Chapter 73 - Disagreement
On the other side, Brandon shared their silence not because he have insight into the Ghouls motives, but because their motives were all that he understood.
The Ghouls had come for him, plain and simple.
But aside from their appearances, and their hunting style and the potential threat that they poses to other living things he knew very little about the beasts that had been chasing him. He had learned more from Mantilo and Nate in that moment then, what felt like a life time of running, had ever taught him.
How can those things be Rats....? How can they be Shifters?
Brandon asked himself
They are taller and longer than most men and they....they don’t speak...they can’t speak...They are nothing but monsters.
The idea confounded him. But honestly what didn’t confound him?
Brandon didn’t understand himself. . He didn’t know why he could nearly taste energy on his tongue. He didn’t understand the world that he traveled aimlessly through. A world that held Shifters, and Clans and Dragons and family and pain.
But he knew...that he deserved it. He deserved to be hunted. He deserved to be marked for death. He was to blame. He was the problem, he was the danger and no matter what he had to get away from that mansion....away from the Shifters in front of him...
Get the people in that Land away from the cloud of death that he carried with him. He had to run.
All he could do was run....but he never seemed to go far enough!
Brandon knew exactly what the Ghouls wanted. But he wasn’t going to give it to them.
But he knew that things would only get worse for him the longer he remained....it was time for him to move on.
He didn’t know what had ever managed to delay him until now...
Perhaps is was the crisp scent of pine in the air, the feeling of warm grass beneath his feet or the forbidden feeling of lips on his skin, but no more.
“I want to be escorted off these lands.” He found himself inserting, boldly cutting across the conversation that Ezekiel, his brothers, and his father were having about what possible routes to take and even plans of action to use against their assailants.
But at his question all of the Shifters turned slightly glowing eyes on him, all of them except for Mantilo who was still partially turned to the table where scrolls littered the table top.
“No.” Mantilo said, his response such a simple brush off that Brandon’s ire was instantly piqued. And without looking up he shifted a few more documents and didn’t say anything more.
“Look....” Brandon began straining to keep his voice neutral. “I know that you’re in the middle of a crisis right now....and I appreciate that! But I want to leave!”
“And what makes you so special!!” Mantilo suddenly hissed, turning from his scrolls and cutting cold slit yellow eyes on Brandon in aggravation. “This Clan is on Lock Down boy. The villages are on curfew. We’re are trying to prevent more casualties and you want me to send one of my few men to help you? To walk you out of the forest?”
“No, I just...” Brandon stammered unable to argue against the point that Mantilo had made.
“Do you know how dangerous that would be? Not to mention a waste of our time. Time that well need to get on to these Ghouls before we lose them again and they attack someone else.” Mantilo growled shaking his head.
“But...But I need to leave!” Brandon tried not to beg, even though he almost had the urge to get down on his knees and do just that. He couldn’t stay there....more of them would come....and other things....other terrible things could happen if he tallied there. Still Mantilo shook his head. He couldn’t understand how dire Brandon’s situation had become.
“Mantilo I will take myself out of here! I’ll face the danger alone!” Brandon tried to compromise. “Just permit me passage across the boarders or something!”
“No! That would be suicide, with those things out there ripping everything to shreds. And even if we were to travel into the woods to escort you.....we would risk being attacked ourselves....and for what? Just to make one Mortal happy?” Mantilo snarled. “My son’s safety and the safety of my village trumps your need to get back on the road! Now if you can’t understand that boy you must be weak of mind!”
“Hey! I’m not your God-damn boy!” Brandon slammed his fists into the couch again, and tried to out shout Ezekiels father. Feeling slightly hysterical as his window for escape got more and more narrow the more that they spoke. “And you can’t keep me here any longer! I’ll leave if I damn well feel like it!”
“Enough! You will sit down and shut up. This discussion is over!” Mantilo nearly roared clearly at the end of his rope.
Inflamed and choked with frustration Brandon did as he asked and melted back into the arm chair. Not because Mantilo had asked him, but because Brandon was learning that arguing with the man got him...nowhere. This was his home....these were his lands and Brandon was like a worm thrust into a bowl of hungry fish. He couldn’t escape.
But he still had to get off the Leopards Lands. He didn’t belong there. He wasn’t safe there.....and no one was safe with him remaining in that house. But Mantilo was deaf to him.
Brandon felt the weight of his day with Ezekiel and his past slamming into him just then. Like a ton of bricks on his head and chest. He wanted to claw at the useless ball of emotions clogging up his throat. He needed to rip out the thoughts that tried to surface.
Dark disturbing images and memories that would never leave him alone....no matter how far he tried to out run them.
Bloody floors. Human body’s split across the middle releasing fountains of crimson or hot living flesh bursting wide open as though it had simply split from some unknown pressure.
The sickening, sloppy sound of teeth on bone or...The screams of children.