After The End

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

Chapter 18 (v.1) - 18

Submitted: October 05, 2017

Reads: 22

Comments: 1

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Submitted: October 05, 2017

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Up close, the bridge was impossibly huge, looming into the growing darkness around them like something from another world. Mila shivered a little.

“We should camp down,” Caelan said from beside her. “It would be foolish to try and cross at night.”

She nodded her agreement. The bridge had been damaged since its initial construction, most of it the desperate work of humans in the Five Day War. They’d hoped to destroy the bridge, delay the vampires from crossing the sea, at least for a while. They’d failed.

Caelan was already directing his horse towards the ruins of the town that had used to stand by the water’s edge. The buildings were more or less gone now, but the remaining walls would provide them good shelter for the night.

Caelan went off to get firewood and she took the opportunity to take stock of her injuries. Her bruises from the fight had healed by now, the cuts on her wrist and leg had faded away and the wound in her side looked well on the way to following suit. That, she thought to herself with an ironic smile, was probably the only thing she actually liked about being what she was. And in her line of work, it certainly came in handy.

Heavy footfalls jerked her head up. She yanked down her top as Caelan came into view, carrying an armful of old timber. Again she found herself watching him warily - she was almost certain he’d been walking loudly on purpose, to avoid catching her by surprise. She was just as certain he could move absolutely silently if he really wanted to.

He dumped the timber on the ground and straightened up. He was wearing his normal, easy smile, but Mila couldn’t help detecting a hint of anxiety behind it.

“Fancy a walk?” he asked.

Mila narrowed her eyes. “What for? Where?”

He shrugged casually. “Just up to the bridge.”

“Why?”

“I thought you might like to see.”

See what? she nearly snapped, stopping herself before she could. She still felt a little bad for what she’d said to him earlier, and there was a hopefulness behind his eyes that suddenly made him seem very young.

She stood, trying not to look too distrusting. “Ok,” she said.

The walk to the shoreline took a matter of minutes, minutes spent in a companionable silence that Mila was learning to expect from their time together. When Caelan finally stopped she took up a position a few feet to the side of him. To their right stood the bridge - a dark colossus against the midnight blue sky. In front of them a length of sand stretched out towards the salt water, and then… the sea - big, black, fathomless, and calm. The moon was bright in the sky, only a few clouds obscured the stars, and it shone on the water, silver rippling as the waves washed up and down the shoreline. And there, in the distance, glimmers of light from the other side - golden, warm.

A gentle breeze swept the salty air across Mila’s cheeks. She realised she was smiling.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” came a quite voice from beside her. She looked across at Caelan. His hair was being softly ruffled by the wind and the moonlight shone in his eyes and illuminated the subtle smile on his lips.

Abruptly, she turned back to the view. “Yes,” she replied truthfully. Her arms were goose-pimply under her sleeves and she held them close to her body.

“Mila…?”

He was looking at her now. She could feel his eyes on her, spots of heat on her skin.

“I’m sorry about what happened earlier,” he said. “I know this isn’t easy for either of us. Damion and Seth know it too. I shouldn’t have let them wind me up like that.”

Mila watched the waves, slowly shaping her response.

In… Out… In… Out…

“I’m sorry too,” she said. “I… What I said wasn’t fair on you.” She sighed. “You’re right… I don’t know how your… your thing works any more than you do mine. And it’s not my place to judge you for it.”

She saw the nod in her peripheral vision but still didn’t look back at him.

Suddenly, he chuckled softly.

“What?” she asked, frowning.

“I wish I could trust you,” he replied. “That you could trust me…”

She paused. She mulled over his words, heart thumping uncomfortably in her chest as she realised exactly what she wanted to, had to respond… “Me too,” she whispered.

He turned towards her again and this time she found herself meeting his eyes. “Then what can I do? What can I say that means that you…” He paused, suddenly looking unsure. “I know I lied to you, but you lied too. It’s all out in the open now.”

There was an intensity in his eyes that made her shiver, although she didn’t think it was from fear. Caelan seemed to catch himself, stepping back, expression turning apologetic. “I just… I don’t want you to think that I…”

He sighed, shaking his head.

“It doesn’t matter,” he said finally, softly. He turned away. “I’ll go light the fire.”

She watched his retreating figure until she couldn’t see him anymore before turning back to the view. She was still shivering, she noted. Her throat was dry.

It’s the wind, she told herself. And the salt. Nothing more.

Nothing more.

 

 


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

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