I swallowed down my fear. “Okay.” I didn’t say what I was thinking, because I wanted to hope and not scare Raphael any more, but if the bite was infected, it was infected with something that medicine wouldn’t fix.

A hand came down on my shoulder and I looked up to see Yvonne. “One step at a time.”

“What should we do with the body?” Mr. Dawson said as he motioned down to Daniel.

I looked at what was left of my friend. We’d grown up together. Played together. Studied together. But this… This wasn’t my friend.

This was an abomination.

His skin had turned gray with patches of black. His mouth foamed white. Blisters covered his arms. And that was just what was visible. I stepped closer and choked at the foul stench of sulfur.

He held no aura. No soul. Whatever had been animating him was gone now.

“Burn it,” I said, and then I turned my back on him.

I had to focus on what I could do. I’d been too late to help Daniel, but if my brother was hurt, there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do to save him.

Chapter Five

“You should get some sleep,” Dr. Gonzales said and I nearly laughed. I’d used magic tonight—sending my already depleted energy reserves so deep into the red that my body literally ached all over from exhaustion, but sleep was not an option. Especially not now.

“I’ll be fine,” I said. I was sitting in the only chair in the tiny room. The hospital bed took up most of the space. A small table sat beside it with the lamp on dim, providing the only light. There was a small bathroom behind me, and a wall of cabinets took up what room was left.

Raphael quietly snored as the pain meds worked their way through his body. It had taken twenty stitches to fix up the mess that z-Daniel had made. Meredith liked to call him that. Z for zombie.

Only it wasn’t zombie so much as demon. I’d made that known but according to Meredith, d-Daniel sounded more like a stutter and way less cool. If he had to be brought back like that, the least we could give him was a worthy nickname. Again, according to Meredith.

What we called the abomination that Luciana had created didn’t matter to me. What really counted was that Raphael was all right.

“Well, if you’re going to stay in that chair the rest of the night, there are blankets in the cabinets.” Dr. Gonzales moved toward the door. “I’ll be just down the hall. Shout if you need anything.”

I nodded, not looking away from my brother. “Thank you.” I sat there, as still as I could be, until she left. Then, I scooted the chair closer, until I could rest my forehead on the bed.

The wolves had to sense what was wrong with him. I could only smell it when I was this close, but the scent of sulfur surrounded my brother now, and it didn’t take a genius to guess what would happen next. My brother would be just like Daniel. Luciana wouldn’t be satisfied until her twisted magic took everything from me.

What would I have left when she took Raphael?

Goosebumps ran up my arms, and I went to the cabinets on the other side of the bed. It took me three tries, but I found the blankets. The wolves liked to run the air conditioning a little more than I was comfortable with in the infirmary.

Or maybe I was still in shock.

The door opened and light filled the dimly lit room. “Hey,” Teresa said.

Oh God. I’d forced her change. She was going to be mad at me. “Hi.”

“How is he?”

I sank down in the chair with the blanket bundled in my arms. “Not good.”

“I heard Dr. Gonzales cleaned the wound and stitched it.”

I nodded. “She did a great job taking care of him, but she can’t fix this.”

Teresa sniffed and I finally turned and met her gaze. Her eyes were glowing, meaning her wolf was close to the surface. “Is that sulfur?”

Tears welled, and I tried to blink them away. “Yes.”

“Oh shit,” she said as she sat on the end of the bed. “This is really bad.”

“I know.” A single tear managed to slip free, and I quickly brushed it away. I couldn’t break now. I had to be strong.

“Do you think…” Teresa started and stopped. I waited for her question, but I could guess what she was going to ask. I’d been asking myself that same question.

“Do you know what’s going to happen to him?” She said finally.

“I don’t know for sure, but… Did you see Daniel?”


I gave her a level stare.

“No. No. That can’t happen.”