Nadia hung up the phone and shook her head laughing. Her mother could be so panicky about things. She was excited about dinner with Ethan, it was the first time he had called her to do something in months. Ethan had been even more distant than usual the last week or two, but when he called her at work, he had sounded genuinely excited about seeing her and taking her out to a nice dinner. Maybe things are turning around for us, she thought to herself.
Nadia drove up the long driveway of the school slowly, they still had yet to put lights along the road leaving it shrouded in darkness, and she was afraid of hitting one of the many students who walked along its length to the stores at the bottom of the hill. Luckily, there were no students on the road that night and the parking lot was empty. She pulled up to the front of the building and waited, Ethan said he’d meet her out here after he finished up filling out some college applications online in the library. She had just parked her car when her cell phone buzzed in her purse.
“Ethan? Where are you” she asked.
“Out back by the football field, helped one of the janitors carry something to the storage sheds. Meet me here” he asked.
“Be right there babe” Nadia said.
The parking lot out back was just as empty as the front, and to her surprise there were no lights on around the football field or adjoining buildings. She pulled the car over next to the field and tried to peer out into the darkness, wondering why he would be carrying anything without any light to see by. When she didn’t see Ethan she parked the car and stepped outside. The night was clear, and up here away from the main town the stars blanketed the sky, Nadia looked up and caught a glimpse of a shooting star lighting a path across the sky. Smiling to herself, she closed her eyes and made a wish before walking between the gates and out onto the field.
“Ethan” she called out.
There was no answer. She walked a little further out and looked around. The stars gave off plenty of light now that her eyes had adjusted, but there was still no sign of Ethan.
“Hello” she yelled out, “Ethan?”
“Back here” Ethan finally answered.
She turned, smiling to the sound of his voice; it was coming from the bleachers. She let out a schoolgirl giggle and ran over. Ethan was standing in front of the dark space beneath the bleachers. Laughing, she shook her head at him while she walked over.
“Under the bleachers? A little cliché don’t you think…” her voice trailed off and laughing faded as she walked closer and saw the look on Ethan’s face. He looked angry.
“Ethan, what’s wrong” she asked.
Ethan shook his head at her, then from behind him Nadia heard the sound of something growling, something big.
“Ethan…” she began to say when first one large form emerged from the darkness behind Ethan, then another. Two monstrous wolves appeared on either side of Ethan, starlight reflecting from their eyes, and from their teeth. Ethan took a step forward.
“I’m sorry Nadia…” he said quietly, the two wolves matched him step for step as he approached.
Fear set in as she watched them approach. Fumbling in her pocket, Nadia brought out a can of pepper spray and pointed it at them.
“What do you want” she asked, the hand holding the spray was shaking in front of her. She took a few steps back as Ethan kept coming closer, the look on his face scaring her more than the two animals following him.
“Look, I’m just gonna go” she said backing up. Whatever he was up to, she didn’t like it.
Ethan shook his head at her slowly, “I can’t let you go anywhere, I’m sorry.”
Nadia couldn’t take it anymore; she pressed the button on the pepper spray and shot back and forth, trying to hit both Ethan and the wolves in the eyes. One of the wolves ducked, but she managed to get both the other wolf and Ethan in the eyes, the beast dropped its head with a yelp and Ethan jerked back. Using the distraction, Nadia turned and ran as fast as she could to get to the car before they knew what was happening.
Instantly, the first wolf started to chase her down, but Ethan held out his arm and stopped it. The wolf gave Ethan a quick bark and snapped at his hand but stayed in place. Nadia ran past the gate and slammed into her car, dropping the pepper spray onto the ground. She opened the car door and fumbled with her keys just long enough for Ethan to appear at the back of her car.
The two wolves suddenly appeared on either side of the car, blocking her escape. Finally, she managed to get the key in the ignition and start the car. One of the wolves jumped in front of the car just as she hit the gas but Nadia refused to slow down, forcing the wolf to jump over the car at the last second as the she tore off. Nadia looked into the rearview to see Ethan and the two wolves watching her drive away, feeling a momentary relief until she turned back to see a girl suddenly appeared less than twenty feet in front of the car. Nadia screamed and slammed the breaks, stopping just inches before hitting her.
“Delilah” Nadia said quietly.
Delilah smiled into the car as she walked over before standing in front of the hood and casually bending down. Nadia screamed as Delilah lifted the front end of the car off the ground as easily as a child picking up a toy. In a blind panic, Nadia hit the gas again, but the front tires spun a foot off the ground as Delilah held the car up in the air. Suddenly Ethan seemed to materialize outside the driver side door. He looked in at Nadia and casually opened the door before she had a chance to reach over and lock it.
“Take your foot off the gas Nadia, you’re not going anywhere with the tires off the ground” Ethan said.
In her shock, she didn’t realize that she was still pressing the gas down. Breathing heavily and trying not to cry, Nadia slowly let go of the gas. Ethan looked in and nodded at the keys, then reached in and shut the car off, taking the keys out and putting them in his own pocket.
“Get out of the car” he said quietly.
Delilah set the car onto the ground and Nadia slowly climbed out, falling to the ground between sobs. Ethan bent down in front of her, picking her chin up with one hand until she looked into his face. His hand was ice cold.
“Shhh…” he said, “get up, we have a lot to talk about.”
Ethan lifted her off the ground like a parent picking up a baby and set her down on her feet. The two wolves closed in on either side and Delilah walked up and stood beside Ethan, putting her arm around his waist before leaning up to give him a kiss on the cheek.
“What, wha…” Nadia said, then broke down into sobs again.
She couldn’t believe what was going on, everything seemed so impossible. Ethan once again put his cold hand under her chin and lifted her face to look at him. Nadia turned her eyes to Delilah and back to Ethan. He nodded, understanding the question without her having to ask.
“I believe you’ve already met my wife Delilah. Now like I said, it’s time we had a serious talk.”
YOU ARE READING
The Last of the Twenty: The Setting of the BoardVampire
Alex can’t understand why Nadia is with Ethan. Nadia is the most beautiful girl in Freedom, New Hampshire, and Ethan is a grade-A jerk. But as Alex observes the budding relationship, his jealousy turns to worry. Historical research and some damning...