"Ow!" I yell as my whole body collides into a hard floor.
"Wait! Don't leave me back here like this!" It comes out angrier than I hoped.
Maybe the guy has some kind of remorse. He pauses with both doors to the back of the van ready to close on me. Enclosing me in yet again another tomb.
He stares at me for a moment, and mutters something under his breath. Instantly, the bindings on my arms and legs slack and I can move. I don't think before I lunge at the man, but he doesn't stagger like I hoped he would. He releases the doors and catches me by the waist before I can get anywhere.
I flail about, biting and scratching any part of him I can reach. He takes every blow, keeping me away from his most vulnerable. He tosses me back into the van, and I lie still because there is nothing else I can do at this moment.
"You don't understand!" He bellows, and with that closes me into more darkness.
I would like to think that I am a strong person. I would love to believe that I can get through anything and people won't mess with me. I want to believe those things, but it's getting harder and harder to summon any kind of internal strength.
I don't know where I am going. I don't know where I've been. I am hungry and exhausted. As we drive on, I feel like it gets colder every second. I'm not myself back here. There's too much time to think. Too much time to regret and reflect.
Every time an emotion flares up inside of me, something disperses it. Blows it away like leaves in the wind. What that means, I don't know. I am not sure of anything anymore, and I think that's what scares me the most.
I curl inside myself in the corner of the van. It's like one of those small moving vans where there is a cab and an empty cargo space. It's just like that dark room, except now I can see slivers of light filtering in through the cracks around the doors.
Mentally I get up and punch through the doors, jumping out onto the road. I wave down a driver in a car. She helps me to the police and life goes on.
We hit a bump in the road and my stupid little childish fantasy has been run over, turned into road kill. I pull my legs closer into my chest. At least I'm no longer bound together.
The outside cracks are snuffed out with the creeping darkness, and it feels like forever before I feel the smooth road turn into crunching gravel. Slowing down to a stop. I gather enough strength to stand. My head spins as all the blood rushes, and I have to take a moment to stop the spinning.
The back doors open and His dark figure is illuminated in moonlight. I'm too exhausted to do anything but slump in defeat and let him lead me to wherever we are going next. It takes all of my energy to shuffle along behind.
We move farther down the road and stop at the edge of an enormous cliff. Fear induced adrenaline wakes me.
"God Dammit! No! I am NOT going to die like this. Try and push me over the cliff and your coming with me fucker."
Panting slightly, He tightens his grip on my wrist. His expression is unreadable, like he is programmed with a stone face. Delirium makes me giggle at that fact, the fear shoved to the side for the moment.
"I'm not going to kill you, now shut up and sit down. You must be hungry right?"
I know my eyes are wide. Not fear this time but pure shock. He hasn't said more than short clipped sentences since I've seen him. I stagger a few steps when he releases me, and I'm stunned.
"Shut your eyes," he growls in a low tone.
"Just shut your eyes, dammit!"
Something in his voice makes me shut my mouth and look away from him. The funny image of him having to take a leak enters my fuddled brain, and I giggle again. A huff from his direction silences my moment of insanity, and finally I turn back around.
One sightless minute and the small clearing before us has a fire going, along with a tray filled with fruits and –I stifle a groan of digust– raw meat. He must see my expression because he tosses me an apple and a roll, which I drop onto the ground.
The dirt doesn't bother me now, and I ravenously chew the food not pausing a moment longer to wonder where it came from or if there is anything wrong with it. I toss the very core of the apple over the cliff feeling slightly more myself.
"Are you really going to eat that raw?" I wonder aloud.
He pauses with the hunk of meat in his hand, bloody juices trailing down his hand.
After a moment, he takes a dramatic bite and turns away from me. My eyes narrow at him, but I don't waste time on frustration.
"What is your name?" I ask bluntly. Not the time for courtesy.
All I get is a glare in return. He too has finished his food. He wipes the blood dripping down his chin with the back of his sleeve, and I swallow so to keep the little food in my stomach where it needs to be. Raw meat is just disgusting.
I look up at the sky, wanting to bludgeon His brains out. Logically I know I would lose. I mean, he's twice my size and I am not exactly "healthy" at the moment. I WILL find a way out of this. I have too.
"I just want to know where you're taking me," I try, hoping to get something out of him.
He moves his gaze from the trees behind us and stares straight at me. The fiery brown pierce into me, and I shift uncomfortably. He shakes his head, and squashes a beetle under his boot.
Nothing. This guy won't budge. This wasn't supposed to happen to me. Not that I would want it to happen to someone else. It's just; I'm not ready to die. I don't want to live a shitty life and die a shitty death. That's just not fair.
I can feel my blood begin to escalade. The rising anger and frustration are steaming me to my boiling point.
"Say something, God dammit!! I deserve to know if I'm going to die. Did you just pick me at random cause it sure as hell seemed like you followed me out into the woods. I didn't even see a car behind me. Were you staking out the area for any passersby? God! I don't want to die."
My little tantrum has me standing and pacing on my side of the fire, glaring at Him. He stands too, still not saying anything. He walks to my side and grabs my wrist.
"Wait, I'm sorry. I don't want to go back into the dark," I plead.
He persists. I can feel tears breathing fire into my eyes, and I jerk my wrist back.
"NO!" I bellow, and we both stop moving as a loud crack erupts in the sky hitting the tree nearest us. The tree trembles and sways. He jerks my wrist, the rest of my body following, out of the way before the twenty foot tall tree collapses over the side of the cliff. Falling into the crashing waters below.
I can't stop the scream as my ankle twists and with a sickening crunch I collide with Him. Curses leak out of my mouth like the tears from my eyes. I grasp the injured ankle, almost unaware of a prickling sensation on the back of my neck.
A branch snaps in the woods, and I know that someone else is here. It's the feeling of someone else watching you. Before I have time to act, a band of about ten people rush at us. I am frozen, rooted to the spot by the ambush and my throbbing ankle.
One man from the group grabs me not at all gingerly, and my ankle contorts further. My hellish scream initiates a battle cry from the mob, and the rest of the group gets Him. I try to kick and scratch and bite and pull, but this man before me doesn't budge. My fingernails are bloody but only with my own blood.
"Help! No!" I shriek, hoping someone, anyone, will hear.
I see blue jets of light flash past me, and two men with matching tattoos fall to the ground. I twist around; ignoring the agony in my ankle and, without thinking, shove my fingers into the eyeballs of the man carrying me.
"Shit! Helping!" He screams, dropping me almost instantly.
I run, but I can feel him on my heels. I can't see Him, but why should I care. He kidnapped me, and now I need to get away from these new freaks. Something snatches me from behind, and I know it's the now blind man. Something shoves us both to the ground though. I see another pulse of blue light attaching itself to the blind man, sucking at his back like a leach.
I try to move him, but he is dead weight on me. Someone stands over me and I pray that they will think I'm dead. The body is moved away and He reaches out to me.
"Grab my hand!"
"Grab my fucking hand!"
I don't know what possesses me to do as I'm told, but I grab his hand.
Everything disappears around me. No trees. No dark. No angry mob. Just a nothingness. A blank nothingness that swallows everything. I feel like I'm taking in a deep breath. Just taking it in. No exhaling…until…I collapse onto wet grass. I know its grass because I've fallen face first.
I sit up, scanning the surroundings. My heart is pounding, and I try to stand. Mistake. My right foot crumbles under my weight, and a hiss slips between my teeth. Stupid ankle.
I spot Him by a new set of trees. We must be in another part of the forest. Did I black out again, and he brought us here? The Fuck!? What is going on?
"What the hell was that?" I demand, wincing as I move my ankle in an awkward position.
"I can fix that," he says stuffing a pearly orb into his pocket.
"What?" He points to my ankle, "No. Answer my question!"
He sighs, walks over to me and sits down in the wet grass. He grabs my leg. I kick reflexively, but give in when he gives me one of his signature glares.
He pauses, a look of torn decision in his eyes.
Grabbing the heel of my ankle, he twists it back in position. Sweat accumulates on my skin, and it takes all of my effort not to rip him to shreds. Or at least attempt to. Before I can lose my self control, a warmth emerges from inside my ankle and the pain is gone. Just like that.
I look up at Him, and he says nothing. Waiting for me, I presume.
"How," I breathe, running a finger across the healed ankle, "did you do that?"
He rubs his temples with his thumb and forefinger as if I'm giving him a headache. Me?! No, he will not get off by playing some psycho who is dumb and incoherent. Or too good to answer me.
"No. There is something more going on here than just some casual kidnapping. What the hell is going on? And don't ignore me. I know…"
Taken aback, my lips disobey my brain, and the only sounds in these new surroundings are the wind and an ominous rustle of leaves.
"You don't know a thing. About anything," no hint of a smile on His face.
I wait for Him to continue.
Running a hand through His hair, He picks up a good sized rock. It sails through the trees, and I don't even hear a thud as to where it has landed.
"Shit," He breathes.
There is something below the surface, there. I don't know what it is, but I am going to find out. Whatever this has to do with me, I'm going to figure it out and go back home.
My stomach tightens. The notion of going home doesn't seem as comforting anymore. Why would I want to go back to a step mother who, well, is like her? Not that I really want to be here where nothing makes sense and I'm prisoner to something I don't even know about.
Frustration clamps down harder around my stomach, and I can feel my patience thinning.
"I can't tell you anything. Not when I'm," he spits into the trees, "like this."
"Could you spell it out then?" sarcasm dripping into my words, "Or maybe you'd like to paint a picture?"
He glares at me, looking like he wants to smack me, "You are so annoying."
Annoying. Really? That's all you're going to say?
"It's one of my softer qualities."
I get up and exercise my ankle. Feels like nothing ever happened. Pacing, I begin thinking everything through.
A man has walked through an orb door. I could not get close to said orb door. Invisible bindings held me back. He made a fire and food appear out of thin air. We just teleported to wherever we are now. He claims He can't tell me anything.
Why does this seem an awful lot of crap?
"Am I dreaming?"
"You're joking right?" He mutters dumbfounded, "After everything we've been through, you think your dreaming?"
Well, it was worth a shot.
"Alright, I'm tired of this secrecy thing. What's going on? Why did you kidnap me? How did we get here? Why did those people attack us? And, why are you staring at me like that?"
His whole body is cold and rigid, but his eyes are burning with a bright fire. He can't believe how this girl can keep at it. She isn't going down without a fight, and only then does He realize the full extent of her power.
At that moment, the darkness swallows Him. There is nothing He can do but let the vision consume him. He only hopes Death is in a good mood, if that is even possible.
"Why is the girl not here?" The King hisses, sending a tremor of fear through His body.
"We were attacked. I'm bringing her to you, now." He speaks briefly and confidently, praying that death will not smell the deceit that is brewing there.
"You'd better be right. If not, you know what will happen."
Ever so slightly, not seen to the naked eye, Death clicks his tongue and from behind him a window-like opening shows a horrible sight. Flame burns everything, a greenish blue flame that is eating everything in sight. Thousands of bodies, indistinguishable faces of grotesquely melting flesh, claw at the window. Accompanied by the ghastly sight is the horrible smell- of what one would assume -the insides of a graveyard would smell like mixed with burning flesh. The screams shatter the scene, and Death smiles gleefully.
The scene dissipates, and He is staring into the annoyingly gorgeous face of Kalah.
"You are never going to answer anything I have to ask, are you?" I ask, watching as his expression changes from fear to anger.
If I had blinked, I would have thought I was imagining things.
He stalks towards me, a crazed look in his eye. This is it. I'm never going to make anything of my life. I flinch when he reaches a hand towards me, but he retracts, contemplating something that I don't understand.
Angry at Himself, he stalks back over to a tree. What the hell is happening to Him? It must be because she is so innocent. He glances up at her, leaning against another tree, contempt and frustration clearly plastered across her face. Realizing she still has the man's eyes on her fingers, she scrapes it on the grass at her feet.
Well, innocent of what she is capable of. Just do your job. She'll be out of your hands, and you will be a free man.
He shoves his hands in the pockets of his great overcoat. He is sweating underneath the coat, growing hotter every day. Soon it will be every second. He clamps His teeth together. Do your job, he reprimands himself.
"We need to move," He growls.
I don't like this at all.
"No! Hell no," my body goes rigid with anger and disbelief at this change of tone.
"You will tell me what's going on and why you can teleport," I yell teleport at a lower decibel like the word is taboo.
Shadows press over his features, and I can tell he's thinking a million things a minute. Why isn't it as easy as him telling me what's going on? What horrible thing does he believe will happen if he tells me?
"My name is Kieran, and we need to move. You will not be bound, but I am not going to explain anything. You will come with me, or you can die now."
His mood changes are really starting to tick me off. How many personalities does he have in that head of his? I have the sudden urge to thrash around in a tantrum. Why had I gone out to the tracks that day? How can this be happening? Magical things don't happen. Fairies and little pixies? It's all a huge load of crap. Glowing orbs? THERE IS NO SUCH THING!
Suddenly, I feel lightheaded and tired. All of the heightened emotion throughout the day has drained me, and all I want to do is sleep in a big comfortable bed. Despite the sleep drawing near, I stand my ground.
"You say die now, Kieran. Does that mean I'm going to die anyway?"
Clever this one, he thinks to himself. He gives nothing away, though. Just a hint of a smirk lingers on his lips.