“Start talking,” Tango stated. Murphy glared up at him before touching my knee with encouragement in his eyes. Taking a deep breath, I recounted everything. When I was finished, they shared a calculative glance before their attention was back on me.
“He could be at any harbour warehouse, any local dock. How far does his telepathy reach, to begin with?” Murphy asked, crossing his legs. A cold breeze sent chills up my spine.
“T-this is the second time he’s done this so I don’t know anymore, but he has to be close. His image was crystal clear and his mind...” Touching my forehead, I could feel the headache creeping its way up from the base of my head, just like when Damian forcefully pulled away.
“For now, we keep this between us three, got it? If Damian shows up again, you come straight to me. From there, we can involve the others,” Tango stated, cupping his chin. “We must concentrate on this place more than I anticipated thanks to these new technologies being produced.”
“How are we going to do that?” Gazing up at Tango, I let my hand fall into my lap. “We have run from every place we’ve ever felt safe in and now you’re willing to save this one. What changed?”
“The lives of these children are at risk and I’m not prepared to leave them like this. We help them then turn our sights to Damian’s lot, they would be able to come here and be safe.” Tango nodded at his words, stroking his chin. “I just need to focus on getting a hearing with the president now and then hopefully we will be able to call this our new haven.”
Sitting at the dining table, I stared down at the food in front of me. It was simple, homemade pasta with a cheesy white source and bacon bits thrown in. Simple but filling. Everyone else sat around me trying to act normal as they joked around. Too many things were on my mind for me to register their words but they were happy at least.
When I was done, I went to the sink and cleaned my bowl before placing it on the drying wrack. I could feel Tango and Echo’s eyes on me as I made my way to the stairs.
Ever since Damian showed himself and we buried Victor, Echo and I had not spoken. It felt weird like a wedge was forming slowly. I took it as normal, something that happens when one loses their best friend and needed space for themselves to think. With Damian, I still could not wrap my head around why I still felt an ache in my chest or why I cried at seeing his broken form.
Sighing, I plopped down onto my sleeping bag and took off my shoes. Tomorrow we would be introduced to the occupants of Camp Dragonfly and hope to hell one of them didn’t try to electrocute us again or a burst of frustration to our stay.
“A-Alpha?” Glancing at the door, Cat was nervously biting her bottom lip and fidgeting with her hands. She’d been very quiet since the attack at Everest base. “Can we talk?”
“Of course.” Patting the spot next to me, I gave her a tired smile. “What’s on your mind?”
“I’m worried about my dad mainly,” She stated, sitting heavily on the bed. “Do you think he survived the attack?”
“I can’t answer that, but from what I picked up, he is a strong man. Maybe you should ask Tango for that though, not me.” Staring at the wall, I saw a stray tear run down her cheek in my peripheral vision. She swatted it away angrily. “That’s not the only thing on your mind, is it?”
She shook her head, sapphire eyes burning with raw emotion. Her small hands fisted her pants, knuckles white and shaking.
“I want to learn how to fight like you. Not anyone else, only you. I want to learn how to be strong so I can help and what happened to Victor doesn’t happen to you. If I had been there...” Her shoulders shuddered as more tears began to roll down her cheeks. “Why couldn’t he be here right now!”
The lump from earlier was back in my throat. Swallowing hard, I pulled her to my chest where she pushed her face against my collarbone as she wrapped her arms around me, my shirt absorbing her tears. My own stung at my eyes, but I couldn’t let them fall, not in front of her. Cat needed someone to be her rock and me crying would show how fragile I was and poorly her choice was.
“Don’t... Don’t put all of that responsibility on your shoulders. We didn’t know what was going to happen, how could you have?” Mumbling, I rubbed her back. Over her shoulder, I saw Echo’s side profile in the hallway, hand over his eyes as he leaned against the wall outside our door. “We can’t afford to live in the past, asking the what-ifs and the could haves. We can’t even really look to the future since it’s filled with uncertainty, but we can focus on the present and the problems we face at this current moment. Remember, there are eleven of us, we can share that responsibility. We can all become stronger.”
“How are you sounding so confident?” Cat pulled away, rubbing her eyes, cheeks red.
“It’s not really confidence I would say, maybe hope? Then again, I don’t always enjoy being the harbinger of negative thoughts.” Shrugging, I squeezed her hand. “The bright side isn’t always bright, so I’ve been told. But if you think about it, it just means we have to find it.”
Cat sniffled, hands coming to dry her face properly before rubbing her red nose. I tilted my head, waiting for her to talk. When she didn’t, I gave her hand another squeeze before letting go.
“You’ve had a long day, you should go get some rest. Tomorrow is most likely going to be long and frustrating, you’re gonna need your strength.”
Cat nodded, standing up and patting her pants. She peered at me with red eyes before pecking my cheek. Heat rose to her own as she gave me an embarrassed smile, rushing out the room.
Echo walked in then, going straight to his side and pulling his sleeping bag out and placing it on the bed. He kept his eyes downcast as he sat behind me, back against the wall.
“You think it will get better?” He asked. “That eventually we won’t be killed for something we didn’t really want?”
“I hope so. Tango seems committed to helping us, helping the Gifted in total. We could make a change here, show the kids here that there is more to our new world than running.” Copying Echo, I leaned against the wall, pulling my knees to my chest. “It takes a spark to start a revolution and this here could be the spark.”
“You’ve got high hopes.”
“And you don’t?”
“You won’t understand it.”
“Then make me.”
He side-glanced me, a tic forming in his jaw. His eyes changed colour, the room temperature dropping to freezing. Sneezing, I shivered, making no attempt to warm up my inner core. He continued until I was hunched over, gripping my legs before he let out a long frosty breath. The room began to warm up slowly.
“Even if we can make Canada a safe haven, the Gifted will be hunted for our power for as long as we live. The regular humans are scared of us and the governments want to use us. How can I have high hopes when there is no hope?”
“I don’t have an answer for that, but I’d like you not to speak like that outside this room. Even though you don’t have hope and believe there isn’t any left for us, does not mean that the others are not trying to form their own. Don’t go breaking something we all need.”
He nodded, gazing at the wall. The tic in his jaw disappeared, hands gripping the sides of his sleeping bag. He let out a shaky breath then let the façade of stone fall.
“I miss him, Hunter.” Angry tears raced down his cheeks, dripping off his chin. “I hate feeling like this, it makes me feel weak and I can’t keep his memory alive. I...”
Opening my mouth, I tried to speak, but how could I tell him to calm down, that he was not weak for having these emotions when that’s how I viewed my own? Closing my mouth, I leaned my head on his shoulder, hand taking his. He shuddered, breath coming out ragged as he tried not to cry, but the tears kept coming.
I miss him too.
Waking up with a jolt, I untangled myself from Echo and our twisted sleeping bags. Yawning, I rubbed my eyes of sleep before standing and heading downstairs for water. Tango was at the dining table, laptop open as he blankly stared at its screen with a cup of coffee raised to his lips.
“Morning.” I took down a glass goblet and filled it with water before plopping down in the chair next to him. He gazed at me tiredly as I took a sip of my water. “What you doing?”
“Mainly searching for places Damian could be.” His exhaustion showed in his husky voice, left hand coming to rub over his face as he sat up straight. “What I could find was that there is one Evolved owned warehouse in Seattle and a facility of theirs on the outskirts far inland. It could be linked.”
“Oh, it is, very much so.” Snapping my head up, I watched as Damian stumbled to the table. He looked worse. Blood crusted by his hairline, a dark bruise forming under his jaw as fingerprints showed around his neck. Someone had strangled him and beat him up.
“Damian is here.”
Tango sat rigidly, eyes furiously glancing around the room to find Damian. Even though his lips were cracked, he smirked and snorted knowingly. I knew exactly when he slipped into Tango’s head as he jumped up, almost toppling the chair back. Damian rolled his silver eyes before easing into the chair he was leaning against.
“I managed to get into one of the guard’s heads while the fucker was beating up a kid before my collar switched on. We are in that warehouse you spoke of.” Damian coughed fitfully, blood coming out in his spittle. “I can’t hold the connection as long as before. I’ll try to give you the layout as soon as I can get into another guard’s mind but for now, we don’t have time. Please hurry, I’m afraid the kids here won’t be able to last any longer than they have.”