Michael was watching the cameras and saw a flicker on the screen, it was quick and moved swiftly along the fence until it finally disappeared from sight. He did not immediately jump up or sound an alarm. He did what he was supposed to do, he kept watching, because as of yet, there was no need to make the others worry. Several minutes later, Michael again saw the flicker, but this time it was inside perimeter, and near the main house. He immediately recognized it as the Loarn, one of the portal watchers, and he was now on the deck of the main house. Michael alerted Matthew, His mother Elena, Liam and Van, telling Matthew and Liam to meet at the main house where Elena and Trinity were.
As the others were gathering at the main house, Van was not idle, he was gathering supplies via the internet, to have them dropped off at the property, and all the while guarding the young children and other wives. Van knew that despite wanting to rush off and help the others in case of some confrontation, he alone was the last protection for the rest of the extended family and he would not let anything happen to any of his wards if he could stop it.
Michael got to the main house first, and was met by the Loarn and Elena his mother, she relayed the message that 3 Braks and a Wrack had passed through the portal nearest the house about an hour ago, where they were now he did not know, but his scouts were looking for them, as Elena was relaying this message, the Loarn turned and looked towards the east fence and watched as two of his kind slipped through, and avoided the traps that they were warned of, as they headed straight to him. The Loarn met them, and there was a conversation between them that Elena could only hear part of, the Loarn turned and relayed the scouts’ message that six more total had passed through different portals, 2 more Braks and 4 Wracks, bringing the known total to 5 each. Elena told the others, who had now all arrived, and paused turning to the Loarn “Thank you my friend!! We will be ready for them, but only because of your help.” The Loarn then turned and he and his kin left.
Michael, Liam, Matthew, and Elena moved inside and sat at the table, “Well, things are accelerating quickly it seems,” said Michael. “Ok, we need to really tighten security up I think” and the others nodded in agreement.
Matthew said, “Mom, the first thing we need to do is get you and Trinity,” looking up at the teenager that had slipped in and was standing behind her dad Liam’s chair. “ The first thing we need to do, is move you to one of the other houses, as surreptitiously as we can, and set this one as the trap for as many as we can. It’s obvious they know where you are, and in which house, so we can use that to our advantage.”
Liam said, “I agree, Sis. Let’s put her in my house for now,” he said addressing his nephews. “That way there are several people who can help keep watch, in the same place. I also think we should move her from place to place, so as not to let them pin her location down.”
“Are you ok staying with her Trinity? I know it’s got to be a bit tough and stressful”.
Trinity replied in that quiet voice she has, “Wouldn’t have it any other way, Dad, I think I could help, if need be, but I will stay with Aunt Elena as long as you want me to, or until I am needed someplace else.” Trinity was also thinking to herself, that she needed her wooden practice blades, and if they moved back to their house, she could grab them and have them handy, not cutting sharp but they were formidable weapons to strike with, and could be used to stab if she needed.
Elena started to protest not just the moving, but putting Trinity into such a precarious spot, but Michael said before she could, “Well, that’s settled. Let’s make the move in the next hour or so, as I think they would expect us to stay quiet during the day”.
Van heard the sound again, like something dragging across a screen very slowly, so you hear each time it hit a new square. He was busy sending emails to a network of people asking for reports on anything that he could relate to the Braks or Treslanders. Van slowly tore his eyes away from the computer screen, after hearing the noise again, seemingly coming from outside the window. Turning his head towards the window in the room, he faintly saw movement through the curtain and blinds. Van picked up his pistol and as silently as he could, he stood up and backed out of the room. Stopping in the hall just outside the bedroom door, Van was noticed by River who immediately realized something was wrong. River quickly and silently, gathered all the kids and others together in the den.
Van stood by the doorframe for a second, then glanced down the hall to the den, seeing River had everyone there, he slipped down the hall to the den, “Stay here,” he said to River. “Look after them, I’ll be right back. Do not leave this room, ‘til I get back and use that,” he said, nodding towards the shotgun by the door. “Point it down the hall, and if anyone comes, just shoot, don’t think, just shoot,” and with that he was gone, slipping out the side door.
River picked up the shotgun and pointed it down the hall like she was told, and waited. Van slipped around the opposite side of the house quietly, silently thanking whoever thought to leave the area closest to the house covered in pine straw, as it was pretty silent to walk on. Looking around the corner, he saw a figure crouched by the window with a blade, slowly cutting one tiny square at a time, trying to be a quiet as possible.
The Wrack was cutting the screen. He had done this before, plenty of times, when searching for his prey over the years. These unsuspecting humans were so self secure in their lives, that they could not believe there were other lives out there, and things that could, and would, take their lives in an instant, if the price was right, and this price was the highest ever heard. As he continued cutting, he suddenly got the sense of danger but he did not stop, he slipped another knife out with his other hand under his cloak and prepared to meet the danger he felt.
Van hesitated for a half second, as whoever or whatever it was at the window, could just be a stupid burglar who picked the wrong house, and shooting him would lead to all kinds of issues. But in that hesitation, he did slip his gun up and point it at the figure. Once he was set, he said, “Door’s around front, Mister.”
Faster than he would have thought possible, the figure spun away from the window, slinging a knife Van had not seen, towards the sound of the voice. The knife hit the wall just short of where Van was standing, and glanced off, sliding past so close, that it nicked his shoulder that was exposed. Van was caught off guard for a spilt second, and the Wrack moved with lightening speed away from the house, slinging a second knife while trying to get an open view of Van, who was still protected by the house corner. The Wrack saw no knife or bow in the humans hands, but did see something he was not familiar with, yet it did not look like a weapon to him. He thought this stupid human would be easy to deal with, as he started drawing his skith, a wicked looking curved short sword, thick bladed and serrated on the back half.
Van felt the blade nick his shoulder and twisted back a bit, amazed that anyone could move so fast, as then a second knife struck the wall, where his head had been milliseconds ago. He then saw the face under the cloak and realized it was not human, seeing whatever it was drawing a nasty looking sword thing, Van hesitated no longer. He took aim and shot two times for the center of the chest, both striking, and the figure raised on his toes, then collapsed in a heap.
Everyone in the main house at the same time said, “Gunshots!!” and started to head that way, but Matthew said “Hold on!! We can’t all go running out there, it may be a trap!” Quickly it was decided Matthew and Michael would go, and the rest would stay and wait for word.
Michael and Matthew checked their weapons, then slipping out the back door, and starting to work their way towards the direction the gunfire came from. The rest of the families were supposed to be at Van and Rivers, so that’s where they headed, but they would circle around!and check the others, just in case, on their way.
Working in the bound method, they took turns moving, while one covered the other. They worked around two houses, and at the second house, stopped and watched the third, which was Van’s, and then both moved forward, Matthew towards the front corner, and Michael towards the back, both reaching them at the same time.
Michael immediately noticed a cloaked figure crumpled on the ground by the far corner, a large wicked looking knife/sword laying beside him. He signaled Matthew with his hand, got a negative hand sign, and then signaled that Matthew should move around the front, to the far side, and they would both meet on the farthest corner, where the figure was. Matthew started moving, and Michael counted 30 seconds, then started moving, keeping his weapon trained on the figure. They timed it perfect, except Van met Matthew, as he rounded the corner, and they both met Michael back at the figure on the ground.
All three examined the figure, and Matthew asked “You alright, Uncle Van? You look a little pale,” Van nodded yes.
“It’s not that I shot hi..it..whatever, it’s just unbelievable it really happened”, declared Van.
“Well, let’s get inside and check on the rest of the family.” Michael said.
Van cautioned, “Be careful! River has a shotgun, and I told her to shoot anything she saw in the hall”.
Matthew stayed with the Wrack, “I’ll be along in a couple, kids don’t need to see this.”
Van and Michael went around front, opening the door a bit, and Van yelling in “River? It’s me dont shoot!!!” To which he got the reply “Of course it’s you! I saw you in the mirror I set up, you and Michael come on in! We are all ok”.
Matthew studied the creature for a couple minutes, and took several pictures of it with his phone. He also collected a total of eight small throwing type knives, QQ and the weird sword. The sword had a snake with red eyes that glowed when light hit them and it had 36 lines down it’s body reaching less than half way like it was incomplete or something. “Well, you ain’t finishing it now are ya, Bub? Let’s get you outta sight,” Matthew said to the corpse, as he was dragging it away from the houses, and towards an out shed.
Matthew arrived at the house a bit later, at the end of Van filling the others in on what occurred. Michael had already texted Elena and Liam to let them know all was well. While doing so, he noticed that Uncle Liam’s oldest daughter ‘Lena, who was named after his own mother, had her sketch pad and he caught a glimpse of a cloaked figure she had drawn. He also noticed she was looking at him, like he had caught her doing something wrong. He did not say anything, and smiled as he turned and joined the others in plans as what to do next.
Matthew and Michael left everyone inside with Van, and they went to the house closest to them, which was Liam’s. Once sure it was safe, they went and got everyone from Van’s, and escorted them to the new place. They put the timers on in different parts of Van’s house, so the lights and TVs would come on at different times, in different rooms, and even on different days.
Michael went to the main house, while Matthew returned to the shed, and started up the tractor, “Funny, Dad always harped on needing a tractor, but I don’t think he meant for this,” he said to himself, as he dug a hole and dumped the Brak’s body into it.
After he was done, Matthew returned to the main house, and they all moved Elena and Trinity back to Liam’s. Now that everyone was in the same place, Michael, Matthew, Liam and Van, all sat at the table, and devised a plan to move everyone in two groups, from now on. Different houses each night. Sometimes even, both groups staying at the same house, at the same time, on occasion.
Trinity had gone to her room as soon as she could, and retrieved her two practice blades slipping them into the two sheaths she made that fit on her back. Handles down where she had easy access. She put on an over shirt, much like the one her Uncle Lee was always wearing, so it covered the blades perfectly. Trinity smirked at herself in the mirror, then went back out to where everyone was, and joined the group.
It was decided that for the night, everyone would stay here together, where there was safety in numbers. According to the Loarn, they had at least nine more “things” that had come through the portal, and were intent on stopping their family bloodline, from existing any more.
Matthew and Michael set several wireless trip alarms around the main house, before going to the house Michael and his family had been staying in. They slid the pivoting bookcase away, and went down a flight of steps, with the bookcase closing behind them. The brothers turned right, towards Uncle Liam’s home, heading along the tunnel that Lee had constructed, between all the houses on the property. They emerged in one of the spare bedrooms, after first stopping to listen for any signs of danger. Then they joined the others in the den, and kitchen. “Matthew and I will watch after dark tonight, and see if we can surprise any unwanted visitors. Have we decided who’s staying where, starting tomorrow?” asked Michael.
Liam had devised a plan, where every house was numbered. This one was #2, for example, and the groups would roll a dice and where it wound up is where they would stay. That way no one had prior knowledge, and no one could be forced to tell.
That night went by without incident for the group, and the next day they split into three groups. Elena, Trinity and one of the men would take turns being with that group, Van, River, Liam, Natasha and Elena would be in another, leaving Matthew and Annika with their infant, who would stay with Michael, Sophia and their six children. That way there is always a male with them, also.
As luck or fate would have it, Elena’s group drew the main house as theirs for the day, and prior to dawn, they made the move back, this time using the tunnel. The other groups moved to their locations, but did so normally, so that if there were watchers, it would seem that Elena and Trinity were still in Liam’s house. Matthew stayed with Elena his mom and Trinity as they settled. He then said, “Back in a couple. Have to check the triggers and traps. Don’t go outside, I’m going through Dad’s tunnels, and coming out of the shed, and I will come back the same way when I’m done”.
30 minutes later, as Trinity was alone in the den doing a bit of practice, she suddenly heard a strange noise come from the room her aunt was resting in. She got up heading rapidly towards the door, and as she got there it was flung open, and almost knocked her down. She saw the most scary, disfigured face, and the body of a man, and it was dragging Elena, who was either unconscious or almost so.
Trinity hesitated a second, and before she could cry for help, the Wrack drew a curved sword dropping Elena at the same time, thinking to himself that he could get rid of this brat quickly and make a bigger bonus. Trinity saw the blade, and she paled and her blood seemed to turn cold, but instinctively she backed away and out of the hall into the open den. She drew one of her practice blades as the Wrack lunged at her, trying to stab her in the chest. She swatted his blade with hers, knocking it off line, and it slid past her as she spun past the Wrack. Her blade kept going with the spin, and came full circle, striking the Wrack with the sharp edge on the back of his neck, and with enough force to knock him over the couch.
The Wrack made a grunt and growled, as he quickly sprang to his feet, twisting to face the young girl, and his eyes narrowed as he moved around the couch, to have a clear shot at her. Trinity knew this was no longer some computer game, and that she could easily not get out of this, but she was determined to stay and fight. She drew the second blade from its sheath, while at the same time the Wrack attacked again. This time swinging his blade straight from over his head, in an attempt to chop her in half, or split her skull.
Trinity barely arched back enough as the Wrack’s blade sliced through the air, and the tip barely knocked her shirt, cutting a hole in it at her waist. Trinity took the advantage, as the Wrack had over extended himself, and the move made him lean forward so much, he was almost off balanced. She swung one blade down with all her might, striking him in the neck area where it met his shoulder, and without slowing, the other blade swung and struck him in the forearm which was holding his sword, and he dropped it, as his muscles were temporarily stunned.
The Wrack lunged forward with his body, and hit Trinity in the stomach with his shoulder, driving her against the wall, and taking her breath away. He then grabbed her and slung her across the room into a coffee table. Trinity realized she was not going to be able to take much of that as she got up, her small body was bruised and she was breathing hard. The Wrack picked up his sword in his left hand, and slowly started to approach, sensing his opponent was weakening, and it wouldn’t be long before he could finish her off.
Trinity had somehow managed to hold onto both blades, was desperately trying to buy time, so she could catch her breath. She kicked the coffee table towards him, and he kicked it out of the way. There was now nothing between him and her, as he circled warily, several times lunging at her, and each time Trinity was able to knock his blade away, or dodge it. The last time though, he swung his sword at her, and she barely stopped it, slipping on something on the floor, giving him the opportunity he needed.
Trinity knew it was over as she slipped. She could not defend against him grabbing her from behind, and wrapping his arm around her waist, pulling his sword up to her neck to finish her off.