Here is part 2 of Hunting the Hunted, which had been planned to be done and up last Saturday. You know, before life blew up on me. So, here it is, before part 3 goes up this Saturday. Enjoy!
Into the Fire
James led me to the edge of the city where an old growth forest stood. Ancient trees sheltered the ground so well little grew beneath them aside from a few species of shade-loving plants like ferns. The misty rain falling evoked a rich, loamy smell that comforted me. I watched James search for several seconds before finding a trail that led into the darkness of the trees.
“How much farther is it?” I whispered, afraid of disturbing the stillness.
“Tis not much farther. Their sentries should stop us in a moment.”
“What do you mean, sentries?”
“As I mentioned at the pub, this clan is very secretive. They fear much of the modern world. Their leader posts sentries to keep people from straying into their territory on accident and to be certain visitors have no hostile intentions.”
“What’ll they do about me? I presume they know about you.”
“I pray they have enough faith in me to allow you safe passage.”
Stunned, I stopped. “You pray? You pray!! Look, mister, I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing but I don’t find it funny at all.”
“I am not playing a game, Emma, this is serious.”
I never learned what James would say. The next thing I knew was waking up in a cave with no idea how much time had passed. James sat talking with another man at the mouth. I lay still, trying to hear what they were arguing about before they realized I was awake. Before I heard anything, though, the two men turned to face me. Glowing golden eyes chased me into the darkness as I squeezed my eyes shut pretending I was still out cold.
“Please do not pretend to be unconscious, Emma. Kris has already informed me you are awake.” James’s voice came from near my head startling me into opening my eyes once more.
“Give me one reason I shouldn’t kick your ass right now,” I grumbled as I stood up.
“Perhaps because you do not know the way back to Winterberg from here? Would that be sufficient?”
“I could figure it out.”
“You’d never make it past my sentries,” the dark haired man spoke up in a distinct American accent. “To even try them you’d have to get past me.”
“And who are you?”
“Emma, may I present Kris, he leads this pack. Kris, this is Emma. I spoke to you of her about a month ago.” James gestured to the dark haired man.
“What James is trying to say, Emma, is I’m the guy who can give you some answers.”
“How do you know what I want to know? Wait, let me guess, James told you.”
“No, he just told me you wanted to talk to me and that I might be interested in meeting you.” Kris slid his hands in his back pockets, looking all casual.
I put my hands on my hips. “Then how do you know what I’m looking for?”
“You want information about your younger sister.”
I sat back down hard. My whole body trembled as I struggled to breathe. I’d been so careful about the information I gave because I didn’t want anyone to know I was searching for my sister’s killer.
And this stranger knew.