With that, her face quickly blanked, and her body snapped the rope used to tie her feet to the makeshift frame. Lanette scrambled for the tent's entrance, narrowly missing her sibling's claws as Brigette lunged for her. The ixodida slammed onto all fours and chased after Lanette, right out of the tent. Bill hesitated for more than a minute, listening in shock to Lanette's screaming as it grew more and more distant. But then, when he started hearing gunshots, he shook himself back to reality and ran after the siblings.
Outside, the night was dark, with the best light being provided by the waning moon. For this reason, Bill could only see silhouettes, but luckily, Brigette didn't make it difficult for him to find her – and not because the parasite on her leg served as a beacon, either. On top of one of the debris hills, she stood, several feet away from the shadows of a muscular, bald man and a wingull hovering next to him. Lanette stood at the base of the hill, her hands clasped as she watched her sister whip her vine-like hair at the newcomer.
The man dodged deftly, swinging a bowie knife in front of him to slice Brigette's hair. She screeched, reeling back as she held her head. Taking the opportunity, the wingull swooped at her, its wings glowing with a brilliant, white light before slicing across her chest. Just as soon as the gull struck, it flapped its wings rapidly to gain altitude, allowing the man to start forward with his knife pointed directly at the ixodida's stomach.
"No! Don't hurt her!" Lanette screamed.
At the sound of her voice, the man hesitated for a brief second – one that Brigette took full advantage of by lashing out with her claws. Her entire arm was engulfed in a brilliant, green light, making it appear to be one long blade as it sliced across the man's throat. The glow illuminated the human's skin briefly, and the light glittered off the spray of blood that burst from the wound. As the newcomer fell to his knees, the ixodida turned to Lanette and gave her another blank glare.
"Brigette, please!" she begged. "Please! You're not a killer! You can fight this! We'll… we'll get you help! Real help! I promise! Just… please!" She bowed her head, her voice lowering in volume as she sobbed. "…Please stop."
The ixodida growled and rose to her full height. Her fingers tensed together, and once again, her arm began to glow bright green. Grinding her toes into the mountain of debris, she crouched and readied herself for a leap.
But before she could, the wingull decided to make its presence known again. For a second time, the bird dove at the ixodida, striking her across the face with a glowing wing. She turned to it with a snarl and swung her glowing arm at it, but suddenly, something hit her with a whack. All at once, her body froze, and her hand fell limp at her side as she arched her back. Behind her, the old man ground his knife into her spine, twisting as he placed a hand on her stomach to push her into the blade. He pressed his forehead against her back, his body wracking with spasms from loss of blood.
Then, the both of them fell to the other side of the mountain, out of sight of both Lanette and Bill.
One last gunshot rang out, followed by a chorus of shouts.
"No!" Lanette shrieked.
She launched herself up the mountain, scrambling as quickly as her arms and legs could carry her before coming to a stop at the top of the mountain. Without a word, Bill followed her, clamoring to the peak until he stood beside her, gazing down at the scene on the other side.
The man lay spread eagle with his head cocked at an unnatural angle. Across his neck, the slash looked like a second smile. His wingull sat on his chest, nuzzling him desperately. Beside him, Brigette lay on her side with her back to the man and the knife still jutting from her spine. The parasite had been shot, leaving a gaping hole in Brigette's leg where it used to be. All around the two, several people were bent down, examining them and chattering between themselves. Only one of them stood still and quiet: a young man with a shotgun. He merely stood over Brigette's head, gazing down at her with an apathetic expression. Then, he moved the barrel of his gun against her temple and pulled the trigger.