It’s been two days by now, and I don’t know if it’s my imagination but I could almost feel her. It was killing me knowing she was so close that I could have tasted her. I looked up to the sky and watched as the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. Donavan was behind me this morning, so I had a few moments to myself.
I looked at the sun more closely, and watched as its fingers of sunshine ripped the sky open. Then I looked at the sky and it was a blue-gray with purple-bellied clouds. My mood could have precisely mirrored the sky.
While I contemplated the sky, I could distantly hear my helpful tracker trudge slowly along. Within these two grueling, torturous days Donavan has become sluggish in his movements and speech. For some reason I felt like he was holding something back. Something very crucial in order for him to continue on.
For a moment, a moment so fast it was gone the next, a hot blade of anger cut through my chest. I could only watch as the sky reflected my anger as rich colors of pink and orange lit up the sky. If Donavan ever thought of taking himself out of this
I was cut off when my thoughts were just about to wander, and I heard Donavan’s heavy ragged breath as he placed a heavy hand on my shoulder. Neither of us said anything. For the first time neither of us were agitated or angered that the other got too close for his own comfort. It formed an odd bond that both of us couldn’t quite yet see.
“Man.” Donavan spoke like he was trying to keep it together, but as we bonded I started to learn the way he showed emotion. The way Donavan squinted his eyes and his voice dropped to a tired octave, I didn’t have to say much back.
“Yeah,” and in that one word reply, our brotherly like bond connected on another level men don’t have the nature to talk or even think about.
I was still distantly looking at the sun as it climbed the sky. Now that it has made its way above those groups of clouds I turned towards Donavan. “You need to sit.” I spoke slightly distracted but held no room for argument.
When he just looked at me with unfocused eyes, staring at the sun, I pushed him onto a fallen tree trunk. When the impact of his backside hitting the slightly damp bark didn’t affect him, and he didn’t snap out of it, I shook him by the shoulder.
Donavan continued to look through my chest. Something wasn’t right, and I didn’t like it.
“Something’s not right man,” Donavan spoke exactly what I was thinking.
“You’re damn right something’s wrong,” I spoke with threads of confusion and fear lacing my thick voice. “What the hell’s gotten into you?”
It took him five minutes to respond. “I feel like I’m floating or swaying.” Another long pause. “Whatever you want to call this shit.”
I looked down not necessarily to find anything, but to think. I didn’t think. Instead I grabbed Donavan’s hand roughly into mine, and turned it towards the bluing sky. “Oh hell.”
Donavan mumbled his complaint of me handling him so crudely, but it should have hurt more. Donavan should have bellowed at me, or gave me an upper cut. I knew exactly what this was. Ecchymosis Larkspur (EL).
The virus kills off many of the Satyrs that are unfamiliar with the plants causing this. First it will puncture your skin, burning through it. Then it will reach your veins and block up the blood supply that your heart gives to you. It happens so quickly that it causes a bruise to form over the puncture wound, and as EL takes over it darkens your blood to a filthy black.
As I curse internally, I begin to examine how far along Ecchymosis Larkspur has become. The veins in his wrist have already turned black. I sigh forcefully, fear and frustration driving it. EL was working fast, and Donavan wouldn’t last the next two hours. My eyes began to burn but I rubbed at them not wanted to tear up over something like this.
“Why the hell are you crying, man?” For an instant that one statement gave a hope that blossomed and then burned to death in my chest. The fact that one of the symptoms of EL was that the victims come in and out of a dazed state made me feel dumb for only a moment.
“I’m not.” I stated harshly, as I swallowed a rock hard knot in my throat. I didn’t even try to come up with a dumb excuse like, there was dust or I had an eyelash. Nope, I was to sidetracked with the possibility of Donavan dying. No, it wasn’t a possibility. It was going to happen. Dammit!
I wasn’t going to hide anything from him.
“Donavan,” I stated flatly, “You’re going to die.” If I used any emotion my voice would have cracked. Neither of us wanted the chance to hear that.
“What did you just say?” He responded accusingly.
I put his palm up to his face, and when Donavan registered what he saw, his Adams apple slide sharply down his throat and then bounced back up. “How long?”
Looking back down at the black lines of poison that have crawled up his forearm, I calculated the rate at which it would probably reach his heart. “Four hours at most,” I replied, with a straight face and a hard look in my eyes.
“There’s nothing we can do.” It was a statement.
There was a brief pause in our conversation, and I watched him watch his arm fill with EL poison. Watching his eyes I saw acceptance settle in. I wasn’t quit sure if it was a good sign that he accepted his death that quickly, all I really knew was weather or not he should keep moving with me.
“Can you -”
For the next three hours Donavan helped me learn how to watch for signs of Camira. A few times he had completely zoned out, and I had to shake him out of it. As we walked, we found a river and a few tracks a mile away. We figured she’d find water, and the only recourse like that out here was the river we now followed. We rested more than I liked to admit, but Donavan needed his strength as we pushed forward.
In the last hour, the first sign was when he seemed to be holding his breath. Donavan stood stone still, and his eyes began to water. I had to roughly push him to the ground, because his muscles now took over his body. His mind only sent signals to the necessary places needed to keep his body going. Sadly as those signals tried to do their job, the EL killed them off. No longer having an immune system to fight, he died in the last hour. The black poison visibly traced jagged lines to his heart; the only sign that he was truly dead.
I closed his eyes before walking away, and took the gun with me.
Six hours later I only had his whispering voice saying the same thing over and over again. "Get to her as quickly as possible. You're running out of time, and if it doesn’t happen soon then it will end. Neither of you will be left to survive."
I have no idea what he was talking about, and neither did I understand how he got three complete sentences out of his mouth. His very last words were to make sure and tell Camira or all else fails. Whatever that means. Eventually the urgency of his little speech pushed me to an all-new level.
I began to frantically follow traces of both Camira and the wolves. I only had the knowledge that Donavan gave me, and the lessons my father taught me as a twelve-year-old boy. Soon I began to find a pattern and it was no longer hard to follow the tracks. I found fresher footprints, and soon I found a torn piece of her clothing. It was bloody.
There was no more delay. My mind was thinking and processing information at full speed, and as I turned around a tree, gun in hand, I almost missed what I had been searching for.
I could feel him the instant he came out from behind a tree. I felt the heated, frantic presence that he held as he studied my backside. It made me hyperaware.
I never put my clothes back on when I found a tear in my crop top. I had examined where it was torn and then looked down at my ribs. A cut that was no thicker than my fingernail was bruised and scabbed over.
Looking down at it now, I wondered if Dagon knew about it or found a piece of my clothing. It had been five long minutes of his heated gaze, and my forced relaxed muscles, as I sat with my legs sprawled out into the river. When he finally made his move, I feigned shock and fear as I spun around getting to my feet.
Wolves in the area were on high alert, but I paid them no heed. All my attention was now on the man I knew would come for me. We both stood there just frozen in place. Dagon looked into my eyes, and then down my curvy body. I swear something melted inside me. Seconds later I could feel it down below, in the core of my being. Heat that was not there before flooded my cheeks while I stood with bold confidence.
Realizing that he was still taking me in, I shifted and with it I sent a caressing breeze his way. His eyes snapped back up to meet mine and I smiled, inviting him closer. “Like what you see?” Oh my Gods! I realized the next second. I can’t believe that just came out my mouth.
“Yeah, actually I do.” And with his response, came a spark of energy I didn’t know I lacked. My stomach shook with need.
“Then come ‘ere, baby.” I replied with huskiness I didn’t know I had. Now that I’ve started there’s no going back; no room for shock to set in. I pushed another caressing wind towards Dagon, and it wrapped around his shoulders, pushing him forward.
Dagon’s muscles shifted under his uniform as he began to walk forward. They were something I’ve wanted to touch for a very long time, but never had the strength to. I watched as he took his time, building up my need. Fine, I thought, I could play this game too, and I pinched my shoulder blades together making my breasts rise. His eyes lit with a fire I’ve never seen, and it delighted me that I could make him react so strongly. A spark ignited in my stomach and it burned when Dagon decided to stop just outside of my reach. Dagon wasn’t close enough, and he knew it. I wanted to melt in frustration.
Then as we gazed into each other’s eyes ñ anticipation overload ñ he brought his hand up to caress my burning cheek. Immediately the nerves that were there burned to smithereens, and then sparked to life, going haywire. “Dagon.” I spoke on a sigh, and hearing his name on my lips seemed to let the weight in his heart lighten ever so slightly.
As Dagon caressed me once again, I shivered from the wave of energy that began to course through me. Resting his hand on my cheek I leaned into it, and then decided that it wasn’t going to be enough. Grabbing his other wrist, something heavy dropping from his hand, I placed it firmly on my hip. Then it was like we held onto each other for the next couple of minutes, just taking each other in. I mean in every sense of the phrase ‘taking each other in’, we did.
I saw the heat in his eyes first, then the fear and excitement of finding me. I saw his aura change so many colors I could never have counted. The way he touched me: it was like he was trying to convince himself that I was real. Actually standing in front of him. The forest breeze heavily coated his scent by the dust and soil that flew through the air. Once I took him in, I watched him accept really being there.
Dagon’s eyes, they were so deep. I’ve never seen anything like them and I found myself wanting to get lost. His thumb rubbed the inside curve of my hip, giving me strength, in every sense, whether he realized it or not. I relished in his calloused touch.
As his touch began to feel familiar,
Dagon’s gaze began to look further than just my cement colored eyes. The freckles that sprinkled like raindrops, but sometimes felt like agitating storm clouds, across my cheekbones were observed. Then my full lips, which seemed to be the main attraction at the moment.
Dagon decided to inch closer running a hand through my waist length blonde hair and I decided to speak in that exact moment. Not realizing what he wanted of course. “Dagon,” I spoke softly, quiet enough for only him to hear.
“Hmmm.” He responded distractedly.
“I’m here.” I breathed, and because he was so close the breath brushed against his darkly pigmented cheek.
“You’re here,” Dagon repeated, and then because he said it himself Dagon woke from the trance. “You’re here.” Dagon spoke with such shock and liveliness that I flinched, because of the close proximity. Repeating the same line about twice more, Dagon swooped in and gave me a kiss. A kiss that demanded a response in which I gave, crawling up his toned, muscular body letting him slide his hands down underneath my bare thighs for support. With his hands firmly positioned and the buttons on his uniform imprinting down between my breasts, I grabbed at his shoulders and kissed my mate back, gently shoving with my tongue.
It didn’t end there.