Chapter 8

A familiar voice stopped me in my tracks. “Casey, relax! It’s me!” The statement was followed by a curse in the old language. “Why is there a rabid brownie biting my thigh?”
“Aidrian?”
“Yes. Could you please recall your pet?”
I grabbed my new friend and gently pulled her off his leg where she had a death grip and was biting him with some awfully sharp looking teeth. “It’s okay. He is a friend.”
Reluctantly she let go and eyed him sceptically.
“What are you doing here?”
Aidrian stepped away from the brownie and frowned. “Saving you. Though it seems like you’ve already got a saviour.”
The brownie looked up at me. “He doesn’t taste nice.”
I carefully took her hand. “I bet.” I looked back at Aidrian. “How did you find me?”
He pointed to my necklace. “Karl discovered your live stream and alerted the rest of the office. Turns out I was the closest person. The others should be here soon, and the police will probably be here too.”
A thank you were on the tip of my tongue, but I caught myself. Never thank the fae as it would imply that you were in depth to them and that gave them power over you. “Good thing you were close by.”
“Yeah, I guess. Though I haven’t really done much.” He started walking, and the brownie and I followed.
When we got to the road, a group of people were standing by some tall bushes, looking conspicuously inconspicuous.
“There they are!” One of the people in the group pointed in our direction. A man started running towards us, and the brownie hissed a warning.
“Don’t worry. It’s my dad.”
The brownie grabbed my leg and silently studied the middle-aged man in bad shape make his way towards us.
He hugged me close, and I tried to hide the tremble which had started in the house and now wouldn’t seem to leave me.
“Are you okay? Are you hurt?” He took a step back without letting go and looked me over.
“No, dad. I’m not hurt.” I didn’t know if I was okay, though, but if he had seen the video, he would know that.
Another man walked up to us, and the brownie tightened her grip on my pants.
“Hi, Casey. How are you feeling?”
I gave the tall man a faint smile. “I’ve been better, McGraw.”
The detective looked tired and whilst he was still a handsome man, he couldn’t pull off Aidrian’s roughish charm. Andy McGraw was a full-blooded human with a pair of broad shoulders and sea green eyes to die for. He was also the grumpiest man I had ever met.
“Yeah, I could imagine.” He looked in the direction of the house. “I saw the video. Some fucked up shit.” Shaking his head he met my gaze. “Any idea what happened in there?”
Fahim walked out of the shadows. It made McGraw jump, and the brownie snickered condescendingly. McGraw gave her a dirty look.
“Yee naagloshii” Fahim’s voice flowed through the darkness.
“What?” McGraw was clearly confused, and I didn’t blame him. The magical vocabulary wasn’t my forte either.
“Skin-walker.” I translated helpfully.
Aidrian nodded. “Yes, the other men are likely skin-walkers, but not Thomas. He’s something much more sinister.”
“What do you mean?”
“His kind has some of the same traits as the Navajo witches, but after the barrier feel some of these creatures were driven insane by the flood of magic. They are seeking the vast power found in the dark realm of magic which will make them unbelievable powerful but at a terrible cost.”
“What cost?” I didn’t know if I actually wanted to know.
“When they die, their souls will be trapped on earth for eternity. They will feel constant thirst and a never-ending hunger. Their souls will feel as though they are on fire and no rest will ever sooth them. That’s why he’s stealing the life force of half-bloods, to postpone his death.”
“Wait a second. Just wait a second. Skin-walkers are the creatures that can transform into animals, right?”
We all looked at McGraw for a second before dad ended up taking pity on him. “Yes, McGraw, but they can actually take on any shape they want – even humans if they have enough power.”
“But why the hell are they targeting half-bloods? This case is a bloody, confusing mess.” McGraw dragged his big hand through his unruly black hair.
I looked at Aidrian, knowing he would know the answer.
“Because like half-bloods, these creatures exists between the world of humans and the magic realm. Once human, they are now a mix of magic and non-magic which makes them compatible with half-bloods in many ways.”
He was telling us more than most fae would, but knowing the whole truth, I knew he was holding information back. Thomas was killing half-bloods because they were stronger than the fae if he could get their human side to boost the magic they possessed. That was probably what the different liquids had been for.
“Okay, well how do we stop him then?” Being the practical, no-nonsense guy, McGraw wanted a solution.
“The best way would be to drain him of the stolen life force, but that would require something that belonged to his last victim or even part of the victim herself.”
McGraw pointed towards the house. “Well according to the video, there is still some of her remains in the house.”
“We might not need to go back.” I looked down at the brownie. “Do you have the ring?”
The little creature nodded and pulled the diamond ring out from one of the pockets.
I held out my hand, and she gave it to me without hesitating. Showing it to the others, I tried to hold back the mental image of the woman’s finger flying through the air. “This belonged to the woman.”
Aidrian pulled out an honest to god handkerchief. Who the hell still used those? Carefully, he picked up the ring with it and wrapped it up before giving it back to me. “We have to make sure that the victim’s essence isn’t deluded by other people’s psychic imprint.”
“What’s the time? I’m supposed to meet him at 8.30.”
Dad looked at his watch, the numbers casting a soft glow. “It’s almost eight.”
“Well, let’s catch this guy then.” I sounded more confident than I actually was, but I wasn’t really trying to convince the others that I was okay. I was trying to convince myself.
“Are you sure you’re up for it? We can catch him without you. You’ve already been through a lot today.” My dad looked at me with concern in his blue eyes.
“Yeah, Dad. I’m not sure what he’s capable of, but by the looks of it, it’s a lot. The best way to catch him would probably be to trick him. Besides-“ My throat tightened painfully.
The brownie patted my leg softly.
“Besides, I want to do this. I watched that woman die and there was nothing I could do to save her. By catching Thomas, I at least get to avenge her.”
“Well, you can’t go back in there. It would be too dangerous. The place is probably filled with all kinds of nasty magical surprises.” Aidrian looked at the brownie. “Am I right?”
She looked back at him for a moment before nodding.
“Then how do we do this?” McGraw looked like he was willing to storm the place.
Everyone looked at each other, but on one seemed to have any smart ideas.
“Well, what if I park my car nearby and then call Thomas to let him know that my car broke down?”
Aidrian nodded. “That could work. Unless he sends someone else to get you.”
“Guess I’ll just have to insist that he picks me up.”
Clearly wanting to push things forward, McGraw clapped his big hands together. “Sounds like a plan. Let’s get moving then.”

Read chapter 9 here!