The soothing sound of a deep voice brought me back to reality. My heavy eyes sluggishly opened and the first thing I noticed was the throbbing headache and the desire for water or any form of liquid.
“Hey.” The voice repeated again looking towards the corner of my eye I saw a figure carefully approaching me.
Then it dawned on me everything that occurred last time I was awake, the flashbacks held me immobilized in my body. Who exactly was this person? And how did he know my name?
On the spur of the moment I ascended out of what was a rocky bed and lunged for my jagged, silver knife that was hid in the secret pocket of my coat, that currently was tossed to the side of the bare floor. If he tried anything, I guess I had to be to one to end his life.
I used this for emergency only and I guess this was classify as one.
I looked up to see the startled look of the person in front of me, my vision was still blurry but being in the light definitely helped me see his features better. His arms shot up defensively, I guess he wasn’t expecting that to be in my possession. Maybe he didn’t really see me with that or maybe he was as shocked as I was at my sudden gesture. “Hey, Alexis. I’m on your side, I’m here to help you.”
“But how do I know that? How do I know you’re not with the military? Or part of women trafficking of some sorts.”
He frowned, the very action crimping his features. “Why do you think I’ll let anything bad happen to you? You need to trust me.”
“I don’t even know you.”
“But you know that I saved you from that Unknown. You know that without me you would have been the next proper meal. You know that.” Intentionally, his eyes locked with mine, peering into them, looking for answers to somewhat questions. “You trusting me, is the difference between life and death. I don’t want you doing anything stupid out in the field. I’m not worried for myself, but for you.”
The pressure in his gaze only confirmed it. Yet, I knew that putting your trust in people, in these times wasn’t exactly convenient, that meant if they wanted to hurt you, make you suffer. They could do. “How did we get here?” Wherever here was. In the distance was the faint sound of crashing waves, but it couldn’t be possible to be near a river or a bed. We were just in middle of a forest. That only would defy physics.
“Location shift.” Once again the words rolled casually out his mouth.
Still, I didn’t know what that meant and since I was the one currently yielding the weapon, I knew it would be wise for him to answer my questions. Yet, it seemed like he was unfazed by that fact, almost trying to make me comfortable. “Care to explain to me what that is?”
“It’s self explanatory. Three chances. Shift your location to your liking. But I’m an agent my number are limited.” Agent?
“Limited to how many?”
“A week? A month?”
“Ten years. We’re trained to be dependent on it, if a situation arose that getting out from was difficult, we’re required to know how to think on our feet, not relying on the technology handed to us.”
“Well then, who do you work for? You said you were some sort of agent.”
His lips tugged in the corner, pulling up into a smirk. “You caught onto that? Yeah, I work for an organisation.” That was it, no emphasises, not extra information or anything. How did he expect me to trust him, when he couldn’t even trust me with certain details of his life.
“For military? Or?”
“Definitely, not military. Although we have our own branch, but no.”
“Then what?” I pressed further, trying to pressure him into revealing more about himself, it would work to my advantage if I knew more details in his life. And possibly figure out what he could want with me. “How do you expect me to trust you, if you can’t trust me?”
The other side of his mouth, pulled up, evened it into a smile. But, by far the most beautiful smile that I had ever seen.
“Alexis, I assure you that you have my utmost trust. But for now, anything that us a jeopardy to share with you as I’m not entirely sure how you’ll react. Personally, I think it’s best to not reveal everything for your sake, it might be too much to handle.”
“What do you mean? If you’re an agent, were you sent to retrieve me or something. Because that an odd place to run into each other at a very odd time. I guess my excuse is liable, but yours. Well, I don’t know yours.”
His smile only deepened, I guess it was somewhat funny to see my challenge him. “If you must really know. Then yes, I was sent to bring you, safely.”
His mouth parted, proceeding to say something but decided against it, shutting it close. “I’m sorry, I know all of this must be daunting and strange to you. But just know, that you’re safe with me. When the time comes, I’ll tell you all you need to know. For now, just rest.”
I trailed off lowering my voice still holding the knife out in front of me and I was prepared and not afraid to use it. “I don’t know you. I don’t even know you’re name. And I have no clue where I am and all your telling me is I’m safe with you?
“My name is Isaiah Patriot. Even though I know you’re not going to use that on me, you need to put it down and avoid hurting yourself.”
I could feel my features strain into a frown. I was tired of being thinking I was weak and in need of their protection all the time, I could find for myself just as well as a grown man. “What, do you think I’m incompetence? Or just weak?” Clutching the head the throbbing was getting worst, my eyesight was clearing but the sound of the thumping waves weren’t helping either. “Where am I?”
“How could I ever think that, it’s just the position that hilt is being held, if someone wanted to attack you it’s easier to grab and turn it until you instead. Here, let me show you.” Cautiously, he approached me, holding a hand up to let me know that nothing was going to happen. His hands wrapped around, the heat encompass around, he clutched them tighter, dragging them up higher. “That how you’re supposed to hold it. Then it’ll really give you the advantage, they’ll be less likely to challenge you for it and you’ll be far more in a better position.” Why was he even helping me? I was just his mission that needed to be delivered. Nothing more, nothing less. “We’re off by the coast, since you asked.”
That meant it would probably be secluded, if he wasn’t delusional and we genuinely ‘location shifted’ that meant it would be easier for him to kill and dispose of my body. I just hope that my faith in him wasn’t misplaced.
“Do you know which coast?”
He shook his head. “Should I?”
“Then how does the location shift work? Surely, you’d have to put in where you’re heading or something.”
His smirk made a reappearance. “You’re smart. Yes, it does. You put in where you want to go but there’s really no telling if it wanted to choose randomly or not.”
“So, where did you choose? Your destination?” If I was meant to trust him with my life, anything that I could receive about him would be increasingly helpful.
A eyebrow of his shifted upwards. “Why does that matter?”
“You did say that I had to trust you. Just humour me, where?”
“Kensington. It’s far from the Unknown and the soldiers tend to leave the well off places alone.” I guess now, it made more sense.
There was a long pause and to be honest, he looked terrible; his shirt was thorn and his pants were covered in mud and green leaves. Obviously, our little excision last night did that. But if he looked like that, then what do I look like?
“Do you want some breakfast?”
I looked up, he seemed calm and composed, like for him there was nothing to worry about. “You know I could kill you.” Still wielding the knife, standing up I inched closer, anticipating his reaction but that same state of his never left. “With this knife. Right here, right now. And no one will know.”
He crossed his arms, watching me with an amused glint in his eyes.” Funny, I swear that what you were thinking I’d do to you, right? But, I know you won’t use to that. You may be many things, but a killer definitely isn’t one of them.” I couldn’t tell what he meant by that statement, but I didn’t want to push for. He was right, I don’t think I could ever go to the extent of actually killing someone, in spite of what happened to me, I didn’t want spilled blood on my hands.
My head quickly turned from the throbbing pain to someone repeatedly stabbing my skull pain making me lose my footing and stumble backwards and for a fraction of a second my vision blanked and the cold metal that I once felt in my hand was quickly gone.
Before I could collide with the ground, his arms wrapped around me and sat me upright on the bed.
“What do you want with me?” I turned to face him only to be greeted with a frown. The thumping in my temple, died down but not to the point I could even think properly.”
“Nothing, I just want to keep you safe. I’ve been assigned to do so-”
“No, what do you really want from me?” It was becoming increasingly hard to believe his outlandish stories and I really couldn’t tell whether their were the pure truth or simply something fabricated in the mind.
He let out a deep pent-up breath. “Take this. It’ll make you feel better.” He fished into his pocket and unwrapped a piece of cloth offering me a pale white pill.
“What is it?”
“It helps with after effects of shifting. It’ll calm down headaches and dizziness.”
“I’m pretty sure we didn’t time shift or whatever you called it, to where ever we are right now.” I looked around in the little room that surrounded me, the wooden beam barely holding up, the scent of sea salt engulfed the air and the wooden and metal decorations scattered around the place.
“Location shift. And what makes you so sure?”
Wearily, I glanced down at the white object that was placed in my hand, I turned and looked in his warm gentle eyes and saw no malice of any kind, maybe what he said was the truth, or maybe not. All I knew was he wasn’t a bad person. My racing heart was put a little bit at ease.
His eyes were burning into my cheeks and it was like he could sense my nervousness, “Take it,” He encouraged, “It’ll make you feel better.”
Without a second thought I downed the small tablet and swallowed hard making sure it wouldn’t get lodged in my throat.
Instantly I began feeling better; my migraine was fading, the pain between my eyes halted and the dizziness stopped.
“Works like a miracle, doesn’t it?”
I nodded, “What is it?”
“It’s from my organisation. They give it to rookies and first years since the whole experience can be quite daunting. For your first time, I’d say you handled it pretty well, most definitely better than the rest. I remember my first time, harrowing experience. ” I could tell what he was trying to do, put my at ease and a comfortable space so that I couldn’t feel threatened or scared in and manner. And it was working.
“I know I look like the clean, cut guy to you that never make a mistake. But I didn’t choose proper co-ordinates. I ended up in Wales. Actual Wales, Milford Haven. You could imagine how shocked the locals were when they saw a young English boy, swimming in the middle of the marina.”
For the first time, I smiled. “You were in the middle of a river.”
He nodded. “More or less. Crazy, right?”
“Yeah. It is.” It was becoming clearer to me that he wasn’t dangerous, at least not how I viewed him. No skittish, eccentric behaviour, just refined and somewhat calming.
He proceeded to stare walking away, closer towards the door to the far end of the sparse room. “Where are you going.” I had to remind myself to breath and not haste in assumptions. He wasn’t a bad person and he didn’t want to hurt me.
“To get you some food in you, I assume you must be hungry and thirsty.” And he was right. I didn’t realise, the empty deep feeling I was feeling inside me. I didn’t know how long I was out for but I just knew I needed some sort of nourishment.
Standing up, I was eager to follow him. Even though I knew I was safe, it wasn’t wise taking unnecessary risks. “I’m coming with you.”
“Are you sure? I could easily bring it here.”
“No. I’m going with you. It’ll do me some sort of exercise.”
“Still, you really should be resting.”
“Is there a reason that you don’t want me to go?”
His trail of gaze sealed with mine. “No. Let’s go then.”
The sea salt strongly hit me. The wooden beams of the work down shack struggling to support each other’s weight. The whole shanty surrounded by vast trees and crawling with plants whilst the hot sun reigned down on them. Taking in the bewitching view of the sea, I knew I was lucky to be alive.
Isaiah made his way up to me, in his had a big green leaf folded filled with a clear substance. Water. “Here.” He offered, holding the greenery near my face.
“Is it fresh?” Tentatively he nodded. “Did you drug it?”
Rolling his eyes and signing heavily he asked. “Do you want it or not?” A smirk forming on his lips. It seemed like he didn’t have any products of his own, never once did I see him carrying anything. Maybe he travelled light?
Throwing my head back, in taking gulps of fresh water, which I guess was from a nearby stream. After it finished and I drained every last drop possibly, I found myself craving more. There was only so much a flimsy leaf could hold.
He must have gauged my reactions as he attempted taking the leaf from the comfort of my hands. “Let me get you more.”
I shook my head, I didn’t want to have to be dependent on a complete stranger. “No-”
“What?” He smiled. “And risk you running away, not a chance.” Making another attempt to tear the leaf from my hand but as quickly as he lunged for it, I moved it away. What was the desperation for?
It seemed that know I need to know more than what he wants to tell me or whatever this was couldn’t work. And whoever wanted me, simply couldn’t. “Why? Am I a prisoner here?” I held his gaze, unflinching. If he thought intimidating would work, for right now regardless it wouldn’t work on me.
“No, but there’s no way that I’m letting you wonder in those dense forest alone.” I followed his line of sight, leading to the densely packed, thick forest, that seemed not to have an ending point. Even if I tried, the possibility of making it one mile in there, by myself was low. Very low. If he was trained for different kinds of environments and certain situation, he’d be trained for this.
“Fine, then. I’m coming with you.” Brushing past him, I emerged deeper into the jungle, branches stuck out like twisted snakes, the green emerald emergent clashed with the grey sky. It seemed like our sky itself was suffering, mirroring billions of people’s emotions.
This mirrored the same dilemma from yesterday, but this time we weren’t running. And nothing visibly seemed to be chasing us. Naturally, we fell into a comfortable stride, linking to each other’s movement. “You need to tell me everything, Isaiah. Who you work for-”
“I told you already. An organisation.”
“Okay, but what’s their name? What do they want with me? I need all these details you keep leaving out. Please, tell me.” I might have seemed desperate but if I could appeal to him, I was almost certain he’d reveal to me all he knew.
His face softened. “I work for an organisation called the Nations, Alexis.”
I nodded. “And why did they send you to get me?”
Then his features hardened, maybe contemplating if he should tell the truth. I hoped it was the truth, because his expression was becoming increasingly hard to read, as the emotion in it seemed to drain out. “I don’t know.” Was he lying? “Really, I’m confused as you are.”
“Are you certain?”
“Is there any reason I have, to lie to you.” His voice was so distance, detach that I truly wondered if he was even invested in this conversation.
“Okay, but do you want to help me? Or were you forced to? And how did you know where to find me?” I don’t know why I even needed a response to that, if he was telling the truth it didn’t matter if I wanted to willing do this. All that mattered was why he wanted to do this.
“We’ve been monitoring you for months now, we knew where you lived, you relationship with your family. And you relationship with Mr Wright.” That was the name belonging to Eaton, I never chose to abide by his last name and I never will. “And I’m sorry for the way he treated you, it was needed up. Regardless we knew you were planning to take your chances and run away, it was just knowing a matter of when. All the people you had to leave behind, we’re aware of all of them. Alexis, I am not your enemy, you need to believe that.”
Throughout his whole explanation, he didn’t once fall On the topic of whether or not he wanted to do this willing, but I felt it wasn’t a necessary push. If I was stuck with him, I know it’s time for him to starting answering my questions. Every single one of them.
But, maybe he was right, I mean he saved me from that monster, he kept me safe, he made sure that when I was most vulnerable I wasn’t alone. “You’re right-”
That ringing, shriek echoed waves upon waves of thundering vibrations. Whatever that creature was, it’d found us again. But how? How was that even possible? How could it have possibly known where we were?
“Ready?” I looked at him, his eyes glowing with adrenaline. Before I could even attempt to even protest, that agonising blinding flash, filled my senses.