Chapter Three

"We shouldn't have let him come here with us!"

"You shouldn't have let him gone with that imposter redneck!"

"Oh, don't even start! All of this is on you, Shelly!"

"Don't you dare blame our poor little nephew being in danger on me!"

Unbeknownst to the twins, they had bickered back and forth for ten minutes since they began running through the fog in search for the shack that belonged to Skeet. It was where the Vork that disguised itself as the elderly groundskeeper claimed to take Patrick, but Sean and Shelly had yet to find it in the dense fog. The siblings were so infuriated with each other that they failed to see how prolonged their search was.

The bickering ceased when the horrible screech of the Vork sounded through the air. Unlike the previous Vork shriek that they heard from a distance, this one sounded more agonized, as if hundreds of people had screamed out in pain. Sean and Shelly knew the Vork would only make that sound if it had been injured. It would seem impossible to them that their eight-year-old nephew did the job himself. The Vork was virtually unstoppable to anyone that did not brandish the right weapons to defeat it like they did; so it baffled them to hear the creature's shriek of agony somewhere within the cemetery.

Rushing through the area with more haste than before, the twins used the agonized shrieking to guide them to the location of the supposedly injured Vork. The louder the shrieking got, the closer they appeared to be. After a while, they needed earplugs to shield their eardrums from the loud, intense noise. Soon the Vork's body appeared as clear as day; it had been impaled by a twelve-foot long metal staff that sparked with electricity, each spark unleashing a violent shock to the flailing Vork. The creature looked exactly as Shelly described it to Patrick – a ten-foot-tall bat-like being with a muscled frame covered in dark brown fur, complete with razor sharp claws on its hands and feet.

Prior to its attack on Skeet, the creature was faceless; but it currently had Skeet's face grafted on it, yet only a few of Skeet's facial features remained. The white beard, multiple wrinkles, and the few liver spots were all still there; however, instead of gapped teeth, a full set of hideous fangs – Vork fangs – were in its mouth. The eyes were just as inhuman as the teeth – a pair of lifeless yellow eyeballs in their sockets. It was a being of pure terror that was in anguish and rage when Sean and Shelly found it. The staff that impaled its enormous body baffled the twins, who questioned its origin.

A lone figure suddenly stepped into the scene. Sean and Shelly brought up their guns and aimed at the figure, believing it to be the one that took down the Vork. Once the figure showed up clearer to the twins, they realized that she was a human female. The woman looked to be the same age as them; she was Caucasian, brunette, and the same height as Shelly, wearing a black hoodie, light blue skinny jeans, and red tennis shoes. Her complexion was slightly pale, yet there was still a hint of peach in it. Her eyes were a dark shade of blue and focused directly on the Vork; she hardly even noticed Sean and Shelly standing nearby, watching her calmly approach the pinned-down Vork.

The Vork swung at the brunette but she casually ducked from the attack. She aimed her own handgun – a chrome pistol with blinking lights and thin wires that secured the hand of its user to it – at the arm that the Vork swung with, firing a large orange-glowing bolt that struck the Vork's right hand and pinned its whole arm to the ground. The brunette had done the same to the Vork's other arm, as well as its wings and legs, leaving the creature in an immobile state; only its head remained mobile as it viciously flailed about, shrieking in anger.

The brunette then got dangerously close to the Vork, standing over its torso and sitting down upon it. The creature's rapid breathing bounced her as she quickly reached for its neck and squeezed hard. Shrieking louder than ever, the Vork appeared to have panicked as it felt what the brunette was doing to it. Within mere seconds, the young woman – who the creature was triple the size of – managed to snap its neck and end its suffering. The body of the Vork immediately went limp, and the brunette stopped bouncing upon its now-stilled chest.

With the Vork dead and no longer screaming into the heavens, Sean and Shelly heard what could have only been the sound of a child crying. The dense fog around them dispersed, and they saw another young woman – also the same age as them – carrying Patrick and letting him cry into her left shoulder. This woman was much taller than the brunette, standing at the same height as Sean. She was blonde and blue-eyed with a much fairer complexion and donned in an orange jacket, tight green pants, and black slippers. Beneath the jacket, she only wore a dark orange, polka-dotted bra, showing off much of her toned, slender torso.

"Shh. It's okay. You poor baby. It's okay." She calmed the weeping child on her shoulder, gently patting him on the back. Her soothing treatment seemed to have worked as Patrick calmed down a little while resting his head down on the blonde's shoulder. Sean and Shelly were surprised – Patrick never warmed up so quick to a stranger.

Sean rushed to the blonde and his nephew the minute he saw them. "Patrick! Are you okay, little man?"

The blonde smirked over his concern for his nephew. "He's fine. Just got a little spooked by the Vork, that's all." Patrick lifted his head from her shoulder, his face a slobbering mess of tears and mucus. Reaching into the left pocket of her jacket, the blonde retrieved a handkerchief that she used to wipe the mess from Patrick's face. "There now. Feeling awesome again, huh?" Patrick nodded with a small smile. "We took care of that ol' nasty Vork, didn't we?"

She gestured to the dead creature while the brunette, still sitting upon its torso, sliced through its neck with a large, sharp knife extracted from her unique handgun. They could all hear muscle tearing and bones cracking apart as she separated the head of the Vork from its body. Witnessing the sickening display, Patrick buried his face in the shoulder of the blonde that carried him and shouted in a muffled voice, "Ew!"

"Oh, god!" Shelly exclaimed, shielding her nose and mouth from the putrid smell that seeped from beneath the severed head of the Vork. "Why the hell did you do that?"

The brunette turned to Shelly while holding up the Vork head, which still possessed the face of the last human being it had killed. "Research," she said in a monotone voice.

"You're going to study it?" Sean questioned, clearly staggered from her response.

"Dissection's the easiest way to learn its point of origin." The brunette said as she visually analyzed the head that she held up.

"Isn't that what you two do?" The blonde asked.

Sean shook his head. "No. We just…kill it."

"Yeah, we're not crazy enough to keep any parts of it around." Shelly said. She reached into her right jeans pocket and retrieved a small, transparent cylindrical canister that contained a sample of mercury. Removing the cap from it, she walked up to the body of the Vork and dumped the mercury directly on its torso. In a millisecond, the Vork's body burned to ashes, leaving only the metal staff that had impaled it, still stuck into the ground.

The blonde nodded in approval from Shelly's disposal of the body. "Impressive."

"You know what the Vork was. How?" Sean asked her.

"The same way you knew." The blonde answered. "Brynn and I have been hunting down these things just as long as you and Shelly have."

"And how do you know who we are?" Shelly suspiciously inquired.

The brunette, whose name was revealed to be "Brynn" by the blonde, moved in uncomfortably close to Shelly – the head of the Vork between them, still contaminating the air with its incredibly foul stench. "We've followed you…for two years, seven months, five days, two hours, thirty minutes, and…" Without warning, she spat into the air, watching her own mucus soar through the air and hit the ground, much to the immediate disgust of Shelly. "…fifteen seconds."

"You could just have easily said 'We've followed you,' you know." Shelly criticized.

"She likes to be precise." The blonde clarified.

"And the big ol' loogie she hawked up?" Shelly asked.

"Was just to annoy you." Brynn said with half a smile, moving away from the bewildered Shelly afterward.

Seeing how Brynn and Shelly got off to a rocky start, the blonde decided for her and Sean to begin on a smoother one for them. She offered her free hand to him and introduced herself: "I'm Meg."

He did not hesitate in accepting her handshake. "Nice to meet you, Meg. So you and Brynn are Outsiders like us?"

"I guess so." Meg smiled over the title he gave. "Outsiders, huh?"

"I came up with." Sean admitted. "Shelly says it's dumb and reminds her too much of the Patrick Swayze movie."

"I like it." Meg said. "It fits with who we are. Brynn and I often feel like outsiders between this world and the one wherever things like the Vork come from. Like, just the other day, this assh—" She stopped herself for a second, reminding herself that Patrick was still on her shoulder. "This jerk stops by us on the street and loudly says to Brynn and me in front of everybody, 'Either find a job or find a shelter!' What kind of person does that?"

Sean shook his head in disgust; he then made a surprising realization from her depiction of the incident. "You two are homeless?"

Meg was hesitant for a moment in confirming his suspicion, but she put her pride aside and admitted the truth. "Yeah, we are. We've been on the streets for ten years now. The orphanage we stayed in couldn't find us a good home, so when we reached sixteen, we just ran away and decided to take care of ourselves. We've gotten along fine since then." Sean acknowledged her honest claim with a nod. After detailing her backstory, Meg sighed and handed Patrick over to his uncle. "O.K., lil' dude. You go back to your uncle now."

Once Patrick was back in Sean's arms, he looked to Meg and smiled. "Thank you for saving me."

Meg was touched by his gratitude. "You're welcome, sweetie." She then looked to Sean and nodded. "Guess we'll see each other next holiday, huh?"

Sean nodded back and smiled. "Looking forward to it."

She walked away and rejoined Brynn by the metal staff and pile of Vork ashes, while Shelly returned to his side. "Can you believe those two?" She questioned to him. "They've been following us? What are they? F.B.I. undercover or something? Since when is it against the law to hunt monsters?"

"They're homeless, Shell." Sean informed.

"A front, obviously." Shelly said. "I've been suspecting this for a while now, bro. It's…" She stopped and realized how he was staring at Meg and Brynn with a determined look on his face. Recognizing that look, Shelly immediately shook her head negatively. "No. No! NO!"

"Yes!" Sean snapped back at her. "They saved Patrick's life, and they're Outsiders like us. I'm not going to ignore that, and I'm not going to let them live on the streets anymore." He set Patrick down next to Shelly. "You and Pat wait for me by the truck."

Shelly watched him go to Meg and Brynn, beyond unsettled with his choice in helping the two women. She looked down at Patrick, who seemed a bit puzzled by his uncle's actions. "She better not even think of bringing that nasty head into my house," she told Patrick, who nodded in agreement with her.