ThreeA Chapter by Aly
I woke up to bright sunlight and I felt refreshed. I’d slept a long time. The sun was right over my head, so it was about noon. I’d gone to sleep when it was still daylight the night before, so I knew I’d been out long. I looked over to find Harding but he wasn’t there. I was alone. I sat up quickly and searched the trees. He wasn’t there. My heart beat fast. What if he’d left me? What if “Winter” had gotten him? “Harding!” I shouted, not even afraid of what might be waiting out there for me.
I listened but I didn’t hear anything. I stood up and felt myself panicking. When had I become so needy? “Avalon?” I heard Harding say from a distance. I felt my heart dance in my chest. I pushed through the branches of the trees and into the clearing. I didn’t see him.
“Harding!” I shouted. Why did I feel so out of control? Why did I feel so afraid?
“Stay there, Avalon, and be quiet.” I hear Harding say, still in the distance.
Much quieter I heard someone else talk. “Boy, I told you to call her! Bring her to us or you’re going to die too.”
“Kill me then.” I heard Harding say. My eyes widened and rushed in the direction of his voice. I heard the person sigh.
“I know you don’t want me to do that. You don’t even know this girl. Just call her here and you will get away safe.” The man said. I got closer to the voices and my footfalls fell silent. There were trees all around me but they stood in a clearing. Harding stood tall and fierce. He looked strong and uncaring. The other person, one of the police looked small but power radiated from him. I looked around for something, a place I could get closer, but nothing. I was as close as I could get.
“No, maybe I don’t know her that well, but I know I have to protect her, and I will.” Said Harding. He sounded sure of himself.
“Fine.” Said the man. “I guess you’re of no use then. He pulled out a gun and smiled. I panicked. I pulled out two of my knives. He shrugged his shoulders and aimed right at Harding’s head. I threw my knives. I shot wrung out and I fell to the ground. I heard someone scream in pain, then another, clearly Harding.
“Harding!” I shouted as I pulled myself up. I stepped into the clearing and ran straight toward him. He lay motionless on the ground. Next to him laid two men with knives in their hearts. Strange. I’d only seen one; I’d only been aiming for one. Then I saw the wound that went straight into the middle of Harding’s torso. “Oh my God!” I screamed. “No.” Then I felt myself getting weaker. He didn’t move. “Harding!” I screamed some more. Why hadn’t I thrown those stupid knives sooner? “Please Harding.” Another boy dying for me. How… how stupid! Why couldn’t I protect them?
“Avalon, it’s okay.” Harding whispered. “I’m okay.” My heartbeat sped up and I grabbed his hand. It was really warm and I put my hand on his wrist to find his pulse. It was strong. Thank God.
“How?” I whispered back.
“I don’t know, but I can feel myself getting stronger. I’ll be okay.” I lifted his hand to my mouth and kissed it. Thank God, but how? How was he healing?
“I’m glad. I couldn’t go on if you died too.” I whispered to him. He smiled and I watched as the hole in his chest seemed to stitch itself up, then he was whole again.
He pulled himself up and winced. Then he stood all the way up and I followed. I couldn’t help myself, I hugged him tight, and he laughed. “Thanks.” He said. I could hear the smile in his voice.
“No problem.” I said and pushed him away from me. I smiled at him. This kid made me smile so much. I’d never felt happy like this. “So what, you can just heal yourself then? No questions asked?”
He shrugged. “I guess so. It feels like I’ve done it before even though I can’t remember.”
I punched him in the arm. I was so happy he was okay. “I guess.” I said mockingly.
He smiled and then turned to the dead guys. I’d killed them both. “Damn.” He said loudly and glanced at me. “How the hell did you manage that?”
I felt a smile form on my lips. He was so easygoing and it felt natural to be happy with him. “I have no clue. I didn’t even know there was a second guy.”
“That’s skill right there.” He said. “Then he turned to me and looked serious. “So… you and Winter… you think he’s going to come back?”
I felt my happiness fade. “No. Well I don’t know.”
He hesitated but then he went ahead and asked. “If he doesn’t, will you be okay. I mean if we have to kill him, could you?”
I shuddered. “No, and no.”
He dropped his gaze. “Oh.” He seemed disappointed. Had he wanted me to say I’d gladly kill him? I gave him a puzzled look and he looked back at me. “Sorry.”
“It’s fine.” I said. He didn’t understand why I felt the way I did about Winter. I didn’t either, but he didn’t know Winter like I did. How could he understand? “Let’s just get going.” He shook his head in agreement and we made our way out of the clearing and toward wherever it was we were headed.
“You’re right, I don’t understand.” Said Harding after a few minutes of walking. He’d been deep in thought until now.
“Right about what?” I asked.
He looked at me for a minute. “I don’t understand why you like Winter. He seems, I don’t know, mean? I mean yeah, when you talked to him, the actual him, he was nice enough, but all the other stuff you told me, I don’t understand. You said he said all these mean things to you and you basically hated him until he died. He told you, you couldn’t make it. I just don’t get it.”
I looked at him in confusion. How did he know what I had been thinking? How did he know those things about Winter and I? I’d never told him. “How do you know what happened between us? I never told you anything.” I sounded accusing when I asked, but I was really more curious.
His eyes got big. “Sorry.” He said quickly.
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
He looked a little defeated. “Fine. I can hear you. I can hear your thoughts when you get really… emotional. I can hear you when your thoughts are loud. I can hear you when you’re scared or worried or whatever. I don’t know how to describe it. I just know.” He said this quickly with a look that said he wasn’t even sure about what he was saying.
I stared at him open mouthed. “What? You’ve been listening to my thoughts?” Oh my gosh. This guy had been listening to all the stupid crap I’d been thinking? Thank God I wasn’t thinking things about him. Shoot! I had! Oh my gosh, what if he could hear me now. My mind went quiet.
“No.” He said as he shook his head furiously. “They just come to me when you’re thinking loudly. I swear. I can’t just listen in whenever.”
I felt myself calm al little. “Why? Why can you hear my thoughts? Can you hear others?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I can’t hear other peoples. Just yours. Maybe it’s because you think so strongly. Whenever I hear you it’s like I can see things through your eyes.”
I felt my face flush. Dear God I hoped I never experienced anything I didn’t want him to see. “Okay. I’m just… that’s too weird. I can’t… I don’t know.” I didn’t know what to say. Yes it was weird, but I couldn’t think about it right now. I didn’t know what to think. “I feel that way about him because he saved me from myself.” I just blurted it out.
Harding gave me a confused look and I felt stupid. “What do you mean?”
I threw my hands in the air and looked away from him. “I don’t know. He’s saved me more than once. The first time I was just going to go off and die and, I don’t know, forget about life? You know? But then he came along and I saved him and I realized, with his help, that I had to get revenge for my family. Then the police caught us and he protected me. He died. No one cared about me like that before. No one cared enough to save me before. No one cared enough to protect me. When he did I just… I can’t explain.” I felt the tears come to my eyes as I finally realized it myself. No one had cared before him. “I just miss his stupid smile and the way he could laugh even though the world was falling down.”
I looked up at Harding and saw that he was trying hard to be strong. “I know what it’s like.” He said with an attempted smile. “I had a girl like that. You don’t know how many times I tried to die. I wanted out. I tried to kill myself. I tried so many times, but she was always there to save me. Always. Until now. Now she’s gone. I’ve got nothing. We’re both broken. We both need each other.” His sad smile turned into one of happiness. “I remembered something.”
I smiled at him but I could feel the hurt for him. “Who was she?”
That’s when his smile fell. He thought for a moment and the smile returned. “My mother.”
Memories slammed my mind. My mother getting me dressed for school, our trips to the store, and our girls’ nights out, her whispering how much she loved me at night. My mother. The woman that had helped me through what I had thought had been depression. The woman that stuck up for me when I was teased. I knew the loss he felt. “Harding.” I whispered to him. He looked detached, probably remembering the times he spent with his mom like I had.
He looked up at me and tried to smile, but I saw the tear slide down his face before he could quickly wipe it away. “I’m such a baby. I bet Winter never got like this.”
I felt so connected to him right now. “You’re not a baby. You are so strong. Winter never even cared about his family. He had nothing to lose. You and me, we lost so much. We lost everything we ever loved.” He looked up at me with sad eyes and shook his head in agreement.
All I could think about was comforting him. I knew I wanted it, needed it. He had to feel the same way. I needed someone to comfort me and I needed to cry. I needed him. I wanted to fall into his arms and cry until I felt numb, until I couldn’t think. “Please do.” He whispered, and I did.
I’d never cried so hard. I’d never cleared my mind of them. I’d never cleared my conscience. Neither had he it seemed. We held each other for hours just pouring our souls out. I’d never felt so close to someone, not even Winter. Not even my mother. As our crying slowed and the numbness settled in, Harding kissed my forehead. “Thank you.” He said. He pulled away from me and looked me in the eyes. I just looked back at him. His eyes were red and puffy, but other than that he looked good. He looked clean. He also looked… different.
“No problem.” I said not taking my eyes from his. He did the same. We just looked at each other for a long time. I noticed things about him I hadn’t before. I noticed the way his eyes turned a lighter blue as they came closer to his iris. I noticed how his nose was a little crooked yet fit perfectly with his face. I noticed how his bottom lip was a little fuller than the top. I saw how the color of his hair was like three different shades of brown. I saw that he had a little scar on his left cheek. I also notices jut how perfect he looked.
I let my mind wander. I imagined kissing his disproportioned lips and I smiled. I imagined the way our noses would bump together and I wondered if the skin on his face was as soft as it looked. I imagined running my hands through his silky hair. I imagined him thinking the same things about me. The smile widened on my face. If life could stay like this, if life could be this simple, I’d have no problems. I’d never complain. I felt my face get red when I remembered he could hear my thoughts when they were loud, and loud they were. I watched as he smiled and then laughed at me. Yes, he definitely heard my thoughts. Embarrassing. Then he smiled softly at me and without speaking he cupped my face in his smooth hand. I felt warmth erupt through my whole body. Then he leaned in and pressed his lips to mine. Our noses bumped together and I smiled in our kiss. I lifted my hand to his face and ran my hand through his hair and across the skin on his face. It was softer than I ever thought possible. My hand fell down to his arm and I felt him tense at my touch, like it was new to him. Maybe it was. It was new to me. I’d only ever kissed a dying boy and a crazy person controlling the dead boys body, and that was recent.
He pulled away from me and I felt a strange sense of disappointment. “Avalon.” He said. His face was strained.
“What is it?” I asked breathlessly.
“Do you wish I was Winter?” He asked quietly.
I stared at him. I had thought I’d wanted Winter all this time. Maybe I still did, but now, I wanted Harding. “Not at all.” I felt myself whisper back. Then I pulled Harding back to me and kissed him again. This time he pressed himself against me. I could feel the things he felt burning into me. I could feel him. I could almost hear HIM. I felt his longing for me and it made me crave him more. I pressed myself against him, wanting to be a part of him, but knowing I couldn’t be.
“Avalon stop.” He said and pulled himself away from me. This time he stood. He looked at me with a sadness in his eyes. “I can hear you, you know.”
I shook my head yes. “Yeah, I’m thinking loudly again.” Why did he look so sad?
“Then why would you lie to me?” He asked. His eyes were hurt.
“What do you mean?” I asked. I raised my hand to my mouth and touched my lips with my fingers, longing for him to kiss me again.
“You do wish I was him. I can hear you,” His eyes looking even sadder.
“No?” I said, questioning myself. I hadn’t been thinking like that.
“Stop! Please.” He begged, his eyes pleading me. “I get it. I’m not good enough. Please just… I understand.”
“Harding, I’m not…” I stopped talking; he’d backed away from me.
“I know, I’m a mess, I get it, but I thought you understood.” He looked beaten and broken. “Okay. I’ll leave, if that’s what you want.”
“No!” I shouted as he turned. “Harding stop!” What was going on? Why was he acting like this? He just kept walking. I started to panic. Again. He was going to leave me here alone. I stood to follow him. “Harding!” I shouted. I sounded like a five-year-old having a panic attack. I ‘ran up and grabbed his hand. “Listen to me.” I said to him. He ignored me. “Listen to me!” I shouted at him. He still didn’t. I felt myself going crazy. It was like he wasn’t hearing me, but someone else.
“I’ll never be good enough.” He whispered to himself and my heart pumped in my chest. For the first time, I knew what I wanted, and it wasn’t Winter, it was Harding. It was Harding. I could feel my thoughts blowing up in my mind. I could feel my heart beating fast. The attraction I felt for this guy was more than I’d ever felt before and I didn’t know what to do with it, so I let it build up, hoping that some how, it would make him notice me. It worked. He whirled around to me as my thought finally burst into his. His blue eyes sparkled. “Avalon?”
“Hey.” I said as I threw my arms around him. “I don’t know what just happened but I hope it NEVER happens again. EVER.”
I heard him breathe a sigh of relief, as he realized whatever harsh words he heard weren’t mine. “I can still hear them, but I hear you louder.” He said to me.
“Just focus on me and my thoughts.” I pulled every good thing I could into my head as we walked out of the little area we’d been in for the past few hours. We walked out into a large clearing and I felt him relax.
“It’s gone.” He said calmly. “It’s gone.”
I couldn’t help myself. I pulled his lips to mine and kissed them. I pulled away quickly. “Sorry.”
He smiled. “No, it’s fine, really.” His smile got bigger.
I smiled a little sheepishly and started walking in a random direction. Was my head on straight? Wasn’t I just kissing Winter, and I’d already moved on? When had I become so… I don’t even know. I just kept walking, trying to straighten out my thoughts. Did I want Winter, or did I really want Harding? I needed Winter to be here for me to decide that. I didn’t need to decide anyway! This, my life, was not about boys; it was about getting the revenge my family deserved. I couldn’t let myself get sidetracked on boys.
“Avalon, why are you walking so fast?” Harding said as he caught up with me. He grabbed my hand and I had the urge to keep holding it, instead I pulled away. I peeked up at him and he looked confused.
“I’m sorry.” I said to him. “It’s just, I realized I shouldn’t be focusing on boys. I need to focus on what needs to be done. I don’t want to be distracted.”
He stayed quiet for a minute. “Oh I see. So you were just using me back there? You were just using me, saying you needed me and that you wanted me, so that, what? You could feel good about yourself? I don’t understand.” He looked angry, yet more upset.
“I said I’m sorry.” I said. “But no, I wasn’t using you. I do feel that way about you, it’s just complicated. Can’t you understand that?”
He looked at me, really looked at me, and shook his head. “Not really. Sometimes you have to let someone help you. You aren’t always as strong as you think you are.” Then he picked up his pace and walked quietly ahead of me.
I watched him and wanted so badly to apologize, but I couldn’t. I might as well let him go, maybe he can save himself, and maybe I won’t have to watch him die too. I slowed down and let him get further ahead of me. I watched as he slowly disappeared and then I stopped. I closed my eyes tightly. I fell the tears want to come into my eyes, but I pushed them away. I am strong. I need to learn how to do this alone again. I opened my eyes and went in a different direction, this time I wasn’t going to follow someone. If Harding died, at least I wouldn’t have to see it. I wouldn’t have to risk my life to save him.
I heard a rustling in the bushes ahead of me after I had been walking for a while. I quieted my feet and hid behind a huge tree. The rustling got louder and then I heard footsteps getting nearer to me. I tried to move around the tree as the steps got closer, but then, for some strange reason, I tripped and went flying to the ground, I was usually so careful. I made so much noise that there was no way I wasn’t about to be killed off by some crazy police person, but nothing happened. I just lay there. Then I heard the footsteps getting closer to me. I peeked up and saw a pair of black boots, and as I looked even higher, I saw a gun pointed right at my face. I sucked in air and waited, but nothing. Then the gun pulled away from my face and reveled a boy about my age that was definitely not the police.
“What are you doing?” He asked in a harsh whisper.
I pulled myself up and dusted myself off. “I was trying to stay hidden from you.” I whispered back, not entirely sure why we were whispering.
He gave me a funny look. “You’re not very good at it. Are you new at this?”
“No.” I growled back. “I’ve been doing this for three years thank you.”
His eyes danced around. “Falling?” He said it with humor, but a smile never came to his lips. He was like me, used to being unhappy.
I gave him a fierce look. “You know what I mean. Are you alone?”
He shook his head yes. “Of course. Who would travel with someone? That’s a death sentence.”
I agreed. “Tell me about it. I just let my last “buddy” go. Didn’t want to get him killed like the other.”
“Oh.” He said with a shake of his head. Then there was more rusting from the trees. “Damn it.” He whispered. I pulled him back behind the tree with me. The tree was huge, but I didn’t know if we were hiding very well. This kid was probably six and a half foot tall, and on top of that, he was ripped, so he stuck out like a sore thumb.
He pulled out his gun and aimed it toward the noise. “Where the hell are we going?” Asked a guy from the trees.
“I don’t know. Can you see him anywhere?” Another said from a little further behind him.
I gave a look to the kid next to me that said “really”. How could he not know these two loud mouths had been following him. He shrugged at me and whispered. I barely heard him, but I got, “They seem like that got pretty good skill to me.” Obviously he was kidding.
The first of the boys tripped out into a clearing near us and fell flat on his face. “That one looks like you.” Whispered the kid that sat next to me. I taped his shoulder, it was supposed to be a punch, but I figured it’d hurt me worse.
The next on walked out and started laughing hysterically. “Shut up!” Shouted the one that lay on the ground. If they weren’t so stupid I’d have said they were cute. Both blonde with stunning blue eyes and sculpted bodies.
The second one shut up instantly and picked the first on up. The boy next to me raised his gun and looked like he was going to pull the trigger on them. I slapped him. “What are you doing?” I asked as I pulled on his shirtsleeve.
He rolled his eyes at me and put down his gun. He looked down at the ground and found a rock. With the blink of an eye he threw it so far I barely heard when it rustled a couple leaves. “There!” One of them shouted and the first guy stood up quickly. They ran in the direction of the sound, completely missing us. The boy stood up and pulled me with him.
“Was that supposed to impress me?” I asked.
He shook his head no and rolled his eyes again. He took off in the opposite direction of them and I followed. After a while he stopped and turned to me. “Remember, it’s safer if we travel alone.” He said with a tone that made me feel embarrassed. I decided to be difficult.
“It is easier, but with your smarts and my, well, living skills, we could make a great team.” I said, I just didn’t want to go off along again, and this kid knew what he was doing.
He started shaking his head. “No.”
“Come on.” I said with attitude.
“No.” He repeated.
“Please. Look, we can just stay together until I find one of the guys I’ve been traveling with, and I’ll leave. I have a lot of explaining to do. We can help protect each other, and I can tell you if there’s some idiot following you.” I said. No, I wasn’t interested in him, yes, he was very attractive, so attractive that I didn’t find him attractive, but that’s not the point. I really didn’t want anything to do with him. I wanted to find Harding again. I was stupid for leaving him. I already missed him.
“You’d have to be telling me the whole time if you’re going to go with me.” He said.
“I would, I prom…” Then it hit me. “Wow, thanks. Nice compliment.” I saw the laughter in his eyes but it didn’t show on his face. Yep, he was exactly what I had been before Winter and Harding. “And maybe I can loosen you up a little,” Another smile in his eyes. “ Wow, you know what I mean.”
“As long as you promise not to get us killed, you can come with me.” He said.
“I promise.” I said. “What’s your name? Mine’s Avalon.”
“That’s nice.” He said as he started walking.
“Aren’t you going to tell me yours?” I asked.
“Nope.” He said, and he didn’t.
“Wow.” I said. What a weird guy. “Have you seen a cute blonde guy with blonde hair and either green or brown eyes running around.” He shook his head and kept walking. “What about a cute guy with brown hair and blue eyes?” He shook his head again. “You are of no help.”
“Do you ever stop talking?” He asked, still walking ahead of me.
“No I don’t.” I said. “You try hanging out with two people who can’t understand you unless you talk. It makes you turn into a blabber mouth.” He didn’t even answer. If this is what I used to be like, man was I irritating! “Say something.”
He looked at me and rolled his eyes. That must be his signature move. “My names Raven.”
So many things hit me. His name fit perfect. How I hadn’t guessed it before was crazy. His hair was black as night, and even his eyes were dark. His skin was pretty pale though. It worked for him. It would have looked ridiculous on anyone else, but him it was like a perfect fit. Then I felt that name drifting through my head and memories welling up. I remembered the few times I’d woken up from nightmares and been so terrified. All I could remember were dark eyes and the name Raven. I remembered my sisters waking up in the middle of the night crying and the only thing I understood was Raven. I remembered the birds flocking in our town and whenever I stepped outside I remembered how they attacked me. I remembered how they had once cut me so deep I’d had to get stitches. Lastly, I remembered the night before my family died, having a dream about Raven. A dream where I lay dead in a field surrounded by Ravens and dead flowers. I remember a boy, a light skinned, dark haired boy, coming to me and lifting me in his arms. I remember how he cried for me. Then I remember the tears that fell on me and I watched as my body had glowed and I’d woken up in my bed. The dream was over. I didn’t know what happened.
“Are you okay?” I heard Raven say as I came back to reality. He was looking into my eyes and it scared me when I saw him. Raven. The one from my dreams. I backed away from him. He gave me a confused look. Was I supposed to fear him, or was he supposed to be someone I trusted.
“I don’t know right now.” I croaked out.
“Where did you go?” He asked. “I mean, where did your mind go?”
I shook my head around. This was to weird. I’d spent my life fearing I’d meet him, and when I had, I hadn’t recognized him. “It doesn’t matter.” I whispered.
“Avalon!” I heard someone shout in the distance. Harding.
“Harding!” I shouted back, not taking my eyes off the confused Raven.
“Who is that? What’s wrong?” Asked Raven. I almost felt sorry for him. He looked afraid and confused.
Harding appeared out of the trees and ran over to me. “You must be Raven.” He hissed.
Raven’s eyes widened. “How did you know?”
Harding didn’t answer. “Stop.” I said. “He wasn’t going to hurt me. He doesn’t even know anything.”
Harding turned to me confused. “But your thoughts. That’s not what you were thinking.”
“I know.” I said calmly. “That was a dream. A dream from a long time ago.”
“What is going on?” Raven asked.
Harding started to answer but I stopped him. “Nothing. You’re staying with us.”
He shook his head. “No. Three is to many. They’ll find us.”
“Don’t fight me Raven. You owe me that much.” I said, remembering how the dreams had scarred me.
He still looked confused, but he stopped talking. Harding gave Raven a look and then turned to me. “I saw him. He was fighting with himself again.” Said Harding with a little bit of hurt in his voice. “Winter was trying to take over, but I don’t think he ever did.”
I wiped my face with my hand. And ran my fingers in my knotted hair. “I wish I knew how to get whatever it is out of him.” I said. I felt the hurt coming back. I really did miss him. I looked up at Raven and he was shaking his head confused.
“For you, I wish we could too.” Harding said, and I heard Raven make a funny sound.
“What are you doing?” I asked him. He had a look on his face that said he wanted to laugh, but he knew he shouldn’t. Weird, I took him as more of the serious type.
“Oh, it’s nothing.” He said, so I ignored him. I turned back to Harding to talk, but then Raven continued. “ It’s just that you obviously have something for this “Winter” guy, and then you’ve got this “Harding” kid having feelings for you, and it seems like you like him too, I mean, not to judge or anything but…”
“Shut up.” Said Harding with a death stare.
“See.” Said Raven and I just looked at him. As if I didn’t already know what was happening. I was not that kind of girl.
“Please don’t.” I said simply. Then I heard as shout and before I knew what it was, I was running, running toward it.
“Avalon!” I heard Harding shout, and then I even heard Raven call my name, but I couldn’t stop running. Then I ran right into a guy the size of a mountain.
© 2012 Aly
Added on April 9, 2012
Last Updated on April 9, 2012
AboutI absolutely LOVE writing. I have that in common with NO ONE that I know. I like writing stories about things that could be happening every day, but i also like to write random adventurous ones too! I.. more..