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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7. War Pending

Liv tried to say something as I teleported from her house in Salem to the Smiths home in Penn Gate.  Finding myself in Riley’s room I remembered that he was in Penn Peaks with his family trying to feed Faith up so she would be safe around humans again.

Dialling his number he answered straight away.

“Riley, I n-need you r-right n-now.”

“What’s happened?  Where are you?” he asked.

“I’m at your house.  Please, can you come?” I asked dropping onto his bed.

“I’m on my way.”

 

Barely two minutes had passed when I heard Riley bounding up the stairs.

“Billie?” he called.

“I’m in here.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I just went to see Liv Rockwell to make sure she knew that it wasn’t safe there anymore.  She told me about something that she saw in a vision.”

“What did she see?”

“It was about Christian.”

“And Matilda?”

“He’s not really after her, Riley.  He’s just playing games with her.”

“What are you talking about?  Hey, don’t cry, Billie.” He said wiping the stinging tears from my eyes.

“He’s coming for me, Riley.  Matilda was just a distraction.  He’s going to kill me.  She saw it.”

“You shouldn’t take what she says to heart, Billie.  Psychics, like her, are known to be wrong about a lot of things they see.  She was wrong about you when you came into your powers, remember?”

“She sounded pretty sure about it and she said something about having to make a choice.”

“Wait, didn’t Josephine’s spirit kids say something about that, too?” Riley asked.

“Yeah, but I don’t know what they mean.  Riley, I don’t want to die!”

“You’re not going to.  He’s nothing, Billie, nothing that you can’t handle.  You are so much more powerful than he is, you can take him.”

“If you say so.”

“Come on.” he said a little mad.  “You’ve got to believe in yourself.  You’ve got to see what I see.”

“I’m just so scared, Riley.” I said tiredly.  “Besides, it’s my fault all this is happening.”

“Why would you say such a thing?”

“I tried to save him after the whole Hugo Moon ordeal.  You all offered to take care of him but I was so sure that he could survive that mess.”

“He chose to be this way, Bill.  You gave him a chance to move past that but where he is now is down to him and him alone.   Anyway, he isn’t doing this because of Hugo Moon.  It’s because he lost his sisters.”

“I still don’t get it.  They turned on him; they plotted to sacrifice him in exchange for the first vampire.  How can he still be pissed at me for destroying them?”

“They’re his family.” He sighed.  “Look, when you found out you were a Witch you felt betrayed by your family, remember?”

“How can I forget?”

“You didn’t turn on your family when you found out though.”

“Oh, that’s not true.  Didn’t I rage at them and storm out before I came to you?  Then didn’t I go to the graveyard, after what Leonard said, and scream at my dead parents’ grave?”

“Leonard, was out of line.  It wasn’t his business to tell you that.”

“Who else would’ve told me, Riley?  Could you really see my Nana sitting me down to say, ‘Oh, by the way, in your passed life you also had a fling with your High School Principal’?”

Riley winced.  “He’s not important.”

“No, he’s not.  But Christian is.  I know I have the power to defeat him, but I really don’t want to.”

Riley chuckled sarcastically.  “You believe too much in people sometimes, you know that, Bill?”

“No, it’s not that I believe he can still change, I don’t.  I just don’t want to be the person who puts an end to him.  If I have to, I will, but I’d avoid it if I could.”

“Well, it’s a good thing I’ll be by your side the whole time.”

“I know, thank you.  Oh, god, I still need to check in on Lexi and Lee before going back home.”

“Look, they can take care of themselves.  Why don’t I call them while you call home?” he suggested.

“Sounds like a plan.”

 

Riley’s cell bleeped loudly and he sighed as he retrieved it from his pocket, glancing at the text message he swore under his breath.

“What is it?”

“We’re needed at your place.  Come on.”

 

Faith had looked better.  There was colour in her face again but she was moving a little slower than normal.

“May be you should just take it easy.” I said, after telling Lexi to borrow some of my clothes (she was still dressed in hospital garb).

“No, I think I’ll help Rowanne.  I don’t think she’s had much luck getting Dexter to talk.”

 

Faith pulled herself from her seat and made her way to the secret room leaving Leonard and I alone.

“Anything you want me to do?” he asked, but with a slight bitter edge.

“Call Julianne.  Find out if they made it out safely and ask if it’s okay for the doctor to go into hiding with her.”

“What if she says no?”

“Call the Fosters and ask them.  Riley,” I said as he appeared from the kitchen, “tell Lee his Gran is leaving and she’ll let him know when she’s found somewhere safe to stay soon.”

“Will do.” He said, backtracking through the kitchen door.

“Billie!” Dulcie suddenly called from the upper floor.  “You’d better get up here quick.”

Taking the stairs two at a time, I burst into my room where Brian, Dulcie, Lexie, Ruby and Dr Moore were all gathered round Vincent’s bed.

 

He was stirring, as if only asleep and dreaming.  More footsteps followed my own and soon we were surrounded by more of my family.  Vincent stopped thrashing around and his eyes fluttered open.  Ruby smiled and leaned closer to him, taking his hand in her own.

“Vince, it’s me.  Can you hear me?”

“Rubes?  You’re awake?”

“Yeah, I’m here.” she started crying again.  “Do you know where you are?”

“I was in Seattle.” He mumbled.

“What?” I asked.

“Billie?”

“Yeah, it’s me.”

“God, you look older.” Some of the others laughed.

“I’m eighteen, Vince.  So are you.”

“What happened?”

“You were put to sleep.” Ruby answered.

“Huh?  What does that mean?”

“Are you hungry, Vincent?  Do you want something to eat?” Brian asked.

“Let me through, let me through.” Dr Moore said impatiently.  “Let me see the boy before you go feeding him up.”

“Who are you?” Vincent asked.

“I’m the one who has been taking care of you all this time.” She said, importantly.

“In other words she’s been paid by your Dad to keep you captive.” Interrupted Brian, angrily.

”Excuse me!”

“Well, it’s the truth!”

“That’s quite enough.” Boomed Nana.  “Leonard, there you are.  Would you mind removing the doctor and put her with our other guest?”

“Not at all.” He said, promptly dragging the outraged Doctor out.

 

The Doctor’s complaints could be heard all the way down the corridor and downstairs too, whilst our attention was turned to Vincent.  He struggled to sit up right, the strength in his upper arms waning.

“How long have I been asleep?”

“About two years.” I said, gauging his shocked expression.  “Do you remember anything?  What happened after you went looking for your Mom?”

“Yeah, I think I do.  My Dad and I got into a fight about Ruby.  I complained that he wasn’t doing enough to wake her.  That’s when he revealed what really happened at the crash site.”

“The crash?” I asked.

“Your parents.  It was him who drove them off the road.  The other Preacher’s made him do it.  I’m sorry.  He got Ruby out of the wreck and put her to sleep.”

“Bastard.” Brian muttered angrily.

“What happened after that?” Nana asked calmly.

“He caught up with Mom just as the other Preachers were about to corner her and took her away.  He put her in an induced coma as well.  Dad left her in a hospital in Seattle.” He sighed.

“Brian, go fix your cousin some food and something to drink.” Nana said, sending my brother away.  “Go on, Vincent.”

“I don’t remember much else.  Dad and I got into a fight; I left him out cold.  I grabbed some things and came over here but there was no one around so I left a message instead.  I couldn’t wait around for one of you to go with me and I knew where to find Mom.”

“Knew?” I asked, disappointed.

“Yes, he’d had her moved by the time I got out to Seattle.  After that, I left to call home to let you know what was happening but…”

“But?”

“That’s when someone jumped me from behind.  I think it must have been Dad or someone working for him.  I only woke up once, not completely.  I just had the feeling like I was on something that was moving and it was very dark.  That’s all I remember.”

“It’s okay, Vincent.  You’re home.” I said, taking his hand in mine.  “You’re sister is awake and we’re going to get Sophia back too.”

“Where is he?  Where’s my… where’s Dexter?”

“Downstairs with our friend.  We found you just outside Boston in the Doctor’s house.”

“How did he get me there?”

“It doesn’t matter.  You’re here, where you belong, darling boy.” Nana reached past me to hug her lost grandson as Brian returned with a plateful of food.

“When you’re ready, we’ll have to do you’re eighteenth birthday ritual.  I’m afraid we’re a little late, but it won’t matter.”

“Thanks, Bill.  I’m looking forward to it but I think…”

“You should rest.  Only when you’re ready.”

 

 

 

 

About an hour after Vincent had awoken, we got a call from Julianne telling us her daughter, Marylou, another Teleporter, had gotten them all safely to Crosse Manor and that there was a room for the good doctor too.

 

Brian pulled up their location on a map so I knew where to go as he, Riley and Dulcie would go with me for extra support should the Doctor become troublesome as we escorted her to her new temporary home.

“Ready?” I asked.

“Ready.” They agreed.

“What do we do while you’re gone?” Riona asked.

“I won’t be gone long.  Rowanne, keep working Dexter but don’t stay in there alone.”

“I’ll stay with her.” Leonard said curtly.

“Thanks.  Matilda and Torsten, could you head down to Kerr Cottage and see if you can get some clothes for Vincent?  Nana, Riona, work the spell.”

“Work the spell.” They echoed me.

“What about us?” Lee asked.

“Lexi, rest for now.  Lee, check in with your gran.  Make sure she’s all right.”

“Anything for us?” Willem asked, indicating himself and Faith.

“No, not at the moment.  Just get some rest if you need it or help Leonard and Rowanne work on Dexter.”

“Sure, Billie.” Willem smiled.

“Doctor, are you ready?”

“That depends.” She said haughtily.  Leonard rolled his eyes.

“On what?”

“Where you’re taking me.”

“To another coven in South Carolina.  There’s been no attacks there so far and I would really appreciate it if you didn’t do anything extreme whilst down there.  Just do as the others tell you.”

“I won’t be policed…”

“Yes, you will!” I shouted.  “Like it or not, Dr Moore, but you are a part of this.  You got yourself into this mess when you agreed to take money from Dexter to keep our cousin asleep.”

“I was sick.  I couldn’t afford my medication.”

“Not my problem.  Just… do as your told whilst you’re in their company.  Otherwise you’ll endanger them and yourself as well, got it?”

Leonard sighed, “Are you sure you don’t want me to go along with you?  Keep her in check?”

“No, whilst I’m gone, they’ll need someone to watch over them.” I said, nodding at my family.

“We are quite capable of looking after ourselves.” Nana complained.

“I don’t care; I’m not leaving you here unprotected.  No arguing.”

 

I held my hands out for the others, who all circled round the doctor.  She screwed her eyes tight shut and then opened them, sighing, before placing one hand on my forearm and another on Brian’s.

 

Glancing at the map over my shoulder one last time, I blinked and found myself on a long dark driveway.  Letting my arms drop to my sides, I led the way up the lone sloping road where, at the top, we could see the large looming manor and many of the out buildings brightly lit.  Waiting for us by the door was Julianne and another woman, Phoebe Crosse.

“Welcome!” she called, walking across the garden with Julianne and another girl about my age.  “Glad you got here safely.”

“Thank you for taking the doctor into your home.  I’m Billie Black.”

“Oh, I know who you are.” Phoebe smiled warmly.

“You do?”

“Yes, we’ve heard all about you’re work on the Moon cultists.  We were all very surprised to hear that someone, as young as yourself, took on the first ever vampire and won… well, we’re all in awe of you.”

“Please, I wasn’t alone in the fight.”

“I know you weren’t.  You must be Riley Smith.” She said, shaking Riley’s hand.

“Yes, hello.” He said, slightly irritated.

“Believe me, it’s our pleasure to open our home to the doctor.”

“I’m not sure it will be a pleasure for you once you get to know her.” I smirked.  “Well, doctor, this is where we say goodbye.”

“You’re leaving?  Already?” she asked, surprised, as I nudged her towards Julianne and Phoebe.

“Yes, once I have spoken with Julianne.  Did the Fosters make it out okay?”

“They did.” She smiled.  “Shaylee,” she indicated the young girl, “and Marylou just got back from escorting them to some family friends in New Mexico.”

“Good.  Are you all settled in here?”

“Yes.  You go on home, Billie, I’m sure you’re needed there.”

“We’re trying to locate Sophia, actually.” Brian stated.

“Good luck.  I hope you get her home safely.  Call us if you have any news.”

“I will do.  Good bye.”

 

Upon returning home, there was no one in the living room and the house was quiet.  For a moment I thought there was no one in until some loud shouting came from the secret room behind the fireplace.  The door flew open briefly before Leonard appeared, tossing out the raven black wolf that was my cousin, snarling and snapping at his clutches.

“What the hell is going on?” I asked.

 

Rowanne growled and howled as the door snapped shut behind her.  Bolting behind the couch she transformed and hid her naked body beneath the blanket.

“I finally got some answers out of Dexter when we had a little accident.”

“What do you mean?” Riley asked, as someone screamed next door.

“He fell over on his chair and cut himself on something.  Now he’s bleeding.  You need to stop Leonard.  He’s trying to make lunch out of Dexter!”

“Leonard!” I screamed.

 

Close behind me, Rowanne shifted into wolf form once more, bolting out from beneath the blanket as I got the door open.  Leonard’s mouth was at Dexter’s throat who dangled limply in his grasp as he held him still against the wall.

“Leonard!  Stop this now!”

 

A wave of my hand and he flew off Dexter, sticking to the wall opposite him, his fangs bared.  Rowanne growled and clamped her jaws around his ankle when he began to scream.

“Rowanne, no!” Riley cried, tearing in after her.  “The venom!”

“God, Rowanne, what were you thinking?” Brian shouted, ushering our cousin out.

“It’ll kill him!” Dulcie cried.

“Willem!” I shouted.  “Get some blood in here quick.”

 

I let go my hold on Leonard who fell forward, slumping into Riley’s open arms.  Willem and Faith bolted into the secret room to come to their fathers’ aid.

“Brian get Dexter out of here.  Make sure he’s alive.  Dulcie…”

“Billie, look out.” Riley cried.

 

All the air got knocked out of me as Leonard came barrelling into me as I stood by the door, sending me soaring across the room.  He looked like a wild animal.  Lexi entered the room from the kitchen and Leonard bared his fangs.  Panicked, she sparked up her hands and turned them towards him.  Instead he turned to Brian, who stood alone by the fireplace.

“No, Leonard, no!” he cried, holding out his hands.

 

Something hit Leonard square in the chest.  Something that came from Brian.  Leonard then turned to me.  I squealed and threw my hands up to hold him off but… I was too late.

 

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