Waking Other Lives

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Chapter 38: The Bumpy Road Ahead

Seth's POV

I saw the chains stretch and heard the grinding sound of the metal chafing as Dante roared, and pushed his whole body forward. He tried, once, he tried twice, but the chains held. He surged forward one last time, and we then heard the metal break. Once he was free, he grinned like an idiot.

“Holy crap, that was some incredible manpower! That made things much easier for us. Now we should go asap before the guards discover what we are after,” Elvan said, nudging us forward.

“What? No rewarding kiss for the charming prince?” Dante pouted, standing where he was, with his feet apart, and arms crossed over his chest.

“Are you for real?” she asked, exasperated. “I don’t have time for your childish games.”

“Yes, I’m not leaving until I have that kiss,” Dante said, acting indeed like a little child.

“Dante, stop it,” I said, we were racing against time here, and he could relapse back into insanity any time. Then, we’d be in a real ditch, because he would get aggressive, and with my weakness and inability to restrain him, Elvan would be vulnerable. “If you care about her, we should hurry. You know what will happen once the madness grasps you again.”

Dante sighed, but my words seemed to have clicked. “You owe me one then,” he said to Elvan, winking.

Elvan looked at in disbelief, shook her head as if in reprimand, and then walked ahead. I tried to keep up with them, but with Dante himself again, I seemed to be the weakest link in here. I took a few steps, but stumbled, almost falling. Dante put his arm around my shoulder, holding me beneath my armpit, helping me regain my balance.

“What happened to you Seth?” he asked. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Got shot from my tattoos. This is the result,” I explained.

“What? Who would dare do something like that?” he asked. “I don’t believe it! So, the only thing keeping you alive is the wanderer,” he said. He always referred to my third tattoo as the wanderer.

“Yes, pretty much. My dragon is barely alive.”

“Shit! That’s bad news. Bad news.”

I don’t know why, but I laughed at his words, the irony of it all was simply too much. “How about you, bro? You are not faring any better. We are both screwed. ”

“I feel fine,” he said thoughtfully.

“What does it feel like?” I asked. “I mean being mad? Do you remember anything at all?”

“Not much,” he said, shrugging. “All I know is that there is this hollowness, this void inside me when I phase into that mindless being, it feels like I’m dangling in the air, looking down on a bottomless pit. It scares me, as well as it enrages me.”

And hence the aggressiveness. That made sense.

We had finally managed to get out of the cell despite my extremely slow pace. “Where is Sierra?” I asked Elvan when I failed to spot her outside the room.

“Oh, I couldn’t carry her here. I eliminated the two guards at the door, and put her right beside the vehicle that got us here with Baran.”

“I don’t like that name,” I said, not remembering why I felt that way.

“And you have every right to feel that way. I saw what Hayley did to you, Seth,” she said, in a whisper. “I followed you both to that meeting room, despite her telling me not to. Something about her had spooked me. I watched from outside the room to make sure all was well. But, when I was about to leave, I saw what she did to you. She shot you so many times, ” she said, shuddering. “And, I was helpless to do anything because it all happened so fast. Then I saw Baran enter the room, take it all in with an expected calm. He seemed to be okay with it all. I could understand why to a certain extent, I meant both of you wanted Sierra, after all. Nevertheless, how could he have been at peace with what Hayley did to you, and so secretly, too, right behind the doors? Obviously, she’s got a secret agenda; I’m sure of it. Anyway, then I followed the guards to see where they were taking your body. You looked dead; there was no way anybody could have survived that many shots. I should have let it all go, but I didn’t. There was something that drew me to that cell, call it instinct, call it being sentimental, but I came back for you because of that hunch. And, I’m glad I did. You are alive. And, your brother, too, it seems,” she explained. “By the way, how are you even alive?”

“What, who shot me?” I asked, fixated on her words.

“Indeed, I’m alive, handsome, and utterly kissable, my lovely,” Dante said, instilling his classic pre-insanity phase charm.

“Shut up, I’m not sure I can put up with your cheesy attempts at flirtation throughout this whole escapade,” she said. “And, I don’t care whether you are Seth’s brother or not, there’s only so much my friendship with and respect for Seth can buy you, as far as my tolerance goes. So, you’d better heed my fast approaching limit before I dump you on a side road,” she said, in a warning tone.

“Both of you, stop this nonsense, right now,” I said. They were showing symptoms of being mates, but my mind was rather occupied with other things. But, I was certainly aware of the weird coincidence, or fate which pushed these two humans our way, as our mates. “Elvan, do you know who shot me, who did you say that was?” I asked her.

“Hayley, it was Hayley, the leader of rebels. She was the one who shot you”.

That was incredibly weird. Was the leader of rebels a Drakon? That was unlikely, yet still possible. I somehow remembered being a rebel leader myself. I wish I’d remembered more than that. Unfortunately, there were bits and pieces of visions I was getting from the past, yet I was unable to piece them all together.

“Do you know why?“I asked. “Why did she shoot me?”

“I don’t know Seth, the room was sound proof, I couldn’t hear a thing, I’m sorry,” she apologized. “Seth, how are you still alive, though your clothes are torn with bullet holes and are all bloodied?” she asked, repeating her earlier question.

“Later, Elvan. I promise I’ll tell you all. Just, let it go for the time being, and let’s focus on getting out of here.

“Okay, too many weird things happening anyway. I’m beginning to think; I know an absolute nothing about what the hell is going on,” she said, narrowing her eyes. Thankfully, she’d decided not to push it for the time being.

We had arrived at the exit hallway at this point, which was empty. “What did you do with the guards?” I asked Elvan.

“I dragged them both to the stairs, it was hard, let me tell you, and then I just rolled their bodies down to the basement,” she said, giggling. “I couldn’t risk their bodies to be found while I went ahead to fetch you.”

“Good job Elvan,” I said, even though my memories of her were yet to be fully revealed. “Where’s she?” I said, unable to stop my suddenly pounding heart. I had to see her; I craved to see her. Impatience dictated my steps, as I half walked, half ran, with Dante’s support still being the only reason why I was not rolling down, head over heels on the ground.

She was lying, utterly still on the hospital bed which was tactfully hidden behind the vehicle. Elvan had done a marvelous job in here. Anyone who’d open the building door would have to look extremely careful to spot her existence. My legs automatically carried me to her, and I touched her face, ever so tenderly. “Kitten, what happened to you?” I asked, patting her hair softly.

“Geez, you don’t remember, do you? I guess it’s understandable with all that shooting. Her arm is badly burned by Drakon fire.”

“An Uruloki did this to her, who would dare hurt her?” I asked, enraged.

“Is she your mate?” Dante asked, shocked. “But, she is...”

“Yes, I know. I know, but it does not change what she means to me,” I said, kissing her on her forehead. “I’m too weak to heal her, can you do it?”

“No, not really. Mine is in worse shape than yours; you know it. It might even be dead.”

“Hello? English, guys...” Elvan said, utterly confused with the direction of the conversation.

I ignored her. “Damn it!” I cursed. “I will take her to father then. Do you know how to drive this thing?” I asked Elvan. Being a Drakon meant, I never had the need to excel at other methods of transportation. Up until now. But, now, being this feeble, I doubted I could reach my Uruloki status. And, even if by some miracle I did, I doubted I could fly with the burden of carrying all three of them on my back, not when all I had was the wanderer. Though Dante looked and felt better, the madness would not allow him to transition as well. So the human means of transportation was all we had, and I had no clue about how to use it.

“Yes, who doesn’t? ” Elvan said, raising an eyebrow questioningly. “I guess you just answered that question for me,” she said, searching my face. “C’mon, let’s go. Baran never bothered to get the keys from the ignition so that we can get going without much ado.”

Dante was the only one strong enough to carry Sierra’s body to the back seat, so he took her in his arms. But, I didn’t like it, not even one bit, as I tensed up.

“Relax bro,” Dante said, smirking. “I’m only trying to help. Besides, I have my rose in here,” he said, giving a flirtatious smile.

“Whatever,” Elvan said. “I’m giving up. Do your worst; I will simply ignore you.”

“Oh my heart, my poor heart can’t take this much cruelty,” he said, as he placed Sierra’s body in the back seat.

“What’s going in there, buddy?” a brown haired human said, as he suddenly emerged in front of us, seemingly returning from a merry nightly expedition outside. He had one other with him, and each held a beer bottle in his hand. The moonlight shed light on their features; they looked giddy, yet not drunk.

“Nothing,” Elvan said. “I’m on a mission to carry Hayley’s orders, and these two are helping me.”

“Which is what exactly?” one of them asked.

“I’m not supposed to tell anyone. Sorry.”

“And, this requires a hospital bed?” he asked, pointing at the empty bed.

“Hey, aren’t you the guy Hayley killed today?” the other said, looking at my face in great detail. “How come you are alive?” he asked, suddenly taking out his gun. It was too unfortunate that they were fully armed, and not just with beer bottles.

This was bad, and getting worse by the minute. I was barely standing, my back leaning solidly on the vehicle to brace my staggering knees.

“What is going on in here, girl?” the first one said, unexpectedly seizing Elvan by the arm, while the second one held his gun at our faces.

Elvan kicked the man holding him in the stomach, but he didn’t let go, instead of punching her angrily in the face.

What happened next was both surprising, and to a certain extent expected. Dante went ballistic mad, kicking, punching him, in the face, in the stomach, in the chest relentlessly until he was no longer breathing. I threw my whole weight on the second guy holding the gun, the force making us both fall, but I was unable to hang onto his back and found myself rolling on the uneven ground. Elvan, though, was spontaneous enough to hit the other guy in the head with the back of her gun the moment his body made an impact with the ground. Now, that the two were immobilized, we had no time to lose. Dante threw the two at his shoulder one at a time and dumped them somewhere further at the back. I got inside the car, eased down into the back seat with Sierra, putting her head on my lap, Elvan got behind the wheel, and Dante buckled himself up in the front seat next to Sierra.

“C’mon baby, let’s go,” Dante said.

She didn’t second us, and the roaring sound of the engine filled the air.

“Sure, baby, why not?” she said, mocking him, enunciating the word, baby.

“Do not call me that,” Dante said, lines furrowing on his forehead with irritation. “I’m a male.”

“Oh, good to know, baby,” she said, finally enjoying this camaraderie.

Dante kept his silence afterward. Though I was worried about him sitting in the front with Elvan, he turned out to be rather harmless. Yes, he had started to sing, and make meaningless conversations under the influence of the madness which showed its ugly face intermittently, though more sparingly. But surprisingly, Dante never became aggressive.

We sped away knowing full well they’d be after us the moment they found out we were gone, and somehow it would be naive to think we had ample time before that happened.

“Where to?” Elvan asked, on the way.

“The Palace,” I said.

“Oh, not that again,” she exclaimed.

“That’s Sierra’s only chance to heal.”

“How exactly do you think that’s going to happen?” Elvan inquired. “Did you forget about the part where her arm got burned by a Drakon attack?”

“That’s unlikely to happen; the area has been stabilized.”

“How would you even know? And how can she be healed there anyway? Is there another medical facility you know of which is close to the Palace grounds?”

“Yes, there’s one. It’s the best,” I said, not elaborating on it any further.

“Weird, I have never heard of it before. But, you are still the boss,” she said as she steered the car towards the Palace.

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