Steel and Spell

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Chapter 4

I panicked. Who wouldn’t? My heart started beating faster than the speed of light and my voice seemed trapped in my throat, which the guy was going to slice if I didn’t react quickly. He was behind me, so I couldn’t see his face. Even if he was in front of me, I couldn’t have seen him anyway; everything was pitch black and I could barely see my own nose.

“Who sent you?” he asked, pressing the knife further against my throat. I needed to say something intelligent in that moment, but me being in an almost panic attack, I could barely talk or even react.

“W-what?” I asked without thinking and just focusing on the knife that was about to take my life away like dirty tissue paper thrown in the trash. He pressed the knife more and I gasped loudly.

“O-okay. Uhm...I-I got lost.” I said tilting my head backward to stay away from the knife as much as I could. And in that moment I panicked. “P-please don’t k-kill me. Look-k, take it-I grabbed my phone from my pocket and dropped it were I thought it was near him-I just want to go home. Please...” my voice broke in the last word and I knew the tiredness, the lack of food and the situation were paying off. I knew better than to cry and show myself weak in front of that psychotic maniac, so I just closed my mouth and stopped talking.

The knife was kept in place and there was a long silence were only my heavy breathing could be heard. Then it was slowly removed from my throat. I sighed and put a hand to rub my throat. But it was too early to make a happy dance. I was kicked in the guts so hard I thought I was going to throw up. “That’s going to be a nasty bruise for sure.” I thought while I was in a ball position groaning in pain.

“Stand up.” he said in a British cold voice that could freeze you to your bones. I obeyed still groaning in pain. I stood up and he shoved me something hard to my chest. “My phone...” I touched the object and indeed, it was my phone.

He pressed the knife against my back and whispered in my ear. “Walk. Now.” his breath fanning in my ear, making a shiver go down my spine. I nodded quickly and started walking despite the ache I felt with every step I took. My feet were beyond cold and I had to put my arms around my body.

“The guy was weird,-I thought to myself- he’s assaulting me, I give him my phone, and he returns it? What kind of criminal is he?” I kept walking, still feeling the cold blade on my small back.

“The kind of criminal who already knows you don’t have anywhere to go and is going to rape you.” A little-scared voice in the back of my mind answered my question. All the color on my face was drained with that thought. I moved my head slightly to look back to see him. I was more used to the dark so I could see better. I saw a guy who seemed at least 6 ft, broad with a straight posture and a large hoodie over his face that ended in a cape that covered him entirely.

“He’s like one of the guys in those horror movies that are like from a religious sect and do human sacrifices." That thought only made me shudder even more so I took it from my mind before I could scare myself even more than I already was. I moved my head to the front before he could realize I was watching. Or maybe he already noticed.

“Name.” he said in a demanding tone that left no room for questioning.

“Liberty.” I answered dryly, aware that in no way in hell I was going to give him more information than that.

He chuckled. “What kind of name is that?” he asked like it was a joke. I clenched my jaw and bent just in time to not hit my head with a fallen branch that was way too tall to pass through over it. Apparently, for him, it was not a problem and he passed over it like it was a first grader exercise. I rolled my eyes at that.

“Smug little son of a bitch.” I muttered too low for him to listen. We kept walking in silence until suddenly we heard the howls of wolves too close to us. My blood froze in fear and I stopped walking. He did too just in time to not collide with me and stab me with the knife. “Wolves? Really? Could this day get any worse?” I thought, looking everywhere for the bloodthirsty wolves watching me.

Without even telling me he pushed me against a tree and started to wrap my hands with a rope behind it.

“W-what are y-you doing?” I asked, the fear very evident in my voice. “The bastard was going to leave me here to serve as food for the wolves?” My fear suddenly disappeared and was replaced by hatred and anger.

“Sick son of a bitch, you’ll rot in jail for this!” I said in an angered voice ready to explode.

“Careful with what you say lady, I’m the one with the knife here.” he said in a dangerously low voice that I just happened to give a fuck about.

“You are a sick son of a bitch. What have I done to you?! Wh-” a hand covered my mouth roughly and suddenly he was inches away from my face.

“If you want to make the wolves come here with your stupid screaming, that is fine by me. I am not the one tied up to a tree in this moment.” he said with a menacing tone that made me shut up.

I glared at him. If looks could kill, his head would have been a pudding of brain and blood on the floor.

He stepped back and went to sit a little bit further in front of me. I hadn’t still got a good look on his face, but I knew his gaze was on me, so I stared back in defiance. Some minutes passed and I needed to sit down, so meanwhile I was still glaring at him, I started to bend my knees to sit down. I didn’t have my arms for support, so I ended up sitting down with a loud thump and still glaring daggers at him.

An hour passed, and I was still glaring at him and not a single word was spoken between us. Another hour passed, and my butt hurt and my eyelids were closing of exhaustion. The only good news was that he didn’t leave me as gourmet dinner for the wolves, but I still didn’t know if that was an action for me to actually say ‘thank you’. I was still tied up to a tree with a bruised abdomen thanks to his so nice kick in the guts. Finally, tiredness won over and I broke eye contact. I rested my head on the tree and closed my eyes. I heard a chuckle from him that I decided to ignore. I was tired, so tired, but I couldn’t sleep. I hadn’t eaten or drank anything for the past 24 hours and I had been walking all the damn day. But still, I couldn’t sleep. I needed to stay focus on the guy in front of me, who could possibly be my killer.

I opened my eyes and realized the sun was coming. The woods were a little bit clearer and I could see better the man in front of me. He still had the hood on, but I saw what he was wearing under the cape through a gap. It was old and worn out clothes. He had a leather belt where he seemed to keep the knife and another thing bigger and larger at his right side.

“That’s a fuckin sword.” my mind started to freak out. I decided to ignore my fears and kept analyzing. Fearing him wasn’t taking me anywhere. I went back to his clothes. They seemed clothes taken out of “Snow White and the Huntsman”.

“You look like a prostitute.” he said with a blank tone, not expressing any emotion. I almost choked on my non-existent saliva.

“Excuse me?” I asked with disgust clear in my voice.

“Your clothes look from a prostitute.” He said again as if it was almost humorous.

I sat up straight and looked at him straight to what it seemed his eyes.

“First of all, go and call your grandma a whore. Second, at least they are normal clothes, yours look like they were taken from a bad movie of Snow White and the seven dwarfs. Third, you look like a psychotic maniac wandering around with a knife and a fuckin sword.”

He stayed in silence for what seemed forever, and annoyance started creeping up my ass. I sighed and started to give him options. That was the last chance I had to get away from him.

“Look, you’re probably running away from the cops. If you let me go, I won’t tell a soul that I saw you. You just have to take me to the highway or someplace where a car can take me back to my house and that’s it.” I said trying to convince his muscled brain to let me go.

He still didn’t answer and he was just looking at me.

I sighed. “Take my phone if you want to, but I can’t offer you anything else.” I said trying to blackmail him with my iPhone 5S again. He suddenly stood up and removed his hoodie. He looked in his mid-twenties. Light brown hair that looked awesome with his hazel eyes. Strong jaw and a defined chin. He looked like he was taken from an Abercrombie & Fitch magazine. He was even more handsome than Lucas, and that is something.

“You are clearly mad. I should be killing you for mercy.” he said with a serious tone, looking at me like I was some kind of alien. He took his sword out and started walking slowly towards me.

I looked at him incredulously. “I’m the crazy one? You’re kidding me right?! It wasn’t me the one who tried to slice the throat of an innocent girl! It wasn’t me the one who put traps around the woods like a total psycho! It isn’t me the one who is now holding a sword saying that he’s going to kill me!” My breathing was heavy and my heart rate was fast enough for giving me a heart attack.

“What are you talking about? I am not the one talking shit out of one’s mind. Cops? Highway? Phone? Even your clothes are odd.” he said like it was the most obvious thing in the world. His sword was still on his hand and to be honest, it made me very nervous. But I kept talking anyway.

“Honey is the twenty-first century. You should really have your head checked out. How long have you been in this woods? Things change, technology improves, society changes-” I said with the tone of an adult explaining to a five-year-old kid how the world works, but I was interrupted before I could say anything else.

“That is impossible. I left ten years ago, and as far as I can remember, it was the year 1294, so it should be the year 1304...” I stopped listening after that. “The year 1304? That’s impossible. It can’t be. The guy is nuts.” I reasoned in my head. “But actually, it kind of makes sense. Your phone without reception, no trace of human civilization, animals that live in the extreme wilderness wandering around like they owned the place, this guy...“. There was one way to find out.

“Where did you live before coming here?” I asked interrupting his rambling.

He looked at me with a blank face.

“Just tell me. It’s not like I’m going to run away and tell the guys you are afraid of.” I said motioning with my head to my arms that were tightly in a knot.

His expression hardened suddenly. “I’m not afraid of them.” he said in that cold voice that could freeze an entire river.

I rolled my eyes. “Whatever. Just tell me where are you from.”

Hesitation crossed his features. He sighed and passed a hand through his hair. “I come from the Kingdom of Adendawyn”. He said looking at me, expecting a reaction. I looked at him blankly.

I frowned and then started shaking my head. He didn’t look crazy. He was telling me the truth. I knew how someone crazy looked. He wasn’t lying. And I couldn’t accept the damn reality. My eyes watered and despair took over me.

I was so fucking sure I had time traveled.

“How am I going to return home now? Can I even survive in the middle ages? Women at this time are mistreated. They are treated more like slaves than actual persons.” I just thought of negative things that made me hopeless. “STOP IT LIB! You’re way stronger than this! Prove all those chauvinist assholes wrong! Show them how strong women can be! Change the way they think.” A voice in my head that sounded just like me when I’m confident interrupted all the negative shit. That last sentence stayed in my head. Change the way they think. For once in my life, I could make a difference, and I could literally change history. If this was real, I would fight with all my strength, against the world. And I was going to see my family again, no matter what. With determination settled in me, I looked up to see him still looking at me, but this time with curiosity.

“I want to show you something.” I said looking him at straight into the eyes. “I have a way to show you I’m not crazy. But first, untie me.” I said determined to be free for at least a couple of minutes.

He looked at me with more curiosity and then decided to free me. He put away the sword back to his belt and then went behind the tree and proceeded to untie me. When I felt the ropes free from my wrists, I started caressing them with my hands. My wrists had deep bruises that hurt if you touched them. I winced at having to look at them only. The rope was so tightened that it didn’t surprise me.

“I don’t have to say what will happen to you if you attempt to run, right?” he said with a warning look that gave me goosebumps. I nodded and started to take my phone from my pocket. I pointed the space beside me for him to sit. He sat next to me with hesitation, leaving a wide space between us. He looked at the phone in my hand expecting something.

“Please don’t freak out. And no, I’m not a witch, okay?” I said with exasperation for having to deal with the era they burned almost everyone because they thought they were witches.

He looked strangely suspicious but didn't say anything. I sighed and proceeded to press the initial button. The screen lighted up and it said 2:09 AM, of the next day. I continued the process and unlocked it without even glancing at him to see his reaction. I showed him some apps (which most of them didn’t work because they needed WiFi) and I also showed him the camera. No words were said while I showed him the rest. Finally, I just locked it and put it back in my pocket.

I looked at him, to see he was staring at me with his all-so-regular blank face that kept his emotions to himself.

“I’m from the future. The year 2017. I don’t know how I ended up here or where I am. I just know I’m not near my home in time and even geographically.” I said in a whisper. I realized he was closer to me than when he sat down.

He kept staring at me like that, and I couldn’t avoid looking at his eyes. The hazel was mixed perfectly with darker brown.

“I believe you.” He said still looking at me but avoiding my eyes.

That took me out of my trance and I stare in disbelief at him.

“You do? I mean, that’s good, but still, I must sound really crazy.”

“Not the worst I have seen.” He stood up and started walking away from me.

“Wait! Where are you going?” I stood up as fast as my weak legs could and ran to him. He didn’t turn to look at me, he just kept walking.

“Far away from you, clearly.” he said in a monotone voice.

“You can’t just leave me here! I don’t know how to manage myself alone in these woods and right now I’m dehydrated and starving.” I said throwing my arms up in exasperation.

“Not my problem.” he said still walking and not even glancing at me.

I kept following him trying to keep up with him. Suddenly he stopped and I collided with him. He turned just in time to grab my arms to not fall.

“Look, lady of the future, staying with me is the worst mistake you can make. You are going to be in much bigger problems than now and death is probably one of them.” He said with a stone cold expression that made me think twice about going with him.

“Are you going to kill me?” I asked with a blank expression, not showing what my real thoughts were.

He shook his head and before he could say anything else I already started talking.

“Then I don’t care. If it means having water, food and being healthy I’m okay with it. One more day of living like this and I will probably kill myself.”

He looked amused by my words but didn’t say anything. He turned around and kept walking.

“Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.”

I fist bump the air and then ran to catch up with him.

While I walked by his side, I couldn’t avoid thinking if I was making the right chose. Maybe the guy was lying, and I was going to be murdered by a psycho, but I was too tired, hungry and dehydrated to care.

And the adventure began.

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