Strange Eyes

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Twenty-four

“Good run, Schwartz.” Hunter said, his hands on his knees as we both breathed hard. “Thanks.” I said, grinning at him through my tiredness. We had probably run a good four miles. The forest around the safe house was beautiful, it stretched on for miles and miles. It was almost like it never ended. No civilization in sight.

We were near the safe house, Hunter having led me through the complicated trails that snaked throughout the thick haze of trees. He seemed to know where he was going. I swiped my hand along my sweaty forehead. It came back slick with sweat. Breath whistled out from between my lips as I put my hands on top of my head, my ribcage blessedly expanding to let in more fresh air.

There was a car in front of the safe house that I had never seen before.

Hunter and I caught our breath. The collar of his shirt ringed with a dark stain of sweat. I studied the car. I didn’t remember having seen it before. It was a beat up old truck, a car that I would expect one of the boys to have. It looked strangely in tune with the rest of the environment surrounding the safe house.

“What’s the car for?” I asked, and Hunter looked at me. “Sam goes into town occasionally. He must have parked it there for when we all return.” I assumed this was all before he Changed. So he had known? Is that why he kissed me last night?

My thoughts ran wild. I tried not to reveal how much Hunter’s statement about the car had affected me. “Come on, let’s head in.” Hunter said, and I followed close behind him, still sweating through my shirt despite the minutes of precious rest that we’d had. I swiped my hand along my forehead again, and the moisture level was still the same as it had been before.

This realization barely crossed my mind before it was gone again, and I gladly followed Hunter into the living room, where Adonis was splayed out on the couch. He had a thick book in front of him, glasses perched along his straight nose. It was strange to see him so…studious. The dynamic between him, Hunter, and I was a strange one, but somehow it worked. There was something good about it that I wished I could prolong. But I knew that very soon that dynamic would be disrupted.

One of us would Change that night.

The moon was still in cycle.

I sat back on the easy chair, Hunter plopping down near me. I recognized the cover of Adonis’ book. C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. He didn’t strike me as the religious type.

Stunned, the words came out of my mouth before I could think to stop them.

“You’re Christian?”

Adonis looked up briefly. He studied me with a look of subdued amusement, the seriousness still intact. “I am a studier of all religions. But my one true religion is that of the Lupus Tribe.” How stupid could I have been? The answer to that question should have been obvious to me. Nodding, I sat back, somewhat embarrassed. Hunter caught my eye, looking just as amused as Adonis had been. I was learning so many new things about these guys. It was strangely fulfilling. Adonis, the studier of religion.

Looking towards the window, Adonis resuming his reading and Hunter beginning to doze off, I had time to myself to think. I mostly thought of Sam. Of my looming Change. I was still strangely and uncomfortably hot. It was near sweltering. “Is anyone else warm?” I said deftly, hardly expecting an answer as I pulled my shirt out from my torso, letting in cool air. I still stared absentmindedly out the window, watching the evergreen trees sway in the fall breeze.

“Not particularly.” Adonis said. I bristled. Turning away from the window, I looked at him. Then at Hunter. Something passed between the three of us. My heart skipped a beat, and then, the fear was gone. I was left only with the overwhelming sureness that I was supposed to be there with them. This was my destiny. I thought of Halona and her beautiful soul. I missed her. Because of her, I had discovered that becoming a Changed One was truly my calling. Something in my soul, in my heart of hearts, knew that I was meant to become what they were. What Sam was. Again I thought of him. Of the darkness in him. He was hiding something. Something that I was waiting to discover.

Suddenly, fatigue gripped me. It was near afternoon. “I think I’ll lay down.” I said, my mind somewhere else entirely. Adonis had set down his book. Hunter looked at me with a strange silence. Adonis nodded, his golden gaze an anchor. With that, I got up and traveled down the hall to my bedroom, closing the door behind me. As I lay on the comfortable surface, laying on top of the sheets in my own swelter, I closed my eyes, thinking of Sam and destiny.

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