Gale force winds and rain lashed the beach hut, the waves from the high tide reaching the outside edge of the high courtyard wall. Thick dark storm clouds blanketed the area and had done for three days.
They had been three long tense days as the occupants of the beach hut had watched and waited, taking it in turns to sit with the dark angel day and night. Those seemingly endless hours keeping their vigil had given then time to talk and time to formulate a plan.
During the first long night, Meryn had sat with her son watching him almost as closely as she watched the angel. Gradually, she began to tell him about her past, told tales of her youth spent in both Spain and in a small village at the southern most tip of England. He listened closely as she told him about her parents, both true blooded vampires. With tears in her eyes, Meryn spoke about her Spanish mother, her adoration for her evident from the emotion catching in her voice. Her father had been Italian, from one of the oldest vampire families and been one of the founding members of the Court of the Elders. When she spoke of her late husband, her tears flowed freely. He had been her true soulmate and, despite her family’s misgivings, had happily sacrificed her wings to enjoy a “mortal” marriage. Reaching out to touch her son’s knee, she said, “You are my greatest love. You always will be. Despite what this creature has done to you, I am so proud of the man you are. Never forget that.”
The next night, she sat with Trine. For hours they sat in silence before the younger woman began to reveal the depth of her feelings for the runner, voiced her fears for their future and, after some gentle motherly encouragement, spoke of her hopes for that future too. Recognising the signs from the younger woman’s words and from the look in her eyes, Meryn saw that she’d found her soulmate in Jem.
Huddled together in the living room, listening to the raging storm on the third night, they all sat in silence.
“Time to bathe that wound,” Meryn announced shortly before midnight. “I want to try something different. Let’s heat the solution and see if that helps to drive out the last of the poison. Make it hot.”
Without argument, Trine poured some of the infusion into a pot and set it on the stove. The initial hot poultice had drawn most of the poison from the wound; the twice daily washes of the alcohol-based infusion seemed to be drawing even more from it, but the swabs had not come away clean yet.
When the liquid began to bubble, Trine lifted the small pot from the burner and carried it through to the runner’s bedroom. Meryn had already removed the soiled dressings from the dark angel’s back and was gently running her fingers over the open wound, muttering under her breath. Taking care not to burn herself or to touch the liquid, Meryn took the pot from Trine and soaked two square cotton swabs. She applied them to the wound, added a dry dressing on top then pressed down hard.
“Her eyelids flickered,” whispered Trine.
“I’m surprised she didn’t scream,” commented Meryn. “We’ll repeat this in an hour. I added an incantation to draw strength from the storm to add to the cleansing forces at play here. If we need to, we’ll repeat it a third and final time an hour after that.”
An hour later, as Meryn pressed down on the wound again, the dark angel’s eyelids flickered again. The fingers of her right hand clawed at the bedcovers.
“A promising sign,” said Meryn calmly.
Another hour later, Meryn showed Trine how to apply the hot infusion, taught her the healing incantation and where to press down on the wound. As the ice maiden applied the force as directed, the dark angel let out a hoarse cry of pain. Looking down on her, Trine saw that her eyes were open and filled with agony and hatred with a hint of fear there too.
“Welcome back, Anna,” said Meryn coldly as she moved into the dark angel’s line of vision.