Creed's Claim(7)

By: Mina Carter

Only to watch with horrified eyes as one of the others swung around, claws raking through the air in a terrible arch to slice across Kacie’s stomach.

Time slowed as Kacie staggered back, her hands over her abdomen. She looked down in the same direction as everyone else as red seeped out from under her hands to stain the pretty green top dark.

Their assailants backed away, horror on their faces.

“Fucking hell, Jack!” one muttered, looking at the leader, whose claws were stained red. “The boss said we were only supposed to grab them, not fucking hurt them!”

“Shit. There’s more on the way,” the one by the entrance to the alley shouted. “We need to get out of here. Get out of here now!”

In a stampede of booted footsteps and cursing, the alley cleared of men, leaving the three women looking at each other in horror.

Then Kacie paled and staggered. Instantly, the two others were there, supporting her as they lowered her to the ground.

“Shitshitshit,” Lilly muttered, yanking off her own top to wad it against Kacie’s stomach. “This is bad, so bad. Kait, grab my cell and call Dean Sterling. He’s in the quick dial contacts.”

“Dean? Why are we calling Dean? We need to call her an ambulance,” Kait’s voice was shrill as she grabbed Lilly’s purse and reached for the cell within. “Seriously, she needs—”

“JUST CALL DEAN!” Lilly’s bellow was unexpected, loud and way too deep to have come from her throat. Her eyes flashed dark for a second, obliterating the green, and Kait gasped. The speed, the strength…

“Seriously…shhh, Kacie, it’s going to be okay, I promise,” Lilly reassured the injured girl and then looked at Kait. “A hospital can’t do anything for her now. Call Dean.”

“Okay.” Hands shaking, Kait hit dial and waited for an answer. In the back of her mind a voice screamed hysterically but she ignored it, calmly sitting in the dirt with one of her best friends bleeding out through a gut wound and the other telling her some ex-high school jock would make it all better.

But it was all okay because this was a dream. A nightmare for sure, but since men didn’t really have claws, it had to be a dream.

It had to be…didn’t it?

If it was, it was the most surreal dream Kait had ever had.

Dean Sterling picked up the call with a curt, “What the hell, Braun? I told you guys I was busy tonight.”

Oh shit, he sounded pissed. On a normal day, that wouldn’t bother Kait in the slightest, but this wasn’t a normal day by any stretch of the imagination. Any day that involved men with claws was so far from a normal day it was laughable.

“Uhm, I’m sorry. Lilly told me to call…that you could help.”

Heavy footsteps sounded behind her as she spoke. Twisting in panic, she breathed a sigh of relief to see their admirers from in the bar earlier. Only right now, they didn’t look so young and harmless. They looked grim and dangerous as they surrounded the small group of women protectively.

“What happened?” the one who’d tried to chat them up in the bar demanded, his attention all on Lilly. The charm was gone now, and the look in his eyes made Kait shiver.

“We got jumped.” Lilly’s response was no nonsense and rang with an authority Kait had never heard from her before. “Secure the alley and one of you go get a truck. We’re going to need to move her to the lodge.”

“Hello?” Dean’s voice brought Kait back to the conversation. “Hello? Are you still there?”

“Yeah, I’m here.” She’d obviously slipped into some surreal nightmare, but she was still here.

“Good. Who is this… Kait, is that you? Kait Turner?”

“Yeah, it is.”

You had to hand it to small towns. Dean hadn’t needed more than a few seconds to work out who she was based purely on the fact she was in Lilly’s company. No doubt the gossip network had swung into action as soon as she’d driven into town earlier.

“Kaitlyn. I need you to tell me what happened.”

She took a deep breath, trying to calm her racing heart and so she didn’t sound hysterical. Because what she had to say was crazy. Crazy and hysterical? They’d be carting her off to the nuthouse in Elim Springs.

“There were men,” she started, looking up with a smile of thanks as one of the new arrivals put a jacket around her shoulders. Why hadn’t she realized she was shaking so much? It couldn’t be the cold. It was too mild for that.

“Men in the alley waiting for us. They had…they had claws,” she said quickly and made the mistake of looking over at Kacie. She lay on her back, her eyes closed and her face pale. Everything about her was pale apart from the vivid scarlet across her abdomen. “Oh god, there’s so much blood.”

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