The Hangman's Noose

Billie Black and her friends are closer than ever before to rescuing their loved ones whom were stolen from them years ago. A journey around the country proves perilous when the coven and their allies come face to face with their greatest enemies.

A band of men hell bent on killing all that is unnatural to them - Witches, Vampires, Werewolves and many other Supernaturals flee from their path or die at their hands.

Billie can't rest till she knows her lost loves are safe but new knowledge shows they are defenseless. Learning all they can about these men they seek a weakness a chink in their chain of command and only one man may show them mercy in spite of his beliefs.

Now Billie must lead them all to safety or perish in the Hangman's Noose...

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6. Home At Last

Dulcie and Faith came with the good Doctor and me to retrieve my long lost cousin.  The room was empty except for the bed, monitors and drips surrounded the kid lying there.

“Well, is it him?” Faith asked.

 

Strolling to the kid lying there, I took in his appearance.  His hair was long, there were also signs of facial hair as well.  His eyes stayed shut as I cleared the hair from his face to get a better look.  Pulling up one eye lid I saw the familiar hazel of Vincent’s eyes and took in the freckles that still decorated his bone white cheeks.

“That’s him all right.” I said as tears came to my eyes.  “I found you.  You’re coming home.” I told him although I wasn’t sure he could hear me.

“Oh, Billie.” Dulcie said behind me.  “Don’t cry.  You’re breaking my…” all of a sudden the smile disappeared from her beautiful face and her head snapped towards the window.

“Dulcie, what is it?”

“Someone’s coming.” She answered looking terrified.

 

I leaped towards the closed window and peered down into the garden as a hard rap played against the front door.

“Is it them?” Faith asked.

“Yeah, Preachers are here.”

 

As if he could hear me the one I was certain was Quinn De Witt turned his gaze in my direction.

“There’s someone upstairs.” He called to his partners.

“What do we do?” Dulcie asked panicked as the front door made an awful crashing noise.

“You two unhook all this stuff tied up to Vincent and get him ready for teleportation.  Faith, if there is ever a time I need team work, it’s now.”

“I got your back.” She promised already at the bedroom door.

 

There were shouts from the floor below and Dulcie gave a panicked shriek before pushing Dr Moore to help her with Vincent.  Faith and I stood side by side as we saw Quinn and one of his colleagues come up towards us.  Faith was as fast as a cat and tore towards him knocking him out against a wall.

“Zach!” Quinn called to the unconscious man.

“Get out of here.  You are not taking any more family from me.” I warned Quinn.

“What did you do to him?” Quinn shouted at Faith.

“He’ll live.  You’d better listen to her if you want to stay breathing.” She threatened.

“I’m not leaving here without him.” He said attempting to sound menacing but instead just pathetic.

“Who are you trying to kid?  We have the power here.  We will win and you will lose.”

“None of the other witches won though did they?” he asked.

“They weren’t prepared for attacks.  But I am.” He pulled a knife from within his jacket and pointed it threateningly at me.  Sighing, I waved a hand and sent the knife flying through an open doorway.  “Here’s some food for fought.  You can leave unharmed with us and work for a better cause or, if you choose to still side with your friends then, things are going to get messy.”

 

More of Quinn’s men came upstairs to come to his aid as one of them handed him a gun.

“What the hell are you waiting for?  Shoot them!” the small pock marked man cried as Quinn stood there disgustedly looking at the gun in hand.

I heard footsteps behind me before Dulcie breathed in my ear, “He’s ready.”

“Right, let me take care of them and we’ll go.”

“What are you waiting for?  Shoot her!” The man shouted at Quinn again.

 

Faith promptly moved in front of me as he raised the gun to aim at my chest.  Quinn squeezed the trigger and the bullet burst forth from the gun with a loud bang that quieted the arguing couple next door.  Faith tried to block it from me but I pushed her behind me and waved my hand once more.  The bullet turned away from me not a moment too soon and imbedded itself in the wood frame of the door.  I made a shoving motion with my right hand to make Quinn and his small threatening army fall back down the stairs.  Pulling Faith back into the room, I slammed the door shut before turning to face the others.

“Time to go.” I said grabbing hold of Vincent’s bed as the three women held on too.

 

Snapping my eyes shut to think of home I heard the men scrambling back upstairs while shouting at Quinn.  Soon the voices disappeared to be replaced with hushed whispers and gasps.  Opening my eyes I found myself in my living room back in Penn Gate.  Dulcie and Dr Moore were breathing heavily still clinging to the metal bars on Vincent’s bed.

“Rowanne, where are you?” I called out to the room.

“I’m right here.” She said pushing through to the front.  “What do you need?”

“Get Sophia’s location no matter what it takes.  Riona?”

“Yes?” she asked stepping next to her daughter.

“If he doesn’t answer her try my potion and spell again.”

“Will do.” She said following her daughter to where Dexter was locked in the secret room.

“What happened to Faith?” Willem asked bending over her slumped form.

 

Turning to see her I saw blood pouring forth from a puncture in her chest.

“Oh my god!  I could’ve sworn they only fired one bullet.”

“Who?” Riley asked as Willem set about healing his wounded sister.

“The Preachers.  They were there with guns.  As soon as one of them pointed it at me she stepped in front of me.  But I pushed her out of the way when they fired.  I could’ve sworn I only heard them fire it once.”

“They shot at you?” Riley asked panicked.

“A wave of my hand and they missed.” I assured him.  “Is she going to be okay?”

“I need to get the bullet out of her chest before I can heal her.” Answered a worried looking Willem.

“We need to get the humans out of here.  She’s lost an awful lot of blood.” Leonard added.  “Riley, get them outside.  Billie, there’s a bottle of blood in the fridge can you get it for me?”

“You keep blood in my fridge?” I asked a little disgustedly.

“In case of emergencies.” He answered.

 

While Riley rushed my friends, family and captives out of the house I dashed to the kitchen to get the bottle of blood Leonard had left in there on the top shelf.  When I came back through to the living room I saw both Riley and Torsten roll Vincent on his bed out of the living room door.

“Give me that and get out beside your family.” Leonard said over Faith’s painful moans.

“I’m not leaving her, it’s my fault she got shot.” I said holding onto the bottle.

“Fine!  But if she bites you then you’ve only got yourself to blame.” He snapped.  “Riley, hold her arms, Willem, sit on her legs.”

“What are you going to do?” Riley asked as he and Willem did as instructed.

“I’ll get the bullet out.  Billie, get ready to pour that down her mouth when Willem heals her.”

“I’m ready.” I said with top already unscrewed.

 

Faith started to scream and writhe when Leonard’s fingers dug deep into the gaping wound on her chest.

“Got ya!” Leonard said victoriously holding up the small metal object in his bloody hands.  “Heal her up, Willem.”

 

Willem closed his hands over her bloody chest as I opened her now silent mouth to pour in the blood.

“Are you sure she won’t choke on this?” I asked Leonard turning my gaze away from Faith.

His face paled whiter than ever when he turned back to look at us, “Billie, move!” he shouted.

 

I didn’t have time to ask why he was shouting or look round at the others before I felt a hand tightening round my wrist, a rush of wind, then I was lifted off my feet with my back pinned against the wall and Faith had another hand around my throat.  Screaming didn’t do any good when she bent my head to the side she slapped her now spare hand over my mouth.  Her face looked angry but her eyes looked vacant as she bent her head towards my throat.  Suddenly, I found myself with my feet on the ground and a slight sting on my neck as Leonard grabbed a handful of Faith’s hair and pulled her off of me.  She tried to break free of his grasp to get back but Riley grabbed hold of me, there was another rush of wind and I was alone with him in the back garden.

“What was that?  How did you get me out here so quick?” I asked.

“It comes with the territory.” He explained, another one of his vampire tricks.

“Did she bite me?”

Riley brushed my hair aside to examine me.  “No, just a scratch.  You didn’t think he’d let her bite you, did you?”

“No, of course not.  I was just – I was just um…” I stammered.

“Hey, you’re shaking.  Are you okay?” he asked putting his arms around me.

“I don’t know yet.”

“Are you in shock?”

“May be.  I’m really thirsty.”

“Do you want me to get some water?”

“No.  Is Vincent safe in there?” I asked suddenly remembering he was still in his bed in the hall.

“He’s safe, don’t worry.  Nice work, by the way.”

“On what?” I asked confused.

“Billie,” he said with a laugh in his voice, “You got your cousin back.”

“Oh my god.” I said the realisation finally dawning.  “I did, didn’t I?”

 

Riley pulled me closer to him, embracing me in his arms until Leonard came into the garden and abruptly cleared his throat.  When we pulled apart I could see Willem not far behind him holding Faith in his arms as if she were just a baby.

“We’re going to take her to the Peaks so she can get some more blood in her away from all these humans.” He said making his way towards the front of the house.

“Is she going to be okay?” I asked approaching Willem.

“She’ll be fine, Bill, but best to give her some space until she’s one hundred percent again.” He explained.

“Oh, Riley, this is all my fault.” I moaned turning back to him.

“No it isn’t.”

“Yes, it is.”

“She almost bit you, Billie.  She could’ve killed you.” He said pointing at Willem’s retreating back.

“I am just as much to blame for that as Faith is.  She wouldn’t have done that if she hadn’t been shot and she wouldn’t have been shot if I had just teleported us out of there when we first discovered the Preachers at that house.”

“Billie, it’s just like you said Faith originally moved in to take a bullet for you.  She knew you wouldn’t have survived if you were in her shoes.” Riley said attempting to make me feel better.

“Riley, are you coming or not?” Leonard called disapprovingly as he stomped back into sight.

“You should go.” I said when Riley started looking lost for words.

“Billie, I can stay…”

“Riley, she’s your sister.  You know I wouldn’t let anything get in the way of me helping Brian if he’d been hurt.  So don’t let me get in your way.  And tell her I’m really sorry.”

“Billie, you are not to blame.” He said pointedly.

“Someone here sure does believe that.” I said looking back at Leonard who was looking anywhere but at me.

Riley leant down towards me and kissed me briefly on the lips before whispering in my ear, “Since, when did we care what Leonard thinks?”

I laughed just slightly when Leonard’s quiet sing song voice said, “I can hear you, you know.”

“Go on.  Take care of your sister.” I said nudging him towards Leonard.

“You’ll call me if…”

“I’ll call you if I need you.  If not I’ll see you in a few hours.”

“Love you.” He said giving me one last kiss.

“Love you, too.” I said waving him goodbye.

 

Back inside the house the others are preparing to interrogate Dexter and Dr Moore again or preparing the spell that confirmed Vincent was in Boston as Torsten had overheard he was.  All were bustling around in the living room or up in the attic where the spell had been performed.  Not even Ruby remembered that Vincent was in our midst.

 

Standing at the foot end of his bed I gazed down up on him hoping that someone would remember he was here.  Astral projecting like I’d never done before, I seemed to have appeared in both the living room and the attic as I was torn where to go first.

“What the hell are you all doing?” I shouted as both rooms came into site.  “Do you remember who is lying in a bed in the hall?”

 

Returning to my own body my vision corrected and I could hear the scrambling of footsteps thunder around me as my family and friends rushed to see Vincent.

“I know, delayed reactions.” I said understandably.  “We didn’t have a chance to really soak this in cause Faith was hurt but…”

“Vincent’s home.” Ruby said happily tearful.

 

More tears followed as Nana and Riona embraced each other in a very wet hug and when Brian put an arm around me I saw how wet his eyes were, he was just fighting to hold the tears back so as not to lose credibility with the guys.  Rowanne rushed at me as she threw her arms around my neck before being joined by Ruby also.

“Two down…” Rowanne said sniffing.

“One to go.” I added.

“Our family is getting back together.” Nana added joyfully.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” I said letting go of my brother and cousins.  “We need Dexter to give us Sophia’s location before we can save her too.”

“What do we do?” Nana asked.

“Rowanne, interrogate Dexter until he breaks.”

“Will do.” She said saluting before heading off.

“Nana and Riona work on that spell some more…”

“Just in case.” They said in unison echoing my thoughts.

“Dulcie, bring Dr Moore up to my room.  I’m going to teleport Vincent up there and we need her help to wake him up.”

“What about us?” Brian asked indicating himself, Torsten and Matilda.

“Brian, I need you and Dulcie to stay with me to make sure Dr Moore doesn’t try to bail out.  Matilda, stay with Nana and Riona.  If they need you to get any more supplies you can help them out.  Torsten, stay with her wherever she goes.” I finished of patting Matilda on the back.

After teleporting Vincent upstairs Dulcie, Ruby, Brian and a reluctant Dr Moore shortly followed.

“What are you doing?  You don’t treat people like this!” Dr Moore complained as both Dulcie and Brian pushed her through my bedroom door before Ruby rushed to be by her twin brothers’ side.  “You promised me protection.” She said pointing a finger at me.  “I have never been treated so poorly in my life.”

“Stop talking.” I said with a surprising edge of danger in my voice.  “I am going to speak with a couple of my friends while you help my family revive Vincent.”

“And then you’ll give me protection?” she asked.

“If you help them, then, yes, I will.” I promised.

“Very well.” She said coming around to Vincent’s other side opposite Ruby.

“Who are you going to see, Billie?” Dulcie asked.

“Liv and Julianne.”

“Why?  You’re needed here.” Brian argued.

“Look, the Preachers were in Boston, Salem and Revere.  Massachusetts isn’t safe right now.  I’ve got to go warn Lee’s grandmother, Julianne and the Fosters.” I explained.  “Call me if there’s any change.”

“Be careful.” Brian said with a quick hug goodbye.

“I’ll do my best.” I promised.

 

My first trip was to Riona’s shop the Craft and Cauldron which she co-owned with her cousin Julianne Black.  Sadie was at the front of the store, as usual, where the tourists could shop but it was in the secret magic shop in the back where I found Julianne.

“Billie!” she said surprised choking on her lunch.  “What are you doing here?”

“It’s not safe here.  You’ve got to leave.  I didn’t want to say anything to Sadie ‘cause she’s got customers out there.”

“Wait a minute, what’s going on?” she asked worriedly.

“We found Vincent.”

“Oh my god.  Is he alive?”

“He’s in a medically induced coma.  He’ll live.  I’ve got Brian, Dulcie and Ruby working with the doctor who’d been bribed to keep him asleep these past two years revive him.”

“Oh, Billie, this is such good news!” she beamed.

“I know but when we went to find him there were Preachers.”

“Where?” she asked.

“At first in Boston and then in Revere.  They’ve also been here too, Julianne.”

“How do you know?”

“My college friend, Erin, she found our friend Lexi Woods hung in her dorm room.”  Julianne tried to tell me how sorry she was but I didn’t give her the chance.  “She’s alive.  They’re both resting at my place.  I think Erin must have found Lexi moments after they left.  It didn’t take Lee too long to resuscitate her.”

“Where are you headed now?”

“To see Lee’s grandmother, Liv Rockwell.  She lives over on Looney Street.  I was wondering if you could warn the Fosters and Sadie?”

“Not a problem.  I’ll call you when we’ve found somewhere safe to stay.”

“Oh, by any chance could you take the Doctor with you?  I promised her protection but she can’t stay with us.  She’ll only be in the way.”

“I’ll speak to my friend Phoebe.  She and her siblings live in South Carolina, so far there have been no attacks there.  Only two covens that I know of live there.  The Blair’s and Phoebe Crosse’s.  It should be fine, they’ve just bought a large manor.”

“Brilliant, thanks.  Good luck, Julianne.”

“Good luck, Billie.” She said as we parted ways.

 

When I arrived at the Rockwell’s home on Looney Street, it was to find the house in disarray.  At first I thought the Preachers had come for Liv also but after seeing the suitcases lying open and half full in her bedroom I realised she knew they were on their way here also.

“What the hell are you doing here!?” she shouted upon entering her room.  “It’s not safe!  You should go now.”

“I had to come see that you got out of here safely.  And they’re not on their way, they’re already here.”

“What!?” Liv snapped.

“They’ve been here.”

“Where’s Lee?”

“I just got him back to Penn Gate a couple hours ago from Mercy Hospital in Boston.” After a panic stricken look crossed over her face I rushed to say, “He’s fine.  Lexi had a run in with the Preachers, they’re at my place now.  They’re both okay.” I promised.

“The girl from Arizona?” I nodded.  “Why what happened to her?”

“They found her, they hung her.  Lee managed to resuscitate her that’s why they were at the hospital.”

“I’ve been so intently watching over Lee and your family that I didn’t think…”

“To look closer to home?” I finished.

“Yes.  Have you warned the Black’s here in Salem?  How many are there?”

“I’ve warned my Dad’s cousin, Julianne.  There isn’t many Black’s living in Salem any more but the Fosters, my sister coven, all live here.  Julianne is on her way to warn them herself.”

“Where are they going?” she asked.

“South Carolina, I think.  Julianne promised she would call once they were somewhere safe.  Where will you go?”

“Oh, don’t worry about me.” She said now sitting on her suitcase to squash all her possessions in flat.  “I can take care of myself.”

“I’ll let Lee know you’re leaving to head somewhere safe.” I said turning ready to leave.

“Billie.” Liv said her voice barely a whisper.

“What?”

“I’ve been arguing with myself for days, whether I should tell you this or not.” She said fretting while ringing her hands.

“Tell me what?”

“It’s bad.”

“Tell me.” I demanded.

“You haven’t got long.”

“What do you mean?”

“A day will come and you will be given a choice.  Two options.”

“What choice?  What options?” I said recalling what the spirit of Josephine’s children said on Halloween.

“Oh, I shouldn’t have said anything.” She said turning back to her cases.

“Liv, what choices?”

“Nothing, go away!  He’s not coming for her.”

“He?  Who’s he?  And who is her?” I asked confused.

“The one Erin liked.  The one you didn’t want near her or any of your other friends.”

“Christian?  Are you talking about Christian stalking Matilda?”

“He’s not coming for her.” She repeated.  “He’s coming for you.”

“What do you mean?”

“I think you know.” She said sympathetically.

 

A chilling shudder erupted down my spine at her words.  I knew Christian wanted me dead but knowing that he would … kill me, was another thing all together.

“I should go.” I said choking on the words.  “I really need to go see how the others are getting on.  We found my cousin Vincent but we still need to find my aunt Sophia.”

“Billie, did you hear me?” Liv asked confused.

“I heard you.” I mumbled under my breath.

“Billie, did…”

“I said I heard you.” I shouted.  Liv looked stricken and appalled at my outburst but I didn’t give her a chance to say any more.  “I’m sorry.  I’ve got to go.”

 

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