Three hours later, with darkness fully upon them, the wardens made their way along the fence. They were both outfitted with as few tools as possible, not wanting to weigh themselves down with non-essentials for this job.
“Here,” Zach whispered when they had reached the place in the fence that he had determined would be their point of entry. Erin squatted next to him, peering into the darkness for any signs of movement. Zach dug into his jeans pocket, pulling a wire-cutter from its depths.
“Seriously?” Erin asked in disbelief and placed her hand over the metalwork. In seconds the wire started to melt under her touch, falling and breaking away until there was a hole big enough for them to slip through. “See?” she said, shaking her head as she disappeared through the hole.
Zach pocketed the wire cutters, “I was just being prepared,” he mumbled to himself as he followed her in.
They crossed over a narrow gravel path, staying close to the concrete wall when they reached it. It was about eight feet and was the only thing standing between them and the building the soucouyants had made their nest.
“When you get over, make for the shed a few yards away, it’ll give us cover until we’re ready to move in,” Zach whispered. Erin nodded, accepting his leg up. With Zach’s help, she grabbed hold of the wall’s edge, using her own strength to hoist herself up and over the edge. For a split second she hung on, body melded against the wall, her attention on the soucouyants’ nest. Still seeing no movement, she made the rest of the journey, landing lightly on the other side and making a dash for the shed Zach had mentioned.
“Made it, come on.” With Erin safely over, Zach made his own attempt to join her. He bent his knees, gearing himself up for a leap and sprang into the air, arms outstretched in order to grab hold of the wall. He caught it with one hand and hung for seconds before allowing the other to follow through. Raising himself up and controlling his body weight so he wouldn’t end up too far over, Zach surveyed the scene. He ducked his head hastily, seeing the soucouyant guards making their usual rounds. Zach inched his hands back, his fingers aching as most of his weight was placed on them. After he’d counted out thirty seconds, he pushed himself up again, seeing the back of the soucouyants.
“Clear,” came Erin’s voice again, stating the obvious and Zach promptly climbed over to join her.
“Okay, we’ll wait for them to come again then I’ll go in.” He ignored the pain in his fingers as he pulled his gun from its holster. He checked it as he always did and satisfied that everything was in order, waited for the soucouyants to come back around.
“Wish we could just use cloaking,” Erin whispered behind him and Zach agreed. This method was far from foolproof, as if they didn’t kill the guards outside and with no way of knowing if any had stayed behind within the nest, they could easily become overwhelmed if they weren’t careful. The soucouyants reappeared.
“Cover me.” Their new plan was a go as Zach moved from their hiding place. He seldom took lead when they went into the field and this time was no different.
“Okay worm, reel them in.” Erin was using Zach as bait. She watched as he sauntered over to the soucouyants, gun at his side as though he hadn’t a care in the world. Within moments they were rushing towards him, releasing the deafening shrieks that had crawled Erin’s skin in the early hours. These three were still in their shrivelled skins, aged and browning with decay. That’s probably why they’re guarding the place, Erin thought. The degeneration of their skin hadn’t yet reached the point of no return, when they’d have to move around like mere shadows of their former selves. These three would probably have at least two nights more before their desperation for new skin reached fever pitch and they had no choice but to go out and feed.
Zach raised his gun, standing still as he pointed it at the wizened sisters. Erin stood as well, being careful to stay hidden and feeling the magic within her pulsating excitedly, so that when released, it would be more than enough to ward off their attack. She waited.
In the seconds that followed, everything happened very quickly. One of the soucouyants came right at Zach, leaving him no choice but to shoot her. The silencer he’d attached to his weapon muted the noise, but her agonising screams as she fell to the ground, made her sisters angrier and they came at Zach even more venomously. Working together, one slapped the gun from his hand, while the other pushed him back, sending him flying against the wall. Zach’s grunt filled her ears as his back connected with the wall and he fell face first to the floor. Though he got up hastily, they were zeroing in on him fast. Erin took this as her cue and stepped out into the open.
She raised her palms up, facing the soucouyants. Her hands were engulfed by blue flame and when she released it, it raced towards the soucouyants at frightening speed. Both their heads whipped around as though they could hear it before it even touched them, but it was too late. As Erin’s fire struck them, they were no longer able to fly and fell near to where their other sister sat dissolving into a substance with the colour and consistency of molasses, courtesy of Zach’s bullets.
Erin’s magic worked a different way, seemingly freezing them in motion and as she approached, cautiously looking down at her handiwork, the soucouyants appeared even more grotesque in death.
“Good job, they went down easier than I thought,” Zach said, retrieving his gun.
“Yet you doubt me every time,” Erin replied smiling. Zach was about to say something else, when the door to the soucouyants’ nest opened. Erin’s eyes narrowed. From it stepped the soucouyant that had attacked her earlier. Her naked skin wrinkled and the auburn hair was now completely grey, but her eyes were the same bright blue and Erin knew.
The soucouyant, a puzzled expression on her face, spoke, a grating sound on both their ears, “You did not die?”
“Takes a lot more than a third-rate monster to kill me,” Erin replied and the soucouyant laughed. Both she and Zach had thought the soucouyant from the first night was their leader, but they’d been wrong. Zach raised his gun slowly, pointing it at her. If the soucouyant noticed, she ignored the action, focusing on Erin instead.
“You did not die. I must change that.”
With the click of Zach’s gun, Erin flung her own hand up with the intent of releasing more magical energy at their new target, but with supernatural speed, the soucouyant leader had already disappeared into the darkness of her nest, daring them to follow.