Halfway through Return To Collinwood, Raven’s day exhaustion flared up and dragged him down.
He stumbled off the desk and returned to the makeshift bed.
He curled up on it.
He fell asleep.
Missy finished reading the sequel to Return To Collinwood. She sighed happily and set the book on the desk.
She looked over at the vampire.
Is he really all that dangerous? Doesn’t look it.
Can I trust him?
Can I trust anyone?
After the fiasco in Fresno, I shouldn’t. Anyone can be a threat. Anyone can be a traitor.
She hopped off the desk and came over to him.
He slept all curled up with his fists pressed against his chest. The longer side of his hair spread across his face, just covering his eyelid.
He could be a traitor.
But drat! He’s so pretty.
“What if I keep him here? He can’t betray me if I don’t let him leave. If only Professor Hrashna were here. She’d tell me what to do.”
Her heart raced as something in the air changed.
Danger! Danger! Danger!
Perimeter has been breached!
She took off her reversible trenchcoat and covered Raven with it – red-side down.
He took a deep breath and exhaled.
“I’ll be right back.”
She left the classroom.
Her heart beat fast.
Her body temperature increased.
She walked to the front door, steady and unafraid.
She pushed the doors open.
She didn’t even have to scan for the intruder.
He stood in the middle of the parking lot – a white-haired man in a furry light gray suit with polished black shoes and mirrored sunglasses. “Hello, XQ.” His voice was satin. “Are you ready to come home again? We will welcome you back with open arms. We will throw a welcome home party for you.” He smiled, kind.
“Will there be cake?”
He winced at the sound of her voice. “Yes. Cakes of every flavor and frosting so thick you could paint with it.”
A deep need pulled at her to run to him.
“I should let him take me back to the Institute.” She spoke soft to herself. “He has cake! I’ve never had cake. Cake is so pretty and yummy looking.”
“Where are you going to get all of these cakes from?”
“I intend to make them. All of them just for you.”
Such a concept floored her. “He’d make them all?”
“Yes. All for you, XQ.”
“No. He would never do that. He’s lying.” Her eyes turned red. “You are lying.”
He set one foot back.
She let the flame inside of her take over.
Her mind went off-line as her body transformed into a creature of fire.
Fast moving, hungry fire.
She raced at him.
She leaped at him.
She crashed into a magical barrier.
Unthinking, unfeeling – she crashed into it again and again.
“Yes. You are magnificent. Pure unthinking power in a pretty XQ package. STOP.”
“Good XQ. TRANSFORM.”
She transformed back into Missy. She looked around in a daze.
“Good XQ. COME.”
She looked at him.
“I said COME.”
She glanced back at the old school building. “Raven.”
She looked back at him.
He held out his hand.
She held out her hand.
He took her hand. “Good XQ. First thing we’ll do when we get back is get rid of that voice.”
Her eyes turned red.
“You’re nothing but a weapon. Why should a weapon be able to speak?”
She transformed into a creature of flame.
He cried out as his hand burnt and crackled and charred.
She released him and rushed back into the building.