Feathers and Flame

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Chapter 10

He wasn’t sure yet. She could still get back from this. If the pain passed quickly enough.

Faye silently wished that it would pass. Tadhg started to walk towards her.

The pain vanished, and Faye fell to the floor. Tadhg stopped walking for just a second, and then continued towards her.

“Get up!” yelled the old man.

“What’s this then?” Tadhg asked.

Faye got back up, clutching the axe. She had more pain due, but first came two shots of pleasure. The feelings she gave out had to return to her, and she needed to make the most of the good ones.

She shook off the shock of the pain, and kept repeating the same thought over and over. She wasn’t in pain at the moment.

She tried to circle Tadhg, who was still watching her with interest. He wouldn’t figure it out. They never figured it out. But he would try to, and that meant he wasn’t fully concentrating on fighting her. She could use this. Tadhg walked backwards away from her. When she picked up speed, so did he.

When she ran at him, he ran up the Hall and grabbed a stool to throw at her. She turned from it but it hit her on the side, making her fall. She was up again instantly, but Tadhg had grabbed another stool. He didn’t throw this one but used it to block Faye’s next attack with the axe.

She didn’t let him get away from her again, staying too close for him to run or to risk throwing the chair. She began to enjoy the fight, a slow pleasure sweeping over her. The old wards were having an effect on her. She wasn’t supposed to feel the pleasure for hours yet, but it was quickly surging over her. She was having so much fun that she didn’t care when she swung too hard and too fast and nearly dislocated her arm. She didn’t care when Tadhg managed to hit her hipbone with a leg of the stool. She was laughing more manically with every swing of her axe.

A small part of her mind, still rational, was trying to calm her down. Trying to remind her to be quick, remind her to be smart and of what was coming next. But Faye couldn’t remember when she last felt so good. She wasn’t about to rush the feeling and try to end the fight quickly.

Then she was frozen again, unable to even twitch. Tadhg hit out at her, making her fall backwards. Unable to brace, she landed hard and heard a crack and lost her grip on the axe. Then, through no choice of her own, Faye was standing up. She walked slowly away from the fight, walked away from the Tadhg. She went to stand in the middle of the room. Tadhg picked up the axe.

Faye could see Tadhg approaching her with the knife. She could hear the old man yelling at her.

Faye burned.

The pain scorched her skin. She felt blisters that weren’t there and felt her muscle beginning to melt. She felt the marrow in the bones of her face begin to boil. None of this was happening, and still Faye felt it. She couldn’t scream. She couldn’t even see through the pain that coursed through her. And all the while she knew that Tadhg was coming closer with the knife.

This is how I die, she thought, completely disappointed.

Before she blacked out, Faye heard a screech.

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