I’d been unable to shake the image of the monster staring back at me from the Nanny Cam footage. Drake said he’s never met this type of demon while in the Pit and had no idea what it was doing here or how it found us. I worried that he may have opened up some portal with his escape that is allowing more of these monsters to cross over.
I started researching many of the fabled monsters and creatures that are believed to be in existence. Seeing the horned beast on my television, knowing it was in my home, I just had to know what else was out there that was thought to be real and never uncovered.
“Zoe, it’s getting late. Why don’t you leave that stuff for later and join me upstairs?” Drake asked walking into the sun room.
I sighed. I was deep into the pages of the books in front of me and didn’t want to stop. I looked up at him and his eyes smiled at me. I stood from the couch and followed him to the bedroom.
Drake motioned with his finger for me to be quiet. Christopher was sleeping soundly in our room now and I felt better being able to watch over him without the hallway separating us.
I hopped into the bed and Drake soon followed, placing his arm around me as I slept.
My eyes searched the ceiling again. I didn’t even have to look at the clock to know it was 3 am once more. I sat up and looked over at the crib, Chris was still snoring and Drake was right there with him.
There was a small burst of light illuminating from under the bedroom door. Drake must have left a light on. I sat on the edge of the bed and prepared myself to go turn it off. Chris had awakened and was sitting up watching the mobile above him.
I approached his crib and he smiled and stood to hug me. “You can’t sleep either baby?” I kissed him and walked a little around the room trying to sooth him back to sleep.
There was a loud bang down the stairs; startled, I placed Chris in his crib and ran to the bed to grab Drake.
“Drake? Drake wake up!” I nudged him.
“Hmm?” he asked rolling over and sitting up to face me. “Honey what time is it? Why are you awake?”
“There’s someone downstairs.”
His eyes popped open and he sprang from the bed immediately moving to the door.
When it opened, the hall was empty I was right behind him.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Christopher standing at the rail pointing towards the ceiling.
I followed his motion and screamed as the creature dropped down on Drake.
Drake threw him into the hall, “Keep this door closed,” he said as he went out to the intruder.
I grabbed Chris from his crib and walked with him. I could hear screams from the monster as he and Drake fought. Grunts, groans and loud bangs emanated through the wooden frame of the door.
Chris became agitated and started crying. I struggled to keep him in my arms as he tried crawling out of my grip to get to the door. “No, baby, calm down, Daddy will be ok.” I spoke softly into his ear to try and keep him quiet.
The sounds stopped and the knob began turning. Drake’s bloodied face emerged from the hall. The prone corpse of some spiny creature was behind him on the floor; a pool of blood surrounded him.
“What was it?”
“A Wispskin; they’re power hungry demons they feed on magics.”
“It was here for Christopher, Drake! They want our baby!”
He nodded agreeing with my sentiment. Chris jumped out of my arms and towards Drake. He caught him in mid air and Chris snuggled deep into his arms.
“He was really worried about you. I don’t like this bond you have, Drake. It really bothers him and it’s not good. I have no idea what he was trying to do or what he would have done had he reached you.”
“He’ll be fine Zoe. He and I share the same abilities, well most of them. You shouldn’t see him setting things on fire, but other than that, I know he can handle himself. He really seems to be absorbing magics well.”
“Drake what is going on? That’s the second demon in just as many days that has come for Chris. Why are they doing this?”
“It has to be something with the deal, Zoe. I don’t know, I honestly don’t know but we’ll figure it out.”
I noticed Christopher was snoring again and smiled. “At least he feels safe again. If that’s any indication I can assume the danger is over now.”
Drake walked with Chris a little more before laying him back in his crib.
“I need to cast a protection around this place.”
“That won’t work. Those spells have to be specific and block the energy you are requesting. We have no idea what’s out there or what’s coming.”
Drake walked into the hall to clean up the mess. He dragged the body to the backyard and torched it, standing over him to ensure he burned. He was thinking over his deal with Karver, was there something about these monsters? Some part of the deal he missed? He was sure it had to do with the Pit, and he needed to find out what.
I sat at Christopher’s crib watching him rest. There was no way I would be able to sleep again after seeing that thing near him. “A Wispskin,” I thought aloud.
“You think of something?” Drake asked entering behind me.
“No, I was just repeating the name of the beast. I hadn’t come across that in any of those books though. What other kind of demons have you met?”
“We could be here all night with that, Zoe; there are hundreds, all with their own special skills.”
“So in other words, the list of bad things increased exponentially?”
He nodded his head and I sighed, “Great. How far do you think Chris is in training?”
“He’s getting there. We’ll continue in the morning, you should get some rest.”
I frowned at him and he smiled. “Just try, I’ll watch over the both of you.”
I stood and walked back to the bed; Drake took my seat near the crib.
Morning came and I got up and dressed.
“I’ll go warm a bottle,” Drake said exiting the room.
I walked to the crib and waited for my baby to open his eyes again. As always he had a smile for me.
I lifted him from his bed and took him to his room for a changing.
“Honey, someone’s at the door!” Drake yelled from the dining room.
“Ok? Answer it?”
“It’s for you!”
“Coming!” I rushed downstairs with Christopher in tow and pulled open the front door, “SAM?!”
“ZOEE!!” she yelled throwing her purse to the floor and stepping inside.
“Sam! What? I can’t believe it!” I handed Christopher to Drake and gave her a hug.
“When did you get to town?”
“About two hours ago, I checked into a hotel and immediately came to find you!”
The hug continued for a few more minutes before I released her. She looked great, happy and it made me smile.
“How have you been?”
“Busy! I’ve been writing, recording and touring! I’ve played so many gigs back home and it caught the eye of a small producer. He worked with me and found me a few band mates and he’s booked us a gig here in town!”
“Sam that’s great! I’m so happy for you!”
“How about yourself? Drake?” she said smiling at him. “And a baby!
“Yeah life has been…just as crazy as you may remember. And Christopher has been the shining light in the dark for us.”
“I didn’t know you could still have babies!”
“Neither did we! Trust me there was shock all around. Come in, sit down and let’s catch up!”
She dove on the couch and Drake sat across from us.
“So tell me about this gig? And a band?”
“Well you’ll meet the guys later tonight. We have a few small shows this week in town before our European tour, we’re opening for Lola Belle!” her eyes got wider as she spoke.
“Tonight we’ll be performing at Waylon’s. It’s a small venue, but you gotta start somewhere right?”
“Sam that’s absolutely wonderful! It sounds as if everything is going great for you!”
“What’s life as a Mommy like?”
“Hectic! Chris has my abilities and he uses it freely so we’ve been trying to teach him to practice caution, other than that he’s an Angel. He rarely cries, he sleeps through the night for the most part and he really seems to be a happy child.”
“And has there been any craziness with your magic?”
“Always! Just recently we were attacked here in the house. It’s still pretty terrifying. Lately, and I don’t want to scare you, we’ve been encountering creatures from another realm.”
“That does sound pretty scary! They come even with the baby around?”
I nodded slightly. She sat thinking over what I said.
The silence was broken by Christopher’s giggles. Drake placed him on the floor and he made his way to Samantha.
“He likes to bite, just watch out for that.”
“Ah so he did get the vampire thing too at birth? Interesting.”
She picked him up and he smiled at her, grabbing for her face and hair. “He’s adorable, Zoe, he looks just like Drake. You’re going to be a little heartbreaker aren’t you handsome?”
Drake’s chest swelled hearing that.
“What time is your gig,” Drake asked resuming the conversation.
“7:30. I hope you guys can make it.”
“Of course, Sam wouldn’t miss it for the world!”
“Great! I have to actually get running. I’m meeting the guys so we can rehearse a bit.”
She bounced Chris in her arms a little before placing him gently on the floor.
I stood and walked her to the door. “It was great seeing you again, Zoe! We definitely have to do lunch.”
She hugged me tight and walked to her awaiting limo.
“Mah mah,” a small voice spoke from near the door.
I turned in the direction of the sound and found Christopher smiling at me.
“Drake did you hear that?”
“I did. You win!”
I grabbed him and hugged him tight. His little hands clung to my neck and he kissed me. I tossed him in the air and noticed his “My Daddy Rocks” t-shirt.
“Say it again, Chris.”
He ignored my request.
“Please? For Mommy?”
He pressed his head to my chest and giggled.
Drake walked up behind me and kissed my neck. “Now I’m the jealous one.”
“Let’s get back to training.”
For the entire morning we had Christopher in the magic room allowing him to show us what he could do. He could access the family’s source to a point but not fully which actually made me feel better. I knew how tiring and painful full access could be and was grateful he did not have to go through the nose bleeds and headaches.
He really picked up quickly on certain aspects of witchcraft including summons and bindings. It was funny watching Drake bounce around the room and suddenly stop under CJ’s will. He levitated him a few times and the look on Drake’s face was priceless.
“Why isn’t he using you as the guinea pig?” Drake laughed as he picked himself up from the floor for the hundredth time.
“Because I’m the holder of his magic, he can’t. Plus, he’s a good boy, he doesn’t want to hurt his Mommy like the gentleman that he is.”
“Well that’s my boy, but let’s move on to something else. I think he has this down.”
“Ok grumpy. What do you want to do?”
“Something non-witchcraft, he is half mine, I want him to learn the part he got from me now.”
Drake picked him up and walked him once again to the backyard.
I walked into the kitchen to warm him a bottle while they tested what he remembered about his speed.
I watched him try and move with Drake’s speed in the backyard. Drake laughed watching his wobbly legs take two steps and then his bottom hit the ground.
He laughed as once again Chris stood to run for him and fall. Frustrated, he tossed Drake to the ground and laughed at him as he picked himself up again.
“Oh you little devil!” Drake exclaimed crawling over and tickling him.
I walked out to join them. “I have his lunch,” I said handing him a bottle.
“Did you see what the rascal did?”
“Yes. I watched him get upset at you like before when he threw you. You shouldn’t tease him like you do, he doesn’t like that.”
“You saw him get to the point of frustration to throw me?”
I nodded. “It’s like I can see the wheels turning!”
Chris hungrily demolished the bottle again and let out a loud burp. “Yep, definitely your kid.”
It was getting late in the afternoon, I grabbed Christopher to walk him upstairs for a bath and get ready to meet Samantha at Waylon’s. I was really excited about seeing her sing again.
Drake walked in, dressed completely in black again. “You know there are other colors in the rainbow?”
He looked down at his clothes as if he forgot what he was wearing before meeting my gaze again. “What?”
“You haven’t worn anything but black since you came back from the grave. Do you realize that?”
“I think it looks great.”
“I didn’t say it didn’t, just making an observation.”
Drake took over getting CJ ready and I changed and we headed out to Waylon’s to meet Samantha.
She was sitting in a booth in the back with three other guys around her. She waved us over frantically when she saw us come in.
“Riley, Chazz, Mark, I want you to meet my best friend in the whole world, Zoe, her husband Drake and son Christopher.”
“It’s nice to meet you,” Drake extended his hand.
“Chazz is our drummer, Mark’s on keyboards and Riley plays guitar and bass as well as background vocals.”
Riley’s a cutie, I thought and smiled at Drake as I noticed his frown.
I don’t need to hear those kinds of things, he responded in kind.
“So when does the music start?” Drake asked watching the crew setup their equipment behind us.
“In ten minutes,” Sam replied.
“What’s the name by the way? I meant to ask you at the house,” I shifted Chris in my arms.
“Break-up Artist,” Chazz answered smiling at me, letting his eyes roam my body.
Drake noticed his stare and let out a low growl as he laced his fingers with mine. Chris joined in and tossed a tray of drinks at his lap.
“Whoa!” he yelled hopping up. “That was fucking weird.” He excused himself to the men’s room.
I pulled Drake’s arm and led him to the bar, “Be nice, Boys.” I warned.
We stepped up closer to the stage and waited for the band to begin.
I held Christopher close in my arms and hoped the music wouldn’t be too loud for him. A brawl began behind us and the bouncer quickly separated the drunken men and tossed them from the bar.
Samantha walked up to the microphone, “I’d like to thank everyone for coming out tonight. I hope you enjoy the show. This first song I wrote for a very special friend and I am happy to see her in the audience tonight.”
I smiled at her as she began singing.
“We’ve been through ups and downs
but always have each other
no matter age or distance
or even stormy weather.”
“You’re the first I call
You always guide my way
You’re my leaning shoulder
Friends forever’s never hard to say.”
The words were beautiful and the band had a great sound. Opening for Lola Belle I immediate thought Pop, but this was more along the lines of rock.
The drummer signaled the end of the song and the audience gave her a standing ovation.
As Samantha was heading into her next song, there was a scream from the back of the bar. A woman came running from out of the ladies room covered in blood. She ran to the center of the room and passed out. The entire bar ran to her side and tried to revive her.
A guttural growl came from the back of the room. Moments later a large creature emerged from the bathroom holding the head of one of the patrons; the skull had been picked clean of flesh. He tossed the bone at a man standing closest to him and charged towards the crowd.
Immediately chaos ensued. Everyone was screaming and panicking and fleeing for their lives. The bar quickly emptied and Drake and I stood watching as the monster went after the prone woman; he was set to make a meal of her as well.
Drake jumped up and ran at him. The beast stood his ground awaiting his approach. He roared and beckoned Drake forward.
I watched Chris; his gaze was intent on the monster as well. The band quickly exited the stage and Sam ran over to me. “Are these normal here?”
“Normal? Sam nothing is normal. I have no idea what that thing is.”
“I hope Drake will be ok.” She grabbed my arm and stayed tucked behind me as we watched Drake and the creature fighting.
The thing relied mostly on brute force and was tossing Drake around the room like a ragdoll. He approached Drake again and pulled him to his feet by his hair. Drake tossed hard lefts and rights at him that the creature seemed to brush off.
He lit his hand on fire and his jabs rapidly increased. The creature was stunned and began backing off as Drake sent fists full of fire through his face and midsection.
The beast grabbed a chair to block himself and tripped Drake up. It moved quickly, gripping Drake in a headlock and biting the back of his head. Drake flipped him to the ground and sent his heel into his face.
The creature hopped up and noticed Sam and I standing near the stage. He started for us Drake grabbed him from behind and suddenly stopped. Christopher was helping his Daddy; he placed the monster in a bind and allowed Drake to finish him off.
Drake jumped, wrapped his head between his arms and snapped his spine in half nearly decapitating the monster.
Green liquid was spilling from his body as Drake hovered over him. “Is everyone ok?” he asked noticing the three guys from the band behind the bar and Sam and I near the stage.
“We’re fine. What is that thing?” Samantha asked stepping from behind me.
“The beginning of something bad, it’s called a Piercer, they’re scavengers. They feed mostly on entrails and flesh and live for destruction.” He was covered in green glop. He wiped a little from his face as he approached us. “Thank you, Chris,” he smiled at him.
“How many more of these demons are here?!”
“Demons?” Mark asked climbing from behind the bar. “That thing wasn’t real right?”
“Dude that was kick ass,” Chazz smiled slapping Drake’s shoulder.
“I think you should get back to your hotel,” he replied. “It’s pretty dangerous out here right now.”
Though Mark was shaken, he didn’t seem too afraid of what had just taken place.
Aren’t you going to compel them? I asked Drake, he shook his head no and Samantha with the guys hopped into their limo and drove off.
“Now what? Do you think this was here for Chris also?”
“I don’t know. He seemed intent on getting over here; I’ll assume he was coming after him since that’s been our experience.”
I got home and placed Chris down for the evening before checking the book for answers.
I found the entry in the grimoire:
A scavenger beast spirit that arises from the body of a slain spirit. It seems giant in appearance, often cloaked in shadow as it hunts for its victims. At the end of a forty night cycle, it will rise as a full-fledged hunter assuming the power of all it has eaten in its growth stage.
Chris snored louder and I closed the book and watched him rest.