I’m on the computer, scrolling around until I find Google Translate. I type in "Jägerbär". When nothing comes up, it suggests I separate it into two words: Jäger bär.
“Bear hunter,” I murmur. I don’t know what it means, but I do know that whatever that boy – Nico – said to me all those weeks ago, it meant “bear hunter.” I’d forgotten about it until now, but a dream had sent me stumbling over to the computer in the middle of the night.
Finally, I pull myself away from the screen and get back in bed. Ever since my parents’ accident, the house has been too empty. I’m tempted to call Will to make me feel better, but I don’t. I can’t.
Instead, I crawl back under the covers. I’m just drifting off to sleep when I hear a noise. It seems like it’s nothing, so I roll over. But when I hear it again, a little louder, I sit up in bed and freeze. There’s a baseball bat to my right, so I grab it. If my parents were here, Dad would take care of this. But they’re not. So it’s up to me now.
Creeping down the stairs, I try to gauge where it’s coming from. I think it’s near the kitchen, but I’m not sure. At least there’s only one entrance there, and I’m coming up on it very quickly.
I see someone silhouetted in the light of the fridge. “Whoever you are,” I say, “put your hands up and back away slowly.” My voice doesn’t even shake, fortunately. I grip the bat even tighter and prepare to swing it.
The figure complies. “Should I shut the fridge?”
Are you kidding? I spend all my time coming down here panicking, and I get the polite burglar? What the h-ell? I shake my head. “Sure. Whatever. Just put your hands up slowly.”
I slide along the wall slowly until I reach the light switch. I flip it on quickly. Standing in the kitchen is a guy wearing a purple shirt. I’ve definitely seen him before, probably out with his boyfriend, but I’ve never worked up the courage to say hello. I’d always thought maybe we’d be good friends, but I’m too shy to talk to people.
“Why are you in my house?” A good start to the friendship, then.
“Would you believe I needed food?”
Well, he was rifling through the fridge, but I still am not buying it. I open my mouth to reply, but then his face changes. For a fraction of a second, he looks like a fox.
“What the f-uck was that?!” I screech, stepping forward with the bat. I’m not imagining things.
“Oh no. I didn’t know you were a Grimm. I swear, please don’t hurt me!” He has backed himself into a corner.
He’s afraid of me. The burglar is afraid of me. I take a deep breath. “I’m not going to hurt you.” He called me the same thing Nico did. “But you have to tell me something, Al.”
Al nods hurriedly. “Anything, anything.”
“What’s a Grimm?”
We stare at each other for a minute before he lets out a panicky laugh. “You don’t know. You don’t even know…”
I sit down on the floor. “I’m putting down the bat, Al. Now tell me what the h-ell is going on.” I pause. “Please.”
Al slides away from the corner a little bit. It’s not much, but I’ll take it. “Fine,” he says, taking a deep breath. Then, more to himself: “Helping a Grimm, hah. I’ll get it for this one if they ever find out.”
“Okay, so you know the Brothers Grimm?”
“Well, the Brothers Grimm created these stories about the beasts, but they weren’t actually just stories – they were real. And the brothers were the ones who hunted and kept these creatures under control. Slowly, their powers began to spread out to a few select others as the family expanded. They’ve passed through generations. And now, it’s been passed to you.”
“This just started happening, though. Why the f-uck did it JUST start?”
“Your parents. They’re dying. And whichever one of them is the Grimm needs you to take their place.”
The way he says it, just puts it out there, hurts, but it’s true. They are dying, and I don’t want to know it, don’t even want to think it.
“So what am I supposed to do?”
“You’re supposed to kill them.”
I think it’s sometime around that point that I start to hear another noise. “Is it not enough to have one burglar tonight?”
Al shrugs. “I’m a Fuschbau. Don’t ask me.”
I’d ask, but I’ll just Google Translate it later. “Come on, stupid.” I pick up the bat again.
“Me?” He holds up his hands innocently. “Me? No way. No way no way. I’m a wesen. I’m not helping you hunt other wesen. Especially any wesen deranged enough to break into a Grimm’s house!”
“Shut up!” I hiss. Then, “You were stupid enough to break into my house.”
I frown at him.
“Fine. But I get to carry the bat.”
I sigh, relinquishing the bat to the former intruder. We sneak towards the front door. The sound is coming from upstairs, so we head up. Quietly, I pull open the door to my parents’ room, where the noise is coming from.
Sitting on the bed is something that resembles a wolf. It’s tearing through my parents’ sheets, shredding them. “Get out,” I growl. Behind me, I can hear Al quaking.
The wolf-man turns his red eyes to me. Then, his face suddenly becomes more human. “Hello, Lia,” he says. I don’t recognize him, and it scares me that he knows my name. “How are your parents doing? I hope I didn’t scratch them up too badly.” He grins, and my stomach drops. Then, before I can react, he’s jumping through the glass window and out onto the lawn.
I sink down onto the ground, and at some point, Al leaves. I don’t even notice anything until Will comes in a few hours later.
“Lia, what happened?”
“I don’t know.”
That man tried to kill my parents.
He got into my house.
He had the chance to kill me, but he didn’t take it. He wants something. And I don’t know what.
“Will you stay with me tonight, Will?”
He nods. “I’m calling the police.” I haven’t even told him what happened, but the broken glass makes it abundantly clear, along with the shredded bed. It looks more like a beast was here than anything, but no beast would leap off the bed and through the window.
A half an hour later, the police are here. They swarm around my house. They’re only taking this so seriously because they know my father. Even Murphy’s here, but his job is to just calm me down and get information. We’re sitting in the kitchen at the breakfast table. Will’s cooking eggs.
“Lia, did you see the intruder?”
I lick my lips, trying to figure out how to say this, but I can’t. “Um. Yes.”
“Can you describe him to me?”
That, I can’t do. It was dark. All I remember are the way his eyes went straight through me. I shake my head, clutching my cup of coffee closer.
Will delivers the eggs. “Here you go,” he says quietly. I scoot the coffee back and take a bite of the scalding eggs, gulping them down quickly.
“Slow down there, kiddo,” Murphy says, chuckling.
Another officer comes in. “We haven’t found anything yet, Murphy.” He must be new, because I don’t recognize him. His gaze drifts to me. “Is this the girl?”
Suddenly, the officer’s face shifts. He looks more like a mouse for a moment. Then, he’s human again. He starts stuttering. “Oh, I…I…I didn’t…I didn’t realize…that there was one of y-y-you here. I’ll just…I’ll just go outside.”
Once the officer is gone, both Will and Murphy are staring at me.
“Have you ever met Officer Padesko before?” Murphy asks, taking out a pad of paper and a pen.
“No,” I say.
I can’t explain this to them. I can barely explain it to myself. And if I try, they’ll think I’m crazy.
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