I can feel Kiela, confused brown eyes burn holes into my back as I storm over to the other side of the room. I barely spared a glance around the room, there was nothing to look at anymore. The table and chair set I had made now sit in splinters. My bed was now a ruined image of itself, the deerskins blankets spilling off the edges and onto the floor in lumps. Kiela and Shawn drop what they are doing and stare in shock.
“Scarface will be back here within the day I’m guessing maybe a few hours. We can’t take him in again, so we have to leave. Or, more specifically, you two have to leave.” I growl through gritted teeth. I knew nothing good was going to come from giving Scarfaces body back. I could feel it in my bones that something horrid was going to happen. Most of all, I knew I was powerless to stop it.
In a hidden corner of my closest, under a small pile of lost and forgotten items and shirts, is a backpack made out of rough black fabric. I ran my fingers over its zipper, reminding how it was one of the first things I bought in this world. I had lived out of this bag for a while before I built the cabin I now stand-in. I glanced over its surface, looking for weak sops, but it seems like it still maintained its stability. I guess it would only be right if I used it to move out of this home.
Glance over my shoulder, meeting Kiela’s wide, scared eyes. A few days ago, this cabin had been my whole world. It had been my safe spot, the place I went to when I needed to breathe. But now, it just left blank walls. The only thing that mattered was getting her away from here and to safety.
“Wh-What?” She stutters.
I stand up and start to pack the bag for them with the last of my clothes and food. I ignore Kiela’s question talking mostly to Shawn. “the first place Scarface is going to look is here. I’ll stay behind and buy you some more time.”
I hear Raven behind me, let go of Shawn storm over to me as she yells. “No!”
I look down at her, stealing my heart against her scared and pleading eyes. I still wasn’t ready to be faced with the terrified look in her eyes. Tears pooling near the corners of her dark eye. I wanted nothing more than to pull her into my chest with a promise to take care of her. “raven...” I start slowly, each word carefully placed. “you have to. You can’t fight, and Shawn’s too hurt.
She shakes her head in Disapproval. “you’re coming with us.”
I look over Kiela’s head at Shawn for help. He’s sitting up on the bed looking between Kiela and I. His green eyes swirl with flecks of his lion’s orange color. For the first time, I noticed he’s wearing the set of clothes I left out for him. The pants are a little big on him, and the shirt was tight around his broad chest.
He catches my pleading gaze, he voices his opinion on the matter. “Kiela we need to go, and if he stays back we get a better ch-”
“No!” Kiela screams. A fat tear rolls down her thin cheek as she shakes her head. “no! I don’t want a better chance! I don’t want to get away! I don’t want to leave you, Rhyne!” Strands of her hair are tossed into her face by her shaking.
It breaks my heart to hear her like this. “Little Raven...” Her lower lip trembles, and I drop the bag I was filling on the counter. When my hands are free, I wrap my arms around her quaking form. “I’ll catch up as soon as I kill Scarface again. But I need you to be safe...”
Silver tears spill down from her soft brown eyes in a steady stream. Her tiny closed fist slams into my chest as she screams. I can feel my heart breaking in two. I despised seeing her like this, but I had to stay strong. I need her to be safe like I need air to breathe. I... I love her. I can’t deny this feeling in the very beat of my heart... she is my next chosen. The one that the four fates had chosen to walk by my side. The one that I once hoped would be queen. Too bad, it has to end this way.
It hurts me that she’s in pain, it felt like a knife was being pressed into my heart and twisted. The pain only grew worse the more I tried to push her away. However, I knew this was the only way to keep her safe. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to win next time I faced Scarface, and he promised that he wouldn’t be alone this time. I didn’t think I couldn’t stand in a fight with him and other people. Not without losing control of my magic, and then I risk hurting the ones I was attempting to protect in the first place.
My arms tighten around her as I realize my own plan. I would put up enough of a fight to buy her the time she needed to getaway. Then I would die. I knew there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it. When I died, I would forget about her. She would be free to love someone that wouldn’t endanger her life. She would mourn my death for a little while, but she would move on in the end.
On the other hand, I would crave her like an addict craves his next hit while I’m in the underworld. It would be one of the worst weeks of my life as I form a new body to act as my host. When I return to the overworld, the memories of this life will be washed away by the memories of my new host. I’ll forget she even walked into my life. It’ll be the best outcome for both of us.
Still, I can’t seem to get my arms to let her go. The realization that this was the last time I would be able to hold her shook me to the core. I finally figured out that I loved her, and now I was going to say goodbye. It was just the bitter irony of my life. I look over at Shawn with pain in my eyes.
Shawn stands up and limps over, putting a hand on Kiela’s shoulder. “hey... it’s ok...”
Raven jerks away from his hand and continues to pummel my chest. “no, it isn’t!” She screams, while to just hold her closer.
I glance over at Shawn and voice a question. “where will you go?”
“Somewhere safe. Maybe a beach?” The lion-shifter shrugs. I could see in his eyes he doesn’t want to tell me, I was a liability if I was caught and tortured. Thing is he doesn’t know that I do, I’d die before I do anything to put my chosen in harm’s way.
“I need to know so I can meet up with you guys later.” I press, trying to reason with him. I wanted to make sure he had a place to go. Deep down, I also knew it was more than that, hoped by some miracle that I would live through this. I wasn’t ready to leave. After a moment, I mouth at him. ’if I live long enough to meet up with you.”
Shawn takes a moment to think before nodding in understanding. “we’ll go south to the Endless Desert. I have a friend that may be able to help us cross the border near the gulf.”
“Good. Take the bag, there is a spear jacket for you, a couple of meals worth of food and blankets. That’s all I can give you.” He takes the bag from where I set it on the counter.
Raven, my poor little chosen, screams her head off. She must be feeling the effect of the bond as well. “put the damn bag down.” She sways at Shawn halfheartedly, clinging to me with the other. “We’re not leaving!”
I gently make little Raven Look at me. Her eyes beg me to stay with her. I lean my head towards her and kiss her lips softly for just a half-second. Sparks exploded between us, and I felt my breath get caught in my lunges as she stills in my arms.
The next moments after that, leave me dazed and confused. Kiela slaps me hard, forcing my head to the side as pain stingings across my cheek. Her hands bang against my chest, and I begin to fear that she was rejecting me. Then her lips press against mine, and my mind goes blank. Her full lips moved fiercely against mine, as she set a reckless pace. Her hands tangling in my hair, yanking me down so she can deepen the kiss. I pull her frantically against me by the waist. All of our fear, desperation, and dare I say, love mix into that one kiss. Our hands slip against skin and cling to clothing. It was like we couldn’t get close enough to each other. I was almost afraid that she knew I didn’t plan on coming back to her.
“Please come to me in one piece... please damn it...” Kiela begs against my lips before diving back in. She took my breath away, she made me crave her in ways I shouldn’t. I couldn’t afford to lose myself in her like this. I force her to slow the kiss before placing my forehead against her. We both were panting softly, our air mixing in the small space between us.
“I will, my lady,” I promise against her lips. Slowly I pull my head away and look towards Shawn. “take her and keep her safe.”
He simply looks at me like I’m an idiot. “what the fuck do you expect me to do? Let her die?”
I smile and move to gently push Kiela towards Shawn. However, she seems to have other ideas as her slender hands grab onto my jacket, refusing to leave at the moment. Her voice was the softest whisper. “just a couple more minutes...”
“Raven... you need every minute you can use to get away from here...” I attempt to stay strong and refuse her.
She sounds so fragile like a loud sound breaks her. “please... just a couple more...” I make the mistake of looking her in the eyes as she begs, and I feel my resolve crumble like wet sand.
I can’t help but cradle her in my arms. The minute both feel like an eternity and a second all at the same time. Her small warmth fits against my body like a puzzle piece. Pushing her away is the hardest thing I have ever done. My body screamed against the action, my chosen need me to comfort her. However, my mind knew she needed me to protect her more than she needed comfort.
Kiela hesitantly backs away from me towards Shawn. “you better not fucking die. Do you hear me? That’s not a choice that you can do.”
I chuckled dryly, “I’m the son of death, in other words, a god. I don’t really die.”
The little raven glares daggers at me in return, unamused with my failed attempt at humor. I put my hands up in surrender, “I’ll be ok, I promise.” As the last two words slip off my tongue, I wince internally knowing that it was most likely a lie. “Now, you have to leave.”
Kiela sighs and looks dejected, before she back at me and presses her lips against mine, this kiss lasts longer like she was trying to memorize the feeling.
“Be safe...” she whispers against my lips before she is gone. With one of Shawn’s arms out her neck, the two of them disappeared from my house, if you could call it that anymore. Now I was alone to face whatever demons were coming. I would die happy if it meant that Kiela was able to get away.