The decapitation of the two vamps disconcerted Bev. Paul eliminated a threat, but he was also out of the fucking Jeep. She started racing toward them, her mind rewinding the last few seconds. The shadow that passed overhead was larger than Paul. She'd definitely seen what looked like wings spinning themselves out of his back. Tendrils of dark gray silk unraveled and dissolved into a mist-like cloud of granules. A few more steps closer and Paul turned to Blake. Bev's stomach sank and she willed her legs to move faster.
Twenty yards, ten yards. He reached out toward the boy and she felt her legs turn to iron.
Five yards. To her left she saw Carol and Armond racing forward, Carol raising her gun.
Bev leapt and slammed herself into her husband, wrapping her long arms around his torso and hitting him with the full force of her momentum. For a split second she didn't think he would go down, but he staggered and seemed to let himself be tackled, his body going limp as Bev forced him to the ground. There was a shot and she felt something brush against the back of her head. Her ears rung and something wet ran down her neck.
"Fuck. Bev. Move."
Unwilling and unable to reply, Bev spread herself flat against her husband who lay face down in the dirt. His head was turned to the side, but she couldn't' make out his expression. He didn't seem to be breathing, but Bev tried to make herself as heavy as possible. She was no match for Paul who was six inches taller and broader than she was, but she flooded her body with fear and hoped that made for a good weight. (Better word here).
"Bev. Fucking move!" Carol shouted from directly behind her. Her head ringing, Bev raised it high enough to shout "mind your son, Carol," and then buried her face into her husband's shoulders.
He smelled different, she thought through the pain and fear. Her mind had reacted as if her husband was in danger, but she wasn't sure this was her husband anymore. She brought her mouth to his ear and hissed, "you fucking move and I'll let her take your head."
Paul tried to look back at his wife, but only managed a small nod. He seemed smaller now, just a man. Bev looked down his right arm at the grab bar still hanging from the thick rope they used to tie him down. 'No,' she thought, 'don't be fooled.'
A hand touched her shoulder and Bev flinched. "It's me," Armond said. "You're bleeding. Let me look." She felt a hand brush back her hair above her shoulders. Armond hissed, and said "you got a good gash here, but" and she felt him lift a flap of skin, causing her to yelp. "Sorry, but it's not too deep. I'll be back."
Her vision wavered and she wasn't sure how to get herself out of her prone position. She couldn't trust that Paul wouldn't attack them the moment she did, but considering what he'd done to those vamps, it was possible he was just letting her pin him down. Bev shifted her legs forward, clamping her knees to either side of Paul's hips and squeezed. In another place, in another life, this would have been foreplay. Bev pushed herself up and wrapped her hands around her husband's throat. "Stay."
From this position she could see the back of his shirt. Something had torn two narrow openings into the fabric, exposing his shoulder blades. Tiny holes covered each blade, like freckles, but darker and concave. Bev assumed this is where the silk spun out into the wings she saw. Gray dust clustered around each opening and she wondered if the other vamps had this ability, too. Or was Paul something new.
Armond returned with his kit and Bev let him bandage the back of her head. To her right, Carol stood with her shotgun aimed at Paul, Blake standing behind her with his eyes closed. The bloody fingerprint on his forehead looked like a wound. Marla stood opposite, aiming her hunting rifle at a spot behind Paul's ear. The adrenaline pumping through her body let her ignore most of the pain, but Armond's first-aid brought them into full force, and with each wave of pain she gripped her husband's throat more tightly.
Paul coughed into the dirt. To Bev, it sounded like a laugh.
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