Arrow Branded – Chapter 6

By: Suspicious Panda

“He can’t even stand, Xavier,” Soleil said. Xavier bit his lip and looked away.

“We need to move and find that warlock.” He eyed the sleeping boys. I saw the guilt in his gaze. He knew they needed rest. He wanted them to rest. It just wasn’t possible, even I knew that. And I didn’t know much, as my mind was just starting to process what had happened.

I watched them. Then I looked over to the young man, asleep against the tree. Rumour rested beside him. Both injured. Both in need of help. They looked peaceful. They were physically beat up and broken, but sleep brought them some relief. Rumour had a deep wound in his side. The other boy had several injuries and bruises all over, as if he had been tortured.

“I know. I know I have to take them into consideration, that’s what I’m doing. They won’t last here. Neither of them have much time,” Xavier said. He regarded his sister. Soleil pulled out the map and looked it over.

“Xavier, it’s only a few hours walk,” she replied. Xavier looked back at his sister. He sighed.

“Fine. We’ll rest for a bit, then we leave,” he said. Then he stood up and walked over to the two sleeping boys. He sat cross-legged in front of them. He watched the two sleep. His gaze was affectionate towards his friend, but eyes passed right over the mystery boy. I could see his thoughts churning behind his eyes. Xavier obviously had his own story. His mismatched eyes were intelligent, with a whole world of thoughts and worries behind them. He touched Rumour’s hand, obviously worried about him. Rumour’s eyes fluttered open.

“Hey,” he said, trying to sit up. Xavier put a hand on his friend’s shoulder to stop him. I watched as Xavier turned his head towards the boy we just rescued. His lips had a slight blue tinge and Xavier put another blanket over him and Rumour. He brushed his shoulder-length hair from his sleeping face.

I turned my attention to the forest. I could not have dreamed up a crazier night. What happened to that lady? Whatever happened, we were gone. Soleil had helped the young man and Xavier helped Rumour, and we walked for about an hour before the young man threatened to pass out gain. I wondered about him sometimes. It seemed as though there was more than just injury affecting him. I had the same worries for Rumour.

I wiped at the blood that had trickled down the back of my neck when I had been shoved into the wall. I cleaned my hand off on the snow, leaving a small red stain against striking white. I pressed my fingers to my temple to calm my headache. Help me, I thought to anyone who would listen. Worries clouded my brain, I heard the voice of reason downing. When will this end? When can I go back to my horrible life, barely worth living? I never thought I’d say it, but I would do anything to go back to Lil’ Angel’s.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the sight of a person watching us from the trees. Their eyes were clouded and completely white, yet I could tell they could see me. I felt a shiver down my spine. I wasn’t sure whether that was from the weather or from the deep disturbance caused by the white-eyed bystander.

I watched as the snow fell lightly. It didn’t gather on the ground, but the snow from before didn’t melt. I hadn’t slept at all when we got away from Morrow Inn. Just couldn’t shake the feeling of being in danger. I knew I wouldn’t sleep for a while. Xavier and Rumour had brought the covers from their room, so we now had three blankets. That was a nice change, as it was pretty cold.

Before I knew it, we were leaving. Xavier gently awoke the mystery boy. He helped him to his feet and let him lean on his shoulder. I got the strange impression that they had met before. They knew each other. Soleil and I got Rumour off the floor. We wrapped each injured person in at least one blanket and we were off.

The walk was rather uneventful. Rumour stumbled over a rock or root once in awhile. The injured two were getting worse by the hour. Just watching them made me worry. How long until Dash’s place? Would they make it?

Along the way, I kept seeing flashes of white fabric behind trees and bushes. Was someone following us? Maybe it was that white-eyed bystander. I caught a glimpse of someone hiding amongst the trees. I distracted myself by thinking about where my feet were going and trying not to fall.

I felt a hand on my back. Frigid fingers on my skin. The feeling sent icy blades straight through my heart. I caught my breath at the pain, but when I turned nobody was there. I dismissed it as the weather finally doing what I’d expected; nothing good for my health.

After a few hours of ice cutting into my lungs, we stumbled upon a small village. A neon sign by the road read: Welcome to Allanar! I watched people pass. They all looked different from people I’d seen. As we walked, I noticed that each house was different from the last. One had large lawn and a Beware of Dog sign. The next had a bright blue awning and a picket fence.

As we approached a large building, the mystery young man staggered to the side, almost taking him and Xavier to the snow. I ran and helped stabilize him. As I took some of weight off Xavier, I felt that frosty stab through my chest again. My knees buckled, leaving Xavier to hold all the weight once again. I saw a person at the side of the path, just watching me. Not alarmed at all. Pleased maybe. Their hair was coated in a layer of frost and their skin looked very pale; I would go as far as to say is was white. Just like their milky eyes. I fell to my knees in the snow, clutching my chest.

“Oh my god! Are you okay?” A young man around twenty years of age knelt and helped me up. I gave him a look. Am I okay? I thought. Yeah, excellent.

I pushed him off and fought against the snow and pain to get to the door.

“We’re here to see Dash Hawthorne,” I said weakly. I put my weight against the door. Just to catch my breath. Just a short rest. The world went dark.