Chapter 23 - Diffuse
At that moment Ezekiels mother steeped between them, her deep green eyes slit and glowing like a cats in the night. “Stop this both of you!” She hissed pushing them apart with a stiff shove that forced both men to give way.
Ezekiel knew that his mother was in some way on equal footing with his father when it came to power and influence in the village.
She stood with his father on even ground and so was likely the only one in the whole village that could challenge him... or calm him down. And as she flashed her teeth at the both of them, he realized that she was pretty darn good at intimidating him too. Mantilo growled back at her, but all of the aggression melted out of him as she returned the sound. Not waiting for another response she walked back and looked over at the mortal who was still kneeling in a ball on the ground by the wall.
“Stop fighting. Theres something wrong. I’m smelling blood. Lots of blood.... Weather he’s an intruder or not, this guy is still my patient and if you haven’t noticed he’s hurt again.” Glen sighed. “I can’t have you scaring him back into shock and making the problem worse! So help me....or leave this hallway!”
“What are you talking about? I’m not leaving you up here with that....” Mantilo said turning from Ezekiel too look behind him at the mortal. The mortal seemed to sink deeper into a ball at his tone of voice. His slender arms tightening around himself and his head tiled down blocking his eye from Ezekiels view. Mantilo hissed at the stranger as he glared at him. “Besides he’s not your patient anymore Glen. He seems better to me. If he’s awake I can get him the hell out of here.”
“No! Don’t move him!” Mantilo took a step forward and Glen hissed at him, her eyes flashing with a slight luminescence and Ezekiel watched his father grimace and step back from the mortal reluctantly.
“Dammit Glen...” He growled at her, the rolled his eyes. “Fine I won’t move him just yet, you mad woman, but he is going back into that room! I don’t want him anywhere else in my home!”
Him mother bit her lip, worry replacing aggression on her face. “But....I don’t think I should move him at all.... “She began.
“What’s wrong with him? He was fine a moment ago.” Ezekiel said concern making him forget himself and step past his father to stand beside his mother.
His father snarled and snapped at him making Ezekiel step back. “Don’t go near him again! I thought I made that clear.” He hissed as Ezekiel steeped back.
The stranger whimpered painfully and Ezekiel and his father broke eye contact to look at him, then at Glen.
“What’s wrong with him now?” Mantilo grumbled as the man shook on the ground, next to the wall. To Ezekiel it looked like he heaved once or twice, but nothing managed to come up.
Glen tilted her head up and sniffed the air, but it was his brother Walter who answered him first.
“The mortal is bleeding internally, beneath the skin. His stitches hold, but something is pooling heavy blood into his wound.” he said to his mother’s back. His dark brown eyes shifted from analyzing the stranger to Ezekiel. His face set in its usual solemn frown, showing no real emotion.
His mother nodded glancing at him briefly. “Yes. I smell the blood gathering, pooling around the stitches in the flesh. I’ve got to relieve the pressure, drain the new blood and plug the hole. I’ll have to resew him up.” Glen said ticking the points off on her small, but graceful fingers.
“Either way he seems to be hurting real bad.” she told them. She shot Ezekiel a glassy glare. “What the hell happened anyway?” she asked him.
Ezekiel opened his mouth to respond, but his mom walked away with an eye roll before he could come up with a decent lie to tell her.
She stepped toward the mortal without another word, but at that moment the mortal looked up at her. His green eyes were still filled with fire and violence but they were also glazed with pain making him far less agreeable.
“Stop...” He panted shallowly at her and held his stomach hard with his arms.
“It’s okay...” she tried to sooth back.
Ezekiel watched his mother talk to the mortal softly as she tried to come closer. But the stranger wasn’t listening, he could see his entire body shivering. He worried that the fever was still holding his mind partially in a vice of paranoia. But his mother just tried to get closer.
“Were just gonna take you....” She began to explain.
But with a ragged breath the mortal jerked back from his mother’s approach. “Stay the fuck away from me!” He screamed at them all. Ezekiel listened as all the men in his family reacted to the mortal’s crude language in his mother’s presence. Ezekiel even hissed at his rude remark and watched his mother halt in her advance and chew her lip once again in indecision.
“Hey you stupid asshole she’s trying to help you!” Lander snarled stepping toward the mortal. His fists clenched and his canines flashing slightly pointed and white.
If the mortal was worried it didn’t show. He only looked back down and wrapped his arms around his middle stomach even tighter. Ezekiel sensed more then saw him bite back a scream of pain as he tightened his hold. His eyes drifted shut almost as though he struggled to stay conscious.
“It’s okay.” His mom told his second oldest brother softly putting her hand out to stop his advance. “He’s just scared right now. We have him surrounded so just take it easy..... ”
“Not to mention that he’s weak, hungry, paranoid, confused and currently bleeding to death. Oh and hes very pissed off that he can’t escape. His desire is to be free...” Walter put in from behind them all.
Ezekiel paused to look back at him questioningly, but he knew better then to waste time wondering how his eldest brother knew half the things that he knew about people. Walter had always been able to sense what others couldn’t.
“Oh.” Glen said softly. “Well I guess having a hole in your side would make anyone a little bit moody. Right?” She offered.
“That does not make it okay to be an ass...” Nate said with a shrug and a smirk.
“Oh hush... a few bad words can’t kill me boys.” Glen told her sons as she looked back at the mortal.
“No they won’t kill you, but they could kill him.” Mantilo sniffed steeping closer to the mortal. His lip curling to reveal the deadly points of sharp fangs. “He should have some respect! Stop screaming at my wife and get on your feet, before I drag you back to the room!!” He roared at the mortal agitating the situation even more and making the stranger flinch and open his green eyes. And all Ezekiel saw there was red hot rebellion. Feral. Desperate.
Ezekiel once more sensed rather then saw the stranger tensing for the attack. He was surprised that he was getting a little used to reading the Mortals aggressive behavior. And after getting into that desperate tussle in the hallway with the stranger, he could almost see what was about to happen next.
A blood bath.
Trying not to think about what he was doing to himself. Ezekiel steeped around his father and boldly approached the stranger. He knew it was a bad choice the moment he took a step forward, but what else could he do?
The tension in the room was starting to boil over. The mortal was nothing but a hair trigger at best. And with all the yelling and anger around him Ezekiel feared that the mortal would attack his mother or worse his father and honestly either act would be a definite death sentence.
But Ezekiel strangely didn’t fell any animosity or distrust towards the stranger. Besides he’d already taken a blade to the chest and a few weak punches and the mortal was still breathing. He had held his anger in check, pushed down his instincts, and pulled his strength, so that he wouldn’t break any of the stranger bones by accident while he tried to subdue him. His father and brothers....would not be so kind if they perceived a threat. Ezekiel thought that this spoke to his more patient nature. He could defuse this.....somehow.
So Ezekiel ignored his father’s hair raising hiss of outrage as Ezekiel defied him once more and came right up to the mortal. He knelled down a few feet in-front of him and snapped his fingers sharply at him. The mortal jumped, opening those cool, yet fiery green eyes to look at him.
“Hi, remember us? Well the woman behind me....” He began pointing behind him with his thumb so that the mortal would understand, but he knew that his mother was the only woman in the entire home. “Please listen to her...” he told the mortal simply. “She can make the pain stop. Okay?”
The mortal didn’t look up. His only response was a stiff and breathless. “Fuck you.”
Ezekiel was surprised at himself when all he did was smile at the mortals’ backlash. “OK good.” He found himself hissing dryly. “Now we know that your mouth works....How about your legs? Get up.”
The mortal looked up at him with a dirty glare and didn’t move.
Ezekiel sighed looking back at his family, hoping for some aid, but when none of them offered him any he tried to speak to the mortal once more.
“Look we aren’t going to force you to do anything against your will stranger.” Ezekiel finally continued. “But you can’t just sit here and bleed out.” He said as he scooted a step closer and reached towards the mortals shoulder. “It’s kinda of stupid actually. So just get up.”
The mortal jerked away from his hand once more. Then he slammed his fist into the wall beside him in an aggressive show that hardly made Ezekiel flinch. “I told you to fucking stay away from me. I’ll kill you! Leave me alone!”
“Listen we aren’t trying to hurt you!” Ezekiel growled back as a fresh burst of copper filled his senses. An oval of crimson spread across the front of the mortal’s shirt as he pulled his stitches apart and the blood beneath his skin flowed out.
“Oh!” His mother cried behind him. “His stitches, we’ve got to get him to the bed Ezekiel.”
Were all mortals this foolish?
Ezekiel had to wonder as he dropped his hand and shook off the burning smell of the stranger’s blood. He couldn’t afford to be mesmerized by that scent right now.
“Look either you stand the hell up or one of us is going to drag you back that room!” Ezekiel told the man with a pointed glare of his own. “It’s just that simple. Now move....or get moved. You have five seconds!!”
A tense silence followed where the mortal glared at him and said nothing and Ezekiel shrugged back onto the soles of his feet. He got ready to snatch up the foolish intruder and carry him to his room. But then probably sensing his inevitable loss, the mortal surrendered.
Suddenly the man released his stomach with another pained whimper and without a word he struggled up to his knees. He clutched at the wall for support and finding none there he sat kneeling, head bowed and labored for air for a few moments. Ezekiel could see that he wasn’t really out of air, but that the mortal was searching for the energy to stand. To push his thin body up on even thinner legs and move back to the room he had run from.
Ezekiel was deeply disturbed that the man had pushed himself so hard. His agony wasn’t hidden or undetectable. It was deep and harsh on his body. The agility and power that the mortal had displayed only minutes ago seemed like a dream to Ezekiel now. He seemed unable to summon even the strength to speak.
Where had he ever gotten the will to move from that bed, if he was still so close to deaths door?
Ezekiel asked himself.
On an impulse Ezekiel took his own feet, and walked forward to stand on the wall beside the stranger. He reached out to help the mortal to his feet, his fatigue and pain were just too obvious. Not only could Ezekiel sense the mortals’ pure exhaustion, but he could see that the entire side of his shirt was turning red from blood. Ezekiel couldn’t let him hurt himself any further, but he didn’t even manage to brush the mortals shoulder with the tips of his fingers before the mortal slapped his hand away.
For some reason Ezekiel wasn’t perturbed by the mortal’s actions toward him, he felt no flare of anger. He just sighed like he was dealing with an obstinate child or an upset animal out in the village.
“Calm down. You can’t do it alone. Just take my hand. You’re hurt and weak.” Ezekiel said steeping closer. “Come on......your too slow for me. I don’t have all night to coddle you. Get up.” Ezekiel said smiling easily into the angry glare that the mortal directed at him again. Maybe he was being an ass, pushing someone so ill and weak but he had a feeling that it would get him results.
With shaking hands the mortal strained to his feet ignoring Ezekiels offer completely. So Ezekiel nodded dropping his hand and looked down the hall toward the room that he mortal had tumbled out of only minutes ago. He directed the mortal that way silently with his eyes. Ezekiel then gestured behind his back to his mother without having to look at her. “You’re too exhausted to walk that far right? Let us help you. Let this lady help.”
He saw the flash of defiance in the man’s green gaze as he looked first at Ezekiel then the rest of his family members, the cool calculation returned. The mortals’ eyes darted around looking for an escape. It was like watching a cornered animal for real this time.
Ezekiel caught his green gaze for the briefest of seconds and shook his head in denial. He knew that if the mortal tried to make another run for it, he could very well die at the hands of his overprotective father.
The stranger gave it thought, but after he silently analyzed all of Ezekiels brothers and his parents, the mortal sighed. Without a single word he turned, wrapped an arm around his stomach again and using the wall for support he limped painfully back toward the guest room.
Ezekiel watched him go for a moment then he shifted to the side and smiled at his mother. Letting her know that she could follow. With a slight sigh of relief his mother brushed past him. She was careful not to touch the man following Ezekiels example, though she held her hands out toward his back in case she had to catch the hobbling mortal if he suddenly lost his feet.
Ezekiels gaze was ripped from their progress as his brothers voice suddenly burst into his head. With a harsh whisper he slid into Ezekiels mind like cold slime on the back of his head.
You are so dead Ezekiel.....
He heard Lander chuckle inside of his skull, before his brother brushed past him.
Good luck. I doubt Ill be seeing you again lil bro.....
His bother teased his cold voice like an icy knife sliding on his nerves.
Ezekiel shook his head to shake away the cool presence of another thoughts in his mind then he snarled at his brother. “Asshole! Stay out of my fucking head! I’m not gonna warn you again!”
Lander ignored him as he walked away, but Ezekiel did feel his cold thoughts withdraw quickly as he moved. Walter and Nate followed him without comment, though Walter did shake his head as though he had somehow heard the whole exchange between the two of them. And then Ezekiel and Mantilo were alone together.