33 // TWIST

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The atmosphere inside the hall crackled with an electric tension that prickled over my skin and sent my heart racing, as if I'd just spent the night off my face partying at one of Davey's gigs

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The atmosphere inside the hall crackled with an electric tension that prickled over my skin and sent my heart racing, as if I'd just spent the night off my face partying at one of Davey's gigs.

Ethan straightened up, rolling back his shoulders, and by his side, his fists were clenching and unclenching - that sure sign he was squaring up for a fight.

Nobody had moved since the moment he'd appeared.

The demon army surrounded him, their arms outstretched and ready to attack, and yet their stance and the expression on their faces seemed to tell a different story. If the tension was coming from anyone, it was coming from them, not from the one demon who stood alone, outnumbered, flanked on all sides by his enemy. The nervous energy coursing through the air was so palpable, I could feel it building, becoming this monstrous thing that was threatening to consume everything. I waited, my eyes wide, my throat burning, and as the seconds ticked by, I realised I was waiting for the explosion – that one moment when the world would erupt and take us all with it into the ashes.

'Welcome home, Ethan,' Blake called out, holding out his arms in a hospitable gesture.

'This has never been and never will be my home,' Ethan said, his voice calm and measured. 'As I've told you before, nothing's changed.'

Blake gave a brief, cool smile. 'On the contrary, I would say everything has changed, wouldn't you?' He stepped to one side, looking up at me as he did so. There was a distinct spark of victory and triumph in his gaze, which left me feeling ashamed and mortified that it was my stupid, reckless hero act that had forced Ethan to come to the one place he had been avoiding for so many years.

Instead of looking at me like he wanted to push my face into the wall – because I really wouldn't have blamed him one bit - Ethan mouthed are you okay and I swallowed hard, nodding my head, even though I wasn't okay. None of this was bloody okay.

A peel of girlish laughter echoed through the room as Juliette sidled over to me, raising her hand to stroke my hair again, that idiotic pout in full effect once more.

'Don't worry, Ethan, darling,' she crooned. 'Casey has been the perfect guest, she really has. Hasn't moved barely a muscle. Of course, that's because she can't, but that's beside the point. We've grown quite fond of your little human. In fact, we insist that she stay here with us.' She turned her head to look pointedly at Ethan, running her tongue over the edge of her teeth. 'Won't that be wonderful, my love? One big happy family.'

Ethan took a deep breath, as he stared back at her, nothing but a deep, terrifying darkness in his eyes.

'You and I both know I'm not going to let that happen,' he said. He balled his hands into tight fists.

High above us, the newly-installed crystal orbs were flickering again.

I didn't understand it. I didn't know how he was making them do that. The flickering lights was a sign of the Angels. He'd told me that. Fuck, I'd seen it with my own eyes. And yet, here he was, making the lights flutter and quake, like he was one of them. Was he one of them?Had he been hiding it from me all this time? My head pounded with confusion and panic.

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