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Where I Live (Part 7)

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I could hear soft, echoing sounds around me. They sounded like footsteps, but it was like I was hearing them from underwater. There was also the sound of quiet breathing, even and steady. It was dark, that much I could tell even with my eyes closed, and there was a slight breeze that I could barely feel. The ground was cold and hard underneath me and my shirt was wet with a thick, sticky liquid. Oh yeah . . . I got clawed. . . That normally causes bleeding. I cringed inwardly at the memory of all that had happened and didn’t want to open my eyes, knowing who it was that I could hear breathing next to me.
“Kryn?” Ethan asked, his voice soft.
Cr*p. . . I knew it. . . Someone kill me. I opened my eyes slowly and thankfully found that he wasn’t looking at me. “What . . .” I sat up slowly. “If we’re trying to hide from someone I don’t think it’s very smart to go to the place I always park my bike in.”
“How’d you know we’re hiding?”
“You’re crouched behind a car.”
“How’d you know where we were?”
“I can see my bike.”
He gave a quiet, nervous laugh and looked around the edge of the car we were hiding behind. “At least I can’t see that crazy guy that tried to kill me.”
“Dak.”
He turned to look at me. “Huh?”
“Dak. His name is Dak.” I tried not to look him in the eye.
“I thought I heard you call him that.”
“How . . . How did you survive after . . . I thought he . . .”
He looked back around the car. “I’m not really sure. . . I healed so fast. . . I think . . . maybe even before you got hurt. And then . . .” He looked back at me in confusion and distress. “I think I healed you too. It was like before, when Ran attacked you and you hit your head. . . All I did was hold you there and I put my hand over the wound . . .” He stared down at his hands, obviously remembering, “The bleeding slowed and stopped . . . and then when I moved my hand . . . there was no injury so . . . I took you home.” He shook his head and put his hands back down on the ground. “We should get moving.”
I nodded and patted my pockets. “I don’t have my keys.”
He smiled and held up my keychain. “I though we might need these.”
I smiled despite the worry and fear that was twisting my gut. “All right, let’s go.”
I kept watching and listening for Dak as we made our way to my bike. When we got there, I pulled it out before sitting down. “Well?”
“Well, what?” Ethan asked.
“Get on.”
He thought for a minute or so. “I change my mind. I think I’d rather walk.”
“Then when you get caught I’ll come back for your body. Get on, you scaredy-cat! I’m not that bad of a driver.”
Looking worried, he got on behind me and hesitantly wrapped his arms around my waist. “Really?”
“Yeah,” I turned the key, starting the engine, “I’ve only crashed eight or nine times.”
“What!?”
I took off. His grip tightened around my ribs for a few seconds as the force of our peel out almost threw him off. I’d known he wouldn’t fall and felt like I needed to be sarcastic and keep making jokes, just to distract myself. The first step to getting over a problem is to accept that you have one. . . And the only way I can see to get over this . . . problem, I couldn’t even think the word, is not a solution I want.
“Where are we going to go?” Ethan said in my ear, striving to be heard over the air that was rushing by.
“We’re going to the lake.” I said, a little louder than him. “It’s about twenty miles or so from here. There’s a cabin there that my grandparents bought when I was only a couple years old. It’s been abandoned for a long time. We can stay there for a while.”
“And after ‘a while’ has passed?”
I paused, focusing on the traffic. “I don’t know. . .” I admitted. “We’ll figure something out.”
He fell silent and I continued to drive. We had to stop for gas once since I rarely used my bike and had forgotten to fill up the tank, but all in all it only took a little over thirty minutes to get to the lake. When we stopped, we were only a few yards from a cliff that was around thirty feet up from the water.
Ethan looked over the edge at the water and then to the left and right at the trees. “This place is beautiful. Why does no one come here?”
“They usually do but that’s on weekends or days off. We’re lucky it’s Wednesday.”
“I just feel like jumping off.”
“Well, the fall won’t kill you, but if you hit the water wrong I can guarantee you’ll have a huge red mark somewhere.”
“Sounds painful.”
“It is.” I found that if I didn’t look at him when I talked to him and kept my mind focused on other things I was looking at, the urge to kill him faded into the background. “I did it when I was seven.”
“Aw, you poor thing.” He said in a mocking tone.
“I was sore for a week.” I pointed off into the trees. “See the cabin down there?”
He came over to look. “Yeah I see it. . . That thing is tiny . . . and decrepit.”
“It’s only one room and a bathroom. And yes, it hasn’t been lived in for a year or so, but the roof doesn’t leak and it’s not in danger of collapsing any time soon.”
“Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s go.”
I nodded and looked up at the sky over the lake. It seemed bluer than in the city, calmer here. A soft sound made me turn and my eyes widened.
“Look out!”
I shouted, grabbing Ethan’s arm and flinging him backwards. His back had barely touched the ground when someone slammed into me from the side. Black feathers flew as we fell over the edge, tumbling through the air. It took me a split second to realize how much smaller than me the Bird of Prey was. Just a kid just a kid just a kid! My mind screamed. He wasn’t letting go either. At this rate, we would both end up at the bottom of the lake.
“Let go, shrimp!” I shouted.
Pulling my foot up against his stomach, I kicked hard against him. His grip finally released and he pulled up as the water got closer, flying away. That was the last thing I saw before my shoulders slammed against the surface of the water and dark blue filled my vision.





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