Seven Feet Below
I slowly wake up with an unpleasant groan. My eyelids feel like their weight down by boarders as they slowly open and glance around. I spot Shawn still sleeping on the ground. The massive mountain of fur laying rolled onto his side as his breathing comes in uneven puffs. Kiela sitting up on the far side from Shawn, staring at the Scarface’s body and head.
“Raven...” My voice is cracked and rough as I whisper, but still, it seems enough to catch the small women’s attention.
She turns her head in my directions, her eyes are no longer rimmed in red from tears. She looks so much better than yesterday, so much more live. It feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders as she stares at the unmoving corpse. I smile at her tiredly and struggle to sit up. My back cramping from the labor I had put my body through yesterday and the awful sleeping position I had spent the night in. Kiela crawls over to me and wraps her thin arms around my neck. She buries her face into my shoulder as hers shakes slightly.
I lift a leaden arm and sling it clumsily around her. “it’s ok, my little raven... you’re safe..” I reassure her.
“You’re hurt,” she mumbles, and I feel her tears soak into my shirt and skin.
with a half-smile, I realize her tears are for me. “Oh, it’s ok, hush now. I’m fine, see? I’m not even hurt, I’m just a bit tired.“I hush her gently, lift my other hand to pet her hair as I wait for her to calm down.
After a good ten minutes, her quick tears turn into small sniffles. I wait until I know that Kiela is ok before my eyes drift past her toward Shawn. His breathing seems to be getting worse by the minute.
“My lady...?” I gently try to coax her out of her hiding spot. “Little raven...”
Her voice is small and quiet. “Y-Yeah..?”
“I need to look at Shawn’s wounds... let me up...”
Kiela pulls away sharply, a worried look painted across her face. “you can’t get up?”
“not with you on top of me, my lady.” I chuckle.
She blushes and slowly slides off of my chest. I stand up; my muscles feel stiff from the magical work out I put them through yesterday. I twist my shoulder from side to side spine, feeling my spine pop as I work some of the stiffness loose. I can hear Kiela soft footsteps behind me, as she follows.
I ignore her for a moment, instead of focusing on the oversized cat I kneel next to careful not to wake him up. Shawn’s clearly struggling to breathe, one front leg held close to his body. His golden shining fur has dried blood in various places, but the major damage was over his ribs.
I gently press a hand to Shawn’s side. I can feel my eyes start to glow, and then the small pull on my life force. Shawn jumps awake and growls at me. I ignore it as I continue to focus on my work, hoping he doesn’t bite my hand off, as I make it easier for him to breathe.
Kiela kneels by Shawn’s head and hugs him, probably saving my hands as he stops growling at me. Finally, I cut the magic that tied me and Shawn, my breathing feels a little labored from the use of magic that’s opposite of my nature.
“sorry...” I apologize. “I didn’t mean to wake you... I just wanted to help.”
“let him help...please...” Kiela begs, looking at Shawn, who sighs and nods.
“Well, helping him breath is the best I can do with my magic...” I mumble, sitting back on my heels. “but if he shifts back, we can rip up the last of my clothes for bandages.”
Kiela blushes, her cheeks turning an adorable rose color that makes my heart beat fast. “you really don’t have that many clothes...”
I grunt as I get to my feet, a smirk plays along my lips. “I have five shirts left and a pair of jeans. Get your friend to shift before I do it for him.”
I go to my closet and grab the last of my clothes. I hear Shawn’s lion rumble in pain, then it turns to the agonize grunts of a man. I spin back around towards him, my eyes carefully take in his battered and beaten body. His teeth are gritted in pain; his shirt is torn, showing off huge bruises and deep bleeding cuts. His pants don’t look much better.
My muscles flex as I rip the shirt to long bandage-like stripes. “so what’s that thing he shot?” I try to distract him from the pain.
“one of “scar faces” lackeys did it.” Shawn grits out, taking slow and steadying breaths.
I glance up from my word, “meaning there another one of them around here?”
“Probably long gone... Whoever it was wouldn’t stick around after he got his head removed..”
“Good.” I move over with the strips of cloth. My eyes are having a hard time picking out where to start. “where is the worst of it?”
“I can’t really say I’m kind of busy trying to stay awake at the moment.”
I nod, deciding it was an honest answer. “I have to take your clothes off to look at you. Raven, can you get me a knife from the kitchen?”
“A knife?” Kiela questions her voice going high pitch.
“Yeah, cutting his pants off is going to be the easiest and less painful way to do this.”
“Ah,” Kiela conceited, getting up and wobbling slightly as she went to the kitchen.
While she struggles to find a knife, I look down at Shawn. “should I cut the shirt off too?”
“it doesn’t matter...” he reaches up and grabs on my sleeve, looking me in the eyes with his green ones. “You know when this is all over or when we get a break, you should really ask her out. ”
I glare down at him, what is with this guy? First, he tells me not to hurt her, and I tell him the best way for that to happen is for me to stay away from her, now he’s telling me to go out with her. “I said it’s not happening,” I grumbled stubbornly.
Shawn just rolls his eyes, “you’re an idiot.”
Kiela comes back and hands over the knife I requested as I chuckle, “Carefully what you say. This idiot is the one holding the knife.” I grab the bottom of his shirt and slowly start to cut upward. I move slowly and carefully, not wanting to knick him and make the poor man lose more blood then he already has.
“still an idiot.” he chuckles then grimaces in pain.
“what were you guys talking about?” Kiela asked, taking her place next to me again.
“My level of intelligence,” I answer to her confused stare.
I finally cut through the collar of his shirt then, and my eyes take in the abused state of his body. His entire chest and abdomen are covered in bruises and cuts. However, there’s one large gash on his right side that concerns me. Both sides of his ribs seem to have a few broken. Kiela reaches out, her fingers dancing over the mess of flesh that is Shawn’s skin. Her worried eyes glance up at me for orders. This is where I would like to point out that I am the son of death. My healing knowledge and abilities are minimal, and these two keep pushing it.
I press my lips into a hard line, “Kiela, help him sit up. I need to wrap his chest to help with the broken ribs. ”
Kiela sounds like a scared little kid as she nods, “Ok.” she gets over to his shoulder, helping him.
Shawn groans in pain, cursing everything they could think of. I work as fast as I can to cause him less pain, wrapping his chest with the jeans I ripped up because they are sturdier. As I work, it gets easier and slightly less painful for him to breathe.
“Thanks.” the whispers.
I waved him off, “No problem, man. You can let him lay down again.”
Kiela lays him on his back again, and I get to work on removing his pants. Taking the knife, I cut down one of his pants legs than the other before cutting the rest off him from his hips. Leaving him wearing black and white plaid boxers. I’ll have to make fun of him for that later if I remember or live long enough to. His legs bruised and a few scratches maar the sun-kissed sun, but otherwise, don’t look too bad. There’s just one slash above his knee that I use the rest of my ripped shirt on. That left me with one pair of jeans and a shirt to give him to put on.
I pull back, eyeing over him satisfied. “still feeling like you’re going to die on me?”
“Well, considering you’re an idiot, I think I still will.” He jokes.
I gently poke his side as I pout, then get to my feet. “I’m going to go bury the body now.”
Shawn holds back a chuckle as the nods. “Ok.”
I grab Scarface’s head by his hair and drag his body by the shirt. “No one is allowed to get hurt while I’m out also. I’m out of clothes!”
Kiela piles up quietly, “make sure to bury them deep...”
“Will do little raven,” I promise.
I drag the piece outside and deep into the tree line away from the house. Only stopping when I find a dark pit to throw him in. Within the heart of my forest, not even ghosts will know where to locate him.
I take a deep breath, trying to calm my nervousness by the forest free as tense as I do. The birds are unusually quiet for early morning, my ear strain to hear what has them scared. Out of the corner of my eyes, I watch a shadow move. My body stiffens as I become vigilant, shadows don’t move in this part of the forest.
I feel, and eyes itch with power, while a man approaches me from the right. I’ve never reacted so fast in my life, I don’t even get a good look at the man. I drop Scarfaces body to the ground like a sack of potatoes, my hand swirling with black mist as my Khopesh reforms in my hands. My other hand continues to grip the dead man’s head.
“I’m not here for a fight!” the man squeaks.
I let myself get a good look at him for the first time. The man is tall and lean. Not an ounce of muscle to him. It’s clear as day that he’s not a fighter. He has a kind and nervous smile on his caramel-skinned face that is seen out of place for the situation. His dark brown eyes are partly shielded by strains of hazel hair. He’s wearing a long black trench coat covering his clothes; his hands are both up in surrender.
“Take no offense, stranger, but with the day I’m having, I’m not taking any chances,” I state, my body still tense. “Best if you got off my land.”
“Can’t.” he fidgets with the liner of his trench coat nervously, and I catch a glimpse of a simple black line tattoo that goes around his neck like a dog collar. “I’m here for him.” His head nods towards the pieces of Scarface that I dropped.
“And why’s that?” I ask dangerously. My body tense like a spring about to snap. I’m about to rip this guy’s throat out if the stranger so much as twitches in a way I don’t like.
The man squirms under my gaze. “Can you just let me do my job...please...?”
When he says job, I don’t really know what happens, but something just clicks. A deadly growl rips its way up my throats, “you’re not the one that shot my friend, are you?”
It made sense if you could just shoot someone from a distance hen, there would be no need for muscle. Why else would the stranger be already out in the forest and tracking me?
His eyes go wide with real fear, and he shakes his head so hard I’m surprised his neck doesn’t break. His hand shoots back up again while taking a small step back. “no!”
There was something about the way his hands shook, or maybe it was the pure terror that pooled in his eyes and made his lips part ever so slightly, so his breath comes in quick and uneven gasps. This man was no killer. I calm down, this man is no real threat. I readjust my grip on the decapitated head, the motion to the body at my feet.
“Go on, take it,” I growl.
“I kind of need both...” he starts.
“Either tell me why you need it or come take it from me.” I interrupt with a snarl.
“I was told to get both! It’s my job, man!” he cries, panicking. “I don’t get told what things are for. I just get them.”
“Sounds like some mindless drone sent to die then. Your grave will be just as shallow as his.” I motion towards the body.
His eyes somehow manage to widen his eyes even more, as he begs. “come on, I didn’t do anything!”
I laugh bitterly, “You should hear how many times I hear that line in a workday.”
“come on, man. I just want to live.”
“Fucking with me isn’t the way to do that.” I snarl back. The guy looks lost and scared out of his mind, and my frustration finally snaps. “I know how this ends. I give him to you, then he comes knocking on my door. Besides, you got to know you ‘work’ is going to get you killed. You should be thankful I’ll make it quick.” I take a step closer to his shaking form.
The man snaps back, the fear briefly covered up by anger. “it’s not like I have a choice! I have a family in danger, and I need that douche to get them to safety!”
I study him carefully, searching for a hint of a lie in his eyes. I find nothing but the cold hard truth. He’s just a man dragged into the middle of a war to protect his family. I can’t kill him... I’m not my father. “If he attacks me again and I live through it. You’re going to wish I’d killed.” I drop the head at my feet then motions at both of them with the blade.
He seems hesitant to trust me, with good reason. Then he suddenly darts up and grabs the head and body before running back to the safety of being far from my figure.
“Get off my land,” I command, tired of the losing conversion.
“Yes, sir.” he blows his head, hauling the body onto his shoulder, clearly struggling with the dead weight and disappears into smoke.
I drop my khopesh, turn on my heels, and run back to the cabin as fast as I can. Scarface is coming back, I can feel it like a hot lead ball sinking its way through my stomach. Kiela and Shawn, after getting out of her, there was no way we could survive another attack, and I had promised Raven that I would keep her safe. Even if that might, I would have to die.
The first thing that attacks my ears when I burst through the doorway is Shawn as he tries to get out of the bed. “I’m fine!”
“Stay the fuck down!” Kiela growled back and used her body weight to bring the struggling man to the bed.
I only spar them a glance before going to my closet. “You need to leave.”