Hidden behind a garage adjacent to the dive bar, Jack and Fi waited until the last light was turned off. The old bartender the two had encountered the day before had left almost ten minutes ago, waving to a figure still inside as his old truck sputtered off onto the main road.
Finally some minutes later, Tawny exited the bar through the back door, stringing along a thin man Fi instantly recognized as one of Reggie's friends by the arm. The two laughed as she drew some sort of directions in the air and motioned for the man to follow her car.
The Mustang tailed them just closely enough not to be detected. Jack eased off the gas as the nearer car's tire began to thump repeatedly. Fi grinned, still twirling her pocket knife between her fingers.
The thin man got out of the car and attempted to flag them down for help, but the siblings couldn't waste any time now. They continued to stalk Tawny to a dirt road about a mile out, when they lost sight of her tail lights. Assuming she must have shut off her car, the siblings cautiously approached the clearing up ahead.
Upon getting closer, they realized that the clearing was actually a broad lake. Even in the dark, the water appeared oddly murky, hardly reflecting the moon above them.
"This must not be the one the town's named after," Jack whispered.
Fi squeezed her brother's wrist to shut him up, and before he could react, he was taking on her serious expression. About thirty feet away were seven mounds of earth that resembled freshly covered shallow graves.
A sudden soft groan from the ground directly behind them sent the siblings stumbling backwards. Both hit the dirt with a thud and immediately pedaled themselves even further away with their feet.
Wide-eyed, Fi mustered the courage to crawl over to the spot where they had stood. Jack drew his gun and extended it with a shaky hand. Fi gave a sharp gasp in reaction to her findings and Jack quickly made a move to join her.
"What? What is it?" he stuttered as he slid towards her.
"Mickey Andrews," Fi breathed in response.
In the open shallow grave before them lay the missing man, blue in the face but somehow maintaining enough life to shift his eyes between the two of them.
"Jack, help me!" Fi hissed, grabbing a hold of the man's left side. "It's going to be okay," she reassured him. His skin was ice cold, his body stiff to the touch.
Jack wedged an arm under Mickey's back and lifted the him out of the dirt, when a shrill scream echoed on the lake. It was coming from somewhere nearby, and judging from its increasing volume, vastly approaching. They gently placed Mickey against a nearby tree and drew their weapons, darting their eyes across the darkness for the figure they had come for.
In her peripheral vision, Fi watched her brother pour a flask of holy water onto the torn piece of cloth he held tightly in his fist.
"Hey! Is that the shirt I was wearing yesterday?" she let out in an angry whisper, observing the familiar pattern of the fabric.
"It was slutty. Now shut up!"
"That was my favorite shirt, you dick!"
"Holy water? Well isn't that cute," Tawny interrupted, suddenly standing behind them.
Fi spun around and aimed, took a shot.
Tawny winced but quickly retaliated. She extended her palm outward and sent Jack flying into a nearby tree trunk. He hit hard and was instantly knocked unconscious from the impact.
Fi didn't let Tawny's attack on her brother hinder her fight. She snatched a vile of holy water from her boot and pulled the cap off with her teeth. She turned violently, hoping to catch Tawny in the face, but Tawny was nowhere in sight. Fi unhitched the hunting knife from her belt and dumped the holy water on either side of its silver blade. She moved quietly along the area surrounding the lake but couldn't find any trace of Tawny Wyatt.
From her left, she heard Jack cry out in pain. She was careful not to immediately run to him as her instincts told her to, anticipating a trap. She slowly made her way to her brother's side and noticed his eyes dancing behind his eyelids.
He was dreaming.
"Shit!" Fi spat, throwing the knife to the ground so she could shake Jack awake with both hands. "You bitch, you leave him alone in there!"
Jack crouched close to the ground, extending his pistol towards any dark area from which Tawny could possibly emerge.
"Fi?" he whispered.
He couldn't figure out where she had gone. One minute she was by his side, the next he was being catapulted through the air. His back ached, but at least the impact didn't knock him out. He had gotten himself back onto his feet almost instantly after hitting the ground, but when he returned to the spot he had last stood with Fi, she and Tawny were gone.
Not many things on this earth made him truly angry, but not having Fi in his sight was definitely one of them. He had gritted his teeth for years while she was away, and now once again he clenched his jaw and felt his body tense.
"What'd you do with her, you stupid bitch?" he growled into the open air. "You better show your face, I swear to God."
"Na-uh-uh," Tawny smiled from the edge of the lake. "Taking God's name in vain? Jack Phillips, how could you?"
Jack charged at her, ripped his knife from its holster and raised it, ready to draw it downward and into her neck, when she somehow disappeared and reappeared behind him. Tawny swung his body around and dug her nails into the back of his skull as she pulled his face to hers.
As she took him in a kiss, Jack repelled backward and shoved the cloth soaked in holy water down into the back of her mouth.
She gagged and clasped her throat before snatching the rag and throwing it to the ground, her hand turning an ugly gray as she held it. Jack didn't let up, coming at her with his knife another time. She spun and let out another wild, shrill scream, her eyes now blood-red and gold. The blade cut through the air-
And Tawny disappeared in a blink of an eye. Her cries were suddenly distant.
Jack pivoted in all directions, confused.
His vision darted to the tree where he and Fi had left Mickey Andrews, but Mickey had also vanished.
He was all alone.
Fi still had her knife drawn when Tawny reappeared in front of her, her disturbing scream suddenly hitting Fi's ears right before Tawny dragged her nails across Fi's chest.
"Your brother's dead!" she shouted in a twisted tone. Her skin was now graying and wrinkled and her eyes shone gold in the moonlight.
Fi shut Tawny out. Nothing was going to stop her now. She couldn't let her get away again. Tawny extended her palm as she had done moments earlier. Her blood-stained eyes focused on Fi as an eerie grin spread across her face. Fi took the opportunity to plunge the knife deep into Tawny's ribs. She felt something snap as she twisted the blade, but Tawny managed to disappear on her another time.
Notably weaker, Tawny fell to her knees and let out a haunting scream in Jack's direction.
"I'm dreaming, aren't I?" Jack hissed. "You're flipping channels. That's where you keep disappearing to."
Jack aimed his gun and shot a silver bullet into her chest, a move that only seemed to infuriate her.
"I hope you enjoy this dual ass-kicking then." He winked sarcastically as Tawny vanished from sight a second time.
As soon as she reemerged from the blackness of night, Fi jabbed her knife through the monster's chest. Another all-too-familiar shrill cry emanated from her gray mouth. Her hair was now a thinning, pale white, making the succubus much easier to detect against the dark backdrop of the lake. She took a bit longer than the last time to make herself disappear.
She reappeared on her hands and knees on the shore of the lake. Jack lifted her head up by her hair, disgusted when a handful came detached from her skull in his grasp. He kicked her onto her back and drove his knife into an already-existing wound in her chest plate. Her body flickered in and out of sight twice before Jack found himself alone once more.
Fi expected the succubus to show herself again shortly. Jack couldn't be dead - the monster kept coming back weaker, and she knew her brother was the reason. Whatever power Tawny had over his dreams, she was hardly a match for a pissed-off Jack.
Her thoughts were broken by cold hands suddenly tightening around her neck, coming face-to-face with a horribly mutated image of Tawny Wyatt. The monster sneered and showed its pencil-thin, yellowed teeth, its lips curled back so far they were no longer visible. Fi's feet dangled underneath her. Her hands went limp and she dropped her knife as her vision began to blur.
Just as she felt herself becoming lightheaded, she was falling back to the ground, soaking wet. Her vision cleared and she watched on in astonishment as the succubus fell forward and turned to ash, her body dissipating with a sudden breeze.
Jack's shape emerged from behind the swirling cloud of ash. He was holding something. A trash can maybe? Fi couldn't make it out in the dark, or figure out where he would have gotten it from.
"Fi?" he shouted, making his way toward his sister. He scooped her head up in his arms. A look of concern came across his face when her eyes fluttered.
"We did it, Fi. I woke myself up, blessed the lake... A lake full of holy water- I can't believe it worked. The bitch melted like the Wicked Witch of the West!" he babbled, suppressing his urge to cry from relief or joy or seeing his baby sister alive and back at his side.
He lowered Fi's head back to the earth and let himself collapse beside her, still laughing like a kid at his own cleverness.
The siblings woke up as daylight peaked over the edge of the lake. Surprisingly, it was Fi who rose first and helped her brother to his feet. He lifted his arms up, twisting his back, still sore from the fight.
Fi kneeled down next to Mickey Andrews, who remained slumped against the same tree where they had left him. The color had returned to his face. He opened his eyes just enough to observe Fi looking back at him, and fell back asleep.
"Fi Phillips, nice to meet you," she said, shaking the hand that hung by his side.
She and Jack carried the man to the Mustang and gave him a ride to the hospital.
"What'd you tell them?" Jack asked Fi when she returned to the passenger seat.
"I said we saw his sneaker sticking out from the grass on the side of the road, stopped, brought him here. He's going to be fine. The nurse called us heroes," she mused.
"It's about time someone acknowledged us for what we are."
"What about the police - They gonna go check it out? Dig up those bodies?" he questioned over the growl of the Mustang.
"They've already sent some guys down there. They found Mickey's car at the bottom of the lake… probably a lot more judging by those graves. If only we had gotten here sooner…"
"Fi, we saved a guy. Two if you count the poor bastard we left stranded with a flat tire. And who knows how many others that thing would have got if we hadn't stopped her."
Fi didn't answer. She had her phone in her palm, her thumb dragging itself up and down the center button. Jack took his eyes off the road to observe the mindless gesture. He bit the inside of his jaw a few times and shifted his line of vision to the steering wheel as the Mustang rolled to a stop at a red light. He peaked up into the rear-view mirror - no cars behind them, no cars in front of them. He turned to Fi, grimacing.
It took her a moment to notice.
"What? ...oh, sorry, I must've zoned out," she explained.
"It's time, Fi. Call it. I've seen you go through your phone about a hundred times, stopping on his name, letting your finger hover over the 'send' button. Just do it, hit the damn button. Listen to his voicemail message. No one's going to judge you for it."
She didn't sigh or protest as Jack had expected. She repeated the action Jack described another time before exhaling and hitting "send."
She reluctantly brought the phone up to her ear and held her breath as it rang.
Finally, Fi heard the click of the cueing voicemail. She tensed up, unsure of how she'd react at hearing his voice again after everything she'd been through these past few weeks on the road.
"I'm sorry. Your party cannot be reached. This number may be out of service-"
She silenced the automated voice coming out of the earpiece. Jack heard the whole thing. His chest sank for her as her eyes clouded. She gave a half-laugh, half-sniffle, and redirected her attention out the window.
"Fi, I'm sorry," Jack started to say.
"Drive. Just drive..."