Chapter 15

Chapter 15

A Chapter by Rocki-san

I didn’t remember passing out, I didn’t remember falling but it must’ve happened because the next thing I knew I had woken up. I didn’t open my eyes at first, afraid of what I would see, afraid that if I did then Keno would be dead or I would still be with the demons… or worse. Sadly, I believed that it had gone worse.

I couldn’t move at all when I woke up, as if I was bounded or I was just too weak to move. Even my eyelids seemed too stiff to obey my thoughts. Breathing was still strenuous and the weight on my chest didn’t seem to help much and yet, I still felt as though I were light as a feather and I was freezing; so damn cold but my face was hot, almost burning on top of the cold. For a minute, I really thought that I was in hell, I was just too afraid to open my eyes and check.

The meditative crackle of twigs on a fire eased my mind, not hell then. Thank the Lord. A shiver ran throughout my body and I was able to move again, first my toes and then my stubborn eyelids. I opened my eyes and was immediately blinded by the bright light of a campfire. Keno, Logan and Kotori all gathered around the circumference of the fire, depending on its warmth since none of them were wearing their jackets. Odd, I remembered seeing them in jackets when they’d come in to fight Master.

The thought of the demon sent chills up my spine as I recalled its eerie and possessive call and the feel of its claws stroking my chin or its eyes watching my every move. Sleeping would be difficult for awhile.

“Hey, you’re awake,” Keno moved beside me and I realized that they had made a makeshift bed out of their jackets and some blankets they must’ve brought along. “How are you feeling?”

“I’m cold,” I said with difficulty, my throat was sore and still seemed swollen. “Am I still alive? Or did I turn into a zombie?”

Keno flicked my forehead and ignored my glare. He was cold, tired and possibly still in a little pain from where Fenris had torn a chunk of flesh from his chest and the stress of me collapsing probably wasn’t helping. He’d had to watch me nearly die two or three times now and we both knew that this would probably not be the last.

“No, you’re not a zombie,” he said. He was irritable but it wasn’t all directed to me, his discomfort and the demons were the major contributors. “Vigorous CPR brought you back with no strings attached.”

“And how can you be cold?” Logan grumbled as he shivered by the fire. “You have all our jackets and all our blankets, we’re in a cave by a roaring fire and you’ve been asleep. By the laws of the universe you should not be cold!”

I looked down to see a long red jacket and some of the heavier weapons set to the side in a delicate pile; well, that would explain the weight. Four jackets including mine and one filled with some weapons, three blankets (one of which was a hand-made Sa’harielan blanket made from animal fur) and I was still shivering. Keno placed his hand against my forehead and shook his head with uncertainty.

“He’s even cold to the touch,” Keno said. “If I’d just stuck my hand in the snow outside it would have had the same effect.”

“Why are we still in Winter Wonderland?” I grumbled crossly.

“Because there’s a blizzard, we didn’t want to move you too far and, oh yeah, there’s a blizzard!” Logan snarled, he’d never been one for the cold, it always made him cranky. This wasn’t the first time we’d been stranded in a forest due to snow, huddled against a fire. There was one time we’d had to brave the storm and trudged through it until we reached a town where the villagers were nice enough to let us stay until the tempest passed over.

“When you get warmed up and the storm passes over we’ll head back to Headquarters,” Keno said, his lips had thinned to a line and his jaw was set. He was bothered by all this, he wanted to talk but he held himself back knowing that it wouldn’t help me at the moment.

I offered them their jackets back and allowed Logan and Kotori to take a blanket so they could sleep. Keno declined on the jacket and sat by the fire, watching as snowflakes bombarded the forest floor. I put on the jacket Baba had so generously given me, it was already large for me but now it seemed bigger. I’d lost quite a bit of weight after the whole Hayek fiasco and hadn’t been able to gain any of it back but I hadn't noticed that it was this bad. I’d always been a scrawny kid but now it was just ridiculous.  As soon as any old grandmother saw me I’d probably be strapped to a chair and stuffed with sugar and other heart-attack inducing foods.

“You want to talk or should I just sit here sheepishly while you scold me?” I handed Keno his jacket anyway  and looked into the fire wishing that it would warm me up but it seemed to do little. Keno was quiet, as if he was actually trying to think of an answer to my sarcastic question.

“Why didn’t you tell me that you knew?” He asked finally with a defeated tone and I shrugged.

“It seemed like you went to great lengths to hide it from me,” I said. “And I wanted to see how long it was until you finally told me. Which you never did.”

“Telling you that mom was dead and we were orphans in a big, scary world was hard enough,” Keno said. “I couldn’t tell you that the demons killed mom to get to you. I just couldn’t.”

I’d never thought about it like that. Keno had the hardest time explaining what death was when I was younger, that mom was never going to come back and we were never going home, that we were all alone. How could he have said anything about this?

“And I wasn’t sure, yet,” he continued. “It wasn’t until I spoke with Niall that I was completely sure. How did you find out?”

“Hayek,” I said. “And Hiero.”

“Hiero?” Keno said. “That’s the strange one right? The one that, you know, tried to kill me?”

I nodded before continuing. “He’s always been watching me, all my life, even when we thought that we’d lost the demons, he was there. He’s probably watching right now but it’s hard to sense him since I’m so tired and cold.”

I explained everything that I’d learned about Hiero and the check up Hayek had given me. Keno listened intently, adding a question or a word or two but otherwise he just listened. When I finished, he sighed and leaned back.

“And none of them ever said what their plan is?” Keno asked finally and I shook my head.

“No,” I sighed. “And the Sa’harielans were plotting to assassinate me.”

“What?” Keno turned to look back at Kotori, sleeping peacefully, with the utmost rage. I froze, I’d really thought he’d known, but then again if he had Kotori would be long gone. I quickly got Keno’s attention back on me. “That’s what-”

“Yeah but he’s not going to do it!” I said quickly. “Only if he has to!”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “But obviously he’s not trying to kill me because he wouldn’t have come to save me twice now.”

Keno kept a lingering eye on Kotori but sighed and turned back to the fire. “You’re right.”

It was quiet, the crackling of kindling on the fire and the wind howling filling the void of silence if only for a moment.

“By the way,” I turned to look at Keno, he’d narrowed his eyes but kept his calm manner. “If you ever do that again, I swear to god, I’ll-”

“Don’t worry, I won’t,” I smiled at the insignificant threat.

“Good,” that’s what really put him at ease, the promise that I wouldn’t vanish on him again. I don’t think he’d be able to take another disappearing act. “Good.”

I shivered again, the fire may as well have not been there for all the good it was doing me. Keno looked at me, finally able to ask the question he’d been waiting to ask. “What happened?”

“I don’t know,” I sighed. “It just felt like I couldn’t breath and I actually felt my heart stop, Keno. What did they do to me? What are they planning?”

“I don’t know, that’s what we need to figure out,” Keno said. “Otherwise we’re just fish in a barrel waiting to be shot. But whatever we have to do we’ll do it together, no more secrets, okay?”

“Yeah,” I said and yawned.

“Go to sleep, squirt,” Keno smiled. “I’ve got first watch.”

“Let me guess, you’ve also got the second, third and fourth watch?” I snorted and Keno shrugged.

“Maybe,” he said and used a stick to poke at the embers. Yeah, he’d be up for quite a while.

I laid back in my makeshift bed; it truly was like the old days, finding a shelter in anything that could keep rain or snow off, a fire crackling in the background. It was nice, despite the lack of warmth, simple. Right now we needed simple.


The next morning the storm had cleared away but I wasn’t any better. I woke up with very little voice left and once again I felt as though I was paralyzed. After a few moments I could move my upper body but my legs were frozen and heavy.

“What do you mean you can’t move?” Keno said and I shrugged.

“My legs are like jello except jello wiggles,” I said with annoyance. “I can’t walk.”

Keno nodded but I could see he was just concerned again. He took out his transmitter and started talking to Ila. After, he turned and just appeared more stressed than ever. He ran a tired hand through blonde hair and sighed.

“She doesn’t have any idea,” Keno said. “We’ll have to see her when we get back. You still can’t move?”

“I’m slowly getting the feeling back,” I started to get up with his and Logan’s help. They both helped me walk through the snow to the car they had brought along.

The drive was long and cold and it was quiet, deafeningly so. Even my mind seemed to be silenced like the dead of winter when it should have been running wild with questions. Somehow I seemed at peace, as though I’d seen the worse, hit rock bottom.

“How’re your legs?” Keno asked from the front and I looked away from the window to shrug. I was still too tired and my voice to weak to answer. My mind may have been at peace, but my heart definitely wasn’t. I felt different than I had the day before but I couldn’t explain how or what had changed. I was scared but, at the same time, apathetic. I wasn’t even sure if I were myself anymore, as if there were a huge part of me missing. I should have been happy but instead I felt lost.

We knew the enemy now, that was the first step wasn’t it? All we had to do was find a way to stop them but, somehow, I felt that was going to be the trickiest part of all and that was what terrified me the most.  

© 2010 Rocki-san

Author's Note

This one is kinda short... so I figured "What the heck I'll just post it too." Enjoy

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Added on September 6, 2010
Last Updated on September 6, 2010



Hey, I'm Rocki! I live on a 14-mile long island where there isn't really anything to do so I write. I'm an Anthropology major and willing to read your stories or books if requested as long as you give.. more..