Part four of many. "She must weep or she will die" - Tennyson
Luke heard Amber scream as Andi tried to pick her up and run. Lizzy had also sensed the commotion and was preparing to disengage from her struggle with Demetri. He shook his head and signaled that he had it. She acknowledged him and used the wall behind her to launch herself at her opponent wrapping her legs around his head, giving her enough time to detach her heels and engage the weapons hidden inside. He saw a savage smile on her face as she plunged the baldes into the vampire's eye sockets eliciting a spine chilling screech, before turning away.
Luke quickly made it to where Amber was struggling against her attacker. Andi was handling her roughly and Luke could see bruises forming on her arms and a cut was bleeding down her forehead. He ripped the stragoi off of her, but stumbled back as it punched him hard in the jaw. Luke reeled back and saw a flash of movement as Andi came towards him.
"I knew it was odd that an owl had followed us home," Andi told him, "I had heard that things like you existed, but I didn't think it was true."
This time it was Luke's turn to be surprised. No one knew what shifters were. They were a private race and though he and Lizzy used their powers in battle, no one lived to tell anyone else about it.
"What do you mean," Luke played dumb and swung his sword, keeping Andi at a distance. The man choked out a harsh laugh, baring his needle-sharp canines and tried to get close enough to bite him. They struggled for a few seconds before Andi's fangs tore a long gash down his arm.
"Words travels fast around here. Vampires, demons, everyone." Luke jabbed at him, cutting him off, but Andi danced away from the blade and continue. "Someone is spreading word about an ancient race, dangerous to the rest of us, but don't worry, no one believes them. Besides if they are all as weak as you then you aren't even half as dangerous as they tell us."
Luke felt uneasy about Andi's words, but for all he knew, Andi could be lying through his teeth. Luke made one final push and shoved the sword through Andi's heart. He heard a choking sound as the life drained from the other man's eyes and ran to Amber to see if she was ok.
"She just jumped him!" She screamed, waving her hands above her "I was terrified, but Lizzy didn't even hesitate. Does she have a death wish? Of course she doesn't, she's immortal."
Luke understood her horror, as she had done a similar thing during his first mission, scaring the shit out of him as she practically threw herself onto a gun. He reassured Amber that Lizzy knew what she was doing until amber had finally calmed down. Once he was sure that she wouldn't hyperventilate, he turned back to the battle.
Lizzy was surrounded by the three remaining stragoi, including Demetri, who had somehow gotten out of their earlier struggle. She had punctures all over her body that were healing quickly so that only streaks of blood remained. Her eyes were wild and her fists balls of flame that she was using to burn off large patches of the stragoi's skin. One of the goons fell as he got too close. Lizzy vaulted off the ground and flipped before landing on his back. She gripped the sides of his head and twisted firmly to break his neck. Finally, she dug her claws in and sliced through the skin and finish the job. The head rolled away as she whooped in victory.
She laughed as she rode the body down to the ground and let loose a torrent of flames, so hot that he could see sweat dripping off her brow from the exertion. The remaining stragoi were engulfed in flames with no hope of escape, screaming in pain. When only ashes remained, Lizzy stood panting with a maniacal smile on her face. Luke glanced at Amber who wore the same gaping expression that he assumed was on his own face. That was not the skill and grace she usually fought with, but brute force.
"Man did that feel good! I didn't even know that I could do that." Lizzy was trembling now, though she seemed oblivious and her eyes glowed with residual energy. She bounced over to where Luke and Amber were watching. She had lost her dagger heels.
"Why don't you come sit down?" Luke cautioned her. She had explained to him how her magic had worked when he had first come to live with her. They were useful in many ways, such as combat or displaying shapes or scenes in the flames, but every show of power came with a price. Her power pulled energy from her own life force and overuse could cause her to pass out for months at a time. Luke was sure that she had just severely misused her power and was extremely worried about what it would do to her, but she would not have it.
"I'm fine! Did you even see what I just did?" Lizzy asked in a shrill voice. Luke thought she sounded high and the way her eyes burned, he was sure that she was, "I thought this was going to be a disaster, I mean I think most things are going to be a disaster, but look how it turned out! I forgot what I was worried about. Those two at the beginning didn't even see you coming and Amber didn't pass out. I'm so proud of all of us."
Luke could not believe his ears. Lizzy ran up and hugged them both, surprising Amber more than him. Her mood had swung one hundred and eighty degrees from the rage of only hours ago. All of this made Luke extremely uncomfortable for he knew Lizzy only as a creature of habit. She was still beaming up at him and Amber when her expression changed suddenly from pride to absolute terror.
"So much blood... why haven't you healed yet?" she asked Luke. "We need to stitch you up."
Luke looked his body up and down, searching for the cut Lizzy was so worried about, but could find nothing. She reached towards his chest towards his heart with shaking hands and yelped when her hands touched his shirt.
"What are you talking about Lizzy. Luke doesn't even have a scratch on him." Amber assured Lizzy in an almost maternal tone. After what she had just witnessed what Lizzy had done, Luke was surprised that she was being so gentle. That was one of the things Luke loved most about her though, Amber always took care of others no matter what.
Lizzy didn't seem to hear her as she had started muttering incoherently. Luke could only make out a couple of words, none of them were comforting. She wavered on her feet as she murmured to herself, "Can't let them..... Will..... how can I..... kill us all...."
Luke reached out to steady her, but as soon as his hand touched her arm, she collapsed. Luke caught her and set her gently on the ground as she began screaming as if she was in enormous pain. Every muscle stood out as she writhed around, while he and Amber watched in abject horror. Her hands were clawed and digging into the floorboards trying to gain some purchase on the smooth hardwood.
Amber backed away from Lizzy's contorted body, and buried her head in Luke's back, "What is wrong with her? Does this always happen?"
"I have never seen anything like this happen," Luke shook his head. In the time that he'd known her, Luke had only seen memories take her while she was conscious a handful of times. Two in one day was something that he had never imagined could happen. It scared him more because she seemed to lose control of everything before it happened. He had always been surprised before because it happened so suddenly, Lizzy would just drop in the middle of a conversation.
At this point Lizzy's terrified shrieks had grown angry, like she was physically trying to fight whatever she was seeing. Luke jumped back as her eyes opened, the fire that had just killed so effectively now burned in inside their depths. With her eyes open, the screaming faded. Her lips moved almost soundlessly and he and Amber debated getting closer to see what she was saying.
Eventually they decided that they might miss some important information, so Luke put his ear close to her mouth only to find she was listing names. Only five names over and over like a prayer. She sounded determined and Luke wished he had a pen to write them down.
"William, Nita, Charlie, Amon, Vihaan," she formed the names quickly listing them one by one like if she didn't they would be forgotten.
Luke and Amber thought it was best to get Lizzy back to the apartment. They certainly couldn't just sit here in an abandoned hotel forever and they didn't know how long Lizzy was going to be unconscious. Luke was sort of embarrassed at how long it took them to come to this decision. They had waited over two hours before Amber asked if they could go home. Was he so used to Lizzy being the one to give direction, that he couldn't figure out how to make a decision on his own?
He didn't dwell on it, but picked Lizzy up and found sunglasses on Andi's body. Figures that he would have sunglasses going to the club at night. What a douche. He had tried to close Lizzy's eyes several times, but when her eyelids had started smoking, he decided that it wasn't a good idea. He and Amber propped Lizzy up between them and made their way down the street acting exasperated that their friend had gotten so drunk. It was a believable lie, made more credible as he saw other groups doing this exact thing
They set Lizzy down on the couch and headed into the kitchen to get some food. They were both drained from the fight and their adrenaline had long since worn out.
"What are we going to do with her Luke?" Amber asked him nervously, "We're supposed to leave tomorrow, but how can we do that now?"
"You're right. I don't feel comfortable leaving her like this." Luke ran a hand through his hair and glanced back over to where Lizzy lay inert, her lips still moving quickly.
"Should we try to wake her up?" she worried, "I read once that you shouldn't wake someone when they are sleep walking, so maybe that wouldn't such a good idea."
"I don't think so, whatever is happening to her, it is not something that should be interrupted." Luke pulled Amber to him and kissed the top of her head since she had taken off her heels. "We can't do anything more tonight. Let's get you to sleep."
"That sounds like a good idea." Amber muttered, shivering as if a cold wind had swept through the room.
Luke made sure Amber was sleeping soundly before going back to the living room. He was surprised to see Lizzy sitting up calmly waiting for him.
"I need to find Will." She told him in a quiet, strained voice.
I had woken up on the couch in the apartment, though I had no memory of getting there. The last thing I saw, was blood streaming from Luke. Every pore dripped as his life slipped away. I had turned away, so as not to see the horror, but the blood had pooled at my feet and the world had smelled like copper. I closed my eyes tight, while sticky waves pushed against my legs.
I was surrounded by it until I became aware someone was watching me. It felt dark and intangible. I laughed at the entity because it didn't know that no matter how much it hurt me only I could choose my fate. It seemed amused by my defiance, and chills started to creep up my limbs to freeze me in place. I tried to move my hands, but invisible chains kept me still. Finally, I saw someone in the darkness, though I hadn't opened my eyes. The figure had long hair and a lovely laugh that I recognized. Nita.
She saw me, and started for in my direction, smiling. She did not reach me however, because the dark shape of a man rose in front of her from nowhere and cut her down. Blood ran down her chest in thick clots, but she did not heal, and her once welcoming smile turned to horror and finally profound sadness. She dropped to the ground with a thud and the life drained out of her eyes. The man disappeared as I screamed and called out for her, but not once did she move or acknowledge my cries.
This happened four more times. Once with Charlie who threw lavish parties to ease the pain of losing his little sister. Another with Amon who was never quite drunk enough to forget everything he has seen. Next with Vihaan who puts himself through life after life watching those he loves die, over and over again. Finally, I watched Will fall to his knees. He was the only one that didn't fight it. He threw himself onto the blade while I watched with a heavy heart. I had no more tears to cry, just an over whelming sense of grief and blame. I had caused their deaths. The dark figure cackled at my pain for hours just quiet enough that he wouldn't drown out the horror of the deaths that played on repeat. I knew I needed to save them, but I didn't know how, and every time they came, their lives slipped through my fingers.
I had almost lost hope that they were ever going to stop when I snapped back to my own body. There was no fade out, no transition. I was just suddenly there. The first thing I felt was intense relief. Nothing had been so beautiful to me than the ceiling of my own apartment. I opened my mouth to call out for Luke, but nothing came out. That was fine, my throat felt like I had been screaming for hours, so I just laid in the couch staring and not thinking about anything, until my vision came rushing back to me.
I sat up straight as if I'd been shocked. I forced myself to stay still and think rationally as a million different thoughts raced through my mind at once. I wanted to kill whoever was threatening the shifters. I needed to track him down and put him through all of the pain that I felt. I needed to..... find out who he was. I came very quickly to the conclusion that I had no idea who or what I was dealing with. I wasn't even sure that whoever was behind this was a man. It might have been the shape of a man in my vision, but if they got into my head then they sure as hell could make themselves any shape they chose. The more I thought about it, the more I was sure that I needed to make sure my friends were safe before I did anything regarding the mysterious figure. I had plenty of room in the apartment, and I'd be damned if I didn't try to protect the only people who I don't have to hide who I am around.
Luke came out to the living after a while, to find me waiting for him. I promise I had a plan and everything, all laid out in my mind to tell him, but all I managed to croak out was, "I need to find Will." I mentally slapped myself. Really, I was going to lead off with that?
"Who?" Luke gaped at me obviously surprised to find me up. "You said his name a lot when you were umm... well you said a lot of names, but I didn't recognize any of them."
My mouth hung open as he spoke. I was beginning to get a bit panicky now. I hated not knowing what happened while I was un conscious and it was terrifying to think I may have given something away that Luke might not be ready to know. Whose names did I say? What else had I said while I was out? How much did Luke know? Ugh. I protected him from so many things from my world and knowing that I don't have control over what I said makes me insane!
"Will is a friend of mine and the first step in a plan that I am still getting together." I told him. I spent a couple of seconds in silence trying to figure out a roundabout way to get him to tell me what I did while I was out, but I didn't have time for that so I just asked, "What exactly did say while I was out."
"Aw man Lizzy, it was kind of creepy." Luke informed me as a veil of concern descended on his face, "You screamed for most of it, then just listed out five names for the rest of it. Will, Nita, Charlie, Amon, and I think Vihaan. Who are those people?"
"I told you. They are friends of mine." I sighed the weight that had settled on my shoulders increased, "I am going to bring them all here, that is if they want to come."
It was hard to get shifters to do anything. Most of them felt that they had nothing to fear and had grown complacent in their old age. Hell, most of them didn't want to be bothered. They lived like kings or blamed themselves for too many things to want to save themselves anymore. It might be selfish, but I couldn't just stand by and let them get massacred like in my dream. At least without warning them of the danger that they faced. The only one that I was sure I could get to come here was Nita. She would not endanger the hunters. Getting them involved would put them in harm's way and that was never something Nita could condone.
Luke had been staring at me since I mentioned the others with increasing annoyance, "I can't read your mind you know! I know for a fact that you don't have any 'friends' from this century. You've even told me that all of your friends were dead."
I cringed at his words, but he kept going, "You lie or avoid questions whenever I ask about your past. When are you going to realize that I am a shifter too? I am part of the world you live in and I will be for a long time whether you like it or not. Now tell me what is going on right now or I'll.... I'll..."
"You'll what?" my voice was a ragged whisper, as I challenged him, "You'll leave and never come back?"
"You don't seem too sad about that." He sounded hurt. That was not what I meant to happen. If fact, I was voicing one of my biggest fears. If he left, I couldn't protect him, but I couldn't tell him everything until I was sure there was something to be afraid of, "Is it really that hard to trust me?"
"Oh, I trust you more than more than most but that irrelevant," I turned serious. Luke needed to understand the gravity of what I was about to suggest, so I was going to tell him just enough to satiate him. "Luke, you need to understand that living for so long creates demons that you can't even begin to understand yet. I'm afraid that expecting them may lead to them coming sooner."
I thought about Charlie, who had loved his little sister, Rosie, with all his heart. He had loved to turn into her favorite animals that entertained and delighted her. They lived a charmed life as they were raised in a wealthy family where no harm came to them until the day of her death. She died in a fire when she was no more than twenty years old. Charlie was saved from the fire but suffered from terrible burns that healed in only a couple of hours. Needless to say, he was furious when he found that she had been the one they left in the fire, not him. He blamed himself even more knowing he could have saved her without fear for his own life. It was true that he dealt with his guilt better than some, but his constant lime light would make him a target. Amon went to the opposite extreme. He now lived homeless, drinking bottle after bottle of whisky, gin, anything strong enough to make him forget every death he had seen. Amon was born in the very town that the first known plague, The Plague of Athens, killed almost the entire population leaving him untouched. Sickness seemed to follow him as he always managed to live in the towns of famous epidemics when they were the worst.
I made pleading eyes at Luke, willing him to understand, but he just rolled his eyes, "Look, I know that something big is happening. That stragoi Andi told me that someone who has been spreading word across the downworld that we exist. No one really believes him yet, but I get the feeling that some people do."
I gaped, baffled by this revelation. I nodded, realizing that Luke knew more than I gave him credit for and this certainly was enough proof for me that what I saw was real.
"Alright Luke. Those names all belong to shifters. The only shifters left that I know of that are alive after one man massacred us about five hundred years ago. I am telling you this because the information you just shared confirms that it may be about to happen again." I related my vision back to Luke and watched the color drain out of his face. I told him how we had banded together five hundred years ago and my plan for now that ran along similar lines; gauging his reaction all the while.
"So, you're just going to tell them, 'Hey there might be a psychopath that wants to exterminate us, you wanna stay at my place?'" Luke asked incredulously when I was finished. I thought it was a crude imagining, but I nodded because that was the basic premise. Luke threw his hands up, "But if they say no then you're just going to roll with it and say we tried."
"Yes." I said simply, "I can't make them do anything they don't want to do. They are old enough to decide for themselves."
"Ok well this first guy, Will, do you think he'll come?" he asked me and groaned when I suddenly became very interested in one of the pillows.
"He's probably the least likely," I admitted, "But we have to go see him first. He is the least connected to anyone, so he needs to at least be warned first."
"What do you mean the least connected? I thought all of you guys were reclusive tycoons like you are." He asked. Man, I really did need to tell him more. "Or maybe he is on the run or something. The way you talk about him makes it seem like he committed crime or something."
"No... Will lives in Yellowstone Park." I muttered uneasily. Luke nodded his head like this made perfect sense.
"Ah so he's like the worlds most informed park ranger?" he phrased it like a question. I could tell a dark suspicion in his shadowed green eyes. I realized
"No, he's the world's biggest wolf." I tried to play off of his statement, keeping it light I told myself, "He is wild. He's been a wolf for the past five hundred years. I've been to the park a couple of times, but he's never made an appearance."
"What makes you think he will now?" Luke's question echoed my own doubts. Rationally, I doubted that he would even know I was in the park, but my gut told me that things were different now.
"I have no idea, but I hope he will." I stared out the large windows that over looked the city. How was I going to get Will to be ok with any of this? He didn't know how to live in a city, nor had he been around enough people in the last couple of centuries to sound even slightly modern. The thought of actually seeing him made me balk slightly, but if I was going to go, then I needed to do so before I lost my nerve, "I'm going to fly out to Montana as soon as I can get a flight."
"I'll go with you." Luke's voice was firm. I turned back to him and shook my head slowly.
"I can't ask you to leave Amber and I'm not sure how Will might react to you." I tried to dissuade him. I also couldn't have Will know that I had selfishly taken someone so young from their home and introduced all this unnatural crap so early, but Luke didn't really have to know that.
"Lizzy, do I have to remind you that you seem to be passing out an alarming amount lately?" Luke reminded me with a heavy amount of smugness that I really found unnecessary, "I really am the only one qualified to cover for you in the event of that happening in a public place."
As much as I hated to admit that he was right, his logic had zero holes in it so I was forced to give in, "Fine, but when we get there, promise that if he doesn't speak to us or seek us out, you will not push to find him or make him talk to us."
"Scout's honor. Really Lizzy, you act like I am a child sometimes." Luke huffed, whining, not unlike the child he had just compared himself to.
Seeming to be on the same page, we both agreed that sleep was needed, so Luke went back to his room and I grabbed my laptop to find the first flight from New York to Montana. I ended up getting first class seats on a seven-a.m. flight. I let Luke sleep a until the last possible moment before waking him to pack quickly and stumble into a taxi with bleary eyes. In the midst of packing I could see the disapproval of my lack of sleep, but I ignored it in an effort to avoid a conversation about self-care. We checked our bags and went through security without pause, as the time was not popular to book a flight, and arrived at the gate just as the plane was starting to board.
I barely had time to sit down before a flurry of questions were thrown at me. I gave as truthful of answers as I could, knowing that these questions had been building up for years.
"How long have you known the other shifters?" he'd ask me.
"I've known most of them for six or seven hundred years." I'd keep my answers short.
"Why haven't you told me about them until now?" Luke accused me.
"Well you never asked about the others, and I didn't really feel the need to talk about them before." I replied in exasperation, "I may keep track of them, but I haven't talked to any of them in many years."
"Where you really close to any of them?" That was kind of a tricky one that had many answers.
"Yes, my best friend Nita and I used to be extremely close, almost like sisters." That was true. When we had lived together with Petram and Will, we'd done almost everything together. We'd told each other all of our secrets and she was the only one I felt comfortable voicing my
"Do you think she'll come down and live with us for a while if you asked?"
"Absolutely! She is the one that I am most confident about." I grinned. The concern he had regarded me with since I'd woken up retreated a bit seeing me excited. If nothing good came about, I was at the very least glad to see Nita again. I hadn't realized how much I missed her until I thought it possible to see her again. The interrogation went on like this for almost an hour before Luke tired himself out and went back to sleep. I was relieved and glad he was getting some sleep after getting only a couple of hours earlier.
I took the rest of the time typing away on the laptop that I brought, composing letters to Charlie, Nita, and Vihaan. They each detailed the situation as I knew it to be and the reasons I wanted to meet with them in New York. I also made sure to include that it was entirely up to them, just as Petram had done to gather the shifters for the last meeting. The irony here was really horrific as I now took the job of the man that I had admired. When I was satisfied with what I had written, I started to think about how I would deal with the last one on my list. With Amon, I could probably just dangle a bottle of liquor in front of him and he would follow me anywhere. I didn't see him being too hard to convince as long as alcohol was provided.
I knew that Nita and Charlie were lucid enough to recognize the danger and would at the very least hear me out once, but Vihaan would be a different issue. Since I'd last seen him, his choices had baffled me to no end. He lived as a regular human, only using his powers to change how old he looked. He fell in love and had children, living as if he wouldn't get old enough to see them all die. I knew it brought him great sadness, but also allowed him to love someone new. It would be hard to convince him to hear me out unless I made him see that his family could be in danger as well. He'd deluded himself in humanity and I wasn't sure he wanted to be dragged back into our mess of a species.
I was so caught up in these thoughts that Luke had to tell me that the plane had landed. I continued to space out as we made our way out of the airport and went to get out rental car. Luke told me to sleep while we drove in a worried voice that was beginning to annoy me, but when we got to the entrance of the park, I forced myself to pay attention. From the passenger's seat, I could spot dozens of animals on the side of the road, the most abundant being bison. They were everywhere. They moved along with the cars as if they had evolved to coexist with the machines. How Will managed to deal with these giant crap manufacturers, I did not know, but they certainly didn't make me comfortable.
Luke and I stopped off at a camp area and picked a trailhead to follow. We wanted to make our presence known to the animal population so as soon as we were out of sight and there was no sign of humans coming towards us, we shifted into foxes. We had gotten into a small argument in the car about what animal to choose. I had suggested a mountain lion because there was nothing that would make me happier than to be an apex predator here. Luke had suggested an elk or mule deer so that we wouldn't attract attention. I immediately told him that was a terrible idea, saying that if you acted like prey, you would soon be eaten. We compromised of a fox as it was both a predator, and it was small enough to slip unnoticed among the tall grasses.
We walked along the roads and through the dense woods taking in the beauty that humans rarely got the chance to see. I taught him a bit about stalking in the forest and watched him play with the strength and heightened senses that he found in this new form.
Eventually, we got hungry and I felt uncomfortable hunting in such a populated area. We were too close to humans here to get anything substantial, but far enough from secluded hunting grounds to run the risk of getting lost. I was confident that we could find our way back eventually, but human food tasted better. Luke shot down my idea of going to a convenience store to get some packaged food, and pointed out that if we ate at a camp ground, I would get irritated when people littered, and left their crap on the ground. I agreed and we compromised on a small diner a couple of miles down the road.
Yellowstone was a heavily commercialized park, so there were many different restaurants and rest stops on the long roads. The particular one that we had chosen was called Tower Falls Diner. We sat down and were immediately greeted by one of the waitresses, a kind looking middle aged woman with startlingly orange hair.
"Well aren't you an adorable couple," she beamed down at us. I felt heat rise in my cheeks as I started to explain that we were not a couple, but Luke answered before I would open my mouth.
"Thank you," he laughed at my flustered expression, "She gets embarrassed sometimes."
"Oh, I understand that. My niece was practically reduced to stutters when she took her boyfriend to meet her parents the first time. Red as a tomato the whole time." Our waitress chuckled with him, and I hid my face in my hands.
The fact that I was embarrassed was not the focus here. I just wanted to eat and then leave. I was pretty sure that Will wouldn't show himself anyways.
My thoughts were interrupted when an older man walked by, almost knocking the waitress over. Luke asked her if she was ok as she steadied herself, but I wasn't really paying much attention to them. Something about the way that the man walked put me on edge. His steps were light and graceful for an old timer and suggested that he may be younger than he appeared. I slid my butter knife under the table, watching him as he settled himself at the table behind Luke. (I didn't really know what I was going to do with such a dull blade, but I felt better having any sort of weapon.) Though he was facing me, his face was hidden by his menu and he seemed to be taking his time choosing his meal. His hands were worn and rough, but his fingers were long and tapered. They looked more suited to fine crafts than the manual labor he had put them through.
I broke off my scrutiny as I realized that Luke was shaking me. "Hey Lizzy, I didn't mean to upset you. I just thought it would be easier to just tell her that we were a couple. I know you don't like it, but you always say to just tell humans what they want to hear. I hope you aren't mad." Luke spoke softly so as not to startle me. I felt like a child or a frightened animal. You collapse screaming just once and everyone treats you like you are dying. Perfect.
Luke struck up a conversation about some of the animals that we had seen in the park and how some of them could be useful on future missions. I listened inattentively and continued to watch the man sitting behind him. I hadn't been able to catch a glimpse of his face as he kept his menu firmly in front of his face. It was making me crazy, and this was eventually noticed by Luke, who told me in a low voice to stop baring my teeth before the waitress came with our food.
"What?" I asked him, with my attention finally on him. I hadn't remembered ordering. "I don't remember ordering.
"Well that is because I ordered for you." I could have sworn I saw the stranger's shoulders shake with silent laughter as Luke sighed in mock annoyance, "You really need to work on paying attention better. Maybe your brain took a bigger hit than I thought."
I recoiled at that. My mental health has never been a fun topic for me and after that last episode, I sincerely doubted that I was sane. I felt like a part of my mind had been opened. A dark part that shouldn't have been touched, let alone scorched with the blinding light that had filled my vision for days. Luke fell silent as the waitress brought our food. He looked guilty, so I smiled at him as a bowl of hearty soup was placed in front of me. It wasn't his fault, I hadn't told him about most of my problems and I doubt he could have understood if I did.
We tucked into our meal, and out of the corner of my eye I saw the man's menu lower. I kept my head lowered and mechanically put soup in my mouth as I watched him. His hair looked as if it had once been dark and fine, but age had put large streaks of grey through it, changing the texture as well. The face was lined and wind chapped, but I could tell it had once been handsome. As I got to the eyes, my heart stopped and my breathing hitched. I made a strangled noise as Will's chilling arctic eyes stared at me from this old man's body. For now, he was staring at me intently, tense now though he hadn't been a minute ago.
"Are you alright?" Luke was looking at me with panicked eyes. I let out a strangled laugh as I realized he thought I was seeing something horrific, created by my own mind, but this was worse. When I was pulled into memories, no matter how horrible, I could tell myself it wasn't real, but this was. I managed to choke out that I was fine, and kept eating. I managed to keep my eyes on my food until Luke told me that it was time to go. He helped me out of my seat and put an arm around my waist, holding most of my weight. Obviously, he did not believe my choked-out reassurances.
We walked past the old man and Will's familiar scent wreathed around me and I growled. I was suddenly angry that he was here. Why would she show up here? Did he know we were looking for him? If he wanted to talk to us, he could have shown up in his normal form and had a conversation, but if he was just going to sit there while we ate, he should have left his furry ass in the forest where it belonged. Luke ushered me away, embarrassed that I had actually growled at an old man, and looked at me with an expression that said, 'Maybe you are off your rocker, ya weirdo.' He opened his mouth to say something, but obviously thought better of it and just led me to the car.
I hopped in the backseat and promptly passed out until we made it back to the hotel. Once we got there. Luke seemed like he wanted to talk and discuss what happened, but every time he tried to bring it up, I stayed quiet so he left it alone after a while. I just couldn't understand why Will would taunt me like tha;t didn't he understand the amount of anxiety it caused me just to come here? Finally, I couldn't take being cooped up in the hotel any longer. I grabbed a jar that Luke had bought of the way back to th