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  • Legend of Fury 39

    113 Rampage Fury replaced Chaos, to hold up this wounded stranger. I drew a steadying breath. I understood this messenger was too weak to repeat everything he’d told us. It was time for me to fill Fury in on why the man was here. Though I desperately didn't want to. It’s going to break his heart. Deva had been so precious to him. She was his only living daughter. It was terrible to think she was gone. One cruel act from the NightHunter pack. “What’s going on here?" Fury looked from me to the stranger. My chest tightened and I touched Fury's arm. A silent warning that what was coming was bad. His brow furrowed and his eyes widened in worry. “What is it?" “He's come with word of Deva and Ajax.” I said sadly. Fury closely examined my face. Reading enough to have dark suspicions. “They're hurt?" Fear already haunted his eyes. His face was tight, and I could tell he dreaded the answer. It occurred to me that I’d never seen him look this scared. “No, Fury.” I tried to be gentle but there were no better words to use. “This man says the whole family has been killed." He closed his eyes. Grimacing against deep pain as he tried to focus on what he needed to know. He didn’t have much time to get answers from this wolf. “Who?" Fury’s voice turned to chipped ice. He directed his question to the dying wolf. “Night Hunters." I answered. “They're slaughtered? All of them?" Fury's voice rose and he was unconsciously shaking the man as he demanded more from him. “Don't!" I threw up a staying hand to stop him. “He's hurt bad, Fure." I used the recent nickname in the hope of calming him. Wanting him to know that none of us were his enemies. “Why are they dead?" Fury asked. Not even sparing me a sideways glance, though he had stopped shaking the man. “Jamie-I think..." The man barely managed to choke out. “Gallion?" Fury asked urgently, even though he already suspected the answer. The male nodded. His head lolling limply. Jamie Gallion? It wasn’t hard to guess that they meant Ajax’s own brother had killed him. “The pups?" Fury asked desperately. “Ripped apart." The wolf said weakly. The words pained him to say, making the agony he was experiencing so much worse. “Who are you to bring me this news?" Fury asked. “Gallion. Loyal... Aj-A..." “Ajax, I know." Fury said more gently. “You were loyal to Ajax. I understand.” “Went to check-saw-eating... Pups." He breathed. Barely able to speak and no longer opening his good eye as the pain became too much to bear. They ate the pups. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. My stomach clenched as I imagined the happy faces of those playful boys. Or the sunlit halo on that tiny girl who looked so much like her mother, Fury's only daughter. I couldn't imagine any pack wrenching her into pieces as though she were no more than a quail for them to feast on. They were babies! Rage built in me amidst the sickness swirling through me at the idea. That’s horrible. I felt the bitter tinge of bile on my tongue. I put a hand my stomach, unsure if I could keep the contents down. Poor little ones... How could any wolf do such a thing? I'd heard of such things before, but they were ugly whispers in the darkest hours. Like hushed voices talking about nightmares when the Enoke spoke of wolves eating other pack’s wolves. We had all known that if there was a particularly dark winter where prey became unobtainable, that any pack could turn on other wolves. But pups? And without reason? “Thank you for coming to tell me, I'll find them. I'll avenge Ajax and my daughter." The man shuddered. Nodding weakly. But there was a tension that seemed to lift off him, easing the anguish he was enduring. That knowledge at least, brought him some small comfort. I couldn't imagine the pain he was in. He’d been nearly torn apart. I could piece together what he was trying to tell Fury. He was a loyal Gallion that had come to check on his former alpha heir and the family, only to find NightHunters ravaging them. However he reacted, he had drawn their attention and they had done a mighty effort to kill him. But somehow he got away. His only goal had been to find Fury, and the simple fact that he had some idea where to look suggested that Ajax had once told him if anything happened to him, where to go and who to tell. Fury. He wanted Fury to know. That struck home for me, how right Fury had been when he’d suggested separating the children. It was true that the older ones could’ve added to defending the family. But against a whole pack? They were too young to be successful, strong as they were. They’d have all died if Fury hadn’t separated them. My throat was tight, and tears leapt into my eyes, blurring my vision as I remembered Deva’s tears at being separated from her children. I covered my mouth to try to stifle the sobs trying to whisper from my throat. But he was right. Thank heaven he did take them away from you. I whispered to her. They will still be safe. But I shot Fury a glance as I realized that we couldn’t be sure of that. He was busy trying to get the last bit of information from the messenger. “We needed them." The dying wolf gathered the last words he'd ever speak. “They were going to unite the Gullion wolves again. It was the prophecy." “Prophecy?” I looked to Fury. “I don’t know what he’s talking about.” Fury adjusted his arm to better support the man, but I had the suspicion he might not be being completely truthful with me. I’ve never heard of a prophecy to unite all wolves. I’d heard rumblings about how the largest, strongest of all the packs had been divided when the brothers had quarreled over the same female. Part of the pack had remained loyal to the original alpha heir, the other half accepted their new alpha. And the packs of Ferus, led by the Gallions were essentially fractured. Separating all wolves into smaller, more reckless packs within the Doglands. A separation which was only made worse by the Pack Plagues. That crack had grown to an unbearable measure. That pack should’ve protected us all. The sickening break had become infected by the emergence of the NightHunter breed. This man had thought Ajax could mend that rift. My first thought was that it would be impossible. But then I considered better. Maybe he could’ve. Who knows what could’ve happened if his own brother hadn’t turned on him. I prayed Chaos and the other pups would never turn on each other like that. It was hard to imagine the big brawny man that had exuded so much strength he’d seemed nearly indestructible had been killed by any wolf. Especially ones that had crept around in the dark to ambush him. It’s just wrong. It wasn’t one wolf it was an entire pack because they were too coward to face him one-on-one. He'd have cut through them before breakfast if they had. It wasn't a fight it was a slaughter. “You're in pain, friend." Fry said matter of factly. The male nodded and went painfully still other than the shuddering of his weak breathes. Waiting, as if he knew what was coming. Fury caught his cheeks and rotated the man's head around on his shoulders before his injured body had time to react. The male crumpled lifelessly the same moment Fury released him. In that moment I both glimpsed an even uglier side of wolf nature that I had known. I found it in the nature of the pack which proved so cruel they could eat pups, as well as the brutal force Fury was capable of when a situation warranted it. He killed that wolf without a second of hesitation. Like it was nothing to him. Fury called to the boys and directed them to bury the body so other predators weren't drawn in. “And so they won't know I'm coming." Fury said ominously. His head lowering, and his eyes darkening. I could feel his intention from that look. He’s going. And he won’t be back for a very long time. *** I didn't know how right I'd be. With one look, Fury had told me he was going on a rampage. He'd left without a kiss goodbye, gone as swiftly as he'd swept in. The kids had all given him a hug farewell, but there had been no words exchanged, only a painfully long look he'd given Chaos before squeezing his shoulder and going. I'd have liked to say that Fury abandoned me with the pups, but that wouldn’t have been true. They take care of me. Chaos knew the routes now. He led us to where we needed to go, as the winds changed. Without me knowing it, the pups had all grown. They stood by me, offering me solace as I gradually fell apart in Fury's absence. Though I didn't whimper, I didn't complain, it was there. A silent shattering in my heart. Breaking me in two. A quiet agony which couldn’t be suppressed. They were there for me. Young ones which had grown so tall and strong, that they could now watch over me. Tonight, I fell asleep sitting up with my back to a tree, watching the path where we’d come from, the same direction from which I hoped Fury would one day appear. Watching…Always watching… But I wasn’t left there long. It felt like I had barely closed my eyes before I felt strong arms lifting me into the air and cradling me against a strong chest. Arms which carried me like it was effortless. Walking over to lower me amidst the pack huddle. As he moved, I caught the familiar scent of my son and knew whose arms had brought me here. My son. It was him that lifted me from my sorrow and reminded me I was not alone. I have family. Which was strong comfort. And all these beautiful pups were adults now. Whether I still thought of them as pups or not.

  • Opposing Mr. Blackburn 36

    64 Painful Until Friday. Eric had reminded me of that fact again before he’d left the break room. Stalking out with that ominous note. As if he’d had to say it a second time. That thought had been tormenting me ever since. We can’t live together. He hates me now. Emily was especially sensitive to the tension of others. It won’t be good for her. I had the feeling that explaining that to him, wouldn’t go well. He’ll think it’s bullshit. I groaned inwardly. I’m not ready for all this. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. That had been the chant in my head all morning. It was there now as I walked through the doors of Clark & Walker. I should’ve probably been telling myself the opposite of that, but I wasn’t. Those heart sinking words were the only ones rolling around in my head like pebbles in a creek. I couldn’t make more reassuring ones come. I’d hardly slept the days since Eric had caught me in the break room, and I was now suffering the mind-numbing exhaustion. I’d barely stepped through the entrance doors when I felt my stomach hop into my throat. I barely made the elevator ride up to the proper level, before I had to make a rush for the restroom. I heaved up every bit of the bagel I’d had this morning and scant parts of dinner last night. I hurriedly cleaned up and finally decided to do what I’d been considering all morning. I pulled the phone from my bag. Still huffing from my loss of breath. I thumbed the buttons and waited for the ring. The line picked up. “Angelina?” I asked weakly. “Yeah?” She sounded as if she hadn’t even glanced at the phone, and had no idea who was calling. She’s busy. “I just got into the building, but I’m not feeling well. May I-” “You turn your ass around! Whatever you have, I don’t want it.” I laughed pitifully. “Thanks.” I scurried out of the bathroom, and back to the elevator. I turned to hit the button, and spotted Eric standing just outside the office door. His arms were crossed, and he had a dark expression. There was no question as to whether or not he’d seen me. He was looking straight at me. As the elevator doors began to close. I saw him leisurely turn and go back into the office. But he’s anything but calm. I sensed, based on his body language. The drive home was nerve-wracking. I told Regina I’d called off from work, and I was going upstairs. She frowned. “Are you okay, sweetie?” “Yes, fine.” I rushed up the stairs before she could ask me if this was about Eric coming to the house earlier in the week. Then I proceeded to do what any self-respecting, overwhelmed, woman would do. I put a cool rag on my forehead, flopped onto my bed and took a nap. By the time I woke up it was already getting dark. Light had faded from the windowpanes and silvery light glanced off the glass, telling me streetlights outside had kicked on. My phone was beeping in a high series of notes which were so annoying that I couldn’t help but pick it up. I’d set it to be that way, so I didn’t miss my ringer. I dully lifted my phone and saw it was a number I didn’t recognize. I groaned and dropped it to my chest, knowing full well that if I didn’t answer, he’d show up. I lifted it and clicked the button. Dropping the phone back down after I’d clicked the answer button. “Allison?” He sighed. “I know you’re there. Last chance to decide if Emily is moving in with me, with or without you. I don’t care. Or if I’m staying there.” He paused. Waiting for a response. I said nothing. Because there was nothing I could say. “Don’t make me take it to court to fight for her.” He said sincerely. “I don’t want to take her from you…I just want to know her.” I’d have been such a mix of jumbled emotions for so many days, that at this point I just felt emotionless. “Fine.” “Fine, what, Allie?” “Fine. Come over.” *** Eric must’ve had a bag packed. He showed up in a little under twelve minutes. Which hadn’t given him much time to navigate traffic. This time he knocked at the door like an actual human. “Regina.” I called. Not budging. I heard the creak of Regina’s chair, then another, when she opened the door. I could hear Eric apologizing to her for his behavior the other night. It didn’t sound like Regina said much in return. I heard the door close behind him. Then he and Emily’s hushed voices rose. He went straight to her. I noted. I swallowed. As selfish as it might’ve been, I felt a little like I might be replaced. What if Emily loves him more than me? What if he’s what helps her find her footing in this world, and I kept it from her all along. My guilt twisted its legs with those of my pain. Making it all feel like one vicious knot. Pain, the kind of soul-deep ache that shatters your soul, took ahold of me. All these years I’d spent thinking Eric had betrayed me… But after seeing his torn expression when he’d shown up here to confront me about whether she was his daughter, I had begun to cope with the very real fact that it was likely the other way around. I laid there a long while. Overthinking things as I always did. I stared up at that ceiling. Listening to their murmurs from below. They sound so happy… *** I laid there for a long time. Staring at the ceiling. But, eventually, curiosity made me quietly leave my room and ease to the top of the stairs. I peered around the stairwell partition wall and saw them sitting below. Eric sitting on the rug, setting blocks along the towering walls, with Emily. He murmured to her. Talking in a low enough tone that I couldn’t hear what he said. But it was friendly enough that Emily occasionally responded with short giggles while she handed him blocks and directed him where to place it. Just the fact that she was willing to allow him to contribute to her perfect walls, was a big deal. She usually worries that someone else won’t line them up properly. It made me think of something Regina had said a long time ago. She’d mentioned that children who were on the spectrum had a way of sensing each other. They tended to relate better to others with similar behaviors. Is that why she naturally took to Eric? I hadn’t even considered that before because I hadn’t known he was. Perhaps I should’ve. It did explain a lot of things that I hadn’t understood before. Eric had an easy way of speaking to her, as if he knew just what to say. And she’s responding to him like she’s known him for years. I felt that wash of guilt all over again, for having kept them apart. I didn’t know what they’d both be missing. Still, I was ashamed. I supposed what I was witnessing wasn’t the kind of evolving relationship most mothers would glory in. But to my eyes it was Emily's equivalent to him lifting her and twirling her outside in sprinkling rays of sunshine. Sitting on the rug playing with her. They looked beautiful there. In that moment my silly fears evaporated. It became clear like waters going still in a pond so I could suddenly see the bottom. The things I’m worrying about are my own fears. He genuinely wants to know her. She’s not afraid. Which meant that, for now, I shouldn't be either. Even though everything in me feared I might lose my baby. I slid down to sit on the stairs. I witnessed them from there. Watching silently with tears in my eyes. "Allison, dear." Regina drew my attention to the front door, where she was standing. I'd been so engrossed watching Emily and Eric that I hadn't noticed Regina gathering her coat from the hook. From that angle, she could plainly see me peering at them. "Allison?" Eric echoed, twisting to see the stairs. I stood and stepped down. Trying to look as though I were just coming down. And wasn’t being stalkerish. I grimaced. I caught Regina's confused look, and knew I owed her an explanation. She likely had a lot of questions about why the enraged man from a few nights ago was showing up on my doorstep so he could hang out with Emily as if they were having a play date. Yes, she deserves an explanation. "Regina where are you off to?" "I was going to take a walk." She glanced toward the rug, and I realized she wanted to give them some time. "I was going to go make dinner." I mur­mured. "Would you want to keep me comp­any?" Regina was still sleeping on my couch since her home wasn't done yet. So, she can’t just leave and go home. “I would love that." Regina sighed in relief. I suspected she was happy to have someth­ing to do. She followed me into the kitchen. I set about thawing some chicken. Then I pulled out some lettuce and spinach. “Caesar salad?" Regina queried. “That's what I thought." I knew Emily liked the crunch. “Sounds wonderful." We set to work. I fried chicken and she chopped tomatoes and mixed the salad. “So..." Regina probed. “Is he..." “Yeah." I sighed. “He is." “Then why didn't he bother before?" “He didn't know." “Oh. Oh. Oh... Is that what earlier this week was about?" “Um... yeah." “Oh." She shook her head in surprise. “I guess that explains alot." “Yeah." “Well." She straightened her back in that distinctly Regina way of hers. “He's here now. That's something." “Yeah, It is. “Will he be staying?" “Yes." “Do you need me to find somewhere else?" No! The idea of her being there as a sort of buffer was something I needed right now. It would temper him from asking me the hard questions. For a little while. I looked at Eric beyond the kitchen doorway. His blue eyes slid over to meet mine. He won’t wait forever. He’s going to need some answers.

  • Monsters Like You 10

    18 Containing Violence Despite how much Dillon didn’t want the words to come out of KJ’s mouth, he was forced to bare witness to them emerging anyway. “I'm advising all in attendance today, that the female I'll be claiming Henna Witherstring." Dillon didn’t miss that KJ had just announced her as ‘claimed’ rather than a breeder which meant he already knew he intended to mate her. Dillon saw red. Humming started in his ears, blocking out all other sound. Even though Dillon had suspected those words would be coming, when they did it still took a moment for them to sink in. Once they did, Dillon emitted a vicious snarl. Lunging to his feet and half over the table, in preparation to leap atop it and run down the length of it, kicking over food, until he could get a hold of KJ. Braxus and Damien were already moving with him, rising when he did. As if they had been waiting for this precise moment. Each of them caught hold of one side of him. They hooked their arms around his, and held his shoulders back so he couldn't rush forward. “Come on, friend.” Damien coaxed. “You don’t want to make a scene.” The hell he didn’t! “KJ!" Dillon snarled through clenched teeth, angrier than he had ever been before. KJ's eyes flicked to Dillon, acknowledging that he both saw and heard him though his expression didn’t flicker in recognition of Dillon’s fury. KJ made now move to address Dillon’s outrage. “Enjoy the banquet and festivities!" KJ declared. Pushing aside his chair with his foot and striding around the table corner and down behind the chairs. The Lariot Alpha nodded his approval at KJ’s statement. Seeming unsurprised by KJ walking away so abruptly. The crowd focused hungrily on the platters before them. They ate and lapped from their cups of cool river water. The sounds were nearly overwhelming. Dillon looked at them appalled. All of them acting as though outraged brothers in this Banquet Hall was a natural part of the custom. “What the hell is this?” He strained against the males holding him. But by now no one was paying attention. KJ walked toward where his brothers were fighting to keep Dillon restrained. The two which had been seated further down the same side of the table, had jumped in to help Braxus and Damien. Dillon suspected they’d all been seated next to him for just that purpose. “Your sister is going to be the pack beta one day, Dillon. There’s no need to fight about it.” “You worthless bastard." Dillon jumped against the hands pulling on him. KJ eyed him dispassionately. Damien guided the whole group further against one wall. Dragging Dillon's sturdy frame backward, despite all his resistance. Though Dillon was wound with muscle, there were too many Lariot brothers for him to fight his way free, though he was making a mighty effort to do so. “Here I was, thinking we were friends." KJ looked levelly at Dillon. His tone was flat but Dillon interpreted them as mocking anyway. “Until you decided you wanted to claim my sister!" “I told you as a courtesy. I waited years as a courtesy.” KJ said harshly. “You know that. I always told you." His voice was calm. “So now you're boasting?" “That's not what I'm doing Dill." He used the childhood nickname. “I want her to be the Lariot queen one day." “I'm sure that's what you're told all the females you've bred before." “No." KJ’s eyes sparked with fire, and his mouth tightened. “Never." They glared at each other for a long moment. “Thought you knew me better than that." KJ added quietly. “I thought I knew you better than all of this!" Dillon jumped, trying to charge again. “Settle down Dillon, this is the way of our pack, you know that. You’re being out of row." Dillon knew he was out of row, causing chaos, but he was too enraged-and worried about Henna to care. “Where is she, KJ?" “She's fine. I haven't touched her." Dillon paused. Eyeing the other man warily. “Just tell me where she is.” There was the edge of pleading in his voice. KJ scoffed and rolled his eyes sideways. “You think I don't know what you'd do, the moment you knew?" Just as Dillon had suspected, KJ had known Dillon would blow up when he made the announcement. “Let her go, KJ." Dillon said icily. “If you don't, I vow you'll wish you had." “There's nothing you could do, that would make that happen. She is. My. Mate." He emphasized those last three words excruciatingly. Dillon's nostrils flared and his wolf was prepared to fight the whole pack to defend the only family he had left. His hair began to straighten atop his head, ruffling like malcontented fur. His skin grew rough, ready to split apart and release the beast trying to dig its way out from within him. They all knew what would happen if he did let his wolf out and it attempted to make war. Countless others in the pack, already heightened by the potency of the impending Mating Moon, would be triggered to wolf form as well and would begin an all out quarrel in the fine dining hall. Which would interrupt this fine banquet. But the way Damien and Braxus Lariot reacted with subsequent growls, indicated that if he changed they were going to get over the top aggressive quickly, in order to keep everything from escalating. They intended to hurt Dillon. Badly, if it came to that. Dillon was really fighting to decide if he cared. He was damn sure he could get a piece of many of them, and perhaps even get to KJ before they put him down. KJ had already dismissed him. Crishanna was approaching her brothers. Curious to see what the commotion was about. “Is everything okay?" Her voice was sweet, and rang like a bell. Equally as ethereal as that gorgeous face would suggest. KJ rounded on his heel to meet her approach. He steered her away from them, pressing a kiss to her forehead. “It’s all okay, Crish." But she assessed Dillon skeptically. For one long breath, a heart-stopping moment, she and Dillon's gazes met and locked. 19 Enough The darkness of the rough chamber should’ve soothed my escalated senses, but it didn’t. I was beginning to suspect that nothing would calm me down until I was out of this castle of traps. I promised myself I would never enter the Lariot castle again. Once I got out of this place, I was never coming back. I considered how far I would go to manage that. Wondering if I would have the courage to leave the pack behind. An impulsive part of me screamed yes, but the logical part of me reminded me of the dangers of not having the support of a pack at your back in this country. A rogue wolf can be killed quickly just for entering the wrong territory. I sighed. I had my knees drawn to my chest. But a faint swish at that boulder had my eyes lifting to trace over the lean frame of KJ Lariot. The first thing I was noticed was the layers of finery he wore. Blue pants dyed with the willow flower and a crisp, flowing white shirt which was tucked in trimly to those pants. Emphasizing the narrowness of his lean hips and powerful legs. Over that he wore an engraved leather vest which was open over the shirt. His shining blonde hair waved back from his forehead. Looking characteristically tousled. Those curls were resistant to ever sitting flat. He was peering haughtily down at me as he decisively informed me. “Your brother knows." He told Dillon? He really did come to the banquet? Though I’d tried to prepare myself for the next confrontation between KJ and I, I’d still hoped that Dillon would put up enough of a fight that the Lariots would be forced to let me go. How could he though? It was unfair for me to be disappointed. He’s one outlying wolf, versus the whole pack. They’ll never let him help me. “How?" I was stalling for time to see if there was anything on him I could use, or if that opening he’d walked through might be of any use to me this time. No. It looked as closed now as it had before. I was starting to suspect that only he could pass through it. Thus, the mirror entrance. “I told him." KJ seemed unwilling to offer anymore than that. “He'll cut your throat in your sleep." “He'd try." KJ crouched before me. Looking far more serious than I'd ever seen him. No trace of a smile now. Maybe it was fake all along. I wondered. Imagining that he could’ve, as simply as assuming the guise of a pretty spider to try to lure me to the web. Perhaps now he knew that wouldn't work on me. I thought. “That’s why I had him escorted from the castle." My brows lowered and my eyes darkened, as I taunted him. “Thought you were friends?" “I did too. But he's having a hard time accepting the inevitable. He thinks he'll lose you, if I have you." I blanched. Hating that KJ knew us so well. “You and I..." He sighed thoughtfully as his solid gaze roved over my features. “We have a lot to talk about." “Let me go, KJ. Or I'll make you regret it.” Those teeth flashed, revealing his humor at my threats. He reached to lift my chin, as he always did. Forcing me to look at his handsome, loathsome face. “I just bet you'd try." “I'll do a hell of a lot more than try." Before he could lower that arm from touching my chin, I thrust my fist upward. Driving a spear-sharp chip of stone straight between his ribs. He grimaced. Twisting sideways as he steered his body out of my reach. He tried to reach the weapon by stretching his other hand across his belly. He didn’t want to risk dropping the other arm and bumping into my fist still grabbing the bit of stone which I had planted in between his ribs. If he’d jerked that arm down he’d have nudged my fist and jerked that makeshift blade further down his body. He gave a surprised whoosh of air and shot me a look, which he had the gal to project betrayal into. He thinks he's betrayed! He snarled. Fanged teeth erupted from behind his lips. The teeth of his wolf. Then he violently dropped his gaze and shook his head. Tossing his silvery hair. He paused, looking pained, then shook his head again. Fighting the creature wanting to emerge from his body. My stomach tightened as I realized he was fighting back the urge to release his wolf. It was a natural instinct for us to take wolf form when we needed to defend ourselves. It was a reflex. I was positioned a bit higher than him. I’d raised to my feet, with bent knees, to follow him over as he’d jerked sideways, wanting the upper hand. I refused to relinquish my grip on my weapon. “Why-" He shook his head. I glared at him. He emitted an angry, primal grow that made me shudder. “Why would you do that?" “Tell me how to get out KJ!" I said urgently. Making my demands while he was in a position to know how much I could hurt him. While I am the one in control. KJ bared his teeth. His eyes sheening yellow, as his wolf emerged enough to emanate its omnipotent presence in the small room. Though it hadn’t yet broke his skin, it was making it’s presence known. Exuding it’s power in an effort to intimidate me. It was working. I felt an instinctive need to cower. I reflexively ducked my head and gave a long whining sound. Feeling like I was quaking inside. Like my muscles shivered, in obedience to the sound of that enraged animal. No. I told myself. Don’t listen to him. KJ tilted his head to look at me. His gaze was flat and cold. Dead in an animalistic way which made it seem as though he no longer felt the pain, despite that my fist still gripped enough stone to tell me that the pointed tip was deep in his ribs. He straightened, moving back to a crouch to meet my glower. He hissed through gritted teeth. “Did you really think that little splinter would be enough to make me let you go?"

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