"How long is this drive?" I ask, trying to make myself as small as I can in the back seat between both of the boys.
"About 17 hours up North" the mother says, while putting her seatbelt on and grabbing her blanket, laying it over her legs. 17 hours? That's a long time to be inside a truck.
"Where exactly are we going?" I ask, again. Like Jesus just give me some details, I know we left because of Courtney's daddy showing up but where exactly are we headed, I mean leaving in the middle of the night looks suspicious as hell on them and me because I'm alone with them.
"Some other families like our own lives in a little settlement our ancestors made a long time ago, it's up in the mountains near Nevada." The father explains, as he puts the truck in drive and starts to head down the driveway.
"Other families?" I ask, again.. Just how many families are like this? That kills and eats people? I mean I've seen Texas chainsaw, but that's just movies, surely not many people prefer doing that???
"I guess. It's kinda like a clan. Many families in the old days couldn't afford to buy meat at those prices.. so many of the family members started to get weak and starve from not having good nutrition. A couple of families got together and moved themselves up to the mountains when people started to go missing around their small town and many of them have stayed hidden there but some family's like my own went their separate ways from the clan but always go back once a year, for weddings" Kyle explains to me and covers us both with his blanket.
So not only are they taking me into woody mountains, where apparently we will be hidden but we are also going around other Cannibals? I never even went hiking. How long would I even survive in the wilderness at night? This is unbelievable, I cry in my head as I keep my legs pressed tightly together so I don't touch either Kyle or Drake.
"You have nothing to fear, baby girl, as long as you follow the rules nothing will happen to you. The men are not allowed to harm another man's bride" he murmurs against my ear when he feels my shoulders shaking against his.
"What are the rules?" I mumble, turning my head to look up at Kyle.
"Jesus, will you ask questions the whole damn drive?" Snaps Drake, covering his head with the blanket.
"Don't be mean to my bride brother! She is just curious about her new family!" Kyle, snaps back at him. Well, it's nice that he at least defends me.
His eyes leave his brothers, sliding an arm around my shoulders he pulls me close against him and uses his hand to pull my head down on his shoulders.
"Well the men don't have a lot of rules, we have traditions that we follow but it's mainly the women that have rules to follow around the campground." Explains Kyle, after he kisses the top of my head before laying his on top of mine.
I can't help but feel so safe in his arms, I know it's crazy, his family might end up killing me but I have no control over my body relaxing when he's around. In the hallway when I ran into his brother, my heart about exploded out of my chest, but the moment I looked and saw Kyle, my heart started to beat back to its normal rhythm.
"What are the rules the women need to follow, then Kyle?" I mumble and pull the covers up to my shoulders, as the father turns the AC full blast.
"Rule one- The women are never to backtalk a male, over the age of 25. Once we turn 25 we have earned the respect of the clan.
Rule two- when you see anyone walking around the mountain, once you have proven to be able to be trusted to be on your own, you have two choices to kill them yourself to bring back the meat to the campground or you rush back and tell any male over the age of 16 that you see.
Rule 3- until you have shown me I can trust you not to start running and screaming down the mountain, you will be staying tied to me.
Women do have it easy in our family. They take care of the children and cook the meals while the men do all the hunting, occasionally we let women kill if they want, but everyone must learn to defend themselves and everyone including women must have their first kill"
"I HAVE TO KILL SOMEONE?" I squeak out. How can they expect me to do that, I never even punched anyone in school before even if they deserved it for bullying me. How in the world could I take another person's life?
"Yes. It's a high honor to become of age and to finally bring back some meat for the families" the father says and puffs out his chest like he's proud of that. "My first kill was at 15 years old. My momma and pappa were so proud of me" He gushes out remembering the old days.
"15 years is the age, then?" I ask another question, I need the back story on where I'm going. The more I know about this place the better, but honestly, besides the killings does it seem so bad? I never really had a family that loved me and this one wants me to be part of their family, especially Kyle.
"No. I was just a good shot with my bow that my father agreed to let me try early and I succeeded, besides marrying my bride and having my two sons nothing has ever come close to my first kill" He beams, taking the mother's hands in his and kisses it.
"How old were you two when yall had yalls first kill?" I ask the two boys, on both sides of me.
"13," Kyle tells me and winks.
"17" rumbles Drake from under his blanket.
"My youngest took after me. He's a beast with a bow and arrow. Never misses a shot" the father smiles at Kyle in the mirror and kisses the mother's hand.
Is that how Kyle and I would be when we grow older? In love like his mother and father? Maybe I could give them a chance to be my family? Maybe I could try to understand their traditions enough to finally find a home for myself.
But killing people? I could never do that is the last thing I think of before I fall asleep with my head laying down on Kyle's shoulder.