They discover that Brian’s house has been attacked and the police are there. Instead of sticking around, they look for clues leading to their parents. They pick up a trail and follow the adults to the woods.
Deidrich stood in the clearing, surrounded by a variety of black, unsightly creatures that ranged from evil looking birds to stumpy, imps with horns. Deidrich swung his arms, hurling blue balls of energy at the huddled people. Janus stood with them, attacking any imps that came near.
Jordan couldn’t see Brian in the circle of trees. Her parents and his fought Deidrich alone. Shocked, she almost jumped out into the clearing. A voice in her head told her to wait. She gazed across the clearing and saw Brain in the trees. He held a finger to his lips, motioning with his hands. Instructions filled her mind and she knew exactly what he wanted her to do. She gave mental instructions to the others. They all walked silently away, taking up positions at cardinal and ordinal directions of the compass. Brian was to the north. Jordan moved to her right, directly across from his position, taking the south. The others deployed themselves at east and west, as well as northwest and southeast.
With a jolt, Jordan realized they were two short. They needed Chase and Marissa, but there had been no time to call them. She could only hope that the same message Ginnifer had received, had been transmitted to the Finleys.
The group in the middle was suffering. Birds and imps, directed by Deidrich, got past their defenses, attacking relentlessly. Their spells and wards did very little good. They were otherwise unarmed. Their clothing was minimal. Not only were the creatures damaging them, but the cold was taking its toll. Maribelle Casey staggered, an imp dragging at her leg.
When their members were in position, Brian sent the message to attack. Quickly and silently, they moved into the clearing, weapons ready. With a roar, Brian attacked the imp that was attacking his mother, beating the creature with his bo. The imp howled, letting go of Maribelle. She scrambled closer to her husband. He helped her stand and kicked another imp away.
The one on Brian, snarled, lunging for him. Brian jabbed it, then raised the bo for an overhead strike. The imp took the opportunity to jump at him, but Andre was there, swinging a metal staff at it. The end of the staff clipped the imp in the chest, hurling it across the clearing. Ginnifer skewered it with a katana. The imp burst with a shower of black sparks, leaving a little pile of ash behind.
The clearing became a blur of black creatures, spinning weapons and spells. It looked as if the battle was turning in favor of their small band. Attacking with renewed vigor, the humans rallied. Suddenly, the woods around them exploded with even more creatures. Huge,black bats with red eyes and long talons, swooped in, diving and slashing.
Ginnifer and Louisa went down. Sweet and Andre ran to them, swinging and smashing the bats. Maribelle Casey sat on the ground, her strength nearly gone. Miles stood next to her, doing his best to protect her with his spells and body.
Brian worked his way to his parents swinging and kicking, clearing his way. He sensed Jordan doing the same from the other side of the circle. When he got to his father’s side, he handed him another set of tonfa that he’d carried. Miles smiled his thanks, face grim as he faced another bat. This one dove toward the ground, trying to claw Maribelle. Miles smashed into the mud, grinding its head under his boot. It exploded and turned to dust.
In the flurry of bats, Deidrich had disappeared. Brian cast about, looking for him, as he battled the imps, birds and bats in their relentless attacks.
From behind him, he heard the sound of something large crashing through the woods. By the noise it made, and the way the ground shook, Brian knew it was at least the size of an elephant. It burst through the trees, bellowing. Blazing red eyes searched the group, halting when they got to Brian. With measured intent, the beast moved toward him. It lumbered on all fours, its coat long, tangled and matted. Like a giant buffalo, it had a heavy head, a hump on its back and long, curved, lethal looking horns.
Brian shuddered. The beast smiled. There was cunning and intelligence in the glare of its red eyes.
“Stay back, son,” Miles warned.
“No. You stay back. Take care of Mom,” Brian replied.
The bats continued to dive, but left Brian alone. As the rest of the humans fought the bats off, Brian moved closer to the buffalo. He circled so that if it charged him, it wouldn’t trample the others. Jordan saw what he was doing and ran after him. Brian sensed her coming and warned her off, but she ignored him.
“We’re stronger together,” she gasped as she got to his side.
© 2016 Dellani Oakes