The monsters are real, and they've come for him again.


3. Three

“You're not serious,” Charlie muttered, looking at them. “Oh, shit. You are, aren't you? You're the reason all of those kids went missing.” He dragged a hand down his face. “Oh my God. And now you want me to help you. No. Fuck you. No way.”

“You don't have a choice,” Liam answered. “We told you that.”

“Why?” he asked, eyes narrowed. “Why do I have to help you?”

“You're not afraid of us,” Carly said. “All of the kids we've encountered were terrified at first. But once they realized that we were real, and we weren't going to hurt them, they accepted their fate.”

“Fate?” Charlie's voice turned hard. “Their fate was not to die. It wasn't to help three monsters murder another human, only to be killed themselves because you decided they were worthless after they served their purpose.”

His last words were directed at Olivia, who only glared at him. She stood, bared her fangs, and hissed. Liam pushed her back down as Carly gripped her arm.

“You have a very strange way of looking at the world,” Liam told him. He sat on the armrest of the couch. “You value human life, mainly because you don't know any better. But I've seen the way people treat each other.”

“I would never hurt anyone,” Charlie snapped.

Olivia's hand wrapped around his. It was cold, like Carly's, but he knew the difference. She looked at him, and in the light of the TV, he could see her eyes darken. She ripped herself from Carly's grasp and stood. Her fingers slipped around his neck, and she squeezed lightly.

Leaning over, she whispered, “You don't want to help us? Then you won't mind if I kill you right now.”

His eyes slid to hers, then he shut them. He braced himself, but the pain never came. Instead, her hands left him, and warmth enveloped his body once again. He let out a breath and opened his eyes.

Liam stared at him, yellow eyes glowing. “You're the only one that can help us, Charlie. We've found someone worthy of death. Once you help us, you'll go on living a normal life for many years. But we won't exist in them.”

“No one is worthy of death.”

“Yes, they are,” Carly said softly.

Charlie glanced at her. He wasn't sure he wanted to know. Liam sighed and sat onto the couch next to Carly.

“His name is Ash,” Liam said, his voice a growl. “He's the man who killed Carly.”

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