"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
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 b..be 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
"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
"N..no. 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-
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?"
"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 g..got 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
"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
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
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
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
"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
"I'm not letting you off the hook that easily."
"Where have you been all day? I didn't see you outside of class,"
"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
"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.
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
"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
"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
"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."
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
"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
"No, we'll take him back to the farm." He started to help Clarke into
"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
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
"It...it'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
"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
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
There was a heavy and uncomfortable silence in the air. There were
too many questions that needed answers and too much that they already
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
"We didn't find much else out so we went to the site where he was
"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 o..o..one 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
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
"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
"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
"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."
"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.
"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
"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
"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
Clarke laughed. "So you think I should chalk it down to learning and
"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, 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
Tara laughed. "It means a silver weapon that's never spilt blood."
"Oh." Chloe was embarrassed for a moment and then she laughed as
"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
"Can we be sure that it is a virgin?" Chloe unsuccessfully hid a
"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 o..o..one." 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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
Tara answered by kissing her again.