Totally late on this one... Got in super late from a weekend away last night and passed out. And I'd spent the 4 of the last 10 days in the car. Not particularly fun, even though the visits in between were lovely.
Anyhoo, I'm not wimping out. I have a flash peice for this picture. The upside to hours upon hours in the car by yourself? Lots of ideas pop up and there're no distractions as they come to ilfe in your head.
This is another glimpse into Delia's life. She's the heroine from my NA serial that will begin next week. Squee! So excited about it. You can check out the last tidbit from Delia HERE before reading on...or just read on....
Lying in Wait
I leaned against the tree, scratching the growing number of bug bites on my exposed skin. And there was a fair amount of it. Should've changed out of the thin, short dress I'd thrown on that morning, but I hadn't expected to be standing here long after night fell. And honestly, the air was heavy and thick with humidity, even now, and I'd be sweltering in anything else. The small amount of relief I felt as the stingy breeze coasted over my damp skin was worth it. I smacked my neck, grimacing at the smear of blood on my palm. Mostly worth it.
Where was he? I peered down the dark street. This was the way he'd come back, the way he always came back whenever he left for...whatever he was doing. He still wouldn't tell me anything, saying I was too young, that Mom would have his ass if he involved me at all. Of course, Dad just talking to me about magic, in general, was enough to get her blood boiling something fierce. Which was why I'd waited for her to doze in the recliner before slipping out to meet Dad when he returned. I figured this was the only way I'd get him to share anything about his secret outings. Not that I'd been successful to this point, but at home? No chance there.
Oh, he'd be annoyed when he saw me. He'd get out of the car, all frowns and glares, but that would only last a moment before he'd shake his head and and nod for me to get in. And even if I couldn't get him to spill about, we'd talk about magic. Freely and without worried looks. I swatted at another mosquito buzzing around my ear and sighed. I knew Mom didn't mean anything by it. She really didn't understand why we needed to talk, why I needed to learn about what was inside me. How could she? She wasn't a magic user. She didn't feel the power thrumming through her, pushing ever outward as she had to hide that part of herself from everyone out of fear. She couldn't imagine what it was like to feel as if she were dying because something that was so essential to who she was was being smothered.
I spun at the soft call, grabbing the tree truck for balance as I tripped over my own feet. Squinting into the night, I tried to find the source of the voice, and nearly fell on my ass when a tall figure stepped from the shadows across the way onto the asphalt.
"Kyle? What are you doing here?"
He braced his hands on his knees and bent forward, gulping air. I hurried closer to him, joining him on the road. and saw he was drippping with sweat. His jeans were torn at the knees, filthy, and when he straightened, my stomach roiled when the streetlight illuminated a nasty gash along his temple and the blood coating half his face.
I closed the distance between us and reached up. Before I could touch him, murmur one of the healing spell Dad had taught me, Kyle grabbed my wrists and shook his head, wincing as the movement obviously pained him. He glanced around nervously.
"Not here. Not now."
"What's going on? What happened to you?"
"There's no time to explain. You have to get home. Now. And when they come, you know nothing."
"When who comes?" I pulled free of his grasp but didn't move back.
"I was with your dad and mine. They...they..." He pressed his lips together and swallowed audibly. "They were taken, and there are going to be people asking questions. About your dad, about..."
Kyle and his father were the only people other than my parents who knew what I was. Because they were magic users, too. What the hell had they been doing? Who had taken our fathers? Where were they? What was going to happen to them? The questions battered at my skull, and I clenched my hands into tight fists.
"Fuck, Dee!" Kyle grabbed my arm and hauled me to the side, off the road and into the cover of the surrounding forest. "You need to pull it in."
I followed his gaze, looked down, and saw my hands glowing as my emotions spiraled out of control.
"Where are they?" I gasped.
"I don't know. They told me to run, and I did. I ran. I didn't even try to--"
His shame bore down on me, heavy and suffocating. I shoved through the worry and fear and wrapped my arms around his waist. He was just sixteen - a year older than me. If someone had managed to take down both his and my dads, Kyle wouldn't have stood a chance.
"They said run, you run. That's the rules," I said softly.
"We have to go home now." His voice was flat and dull as he held me tightly. "And when questions are asked - "
"I know nothing," I finished, pulling back and looking at him. Before he could see what I was doing, I whispered the spell and touched my fingers to the cut on his head. When he opened his mouth to protest, I spoke first. "They'll ask more questions if you're injured."
He nodded reluctantly. "Yeah, they would. Come on." He grabbed my hand and started pulling me through the trees toward our homes, rather than along the road.
"You tell me what happened, right? What you were doing?" I asked quietly as we stumbled along in the dark.
"Yeah, I'll tell you everything I know," he assured. "When it's safe."
It was quiet, except for the sound of our feet in the brush, for several minutes. Then, I could taken it anymore.
"They're gone, aren't they? Our dads, I mean. They're not coming back."
Kyle tripped slightly ahead of me, and he glanced back, face pale, still streaked with blood. And his blue eyes shining with tears. "I don't know, Dee. I really don't know."