The next morning I awoke stiff and still in yesterdays dress. Not in an actual dress, in reality I wore long and loose slacks, along with a baggy old shirt of my father's. I needed mobility and speed to be able to hunt, so a dress like all the other girls wore simply wouldn't work. My hair was always in a long braid too, making my job easy.
I stretched my legs out on the end of the cot, rolling over and blinking a few times. The suns rays were trickling through the unopened shutters and shined on my face, causing me to blink vigorously. With a yawn I stood up, pushing the escaped hairs behind my ear and seeing my mother asleep in the other cot by the fireplace. The chicken from last night was still sitting on the table, probably spoiled by now if we weren't lucky.
I went over to our broken glass mirror that was to the left of my cot, taking my long brown hair out of the braid and brushing it a bit before returning the hair to its usual braid. Not bothering to change my perfectly good clothes I grabbed my bow and headed for the door, letting mother sleep. The door was by no means quiet, though I tried to ease it open to where it wouldn't squeak too much…after all, mother didn't get to sleep that much.
Luckily I had nothing standing in my way (meaning Marcus) since he was somewhere that I didn't know, nor care to know. I didn't want to have to deal with that ever again…and I knew I had to find something fast to make the rest of the money. Shaw wasn't much help when he's traveling, mother was condemned to the house, and Marcus did nothing…so that left me.
With a huge sigh I took in the cool autumn air and the normal sour stench of the city, ready to take my home about the forest. Today for some reason I felt like a town stroll, so I decided to take the long way instead and head through the cobbled streets of the city. My feet were silent as I walked along the street making little noise, which was a trait of every experience hunter. Not many were out in the early morning, making the walk relatively calm and pleasant. The village wasn't very big so in fact the 'long way' wasn't really that long.
I got through the few buildings and houses rather quickly, reaching the forest just as the sun had peeked over the horizon. The rays shone on my back as I lightly stepped over the rocks and logs on the outer edge of the forest. I was ready to catch a good haul today so I could sell it, hopefully making enough profit in the coming days to rid us of this place by the end of the week. In all honesty I wasn't sure where in fact I would take us…all I knew is that we were going far way. So far away that no one would ever be able to follow us, especially Marcus.
Something rustled, making me stop instantly to scan the foliage in front of me for any sign of life. With my keen eye I spotted a small hare picking among some seeds at the base of a bush a few yards off. Target in sight, I silently removed my bow and selected an arrow. Drawing the string back with the arrow between my fingertips, I aimed, took a deep breath, and released as poise as could be. The deadly arrow went directly through the rabbit's neck, instantly killing it. Lowering my bow I smiled, jumping a log to claim my prize at the base of a bush.
"That was a very good shot," someone said from behind me.
My eyes rolled as usual at my own reaction, which was jumping. What was he doing back? Shaw said he would be in the circus…I turned and faced this person, obviously not my brother. He was every bit as tall as Shaw, but didn't have the same face by any means. He seemed about my age, maybe a year or two older. This guy had light brown hair and was clean-shaven with piercing blue eyes. One could almost get lost in them…I mentally reprimanded myself for taking in his attractiveness.
A tan, flannel shirt seemed to fit his character nicely for some reason, along with the nice boots and dark pants he was wearing. I saw a bow on his back, nicer than mine, along with a pack that looked heavy.
"Oh…thanks…" I said, bending over to pick up my rabbit.
He watched me carefully as I removed the arrow from the rabbit's throat, making it come out cleanly and not messing up the meat.
"Ah, you know just how to remove it so the meat doesn't tear. You seem to be very familiar with the bow," he proclaimed with a smile playing at his lips.
I blinked a couple of times, going blank on what to say and cleared my throat as I held out my hand to him.
"Vinny," I answered.
"Pleasure Miss Vinny. I'm Ethan," he said with another smile, shaking my hand.
I took back my hand, almost not wanting to for some reason, and swung the bow back over my shoulder.
"Did you need something? Or just passing through?" I asked, trying to get this weird feeling that I was getting away by going back to business.
He could be just trying to distract me while he was really planning to steal my kill… I mentally slapped myself because that was a preposterous idea. Who would want to steal a rabbit from a girl? It wasn't like I had really any valuables, except the bow of course. Who was I to assume he was even trying to steal from me? Ethan seemed like a nice guy… I mentally slapped myself again for even thinking about it. He looked at me and sat the heavy looking pack on the ground, along with his bow.
"I was just passing through to go hunting for myself, but when I saw someone else aiming I just had to watch," he said calmly.
"Well I appreciate the audience but I really better be going…I have a lot to do before the sun sets," I replied, adjusting the bow nervously on my shoulder.
I wanted to stay and get to know him better, though it probably wasn't the best idea. I had a responsibility to my mother and some random guy wasn't going to distract me from doing what I had to. My priorities were in order and that wasn't going to change. I smiled at him, turning on my heel and started to walk off in the forest.
"Wait!" He said from behind me. I stopped, looking over my shoulder.
"Okay, it was more than just going out to hunt for myself. I'm not going to lie to you, though I wasn't when I said I was going to get meat. Look, please, just let me have a moment of your time miss Vinny," he pleaded; gesturing to the log across from the one he was sitting on.
I hesitated, gripping my bow tighter. I really needed to get going…though it seemed interesting that he actually needed me for something. This time curiosity got the best of me and I sat my things down beside the log, sitting across from him. Ethan smiled, "Thank you."
"What do you need?" I asked, keeping my tone blank.
"Well you see…I work for a man who needs some very good archers. You have that talent obviously and I think he would be very interested to meet you. He pays very well for the small amount of work that we need to do."
A light bulb went off in my head, the 'pays very well' part had defiantly reeled me in like a helpless fish. This could be the break that I was looking for all along! A job that uses my natural skill as a way to make me some good coin to get us out of here! I didn't even need that much more, so this could be our ticket out.
"Okay you've got me interested. What exactly is the job we'll be doing?" I inquired. He ran his hand through his hair, "I'm afraid that I'm sworn to secrecy until the boss okays you miss. I can assure you that it won't be a problem, though the danger of this job is rather high. I don't know you very well yet but you seem like someone who would be willing to take a risk."
He didn't even know me…but yet he did, this was so strange. I would take risks if it meant getting us out of here.
"Where is your boss?"
"Just outside the village here. It wouldn't take us but about an hour on foot," Ethan replied.
I chewed my lip nervously, thinking it was a good idea but still a bit worried about the actual job itself. The danger was a factor though I wasn't going to back down just because of a little fear. It was the same approach that I took when standing up to Marcus. I pushed away the pointless thoughts and nodded to him. "Alright, let's go."
A/N: Here's the second chapter :P how was it? comments? Review!