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Chapter Thirty-One

Sarah, utterly confused, stepped slowly towards Fitz and I. She looked down at the dagger allured by its beauty.

“Augustine.” Sarah calmly uttered.

“We must leave, immediately,” I answered, my voice quivering.

“But it’s storming, Augustine. We wouldn’t-“

I interrupted her rushing past her, up the stairs and proceeded to pack the dagger in my satchel.

“Augustine,” Sarah calmly called out to me. “Why is that here?”

“I’ll explain to you later. Make haste, Sarah and take only what you need.” I ordered.

Sarah stood in the doorway, gazing down at me as I checked the satchel.

“What are you doing?” Sarah asked softly.

“I’m double checking, Sarah-“

“No, I mean, what are you doing here?” She interrupted penetrating me with her gaze.

I lifted my head to face her, and she immediately averted her gaze. Silence filled the room, as I racked my mind to come up with an answer.

“Look, Sarah, I just-“

“I’m not going.” She interrupted.

“What?” I answered in confusion.

“It’s storming, and I see no urgency to put my life at risk.”

“There is an urgency, which I will explain-“

“You lied.” Sarah firmly responded.

“I didn’t, just listen-“

“That dagger, you hid in the compartment.”

“I didn’t hide it, I only-“

“So, you just placed it under the cabinet in a hidden compartment, and simply forgot to inform me?” She said, her voice rising in pitch.

“We don’t have time-“ I said, my patience running low.

Grabbing Sarah by the arm I attempted to drag her from the house.

“No!” She pulled free from my grip and stood her ground. “Why did you stay here?”

A sense of urgency propelled my steps forward. Taking hold of her once more I renewed my efforts to leave.

“Sarah, don’t make this harder than it has to be!” I pleaded as I took her by the hand.

She, again, pulled free of my grip striking me in the chest with so much force I lost , my footing.

Sarah stood above me, gazing at me with widened eyes and open mouth. Anger mixed with fear as I shouted back at her, “Do you WANT to die?

Sarah’s eyes filled with tears, as she struggled to form her response.

“Why?” Sarah stumbled over her words, “Was it all true, what you said?”

“Yes, Sarah, it was-“

“No! Don’t lie to me! Tell me the truth!” Sarah exclaimed as she slowly backed away from me.

I halted and gazed at her, tears forming in my eyes. Looking down, I tried to decide how I was going to answer.

“In a sense, yes-“

Sarah sighed and stormed downstairs, heading towards the door.

“Sarah! Wait-“

I rushed down the stairs pursuing her in a sense of urgency. As I approached her, she was putting on her raincoat.

“We have to get out of here, it’s not safe-“

My words fell flat as though she had not heard what I had said. Frantically she moved the trunks aside which blocked her escape and ran out into the stormy weather.

My heart was pounding in my chest as I pursued her, attempting to make her stop and listen to our eminent danger. As I approached the door, I noticed that she had halted a not far from the door.

“Sarah! Listen-“

My heart nearly stopped for at the very moment I approached Sarah I looked out to see a dark and menacing form looming in front of us.

It was he who stood before us, with his weathered garment fluttering in the raging winds of the night, his ornaments rattling about.

Dismayed by the sight, I took a firm hold of Sarah, and hustled her inside, slamming the door shut and locking it securely behind me.

Sarah stood speechless in the room, gazing at the door as I locked it.

“Augustine,” she quivered.

“It’s ok, just- just follow me,” I fretted whilst drying the water dripping from my face. I quickly lead her towards the back exit.

Approaching the back door, I peered through the pane. The rain was coming down in sheets, making nearly impossible to see.

“Ok, just wait here, I’ll just take a quick peek, and then on my count, we run towards the rusher. Understood?” I spoke quickly, enunciating my words clearly.

Sarah simply nodded as she shivered from the cold and fear.

Cautiously I opened the door, peering into the pelting storm. The raging wind whipped around me from side to side making it nearly impossible to walk a straight line. Observing no threat, I turned to Sarah and urged her to follow behind me.

As I was gesturing to her, I felt a stabbing pressure in my abdomen. As pain shot up my chest and into my head, I clutched my abdomen with my hand. Looking down I saw a rusty blade protruding, blood oozing from the wound. Gazing back at Sarah, I noticed that her eyes widened, and face turned pale. My legs slowly buckled beneath me and I fell in a heap as the rain and wind whipped around me. As the blade retracted from my back, I grasped at my wound and screeched in pain.

A foul banished one had walked by me and was making his way toward Sarah. I made an effort to shout a warning to her, but no sound came from my mouth.

As the creature slowly approached her, Sarah hastily retreated inside the house and shut the door.

Halting at the door, the creature slowly turned his gaze down to me. I could barely make out the form; the only light present came from the window of the house.

I was slowly losing consciousness, as the weakness engulfed my body. The winds and rain which pelted my skin stung, adding to my already overwhelming pain. I was barely able to lift my head whilst the creature approached me. As it drew near, I noticed that its eyes were but a hole of puss and worms. His grunts were unnatural and unnerving. My sight began to dim, and my breath came in short gasps as the creature lifted my chin with the cold rusty blade. As the creature lowered the blade, my head thudded to the ground. Dazed and weak, I could not process what was happening. Barely lifting my eyes towards the creature, I saw his blade rise above my head. Feeling that at last my end had come, I closed my eyes in resignation. Suddenly a loud bang erupted causing my eyes to shoot open once more. There the creature lay, dead, his head ripped apart. Hearing two more shots, with great effort I lifted my head to try to see what had happened.

From nowhere, Fitz arrived, lunging at the creature, tearing off its rotten flesh. Behind Fitz, stood Sarah with a rifle in one arm, and her shotgun in the other

The roar in my ears prevented me from clearly understanding what she was saying. It was as if I was watching the events from some other place instead of my body. Carefully she put my arm over her neck and slowly lifted me up. The pain in my abdomen came in burning waves as if on fire.

As quickly as was possible we made our way to the carriage. Sarah carefully settled me in the back as she took a satchel from the front seat.

“I’ll come back.. You rest ,”

Her voice was faint as if she were speaking from a long distance.

Standing guard over me, Fitz paced back and forth. Presently, Sarah returned, and stood above me holding a needle in her hand.

“This will hurt, but at least you will be able to remain awake.” Her voice seemed to echo. Taking a syringe from her pocket she inserted it slowly in my leg.

Slowly the muffled sound of the rain became more resonant, and with it the pain increased.

From the darkness abruptly emerged two creatures, rushing towards us. Fitz jolted and attacked one of them and Sarah hastily pulled her pistol out and shot the other in the chest.

“Fitz!” She gestured him to hop onto the carriage.

Fitz lunged at the creature, tearing at his arm before hopping into the rusher.

Sarah speedily flipped the switch and causing the rusher to roar to life, and swiftly move away.

“This will help you with your pain!” Sarah handed me a syringe.

Shivering in agony I was barely able to lift the needle. Slowly I inserted it in my arm. The pain washed over me like waves of inferno clashing against my stomach. Biting my shirt I lay back and groaned.

“Fitz!” Sarah called, setting a brass box in front of him. “Press this lever- when I say. Ok?” She spoke slowly enunciating clearly, gesturing what she wanted him to press.

While driving, Sarah managed to attach a small mirror to the side of the rusher. She checked this mirror from time to time, then finally noticed an army of banished ones rushing towards us.

“Fitz, get ready,” she uttered.

Fitz gave a short bark and put his paw above the lever.

After a moment of silence, Sarah gazed at the mirror, pointing her finger up.

“NOW!” She yelled out, pointing her finger towards Fitz.

Fitz quickly pressed his paw down on the lever, causing yellow streaks of light to shoot up behind us, slowly merging to create the barrier.

The pain became less intense as we approached the town. Sarah made an abrupt turn and taking a different path, closer to the shoreline, halting in front of a small wooden shed.

“Easy...” Sarah instructed as she gently helped me out of the rusher.

I grunted in pain as she helped me into a small white shed.

Opening the door, Sarah carefully lowered me onto the floor and unbuttoned my shirt.

“This is bad,” she pointed at my gaping wound. “I’ll be right back.”

Sarah quickly rushed away as Fitz sat down beside me whining.

She came back with a small travel case and closed the doors behind her.

“Ok, bite down on this,” Sarah put a wooden stick in my mouth. “Try not move much.”

As Sarah took out a needle and torch, I held onto the pillar which was behind me and closed my eyes.

A sharp cold pain made me jolt and grasp the pillar digging my nails in to the wood. The pain was so intense, I could barely keep still and low groans escaped in my attempt to keep from crying out.

“You keep phasing out, concentrate on me, Augustine.” Sarah instructed.

I opened my eyes and gazed at her curly wet hair and alluring brown eyes. My breathing slowed and a measure of calm returned to me as I stared up at Sarah’s faint freckles and light rose lips. A tear escaped my eye, for the pain was almost more than I could bear, but I persisted keeping my eyes focused on her.

“Stay still, now, or you’ll re-open your wound.”

For the briefest of seconds, Sarah maintained eye contact, before looking away.

“Fitz, watch him and don’t let him get up.” Sarah commanded as she stood up and exited the shed.

I turned my gaze at Fitz, he closed his eyes and moved closer to me. As I stared down at the sodden floor of the shed, the pain began to lessen. As it did my emotions seemed to escalate. My chest grew heavy and my throat tight.

“BLASTED!” I viciously punched the pillar with my elbow.

Fitz came close to me, in an attempt to comfort my distressed state.

“Get away from me, Fitz!” I shrugged him off, wallowing in self-pity.

“Every time! Every single time!” I shouted at the ceiling, “What do you want from ME? What can I do to satisfy you?” A sharp pain interrupted my angered shouts, so I slowly adjusted my sitting and sighed.

Fitz stared at me as if I had lost my mind, perhaps I had, for soon I was engulfed in tears, sobbing in my own self-pity.

“I don’t know, Fitz. Maybe I had my hopes too high, hopped for the best? Lord, what shall become of me?” I gazed down at Fitz, wearily as he cautiously approached me, and rested his weary head on my legs. My sight slowly darkened as my body gently halted in its aching. At last I had sunk into the blessed state of unconsciousness.

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