Chapter 7 - Die Now. Die Later
Chapter Seven - Die Now, Die Later
“Fine, if this is to be the path you’ve chosen, then I do not see any of us persuading you to turn back...at least not with resorting to violence....” Walter suddenly rumbled. His burning yellow eyes piercing the misty darkness. The large shadowed figure of his largest sibling stoic and unyielding in the pale light of the moon.
“I will help escort the intruder to the house with you Ezekiel. But when we get there Im not leaving mom alone with this stranger. Got it?” As the Eldest his words held a lot of power over the other brothers.
With no other recourse all Ezekiel could do was nod. Then Ezekiel looked at his other brothers and quirked an eye brow at them.
“He’s gonna kill you for this!” Lander snorted predictably. “You know that right? He’s gonna kill ALL of you.” Lander hissed. A wave of soft warm air cascade on the wind, as Landers burning green eyes and nails suddenly all disappeared from sight.
“And you know what? Frankly I wouldn’t miss this for the world!” Lander sneered in evil glee. “It’s been ages since I’ve seen the old man rip a Shifter to little bloody bits. I’m not helping, but I am tagging along for the ride.” his brother grinned, flashing the teeth that unlike his claws hadn’t had the chance to shrink back to a mortal’s length and remained sharp white fangs.
“Shut up Lander, before I leave you stuck behind like that till morning.” Nate growled at his older brother, sounding more like a dog then a man. Then he smiled and said to Ezekiel supportively.
“I can’t say that I’m conferrable with this, but Ill trust you Ezekiel. You’re the one who encountered the stranger, so I understand you feeling responsible for him, but one foul move....” Nate said with a dark look at the mortal. “If he hurts you again, or mom, or any of our Clan? Ill rip this mortal’s heart out of his chest and eat it along with a few of his other organs for shits and giggles. Ok? Great. Then let’s go this guys life.” Nate said with a smile as he patted Ezekiel arm.
It was a soft smirk, no anger was hidden in it. And his words were just as simple. They didn’t ask for anything in return. Not even understanding.
Ezekiel returned that smile out of habit, because that is what he most often saw his Wolfish sibling doing. Smiling.
Ezekiel knew his third brother the best and the least.
Since Nate was closest in age to Ezekiel he often took things in stride or with an air of pure nonchalance that could be irritating...or even disturbing at times. Carefree and playful were the main points of his third siblings personality but just beneath that open enthusiastic nature, was a well of mystery that Ezekiel just couldn’t fathom.
Maybe it was because Nate wasn’t actually related to any of them by blood? He had been adopted into the family many years ago and was loved no differently because of it by his siblings. But still he was a wolf and they were all Leopards.
Ezekiel turned and offered Walter his thanks next, while Nate suddenly waved his left hand out towards Lander.
Different colored eyes flashed bright white like snow for only a moment before Lander suddenly crashed to the forest floor, his limbs free of whatever power had been superimposed over them. Ezekiel watched Lander snarl, and put his arms over the back of his head with a soft moan. His discomfort was understandable. Ezekiel knew that his entire body would be sore after Nate’s hold wore off completely.
It seemed so...routine and normal to witness these things. But Ezekiel knew that the things that his siblings could do were amazing, but somehow over their years he had grown accustomed to their family’s power.
Even in the Shifter world the things that they could do were unique. Only one child in each decade was born with enhancements or what his people called Innate Abilities. Supernatural powers. But for some unexplained reason all four of them had been born with powers at the same time.
Where Lander could read minds, Nate was able to control a man’s body. And Walter, well he manipulated men’s hearts. Even Ezekiel and his father had powers, but their mother didn’t.
It made life with his brothers wonderfully unpredictable.
So while Lander continued to mope on the forest floor, Ezekiel and the rest of the brothers crowded around the mortal.
“Come on. Help me carry him. Gently. Too much jostling could kill him before we reach the village.” Ezekiel instructed his siblings. He took the time to split the mortal’s frail weight with Walter. So Ezekiel held his head and chest while Walter took his lower back and legs.
Walters’s large nose and face clenched in disgust as the smell of sour rot and blood overcame all of them. “Elders above...He stinks. ” Walter growled to no one in particular.
“Hey Nate put some kind of pressure on his side to slow the blood.” Ezekiel told his sibling, then watched patiently while his sibling walked over to Lander, reached behind him, and quickly snatched the white tank top that he had stuffed into the back pocket of his jeans.
Lander rolled over on his side and snarled at Nate in warning as he took possession of the shirt, but otherwise made no move to take back the garment.
As Nate moved away, Lander began to regain his feet and watched them work form the sidelines.
Having secured the cloth, Nate opened his mouth and put a few sharp teeth to it. He then yanked downward with his hands, pulling back with his head sharply. It reminded Ezekiel of a wolf pulling flesh from bone.
A moment later the shirt had been torn in two then in three. Ignoring another of Landers angry growls Ezekiel helped Nate, secure some of the thin cloth around the mortal’s sides, but as they tightened the cloth around the mortals wounds the strangers blood once more oozed. It got on Ezekiels skin, coating his and Nate’s fingers as they worked.
And once again, the smell zinged across Ezekiels sense. Like unpleasant pops in his nose and throat, but also leaving a tingling behind that was warm, and just a hint of sweet something....something he couldn’t name.
As the smell and feel of the stranger’s blood saturated him once again, pouring down his throat, the warm buzz traveling on Ezekiels skin, much like the warmth that came after a Shift, Ezekiel found himself staring at the blood on his hand in fascination. It took him a moment to realize that his eyes were glowing bright blue now.
His irises’ slitting into thin bolts of light, but his nails had also lengthened slightly and his teeth were annoying him.
They itched in his gums, Ezekiel ran his tongue across the sharpening tips of his canines conspicuously, and then his lips, but it was only when he swallowed thickly that he began to see what was bothering him. Staring at his hand, the smell of blood coating his mouth. He was hard pressed to ignore what he wanted this time. What he had been wanting since meeting the stranger. He wanted to taste it.
Shocked by the disgusting idea Ezkeiel tried to push it away like he had before, but it took root far too fast this time.
The hum in his throat, becoming a burn....like the ache in a parched throat for water. In fact the moment that the idea crossed his mind, he had to fight the urge to raise his blood soaked fingers to his lips and lap the sweet.....
Ezekiel shook his head violently, letting a small snarl of confusion escape as he did so.
Nate stopped working, his hands now coated in crimson the same as Ezekiels and looked up at him questioningly. His white and black eyes fathomless. “Your eyes....What is it Ezekiel?” he asked.
Shaken and just a little queasy. Ezekiel ducked his eyes from his elder brother. His face hidden in the shadows as he took the knots and secured the cloth with one final tug. But sensing Nate’s eyes still on him, he supplied an answer that was some version of the truth.
“I...I just...There’s so much blood.” He began, trying to make his throat stop aching. “I’m just anxious to get him to mom, before he dies on us.” He finished.
Then trying to hide how shaken he was by his strange inner struggle, Ezekiel hefted the mortal a little, and with a flic of his chin, he got Walter to begin walking, as he followed , and Nate supported the mortals missing side.
As they walked Nate kept the blood trapped, with firm hands that were far from merciful in the pressure that they applied to the mortals gashed side.
Ezekiel couldn’t help but wince as his bother applied force to the cloth to block any further bleeding. From the way his brother’s hands were soon dripping wet, Ezekiel knew that if their unconscious intruder had been awake he would have been screaming in agony, but Ezekiel didn’t say anything about his brother’s bedside manner. He was the one that had insisted that they save the intruders life after all, and the bleeding had to be managed, even if it was staunched by such crude means.
After a few moments of silent trudging forwards Walter once more spoke, a smooth rumble in the night. His eyes nothing but burning slits of yellow that allowed him to navigate the dark pine forest with no fear of stumbling. “You know...Once we get him to the house, he could still die Ezekiel.” Walter said to him quietly.
As he always spoke. And with little emotion one way or another. “No mortal this small and sickly can survive such a grievous wound. He may already be past the threshold. Accept this now and when he does pass, do not feel too encumbered by it. Mortals kill each other all the time and they are not sturdy creatures. They can die quite easily.”
Positively in awe of his brother speaking that much in one sitting, Ezekiel could only nod at him.
“Die now. Die later. Who knows....” Lander chuckled, trailing behind them and not offering to help his sibling with their delicate package. “Ezekiel, you should have just saved yourself the trouble really.”
Ezekiel didn’t answer him. But that was only because he didn’t have anything to say.