small town girls




The Witch
by Don't make eye contact

"Is that really a step you want to take, Chloe?"

Chloe laughed at the look in Clarke's eyes. "I didn't say I would stop doing the school paper. I was just saying that it's frustrating that nobody pays attention to it! I mean you know how long I spent on the last issue, and look around Clarke, do you see anybody reading it?" She gestured wildly with the copy of the Torch she was carrying.

Clarke glanced around and nodded. "Yes."

"Someone's reading it? Who? Where?" Chloe looked around. Clarke pointed and she saw a blonde girl sitting quietly reading the latest edition. Chloe couldn't remember ever having seen her about before, but she obviously had discerning taste. "Wow. She really is. Who is she?"

"I don't know. Never noticed her before. Maybe she's new."

Could be." Chloe was feeling sorry for the girl; she seemed lonely sitting there all alone. As soon as she thought it, a group walked up to the bench that the blonde girl was sitting on. Chloe thought for a moment that they were the girl's friends, but the blonde picked up her bag and left, and the group sat down on the bench she had been on. Chloe felt a stab of pity for the girl and wondered if she had any friends. She made a move to walk after her but realised she couldn't see her anywhere. She turned to ask Clarke if he'd seen where she'd gone, but when she turned to talk to him she realised that he wasn't next to her anymore. A glance told her that he had been talking to Lana and would have seen nothing. She scanned the grounds for the blonde girl again but couldn't see her.

'Damn. I wanted to know what she thought of the editorial.'


Carl Dringenberg was about as pissed off as he ever got. He wasn't one for extreme emotions normally. He was more the kind of person who would placidly take whatever life threw at him and deal with it. However even he had his limits. First he'd missed the bus, and now he had to walk through the woods to get home. The rain was bucketing down and he knew that once he got back, he would have to deal with a big pile of maths questions that he hadn't understood in class and wouldn't understand at home. He plodded on, feeling miserable. A snap of a twig alerted him to someone behind him and he turned round to see who it was.

There was a flash of motion and he clutched at his throat. Falling to his knees, he felt blood spurt from between his fingers. As he took one last look up he felt a scream rising in his throat, but he couldn't make his mouth work before it was all over.


"Got it." The door to the morgue swung open and Chloe quickly grabbed it to stop it hitting the wall.

"Are you sure this is a good idea, Chloe?" Clarke asked, looking nervously down the dark corridor as if expecting someone to jump out at them any moment.

"Don't worry. There's nobody else here." Chloe tried to sound blasˇ, like breaking into the morgue was something she did every night. As it was it had been at least a month since she had last done it.

"It just feels very wrong. Are you sure we need to be here?"

"I'm sure. Something in the woods killed that poor guy and I intend to find out what," Chloe said, approaching the covered body with a little trepidation.

"They said it was a bear." Clarke reached out and gently pulled the covers off. The two flinched back at the sight of the mangled corpse.

"There aren't any bears in that wood, Clarke." Chloe's curiosity overrode her disgust and she leaned over the body and started making snapshots of the wounds. "Besides, these wounds are far too neat."

"Neat? He's been slashed to pieces." Clarke turned away and started to look for the coroner's report.

"Yeah but the cuts themselves are too exact for claws. They look like they were made by something razor sharp." She moved to pull the cover further back, but without a sound Clarke was next to her and held the sheet down. He covered the boy back up and handed her a file.

"It's all in there. The coroner agrees that it wasn't a bear but he doesn't know what. According to this report the wounds are more what he would expect from a blade of some kind, but there were no metal fragments in the wound. Also the heart is missing."

Chloe looked, wide eyed up at her friend. "The heart is missing?"

Clarke nodded, his face grim.

She started to leaf through the file. The coroner was probably used to weird deaths, he had written down all the facts with no hint of conjecture or elaboration. She wished she could interview him, the things he must have seen over the years. Placing the report on a flat surface she started to photograph each page, she checked each picture before going on to the next page so she could reread any parts where the writing wasn't clear. When she got to the colour pictures she looked over them calmly, although a part of her was screaming that what she was seeing was gruesome beyond words. She was privately amazed that she was able to view it all in such a detached way, but also very pleased; detachment was supposed to be the mark of a great journalist. She photographed the last picture and closed up the file. "I'm...."

She froze as Clarke held up his hand to her, silently asking her to stop talking. He cocked his head as if listening and then purposefully stared around the room, as if trying to peer into every shadow and corner. After a moment he put his hand down and seemed to relax a shade. "Sorry, I thought I heard something," he whispered. "Are you finished now?"

"I've got everything I need. Are you sure the coast is clear?" Now she wasn't so focused on getting to see the body Chloe was far more nervous herself. She couldn't get over the feeling that they were being watched.

"There's nobody nearby; we've got a clear run to the exit." Clarke was so certain that Chloe somehow couldn't doubt him.

"Ok, let's get out of here. There's nothing more of interest here," said Chloe, slowly edging towards the exit.

They left, Chloe carefully shutting the door behind her. After a few seconds the sounds of their clumsy stealth faded into the distance.

"Reperire." The voice was quiet but it still cut into the silence of the room. There was a slight shimmer as the blonde girl stepped out of the shadowy corner, her presence somehow becoming noticeable in the room, whereas before she was as unnoticeable as the air. She didn't do anything for a moment, simply staring after the two teenagers who had been in the room a second ago. Then she went to the body and removed the covering again.


"Hi, are you Chloe Sullivan?"

Chloe almost jumped out of her seat at the voice. She wasn't normally this jumpy in the Torch offices but she wasn't normally looking at illegally obtained coroner reports on her computer either. She quickly minimized the screen with her pictures on it and looked up at the person who had spoken. It took her a brief moment to recognise the girl she had seen two days previously. "That's me." She was normally more eloquent than this but she was surprised. She had been trying to spot this girl since the first time she had seen her, if only to ask her what she thought of the paper.

"Hi, em, I said that already. I w..w..wanted to ask you about something." The girl seemed so embarrassed, it was like she was almost burning up from the inside. Chloe wondered what it was like to be that shy.

"Anything. But first, who are you? God that sounded rude, I just meant, what's your name?"

"Tara. Tara McClay."

"Tara. Hi." Chloe nodded, looking up at the blonde with interest. Tara wasn't the sort of girl that most people would notice. She seemed to hide her figure with loose fitting and colourful clothes but the more she looked at the blonde the more she decided that she would have to describe her as beautiful. Particularly her eyes, they were deep and full of life.

"I w..wondered if you had heard anything about the d..death a couple of nights back? The boy up in the w..w..woods?"

Chloe was surprised at the interest. "Well, the officials say it was a bear. I've got my own theories."

"I'd like to hear them." Tara said softly, as she gazed intensely on the reporter. Chloe found herself struggling to find words without breaking eye contact.

"Well, er, I don't have any other actual theories yet but I am pretty sure it wasn't a bear." She grinned apologetically. "Sorry, I don't have much to work on yet."

"I would appreciate it if you let me know when you do have a theory." Tara bit her lip and looked embarrassed. "That is if you don't m..mind."

"Of course. I'd be happy to." Chloe said, smiling broadly, trying to make Tara feel more at ease. "Why are you interested?"

"Oh. Why? W w well I live near there. I go through those woods a lot."

Chloe sobered at the thought of Tara on the morgue slab looking like that boy but her journalistic instincts took over. "Did you see anything that might give a clue as to what happened?" she asked.

Tara shook her head vehemently. "No, I didn't see anything useful, " she answered, almost forcefully.

Chloe sensed that Tara wasn't telling her everything, but then she was getting that a lot from her friends lately. "Ok. Well tell me if anything occurs to you. Even if it seems unimportant."

"Of course. I should going now." Tara seemed to have lost the drive to talk and was now in full retreat.

"Wait." Chloe said, a little too loudly.


"It's just I saw you reading a Torch and I wondered what you thought of the editorial?" Chloe tried not to look too needy.

"I..l liked it. It was..." Tara frowned as she searched for the right word.

"Insane? Paranoid? Ridiculous?...." Chloe's voice hushed with fake horror. "Badly written?"

Tara giggled, "No, it w..w..was insightful. And very w..well written, " she answered, shyly.

Chloe beamed with pleasure at Tara. "Where have you been all my life?" She paused. "I meant that seriously, actually. Have you moved here recently?"

" I've lived here all m my life."

"How come I haven't seen you around before?" Chloe was formulating all sorts of theories from long term illness to alien abduction to explain Tara's absence.

"People don't t..tend to notice me," Tara said, a little matter-of- factly.

Chloe couldn't detect any self-pity in the phrase; it sounded like Tara had gotten used to it a long time ago. A thought struck her. "So you've lived here all your life?"

Tara nodded.

"Near Stykers wood?"

Another nod, more hesitant.

"So are there any bears in the wood? Or anything at all?"

Tara hesitated and regarded Chloe for a minute as if trying to decide something. "I've never seen any," she finally replied.

"And you've got no idea what could have killed this kid?"

Tara shook her head, her eyes downcast.

"Damn." Chloe's brow furrowed as the cogs in her mind started to turn, trying to work things out. "Listen.."

"I've really got to go now." Tara started towards the door.

"Are you sure? I mean, you could help me investigate this attack if you're curious." Chloe wasn't sure why she felt so insistent on developing a friendship with the shy girl, but she was reluctant to let her go away.

"Sorry, I've to go. Bye." Tara retreated, leaving Chloe gazing after her and trying to make sense of their conversation.

After a few moments she gave up, maximised the autopsy photos and continued her investigation.


Clarke strolled into the Torch offices after class and found Chloe surrounded by yearbooks and old newspapers. She started when he came in and glared at him.

"God, don't sneak up on people like that." She closed the paper she had been looking at and placed it back on the pile.

"Sorry, didn't mean to startle you." He said, walking over to her desk and taking in the piles of yearbooks. "I just came to see if you'd got any more leads on the death."

"Sorry, I've let that slip a little. I haven't got any further with it." She replied, avoiding his gaze.

Clarke looked at one of the open yearbooks, scanning the pictures. None of the people there was the kid who was murdered but he realised he recognised one of the people. "Hey, isn't that the girl we saw reading the Torch the other day?" he asked Chloe.

"Yeah, what of it?" Chloe was obviously over defensive about this but Clarke couldn't help but push.

"Does she have anything to do with the murder?"

"No. Of course not, she just came into the offices and talked to me. She seemed really nice" Chloe glared at Clarke as if he was better off not questioning Tara's niceness.

"So why are you investigating her? Do you do background checks on all your friends?" Clarke's voice was grim as he said this.

"No. I was just curious about her and she's not the type to open up. I just wanted to get to know her a bit better," said Chloe who still wasn't meeting Clarke's eyes.

"Maybe you should talk to her then." Clarke held in his anger. He had his own secrets and didn't want Chloe to start digging into them, but he knew her well enough to know that there was something more to this. She wasn't afraid to question people. Incessantly. All day. Every day. He sensed that there was another reason that she wasn't approaching Tara directly, although for the life of him he couldn't work out what it was.

Chloe gave him a half smile. "Yeah. I'll talk to her. Have you talked to Carl's friends?"

It was an obvious attempt to change the subject and he decided to let Chloe get away with it this time. "Yes, I didn't find out anything suspicious. It was pretty coincidental that he was in the woods at all."

"I figured that would be a dead end but we had to try. If only we had more to go on." Chloe scowled.

"What's our next move?"

"Well, we haven't checked out the scene yet. I guess the next step is a trip to the woods." She checked her watch and frowned at the sight, the clock on her computer was equally unreasonable. "It's too late to go tonight. How about tomorrow after school?"

"Are you sure? Do I have to remind you that there is something out there, Chloe, something that ripped out a boys heart?" Clarke said wide eyed, obviously deeply disturbed.

"And do I have to remind you that the police are ignoring it. They'll wait until it's racked up a bigger body count before they are forced to hunt it down." Chloe slammed her fist onto the desk.

"And you want to be that body count? If we publicise the coroner's report then they would be forced to take action." His voice was calm and certain, the voice of reason. Chloe ignored it.

"Clarke, if you want to stay home that's fine but there is no way I am sitting back and letting anyone else get hurt. There are people who live near that wood, people who could get hurt, who could..." Her voice trailed off as she regained her composure. "If you want to come then meet me here after school."

"I'm coming. I just don't want to see you get hurt."

She smiled at him, genuinely warmed by the care in his eyes. "We'll be fine. We'll just have to be extra careful."

"I'll see you tomorrow. Oh, and remember to talk to Tara, don't just try digging up her secrets, " reminded Clarke, heading for the door.

Chloe sat down again as Clark left. She quietly unfolded the town newspaper and laid it out in front of her. The date was from thirty years previously.

Man found killed in Stykers wood Ethan McClay (54), a local farmer, was found dead in Stykers wood on Friday 4th April. The police have issued a report saying that he was killed by a bear. Sources inside the police say that the injuries sustained by Mr McClay are not consistent with the wounds expected from a bear. There are also unconfirmed reports that the victim's heart was removed. Police are currently denying that it is anything other than an animal attack and say they are sending hunters into the wood to see if the bear is still in the area.

Chloe had checked later dates and the police had issued more reports that the wood was empty and safe and despite smelling something fishy the journalist who had written the first article had been forced to let it go when there were no more deaths.

Chloe was having a fierce internal debate about why she hadn't told Clark about this. The rational part of her was saying that it was unimportant and had happened thirty years ago. The harsh but true part of her knew it was because Tara should have known about this and she hadn't told her. It was an amazing chance that she had discovered it at all and she wouldn't have, if she'd stuck to investigating the murder. She had been finding out more about Tara.

Tara intrigued her. She couldn't believe that she had never noticed her before. She kept thinking about the shy, compelling gaze that she had fixed her with. She had to get to know Tara better. Clark was right; it was foolish to approach it as a story. She just had to talk to her.

Even after she had gotten home she hadn't decided whether to ask her about Ethan McClay.


Tara slid into school like a shadow. Praying for another day when she would continue to remain unnoticed. The bullies and the bitches circled around and latched onto their prey around her but she somehow managed to remain separate and apart. She was free from the persecution, free from the barbs and daily hatreds that the popular and strong reigned down upon people who were different. She was free.and unnoticed.

"Hey Tara."

Tara slowly turned to see Chloe hurrying towards her. A smile was plastered over the reporter's face and she seemed genuinely happy to see the shy blonde. "Er, Hi." Tara felt a warm wave of pleasure spread through her.

"Good morning." Now that Chloe had actually said 'hi' she seemed to be struggling for what to follow it up with.

"Did you find out more about the death?" Tara's stomach knotted as she asked the question. She knew that the answer would have to be yes, otherwise why would Chloe want to talk to her?

A pause. "Not yet. I'm still pursuing my investigation."

"Oh. So you just wanted to say 'hi'?" said Tara, a little uncertainly.

"I guess so." Chloe laughed easily.

Tara beamed at her.


Chloe strolled into the Torch office to find Clarke gazing intently at the wall of weird. She took a moment to regard him. He sometimes seemed like the weight of the world was on his shoulders and she got the feeling more than ever when he was looking at the clippings about the meteors. She filed it mentally in her already formidable 'odd things about Clarke' file. One day she was certain all the pieces would come together and she would understand.

"Hey, sorry I'm late," she called out to him.

Clarke slowly turned round to view her, his features seemed momentarily troubled, but even before he was completely facing her he seemed his old self. "That's ok. I was beginning to think that you had forgotten."

"I'm not letting you off the hook that easily."

"Where have you been all day? I didn't see you outside of class," Clarke probed.

"I've been hanging with Tara. You know she's really fun once you get past her shell." She favoured him with a wide smile.

"I told you it was best just to talk to her." Clarke couldn't help but look smug.

Chloe narrowed her eyes dangerously but then smiled again. "I'll let you have that one."

Clarke returned her infectious grin briefly but then sobered. "So are you sure you want to do this?"

"Positive. Clarke, Tara lives near those woods. If I let this go and something happened to her then I would never forgive myself."

Clarke looked at her intently and then nodded, his face serious and set. "Then lets go."

They went over the evidence as they walked to the wood. Chloe was still debating whether or not to tell Clarke about Ethan McClay. She was trying to persuade herself it was unimportant, but she knew that she just didn't want to incriminate Tara.


"Here it is." Clarke stopped by the broken fence. There were no official paths through Stykers wood but a number of muddy tracks were used as shortcuts. Clarke uneasily eyed the skyline, it was dusk and the trees were filled with shadows and very uninviting. "Second thoughts?" he added, after a pause.

Chloe shook her head, not trusting her voice to remain steady. Clarke nodded once and started to walk ahead of her down the path. He scanned the trees relentlessly and kept looking back at her. She realised that he wasn't afraid, he was concerned with her, but didn't seem to be overcome with the same gut churning fear that was affecting her. It was either sweet or stupid. She decided that both were most likely.

"How will we know when we get to the right place?" Clarke whispered.

"It should be about three hundred metres down this path." Chloe felt like a fool whispering back but not enough of one to speak louder.


Chloe jumped out of her skin and yelped. Clarke was at her side so quickly she didn't see him move. They both looked down to see the broken twig that Chloe had stepped on. They looked at the shock in each other's eyes and simultaneously broke out in laughter. Chloe gasped for air and leaned against a tree, shaking her head at her own jumpiness.

"This is ridiculous, Clarke. What are we expecting, some thirty-year- old axe murderer to jump out at us?"

"Thirty-year-old?" Clarke looked at her suspiciously.

Chloe said a vehement 'fuck' in her mind. "It's just I found this thirty-year-old newspaper article."


"It described a similar killing to this one," said Chloe hesitantly.

"How similar?"

Chloe decided that Clarke would make a good reporter. Her best 'no big deal' voice wasn't doing anything to deter his questioning. He knew something was up and he wasn't letting go of it.

"Pretty similar actually. Similar in the sense of every detail being exactly the same even down to the heart being removed and the authorities thinking it was a bear, similar." Chloe gave him a wide- eyed apologetic look. It didn't work.

"I can't believe you didn't tell me about this." He shook his head in disbelief and then his head snapped up again and he fixed her with a steely gaze. "What aren't you telling me?"

"Nothing important, I've told you the important details."

"Chloe I'm not a fool. There was no reason for you not to tell me that, what are you leaving out?" His voice wasn't angry but she could tell he wasn't happy with her.

"The victim was Tara's grandfather, Ethan Mclay."

"So you found out about this from Tara?"

Chloe shook her head. "I found out because I was looking into Tara's family." She paused and decided to tell him all of it. "I haven't asked her about it. I can't think how she couldn't have known and I think that she came to my office to find out how much I knew."

"We're going to see her. We'll find out how much she knows."

"Clarke, she could never hurt anyone I swear. If she left anything out it will have been because she thought it was unimportant." Chloe gave Clarke an imploring look.

"You've known her two days! How do you know what she would and wouldn't do? People we both thought we knew have turned out to be killers before." Clarke was as angry as he ever seemed to get, his jaw clenched unpleasantly and his tone was harsh.

"She's not a killer." Chloe's shout brought Clarke to a halt. She took a breath and continued at a more normal volume. "You've never spoken to her, if you had you would be able to see that she is the kindest, sweetest person you could ever hope to meet. I don't know if she is mixed up in all this, but I am certain that she would never hurt anyone."

"I hope you're right." There was a moment of tension then Clarke smiled at her. "She's really that nice, huh?"

"Yeah. She really is."

"I still think we should talk to her."

"Ok, but let me do the questioning. I don't want you making her think we're accusing her of anything."

"Deal. But first let's find the attack site."

Chloe nodded and they smiled at each other, friends again. "It should be somewhere around here."

It had gotten dark enough that they now needed their torches. She snapped the beam of her torch onto the path. The sudden light made her lose the slight night vision she had had and the wood was immediately a whole lot darker. Clarke seemed to feel the same and now decided to walk behind Chloe so he could keep an eye on her more easily. The friendly mood quickly slipped as they realised that seconds ago they had been shouting and any hope of stealth was seriously compromised by their torches and their yelling.

"Here." Chloe pointed her flashlight beam at an area of churned up mud. They started searching around for clues.

"Chloe, I'm not really sure what to look for."

"Anything out of the ordinary?"

Ten minutes later both had to admit that if anything was out of the ordinary they couldn't spot it. They could see that they mud was churned up, there were patches of what Chloe guessed was dried blood and they had even found one of the victims school books which had fallen from his bag and the deputies had failed to pick up, but none of it was any help.

"I thought that we would be able to tell more." Chloe continued to scan her torch light round, hoping to have a brainwave.

"Maybe if we knew about tracking or something then we would see more but unless the killer dropped their wallet then there isn't much else to hope for. We should just go," Clarke sighed.

"Ok. A wallet would have been great though." Chloe turned to look at Clarke and screamed.

Clark spun around and found himself face to face with the most hideous creature he had ever seen. He caught a flash of scales, and red eyes drawn to a slit in a human face, before the creature roared at him. Its breath stank of rotting vegetation and Clarke instinctively jumped back. It wasn't a moment too soon as its inhuman claws slashed at him and he felt a hot, wet pain slice across his chest. Clarke kicked out, his foot catching the creature in the stomach and throwing it back into the darkness. Chloe was at his side and looking with stricken eyes at the blood spreading across his chest from a single cut. Clarke looked down in shock, his mouth working but no sound coming out. Another roar issued from the woods.

"We've got to get out of here." Chloe said, pulling Clarke to his feet. He put his arm around her neck to hold himself up; his other hand clutched at the wound in his chest.

"What....what was that?" Clarke managed to say. He was more in shock than actual pain but he was feeling very weak.

"Not a bear." Chloe risked a glance backwards. "God, Clarke, I'm so sorry." She was close to tears, but holding them back.

"Where is it?" They paused. The woods were silent and there wasn't any movement. They had both dropped their torches in the confusion although they wouldn't have used them in any case. "I can't see it anywhere, " Clarke groaned.

"Clarke, we've got to get you to a hospital."

"No hospital. Got to get to my parents." Clarke gave her an intent look. "Promise me."

"You need a doctor."

"No. No hospital, no doctor. Please, Chloe."

Chloe couldn't not promise. Not when it was her obsessiveness that had got him hurt. "Ok. But we've got to go quickly; you're losing a lot of blood."

"Fine..." He cut off as they heard rustling nearby. Red eyes glinted and they had a seconds warning before the creature was metres from them. Chloe noticed dispassionately, as she and Clarke ran and dodged between trees, that it wasn't as big as she had originally thought. It was pretty tall, seven feet at least and built of scaly muscle but it was more human sized and shaped than she had realised.

It was just behind them. They ran faster, branches clawing at their faces. Every step was blindly uneven. Tangles and roots tripped at their feet, constantly threatening to bring them down. Still they ran. The thing that chased them was either not as fast on it's feet as it was with its claws, or it was playing with them. Chloe liked the first answer better. Even so, it was gaining on them. Clarke was keeping pace with her, but she was slowing imperceptibly.

She glanced back, a tree appeared out of the darkness too fast for her and suddenly there was an impact in her chest. She gasped, winded and flattened her back to the tree as the monster stopped inches from her. Its mouth opened and she saw rows of sharp teeth, extending back into its widening mouth.

Suddenly, the creature was knocked back. Chloe looked round to see Clarke wielding a tree branch. His chest was still bleeding freely and he seemed to be feeling it. Moving sluggishly, his face was pale, as he gripped onto the branch with both hands. The creature staggered back but was ready for Clarke's next swing and sliced the branch in half with it's claws.

The distraction was enough to give Chloe a chance to make a break for it. She saw Clarke throw the remains of the branch before he turned and then they were running side by side. She wanted so badly to look back, but she didn't dare risk it. With no warning, Clarke stumbled and fell to the ground, sprawling face down. Chloe grabbed his arm and turned him over. He was unconscious, the blood loss taking its toll. She heard the snapping of branches as the monster neared them.


Chloe's mind seemed clearer and more focused than she had ever felt before, she felt full of adrenalin and terror but she knew that she wouldn't be able to carry Clarke. Grabbing branches she covered him as best she could, it was rudimentary but she hoped it would be enough. Luckily he was wearing dark colours anyway. The monster was nearby but she couldn't tell exactly how near.

She picked a direction virtually at random and sprinted off in it. "I'm over here, " she yelled. She wanted to shout something less obvious but nothing sprang to mind, she couldn't even summon up a decent scream. The monster roared in reply and she realised it was close. Too close. From the rustling and snapping of branches her plan was working and it was heading for her. Now all she had to do was survive it. She glanced back and saw the glint of burning red eyes and turned back just in time to discover she did have a scream in her after all. Tara was standing right there in front of her. She clamped her hand over Chloe's mouth and seemed to be chanting softly under her breath. The blood was rushing in Chloe's ears and she couldn't hear properly, but she caught what sounded like, "blind Cadria shield us." Then the monster was upon them.

It burst into the clearing they stood in and stopped dead. Chloe tore herself away from Tara's eyes and turned to look at the creature. Its eyes were roving and it was peering round the clearing. The moon was full and they were clearly visible but it seemed unable to see them. Chloe gulped and shuddered, its face was too humanlike for her comfort and she wanted to scream and run and attack all at once. Tara's other hand gripped her arm and held her in place.

It took a step closer and it's gaze bored through them. Chloe held her breath. She was sure it could hear her heartbeat, smell her sweat, hell, she was sure it could see her. It was right there. It was less than a metre away. It could reach out and kill her. It had to know they were there, it couldn't not know they were there. She wanted to scream at it to stop playing with her. She wanted to fight back, not stand there like a paralysed victim. She wouldn't die like a victim. She started to pull her self away from Tara, ready to fight it. Tara wrapped her arm around Chloe holding her in place. Chloe struggled but didn't have the strength the break free. Tara grabbed the back of her head and looked in her eyes. Chloe stared back, Tara's eyes holding her there. Now she could see Tara's confidence. She realised that it was Tara who was stopping the monster from seeing them. She put her trust in Tara.

The monster let out an unearthly howl and was gone. It loped off, disappearing into the darkness. Chloe let out a long ragged breath and felt her legs give way. She sat down heavily.

"W..we have to get out of here." Tara's voice was soft and barely registered.

"What?" Chloe looked up at Tara, her brain was making a comeback and she suddenly had a lot of questions.

"W..w..we have to move. It could come b..back." She reached out her hand to help Chloe up as she spoke, halfway between and whisper and her normal quiet tone.

"What the hell was it? Why didn't it see us? Why are you here? What is going on? What the hell was it?" Chloe kept her voice level as she pelted questions like rocks.

"Later. I'll explain later but we have to move." Tara's urgency was even overriding her stutter so Chloe complied.

"Oh god, Clarke!" She broke out into a run, praying that she would be able to find her friend. She made an educated guess which way she had come and realised with relief, that the thing that chased them had gone the opposite direction. Tara followed close behind her.

"I see him." Tara pointed and led the way to where he was still collapsed.

"How did you see him?" Chloe pulled the branches off him. He was still pale but the wound in his chest had stopped bleeding.

"His aura is very bright."

"His aura?"

Tara shook her head. "Later, I'll explain, I promise."

One glance at her injured friend convinced her of the need for speed and the two of them managed to get him to his feet with one of them under each arm. Clarke was at least partially awake now and they started to stagger back to the road.

As they walked Chloe pulled out her mobile and punched in the number for the Kent farm one handed. "Hello? Mr Kent? It's Chloe. Clarke has been hurt; we need you to pick us up on York road. We're about a kilometre out of town." Chloe stowed the phone back in her pocket as Jonathan Kent hung up. By the tone in his voice she guessed he would get there about ten minutes sooner than any speed limits would allow.

She was right and almost as soon as they had reached the road they heard the sound of a motor. Jonathan Kent's truck screeched to a halt by them. He was out in a second and at Clarke's side.

Clarke was more awake now and smiled at his father. "Hi, Dad."

"Hey, Son, how are you feeling?" He was every bit the strong but terrified father.

"I'm doing ok. I'll live." Clarke winced with each word.

"How could this happen?" Jonathan seemed more confused than Chloe would have thought.

"Mr Kent, Clarke insisted that we call you but we have to get him to a hospital."

"No, we'll take him back to the farm." He started to help Clarke into the truck.

"What? He needs a doctor." Chloe really didn't understand. She felt like everything she understood was crumbling around her. Nothing was making sense any more and she was seconds away from screaming at someone.

Jonathan Kent finished helping Clarke into the cab; he turned to her and laid a hand on her shoulder. "Trust me, Chloe. I know what is best for Clarke."

She had no choice but to comply, one thing that she could latch onto was that Clarke's parents were good people. They would never do anything to harm their son. She nodded and he walked around the front of the truck and got into the other side. Chloe clambered into the back and helped Tara up.

"Thanks." Tara smiled at her but Chloe could see a great deal of fear behind the smile.

"No problem." Chloe returned her smile for a second but it quickly vanished. There was a long pause before she spoke. "Tara, what's going on?"

"'s h..hard to explain."

"What was that thing?" Her mind was whirling with possibilities; her top theory was some kind of human reptile hybrid caused by meteor rocks.

"It's a demon."

"What?" Chloe's scepticism was unhidden.

They pulled into the Kent farm and Chloe and Tara hopped out, as Jonathan Kent began to help his son into the house. They followed them mutely inside and watched as Martha helped them get Clarke onto the kitchen table, his legs dangling off the end, and remove his mangled and muddy shirt. Martha wet a towel started to sponge the mud and blood from around the wound. Chloe could see her blinking tears back from her eyes. She seemed to be trying to hold back all the pain at seeing her child like this, but her hand wasn't steady.

Jon and Martha were conferring in low voices over Clarke, too low for the two girls to hear. Tara looked painfully embarrassed and out of place.

Chloe was feeling a tangle of guilt and pain in her gut. She was afraid that Clarke would die because of her. "Is he going to be ok?"

Martha looked over at her, her eyes softening a bit when she saw how concerned Chloe was. "It's a shallow cut and its already stopped bleeding but it could be infected, we can't be sure."

"I can help." Tara stepped towards the Kent's hesitantly.

The Kent's exchanged a look that said it all. Chloe knew they were about to reject Tara's offer of help but despite her questions she still trusted the shy blonde. "Let her try. Please."

Jonathan regarded Chloe and Tara for a moment and then nodded. Clarke's eyes were closed and he seemed to be passed out from the pain. Tara walked over to the counter and picked up a white tea towel. Ignoring the questioning looks directed at her she picked up a jar of sage and upended it. She gathered the sage into the tea towel and holding it all in place like a pouch.

Tara nervously glanced around at the bewildered expressions directed at her and stepped over to Clarke's side. She held the sage pouch over the wound in his chest and closed her eyes. "Goddess, Astarte, hear my prayer. Cleanse the unclean. Purify the impure. As your will, so mote it be."

As they watched unbelieving a blue light started to shimmer around the tea towel pouch. The light snaked down a tendril towards Clarke's chest and seemed to latch onto the wound. Clarke's eyes opened and he inhaled as his body arched upwards. Martha started forward but Jonathan held her back. The light started to pulse, the light became dark and smoky and the pulses flowed upwards and out of Clarke. It was over after a second. Tara exhaled nervously; the towel was blackened and looked heavier and wetter. She dropped it into the bin and washed her hands.

The wound on Clarke's chest was visibly cleaner, almost pink and raw. Martha hurried forward and started to dress the wound. Jonathan and Chloe just stared at Tara.


It was half an hour later now and the five of them were sitting around the kitchen table sipping tea. Clarke was bandaged up and seemed normal apart from wincing whenever he moved, spoke or breathed.

There was a heavy and uncomfortable silence in the air. There were too many questions that needed answers and too much that they already didn't understand.

Jonathan Kent took the initiative. "Chloe, why don't you fill me in on what's going on here?"

Chloe smiled nervously. She couldn't detect any anger in his voice but he wasn't one for showing his emotions much and she had got his son hurt. "Well. You must have heard about the death of Carl Dringenberg? He was found in Stykers wood."

Jonathan nodded. "I heard about it. Didn't they say it was a bear?"

"That's what they said but have you ever heard of any bears there? Clarke and I broke into the morgue."

Martha shot a piercing glance at her son who tried to shrug but ended up just grimacing in pain. His mother's eyes softened towards him. Instead she levelled the accusatory stare at Chloe.

"What were we supposed to do? We were right as well, he hadn't been mauled by a bear, he had been cut apart by something razor sharp and was missing his heart, " replied Chloe.

" Christ." Jonathan Kent stood up and leaned restlessly against the counter.

"We didn't find much else out so we went to the site where he was attacked."

"And got attacked yourself?"

Clarke's parents were reacting far better than Chloe's would have but she was still very uncomfortable under their scrutiny. "Yeah. This thing came out of nowhere. It was hideous. It was like... It was like nothing I've ever seen."

"What was it?" Jonathan sat down again but Chloe shrugged and just turned to look at Tara. The others followed her gaze.

"It w..w..w was a demon." Tara was avoiding their eyes and focusing on the untouched cup of tea in front of her.

"A demon? From Hell?" Jonathan's scepticism was clear. He had seen impossible things, his own adopted son had landed in a spacecraft in front of him but this was too much.

"Not Hell. I think this is indigenous to Earth." Tara looked up at them and smiled apologetically. "Demons, v..vampires, ghosts, they're all real. They are ev..everywhere." She had the tone of someone explaining that Santa wasn't real. This was all old news to her. Chloe realised that she must have known about things like this her whole life. No wonder she had felt apart from other kids.

"And what are you?" The question sounded a lot harsher than Chloe had intended but she didn't bother to rephrase it. It burned her that Tara had lied. She knew it was unreasonable but that was how it was.

"I'm a w..w..w..wiccan." It was an effort but Tara got the word out.

"You mean a Witch?" Chloe knew very little about Wicca. In fact, unless she resorted to Macbeth she had reached the limits of her knowledge.

Tara nodded. "I've practiced since I was little."

"Looks like you've gotten pretty good at it." Clarke sounded impressed. He saw Chloe looking at him intently. "Sorry, but she helped me and I'm grateful. Thank you, Tara."

Tara turned red and looked down mumbling something which sounded like a thank you.

"Clarke's right. When that demon." The word felt odd in her mouth but it was the best and only explanation so far. "It was chasing me, Tara, managed to hide us with a spell. It was pretty cool." Chloe met Tara's eyes as the witch glanced up at her. "Thanks."

Tara didn't reply but a smile found its way onto her face.

Jonathan's voice cut in. "Why were you out there?"

"I was trying to find it. I didn't really believe that it w.was out there even after seeing the evidence."

"It killed your Grandfather didn't it?" Chloe slipped the question in and noticed a guilty start from Tara. She had known.

Tara nodded. "I don't know much about it. I know that it's impervious to normal weapons."

"How?" Jonathan leaned forward, interested.

"Neither sword nor arrow now lance can pierce it's hide." Tara spoke as though reciting something.

"What can? It must have weaknesses." Clarke wondered if he could put a sword through its hide. He wondered if he was brave enough to try.

"I don't know." Tara shook her head, helplessly. "I don't have access to all the books that would tell me about it. They are all locked away in my father's study."

"Your father knows about all this. Does he know you're a witch?"

Tara shook her head at Martha's question. "He doesn't know I'm a w..Wicca but he does know about magic and demons."

"I'll give him a call." Jonathan picked up the phone but Tara grabbed his arm.

"No. He'll deny it." She snatched back her hand. "He'll be on his guard if you call him. I just have to sneak into his study somehow to look at the books."

"Does he lock it?" Tara nodded, Chloe felt her confidence returning, it sounded like she could help. "I can deal with that." She pulled out her set of lock picks and held them up.

Jonathan and Martha exchanged a look but didn't say a word.

"So we can go and find out how to kill this demon and be back here before dawn."

"Absolutely not. There is no way I am letting you two girls out on your own tonight. No way in hell." Jonathan Kent stood irresolute.


Jonathan dropped the two of them off outside the entrance to the grounds of the McClay house. It stood at the north edge of Stykers wood and was surrounded by a large overgrown garden. They watched as the truck's lights disappeared into the distance. Tara moved closer to Chloe and whispered into her ear. "Follow me."

It was pitch black and Chloe followed close behind praying that she wouldn't step on any twigs, fall into any pits or succumb to any number of other dangers that in her imagination lay around the house. The house itself would have looked more at home in Louisiana, it was large and in disrepair. It was easily three stories high and looked imposing. Tara sneaked ahead of her and circled round the house. Chloe tried to detect any signs of life but there were no lights on. Together they sneaked towards the back door. There were no sounds apart from the wind in the trees. As they reached the back door, Chloe darted forward and pulled out her lock picks.

"Chloe." Tara whispered.


"I live here."

Chloe silently put away the picks and got out of Tara's way. Her friend opened the door silently and slipped inside, holding it open for Chloe. She led the way through the house.

The study was on the ground floor, Tara listened at the door for just about forever before she moved out of the way and let Chloe get to work.

"Piece of cake." Chloe muttered to herself as she selected the right picks. She couldn't help but wonder if her life as a journalist would be anything like this. God she hoped so. The lock clicked and she swung open the door. Tara followed and closed the door behind them.

"Damn, I forgot my torch," whispered Chloe.

Tara switched the light on. "W..we need the light. It'll be hard enough without it." Chloe looked around the study and realised what Tara was talking about. There had to be three thousand books in the room and none of them looked like the latest Pratchett. She looked at a nearby title. A Treatise on the proper torture methods in the interrogation of witches. Charming. There was also a large desk in the middle of the room with papers scattered across it. She couldn't help but notice that there was no computer on it. Although that there was also a drinks cabinet and another cabinet hung with weapons the major feature of the room were the books.

"We can stick to these books here." Tara gestured to one wall. "These are the books about demons."

"It's hopeless."

"No, you've just got to go about it the right w..way. You start with the right books and then you can kind of find a trail to the right information." She pulled down a book and handed it to Chloe. Demons of the outer reaches.

"Sounds easy enough, pretty much like research for the paper."

They both sat down next to each other and started to flick through their respective books.

"So how did you get into magic?"

"My Mom is a witch too; we both keep pretty quiet about it though. My father doesn't approve of magic."

"I can tell." Chloe gestured around at the library.

Tara giggled. "I can see how this looks but he isn't a bad man. He just doesn't want us to get hurt.

"I never said anything about him being bad."

Tara looked down at her book.

They continued to work through books, they were building up an impressive pile but making little more progress.

"Tara I..."

"Shh!" Tara put her hand over Chloe's mouth. There was the sound of feet on the stairs.

The door of the study swung open.


Clarke sat in his barn hideaway. His chest hurt like hell but he was already feeling a lot better.

"I'd ask what you were thinking about but I'm pretty sure I know that answer." Clarke turned to see his mom standing at the top of the stairs.

"What do you think I'm thinking about?"

"Well if you're anything like me then you're thinking about demons being real and having the ability to hurt you."

"No. Well not really. I was so sure I could protect us both."

"Clarke you're only huma... well, you're not all powerful."

"It was my own overconfidence that got me hurt; it would have been so much worse if Tara hadn't been there."

"Tara was there. Clarke, you can't kick yourself over every unforeseen event. Do you really believe that you could have stopped Chloe from going into the woods?"

Clarke laughed. "Now you come to mention it."

"Clarke, I won't pretend that it doesn't scare me that you might get hurt one of these days. But I know that there isn't any way that I could stop you trying to help people. I'm not sure that I would even want to."


"But you do need to be careful. I'm glad that this happened. Jonathan and I can tell you to be careful over and over, but you're young. Now you've learnt it for yourself and you lived through it. I just hope it sticks."

Clarke laughed. "So you think I should chalk it down to learning and move on?"


"Ok. I guess I should be grateful that we all got through this alive. I just hope Chloe and Tara are still out of danger, " Clarke sighed.

Martha smiled knowingly at the mention of the two girls. "I'm sure that they are getting along fine."

"I came up here to try and make sure."


"I've been trying to control my x-ray vision more. I can use it with the telescope now."

"Wow, so have you got it pointed at the McClay house now." Martha stepped up to the telescope and looked through the lens.

"Mom, you really shouldn't...."

"Isn't that Lana's house?"


The door slammed open loudly, the heavy wood hitting the wall with a crack. Chloe gave an involuntary yelp of surprise but Tara seemed terrified into silence.

Standing in the doorway was a surly looking teen with a bad case of acne. His face was spread in an unpleasant smile.

"Donny?" Tara didn't sound relieved, just surprised.

"Hey there, Tara, what you doing here?"

"Please, Donny, you've got to be quiet or dad will hear."

"You don't tell me what to do!" He strutted into the room and looked Chloe up and down in a way that made her skin crawl.

"You are in so much trouble now. When Dad finds out you've been in here, he's gonna....well I ain't too sure what he'll do, but I am sure looking forward to seeing it."

"Donny, please, you can't..."

He backhanded her across the face. "I said you don't tell me what to do! And you..." He turned to look at Chloe in time to see her fist.

Donny's head snapped back from the punch and he fell into the bookcase cracking his head on the shelves and sending books flying. He slumped to the floor, unconscious. "Ow." Chloe rubbed her knuckles. "That hurt."

Tara gazed at her awestruck. "Wow."

Chloe looked down, embarrassed by Tara's wide-eyed adoring gaze. Embarrassed but very pleased. "Hey there you are." She reached down and picked up one of the books knocked over by Donny. An ugly woodcarving of their demon looked out at her.

"What does it say about it?" Tara leaned against Chloe's body so they could both read it.

"Er.." Chloe focused on the book and tried to skim through the words. "It's called a Voorshak demon. You were right, it is native to Earth, but it mostly lives in swamps. Wonder why it's here?"

Tara didn't answer but put her hand under the one Chloe was holding the book with to steady it. "It can only be killed by a weapon of virgin silver."

"Virgin silver, does that mean what I think it means?" She turned her head to look at Tara; the witch's face was inches from hers and looked slightly confused.

"What do you think it means?"

"You know, that it's never..." Her eyes flickered downwards suggestively.

Tara laughed. "It means a silver weapon that's never spilt blood."

"Oh." Chloe was embarrassed for a moment and then she laughed as well.

"There should be one in the weapons cabinet." Tara gestured over to the cabinet. Together they walked over to it. Everything was clearly labelled and covered with a slight sheen of dust.

The lock was easily opened and Tara lifted out a short sword about a foot long with an ornate handle in the shape of an oriental dragon. She dusted it with her sleeve and it gleamed. It looked terribly sharp.

"Can we be sure that it is a virgin?" Chloe unsuccessfully hid a smile.

"My father wouldn't have labelled it as virgin unless it was and he would have tested it."

Chloe looked back over at Donny and round the room again. "Can you hide the fact that the weapon's been taken?"

"Why bother? Donny will tell Dad everything when he wakes up."

"Trust me on this one." Chloe's smile was one of pure evil as she walked over to Donny and started to drag him until he was leaning against the desk. She heard Tara chanting and saw a flash of light from the cabinet. Looking up she saw an exact replica of the sword in the exact place they had taken it from.

"You should lock the cabinet now."

"Wow, do you realise just how cool you are?"

Tara shook her head. "You're the cool" They grinned at each other for a second.

"It looks so real." Chloe reached out to touch it.

"No." Tara grabbed Chloe's hand. "It'll disappear as soon as it's touched."

"Oops, sorry." Chloe reluctantly pulled her hand away from Tara and closed and locked the cabinet. It looked untouched, even down the dust. "Ok, start piling the books back onto the shelves."

As Tara did that Chloe picked the lock on the drinks cabinet. Inside there were more than a few bottles that didn't look like any liquor she had ever seen, but there were a few staples of whisky and vodka too. She took one bottle of Jack Daniels and left the cabinet open. Tara was looking at her fearfully but wasn't saying a word. Chloe flashed her a shit-eating grin and opened the bottle. She tossed the cap aside before she started splashing the whisky into Donny's clothing. He stirred as she splashed some in his face but remained unconscious. Then she laid the bottle on its side next to him and watched as the whisky poured out into the carpet. The entire room stank of whisky and Donny sat slumped by the desk covered in it.

"Now who's your father going to believe?" Chloe glanced over at Tara, who had finished putting the books back and was looking at Donny and then Chloe and then Donny again.

"Wow." She stifled laughter and hugged Chloe with an unusual abandon.

Chloe grabbed her hand. "Come on." Together they hurried out of the room trying to stop giggling.


Outside, once they had got far enough away they collapsed together against a tree and laughed.

"That was so...that was genius." Chloe blushed from Tara's praise but didn't deny it.

"It deserves that bastard right, how dare he slap you like that."

"It's ok. I'm fine."

Chloe reached out and brushed her fingers against Tara's cheek. Tara's breath caught in her throat and she gazed into Chloe's eyes. Neither was laughing now. Tara closed the distance and her lips brushed gently against Chloe's. There was the slightest pressure and then she moved back. Chloe didn't say a word but brought her fingers up to her lips in disbelief.


Tara suddenly pushed her violently away. Chloe tumbled down into the grass and the breath was knocked from her. She looked up in time to see the demon towering over Tara. Its claw wrapped around her neck and it slammed her into the tree

"Grandma, please." gasped Tara. The demon roared, baring its rows of teeth.

"Get away from her." Chloe shouted and brandished the sword at it.

The Voorshak tossed Tara aside into a tree where she impacted with a loud smack and crumpled into a heap on the floor. It turned and growled, before launching itself at Chloe. It was massive and she cringed as she anticipated the hit.

It never came. With no warning Clarke was there. He was holding back the demon, its wrists grabbed in his hands. The demon roared and struggled and Chloe could see the muscles bulging in Clarke's arms.

Chloe ran forward, ducking under Clarke's arm she rammed the sword deep into the demon's stomach. It screamed a very human-sounding scream of pain. Chloe fell backwards. It was spasming with the agony and Clarke's grip slipped from its wrists. It slashed at him viciously but with incredible speed he ducked to grab the hilt of the sword and with one slash upwards, cut it in half. It dissolved into dust before it hit the ground.

"Tara." Chloe stumbled over to where the witch was lying. She propped her up and shook her gently to try and wake her.

Clarke walked over to her side, still holding the bloody sword. "Is she ok?"

"I think so. How about you? How did you get here so fast and why?"

"I....had a bad feeling about you."

Chloe was about to rip that explanation apart but then Tara stirred and opened her eyes. She smiled as she looked up at Chloe. Chloe smiled for a moment and then frowned. She helped Tara to her feet. "Clarke, could you go and wait with your dad? He should be over that way waiting in the truck."

Clarke nodded and left silently.

"Are you ok?" Tara moved to touch Chloe's arm but the reporter moved away.

"You called it Grandma." She didn't look at Tara as she said it.

"Oh, " was all Tara could say.

"Why? What?" Chloe couldn't find the right question.

"It w..w..w..w..." Tara paused and tried again. "It w..w..was my grandmother."

"How?" Chloe looked at Tara now. The shy girl was looking as though she might implode into herself. Chloe wanted to tell her everything was all right. But it wasn't.

"The w..w..w..women in my family. W..w..w..we are part demon." Tears were running down Tara's face.

"You're a demon?" Chloe said it more to herself than Tara.

"On our twentieth birthday, w..w..we start to become that thing. There are potions, rituals that prevent it but...."

"You're a demon." Chloe whispered again.


There was silence for a long time; Chloe's mind was in turmoil trying to make sense of it all. "Tara...." She started to say but looking up she realised that Tara had gone.


"Clarke, what are you doing here?"

"I was using my telescope and x-ray vision to keep an eye on Chloe and Tara and I saw the demon getting close to them." He decided not to mention what else he saw.

"You must have run pretty fast to get out here. Is your chest ok?"

"Yeah, it hurts a bit but I feel good. We got the demon."

"I'm proud of you, son. Where are the girls?"

"They wanted a moment to talk. They'll be along in a minute."

They talked quietly for a few more minutes before Chloe opened the door and got in beside Clarke.

"Where's Tara?" Jonathan asked as he glanced backwards to see if she was getting into the back.

"She went home." Chloe's tone gave the men enough of a hint not to pursue the matter.

"I was meaning to talk to the two of you about her actually." Jonathan started the truck and headed for Chloe's house. "I think it's best to be careful around her, I don't know much about witches but I don't like the idea of one at school."

"Tara's ok, Dad."

"I'm sure that she's a very nice girl but I'm just saying that you maybe shouldn't spend too much time around her. You got hurt tonight Clarke, I don't want anything else to happen to you."


"Clarke, I'm not saying that she's evil but she is a witch and we can't just ignore that."

"Why not?" Chloe interrupted angrily. "It doesn't matter that she's a witch, she's sweet and smart and kind and so what does it matter what she is."

There was a long silence until Clarke broke it. "She's right, Dad."

Jonathan Kent chuckled slightly. "I guess she is, at that."


Chloe stood in the doorway of Tara's room. Her friend was sitting on the bed, gazing out the window. Crumpled up tissues were lying on the floor and her eyes were red and puffy from crying. The room itself was quite small but filled with books. There were a few art deco prints on the walls and candles scattered about. "Hey."

Tara looked up and saw Chloe standing in the doorway of her room.

"Your mom let me in, she seems pretty cool. How are you?"

Tara smiled "I'm ok." Her red eyes belied her words.

"You look like you've been crying."


"I'm sorry, "said Chloe, suddenly.

Tara could see nothing but care in Chloe's eyes. "You don't have anything to be sorry about."

"Yeah I do." Chloe sat beside Tara on her bed. "I freaked."

"You had every right to...."

"No I didn't." Chloe laid her hand on Tara's arm. "I freaked when I found out you were a witch and I freaked when I found out you were part demon."

Tara flinched at the word demon, but didn't say a word.

"But none of that matters. None of that changes who you are. None of that changes the way that I...." She took a deep breath and forced herself to get the words out. "The way that I feel about you."

Tara looked at her, wide eyes capturing Chloe's. "The w..way you feel?"

"Yeah." Chloe leaned forward and kissed her. Tara returned the kiss, her soft lips pressing hard against Chloes' and a low moan echoed into Chloe's mouth.

"Wow." Chloe moved away enough to look at Tara. "I guess you feel the same way."

Tara answered by kissing her again.