Chapter 17: The Enemy's Den
I held Sierra’s hand firmly as we followed the douchebag who kept checking her out beneath the dripping wet clothes. I was so close to giving him a black eye coupled with a brand new face, completely free of charge, the only thing holding me back was the idea of Sierra witnessing it. She was walking content, completely oblivious to his attentions, as she observed her surroundings. Her small hands fit perfectly into mine, as though they belonged, as though they were molded for mine. She pressed her fingers each time she was party to something that did not make sense to her, like the thumb shaped black bugs crawling on the walls, making squeaky noises as they hunted for food. Her face was precious when she noticed two bugs approaching a small butterfly to spray their semi-paralyzing gas on it, freezing the butterfly right in its place, the butterfly now unable to move except helplessly flap its transparent wings, which emitted the sound of a fan, but did not allow it to fly away. She stopped and watched the two bugs eat the butterfly, piece by piece, the sound of the flapping wings slowly dissipating as the butterfly’s life ebbed away. Sierra’s lips were contorted in disgust, her face twisted in horror.
“Eww, what the hell are those things? ” she asked, recoiling.
“They are rawonroaches, what else?” I said, laughing. Despite all her raging madness, her questions and reactions to what was completely common and banal in Rawonia, humored me, and lightened my burden, which got too heavy sometimes. But not this day, no, I was happy just holding her hand, and walking by her side. Despite the chilling wet clothes which I’d had managed to put on in the last second to hide my dragon tattoo, and despite being in the enemy den, and walking towards a bunch of humans I hated more than anything in the world, I was rejuvenated, and at peace. How stupid was that?
Her shrill cry and, her desperate attempt to climb to my body woke me up from my thoughts. I felt the uncomfortable chill of wet clothes touching against my skin as she kept pressing her body to mine. By now, she had already managed to raise one leg, wrapping it around my hip, her hands grasping me firmly by the neck. I felt her negligible weight as she finally lifted her whole body, plastering herself on my torso, her legs clinging to my hips like a vise, as if in a life and death situation. I held her firmly, turning around, trying to decipher what the hell had spooked her so much.
“My God, something electrified me,” she screamed, down there. She took a shuddering breath, all the while her eyes darted to the floor as if she was expecting to catch a glimpse of the culprit. The grimace on her face screamed she wasn’t ready for it. “Oh my God, what was that?” she said, covering her face, pressing it against my shoulders, as though that would erase the wretched memory.
“You mean rats?” the blonde guy said, surprised at the question. Of course, the guy didn’t know about Sierra’s madness. “Yeah, we got lots of those in here,” he added, as though that required a clarification.
“That was no rat,” she objected. She lifted her head, and looked around trying desperately to spot the creature, to make her point. “There it is, that is the vile creature which tried to kill me,” she said, her hand pointing at a simple rat.
“That’s a rat,” I confirmed.
“Rats are not fluffy egg shaped creatures with the power to electroshock humans,” she insisted, her eyes narrowing with frustration. “These creatures don’t even have a head, or tails, and they are rolling like a ball on the damn floor. They certainly are no rats!” She composed herself, and then added,” The only thing they have in common with rats is their color.” She was surprisingly silent for a few seconds. “Probably, their boneless bodies as well,” she then admitted when she lost track of the animal who disappeared inside a small crack on the floor.
“They are rats Sierra. And you don’t have to worry, they can only transmit small doses of electricity, they cannot harm you Sierra.”
“I give up, I hate this place, this is so damn unfair, dragonflies can kill, and rats can electrocute you What about us humans, why don’t we have cool powers here? I’m not impressed at all,” she ranted.
She was funny. I kissed her softly on her temple, I had to thank the damn rat for this gift, I thoroughly enjoyed the feel of her body on mine and I immediately stopped her when she tried to lower herself on the floor.
“It’d be much better if I just carried you, there may be more of those vile creatures. We wouldn’t want you to be electrified before you complete your mission,” I said, grinning.
“Fine, then carry me,” she said, sounding miffed.
She was simply adorable, the furrowed eyebrows and, barely visible lines appearing on her forehead, the only clue to her distress.
We walked in the damp tunnel for what seemed like ten minutes, water was dripping from the ceiling, and moss had formed along the unpainted walls, its sharp and displeasing scent mingling with that of the junk splattered around. There was a steady irritating plop sound, as water collected into small puddles along the edges of walls. It was, all in all, a disgusting underground place. Each time we burned houses, and buildings, it seemed, human were pushed to hide in these tunnels underneath. The thought that Sierra had to live in such conditions froze my blood. I inhaled and exhaled slowly, trying to remind myself of the task ahead, I had to keep the big picture in mind. We had to defeat the enemy, crush the rebellion, there was nothing more important than that. I needed to see how many such dwellings the enemy had, and once I had information on how to access each one, the Drakons could finish this once and for all.
“We need dry clothes,” I said. “Sierra is wet and cold.”
“I’ll take you to our storage room first, give you some clothes and then take you to Ozy. He’ll want to see you,” the human mumbled.
“Fine,” I replied. I was looking forward to the meeting, once I’d hidden my identity properly, of course. I needed long clothes to hide my tattoos. Only the royal family members were blessed with two tattoos, which made us less vulnerable than other Drakons as the enemy had to target both life sources to bring us down. The downside was, of course, hiding both would be problematic in this place. For the time being, the one on my ass was fine, but I had to make damn sure that the one on my forearm was not exposed. Somehow, I doubted others would be as understanding as Sierra once they spotted my dragon shaped birthmarks.
“You can find something here, they all belong to the dead,” he said, showing the clothes piled atop one another on the dirty floor.
I saw Sierra’s face flinch when she heard of the clothes belonging to the dead.
“Can you give us some privacy? My girlfriend is going to change,” I said in a firm tone, I would not have him ogle her, or stay long enough to detect my tattoos.
Sierra looked at me, her face lit with some mysterious joy. “Am I?” she whispered.
“Are you what?” I asked, confused, as the guy left the room.
“Am I your girlfriend?” she asked, shyly.
Crap, had I called her my girlfriend? I wasn’t even aware of it. She was not my girlfriend; how could she be? Why in the hell had I said that? What was wrong with me? She was just a human girl, severely under the influence of madness, who wanted to kill me. And then, there was Nicole, of course, the girl who probably was planning our wedding, this very minute. I kept my silence.
“I see,” she murmured, feigning a smile. “You said that to get rid of him,” she explained, as though it made sense to her.
Had I said that to get rid of the douchebag? I wanted to say yes, so damn badly. But, I knew I would be lying to myself. I wanted her to be my girlfriend, despite her madness, despite her being a human, despite my engagement to a girl I liked and respected, a girl whom I thought I would happily settle with in life, all before I had set eyes on Sierra.
“I am engaged,” I said. I don’t know why I said that, but I felt I had to. “What happened between us before out there when we were alone, that was unexpected. And, it was not supposed to happen. I know it did, and I have no excuse. I’m sorry.”
“I get it,” she said. “We never had a thing going anyway, not in my world, and so why should it be in yours? And you know, what? None of this is real, anyway,” she said, shrugging, as she finally lowered her body down.
This time, I let her. It was her madness talking again. I guess she used it to deal with stuff that was too overwhelming in life, just like now. I knew she liked me, and I liked her. In fact, I was pretty sure, what I felt for her was a raw instinct, an urge almost, much more potent than that, and it was fast rolling out of control. I almost felt she was, that is, she could be my mate. No, that could not be, I wouldn’t go there, I wouldn’t even think about it. I was a Drakon, and only a handful of us ever found our mates, none of whom happened to be from the human race.
But, what was really wrong with her? Distressing thoughts whirled in my head. What if the humans were also getting a taste of the madness that spread among the Drakons, what if it just manifested itself differently in the humans, what if they were being exposed to the same sickness, except the human version of it? I couldn’t care less about the disgusting humans, but the implications of this did not sit well with me. Was Sierra going to get worse and would she be dealt with swiftly at the hands of her kind, when she did? My dragon was screaming with the thought, my body was starting to burn, my eyes were glowing, probably getting redder by the minute. Did she notice them? I turned around, trying to compose myself. I had to put a stop to this. It was her closeness, if not that, her touch, or just the thought of her safety which triggered these unpleasant and uncontrollable reactions lately. This had to end.
“Aren’t you going to change?” she asked, as I heard her grab a few items from the pile. “I am so not wearing other people’s underwear,” she declared.
“Then you should take off yours to dry,” I said, my body shaking with the thought that until then, she would have to wear none.
“Good idea,” she said. “Please don’t turn around, until I’m done.”
I couldn’t even if I wanted to, my body was immobilized just like that helpless butterfly, my heart was pacing, my palms were sweating, I felt myself dying as I heard the sound of her hands holding and raising her shirt above her head, the sound of her hips wiggling as she took off her wet pants, the sound of her unclasping the bra, the sound of her thighs pressing to one another, her legs lifting in a sequence as she took off her panties, the sound of new dry clothes first touching, and then slowly stretching until they molded to the beautiful contours of her naked body, the sound of her voice saying she was done...
I was undone, and I hadn’t even seen a thing.
“Seth, you need to change into dry clothes,” she reminded me.
“Yeah, right,” I said, my voice coming out as no more than a pathetic whisper.
“These should fit you,” she said, as she handed me some stuff, as if she’d lost hope that I’d find some for myself.
“I need a long sleeved shirt,” I said, finally finding the voice to speak.
“You don’t have to be ashamed of your birthmark, it’s beautiful,” she said. “Although, come to think about it, it’s plain suspicious to have a dragon shaped birthmark in this world, so you may have a point,” she said, as she handed me another shirt.
“I’m glad you see it my way,” I said, absolutely thrilled she had come up with the reason to hide my secret, just on her own. It was becoming harder to keep her in the dark though. Back in the woods, I was terrified she would catch me shift, just to light that damn stick so that I could build a fire, not the Drakon way, but the human way. What an embarrassment! An Uruloki being scared of creating a roaring, blazing fire, not to be caught in the deed, what had she reduced me to?
“Aha, I do, Seth. I would never do anything to hurt you, believe me. We’ll never mention the tattoo,” she said.
I wanted to laugh at her words, she surely wanted to hurt me, and very much. She just didn’t know it yet. I hoped her ignorance continued until my mission ended here.
I changed quickly, and I couldn’t help smirking as during that time, she started examining the dirty walls in detail as though they included some fancy art work. My little innocent Sierra, how she thrilled me.
“Are you guys done?” the blonde scumbag asked. He was, unfortunately, back to ruin my peace.
“Yes, we are ready to meet your leader,” I said. This time around, I didn’t hold Sierra’s hand, though I wanted to, very much. It somehow felt wrong when I’d just declared myself to be in the pool of unavailable Drakons, not that she knew about the last part.
As I was leading the way along with him, I saw him edge closer, his ugly head now almost touching my chin. “She’s a good piece of meat, her ass is simply to die for,” he said winking. “Ozy is my cousin. I can make this life easier for you, should you care to share.”
I saw red, the scumbag had just signed his death sentence. I did not even remember when I started punching him, holding him by the collar and throwing him, kicking him, and then punching him, just to repeat the whole cycle all over again. The rage in me was unstoppable, the disgust I felt for this creature knew no limits, but it was the worry that Sierra might be exposed to such threats when I was gone, rather than anything else, that made me continue. “I’ll kill you motherfucker,” I said, as I punched his nose, letting blood splash all around his face.
“Stop, please stop,” I heard Sierra say from a distance. “Stop it,” she shouted, this time, her voice finally piercing the clouds of rage possessing my body. I turned around, while still holding the guy by the collar, my punch coiled back, ready to land mercilessly on his face once more. I let my fist fly, just to stop it at the last second when I heard her gasp. She was now begging me to let him go. I dropped him, he fell on the floor, his legs no longer holding him. I looked at his bloodied swollen face, at least I had given him a new face, just the way I wanted it, just the way he deserved it, right from the start.
I looked at Sierra’s face which said it all, she was scared, and confused.
“Damn,” I cursed. This was bad, I had gone ahead and let her see me at my full rage. “He deserved it,” I said, curtly.
What was she thinking, I couldn’t help, but wonder. But, it was not her voice which replied back.
“Did he now? What did my cousin do to ruffle your feathers?” a short, but sturdy guy, now standing in front of us said, chuckling. “I’m Ozy, by the way,” he said, extending his hand, as if I had not just beaten his cousin to a pulp.
I extended my hand back. I was about to shake the enemy’s hand.