Chapter Eleven

            Clara was careful to make sure that all signs that she'd been close to crying were gone. She'd even washed her face with freezing cold water to make sure that her eyes wouldn't be red and puffy. Alan stood when he saw her standing in the doorway.

            "Better now?" he asked, flipping through channels on an old T.V.

            "Yep," she answered sitting down next to him on the dilapidated couch. This house was almost enough to make her feel sorry for him. Almost being the key word there. Her house might not have been a den of roses and sunshine but this place was awful. She pulled her knees up to her chin and sat there watching an old game show where the host had people guessing how much a dryer and a blender cost. It was distracting, at least.

            "I should probably call Kameron," Clara said, not really wanting to talk to Kameron at all right then. Kameron would tell her she knew how she felt and that she was so sorry, sure, but all the while she'd be sopping up every word to relate to everyone at school later. She could hear it now. 'She sounded so sad- well maybe not sad but kind of drained. Did you hear how they found him? Strung up from the ceiling!! Can you imagine? Of course, I didn't ask Clar about that...'

            "Why?" Alan asked.

            "Because we're friends?" Clara answered uncertainly.

            "Hmm okay then. I don't have a telephone, though."

            "Never mind then."

            "Okay."

            The day passed much like this, both of them staring at the T.V. and only speaking in terse sentences. Clara wasn't feeling well at all. She felt like she was freezing to death even though she knew she shouldn't be cold. Alan was alarmed at the way the waves of power were gathering around her. The thing that scared him the most was that he wasn't the one controlling them.

            "Clara…I want you to sit very, very still. I need to call someone really quick."

            "I thought you didn't have a phone," she said through her chattering teeth.

            "I don't. There are other ways to call someone." He sent a mental cry to his father and felt his presence flying toward them. He hadn't protected her for so long to have her hurt by magic his father could easily overcome.

            "Alan?" his father's voice called.

            "Here!" he replied, staring at the magic that was invading his home.

            "What's going on here?" his father bellowed when he saw the power radiating throughout the house.

            "I don't know!" Alan answered.

            Clara was making strangling noises now. His father reached through the magic and grabbed her. Suddenly, as if sensing the stronger power, the magic fled. Clara was still breathing heavily, but was well enough to struggle to her feet.

            "What the hell was that?" she asked, anger rising in her like lava.

            "I'm not sure," Alan said looking to his father for help.

            "It came from more than one source," his father answered, "Other than that, I can't tell you anything."

            "Great!" Clara said flopping down on the couch with a sigh. Her lungs still hurt as if a fire had scorched them. She didn't tell Alan that, though. She wasn't sure how he'd healed her before, but she didn't like it. Who knew what else he might do?

            "Is this the girl you told us about?" his father asked staring at the girl his son had chosen in fascination.

            "Yes," Alan replied, "This is Clara. Clara, this is my father."

            "I didn't know evil fanged monsters had fathers," Clara shot back.

            "Clara," Alan hissed.

            "No, it's alright, son. Your mother was a lot like her before we were married."

            Clara took a deep breath, and began a monologue, which consisted mainly of choice words in many different languages. It sounded like a multilingual episode of Jerry Springer. Finally, she finished, panting since her lungs still weren't back to normal.

            "Clara, I know you hate me, but my father didn't do anything to you. You really don't need to say such terrible things about his ancestors."

            Clara smiled, and Alan thought it was the scariest thing he'd ever seen. She got ready to launch into another string of curses, but his father silenced her with a simple spell. When she realized what he'd done she reached for her knife but realized that she'd given it to Alan earlier.

            "Alan, what do you plan to do now? I heard from Miguel that her family is dead."

            "Yes, that's true…" Alan said indecisively.

            "And after the attack tonight…"

            "Yes, we need to find a safe place for her."

            "You could always bring her to the manor."

            "Don't you think that would be dangerous? She may seem tough, but she's still human. I wouldn't want anyone to mistake her for dinner."

            "You could tell them not to. They wouldn't dare hurt one of our guests."

            Clara was shaking her head no emphatically, but they both ignored her. She finally got their attention by grabbing Alan's arm and pulling on it while she pointed to her throat and did her best to look like she was sorry. Needless to say, she didn't look very repentant, but his father lifted the spell.

            "I don't want to go," she announced.

            "I told you I'd take care of you! You'll go into foster care if I don't take you somewhere safe."

            "I don't care. I'll be happy if I don't have to be around any more fanged freaks for the rest of my life. I just want to be left alone."

            "You do not!" he argued.

            "How do you know what I want? Sure, you sit there and watch while I sleep, but what do you really know?"

            "There's really no use arguing children. The choice has been made."

            "Screw you," Clara replied.

            "I think we should put her to sleep on the way, Alan. Who knows what she may do that might cause damage to herself."

            "Okay," Alan replied. He cast a spell and Clara fell into his arms. "Let's go."