Chapter Five: Slamming the Past
A scream vibrated through the trees. Wolfric sat up with Akira protectively in his arms. She turned to see what was going on, and they watched Malique walk toward them, a screaming man in his clutches.
“Here’s your Firestarter,” Malique said with a growl, looking at his Psychi. “Are you all right?”
Akira nodded and watched him hold the man by his throat, his feet dangling at least six inches off the ground.
“You tried to kill our Psychi,” Malique said, glaring into the man’s eyes.
The man spat at the Vampire, and Malique squeezed tighter on his throat.
“Why?” Akira whispered.
The man looked over at them, and Wolfric recognized him. He is the same man Malique had drained unconscious earlier that day.
“Because you’re an abomination to our kind! Your father was furious when he heard they were still searching for you and hired me to take out anything that would lead anyone to you. But they still found you! And you are still alive! So, I had to get rid of you!”
Malique growled in the man’s face. “She’s not an abomination. She’s a Havent.”
The man laughed, “an Empty Vessel cannot be a Havent….” He squealed when Malique dug his nails into his throat.
Wolfric helped Akira to her feet and stood.
“Do you know what the punishment for trying to kill someone’s Havent is?” Wolfric asked.
The man gurgled a laugh. “She’s ápsychos,” he said.
It was hard to hear him because Malique’s hold was so tight around his throat.
“No one calls our Psychi soulless, ever!” Malique growled before he sunk his teeth into the man’s neck, making the man scream.
Akira squealed and jumped back. She slammed into Wolfric’s chest and quickly turned into him.
Wolfric wrapped his arms around her and sighed. She has been alone for so long, she will need to get used to being around people again. Especially a Vampire and Direwolf. There will be a lot going on that she will not like. It is their duty to protect her.
“Malique, you are scaring Akira,” Wolfric said as he watched the Vampire drain the vermin dry—the man has been dead for a while now.
Malique lifted his head from the man’s neck and looked over at their Psychi, who was hiding her face in Wolfric’s chest. With a growl, Malique tossed the body to the ground, then walked over to their Psychi.
“Akira,” he whispered as he pulled his teeth back in.
Akira turned her head to look at her Warrior. Blood dripped from his lips, but that was all. He did not look evil; he looked like the man she had attacked in her cave. The memory saddened her. She still felt terrible for attacking him.
“I am sorry, Psychi. You should not have seen that. From now on, we will dull out punishment away from—Oof.”
Malique’s breath was knocked out when the girl collided into his chest. She buried her face in his shirt. He sighed and wrapped his arms around her.
“I read what happens when Warriors protect their Havent. I remember everything. I didn’t know you’re a Vampire—it startled me—that’s all.”
Malique chuckled. Maybe he should have told her what he was before he punished the man for trying to kill their Havent. Akira took a step back and looked up at her Warrior. With a smile, she reached up and wiped the blood from the corner of his mouth.
“There, much better,” she said, wiping the blood on her pants.
Malique smirked. “How is it you are so calm and not deranged?”
Akira turned to her Wolfie, then back to Malique. “It’s a long story. I can tell you guys once you get me home. And as far away from my father as you can.”
They nodded, and Malique lifted her into his arms. Akira squealed and wrapped her arms around his neck, making both men chuckle. Wolfric picked up Akira’s bag, and they walked past the men who had watched the whole thing go down and nodded to them as they passed.
Malique smirked at her, watching her stare at him.
“Can we visit my mother before we go?” she asked in a whisper.
“Of course,” Malique whispered into her ear.
She told them where she had buried her mother, and they headed in the direction of the small clearing. They found the marker easily, and Malique set her on her feet before her mother’s grave.
“They have come for me, Mama. Just like we were told they would,” Akira said with a smile. “I’m safe now. I love you.” She touched the Earth, where her mother was buried and felt a rippling flow through her arm.
Akira smiled and looked up at her Warrior. “I’m ready.”
Malique lifted her back into his arms, and she settled her head on his shoulder. “Go to sleep, Psychi,” he whispered as he watched her curl into him.
“Can I ask you a question?” she whispered.
“Anything,” he said as he followed Wolfric through the trees.
“What did he taste like?” she asked.
Akira was curious to know what blood tasted like to a Vampire. She remembered what the pilots had tasted like, but she had never drunk their blood.
Malique looked at Akira while he thought of what to say. He leaned his head closer to her and smirked. “He tasted like ass.”
Akira looked at Malique with wide eyes. “Do they all taste like ass?” she asked.
Malique tilted his head back and laughed. “No. Only assholes do.”
Akira stared at Malique for a moment, then broke into fits of giggles. She smiled at him, then cuddled into him and let herself drift off to sleep, knowing she was safe with her Warriors.
“Are you sure she’s safe here?”
Akira heard Malique’s voice as she was set down on something soft and warm. She cuddled into the softness and sighed. It has been so long since she has felt something so comfortable. Bear and deer hides were not the same as a bed.
“No one knows about this cabin.”
She heard her Wolfie’s voice and wanted to open her eyes so she could see him. But she was so comfortable she did not want to move.
“Why does everyone believe she’s soulless?” Malique asked.
Akira felt him sit on the edge of the bed. He leaned over and brushed her hair away from her face, and she wanted to pull him to her and hold him forever.
“Because apparently, only her Warriors can see her soul,” Wolfric said as he sat in the only chair in the room.
Malique grumbled. He remembers the stories Wolfric has been telling him for the past fifteen years. He had not believed such a thing was possible until he had looked into her eyes and seen the most beautiful soul. So bright and pure. Even after being alone in the forest for five years, Akira is still the purest woman he has ever seen.
Malique looked at his friend.
“I’m glad you’re one of her Warriors,” Wolfric said with a smile.
Malique grinned. “You and me both. I never knew it was possible.”
“That’s her, the impossible,” Wolfric said with a laugh.
“Tell me again how you met her,” Malique said, then turned back to the girl on the bed.
She was so small; you would not believe her to be eighteen if you did not know her. They sat with their Havent as Wolfric repeated the story of finding Akira. Malique could never get bored of hearing about his Psychi.
“No, you cannot see her?! How the fuck did you find us?”
Akira stirred at the sound of her Wolfie’s voice.
“Language! There is a child present,” a familiar voice said.
Akira’s body shook. ’No! How did he find me?’
“Now, let me in so I can see my daughter!”
“No!” Wolfric and Malique said at the same time.
Apollo sneered at the two men who were keeping him from his daughter.
“If you don’t let me see my daughter, I will….”
“She’s eighteen now. She can say who she does and does not want to see,” Wolfric said with a growl.
“She’s my child!”
“Who you tried to rape!” Wolfric exclaimed. “And beat as often as you could. Not to mention how you treated her mother—your Havent!”
“Now, there is no proof to any of this,” a stranger’s voice said as another man approached the door. “Apollo Hendrix has not seen his wife or daughter for over five years. He has the right to see her.”
Wolfric sneered at the Councilman. They were so blind to this man’s bullshit.
“Don’t I have a say in this?”
Wolfric and Malique turned at the same time as Akira approached the door.
“Of course you do, child,” the Councilman said, watching Akira.
She was a beauty—all right. But still an Empty Vessel. The Councilman had hoped she would gain her powers by the time she was eighteen. But she was still soulless. Akira moved to stand between her two Warriors. She could see the lust in her father’s eyes and growled at him, then looked at the Councilman.
“With all due respect, Councilman. I want nothing to do with this man or anyone else from my past,” she said.
Akira pulled the door out of Malique’s hand and slammed it in the assholes’ faces. Her Warriors stared at her for a moment, then burst into laughter. She giggled as they passed her back and forth, hugging and kissing her on the top of her head.
“Did you see the look in his eyes?” Akira whispered—her nose scrunched up.
“We did,” Wolfric said, holding her at arm’s length. “Are you okay?”
She shrugged. “How did they find us?”
“Don’t know. But we are not staying here to find out,” Wolfric said, then kissed her forehead. “Go take a shower. We’re leaving after breakfast.”
Akira nodded and let Malique lead her to the bathroom. He handed her her bag, then smiled and closed the door.
Akira looked at her reflection in the mirror, and her eyes opened wide. She has seen her reflection in the waters many times, but it is nothing compared to a mirror. She has matured, but she is not very much taller than she was at thirteen. She sighed and made a face at herself. She is filthy.
She stripped out of her clothes, then stepped into the shower. The cold water did not bother her—she has had worse. She turned on the hot water and sighed when it pelted her skin. The hot water relaxed her as she let the look on her father’s face when he had looked at her for the first time in fifteen years—wash over her.
“Damn you,” she grumbled, then lifted her face up into the spray of the shower and washed the dirt away.
She is never letting him touch her again.
“Did he seriously think she would go quietly?” Wolfric asked of his friend as he prepared breakfast for their Havent.
She may not have her powers yet, but she is their Psychi. Their soul, their Havent. Even powerless, she is the descendant of a Valkyrie—for crying out loud.
“Did you ever figure out what happened to her mother’s other Warriors?” Malique asked, setting his glass on the counter.
The smell of blood had Wolfric’s hackles rising, but he was used to his friend’s preference for blood in the morning. It kept him stable throughout the day.
“Ooh, that smells almost as good as cooked rabbit,” Akira said as she entered the kitchen.
“How did you survive on your own?” Malique asked.
Akira smiled. “I had help,” she said as she sat down beside her Vampire Warrior.
Her Wolfie turned from the stove with a plate loaded down with all kinds of breakfast items. She has not had a real breakfast in five years. She licked her lips and watched him set the food in front of her.
“Eat up. We have a long trip ahead of us,” Wolfric said with a smile.
She nodded, then dug into her food.
“Well, she hasn’t lost her appetite,” Malique said with a chuckle as he watched her eat.
“She doesn’t look malnourished,” Wolfric said with a nod.
“I had plenty to eat,” Akira said, then lifted her glass of juice and took a drink.
Akira moaned and closed her eyes. Wolfric and Malique looked at each other. They had both felt the same jolt at the sound of her moan.
“I haven’t had orange juice in so long. I forgot how good it is,” Akira said, licking her lips.
Both men adjusted their pants when she licked her lips and turned from her.
Akira frowned and watched her Warriors turn from her. “Am I that bad?” she asked.
“Not at all,” Malique said breathlessly.
Wolfric chuckled, “finish your breakfast, little one.”
She scoffed at him, then went back to eating.
Malique cleared his throat. “What did you eat out there?” he asked.
Akira shrugged. “All kinds of things. Bear, deer, rabbit, mountain lion….”
“Bear?” Wolfric asked, shock in his voice.
“Mountain lion?” Malique asked, just as shocked.
Akira nodded. “I was attacked a few times. Didn’t want the meat to go to waste.”
“Attacked?” both men asked.
They were stunned and shocked that she had survived a bear attack, let alone a mountain lion attack.
She looked at them, her eyebrows furrowed. “Why is there an echo in here?”
Her Warriors chuckled, and Malique placed his hand on her shoulder.
“We are in shock that you survived such an attack.”
Akira smiled and turned in her seat to face him. “I was trained well,” she informed her Warriors.
“By whom? Who was out there with you, Akira? How are you not crazy?” Wolfric asked.
Akira looked at her Wolfie. “From my first day—until you found me, I was visited by my ancestor. She told me that you would find me when I was ready to be found. She taught me how to fish, how to hunt, how to cook, how to fight. She even taught me how to make weapons. And how to heal myself.”
“Heal yourself?” Wolfric asked, his eyebrow shooting up.
Wolfric walked around the counter and stood beside her.
Akira looked up into Wolfric’s face and smiled. “Oh, didn’t I tell you?” she asked with a smirk.
Both men shook their heads.
“I’m a healer.”
Wolfric and Malique chuckled.
“An Empty Vessel, my ass,” Wolfric said, then pulled her against his chest and held her.
Akira sighed and wrapped her arms around his waist.
He’d come for her—he’d really come for her.