I was in my room, trying to not think about Liam. Of course, I wasn't getting very far in not thinking about him, so I decided to replay the whole incident in my mind, and pretend I was directing a movie.
I got to the part in today's mini-horror film featuring the villain's evil laugh. Liam was close enough by then for me to hear him, not just Derek. I didn't think about it then, but I could smell him too. The rotting stink of a dead corpse is very distinctive. Part of me knew the whole time, but everything had happened so fast. Derek's reaction came so quickly that my brain hadn't registered what my powers were telling me.
Liam was dead. That's why I had that dream. It wasn't just a nightmare- it was a warning. Maybe he could send dreams as a ghost or something. Or, maybe my dreams stem from the powers.
But now he wasn't a ghost, he was a zombie. My zombie, because I was the one who raised him.
I knew I should have felt horrified by the thought of trapping even a complete monster like Liam in his dead body, but I didn't.
Sadly, I was more horrified by the thought that I had fainted in front of Derek.
That was IT. I had had it. I was done playing his damsel-in-distress all the time. I was done feeling afraid. I had to do something, and I had to do it NOW.
I called Liz.
When she appeared, I asked her if she had seen Liam around anywhere.
"Well, that's the strange part. There's been talk of a new werewolf ghost, but he disappeared last night. No one has seen him since. They say the Pack got him. That they found him a week ago. He wasn't far from here, one of the Pack members just tore him to pieces. But his friend got away. I've been trying to find him for you, but I think he's too far away. I can always find you, mainly cause you have this glow, but trying to track down paranoid werewolves? Not so easy."
"Hold on a second. You mean the Pack killed him? Then why are they on their way here if he's supposed to be dead?" I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Something else was wrong now.
"Well, I guess the people I talked to about it could have been wrong," Liz ventured. "But we aren't usually wrong about these things. See we can-" She cut off, flickering out of my vision like a broken holograph. Then she popped back, still speaking, "so that's how I know he's dead." She stopped when she noticed my expression.
"Y-y-you just cut out."
"Oh, yeah. I guess there's like these rules or something. I have this ghost teacher person who is supposed to be showing me the ropes. She told me that there are some things that we ghosts can't talk about with necromancers. Usually things directly relating to the afterlife." She explained.
"Oh, well. Um, let me think how I should phrase this so I don't cut out…" She considered for a few seconds. "Ok! You can think of me as your very own personal Spirit Guide!" She sounded like my camp director from the summer camp Dad sent me to every summer until I was 13. Cheerful, perky, and over-caffeinated. "And pretty soon you'll be getting a teacher too!"
"I am? How do you know that?"
"I just do. I can't say anymore because-" she cut out again. "-but you'll be meeting her really soon! I can hardly wait! You are going to get a kick out of who her boyfriend is!" Liz declared, beaming at me. She was so excited that she was bouncing on the balls of her feet. Then she must have remembered something because the smile slid from her face and she glanced at me, chewing her lip nervously.
"Well, I did overhear that Andrew guy talking on the phone a few minutes ago. And I was standing close enough to him to hear what the other people were saying. I recognized the voice," she said earnestly.
"It was one of the Pack members, right? He already told us who had called. He said they were going to take care of Liam, and that we shouldn't worry about them stopping by. I guess he didn't tell them about Derek being a werewolf. "
"That's what I'm trying to tell you, Chloe. They know about Derek. They're coming to get him sometime tomorrow."
I swear my heart stopped. "T-t-to g-g-get h-h-him?" I took a deep breath, and slowly let it out. Tried to get past the sheer panic and focus on what I needed to know to keep Derek safe. "Did they say why?" I asked calmly.
"Oh, some crap about making sure Derek is around his own kind when he first Changes. I don't know, Chloe. Something seems wrong here. I know for a fact that he was talking to the Pack. But I don't understand why Andrew would tell you something different." Liz's brow furrowed. "You know, I have a bad feeling about this Andrew guy. I think you should grab the others and bail."
I agreed and started packing. The sooner we left the better. The Pack had said they would be here tomorrow, but that might not have been true either. It was getting harder and harder to trust people. I couldn't even work up a proper rage at Andrew's possible betrayal. I wasn't even surprised. All the adults that I had come across in the past month had let me down, one way or the other. I wondered how Derek was going to take it, and my heart ached for him. I prayed that there was a reasonable explanation, anything to explain why he would betray Derek, his honorary nephew. Because Derek had been let down even more by the adults, and it was only a matter of time before he even started doubting his father.
"What are you doing?" Tori asked, bringing me out of my thoughts. By then, I had my bag packed. I gave her an update on Andrew, making sure she knew that Liz was in the room with us, so all three of us could make the plans together.
Liz was one of the reasons why Tori and I had become friends. We had all sat down together the second night here and figured out a way to include Tori in conversations. Tori was much happier being able to talk to Liz, and Liz acted as referee if things got too intense for us.
I left my bag by the open window for Liz to stash outside when Tori would be distracting Andrew and any adults that might notice us leaving. Or notice flying backpacks. Being the Queen of Drama, Tori was even better at distractions than Simon.
"I've got to warn Derek," I said. As we headed down the steps, I told them my theory on Liam being a zombie. A zombie that I called.
"So, you can control him then, right?" At my nod, Tori continued, "Then there's nothing you have to worry about there, I mean, with zombies, it's simple. They follow your commands. So, even if you can't release his spirit, you can still command him not to hurt you. Or Derek. Heck, you could probably get him to hop into a fire if you wanted to," she said mischievously. Seeing the glint in her eyes, I hoped she was kidding.
"Do you think you could get Derek's stuff packed up for me? I think that we should be prepared that he might want to bolt when I tell him what's going on." I asked Liz.
"Sure. That's a good idea. Where do you want me to leave your bags?" She took off, and Tori and I continued talking. As we made plans, I made my way to the game room. I was distantly aware that Simon and Derek were talking about something, but I was too busy listening to what Tori was saying to figure out what was being said.
All of a sudden, there was complete silence from everybody. I must have stumbled across Derek and Simon having an argument, because they both looked pretty upset. I gave them a few seconds to recover, but they continued staring at me. Simon in horror, and Derek in… Shock? Like always, I couldn't really tell, because the emotion flickered for a second and then was gone.
I ignored the tension between them, deciding I didn't really want to know what it was about. I turned to Derek.
"We need to talk. Now. Liz just-" I broke off, realizing how loud my voice was in the otherwise silent house, and not wanting to be overheard, I motioned for them to meet me outside. For once, they didn't ask questions, just went out. Tori said she'd go help Liz, so I followed the guys alone.
When we were a decent distance from the house, I told them what Liz had told me. As I expected, Derek wanted to leave.
"Liz has our bags packed and-" I started.
"You aren't coming," he said, abruptly cutting me off. "You're safer here than out there. Between your dad's reward, the Edison Group, and now Liam, there's no way you are-"
"Liam's a zombie," I blurted out. That shut him up. He blinked at me a few times. Then, he shook his head and asked me to explain.
So I did, and when I was finished, he looked at me skeptically, like I was making it up so I didn't get left behind.
"Derek, it's part of the whole necromancer package. And since I can control Liam, I'm in no danger from him. All we have to do is find a quiet spot so I can release his spirit. End of Liam problem. Liz told me I should get out of here. In every ghost movie I have ever seen, anytime a ghost tells you to leave a house, you listen. The people who don't usually end up with their head cut off in fireplaces or impaled on the spiked garden fence." I said all this lightly, but Derek didn't take it that way.
Derek looked around the vast garden we were standing in, and sure enough there was the metal fence. He sighed, rolled his eyes. I knew that I had won this argument, probably because with my history, Derek wasn't taking any chances.
"Fine. Whatever. But I'm in charge. No going off and getting in trouble so I have to rescue you again. And as soon as we are far enough away, we are finding a place to plan." When I didn't say anything, he added, "I mean it Chloe."
Hearing him say those words was oddly comforting.
I told him to wait where he was, then I went to the spot Liz and I had agreed on for our bags. I brought them back to Derek, and after shouldering mine I said, "Let's go."
Simon wanted to know where his was. I told him Tori's plan. After about two minutes of arguing, Simon finally agreed to stay with Tori, but only if they could catch up with us later, which was a given. Tori knew to come after us in a couple of days, to avoid alerting Andrew of our distrust of him.
We all said our goodbyes, and then Derek and I took off.
After a few minutes, we discussed our next move. Liz had told me how to get to the nearest bus-depot, and that it was only a two-mile walk from where we were.
When we got there, it turned out to be a gas station with a little convenience store attached, so Derek got food, while I got bus tickets to the next bus out of town. It was going to Vermont, and leaving in twenty minutes. I bought a map, and picked up one of the Vermont travel brochures.
When we got on the bus, we spread out the map and the brochure and decided to find a cabin in a small little resort that advertised it's off-season rates at affordable weekly prices. Once Simon and Tori met up with us, we'd easily be able to afford to stay there for at least a month, until the summer season started.
Hopefully before then, we'd know what to do.
Because now we were flying blind. Andrew had betrayed us. We had no adults on our side that could help us, and we were still wanted by the Edison Group. We were exactly in the same place as two weeks before, but now we were leaving on our own terms.
"Chloe," Derek said. "I have to ask you something."
He cleared his throat. Looked out the window, then he looked back at me.
"Are you in love with Simon?"
"What?" I sputtered. "No! Of course not!"
"Good," he replied.
Then he kissed me.
That's it for now!!!! My first complete fanfic! So, I will be making a sequel for this. I already have part of the first chapter to that written, so if you want more, you won't have to wait long for it. Thank you for everyone who stuck through this to the end, and especially for all the great reviews. You guys are the best, and I will keep doing my best for you.
Oh, I am calling the next one The Fragile. I don't want to put it in the crossovers page, but I think I might have to because I will be introducing The Pack in the first chapter. But it's going to be a Chloe/Derek story, all the way. So as long as people don't complain, I'll try and post it in the Darkest Powers category.