“Stop this, Jeremy!  Stop it, now!”

From the ground, I looked up. Coveton’s face was twisted, as the monstrous features he did so well to hide surfaced. The whites of his eyes were gone, his teeth had thickened and elongated, and his skin was scaling over like a molting snake.

The woman stood behind him, unable to see the new figure of Coveton. She pleaded for me, telling Coveton that I was sick, and she needed to call for help. I heard laughter, but my concentration was not on their dialogue but on the wooden stake lying in the grass near the edge of the fence.

“Your time is almost over, Coveton,” I said.

“Jeremy, I know it is hard to understand this all.  I never meant to take anything from you.  This is still your house, but you need help. Emily and I love each other.  I can take care of her. And we’re selling the house to pay for your care. You need to rest and get better. Do you see what you’re doing? It’s the same as with Liz.  You are hurting Emily by acting this way.”

I gazed at my enemy but caught sight once again of the woman, who I realized now was indeed Emily, her body shivering in the storm. She held my crucifix in her hands. I still could not understand how this all was happening. How could she be here?

“Emily, get out of here. I will keep him from harming you anymore.”

He began speaking more words. I barely understood them.  As he stood above me, I slid my hand along my leg, reaching for a knife kept in my boot. It was coated in a sedative meant more for weakening an animal than an immortal fiend, but it may be my last resort.

“Are you hearing me?” he roared. He moved closer still, face-to-face, and shook my shoulders.  My ears were closed from the sounds of the world. Sounds passed over me like I had fallen beneath the ocean’s surface.

I leaned forward hard and jammed the blade into Coveton’s thigh. The thin metal sliced deep into the meat. A line of blood sprayed my cheek. He screamed. The sound of metal hitting bone unnerved me for a moment.

His fist swiftly struck my jaw beneath the ear, whirling my head around. I felt the tendons in my neck contract. My eyes blinked several times, and all shapes before me were amorphous blobs of gray. My lips tasted a salty liquid pouring in my mouth.

All that was happening to me didn’t matter. I hurt Coveton. He could be hurt.

I laughed hard and spit blood onto the wet earth.