In a heated chase, the five friends tried their best to stay together as they ran for their lives through the thinning trees. None of them would have been safe enough to hide behind or even to climb the trees, forcing them to keep running. They'd burned through their energy. They were slowing down.

Sweat enveloped all of their bodies. The familiar feeling of running away from the Bellisario family returned to them at full force. It caused them to stop for a moment, clutching at the trees as stitches tore them from the inside out.

"I think I'm just going to let them kill me," Tiffany said, pausing after every other word. Her hair was drenched, falling lifelessly around her face. Despite it being a freezing cold night, she wanted to tear her clothes off to welcome the icy air.

The others could barely speak. Eric tried to get them to move on. "I think I can hear their footsteps. They're not that far behind. We need to move."

"They're rotting corpses. They're falling apart. We can take them." Tiffany didn't sound convincing.

"In our states right now, we couldn't kill a plastic bag," Justin observed. "Plus, they seem freakishly strong for being zombies."

"Then we need a plan of action. We need to figure out a way to kill them. Fast." Eric was trying his best to control the situation.

"We have no weapons," Carmen said pragmatically. She wanted them to survive the night but she had to point out the fatal flaw in their plan.

"That's not entirely true," Christina said out of nowhere, a smile creeping across her face. She strained with the pain, but the smile came through nonetheless. "I'm a witch, guys."

Carmen flinched next to her. "I've had an encounter with a witch once. It wasn't pretty."

"I'm not an evil witch, I didn't sell my soul to the devil. But what I'm saying is I may be able to figure out a way to kill the undead if I can come up with some kind of ritual."

"Do you know of any?" Justin asked.

"Not really, but the first thing I learned from someone who helped me today was that the magic inside of me will always work as long as I believe the words I chant. The basic ritual involves blood magic, and I can do that with all of us. We'd be powerful enough for this to work. I'd also need something of theirs."

Tiffany straightened herself out. "Well they left a lot of their flesh in that dining room. Can't get closer to them than that."

"Are you sure this will work?" Eric asked. He looked at her in a way that he didn't doubt her, showing only concern for her wellbeing. "Will this hurt you in any way?"

"I'm still new to the whole thing but I'm a fast learner. It's something that's been in my blood, passed down from my mother."

Justin winced at his friend mentioning her mother. He knew where she was and couldn't share it with her. The secret would eat him alive, he knew it would.

In the time it took them to talk, their stamina replenished enough for them to be able to move again. Before they could run off, they had to work out what their next step was.

"I'll go back to the house and collect the flesh. We should probably split up to confuse them so I can get the ingredients for the ritual without trouble."

Eric stepped in front of her. "I'll come with you."

"Okay." Christina didn't argue. She looked up at him. Her heart yearned for him.

Tiffany rolled her eyes. "As long as you two don't stop to have sex, this could actually work. The rest of us will try and circle back to the house where we can perform the ritual. We'll try our best to distract those psychotic assholes."

Ashes of the Innocent (Abyssal Sanctuary #2)Read this story for FREE!