Flying seemed to come naturally, like swimming with her fish’s tail or ripping out Jason’s heart. With a little concentration on her part, the wings were flapping and lifting her up off the rock.
As she was flying up toward the top, a bloody head came falling down past her. Based on the stringy blond hair attached to it, Gemma guessed it was Lexi’s, and she flew even faster.
When Gemma made it up to the top, Daniel was half sitting up and appeared conscious and mostly okay. Gemma hovered in the air, surveying the scene before deciding whether to land or grab him and take off.
Penn was climbing off what was left of Lexi, both her hands covered in blood up to her elbows. Thea was inside the house, watching through the broken window.
“I told you we shouldn’t have let Lexi stay behind today,” Thea was saying. “I knew something was up with her.”
“Yeah, yeah, you’re always right.” Penn licked some of the blood off her hands, then held them out so the rain would wash away the rest of it. “Thea, come out here and drag this body in the house before we lose all the blood. We’ll need it to make another siren.”
Thea groaned, but came outside to collect Lexi’s body anyway.
Gemma landed gently on the ground next to Daniel, and he looked up at her. A cut on his forehead left blood streaming into one eye. He smiled crookedly when he saw her, appearing both relieved and rather dazed.
“Thank God,” he said. “You’re not dead.”
“No, I’m not. How are you holding up?” Gemma asked as she looked him over.
“And you’ve got that whole thing.” He motioned up to her copper wings and ignored her question.
She crouched down next to him and spread her wings out wide, shielding both of them from the rain. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, he’s fine, no thanks to you,” Penn said. She walked over to them while Thea was dragging Lexi into the house through the back door. “What the hell were you doing? How did you let it get this far?”
“I was trying to fight back,” Gemma said. “But she threw me off the cliff, and I have no idea how to control this monster thing.”
“You should’ve just let it take over,” Penn said. “Then you could’ve killed her.” She waved it off, then turned her attention to Daniel. “Are you okay?”
“I have a few scrapes and bruises.” He held up his arm, which was covered in holes from Lexi’s teeth. “But I should live.”
“Do you think you’ll be well enough for tomorrow?” Penn asked.
“What’s tomorrow?” Gemma asked, bewildered.
Daniel kept his eyes fixed on Penn, and ignored Gemma. “I said I would be.”
“I want you at your best,” Penn said.
Gemma looked from one of them to the other. “What are you talking about?”
“You owe me,” Penn said, and at first it seemed like she was only talking to Daniel, but then she pointed to Gemma. “Both of you owe me. And I will collect.”
With that, Penn turned and stalked back into the house, leaving Gemma outside to deal with Daniel.
“What was that about?” Gemma asked him.
“Nothing.” He shook his head and wouldn’t look at her.
“Holy shit!” Marcy shouted from inside the house, apparently conscious and moving around again. “What the hell is that?” Presumably, she’d just encountered Lexi’s decapitated, eviscerated bird-monster corpse.
“We should grab her and get out of here,” Gemma said.
“Yeah,” Daniel agreed.
He started to stand up and winced, so Gemma reached out and put her arm around his waist to help him up. He carefully put his arm around her shoulders, mindful of her wings, and leaned on her for support.
As they walked toward the house to collect Marcy, Gemma said, “We’ll have to tell Harper about this, but when we do, we really need to play down how much danger there was.”
“Oh, yeah. She would lose it if she knew what really happened.” Daniel looked up, admiring Gemma’s wings. “Those are pretty awesome.”
“Yeah, they are.” She sighed. “Now I just need to figure out how to put them away.”
“It really wasn’t that bad,” Daniel insisted for the hundredth time, playing down his injury.
“You keep saying that, but it doesn’t make me believe you any more,” Harper said.
He leaned against the counter in her kitchen, his arm held out in front of him while Harper cleaned up his bite marks from Lexi. The cut above his eyebrow was already taken care of, covered with a couple Band-Aids.
Harper had almost reached Capri when Gemma called to let her know that everything was okay, but she’d been scant on details. Harper had arrived home just as Marcy was dropping off Gemma and Daniel, so she’d seen exactly the state they’d made it back in.
While Gemma had appeared fine, her dress was covered in blood in the back, and the fabric was torn up around her shoulders. Daniel lacked Gemma’s healing powers, so he looked like hell.
They’d both given Harper an abbreviated story about what had happened with the sirens, and she knew they were trying to downplay how perilous things had gotten. When they’d finished, Gemma went upstairs to shower off the blood and dirt and change into dry clothes.
Daniel didn’t have anything to change into at her house, so he settled for letting Harper dress his wounds. When she poured alcohol over the holes in his arms, he winced.