After The End

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


So I know I haven't posted any of this story for ages, for which I'm sorry, but hopefully it'll be getting back on track now so keep an eye out for more chapters posted soon!



- ARB

Chapter 16 (v.1) - 16

Submitted: September 30, 2017

Reads: 18

Comments: 1

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Submitted: September 30, 2017

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It only took an hour before Caelan returned and confirmed what they’d already guessed - “They’ve left the city. They’ve taken the road north.”

Mila didn’t want to ask him how he knew. She suspected she knew the answer - the same reason that she was currently refusing to turn her back to him, and tensing slightly when he moved towards her. He had to have noticed, she thought. She didn’t really care.

Her wound was still throbbing intermittently. She knew that if she hadn’t pursued Caelan to that graveyard it would probably have more or less healed by now. Not that she regretted her decision.

“We should go after them,” she said, eyes firmly fixed on her hunting partner leaning against the wall opposite.

“You shouldn’t be travelling with that wound,” he replied evenly. “Not yet.”

“I told you, I heal fast.”

“If we leave now you’re only going to make it worse.” He shook his head. “We can afford to wait until sunrise, at least.”

“Fine.” He was right, not that she particularly wanted to admit it.

She looked down at the wound - it was still bleeding a little. The bandages needed changing. She rifled around in her pack until she found the appropriate things, turning away from Caelan slightly as she made to redress the wound.

“Would you like some help with that?”

She glanced up at him, expression cold despite the careful, kind tone of the question.

“No.”

There was a flicker of hurt on his face that almost made her feel bad, before it returned to carefully blank. “Ok.” He walked over to the door. “I’m going to get some sleep. You should do the same.”

She nodded stiffly, barely holding in a sigh of relief when he closed the door behind him. His violet eyes, piercing through the darkness of the graveyard, flashed across her mind. His fangs, long and sharp and…

She gritted her teeth. She’d made her choice. She would trust him for the moment, as far as she could.

But when her wound was redressed and she lay back on the hotel bed, trying to sleep, all she could think of was those fangs sinking into her neck.

 

 

They left shortly after dawn, riding slowly and carefully to start with, but picking up the pace when it was clear that Mila could take it. The terrain was getting gradually flatter which made going considerably easier and by the time they camped down for the night Mila was sure they had to be gaining on their quarry.

Caelan built up a fire, as usual, and Mila made the soup. They didn’t speak. They had barely spoken all day, not that Mila had particularly minded. It had given her time to think.

Caelan had finished his soup and was watching her sip the rest of hers with a thoughtful expression on his face.

“I thought wolves were supposed to live in packs,” he said suddenly.

“I thought vampires couldn’t have children,” she retorted immediately, before grimacing. She hadn’t meant to snap at him. And, as usual, he was right. “I’m sorry,” she murmured.

Caelan didn’t look particularly offended by her outburst. He sat forward slightly, fixing her with a deep gaze. “I know you don’t trust me,” he said softly. “You’ve never trusted me, even before finding out what I am.” He smiled slightly. “If it’s any consolation the feeling is mutual.”

He seemed to take her silence as encouragement to continue. “Look,” he said, “we don’t have to be at odds with each other just because neither of us understands the other as well as we’d like to. You have questions. I have questions.” He sat back again with a shrug. “Perhaps we can come to some arrangement.”

She finished her soup before she replied. “I don’t have questions.”

Caelan looked unconvinced. “Sure you do.”

Sure she did. Should I trust you? What do you really want from me, from our agreement? … How can you exist?

“Not the kind of ones you can answer for me,” she replied.

He was still waiting, watching her. She felt she should have been nervous under his gaze but there wasn’t anything predatory about it. It was just thoughtful, perhaps a little tired.

She sighed. “Before, you said you hunted for the money,” she said. “That wasn’t true was it?”

If he was pleased she seemed to be playing along he didn’t show it. Or maybe he didn’t like the question. “No.”

“So?”

“I hunt because I have to,” he said. “I need to.” A shrug. “I guess it’s a part of the whole “vampire package”. And I hunt vampires and other wrongdoers because that’s better than the alternative.”

“I… I get that too.” She had spoken before she could stop herself, but something inside of her now felt determined to return his honesty. “A bit. It’s worse around the full moon.” She took a deep breath. “Wolves are supposed to be pack animals,” she continued. “I did have a pack, once… I ran away when I was fifteen.”

There was a pause, interrupted only by the crackling of the fire.

“Why?” Caelan asked finally.

“Because… because I was different. Because I couldn’t meet their expectations of me. Because… I was scared.”

She half expected him to smirk at her, to make some droll remark.

He didn’t.

“When Lucius found me,” he said, after what seemed to Mila to be half an eternity, “found me the first time, that is, I was terrified of what he might do the ones I loved to get me to do what he wanted. I left my home before he could it, before he could find them. I left a note for my mother, and one for my friend, and I ran away as fast and far as I could.”

He looked sad now, the firelight painting dancing shadows across his face. After a moment, his eyes flickered to hers and she looked away.

“Did you ever go back?” She asked quietly.

“Yes.” He smiled then. “Yes, I did.” The smile faded a little. “Did you?”

She shook her head. “No.”

She expected more questions, but she didn’t get any. Caelan only nodded thoughtfully before sighing and settling back on his blankets. “If we make an early start tomorrow we should reach the sea bridge by nightfall.”

“You think that’s where they’re going?” she asked. She’d suspected as much herself but it felt nice to have her theory seconded.

“Makes sense. I think Damion might have lived across the channel when he was human. He certainly seems to spend a lot of his time there these days.”

“He’s leading us onto his home turf then.”

“I suppose so.”

Mila didn’t like the sound of that. She didn’t particularly like the idea of crossing into the land beyond the sea bridge at all, and not just because of what Damion might have in store for them…

150,000 credits, she reminded herself. Do the job and get the money, and you’re one step closer to getting away from this godforsaken place for good.

“Better put those hunting instincts to good use then,” she said finally.

Caelan smiled softly, warmly. The firelight made his hair gleam like gold.

She swallowed. “Night,” she muttered before turning away from him.

“Night, Mila,” came the quiet response.

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Amy R. Beckett. All rights reserved.

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