#Chapter 153: Safehouse
James and I quickly and quietly made our way through the abandoned little town. As we walked, keeping to the rapidly growing shadows, I couldn’t help but notice the occasional blood stain on the ground or torn bits of clothing. The most disturbing thing that I saw was a child’s teddy bear laying discarder on the ground and covered in blood, I swallowed when I saw it, telling myself that maybe the child who that teddy bear belonged to just dropped it and it happened to get stained with blood, but there was a sinking feeling in the back of my mind that it wasn’t such a happy outcome.
Finally, we made it to the residential neighborhood. James led the way with his gun in his hands as the sky began to darken. He eventually led us to a small house, then down the outside stairs to
the cellar. With a final glance over his shoulder, he pushed the door open and shut and locked it once we were both inside.
“Help me move this barricade back,” he said. I helped him push the piles of furniture and other heavy objects that he’d used as a barricade back into place. Finally, we could relax a little, and James led me upstairs where all of the windows were shut tightly and the blinds and curtains were closed.
“Whose house is this?” I asked, looking
around with confusion.
James merely shrugged as he dropped his backpack on the kitchen table and began to rifle through it for cans of food. “I don’t know. I just started trying doors, and the basement door at this house was unlocked.”
I frowned, glancing around at the
surroundings. There were no
photographs or any signs of clutter. The furniture was sparse. It must have been a rental or maybe that was what I just kept telling myself so I wouldn’t feel so bad for commandeering someone’s home.
As James opened some cans of soup and cooked them on the stove, I started to ask questions.
“Where were you when it started?” I asked. “And how did you wind up here?”
James let out a wry chuckle. “I was in
town, thankfully. The attack started on campus, so it took a little while for things to spread. People started packing their things up and running out of town as soon as the first group of rogues appeared, but I hid. It’s not like I would have had anywhere to go, you know?”
“What about your parents?” I asked. ”
Couldn’t you have gone home to
All of a sudden, James froze when I mentioned his parents. I couldn’t quite tell if it was just a sore subject from him, or if he wasn’t telling me everything. As I thought back to his father’s letter about the ‘family business’, it made me wonder if he intentionally stayed here.
Finally, he only shook his head. “1 figured it would be better to just lay low here,” was all he said. I decided not to question further. I watched as he poured the soup into two bowls, then handed me one. I didn’t realize it before, but I was starving.
We ate in silence for a while before James led me upstairs, where there were two bedrooms. It seemed that he already claimed one, so I took the other.
Thankfully, it hadn’t been quite long
enough for the town to lose power or running water, so although we had to keep the lights off so as not to be seen, I was still able to take a shower… And after everything I’d been through, the hot water cascading over my body was sorely needed.
When I was finished, I stepped out and dried off before returning to the living room, where I heard the sounds of James clanking around with something metallic. As I descended the stairs, I could see that he was sitting in the living room.
And he was cleaning his gun.
He didn’t see me at first. He was being so meticulous, almost robotic. I watched from the darkness as he slowly and methodically cleaned each part, then put it back together.
Then… He loaded it. I caught a glimpse
of the box of bullets; they were silver.
For killing werewolves
. “James,” I said without thinking,
emerging from the shadows, “are those silver bullets?” My voice shook as I spoke.
James merely nodded and stayed focused on his work. “Of course,” he replied.
I felt a pit begin to form in my stomach. “James… These are our classmates.”
“Not anymore.” He finished loading the gun, then, to my horror, he cocked it. He then looked up at me with a slight, sinister smile on his face. The pit in my stomach grew larger as I looked at him. In the darkness, with only the dim light of a small lamp, he looked almost demonic. Half of his face was cast in an amber glow, while the other half was so dark I couldn’t even make it out.
“But they can be cured,” I continued.
Tiffany made an antidote. I think it works. If we can find her medical bag, I know she had lots of it in there. And besides, there are werewolves who are on our side-”
James stood now and slowly walked over to me. “Nina,” he said softly, reaching out and squeezing my shoulder, sending a chill down my spine, “they’re not gonna get better. There is no antidote, no such thing as a werewolf being on our side. They’re all monsters. They need to be purged.”
“P-Purged?” I stuttered. “None of these people asked for this. You could at least try the antidote and see for yourself.”
James was silent for a minute. The air between us was so thick and heavy that I felt as though I would suffocate as he continued to tower over me. He took a step forward, then another, backing me up against the wall.
“You know,” he said with a dry smile, ” I know you’re one of them. I’ve been watching you for a while; I know you’ve been showing signs. The speed, the healing abilities…. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, though. I knew that you were innocent, and that you didn’t ask to become a monster. You never showed any signs of shifting, so I figured if I could just get you away from Enzo and make you see how evil he is, then you would understand. I like you, Nina. We make a good team, think about how many of those monsters we could take down between the two of us.”
1 frowned, shaking my head as my heart raced even faster and a wave of nausea washed over me. “No,” I whispered. “That’s not true. This isn’t you, James. Whatever your father told you-”
“My father?” James asked with a chuckle. “This isn’t about him. I could care less what he wants. But my mother My mother never asked to be murdered by a werewolf. And I’m determined to take down all of those monsters one by one for her sake. If you’re only going to get in the way of that, then…”
ked with a
He paused, backing me further into the corner as his face darkened.