you got more off them then that didn’t you for, I don’t know, pocket money?”

“I didn’t get pocket money Dean I was nineteen.”

“Don’t listen to your mother son she still gets pocket money off them.”

“What? How much?” I grin.

“Last payment five thousand.”

“What!? You get five thousand pounds of grandma and grandpa? A week?”

“Afraid not son it’s only monthly payments.”

“How in check do they want to keep you?” I laughed.

“They only want what’s best for my family. The money’s not to keep me ‘in check’ it’s to make sure us three have the best life possible for us.” She replied.

“But Mum getting a decent job looks to that.”

She pursed her lips and shook her head. “You truly are your father’s son, Dean.”

Dad laughed. “I don’t see anything wrong with that, do you son?”

“No sir. I’d be more than appreciative if I turned out the behalf the man Dad is.”

Mum looked across at him and rested her hand on his leg. “So would I. Your father’s a fine man Dean. And he’s done good for this family. Without his help we wouldn’t be where we are now.”

“On the way to the theme park?” I joked. Mum chuckled slightly. “Anyway whether Dad was here or not grandpa’s money would see us through.”

It took us some time to find a spare parking space in the jam packed parking lot. Dad got paranoid that the other SUVs looked exactly the same as his and he wouldn’t be able to tell which belonged to us, so he stuck Mum’s sweater on the dashboard - much to her amusement. Mum had some body issues. She wasn’t overweight or anything she just had some little scars on the top of her arms from her days. When she got attacked by a dog one night. The other scars aren’t visible with clothing on only the ones on her arms - just her left arm. Dad put her mind at ease and slung his arm around her, so her left arm was buried under his armpit as she put her arm around him also.

It was a big car lot and took some time finding the exit. But when we did my eyes lit up when I saw the theme park. I’d been to a few before but the excitement always got to me. These were the days that I loved the most and would cling on to. The happy days. Hearing Mum and Dad laugh. Seeing them acting like teenagers in love. I was glad that they were still able to make this a happy family despite everything - what we are and the trouble it brings.

“So, what’s caught your eye first, Dean?” Dad asked.

“Twister.” I replied looking at it with excited eyes.

“Ah always his first choice.” He chuckled.

Mum dug into her purse and pulled out her silver camera. I moaned like a thirteen year old does. “Not the camera Mum anything but the camera!”

“Now stop that Dean I would like more photos of the three of us.”

“Why? Don’t you have enough already?”

“You can never have enough.” We stopped then at the Twister. Dad unhooked his arm from around Mum’s shoulders and dug into his jeans pocket for some change. Then went to get the tokens.

“But you see us every day isn’t that enough?”

“One day when you go off to college or have a family of your own I can cherish these moments. Without the pictures all I have are thoughts and through time they too leave us.”

“I didn’t ask for a lecture Mum. A simple no would have done.” She whacked my arm playfully as Dad came back with two tokens.

“Right kid, you ready?” He asked.

“Yup.”

“Get in line then we don’t want to miss out.”

“Yeah because people are chomping at the bit for a piece of this action.” I said sarcastically.

Me and Dad waited at the steps that were connected to the ride, we didn’t have to wait long. We picked the closest free seat near to us and got strapped in.

“Are you excited? I’m excited.” Gushed Dad rubbing his hands together.

“I’m ecstatic at the prospect of going round and round in circles very fast.” I said sarcastically.

“Don’t forget to smile. Your mother would be a little bit disappointed if she doesn’t get one of us smiling.”

“I’ll throw that into my schedule of throwing my hands in the air, screaming and trying not to be squished by you…I’ll make a mental note - Smile.” Dad nudged me and smiled.

When the ride started Dad let out an excited squeal. Mum waved from the side lines and did her job of taking pictures of me and Dad having fun - I really was having fun. My parents knew that under the sarcastic jokes, tutting and embarrassing looks they never failed to make a day out a good one. If they did I would have stopped going to them a long time ago. Truth was I loved hanging out with my parents, they were my best friends. They were my only friends.

When the ride had finished Mum showed us the pictures she’d took whilst we were walking. Some of them were clear but most of them were blurry - and we were actually smiling.

“Where to next son?” Dad asked me.

“I dunno, maybe Mum’s turn I think?”

“Hook a duck or bag dear?”

Mum laughed. “When this baby’s born I’m going to show you two just how fun Ellen Morgan can be.” Me and Dad looked at each other. “I’ll wipe the floor with you two boys.” She grinned, like she’d already shown us.

The best thing about Mum being pregnant was that it made her glow. She was a beautiful woman and always had a smile on her face but pregnancy suited her. Some women look a right state when they’re pregnant and moan that they can’t wait until it’s over, but not my Mum. She loved every second of it even the pain - she said it was all worth it in the end when she gets to hold my baby sister in her arms. Pain for nine months is nothing compared to giving a human life. She told me one night that she would have loved to have another baby when I was younger but also said in the same breath that she might not have been so fresh faced if she had two so close together. I supposed having them thirteen years apart is a good thing because I was still at the age where I wanted fun and games. Dad wasn’t going to be fit forever despite his will.

It didn’t take us long to get to the nearest Hook A Bag stall. Mum paid the lady behind the circle stall and was handed a hook. She reached for the shiny gold bag that was on top. The lady took the hook back off her as Mum rested the bag on the counter to see what she had won. She grinned and reached into the bag then pulled out a medium sized light brown teddy bear dressed in winter clothing - a purple bobbly hat with a blue rim, purple and blue coat, with matching scarf, gloves and boots.

“Aww.” She gushed holding it to her cheek to show me and Dad.

“Very cute, dear.” Dad said. “But don’t you think you have enough already?”

She frowned at him. “Are you really going to make me throw away such a cute little thing?”

“Here’s a thought,” I said before he could answer her. “why don’t you give it to the baby? Win win situation. You get to keep it and you don’t need to see it every night sat upon your dresser.”

They both looked at each other. “You’re going to be a genius heartbreaker one day son.” Said Dad cupping my chin with one of his big strong hands.

“Thanks.” I said shifting out of it. “Moving on from the uncomfortable bonding.”

Mum put the teddy back into the bag and grabbed a hold of it as well as Dad’s hand. “Hey Dean,” Said Dad with a big grin on his face. “how about Hollywood? Fancy having a go on that bad boy?”

“Do I!?” I mirrored his smile.

“Sorry to be a pain but I think now’s the time for a toilet break.” Said Mum with an apologetic face.

“We’re not even twenty minutes in Mum.”

“That’s the beauty of pregnancy son.”

I rolled my eyes. “I think I saw some toilets back that way near the Jumping Frog.”

So we turned around and headed back the way we had just come from. The toilets were something you couldn’t miss - bricks painted red, doors painted blue, pictures as well as ‘Ladies’ and ‘Gentlemen’ were placed upon the doors. Mum gave Dad the golden bag and her purse and camera then went into the toilets.

“I think I may give Uncle Eric a call tomorrow.” I said as I leaned against the right side of the ladies wall.

“Why?” Dad asked.

“Because you’re going to have a new born baby in six months and I don’t know how your joints will take it. I need someone to match my speed and abilities Dad I just don’t know if you’ll be able too.”

“Ah mocking the old.” He folded his arms as he stood at the side of me.

“I didn’t say you were old.”

“Not with words but I can read the hidden messages in the way you speak, Dean. I wouldn’t write me off just yet son this old dog’s still got some life left in him.”

“Yeah in dog years you’re about five hundred.”

He laughed. “You’re not so young yourself in dog years.”

“I’m only thirteen I’m not drawing my pension up already.”

“Look at grandpa, he’s old but boy can he move. Did you see the way he took out Max the other week? He tackled him like he was a rugby player or something and got up off the floor without so much of a cracking bone.”

“Grandpa goes for jogs every morning and night. I think I’m going to have to start taking you to the park every morning before school, throw a Frisbee or football around.”

“When this baby comes I’ll be doing all the running around I need thank you very much.”

Just as I was about to say something we heard shouting coming from inside the ladies toilets.

“You and your dirty rotten family will get what’s coming to them.” Shouted a female.

Me and Dad looked at each other. “That sounds an awful lot like Joanne.” I nodded. Dad shoved the golden bag into my chest and ran into the toilets. Two women then came in direction of the toilets. I had to think fast.

“Er, sorry but these toilets are out of bounds. One of them is blocked and a security guard’s just gone to get a sign. Sorry.”

The two ladies kept walking past me without so much of a question and I went into the toilets.

Joanne was an old friend of Mums but they fell out recently when Joanne’s brother was run over by a car as he and my Dad were fighting in the street one night. I knew she wasn’t going to leave the toilets without getting her anger across - I had the gut feeling that someone was going to get hurt.

“Oh look here comes the cavalry.” She said snottily when she saw me walk through the door. She was stood near the toilet cubicles and Mum and Dad were stood near the sinks, Dad stepped slightly in front of Mum protectively. “What, are you all going to gang up on me?” She asked.

“We’re not here to fight you Joanne we’re here on a family day out to have a good time.” Replied Mum.

Joanne snorted. “Family! I’m surprised you know the meaning of the word after the way you treated mine.”

“What happened with Brett was an accident I didn’t kill him.” Dad said.

“He was fighting with you John he was in the middle of the road trying to defend himself from a violent mutt like you!”

“He started the fight. I was walking home when he spotted me I had no way to escape. He charged at me.”

“You saw the car coming.” She said stepping closer. “You purposely pushed him into the path of that car and watched as he got dragged down the road.” I could see tears forming in her eyes, the light glinted off them. “You could have helped him!”

Dad shook his head at her. “Brett wasn’t the innocent man you make him out to be. He tried to kill my wife a few days before hand in case you’ve forgotten, or don’t you like to think of your brother as that man?” Joanne clenched her fists up into a ball and flexed her jaw. I could tell she was getting angry. “I was caught off guard when he attacked me that day. He charged at me and knocked me over, he was gloating over me as I laid on the floor. I didn’t see the car coming and you know that - you saw it for yourself! He stood in the path of it I couldn’t have helped him even if I wanted to.” He said. “I’m not going to say I’m sorry he’s dead because that would be hypocritical of me. I’m not going to give you my condolences because that would also be wrong. I’m here with my family on a day out and you’re not going to spoil that for us, Joanne.”

“And what are you going to do about that?” She challenged raising an eyebrow.

“Nothing. You can go out of your way to make our life hell for something we didn’t do. But we’re not going to rise to it, to any of it. My son will go to school like normal.” He said pointing to me. Joanne looked at me and I felt nervous. “I will keep going to work as I do every other day. And my wife will enjoy the remaining months of her pregnancy like she wants to. You’re not going to destroy our life because your brother was so damn pathetic, reckless and full of anger. He was a waste of space and personally he’s where he belongs.” Dad pointed to ground - and Joanne didn’t like that.

All of a sudden she growled at Dad and buckled over in pain.

Mum grabbed Dad’s arm and gasped. “Uh-huh.”

Joanne fell to the floor on her hands and knees gasping for air. Me, Mum and Dad stuck to the places where we were, our eyes glued to Joanne. We didn’t run for help or shout, because it wasn’t help she needed. She wasn’t having a panic attack or finding it hard to breathe - in the case of an emergency. Me, Mum and Dad knew exactly what Joanne was doing, and it wasn’t a good thing. Genuinely we should have run out of the toilets - not for help but for our life’s, to some place safe. I didn’t know if Dad stayed because he wanted to fight for his family and show just how much of an alpha dog he was. But I knew Mum stayed because she didn’t want to leave Dad alone in there with such a crazed Joanne. I also knew that Joanne would use that fact in her favour - a pregnant woman. But then again Joanne was alone…so I thought.

Just then the door burst open and Joanne’s other brother came rushing in. Joanne had called him, telepathically, for back up. But he wasn’t in his human form to take on the defence of his sister, instead he was in his Husky form, just like Joanne was when I turned back to look at her.

Dillon flew at Dad in the blink of an eye and clung onto his arm as Dad tried to shake him off.

“Mum!” I shouted when she stumbled into one of the cubicle doors and into the toilet going out of my sight. Joanne looked at Mum with her bright blue eyes and snarled, snapping her sharp teeth, then she ran into the cubicle to join Mum. “Mum!” I yelled again, not moving. My legs wouldn’t let me.

“Run Dean.” Shouted my Dad as he punched Dillon in the nose to get his arm free. That seemed to do the trick but Dad’s new blue checked shirt was now ruined. His blood was seeping through the rips Dillon had made.

“I can’t leave you.” I said.

“Get help.”

“But what about Mum?” Just then I heard a whining noise - it hadn’t come from Dillon who had clung back to Dad’s arm, so I knew it had come from Joanne. Mum had it under control…for now.

“I’ll take care of her go get help!” He shouted at me, which made me flinch.

So I yanked my legs into movement and ran out of the public toilets to the fair ground. As I screamed for help I didn’t realise at the time that that would be the worst mistake of my life. Everyone around me stopped what they were doing and glared at me, some of them looked confused, some of them looked offended that I had temporarily stopped their fun. A park ranger who was just cruising by the Hot Dog stand was the only one to see if I was ok.

“What’s a matter?” He asked. His yellow t-shirt was too bright it nearly hurt my eyes to even look at him. I couldn’t tell what his eyes were like - narrowed, confused, on guard - because he had dark sunglasses on as well as a brown rangers cap.

“My parents they’ve - they’re been attacked by dogs in the toilets.” I rushed.

“Dogs?” He asked, crinkling the wrinkles in his forehead. “Who the hell let dogs in?”

“That doesn’t matter you have to help them, please!”

“How many dogs are they?”

“Two.”

The ranger slipped off the riffle from his shoulder, I looked at it. “Precaution.” He answered.

“What are you still doing here?”

The middle aged man ran off into the toilets as everybody around me murmured in interest. The pit of my stomach knotted together as my knees started to go numb. What was he going to find? Four dogs fighting! Subconsciously I should have known Mum and Dad would also change to get a better defence for themselves. To make it a fair fight. What have I done.? My heart sank into my socks at the huge mistake I had done when the ranger came back out looking a little whiter then he did a few seconds ago.

“I hate to tell you this kid but your parents weren’t in there.” He said. “Maybe they slipped off through a window or something - I’m sure we’ll find them.” My stomach knotted even tighter together. “Also, there’s four dogs. Good news is they’re not attacking people just each other. Weird thing is they’re Huskies.” He scratched his head. “I didn’t think there was any Huskies in this place.”

“Does that really matter?” I snapped.

“Didn’t you hear me? Your parents are ok they’re not in there. Nothing to worry about.”

“What are you going to do to the dogs?”

“Shoot them.” He said flatly. “They’re dangerous. They went after your parents now they’re attacking each other, they don’t seem to be backing down. We have to corner off this part of the park and deal with it quietly.”

I looked at his rifle. “I don’t think that thing does quiet.”

“Look, go find your parents. As soon as you come back round here everything will be back to normal again.”

I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t have a plan because I didn’t bank on anything like this happening. The ranger stepped a few steps away from me as he spoke into his walkie talkie.

“We need help on the east side of the park, toilets near the Jumping Frog. There seems to be four dogs taking cover in the ladies toilets attacking each other.”

“Roger that.” Came another male voice from the other end.

The ranger turned his attention back to me. “Help won’t be long.”

And we didn’t have to wait long until we were accompanied by another one, a younger one, bout early twenties- he looked a bit nervous.

“Bill.” He nodded at the older one.

“First thing’s first we need to clear the area in case the dogs make a run for it. Don’t want anybody getting hurt.” Replied Bill.

“Right…And how do we do that?”

“Shoo them away!” Bill tutted at him.

Bill and the younger boy separated as they cleared the watching people away. As they were cleaning the path two more rangers joined them, another male who looked younger then Bill but a few years older then the other one, and a female who looked the same age as the younger one.

After they cleared the way the four rangers huddled together to come up with a plan, and I didn’t intervene. I stood in the same place I had since I came out of the toilets straining my ears to hear my parents voices coming from inside, but I didn’t. I had hoped that the ranger had got it wrong and there was only two dogs in there and two humans, but I knew I was fooling myself. I wasn’t a quick thinker but I willed myself to think of something and fast. Even if it was anything! I did come up with the idea of fainting but I knew that wouldn’t stop them. I knew nothing would stop them from getting rid of four potentially dangerous dogs.

So I stood by and watched when the two oldest rangers went into the toilet, rifles gripped firmly in their hands.

The female saw me then and walked over to me. “Excuse me you can’t be here.” She said. I noticed she, or the other male, didn’t have rifles. Maybe they were too young or inexperienced to be handling such serious weapons. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave. This area is blocked off for now.”

“I can’t go.” I replied blankly, not feeling my face move it was so numb.

“I’m afraid you have to.” She tipped her head to a side and her blonde pony tail fell with it. “This is a serious situation. There’s four dangerous dogs inside the toilets and we need this area to be clear. For your own safety you need to leave.”

“Shouldn’t you, like, clear the whole park? Just in case they’re not only attracted to this part of the park?” I asked, hoping this would distract them for now. The girl thought about it for a second then looked at the toilets. “It’s not too late to call them back.” I said, but then I heard the loud bang that echoed in my ears.

It was too late.

The girl flinched when the bang rang throughout the area and looked at me. “I think you’re going to have to eat your words.”

Then another bang shot out.

Then another.

Then the door flew open and a ball of grey and white fur flew past us. I recognised the dog because it had a cut on it’s left leg from when it cut itself on some ragged wood. It wasn’t Mum and it wasn’t Dad. It was Joanne. My whole stomach and heart sank further then my socks when I realised what that meant - my parents were dead. My whole body went numb and cold as recognition bounced into my brain. What did this mean for me? Joanne ran off into the distance as the two older male rangers came running out of the toilets.

“Dammit it got away!” Said Bill. I could see some spots of blood on his bright yellow t-shirt. Was that Mum’s or Dad’s? Bill looked at me and frowned at my tears. Just as he was about to say something I turned on my heel and ran away. I was conscious of the fact that that meant I was leaving my Mum and Dad behind, leaving their bodies behind. But what would I do with them? How would I explain that I knew them? I knew if I saw my parents laid on the cold stone floor in their own blood I would break down. They were my parents. The closet people to me. My best friends. And now they were lying dead as I ran off to wallow in my own guilt of knowing I was to blame for all of it.

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