Jin lead us through the halls. The ball of light he made trailed above us wherever we went.
“The children can stay in this room,” he said and opened a door on the right. There were two twin beds inside along with a dresser and an open chest that was filled with toys. I had no idea why vampires would want a room suited for children. I decided it was best not to dwell on it. Richard held a sleeping Marcos in his arms. He stepped into the room. Monica followed him and lifted the covers so Richard could place Marcos down. Monica then tucked the blankets around Marcos. Juan followed them in. He slid into the same bed as his brother. His brown eyes peeked out us.
“I guess I’ll take the other bed,” Arthur said. He walked to the empty bed – Molly close by his side – and got in under the covers. Molly jumped up onto the bed and settled in next to him. She put her head on his chest. He stroked the top of her head.
“I’ll show you to the next room then,”Jin said and started to head out.
“Wait,” Juan sat up and stretched out a hand to us. “Is no one going to stay with us?”
“I’ll sleep in here too,” Hunter said. “Let me just see where everyone else’s room is first and then I’ll be back.”
Both Juan and Arthur visibly relaxed. “Okay,” Juan said. He slid back down under the covers and threw an arm protectively over his little brother.
Jin led the way down the hall to the next room. I kept my eyes on Gunnor just to make sure he was with us and not staying in the room with the children. He trailed after us. He smirked at me when he saw me watching him. Tingles ran down my spine and my body went cold. I gripped the handle on my ax a little tighter.
“Someone can stay in this room.” Jin opened the next door on the left.
“I will,” Richard said. He took a step into the room with the queen sized bed, but he paused and nudged Darren. Then he nodded his head to the bedroom.
“Me too,” Darren said. The two of them entered the dark room and closed the door.
Jin paused as he stared at the closed door. “Alright,” he said. He led the way to the next door on the right. He opened it.
Monica stepped in and scanned the room. There was a king bed inside. “We’ll stay here,” she said and grabbed Maria’s arm. She pulled Maria inside with her.
“I’ll stay with them,” Bev said and stepped inside.
“You do know there is a room for each of you, right?” Jin asked. “You don’t all have to stay in the same room.”
“I don’t think they trust you not to drink their blood while they sleep,” Hunter said.
Jin turned to look at him. “We don’t drink blood without permission. Other vampires might, but we don’t.”
“But you can charm them into giving you permission,” Hunter said.
Jin remained quiet at that. The two of them stared at each other for a few moments. “If we really wanted to drink from them by force,” Jin said in a dark tone, “it doesn’t matter how many of them stay in the same room together. Not even you and your little sister could protect them if we really were going to do that.”
Hunter swallowed hard, but didn’t deny it. I didn’t want to stay there. I wanted to take my sister and friends and leave that house right then.
“We’re going to be okay, Hunter,” Bev said. “If they were going to hurt us, they would have done it already. They are helping.”
It had been indicated earlier that Darren and Maria in particular were susceptible to being charmed. No one said anything about Bev, but she was Darren’s mom. I wondered briefly if she was already charmed. I studied her, but she didn’t seem in that strange daze like Darren when we were in that RU in? place.
Mackenzie’s soft, warm hand slid in to mine. She squeezed my hand. When I looked at her, she smiled at me reassuringly. My little sister was the one comforting me. I drew in a breath to still myself.
“The next room is this way,” Jin said. I glanced at Gunnor before I followed Jin. He still had that same smirk, but they hadn’t done anything to us and Bev was right, they could have done something at any time. They could move so fast that I only saw a blur. I had never seen Hunter or Victory move like that and I didn’t think they could, dragon or not. If I tried to chop of their heads with my ax, they could easily disarm me before I finished my swing.
Jin opened the next door on the left. Inside was another queen bed.
“I guess we’re staying here,” I said since the only ones remaining were us and the Sangs and Hunter already said he was going to sleep in the same room with the boys.
I pulled Mackenzie in the dark room with me.
“Can I stay with you?” Victory asked.
“Of course,” I said. “I assumed you were going to.”
She smiled and slid into the room next to Mackenzie.
“Don’t worry,” Jin said. “The zombies won’t come near us or our house. You can rest for as long as you want.”
I wasn’t really worried about the zombies at the moment.
“Where are your bedrooms?” I asked Jin.
“We don’t usually sleep at night,” Jin said, “but we will stay upstairs to make you feel more comfortable.”
“Sleep tight,” Gunnor said. Chills ran down my arms as Jin and Gunnor left us.
“I’ll just be down the hall,” Hunter said. He paused as he looked at Victory.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “If those vampires try anything, I’ll hit them with lightning.”
Hunter breathed out slowly and said, “I don’t think they are going to try anything. I think they would have already if they were going to. And if they really are worried about not having anything to drink in the long run because all the humans are turning into zombies, then they will want to keep our group alive.”
“Goodnight,” Hunter said.
“G’night,” Victory said. She and Mackenzie left me to go crawl into bed. I stayed and watched Hunter until he went into the room with the boys. Then I closed the door. I turned the lock even though I didn’t think it would keep out the vampires if they wanted to get in, but it made me feel better anyway. I went to the bed and kicked my shoes off. I placed my ax next to my shoes. It was easily in arms reach if I needed it. I crawled in next to Mackenzie and wrapped the blankets around her shoulders.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me you were part dragon?” Mackenzie asked Victory.
“I wasn’t allowed to. Besides, you wouldn’t have believed me.”
“I guess that’s true,” Mackenzie said. “I think it’s really cool though. I wish I had some sort of powers. Do you guys really dye your hair like that or is that part of you being dragon?”
“We didn’t dye it,” Victory said.
“Why is your hair different colors then?” I asked. “Grace’s is teal, Hunter’s is red and yours is white.”
“I’m not sure. I guess our dragon ancestor was all sorts of colors and we each just inherited one. I don’t know why. Who knows though, maybe more colors will show up later. My mom could control the wind, but that was all and she was the first for a while to have any powers. Grace, Hunter and I can completely control the weather and influence people if we want although we never did because our mom told us it wasn’t right to manipulate others. I guess Hunter broke that rule with Darren though.”
“It was only for Darren’s protection,” I said.
“I know,” she said. “We can also tell the general direction of where the others are. We can’t usually tell how close or far we are from each other. Sometimes if we are really close to each other, we can feel it.”
“Is that why you are good at everything? Because you’re part dragon?” Mackenzie asked.
“I think so,” Victory said, “but I like to think I’m just that awesome on my own without the powers.”
“I think you are awesome,” Mackenzie said.
“I think you are awesome,” Victory said.
“I think you are both awesome,” I said, “but we should get some sleep. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”
“Okay,” Mackenzie said. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” Victory and I said at the same time.
I didn’t fall asleep until I heard their breathing change to a deep, steady rhythm.
The morning light woke me. I sat up and looked around. Our bedroom was on the ground floor and the curtains were open. There was fresh snow on the ground. The sunlight sparkled on it causing little shards of rainbows to dance along the snow.
I swung my legs around so they were on the floor. I put on my shoes. I glanced at Mackenzie and Victory. Mackenzie slept on her back with her head tilted to me. Victory slept on her side facing Mackenzie.
I retrieved my ax and stepped out into the hallway. The other bedroom doors were closed, but I heard talking from the living room. The same room we had sat in just last night and learned there were vampires, werewolves, dragons and magic in the world. There were probably a lot of other beings that I didn’t know about.
Hunter stood silently in the door frame of the living room. His eyes met mine when I got close.
“I failed again,” Maria’s voice drifted from the room.
“You’ll learn,” Jin said. “It takes time.”
One of the bedroom doors opened and Bev walked out. Her eyes met mine and Hunter’s and then she walked to join us.
“I don’t suppose you have any food to eat,” Bev said to Jin. Jin and Maria sat on the couch. Maria had her hand out in front of her, palm facing the ceiling and she stared at it intently as if she expected something to form there. Maybe she was trying to form the light ball that Jin had made last night. She sighed and frowned. Her hand dropped back into her lap and she looked at us.
“No,” Jin said. “But Maria told us about the bikes and packs you had to leave behind. Gunnor retrieved some of them and went to retrieve the others.”
“The boys are still asleep?” Bev asked Hunter.
“They were when I came out,” he said, “but that was about an hour ago.”
The front door opened. A rush of cold air hit me even though I still had my coat on. We hadn’t removed any of our clothing when we slept last night. The house was cold since there was no electricity or heat, but outside was colder.
Gunnor carried three bikes easily. He nodded to us and then went through the archway to the left of him. We hadn’t been in that side of the house yet. Bev followed him so I followed her. I didn’t want anyone alone with the vampires even if I couldn’t stop them if they decided to do something. We were in the kitchen. All of our bikes and packs were stacked against the wall.
“Thank you for retrieving our packs,” Bev said. She immediately began to dig through them and pulled out cans of soup.
“You are welcome,” he said. “Humans have to eat after all.”
He watched as she opened the cans of soup and poured them into the pan. My hand tightened around the ax handle as I watched him. Bev paused and looked around.
“What do you need?” Gunnor asked her.
“I didn’t think about how I was going to warm this up,” she said.
He held out a hand and she handed him the pot.
“Jin,” he called out.
There was a blur of movement and then Jin was by Gunnor’s side. “What is it?”
“Will you warm this up for them?” Gunnor handed the pot to Jin. He put his hand underneath it. Fire shot out of his hand and all around the bottom of the pan. Maria and Hunter entered the kitchen. It didn’t take long for the soup to boil. He handed the pot back to Gunnor.
“No,” Bev said. “That should do it.”
“I’ll go tell everyone breakfast is ready,” Maria said. She left the room. It was silent in the kitchen as Hunter and I watched the vampires and they in turn watched us. Bev put the pan on the table and retrieved spoons from the packs.
Marcos ran into the room followed closely by Juan. They hesitated when they saw Jin and Gunnor, but then ran quickly to the table. Juan sat in one of the chairs and Marcos climbed up so he sat next to him on the same chair. Arthur and Molly followed more slowly. Molly put herself between Arthur and the vampires and growled low at them. Her eyes never left them. She settled by Arthur’s feet as he sat in the chair next to Juan.
It didn’t take long for everyone to fill the kitchen. We passed the soup among us just like we would if we were still outside. The last of the soup was given to Molly. She lapped it up eagerly. Her tail wagged for the first time since we encountered Jin and Gunnor.
Victory stiffened and then she sprang to her feet and out of the room. Hunter paused only a moment before he followed her. I tightened my grip around the ax and followed them thinking something was wrong. As I exited the room, I heard Gunnor say, “Visitors.”
Victory threw open the front door. Hunter was right behind her. My breath stopped when I saw what was beyond them.
Tanner and Grace were at the door.