“They are lesser. They are weak. We’ve been slaves to them for centuries as we kept them safe. Without payment. Without a thank you. Blood shed and lives lost, and they don’t even notice. We cannot hide anymore. Not with cameras everywhere—in buildings, on the streets, in everyone’s hands. We must choose when we reveal ourselves, and the time is now.”
I shoved past Mr. Dawson, Sebastian, and Donovan. Maybe it was the wrong move, but I couldn’t help it. If it made me weaker because I was part-human, then so be it.
I made my way to the center of the group gathered around Mr. Hoel. “Everyone out of my way. Now.”
They scattered at the command.
Dastien moved to stop me, but I shook my head.
Mr. Hoel looked down at me. “Ah yes, the human half-breed here to—”
I didn’t let him finish whatever insult he had. I kicked the chair out from under him, and before he could react, punched him in the face.
When he moved to attack me, Donovan stepped between us. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Dastien grasped my arm. “Come on. Let’s let them handle this.”
I nodded and stepped away. I would’ve apologized to them for going after Mr. Hoel, but I couldn’t bring myself to. I wasn’t sorry.
“Everyone go back to St. Ailbe’s.” The sound of Sebastian’s voice echoed in the mall, and everyone turned to stare at us. “Except for Rupert,” Sebastian said.
The humans looked confused, but then came to whatever conclusions they could as they witnessed the mass exodus of uniformly dressed people.
A few of the wolves had the grace to look embarrassed, but not Imogene. I tried to ignore her as she walked toward me.
Dastien turned us toward the exit and I kept pace beside him.
One second I was thinking about how quickly we could get back so that I could shower, and the next something plowed into me and I was falling two stories to the ground. This time I couldn’t right myself before I hit.
The hard tile cracked against my back. Screams echoed through the mall, but the pain blocked them mostly out. It hurt to breathe, and I was pretty sure I’d broken something.
A foot collided with my side, and I rolled, coughing as I tried to desperately get air into my lungs.
Then everything froze. I wouldn’t have noticed it, except for the sudden silence in the mall. It was mega-eerie.
Claudia’s face appeared in front of me. “Sorry. I didn’t see her move or else I would’ve frozen her before she hit you. We only just got here. Had a meeting about who is taking over in your place. It went on forever.” She seemed to notice that I wasn’t moving. “Are you alright?”
“Grand,” I wheezed. “Thanks. I’m just going to hang out here for now.”
“Glad I could help.” She smiled. “Be right back. Going to reanimate the other wolves.”
“Fantastic.” If we were gone when the humans came out of it, they wouldn’t panic so much.
I glanced around from the ground and noticed that everyone in the mall was frozen. It was like someone hit the pause button on life. Dastien was a few steps away. Imogene was above me, poised to slam her fist into my face. Donovan was hovering directly above me mid-jump between the third and second floors.
If I hadn’t been in so much pain, I’d find it equal parts freaky and rad. I wondered if I hadn’t ended up with the Weres, then maybe I would’ve learned how to do the freezing people trick.
Claudia stood in the middle of the floor. Raphael was by her side, holding her hand. She raised her arms above her head and he mimicked her move. Together they muttered something. And then the wolves could move.
“Shit,” I said as I realized almost too late what was happening.
I slid away just before Imogene could land her punch. The tile under her fist cracked.
Dastien tackled her and pinned her to the ground. “Why?”
“Because I had nothing left to lose. You’re gone. My father is in trouble. And she gets everything. It’s not fair.”
I laughed, albeit a little hysterically as I was also in pain, but still the laughter bubbled free nonetheless. “What a load. I’ve gotten nothing but shat on my entire life. I finally get a little bit of good—if you ignore the whole biting thing, the going furry thing, the nearly getting offed by vampires that look suspiciously like zombies thing, the finding out I’m a witch thing, and the kind of losing my mind thing—but hey—at least I got a guy.” I snorted. “Because that tooootally makes everything worth it. Right? Now I can just go enjoy being barefoot in the kitchen for the rest of my crazy long-lived life.”