My wide eyes snapped back at the man in front of me, I began slightly shaking, this is what I wanted to avoid. ” I’m human” I mumbled, my voice barely noticeable, hoping they wouldn't see me as a threat and let me go.
The man scanned my face as if looking for any signs of me lying. He lowered his knife and got up. I let out a breath I didn't even know I held. Sitting up I touched my neck trying to feel if he managed to cut me.
“What are you doing all alone in the forest” the man that held the knife to my throat said. I glanced at him, he was standing a few feet away from me. Tall with nearly black hair cut short. He had broad shoulders and through his clothes, I could tell he had a good bit of muscles. When he looked at me intensely letting me know he was waiting for me to reply I met the most stunning lightest grey eyes I ever saw. They were piercing through me.
Then he added, ”for all I know, you could be working for the werewolfs.” This statement snapped me out of my trance.
“I’m running away from them. I escaped” I said and hoped they would trust me and didn’t kill me then and there. He looked at one of the other men as if communicating.
I felt movement “Can you stand up?” I heard the man that was next to me. When I glanced in his direction I noticed he was tall as well with dirty blond hair and sky blue eyes. His voice wasn’t as deep and sounded more kind. He held out his hand for me to grab it. And I did. I had a sharp pain in my back but other than that I was ok.
“Thanks” I mumbled as I stood up.
Once we started walking I asked, “where are you taking me?”
One of the other guys replied, “To the camp.” This guy had light brown hair and brown eyes and not as tall as the other two guys.
I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion. “There are camps? You mean human camps?”
Blondie next to me replied ”Yes. One of many. But we are nowhere as strong as werewolfs or vampires to fight them.”
I was surprised. I had no idea such camps existed. It could be a new beginning for me. I just hoped they won't decide to kill me, thinking I spy for the werewolfs.
“What’s your name?” I heard Blondie beside me asking and snapping me out of my thoughts.
“Thomas” then he pointed to the guy with light brown hair “that’s my brother John, and that’s Paul” pointing at the last guy with red hair and green eyes. Lastly, he pointed at the guy with black hair and grey eyes. ” That’s Luca. He is the son of our leader.”
"Now that you learned my name, does that mean you let me live?" I said with anticipation.
"That's up to our leader to decide" answered Thomas.
We walked in silence through the thick forest for about two more hours when we reached the stone walls of the camp. I began to play with my fingers and my mouth was dry. The closer we got, more nervous I felt. Once we reached the gates we were let in. There was a market in the middle of the square, people selling food, tools and weapons. Around the market, there were small wooden houses and at the far end of the square was a bigger wooden house than the others. While we passed through camp people were glancing our way. Some of them were smiling at me, some were not so friendly looking. Well, I didn't blame them. They probably thought I was a threat.
Once we reached the large house it was only me, Thomas and Luca. The other two went their own way after we got into the camp.
When we entered the house it felt homely. We were standing in the living room. A large black sofa was in the middle of the room with a wooden coffee table. Pictures of the family that lived there were hanged on the walls. In the far end of the room, I saw an entrance that looked like to be a kitchen.
“Hey, you’re back.” I heard a feminine voice. I snapped my head towards the woman walking towards us. She was young in her early twenties. She had very dark long straight hair wearing them in a high ponytail. Big round grey eyes adorned her face with a small button nose and small round lips. She was a little bit taller than me. Who am I kidding, everyone is taller than me at only 5′1.
She walked over to Thomas and hooked her arms around his neck. He moved his hands on her waist and lowered his face down to meet her face when they kissed. She was standing on tiptoes.
“Where is father” I heard Luca say.
"In his office,” she said. Then she looked at me, smiled warmly and said ” Hi, I’m Freya.”
I awkwardly smiled back “I’m Reine”
Then Luca looked at me and said ” let’s go. Father will want to see you.”
With that, he started walking up the stairs and I quickly followed. They all looked friendly apart from when I first met the guys in the forest.
As I was walking drowned in my thoughts and watching the floor I bumped into Luca’s back. He abruptly stopped and I fell backwards on my bum. He growled, “can’t you watch where you’re going?” And rolled his eyes at me. I glared at him then signed as I got to my feet. With that, he knocked at the door and entered the room. He gestured me to follow him and I did.
There at the office table sat an older man, probably in his sixties, Luca had a lot of his facial features. His hair was laced with grey, he had short black neatly trimmed beard laced with grey as well, his eyes were light greyish green. He had wrinkles around his eyes and forehead. He was about the same height as Luca.
“Father, I found her in the forest,” Luca said as he sat down on one of the chairs across his father. His father glanced at me "sit down" he smiled as he gestured to the chair next Luca. He looked intimidating but not threatening. Sitting down I kept fiddling with my fingers and biting the inside of my mouth. He asked me why I was in the forest alone and I told him everything, from being a slave to how I escaped. I left out being raped multiple times. I didn’t want their pity.
His father studied my face and body language as I was talking, the same way Luca did when I met him. He must have decided I was telling the truth because then he smiled at me warmly ”I’m Chris, you’re welcome to stay in this camp.” And then offered me his hand to shake. I stood up and took it.
“I’m Reine, and thank you,” I said with a shaky voice.
When we walked down the stairs I asked Luca ”am I free to go?“
”Yes” then he added, “are you staying in the camp?”
"I’d like to, but I’ve nowhere to stay. I guess I need to figure something out.” as his grey eyes bored into mine, something flashed in his eyes and his facial expression shifted from stoic to softer.
”You can stay here for a while until you find yourself a place to stay.” At this point, we were standing in the living room.
“Yes, it would be nice to have another woman in the house.” I heard Freya saying from behind me, with excitement in her voice.
“Come, I’ll show you your room and give you a tour around the house.” Then she hooked her arm with mine and we started walking up the stairs again.
“Thank you,” I said and she smiled at me. I never met such kindness before. All I knew was hate and beating towards me, this was all new to me.
We stopped in front of the door, she opened it and walked in. “this is going to be your room”
I walked behind her it was a simple room with a double bed, small wardrobe and two bedside tables, it was all matching warm polished wood colour. The walls were white and the floors were wooden as well. I loved it. It was nice and cosy. I never had anything like this. A huge smiled appeared on my face.
“I’ll bring you some clothes and if you want a shower ” then she scrunched her nose "you need a shower" she said in more serious tone, she led me out the room two doors away “this is the bathroom, let me go get you the change of clothes first.” Then she left.
I went back to my new room, walked to the window and enjoyed the view. There were fields around and forest on the other side where they came from. In far back behind the fields, she could see glistening water from the sun high in the sky. It was beautiful.
”Here..these should fit you” Freya came in with a stack of folded clothes. She put them on the bed.
“Towels are in the bathroom on the shelf and you can use my shampoo and soap.” she smiled at me warmly.
With that, she left and closed the door behind her. I walked over to the clothes on the bed, there were a few tops, pants, some new underwear with tags, and two pair of shoes, ones were sandals the other combat boots.
I picked out clothes and went in the direction of the bathroom. I smelled I knew it. The last time I showered was at least five days ago before I escaped. I couldn’t remember the last time I had a warm shower. In the slave quarters, there was only cold water. No electricity was in the building where the slaves stayed. Werewolves didn’t want to waste electricity on us.
I took longer than usual enjoying the warm water. I washed my hair with shampoo, it smelled like peaches and I loved it. Then scrubbed my body with soap. Once I was squeaky clean I dried myself and glanced in the mirror.
I had fading bruises all over my face and body from the beating werewolfs gave me before I ran away. My big dark brown eyes had dark circles under them from lack of sleep. My wavy dark brown hair was long stopping at my waist. My olive skin was pale from lack of food. After getting sick of my reflection I got dressed in a plain white t-shirt and black pants.
When I entered my room Freya was there waiting for me. She smiled at me ”let’s go, I’ll show you around then I’ll have to make dinner.” With that, she took my hand and led me out of the room. Once she showed me around, I helped her making dinner. She protested but I insisted. It’s the least I could do after them taking me in and helping me.
At dinner, everyone was there, Chris, Luca, Thomas, Freya and me. Thomas and Freya were cute together. I found out that they were together for two years. Thomas was Luca’s best friend and they grew up together. When they were small, Thomas used to tease Freya a lot because he used to always fancy her.
They had a beautiful childhood, I wish I had a childhood like this with friends and love around me. When my parents died no one ever showed me kindness and love. As I watched everyone in the room laughing and enjoying themselves around each other I wished I had a family. I was alone in the world and had no place to call home. I thought I was used to being alone after so many years, but seeing them all so happy and comfortable with each other made my heart sink. I guess I was a bit jealous, not in a bad way.
I was glad when dinner was finally finished. When everyone left, me and Freya stayed behind and I helped her with the dishes and after that was done I went to my room. Exhausted I changed into my PJs and the second I hit the soft pillow I fell asleep.