SPG: January, Part 4/4

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St. Paul Grimoire is a weekly urban fantasy serial.

“We have to do something,” Pete gasped. Dakotah and Eyerusalem tore into each other again. She had barely regained her breath after seeing Dakotah’s throat slashed.

“What do we do?” asked Phin. He bounced Leal pointlessly. The baby wailed and the animal sounds of the fight weren’t calming. “Get a stake? Wait for sunrise?”

Their parents would murder them first if they didn’t come back until sunrise, Pete thought.

“I don’t see a stake,” Val said. “And sunlight doesn’t hurt them. The only light that hurts vampires is the Divine Light.”

“What’s that?”

Val managed to take her eyes from the fight. “It’s something Heroes can make. But I don’t know how.”

Pete and Phin shared a look.

“We can try,” she said.

“How? What if it’s dangerous? What if it hits Dakotah and kills him, too?”

Pete reached out and grabbed Phin’s hand. “We’re Heroes. We’ll figure it out.”

Phin watched his sister close her eyes and concentrate. Her lips mouthed the words “Divine Light.”

Maybe because of Dakotah’s magic-inducing presence, or because they were in the fey world, or in danger, Phin swore he saw Pete start to glow. A light flicked on in the middle of her chest and started to spread.

“Jesus,” Val said.

Phin knew why it worked for his sister. She believed in being a Hero. She wanted it more than anything, to earn that title.

A sound from the fight distracted them all. Eyerusalem had sent Dakotah straight through a door. As he crashed out of view, she turned toward them.

Her eyes locked on Pete and the faint glow on her skin.

Eyerusalem screamed and ran straight for them.

Val screamed, Leal screamed. Phin squeezed Pete’s hand and yelled, “Divine Light!”

The blaze started in his chest and flared from there, filling the rest of his body. He felt Pete’s flame next to him, and Leal’s, too. He even had a dim awareness of Val and Dakotah.

Val threw up her hands to block the light that shone from her friends. It lit the room as bright as a summer day, hitting Eyerusalem.

The vampire screamed. Her skin boiled and lit, and in moments she was ash.

Pete opened her eyes. Her light faded as she stopped concentrating. Phin’s faded, too. Soon the hallway was filled with the same dim light as usual.

Dakotah came out of the room he’d been thrown into. The door had ripped off one hinge, and he touched the damage as he went by.

“That was cool,” he said.

“That was batshit crazy,” Val said.

“How did you know to do that?”

Pete gestured to Val, still holding Phin’s hand.

“I told you we needed to read the grimoire,” Dakotah said. He touched his eyeteeth. They were shrinking back to normal. The rest of his face was filling out, too.

“Don’t celebrate yet,” Phin said. “There’s another vampire.”

“–Who?”

“–Where?”

“His name is Inkar.”

Dakotah’s mouth dropped open. “No, he’s…”

He stopped at the look on Phin’s face.

“He spent a long time deciding whether to kill us or not.”

Val had never seen Dakotah look so angry.

“Stay here,” he growled.

They didn’t listen, following a few feet behind him.

But the room Phin and Leal had been held in was empty. They searched the corners with lights from their phones, but Inkar was gone.

“Coward,” Dakotah spat. “If I ever see him again…”

Pete’s phone rang. She checked it. “It’s Dad.”

Phin looked at his coat, shredded where Eyerusalem had grabbed him. Underneath his skin was bloody.

“Leal doesn’t even have a coat, or hat, or anything,” Pete said. “How’re we gonna explain this?”

Dakotah looked at his jacket. It was beyond shredded. He was going to have to buy a new one with some of his profits from the shop or his mom be all over him.

“I got it,” he said. “The shop has antique baby clothes. Text your dad. Tell him you’ll be home in half an hour. We’ll find something for Leal. Phin can take my hoodie.”

They used the Lake to Everywhere and were back at the shop in no time. They dug up a knitted sweater, handmade coat, little gloves and a knitted cap. The whole thing was nothing like the coordinated outfits their mom liked to dress Leal in, but it would pass. In ten minutes they were all out the door again.

They walked Val right up to her door. Everyone checked all around but no fey made themselves known.

Next, Dakotah dropped the Abe siblings off at their place. The moment Adolfo and Violeta rounded the corner he could see Pete and Phin were going to be in a lot of trouble.

“Ok, night!” he said before he could catch a scolding, too. Plus, he couldn’t let them see the blood still covering his clothes.

Dakotah was off the porch in seconds. He walked quickly around the side of the Abe’s house and through the landscaped backyards. His muscles ached from the fight and he hadn’t completely wound down yet. He could barely remember the details of fighting Eyerusalem. She had moved so quickly all he had had time to do was react.

Steps from his back door, Inkar appeared out of the darkness.

Dakotah sprang back. He shifted into Other St. Paul and bared vampire fangs.

Inkar put his hands up. “Wait. I am not here to hurt you. I wanted to warn–”

He did not get to finish. Inkar’s hands went to his chest and his whole body seized. His eyes rolled back into his head and he fell to his knees, revealing a girl standing behind him. Inkar pitched forward, landing face first in the ground. Then Dakotah saw the stake in his back.

“Are you all right?” the girl asked.

Dakotah couldn’t answer. He watched in shock as Inkar’s body shriveled and turned to ash.

“Guardian,” said the girl. She was tall and white with long straight brown hair. She spoke with an Irish accent. “Did it hurt you?”

“I’m fine,” Dakotah snapped. He glared. “Who the fuck are you?”

“I’m Caitlin,” she said, retrieving her stake. “The Northern European Guardian.” He still didn’t say anything so she went on, “From Belfast?”

“Belfast? No, I’ve been there. The Sanctuary is destroyed. They said you were dead.”

Caitlin spread her arms. “Surprise.”

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