Max-

The next morning I was genuinely surprised to have energy. I expected to be weary and tired, dark circles under my eyes the whole enchilada. Granted I was sore from the fight and the late night training, but other than achy muscles I was alert and ready for...whatever we were doing today.

When Jean and the girls came down for breakfast I shot Jean a small smile, her hair was curled today, and the effect was cute. "Hey, hows you're head healing? " I checked, Macie going over and grabbing herself some applejacks and another muffin. Muffins seemed to be a favorite with her.

Jean-

With Macie's help I was able to sleep soundly the rest of the night, and when morning came, I changed into my jeans and blue flannel. Untying my braid so my hair was a little wavy, putting on my boots.

We went downstairs and into the dinning area where Darin and Max were waiting for us.

The dinning room for the hotel had three other families, and people walked past grabbing food and whatever was available.

"My head is a lot better," I responded, standing near his chair. "How are you?" I asked.

He looked a little tired, I wondered if he didn't sleep well.

Max-

I shrugged. "I'm doing alright just curious what the plan is." I turned to Darin. "What is the plan?"

Darin finished his cup of orange juice then looked up. "We'll head down the the ghost town after breakfast. See if we can find anything that says the demons were there, or even better, your friends. Wind demons can't hold still, they're wind. They have no palace or permanent residence, no houses or caves, they have to keep moving, the ghost town as good a place as any to check, they'll need a structure to keep your friends contained as well as a structure that isn't going to be frequented.

"And...if our friends are there?" I asked.

Darin smacked his lips. "We steal em back, hopefully without the demons noticing."

I took a deep breath and nodded. Okay, this was happening, I was ready.

Jean-

I nodded, thinking about what I would need to do next.

I had my back pack on my shoulder which had all my knives in it, but remembering the ghost town and the snake from the gas station...I suddenly wished I was wearing them instead.

What were the chances of Kaylee or Jesse actually being there? Would they separate them or lock them up together? I didn't want to get my hopes up for nothing.

"So if there are demons there, would I be able to use my knives on them?" I asked.

I wasn't sure if I would be able to catch any by surprise enough for knives to do any real damage. I also suddenly wished I knew how to fight with something other than knives in case I ran out...which is something I should have thought of before rushing into what might be a battle.

Darin shook his head. "I hope you never have to use those knives, our main goal right now is stealth, that's it. If it becomes an all out fight, we lose."

Max-

The car rumbled on the dirt road, as plumes of dust streamed behind us. The ghost town was up ahead.

Everyone was geared up, and everyone knew the plan. We search the south end of the town, Darin was going to come up through the north. He'd offered to take Macie with him but we decided to stick together since she knew more about magical creatures then we did.

It was a bright day, there was clouds but the majority of the time was spent in sunlight. Hopefully the clear skies meant no wind demons, but maybe only the really powerful ones came with thunderclouds, I wasn't letting my guard down.

Joyce pulled to a stop, I had made her promise to stay in the car, not only so she wouldn't get hurt, but so we could have a quick getaway if needed.

I took a look back at the girls. "You ready."

Macie nodded, pulling her hair back into a ponytail, then she gripped her bow tightly. "If my dads here, I want him back." She said firmly.

I wasn't sure whiter to hope they were here, or hope they weren't. There was a chance this was just a regular ghost town. I guess we'd find out soon enough.

Jean-

I strapped one knife onto my upper left arm (in its sheath of course) one knife on each ankle, and the other two tucked into my belt.

I was as ready as I could be, but that didn't feel like enough. We had no shields, no magical items to boost our chances, just three teenagers with two days of training.

Regardless, when Max asked if we were ready, I nodded. "Let's go," I said, feeling determined no matter how unprepared I felt.

We got out of the car and started walking in to town.

Max-

I lead the way, Macie taking up the rear, Jean having my back, which I was surprised how much I counted on.

It was as you could expect, abandon buildings with peeling paint and split wood, broken in windows and not a soul in sight.

It was incredible that people could just, walk away from an entire town.

I lead us into the center of the road, there was a fair amount of buildings, which did we check?

I hoped Darin was having more success than us, probably since he knew what he was doing, I didn't even know where to start.

I heard something creek inside a nearby house, and whipped my head round. Everything was silent. Could the house just be settling?

I narrowed my eyes, imagining someone bound and gagged in there moving, trying to make noise.

My sword drawn I carefully stepped toward the house, listening... a creak, and another.

I held my breath. Something or someone was definitely in there.

Was it Darin? I wanted to call his name but if it wasn't him I didn't want to alert the enemy to my presence.

What if it was tourists? A couple or a group of best friends just exploring for the heck of it? ...if it was, I'd have a hard time explaining the sword.

I reached the door and glanced back at Jean and Macie to see if they were ready.

Jean-

I looked around as we wandered, wondering what this place must have looked like before it fell into ruin.

I noticed an old playground in the distance, it made me sad.

I heard the house groan just as much as Max, and instantly I went on alert, I had a bad feeling about going in there. But if we wanted to be sure, there wasn't really another option. We were supposed to check everything and had to start somewhere.

I took a deep breath and nodded at Max to go inside, hand near my knife should there be a threat.

Max-

I mouthed, one, two, -three.

I threw open the door and swore stumbling backwards as something started after me.

A zombie, an actual fetching zombie with rotting flesh falling apart, missing hair and ragged clothes. It groaned as it made its way out the door I had backed up, hands outstretched toward me.

I slashed and it's arm came off, hitting the ground with a thud, but the thing was unaffected, it simply kept walking.

"Maaaaxxxx..." Macie's nervous voice made me turn, and I was NOT pleased with what I saw.

There was more of them, coming out of buildings around the corner, 12 corpses at least, slowly forming a circle and closing in on us at the center.

Macie drew an arrow and shot, her aim spot on a zombie's head flew back from an arrow directly to the forehead. Arrow now protruding it continued its course now as a grotesque unicorn.

I swallowed. "Darin!" I shouted out, hoping he was around with some idea.

When there was no response I tried a little louder, then felt my back press to Jean's and Macie's.

Just then a young man stepped out from behind a building.

Looking my age he had dark stylish hair and a slightly cockiness to his walk.

He smirked as he stood in front of us. "Why don't you do yourself a favor and just lower the weapons, leave the undead alone...I imagine you wouldn't want to become one."

Jean-

Zombies? Really? In different circumstances I would have rolled my eyes at how original that one was...But with a whole group of them staring us down, I was thinking much different thoughts with much cursing.

When tall dark and cocky stepped into view my first instinct was to throw a knife at him, before he realized I was armed, but I wanted to figure out who he was and what he wanted.

"Oh and Im sure once we do you'll let us go on our way no problem." I spat at him with a challenge, adrenaline pulsing through me and feeling confident.

Max-

"Jean," Macie warned, voice low. "Stand down, that's a viviblix."

I looked back at her a second, Macie's eyes were dark as she glared at the young man.

"Viviblix?" I tried to repeat.

Macie nodded. "They control the undead. He could kill us without lifting a finger, and we'd just become zombies ourselves, another puppet for him to use."

I looked back at the young man again in surprise.

He didn't look like a zombie overlord, there was no cape or glowing amulet around his neck, he wasn't pale or overly thin. He looked like someone I'd pass at the mall, in jeans and a tee shirt with a leather necklace.

"Listen dweebs." He spoke again, a hand in his pocket. "Much as I'd love to take all of you in I only have one arrest warrant, so let's do this the easy way and have you tell me where he is. I know you society lowlifes are all about self preservation."

Now I was all kinds of confused. Who was he looking for? Did he say he thought we belonged to the society of the evening star?

"I think you've got the wrong number." I told him darkly.

"Right, cause I DIDN'T see you hanging out with Jordan Damascus last night, or this morning, I'm just delusional." He responded casually.

"Jordan?" My brow furrowed. I didn't even know a Jordan.

Macie paused, her arrow slackening just slightly. "I think he means Darin." She whispered.

I shook my head trying to compute. "Wait, why do you want him?" I managed, trying to ignore the zombies around me.

"Cause he's a traitor." The young man finished. "He got a lot of people killed and it's my job to get him behind bars."

I shook my head. "You're out of your mind."

Where was Darin? Wasn't he supposed to be here? Why was this guy actually here?

Was he a member of the society?