“So, when we do find your Camira are you gonna make love to her? Or maybe you’re not at that point in the relationship yet. There’s no reason to rush things. On the other hand she’ll probably need some really hard make out session from you, because she lives for sex. We also have to worry about how dark this forest is. Have you heard of the creepy shit that happens out here? I heard this one time -”
In the next instant I swung around and pointed the sword that I carried strapped to my back at his exposed neck.
“If you don’t shut your mouth right now I'm about to show you what kind of creepy shit happens out here.”
For the last forty-five minutes Donavan has been yapping nonstop. Eventually it started to grate on my nerves, and then my head started to pound from the dry humidity. Because I had a head that felt like a sledgehammer came down hard on it every few seconds, it fueled my anger towards Donavan.
He put his hands in the air and stared at me down the edge of the sword with not so much as a hint of fear in his eyes.
“Hey, if you want to kill me just do it quick. I don’t have anything to go back to. We both know I’ll get killed the instant I cross the gates.”
In return, I lowered my sword and gave him a nasty look. Donavan annoyed the hell out of me, but I wasn’t going to kill him. Turning around, I started walking through the dense woods again.
Minutes later when I still felt anger boiling up inside me Donavan spoke again.
“Hey, wait up.”
I turned around dramatically and sighed heavily. Who knows, I may just kill him sooner than I thought. Although thinking it through, I’d need a really good reason why, and right now I don’t have enough inspiration to plunge my sword through his chest.
“What is it?”
“Come ‘ere, I think I found something.”
Donavan’s response showed no indication of my anger towards him, while bent down next to a tree with weeds growing all around its base.
With renewed hope racing through my veins I hoofed it towards Donavan. From a foot away I noticed his hands were in the weeds and he was holding a piece of a leaf as if it were a baby; too delicate to even think about touching.
“It’s broken.” He pointed out.
“So, we’re trying to track down your girlfriend, right?” Donavan responded, looking up at me, squinting.
“She’s not my girlfriend.” I bit out through my teeth; once again annoyance stirred my nerves up.
Donavan continued as if I said nothing.
“Because you don’t expect us to find her if we just go trampling through the woods do you?”
When Donavan saw the look on my face he sighed deeply, “Oh man, you’re lucky you have me. Otherwise, you would be trudging all through this place. Maybe even going in circles following your own tracks.”
I finally gave up. Gave up on thinking I was smarter than him.
“Okay fine, what does this all mean?” I motioned to the evidence he found.
Donavan looked up again and raised his eyebrows.
“It means we found Camira.”
“Why do you think it's her? It could be an animal.”
He sighed before saying, “Do you see the way this leaf lays? It's lower to the ground than all the others.”
“Are you saying she’s heavy?” I felt offended and felt the need to protect Camira in any way possible.
“No, I’m not saying she’s fat.” Donavan responded quickly in a disbelieving tone.
“Iím saying,” Donavan’s voice trailed off as he stood and walked feet away from the tree, making a wide circle. “I’m saying that we may have just found footprints that belong to your girlfriend.”
Inwardly I gave him another look, but it quickly vanished when I saw a set of imprints in the soft topsoil. I immediately went to go study them while Donavan moved away, most likely looking for more.
Seconds later I heard his voice deeper into the woods.
“Umm, Dagon you may want to come look at these.”
I could only hear his voice, but as he spoke again I quickly ran in that direction. Seven minutes later I skidded to a stop and noticed a whole bunch of wolf prints. Panic set in like a sharp needle to the vein.
“What does this mean!”
“Dagon. Common sense man! Either they ate her like the carnivores they are, or they took her in and are protecting her.” Then he paused as if he had to think about his next statement.
“If I were you, I’d hope for the latter.” Then he turned and walked further with bright eyes.
“So did you find a trail?” I asked, walking after him.
“Yeah man, look down. The wolf prints are all over the place, and look, it's like Camira followed.” Then he paused and looked over at more weeds.
“Plus these weeds are all torn to shreds, like they’ve been trampled on.” As Donavan studied some more, hope started to rise within me.
“She was in a hurry.”
“How can you tell?” Was she trying to get away from the wolves?
“Because the prints here are deeper than over there.” Donavan responded, studying the footprints and pointing over his shoulder at the earlier ones.
Looking up I saw the stars wink as if they knew something I didn’t, and I envied them instantly. For all I know, we could be going in circles for hours, or we could be yards away from Camira without even knowing it. I wish this hunt for Camira could speed up, because it’s already dark and we’ve had to back track multiple times.
All of the sudden Donavan hissed as if he was in a small amount of pain, and quickly spoke.
ìI think we need to stop for the night.”
I looked him over but saw no immediate injuries. I only noticed him putting pressure on his palm with the pad of his thumb. I thought nothing of it.
Donavan shook his head and responded,
“Dude, I can hardly see at this time of night. Plus there’s no moon to guide us along.” He paused looking down at his hand. “And,” Donavan cut himself off as if changing his mind. I was too distracted about stopping for the night to worry.
“And you should know as well as I that when darkness comes so do the creatures of the night.” Meaning Vampires.
I gave in. “Fine, is this where you want to stop?”
“Yeah,” He responded, turning quickly and walking through the trees.
“Where are you going?” I called after him, standing there ready to follow.
“Get some fire wood. I’ll be right back.” He mumbled shortly over his shoulder.
I watched as he left, his tall silhouette slinking away into the darkness. Very quickly fear about his safety entered my chest. But as quickly as the emotion came, it left before I had time to dwell.
Still watching the line of trees where Donavan disappeared, still deep in thought, I snapped out of it and moved over to a tree. I felt on edge with the midnight hour closing in, so I didn’t chance squatting down against the trunk, a defenseless position. Instead I eased back and crossed my ankles ñ feeling my sword imprint into my back as I did so ñ but I wasn’t so relaxed that I crossed my arms over my chest. No, the night felt too dark to be alone. With that thought running across my mind, I considered Camira alone. She had the wolves though. I shook my head in response to my own ideas. The wolves aren’t the same thing; she needs someone like me, a satyr to watch over her.
Once again I was pulled out of my thoughts, and I could feel this tingling tickle at the back of my neck. I felt the need to turn and look around the tree trunk. In doing so, I could only see half of the woods behind me because the trunk was in my line of sight. I watched the dark shadows move with the wind, and that creepy sensation Donavan mentioned to me earlier in the day came over me. I quickly turned around and felt the uncharacteristic need to hide within myself, crawl into a ball of some sort.
Out of the corner of my eye I could still see the dark creepy-as-shit shadows move with the soft breeze. The gentle breeze on its own didnít help my nerves either. As gentle as the wind started it also came to a slow stop, but once it had stopped my mind was changed and I wanted it to start up again. No longer hearing the brush of leaves against each other made my spine shake with fear. For no other reason than growing fear, I looked over my shoulder and watched the shadows. Now keep in mind that the wind was still motionless. As I kept a close, detailed eye on every shadow, I saw something move, and I swear it was a shadow.
Before I could go completely ballistic over something so minor, Donavan came out of the trees in front of me. I quickly tried to hide my trepidation of the alone time in the dark, rich night. Giving myself two seconds to breath again, I didn’t realize I wasn’t breathing; I looked over my shoulder again. Whatever appeared there in the tree’s darkness was now gone.
“What the hell’s wrong with you?” Donavan intruded, dropping the wood that he had found down at his feet. As the twisted logs and branches dropped, they made a loud cracking sound that interrupted the still silence of the night. I flinched in response.
“Nothing.” I snapped, not making eye contact.
“It’s nothing!” I bark, pushing away from the trunk of the tall tree and going for the branches.
Leaning down, I grabbed the pile and stood back up. Before I could move away, Donavan grabbed my forearm roughly.
“Dagon, if you saw something -”
“Back off,” I growl. I hate when satyrs touch me like that. It reminds me too much of my mother's rough touch and my father’s deep tone.
Donavan immediately let go, seeing the warning blaze in my eyes. Finishing what he had to say he replied, “We should move camp quickly.”
Hearing what he said over my simmering anger, I looked over my shoulder, tensing up.
“No, its fine,” I responded, calmer, against my better judgment.
There was a rustling feet away from me, and my eyes shot wide open. I’ve been asleep for quit awhile now, but I was never able to really get to that deep state. It was when my mind started to wander that I began to hear real noises.
As I lay as relaxed as possible, I saw the dying embers of the fire we had built to keep away the vampires for as long as possible. It still burned as we fell asleep...or tried to. Both of us had trouble tonight. Or at least that’s what I wanted to believe.
The soft footsteps came closer, and I could tell it was a changeling by the way it walked. It still didn’t have walking like a true vampire down to a science. I waited for about five minutes for it to come as close as it dared, and soon I tensed up. In the next second it threw itself at me and I rolled, but not fast enough. As I landed on my back its legs straddled me, and the changeling locked my arms above my head. As the changeling leaned down, I noticed the long hair and thick eyelashes. A girl.
Before I could think about anything else, I was grabbed around the neck by another set of hands. Within seconds, which was all I had, I yelled for Donavan. He didn’t respond.
Turning to the two changelings with blood red irises, hunger shining brightly, I spoke through a clinched throat. “What...did you...do?”
The girl looked down with elongated incisors knowing who I was talking about. “Nothing yet. He poses no threat to us at the moment.”
“And I do?” I choked out.
“You’re awake aren’t you?” She responded questioningly, raising a curved eyebrow.
“You’re the one who woke me!” I spat with disgust.
“Well, I’m not going to apologize,” she said defensively. “I was hungry and you looked good.” Then as an after thought, “better than that other bastard.”
‘Hey, you’re not supposed to talk to our meal, Anna,” A male.
Pulling her attention towards the male, Anna responded, “I can do whatever I want with my food, Mark.” Pointing her nose up to the purpling sky.
Mark corrected, “It’s Mason.’ Then insecurely said, “I want to be called Mason now.” Then he went on again. “And it's our food, not yours.
All of the sudden I felt the grip on my wrists release and Anna responded to Mark... Mason. “Why would you want to change your name?”
“Because I want to leave my past in the past, and that means changing the name that my parents gave me. Now shut up, and stop asking questions. I don’t like my meal dying in fear, it makes their blood too hot for my gums.”
“Ha! You’re such a sissy! That’s the best part, when they fear you.” Anna laughed, almost snorting with amusement.
“I am not a sissy!” Mason retorted, but sadly it wasn’t filled with enough confidence.
While the two bickered back and forth Mason’s hands also slackened around my neck. With both set of hands hardly touching me, I slowly shifted my upper body to reach for my sword.
Suddenly Anna’s attention was brought back to my struggling opportunity to whack their heads off. “Ah-ah-ah. I don’t think so buddy.” Instantly I felt hands holding me back into place again, and my windpipe was almost squeezed shut.
All I could do was wheeze and I used all the oxygen I had to call for help. “Donavan, help. Donavan -” I was cut off when Mason squeezed again, and splotches appeared in front of my eye sight.
The last thing I thought I would experience that night was Anna, a changeling, sucking the life out of me. But in my ‘last moments’ I heard Donavan.
“Oh shit!” he snapped in a groggy tone. Then I heard him clumsily get up off the forest floor and almost stumble over his own feet. Through my blurry vision I saw Anna open her mouth with a laugh. The hands that held my windpipe closed also vibrated slightly against my skin. Mason must be laughing too, but I couldn’t hear him.
I’m not sure how long it took, but Donavan was fast enough to whack off Masons head, and the next thing I knew I was staring at a detached head with eyes wide open and had drops of blood on my forehead. That’s all the detail I could see and feel though, because now I had salty water leaking from my eyes.
It took a few seconds for the fingers around my throat to relax and milliseconds for me to gasp in much needed air. I started to cough instantly after that because the oxygen was too harsh, burning.
“Oh no you didn’t.” Anna bit out and sprang from atop of my lower abdomen. All I could do was breathe and cough all at once; my fingers brushing my bruising throat.
Over the loud inhales and sharp exhales I heard another head drop dully to the ground. I’d say I could finally breathe easy with both vampires dead, but breathing wasn’t coming so easy.
I heard my sword drop and Donavan came running. Helping me slowly sit up, Donavan tried to ask me a question. “Where’d they come from?”
I shook my head and started to feel the rhythm of how to breathe come back to mind. When the oxygen started to feel like heaven and not a hot iron being jammed up and down my throat, I looked over at the headless bodies and then my bloody sword. It lay there forgotten in the crimson soaked earth.
Then I heard a high-pitched scream, and I jackknifed to my feet running for my sword and then towards the shriek in the nightly air.