"Would you take the trash out Kaden?" My Aunt Katherine asked me while she slid the last bit of onions into the trash.
"Yes ma'am," Making a grab for the trash already heading to the back door in the kitchen.
We had already been here for 2 full days with my aunt and uncle, on my dad's side. They haven't met the bad side of my uncle though he conceals it in front of particular people. Nathan, Proserpina and John had been partners in crime getting on my nerves and taking advantage of not being near Uncle for long. Astera and Owen have begun to join them not undermining my orders as much but just enough to be a part of their group. Thia fortunately didn't bother me since the incident on the plane but was bitter towards the group that Proserpina led when she was off doing stuff.
Not in hurry with anything else to do I threw the garbage bag into the green larger trash can down their dirt driveway. The family on my father's side lived in this merry little house outside of the small town of Faery. The town had a signal grocery store with cute small house lined up where everyone knew everyone else. It also held small shops owned by people in town that they run them, themselves. All was peaceful here without any tension between anyone.
"Oops! There you go kid," A man reached out catching part of the bag from missing the can at all.
"Thank you sir!" I thanked him instantly when his smile reappeared for a long time finally pointed towards me.
"No need to thank me, it's always nice to see a boy such like you helping out."
"Yes sir, thank you though." The man nodded accepting my second thanks then returned back to walking towards town.
This afternoon I ran into town to retrieve milk and eggs for Katherine so she could make us dinner this evening. Their house was only a mile outside of town giving me time to get my run in for the day. Many people greeted me like a family member, some offering to buy the milk and eggs or make me a meal but I had kindly refused to waste their money or time on me.
I was strolling back out of breath when a baseball knocked me in the head with a few younger kids heading my way with concerned looks on their faces.
"Did my ball hit you ma'am?" one of them asked cringing.
"Uh yeah it did but its fine I'll be okay."
"You won't tell our mother?"
"No it didn't hurt."
"Boys!!" A woman came out calling out with flour on her apron and sweat on her forehead. "Lunch is on the table!"
"Well good day ma'am," they dashed for the house not listening to my farewell when their mother traded places with them.
"Did my boys hit you with that ball?" her eyebrows knitting together while she motioned towards the ball in my hand.
"I'm fine ma'am, it just skimmed me no harm done," I responded hoping the boys wouldn't get in trouble because of an accident.
"Oh hush now, let me get you a seat at the table so we can eat." The woman beckoned me to follow though I didn't move.
"No thank you, maybe next time I come by though." Nodding not really listening we bid our farewells then she returned inside talking to her boys.
I jogged the rest of the way back to the cozy house, careful not to damage the eggs or leave the milk out for too long. Katherine cut, sliced and diced all kinds of vegetables on her cutting board then plopping them into a pot on the stove. Kaden sat mashing something in a bowl at the dinner table; he glanced up from a moment at me as I placed the stuff on the counter then returned to his task. I returned pleasantries with Katherine before I headed around back to the shed for time away from the others when the sound of sobs reached my ears.
"Go away!" Astera's voice came from inside the shed. Shoving aside the door I went to her side hoping to know the cause of her tears.
"What happened?" Tears stained her eyes with a welt on her temple. Her clothes were ruffled but there seemed not be injuries on her torso but on her leg lay a wide cut across her thigh. There was also blood leaking from a cut on her wrist.
I stayed there until Astera told me what caused them and what happened for it to happen to her. She explained everything to me all while wiping tears and trying to hold in sobs but I let her cry into my shoulder letting all her sobs out so it wasn't bottled up for later. When she settled down but refused to leave the shed to sleep in her bed, I waited until she thought it was safe to get some rest then I stormed towards the person that caused it. My good mood cut short today.
I finished helping in the kitchen so I was lounging on the couch in the living room finally granted time to rest when Proserpina burst in startling me. Her eyes held no mercy or kindness nor did her voice when she demanded where Thia had gone. I told her, Thia was in her room resting until dinner and she stormed down the hall slamming Thia's door open.
Proserpina ripped Thia from her bed making her stand in front of her while she gripped her arms hard. "You think it's funny to harm someone huh?!" Proserpina screamed in her face smacking her hard.
"You think spilling blood of your team is fun?!! It's not you hear me!! Cutting anyone will be the last thing you do!! She didn't think it was funny!!"
"I....I didn't think it was f...funny!" Thia stuttered, stumbling for words but otherwise knowing what she was talking about.
"You could've killed her with that cut on her wrist!! You want that huh?!!"
"N...no! We were just having fun!!"
"NO!!" Proserpina smashed her fist in Thia's nose then throwing her to the ground with enough force for something on Thia to pop. "It wasn't fun for her!!"
Hurrying I wrapped my arms around Proserpina's waist wrestling her to me so I could pull her out of the room but she wouldn't go quietly. "Release me!! She doesn't deserve mercy!!" She kicked and bit me all out of anger and desperation for revenge. Nathan with Owen soon showed up helping me but she just screamed at Thia. "Next time you harm her, I will end you Thia!! End you!!"
Thia whimpered on the floor hold her face and her shoulder staring at Proserpina with pure fear. Eventually she came with us not fighting anymore thankfully for we had many sore bruises slowly forming where she struck. Proserpina stopped her cursing and life threats becoming almost of a shell of herself.
After my rage outburst I was taken to a room farther away from Thia's than mine. The bedroom was the same as the other one I was living in. it held a big bed in the middle, dresser to the left of the door and the window right above my bed. I curled up at the front of the bed looking out the window to over look the dirt road that I ran this afternoon.
"Are you okay?" Kaden's voice slipped into my room making my head snap towards the door waiting to see him there. Except his voice came from outside, down the hall where he asked Thia in the hall if she was alright.
Of course, I fooled myself again. I rolled my eyes scoffing as Thia answered sweet and innocently. I didn't regret a thing I said or did, not one thing. As far as Astera and I was concerned, Thia deserved more for I only shook her from her bed and hit her a few times but that was it except for the threats.
"Hello?" Astera stepped into my room with her wounds cleaned and bandaged properly. Her face was freshly washed erasing the tears from her face though she was in the same clothes I found her in, she was okay now.
"Hello, you're looking well." I nodded to her bandages for a second she cringed then lifted her head completely and ran to me. She barreled into me with her full weight, wrapping her arms around my torso. Surprised I fell backwards hitting my head on the window then I was sitting up again when she pulled me back a grin replacing the quivering lip from earlier.
"Thank you! All my doubts about you are gone, thank you!!"
"For beating the crap out of Thia for me!! She won't be bothering me for a long time with the threats you were spitting at her. Thank you you're a true friend you know."
"You're welcome Astera."
"I'll go see if there are any good board games to play while you're stuck here." Her eyes glimmered grateful and hope for something from me. She opened the door to see Kaden standing there then slipped passed him. Silently he stepped into the room closing the door behind him waiting for me to speak but I just turned my gaze back out the window.
"Well it seems you made a definite friend in Astera," His voice was gentle and kind but I kept my gaze out the window. "Look I would just like to know what happened between Thia and Astera. Could you tell me please? Astera won't and Thia denies anything happened."
"Of course she does," was all I muttered back.
"Answer me god damn it!!" He demanded me.
"Make me!!" I screamed back at him not going to put up with it.
"Why won't you tell me?" he sighed rubbing his face revealing his nights of not sleeping.
"I'm done helping you. I tried to help you and you didn't want it so go to hell!"
"Fine!" Kaden slammed the door with his footsteps echoing in the hallway.
That night Astera joined me bringing in an arm full of board games of her own choosing in, along with her dinner and mine. We ate together getting to know one another while eating the deliciously cooked pork and other foods. All night until we were too tired, we laughed and played the games passing the time until morning when I was allowed out of my cell.
The dirt road lay before me stretching out into the beyond with the sunlight guiding it. The breezes stung for long moments with the wounds on my face, I now had a limp in my leg from the encounter
"Thia! Where are you going?" Nathan confronted me, his voice not as sweet as I thought it would be since I was harassed.
"Well hello, sweets, what brings you by?"
"Don't you dare? You know why I'm here!"
"Yes sweets I do and sadly it is never to see just me," I purred at him twisting a strand around my finger.
"What the hell is going on since I left Thia!?"
"So mean today can't you ever greet me sweetly like I do for you?"
"That's my name now what can I do for you?"
"Alright alright, I'm heading to go see Uncle for a bit."
"Why go see that unpleasant man?"
"He's not that bad once you get to know him," I sauntered further down the road towards the motel room; he had rented for himself instead of joining the rest of us. Still profusely upset, he left me to my stroll.
It took me several minutes from the house to get to the motel room leaving me out of breath still shaky and weak from the other night. In the room there were roaches in the corners of the room and stains covered almost every surface from the floor to the ceiling.
"My stupid sister couldn't get us this far! She couldn't do anything to better our future!! It is a blessing she passed so soon to her condition!!" Kaden's uncle bellowed loudly while he paced thinking really hard.
"You're correct sir, she was useless and couldn't do anything you have done for us," he whirled around almost falling over in surprise to see me.
"Thia!! Ah ha the niece I never had!! What has happened to your face? It looks as if Kaden had finally beaten you at something." He greeted me not so much with joy but approval of my presence.
"Ah yes my injuries from Proserpina. It was just a misunderstanding between Astera and her."
"Yes the girl that hangs around Owen."
"Ah yes so what has happened?"
"Nothing just some tall tales she has told to the wrong people. Making her seem so innocent," I rushed through the words, eying him as he took this in.
"Thank you for the information, Thia, my clever littler spy. I have always hated liars," he spoke thinking on this new topic, stroking his chin as he continued his pacing.
"Alright Thia, leave then come back with more interesting news!"
"Umm...Nathan and John are back in the group now, sir," I struggled trying to rack my brain of knowledge that may be valuable to him.
"That's what you bring me!" his hand fell striking me directly on the spot Proserpina had hit, making tears form without my consent. "Thia you are my most valuable resource in the group. I expect greater things from you unlike the news you just fed me. I knew John and Nathan joined!! I got them tickets to the plane!! I had anticipated them to come back to us!!!"
"I...I'm sorry I'll get more information of value!! I promise," Hastily I limped from the room before his hand thought to hit me again. I fell and stumbled into the dirt many times shaking ungracefully all the way back, the meeting with Uncle was not the most uplifting than I wished for one day.
"So you're alright now? I mean mentally of course," Nathan poked me in the temple as he peered over from my side to look me in the eye with his grin.
"Yes! For the final time, Nathan, yes." He had bugged me all day asking when I was going to lose my head again. He also asked several times when he should expect it so he may protect his face from my merciless attack.
"Okay just asking, I just would like a heads up before psycho comes out again," he nudged me with his elbow to get me to crack a smile.
We were taking a walk to the motel today after almost nothing happened earlier. Nathan and I were late this morning after he went with me on my run though there was no reason to go into town. When we returned, everyone else was already gone to the motel when Kaden's uncle sent for everyone and Katherine informed us.
I stood on the outside of the room door, waiting for them to show with Kaden's orders to follow when they appear. Before I had left the room, it was clear this was an example of punishment of sorts with everyone lined up a step from the wall next to the door. Nothing was casual not even the expressions on their faces except for a tiny emotion coming from Thia.
The hallway was small compared to the ones in houses but was certainly cleaner than the room on the other side of the door. The walls remained white and the tile floors waxed thoroughly. The only thing that wasn't sanitary was the black widow in the far corner staring at me with every evil thought it had.
"Donny, what's going on?" Nathan sped up his pace, greeting him formally.
"Nathan, you won't want her in the room this time," I hastily whispered to him when I spotted Proserpina a few paces behind him.
"Why not? Donny whether we like it or not Proserpina is a part of the group," his words came low and rushed straining so she wouldn't hear us.
"Nathan it's an order! It would be in everyone's best interest if she didn't."
Nothing Donny was warning me was registering in my brain. Donny's face was grim and filled with warning but Proserpina was too close not to hear us. Dread sunk into the pit of my stomach, I reached for the handle. Donny didn't raise any alarm or move to stop me when I pushed the door open.
Kaden stood towards the end of the line of the team, facing where his uncle stood towering over a person. His face was filling with sorrow unlike his uncle's that held no mercy or remorse for anything. Everyone's back was to us but there was a clear view of who was the example today. With her face streaked with fresh tears and bruises of very color, and her bandages bled through, Astera looked up at Uncle fear shining in her eyes but also a defiance to show anyone.
"I will not tolerate liars in my group!!" Kaden's uncle roared in her face.
"I wasn't lying sir," Astera's voice came shakily but definite. Her face was already bruised and battered to nothing but he didn't care. He struck again hard on them enough to make her cry out.
"Don't talk back to me!!! I'm the authority here no matter where we are!!! Learn to respect your betters!!!"
"Leave her alone!!!" Proserpina raced into the room trying to get to Astera but Kaden caught her before she stepped into harm's way. Though that didn't stop her from spitting nasty things at Uncle while Kaden tried to quickly apologize for her. In haste Kaden shoved her into my arms ordering me to keep her outside with Donny.
In the hallway she fought us to bang on the door with her relentless energy. We were sure she was going to break the door soon but we pulled her away nonetheless.
I was overwhelmed with hot protectiveness that I couldn't help anymore, I wanted to get into that room and end all the pain for her and show everyone else what it's like but I couldn't. A part of me knew I wasn't going to win but the image still stuck to my mind. Astera on the in the room on the other side of the door and crying in the barn, I needed to get into the room but there were too many obstacles.