Charlie and Eva, hissing at them through jagged teeth. Her eyes were a milky white and her skin, scaly, and covered in a thin layer of greenish slime.
Eva stayed hidden behind Charlie. He almost laughed when he saw her face. She may have known about the supernatural, but she had never seen anything like a Sea Hag. The humor of the moment shook off whatever fucked-upness had just happened between them, and helped him refocus. He was Charlie Howard. Not a werewolf. And he was in control of his actions…
“Watch out, Charlie,” Michael warned as the Hag advanced toward his brother.
Michael pushed his arm forward as if shoving something away from his body. Something appeared in his hand: a round, surging energy ball, which he thrust at the Hag. She ducked, it missed, the energy ball smashing into the side of the cave. Slivers of rock fell to the ground.
The Sea Hag skittered closer, her slimy webbed feet easily clinging to any surface. Then, what had only a moment ago looked like stiff quills covering her head, started to shift and wriggle, like snakes swimming in water. Each quill-like strand was much longer than it had initially appeared, and each one took on a life of its own, striking out at Charlie and Eva. Each strand came to a sharp, thorny arrow-like point. Something the brothers knew contained a toxin that could easily incapacitate them in seconds.
“Eva, stay away from those things on her head,” warned Charlie.
“Don’t intend on getting that close.”
Charlie handed her three vials. “These are potions that will blow up just about anything,” he explained. “If something happens and we’re knocked out… throw them at whatever’s coming at you, and get the hell out of here!”
She nodded and glanced at her hand in awe of what she now held.
Charlie egged the Sea Hag, trying to keep her attention, while Michael positioned himself for a straight shot at her.
The Hag bared her teeth, a rattling hiss emanating from her mouth.
“Howards,” they heard her speak, in her hissing tongue.
“She can talk,” Eva said, surprised. “And she knows who you are.”
“Most creatures around here do,” Charlie replied. His concern for their safety, as well as the desire to find out if this Hag knew anything about their parents’ deaths, sent his emotions into overdrive. Charlie let out a primal snarl that seemed to catch the Hag off guard, sending her back a few feet to rethink her approach.
“Why are you in this cave? What are these… things?” Charlie interrogated.
Behind the Hag, wretchedly bloated, charcoal colored creatures that the brothers had never seen before sucked the walls of the cave, as if addicted to whatever substance they were sucking.
The Hag did not answer Charlie. Instead, she turned to the wall-sucking creatures and spoke to them. “You eat enough, pets.”
To the brother’s surprise, the bloated creatures listened to the Hag and stopped sucking, convening around her, as if she were their mother.
Eva stepped back, watching wide-eyed as Charlie’s human face shifted into the wolf-like one she had seen earlier. Her stare lowered to his hands, as jagged nails grew long, extending outward from his fingers. He snapped his head, his fierce silver eyes shooting warnings at her. “Stay back,” he snarled. She pressed her back against the wall.
Charlie leapt closer to the Sea Hag. “What are you doing in this cave?” he asked in an ill-tempered growl. “Answer now or you will die!”
“You killed my kind before,” she rattled, her eyes blazing with anger.
Michael raised his arm to the Sea Hag, his palm pointed toward her, ready to strike if she attacked.
“Come pets, now you kill! ” the Hag ordered, her voice a loathing purr.
Their bulging bodies, thick with whatever substance they were sucking, moved deceptively easy, skimming over rocks and cave debris as if the surface was smooth, like glass.
“Are those?” started Michael.
Elizabeth Ann Scarborough