"Do you hear all that?"
"Yeah" I respond from my position with my head against the bed. "I don't really care"
A terrifying howl breaks the hush and Moi stiffened while a chill runs down my spine.
It's here? Whatever that thing was followed us here?
"Halie!" Moi says slowly.
"We're staying inside. We're safe here"
I'm telling her as reassurance but I'm not convinced myself. We should have left. There are more dangers here and in the forest if we stay and never go home.
What if we never get home?
What if we're stuck here?
The fear of it all overwhelms me and I push away from my chair walking towards the window. The glass is cold against my touch, the horizon clouded in darkness. My eyes fall below seeing the scampering of people, Rider and other men I don't know. There's Allison too. I gasp.
"Oh my god Allison!" I shout watching her screaming pain as she grips Rider.
He's worried too, barking orders as another rushes somewhere inside here. Another angry howl pierced the air as the men rush everyone inside.
"Who's Allison?" Moi asks and I step away from the glass trembling.
"A woman, I met her when the witch threw me out"
"You took their wheel chair"
"It was so we could leave" I counter. "Do you not hear what's going on? We could've avoided this and maybe be home by now"
Moi slips further into the bed thinking, twisting her hands in her lap.
"Do you think they have anything to do with those people? That thing we saw?"
I don't know. Maybe. God this is so hard" I say grabbing my hair in frustration. "That fear gripping sound awhile ago is similar to what we heard in the forest. Everyone's going crazy down there, so maybe they don't know about it. As for the men with the guns, I don't know"
I walk back to my seat resting my head against Moi's feet.
"They haven't threatened us. At least not yet"
"Maybe there's really something out there Halie. Something horrible. But I'm injured. The best we can do is wait it out"
"Yeah" I respond absent mindedly. "If they ask, we probably shouldn't tell them about what we saw. They'd probably think we're crazy"
"But it's real. I saw it and so did you! It almost killed us"
"We can say the same thing about ghosts Ammoy, think about it. We've got no proof. No means of going home and they think we're suicidal. You seriously think they'll take anything we say as gospel?"
"Maybe we can tell Rider" She mumbles.
"Just go to sleep okay" I say wrapping the blanket around my body for warmth. "We'll decide in the morning what to do".
When morning comes, I'm exhausted, pained from my awkward position in the chair and I'm filled with so much anxiety. I want to go home, just get Moi out of here and be safe. She trembled all night in the bed, so scared that whatever was out there would finally get us. Either it or those men. They killed the huge animal and those people. We saw them. No doubt they'll come after us too.
I push away slowly, unwilling to wake Moi since she's finally resting peacefully. The alarm that went off didn't die until late in the night. Every time I dozed, the sound shook me back awake. I walked down the corridor taking in the little kids that were holding into their mothers, thermometer in mouths and shivering. Guess they caught a bug.
I walk with no real direction just hoping to clear my head. To not think about everything. Definitely not to over think -period. Moi was right though, we might have to stay. At least until she's well enough to move on her own, definitely because there's no way I'm carrying her all over.
My mind shifts to Allison, remembering her in pain last night and I start searching the rooms for her. Maybe she could need a friendly face right now because I seriously needed a distraction. I find her, staring through the window of her room her hand against her tummy, stroking it slowly.
"Halie!" She says spotting me at the door. "Are you okay? "
I smile. "Shouldn't I be asking you that? You know with..." I motion to the roundness of her tummy and we share a laugh.
"We're fine" She says
And our conversation is cut short by the wicked witch of the East as she marches into the room grabbing the door.
"Out!" She says menacingly.
"I was just talking to her" I snap back.
"You shouldn't even be in here in the first place. I'll definitely inform Rider about this"
"Gale it's fine" Allison's small voice chimed in.
"You're not safe around Allison" Gale retorted ignoring the plea of the pregnant woman.
"You're not safe around Allison!" I bit back. "What do you think I'm gonna do steal the baby? "
The doctor gasps slamming the door in my face and I huff, calling her names as I stomp off. I only wanted to see that she and the baby was fine. So much for being nice.
In my frustration I hadn't paid much attention to a guy that had just walked in and was failing terribly at getting my attention. I made it to the door still irate about how the awful woman had treated me. To even insert her mentioning it to Rider, yeah that got me incensed! What would Rider do anyway differently than what he's already done? Like what everyone has already done? Growl at me which shouldn't be possible and demand that I stay put. Like an annoying child! No one has even bothered to listen to me.
The guy reached me touching my arm lightly and I jump. Scared from hell, before bristling at his indiscretion right down to my hair roots. He's tall and lean, much like Rider is, but with a little more muscle.
Great, I think. Did they send him to ensure I stayed in check?
"Hello cutie" He says. "Everyone's been dying to meet you"
Or maybe not.
I glance at him curiously taking in his messy blonde hair and wide smile. The smile I've only received from Allison alone so far. Then I realized that he was one of the men out with Rider last night.
I glance around us, thinking maybe he might not be talking to me, because calling me cutie, that endarement is only ever used and reserved for specific occassions. Finding no one else within our vicinity I point at myself.
"Me?" He nods and I run out of options as to why this was possible. "Why?" I ask curiously.
"Let's just say you're a prized possession "
"You do realize I'm a person and not a thing?"
"What they're not the same?" I glare and he laughs holding up his hand. "Calm your horses love. I'm only joking. But we don't see much specimen like you around here is all"
I pause. Specimen? Was he taking me to his experimental lab? Absolutely not. I let him walk a distance before me, before turning on my heels. He must be crazy if he thought I'd be willing to become the boogie man or woman. Next he'd say it was purely consensual when he lured me in. Asshole!
I felt his gaze before his long fingers gripped my arm.
"Where are you going?"
"Back to the hospital "
He shook his head.
"Sorry, no can do love you're coming with me"
Dear god! This was supposed be summer vacation not the Dread brothers. I stomped on his feet hard before pushing him back and running off. I don't know why I thought, I'd find Allison. I just thought she'd like to see a friendly face. Ask if her baby was fine. But as usual I always wound up attracting danger.
Just stay put for once Halie!
I trip, falling over a stupid log and he catches up to me sadly. I'm panting as hell but he's barely cracked a sweat. Like what? How is that even possible? He's barely breathing hard. The stranger leans over staring at me, eyebrows crumpled together and I attempt to move further away, on my hands against the ground.
Was this it?
My last moment as a human?
I haven't even finished Uni, haven't gone to Paris and stood under the Eiffel tower, haven't married or had kids that nagged me.
I haven't even told my parents I love them. I mean they probably don't even know where I've gone off to for summer but, I know they love me. In their own way.
When he reached out and touch me, I scream. He winces, blinking rapidly before straightening again.
"I thought you needed a hand"
"A hand my ass! I'm not coming with you"
"Why?" He asks looking taken aback by my aswer. As if I'm truly crazy not to go.
"What'd you mean why? I don't want to turn into a fluffy road kill animal! I don't watch or injected or prodded"
The blonde guy stared as if thinking I'm crazy.
"Okay" He says slowly. "We won't do that"
"I'm not an idiot!"
"I never said you were "
"You're thinking it!" I shouted and he reacts the same way as before reopening his golden eyes taking me in. "You say that now but once I get there you'll tie me up and torture me"
"Woa" He says backing up a little shaking his hands before his face. "No one's gonna tie you up. Is that what you think we're gonna do? Some crazy experiment?" He laughs. "Love I think you've hit that head of yours a little too hard falling down that slope"
I stare incredulously at him. Should I believe him? He does look sincere.
Gingerly he reached out to take my hand again and I hesitate. He might actually trap me this time. When I finally give in he pulls me up, my body falling against his person and he smiles stepping away to brush me down.
"There you go. Now can we go for breakfast? "
"Breakfast?" I ask curiously .
"Yeah, what else did you think I was talking about? " He asks walking before me then stopped. "You do eat right?"
"Great, cause I'm starving. Last night's activity worked up my appetite"
"Um, just being curious but what are we having for breakfast?" Hopefully it isn't me.
He shrugs. "It depends. But I'm hoping it's waffles and bacon"
"Is there coffee?"
We walk into the house and he lifts his head to the air sniffing.
" Yup. Though it's not ready yet"
Really? I sniff too coming up with nothing. I can't even smell a faint scent except fresh baked bread and waffles like he said. Weird.
True to his word, once we got inside with there's crowd at the large table, coffee laid in the brewer, I just couldn't figure out how he smelt it. He grabbed two large plates before turning back to me as if he'd just remembered something.
"Oh I'm Quinn by the way"
"Halie" I say grabbing the plate he hands me.
We eat in silence in the corner, totally aware of the many eyes that pierced us through and through. I'm nervous, anxiety building up inside me and I'm fighting to keep my food down. I've never been good at socializing, the stress of not fitting in always kept me at bay. It's too pressuring.
I sip my coffee, eyes grounded in my plate as silence prolongs between us. I smell cheese but I don't want to move, too sensitive about the stares around me. There's chatter but it's hardly registering, I need to get back to Moi. Make sure she's okay. Make sure I'm okay.
As if sending my unease, Quinn places a very warm hand on mine and I meet his golden gaze. It's warm and telling. He understands. The gesture is strange because I don't know this man but it's not inappropriate. He doesn't feel as if he's invading my space. More like warding off the demons I have. My anxiety simmers, no longer boiling to the top and I take a deep breath.
"Its okay I get it" He says. "They really should stop. But between me and you we don't see such beauty all the time"
I laugh and his hand falls away from mine, replaced by his mug.
"Who's he?" I ask Quinn.
A guy stands in the corner, brooding and angry. His mug held captive in his fist. For a moment I'm looking to see it shatter within his grasp but it doesn't. Quinn follows my gaze before letting out a light chuckle turning back to me.
"That's Veron" Quinn explains. "Don't worry about him. He's lots of bark with very little bite.
"I highly doubt that. I'm sure the mug would love to scream right now"
Quinn laughs again truly enjoying himself and I break a smile.
"Lets just avoid him if we can. It's safer that way"
I glance about realising I've yet to see the growling man all day. Which is weird since I was the one always trying to get rid of him.
"Where's Rider?" I ask and Quinn looks at me curiously and I flush. Great now he thinks I might be crushing. "He just....uh normally checks in with us"
"Oh" Quinn's eyes move to the window beside us. "He hasn't made it back yet"
I spring from my chair so quickly I had to grip the table to stay upright, preventing myself from toppling over. My chest suddenly felt tight, constricting almost immediately as I fought to take in groups of air and I blinked rapidly fighting the dizziness that suddenly over took me hearing Quinn's words.
"What do you mean he's not back yet!" I shouted "He's still out there with those things!"