Flora fluttered down to the Linder house with a sigh. The once-brown paint was peeling off the windowsill where Flora landed. She peered through the grimy window of the small house, taking only a momentary pause to look at herself in the blurred reflection caused by the half-moon’s light. Her fairy wings glowed dully as she smiled at herself.

The four boys — if you could call them that — all slept in the same room. It was hard to imagine that these four sleeping boys, with their ruffled hair and torn pajamas, hid darker natures. Under the pale white skin lay the fur of killers. Power was hidden in those small bodies – the power to take life. While slipping between the cracks in the window, Flora wondered for a moment if werewolf children thought of counting or rather chasing sheep to help them fall asleep.

She knew she had screwed up with the giant Fairy explosion in the middle of town, but this was seriously punishment overkill in her opinion, and hers was the only opinion that mattered to her. Tooth Fairy duty? Worse yet: Tooth Fairy duty to the werewolf clans!

Flora glided to the floor and quickly hid under one of the boy’s beds. She stood next to a dust-bunny bigger then her 3-inch stature. She coughed and sneered at the dust-bunny’s answering smirk. She picked up a Lego brick one of the boys had lost under the bed, and pointed it like a sword at the dusty creature. She danced around the dust-bunny and, with a swift twirl, lopped off it’s head, causing it to explode, dying a quick and dusty death.

Flora heard the creaking of someone walking just outside the boys’ room. The door opened slightly, and Flora fluttered further back under the bed. Stephanie Linder stuck her head in, looking around as if expecting to see someone, but then quickly smiled at her four boys and ducked back out. The door latched shut with a click, and Flora sighed.

Under the frame of the door, Flora could see two soft shadows moving. Mrs. Linder was not alone tonight. She heard the soft mumbling of Mrs. Linder but could not make out the voice of the second person. So as any true busy-body fairy would, she sneaked closer to the doorway, still hiding under the bed frame out of sight.

“Yes, they are nearly ready. The more they hunt, the more they are able to control the change.” Mrs Linder’s voice resonated with pride for her boys.

“The flesh helps, they’ve tracked humans and taken their flesh, yes? But what of our ‘magical’ friends? We should see what changes that might create. We don’t have much time. I need them to be ready by mid-summer’s night.” Flora knew this voice but could not put a face to it. Something about it sounded older than it should.

Control the change? Flora thought to herself. She looked back to the moon outside and realized she had been here only two weeks ago! These boys could control their transformation? Why hadn’t she caught onto this sooner? Her wings beat with the desire to fly out the window, but she wanted to hear more.

“They’ll be ready… I think, in fact, tonight may be their first chance for a little magical snack.”

Flora shook her head in confusion as the floor boards creaked behind her.

Startled, she turned to see four pairs of yellow eyes glaring back at her. She jumped and shrieked as the now-headless dust-bunny had the last laugh.

———

The Linder’s front door opened creaking like a dying cat. A rather tall man stepped out of the shadow of the door frame. Back inside the house, there came a similar sound, but this wasn’t from a door. The sounds of the Linder boys digging their claws into the wood floor and pouncing made it obvious that the magical creature in the room with them stood no chance against the four werewolf cubs.

“Goodnight, Stephanie.” The voice of the man Flora hadn’t been able to place seemed to hang in the air saying more – and nothing at all at the same time. He looked back at the proud mother, tipped his fedora, and walked down her front walkway.

He was barely out of the reach of her front porch light when the air seemed to grasp hold of him. He continued just a bit further down the winding, wooded street across from the county park, when tendrils of fog seemed to wrap around his throat, pulled at his legs, and held him down, though he didn’t struggle. With a sudden wisp of wind, the man’s body fell to pieces, slivers, really, and slipped back into the fog it was constructed from. In his place stood Sandra Knox, her shimmering, silvery dress shifting colors in the light breeze, like the soft fog creeping through the woods around her.

She knew her actions tonight would begin a chaotic set of events. She wasn’t worried about the Linders being a real threat to Lilith, but she needed a distraction: something to draw Lilith’s attention until she could be sure… until she could secure her daughters’ safety. As her thoughts turned towards the fear of losing her daughters, and her anger at those who would destroy them, Sandra’s dress shifted to a dark red. She looked down, startled, and quickly drew a deep breath, attempting to regain her poise. The dress reverted to its natural silver.

If there was even a chance that what this Kadamb hinted at was true about her daughters…

She didn’t even want to think about the possibilities. Gloaming Gap’s balance of power was a vital part of the town’s ability to exist. Kadamb’s observations put Lilith’s power at risk and her daughters’ existence in danger. Sandra knew well enough that Lilith would quickly, and without hesitation, rid herself of anything that threatened her hold on this town — even if that thing that threatened her power was her oldest friend’s daughters.

Sandra wandered through the park to the lake, bare feet not leaving any trace of her presence on the ground. She pulled the air around her as she walked down the dock, her dress now a gray cloak. Its train flowed behind her like a snake-skin molting. Settling on the edge of the dock, she dipped her toes in the water and tried to calm herself as she watched the ripples slowly drift from her feet.