Happy Sunday! Hope you all had a great week.
Below are chapters 18 and 19 of An Empty Grave, the sequel to The Huntress and the Hound. Previous chapters are all available under the ‘projects’ tab.
Hope you enjoy! Happy Hunting!
“Are you sure you’re alright?” My aunt asks me for about the tenth time tonight. She’s leaning in the doorway of my room, watching my run a brush through my hair.
I’ve now showered and changed into a baggy t-shirt and sweats and am completely ready for bed.
Nodding, I set the hairbrush down on my dresser and climb into my bed.
“Yes, I’m feeling much better.”
I burrow under the covers, my head on my soft pillow, exhaustion seeping in through my bones.
Sarah stand up straight and I think she’s about to leave but then she steps forward and sits on the edge of the bed. She stares at the flower pattern of my comforter. She traces a petal with her finger, almost absentmindedly.
“I feel,” she begins after taking a deep breath. “I feel like I’ve failed you.”
“What do you mean?” I ask, frowning at her.
“I know that it was that thing, talking to us, but it was right. This has been going on for months and we didn’t notice.”
“What do you mean ‘it was right’?”
She finally looks up at me, frowning.
“You don’t remember?”
Slowly, I shake my head.
To be honest, I don’t remember much about tonight or even the past few days. It’s all a blur in my head, some things there and but a lot is missing. A lot of time is just… blank in my head. I remember being at the lake tonight but I don’t remember why. And then I woke up to Chase and the others surrounding me.
Sarah shakes her head, dismissing my earlier question. “It’s not important. I just want you to know that I love you.”
I smile softly at her. “I love you, too. And I’m sorry for whatever it was that was said. I didn’t mean it.”
She scoffs but there are tears in her eyes. “Nonsense. You get some rest. I’ll make you pancakes in the morning.”
This makes me laugh.
“Thank you,” I say.
She pats my cheek and then stands up and leaves the room, closing the door gently behind her.
I turn off the lamp by my bedside, and roll under the covers, curling around the pillow. I can’t help but think of Chase. He –
The door to my room opens, and the overhead light is turned on.
A smiling Remi steps into the room with Duke following.
“What are you guys doing here?” I ask.
Duke and Remi had left in Duke’s car when we left Haven, but I haven’t seen them since. I assumed they went to Remi’s house.
Remi grins. “Movie night,” she says, holding up a copy of 21 Jump Street.
I can’t help but smile. It’s my favorite movie.
“You don’t have to stay with me,” I say. “I’m fine, I swear.”
“We just want to be with you,” Remi says a sad look on her face.
Duke puts the movie on as Remi climbs into the bed on my left. I curl up against her chest, and she wraps an arm around my shoulders and places her other hand on mine.
When the movie is in, Duke comes to my other side.
We’re quiet as he presses play on the DVD remote, and the opening scene begins.
“He did something bad, didn’t he?” I ask, my voice quiet, fear seeping in. The possibilities of what Chase did are endless.
Neither of them say anything, but Remi squeezes my hands, and Duke rolls so that his head is on my shoulder and his arm wrapped around mine and Remi’s.
And right now, that means everything.
When i wake up the next morning, Duke and Remi are gone, and a pillow is wrapped close to my chest.
My thoughts automatically go to Chase. I search for my phone, and when I find it sitting on the nightstand next to me, I send him a text.
‘Can you come over?’ I ask. ‘We need to talk.’
His reply is almost instant.
‘Be there in a few.’
Slowly, I get up. My body feels like it’s run a marathon, all of my muscles stiff and sore.
I make my way downstairs finding Duke and Remi sitting at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee in both of their hands.
“Morning, B!’ Remi cheers, and I flinch at her bright tone.
“Where’s Sarah?” I ask, as I sit down next to Duke.
“She was gonna make you breakfast, but I told her to let you rest and that i would make you something when you get up. Now, she’s out shopping around for prom dresses,” Duke informs me.
“She’s going to prom?” I ask, as I get up and go to the cupboard for a mug.
Duke chuckles. “No, idiot. She’s looking for dresses for you.”
This makes me snort. “Why? I’m not going to prom.”
I pour coffee into the mug, and the two behind me are completely silent.
And then…”Aren’t you going with Chase?” Remi asks.
I turn, raising the black coffee to my lips to see Duke glaring at Remi.
Remi shrugs at him and they both turn to look at me.
I look down at my coffee.
“Yeah, uh, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
There’s a knock on the front door, ending the conversation.
“I’ll get it,” I say, putting my cup on the table and going to the door.
It’s Chase, and when I open the door, I step outside, surprising him.
“Hey,” he greets, taking a step back.
I close the door behind us, and turn to him, my eyes on the ground.
“Hey,” I reply, ringing my fingers together.
“You’re looking better,” he says.
I nod. “I’m feeling better.”
“That’s really good. I’m glad.”
I want to roll my eyes at how painfully awkward this is. We’ve never been like this before. We’ve never struggled with what to say. And I’ve never felt like I was about to break his heart and mine.
“What did you want to talk about?” He asks, his voice quiet like he might already know where this is going.
“I, um, I don’t think I can do this anymore,” I say on a deep exhale, a shiver running through my body.
For a moment, Chase doesn’t say anything.
When he does speak he says, “You don’t have to do this.” His voice is low and heavy with emotion and it overwhelms me.
“I do,” I say on a sob. “I do. I need us to be over.”
Finally, I look up at him, and he’s watching me with hard eyes. He takes a step back, scoffing.
“I did this for you,” he says with a shake of his head.
“And I -” I take a deep breath. “Am grateful to be alive, I really am, but it seems like you’re always lying.”
‘To protect you!” He shouts, running his hands through his hair.
“I don’t need your protection! When your sister was kidnapped, you weren’t protecting me. You were protecting you! And now, you’ve been lying to me for six months about what happened the night I died. What else is going to come out, Chase? What else have you been hiding? What did you trade for my life?” My words start out hard and loud but by my last question, my voice is low and hard.
He shakes his head, biting at his lips.
“I told you, I’m not ready.”
I nod. “Then we’re over.”
He closes his eyes as I put the final nail in our coffin. He’s still for a moment, and when he reopens his eyes, there is so much emotion in them that I have to look away.
I don’t move as he steps close and places his arms around me, pulling me against his chest. I don’t move as he holds me. Gently, he places his lips at the top of my head.
“I love you,” he says. “Just remember that I will always love you.”
Then he’s pulling away, and walking down the path to his truck.
Wordlessly, I go back into the house, and lean against the door as I hear his truck start and pull away. Soon it fades.
Tears form in my eyes, but I clench my eyes shut, wishing them away.
“You okay?” Remi asks.
I open my eyes to find her standing in the kitchen doorway, her caring eyes focused on me.
“Peachy,” I reply, swallowing down the pain. I straighten and clear my throat. “So about those pancakes?”
There’s a knock on my bedroom door after the sun has gone down.
Duke made me pancakes in the morning, which more like lunch considering the time I woke up, and then I laid in bed. Typical teenager girl moping around over a broken heart.
Remi didn’t let me wallow alone for too long. She came stomping into my room, put on a funny movie and climbed into the bed next to me. And I’ve been here ever since.
“Come in,” I call, and Duke pulls open the door.
“Someone’s here to see you,” he says.
Remi and I share a look, and I climb out of bed, heading downstairs. I don’t find anyone in the kitchen or the front room so I go over to the front door and look outside. I frown when I see Hayden pacing on our front step. Then, I roll my eyes because why couldn’t Duke just tell me Hayden was on the porch?
I open the door and step out with her.
“Hey,” I greet her.
She snaps her head to me.
“Hey, you look better,” she nods to me.
I can’t help but frown. I must’ve really looked terrible the last time her and Chase saw me.
“Thanks. What’s going on?” I ask, crossing my arms over my chest.
“I – ” She lets out a deep sigh. “I need your help.”
“Okay, with what?” I ask.
She drops her shoulders, shaking her head almost like she can’t believe she’s here.
“I didn’t tell you guys everything,” she finally says, peering at me to gauge my reaction.
I wait for her to continue.
“It wasn’t just me and my sister growing up. It was me, Lily, and our broth, Luke. Luke and Lily are twins, and we were thankfully able to stick together for the most part. Most people aren’t willing to take in three siblings, so since we’re older, this time around we got placed into a group home. Lily and I were in one for girls while Luc was in one across the street for boys. We didn’t get to see him much, except for at school. And then I find out that the guy working for the Aldinn that approached Lily and me, also approached Luke.
The only different between us is somehow, he was able to convince Luke to go with him. We haven’t seen Luke in months. I aged out of the group home and was looking for a job and a place to stay so that I could bring them with me. I had so much going on, I didn’t notice that he was being swayed right under my nose.
Right before he left, he tried to get Lily to go with him, but I was able to keep her with me. But, now Luke is back. Lily told me that she’s been seeing him around. At school, outside of stores. He’s practically stalking her. He’s her twin, she’ll do anything for him and he knows that, so he thinks of her as an easy target.
I went out last night to try and find him, to either convince him to stay or to send him back. That’s when I ran into Chase and he said he was looking for you. While everything was happening last night, Luke approached Lily. She didn’t go with him but she found out where he’s been staying. I was wondering if you… could go with me. I don’t know who he is with or what we might find or… what Luke might do. I just have to at least protect my sister, if I can’t protect him.”
My eyes are wide as i take all of this in. It’s a lot.
I nod after a moment.
“I’ll help you,” I say. It’s the least I could do after she helped with me and my issues last night. “Let me just go upstairs and change.”
She nods, and I enter the house once more, running upstairs to my room.
Duke and Remi are sitting on my bed talking.
“What did she want?” Duke asks, as I enter the room.
“She needs my help finding her brother.”
“Her brother?” Remi asks, sounding confused.
I nod, but don’t elaborate as I go to my closet and grab some workout clothes.
“Do you think you can call Deklan and let him know where I’m going and then maybe follow in your car, just in case something is up?”Duke nods.
“Yeah, of course. Text us where you’re going and we’ll wait five minutes and head out after you.”
I nod my thanks and go into the bathroom and change. I pull my hair into a bun at the top of my head, and then run down the steps and back to hayden.
“Let’s go,” I tell her, sliding my phone and my keys into my pockets.
We walk quickly to the train and hop on, taking it down into the city. We don’t talk much on the ride, but I watch Hayden the whole time. She’s tense, and fidgety. Her knee keeps bouncing and she’s biting at her fingernails.
When it’s out stop, she jumps up.
“This is us,” she bites out and leads me off the train.
We jog down the steps until we reach the pavement, and then she leads us down a few blocks. We turn into an alley, when she slows.
“We’re near?” I ask, and she nods.
“Lily told me he said it’s this bar down at Clark that he’s been hanging out at. It should be at the end of this alley.”
“I knew she would tell you,” a voice says from behind us.
Both of us spin around to face a man. Well a young man. He’s tall with boyish-like features on his face, and what happens to be a friendly smile plastered across his lips. He’s got wavy blond hair that matches the color of Hayden’s and a cocksure stance. Definitely Hayden’s brother.
“Luke,” Hayden says, breathily, almost like she didn’t think she would actually find him. Maybe she hoped she wouldn’t. “So, it really is you.”
“You thought she would lie to you?” Luke asks his sister, cocking his head to the side.
Hayden shrugs, seeming aloof.
“I never thought you would lie to me and here we are. What are you doing here?”
“I miss my sisters,” Luke says casually.
“Really?” Hayden asks. “So, this isn’t just some plan to get us to switch sides?”
Luke bites at his bottom lip.
“I’m trying to make sure you and Lily survive. He’s going to win. You have no idea all that he’s planning.”
“Why don’t you tell us?” I ask, quirking an eyebrow.
Luke looks at me for the first time. Then back to his sister with wide eyes.
“You brought The Huntress?”
Hayden shrugs. “I assumed you didn’t come alone, why should I?”
“Lily is coming with me,” he says.
“She’s not going anywhere. She knows your dangerous.”
“I’m trying to protect her!” He shouts again. “I tried to protect you, too, but you’re too stubborn.”
“Go away, Luke,” Hayden growls.
“Don’t you want to see Mom again?” He asks, his voice lower this time.
Hayden freezes. “Mom’s dead. She died along time ago.”
Luke shakes his head and I look between the two of them.
“That’s what he told you?” I ask. “He said you’d see your mom again?”
“This doesn’t concern you,” he snarls at me.
“I recently thought I was seeing my mother because of him, and she died when I was younger. It’s not real, it’s dark magic and it will haunt you. Whatever he’s promising you, it’s not real. Most importantly, it’s dangerous.”
Luke looks at me, and then over his shoulder. He must hear something that I can’t. He looks back at his sister.
“Last chance, Sis. Come with me and I’ll protect you,” he urges her.
Hayden shakes her head, standing her ground. She actually steps closer to me.
Luke tracks the movement, frowning.
“I can’t, Luke. It’s not right,” she cries, and I look at her to see tears in her eyes.
He nods slowly.
“I love you,” he says. “But you’re right, I didn’t come alone.”
Two men appear at the end of the alley behind Luke. Vampires.
I glance over my shoulder. Three men stand behind us. Their fangs descended and eyes glowing.
I catch Hayden’s eye and nod behind us. She glances at them and then back at Luke.
“You have weapons, right?” Hayden speaks quietly from the corner of her mouth.
“Of course,” I whisper back. “But we shouldn’t need them.”
Hayden frowns at me, but keeping an eye on the vampires behind me, I slide my phone out of my pocket.
“What are you doing?” Luke asks as I dial Duke.
“Ordering a pizza,” I tell him with a smile.
Duke answers on the first ring. “Yo.”
“Backup,” I say. It’s one word but it’s all I need to say.
“On our way,” he says and then the line disconnects.
I pocket the phone and smile at Luke.
Within moments, the vampire realize that their window is closing, and they start moving in. But the squealing of tires catches everyone’s attention. Duke escalade comes barreling down the alley behind us, knocking the three vampires out of the way. They make a sickening crunching sound as they fall to the ground, the tires moving over them.
“Gross,” I voice as Duke stops the car just feet from us.
Remi pushes open the side door for us.
“Let’s go,” I say to Hayden, already moving towards the car. I stop when Hayden doesn’t take a step, and look back at her.
She looks to her brother once more but he just snarls, unmoving.
Reluctantly, she follows after me, sliding in next to me.
We close the door and Duke speeds down the alley, Luke and his friends jumping out of the way just in time.
“You brought backup?” Hayden asks, throwing me a look. “You didn’t trust me?”
I shake my head, looking out the window.
“No offense, but I don’t really trust anyone right now.”
The end. For now.
Finally, Bianca is back in action.
What did you think?
Hope you liked it!
Stay rad. – Catie.
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