Chapter 26 - No Strength
It was only in the silence that Brandon allowed himself to acknowledge his racing heartbeat and the fear. And it was only in the loneliness that he started to piece his choices together.
“Who are these people?” he said to himself closing his eyes. Now that Brandon was alone and his relative safety was assured at least for a few more hours he allowed himself a moment or two to reflect on his current situation.
An image of thin, wrist tight black leather gloves came into his mind. He didn’t waste the time looking around for them. They were gone. So was his blade and the rest of his clothing.
Sadly the gloves were the first thing that he thought of because he didn’t truly own anything else. The blade he had bought for protection. The gloves had been the only thing that he could bring with him when he ran. He resented their loss for a few moments, but soon had to move on.
Brandon then quickly examined his wounds only to realize that he had been given a lot of first aid. White gauze and bandages bound him tightly almost everywhere on his upper body and legs. They were wrapped all around his chest and stomach as well as his right hand and his left leg. But even with his body tightly bound in bandages he still felt a knawing pain all along his side.
How on earth did I pull through that one? As weak as I was that last hit should have ended me....
Brandon thought to himself. He remembered the desperation, the howling on the night wind, the pain opening up his side and the heavy flow of warm blood. Brandon pushed those memories away. They made him sick. He pressed a hand to his inflamed skin around the bandages and bit back a scream as his entire body tried to collapse on him.
Just touching the bandages hurts like a mother!!
He thought to himself as he fell back into the bed and shakily sighed away the scream bundled in his chest.
Brandon sighed as he barely managed to pull the covers he had displaced back up over himself.
Unexpectedly a wave of exhaustion washed over him. He tried to think of all the things these Shifters could be beneath their mortal illusions but his information about the ways of the world was as shallow as a bird’s bath.
Honestly all he had ever had were the books. The pictures in them told him about the world beyond. The world he couldn’t see. But more than anything else he knew that his knowledge of Shifters was thin.
He only knew that Shifters could change shape, but finding out what they could do didn’t really tell he WHAT they could become. Brandon knew that a Shifter could retain mortal shape by locking up their true appearance somehow. He knew very little about them or even how they managed it. He could remember one book telling him that there were multiple kinds of Shifters and that each kind chose to live in large packs or Clans.
He understood that there were as many as Seven Shifter Clans. Yet Brandon was hard pressed to guess what Clan existed where or what those Clans were called.
There were only two Clans that the book had named and they had been the Dog Clan and the Bird Clan. Brandon didn’t know what any of those Shifters were like, but he had a good feeling that he wasn’t around and any dogs or birds. The Shifters that he had encountered so far roared and hissed like felines.
Brandon racked his brain. He tried to remember if there was a map in the books he had read. Something that would help him figure out just where he was...or what these strangers were. But he came up empty.
He had been running blind for a long time now. No maps. No direction. Just running.
He had absolutely no real way of knowing what Clan he had managed to first invade and then anger. All Brandon knew was that he had to get out of this place, he couldn’t be sure who he was dealing with.....he couldn’t trust these people. And when he closed his eyes he saw those bright yellow slit eyes glaring at him, from within the face of a man. The beast within threatening him. They could kill him. They hated Brandon for hurting the blue eyed Shifter or at least the large male Mantilo did.
Glen seemed to like him for some strange reason that he didn’t care to decipher.
And then there was the blue eyed Shifter he had accidentally attacked out in the woods. From what Brandon had been able to understand the man he had attacked was their son? He suddenly wished he had asked for his name. Why had he brought Brandon here? Why had he gotten into so much trouble when Mantilo had caught him with Brandon and why was Brandon even thinking about him?
I don’t care!
He told himself
Brandon was sure that he was never going to see the blue eyed Shifter again but even as he thought this, Brandon couldn’t help trying to recall his features. And unlike the aggressive and almost feral and gaze of Mantilo....
The blue eyes Brandon saw and thought about.....calmed him. For a moment Brandon almost wondered where Mantilo had sent the blue eyed man to? But as Brandon caught his mind drifting in that direction he purposely turned it to other things.
Brandon quickly decided that the first thing he had to worry about was getting out of that room, but even as Brandon tried to find the strength or even the will to move it slipped right back out of his grasp.
Sighing Brandon easily realized that he didn’t even have the strength left to move his feet to the edge of the bed. His desperate tussle with the male Shifter and his subsequent interrogation by Mantilo and Glen, had left him totally drained. Brandon wanted to ignore the frailty he felt, and the way his whole body felt like it was shaking, but no amount of denial was getting him out of that bed anytime soon. He found his resolve to go weakening.
He had to rest. For once....he had to stop.
His head hurt terribly just from thinking and this was the first time, in a long time, that Brandon had slept in anything as soft as a bed.
And though he should have wanted to put as much distance between himself and the aggressive Mantilo oddly enough Brandon didn’t feel like he was in danger. Or at least he wasn’t in danger for at least another eight hours. So instead of making preparations’ to get the hell out of these peoples home; Brandon found himself collapsing back and swiftly melted away.
Right now, but tomorrow...he would find the strength to move. Deep down he knew that he was lying to himself but what else could he do.
Soon he had to move on.