Antonio Rich is not my favourite person at this stage. It’s all his fault that I’m now officially behind with my other writing, officially behind on my other projects, and officially, totally, committed to finishing this story before the 14th, lol. I should’ve warned you guys, I don’t do shorts. I’m trying to keep this one under 10K, but it will be a challenge. 😉 The characters have taken a life of their own, the story a path I had not expected.
And… I love it. I haven’t written anything original in ages. Years.
So, really, Antonio Rich is my new hero. He’s reminded me that I’m not just a Fan Fiction author, lol, and on the odd occasion, I can create characters of my own.
For your entertainment: Part 3.
Bitten Part 3.
She woke up feeling hot and feverish, her body aching and her thoughts sluggish. She was more aware of her surroundings this time, of the bed and blanket that covered her, of the window and the forest beyond. She looked at it, at the rough texture of the tree’s bark, contrasted so strongly by the vivid greens of the leaves they carried. She could almost smell the earth, the rich aroma of soil and living things.
She longed to walk underneath it, to feel her feet sink into the damp leaf covered undergrowth. She longed to run, to move and, still, always, to howl. The howl that would free her soul, the howl that would still her mind and heal her body.
“Vaughn?” The gentle voice returned and this time, when she looked at her companion, she knew who she was.
“Francis?” She whispered as the woman stepped into view. “You’re Francis. I know you.”
The woman smiled gently as she sat down on the edge of the bed and touched her forehead. “Your fever is breaking,” she said more to herself than as an address. “That’s good. I’ve brought you some porridge, I’d like you to try and eat something. Your thoughts are coming back. That’s good.”
Thoughts and emotions.
When she looked at Francis, she realized that she loved the woman. Her kindness, her soft touch, her gentle voice. She did not know where it stemmed from but she loved her with all her heart. How is it that I can’t remember why? She thought. What happened to me?
She shifted as she tried to sit up and for the first time the previously undetermined pain found a source. A terrible ache shot through her shoulder and chest as she moved, causing her to whimper before she bit her tongue and closed her eyes. Francis moved over quickly, her eyes wide as she quickly pressed her down and lifted the blanket from her chest.
“Don’t move,” she said quickly, sharply. “You’re hurt Vaughn, I don’t want the stitches to tear out, I had such a job patching you up.” She grimaced at what she saw when her cool fingers lifted a bandage that was over her shoulder and neck. “Please, I’ll turn you in a moment, just don’t move by yourself.”
Vaughn frowned at her, blinking tears of frustration. “You said that I had been bitten,” she said. “By what. Your wolf? You have a wolf. Where is it? Where?!”
Francis bit her lip and sighed, glancing to the corner to something outside her view. “Romi is here,” she said. “And he is not to blame for this.” She was silent for a few moments before she grimaced and stood up again. “I’ll get your porridge. Tell me Vaughn, what do you remember?”
Feeling too weak to argue, she settled back and closed her eyes, her need to be in the forest growing stronger.
“Conversations,” she whispered when Francis returned to her. “I remember conversations…”
And a freedom that she had never felt.
What has come before…
“That woman is mad, stark raving mad.”
Vaughn shifted uncomfortably as she took the box from the Post Master and looked behind her to see one of the local towns folk glaring at her. Not sure if she should comment, she shifted the box to her hip and tried to move past him but the man, smelling of cigarettes and diesel oil in his blue overalls, deftly stepped in front of her and glared from under his cap.
“I don’t know why Antonio bothers,” he spat. “He knows as well as we do that it’s dangerous sending people like you up there.”
Realizing that she won’t be able to get away without commenting, Vaughn sighed softly and shrugged. “The road’s not that bad at the moment, considering the weather that we’ve had,” she pointed out slowly. “I went halfway up it yesterday. And I’m a good driver.”
There was a chuckle from behind her, and when she turned around she saw the Post Master smiling at her, though it wasn’t a kind look. “He’s not talking of that road Miss,” he said. “Nor your ability as a driver.” He glanced at the man in his ‘Mike’s Garage’ cap. “No, he’s talking about Francis Mosse. And, although cruelly put, he does have a point.”
Feeling uncomfortable, Vaughn shifted and glanced at her truck outside, wishing that she could leave before the conversation went to a place that she didn’t like. None the less, she felt a spark of loyalty. She had become Francis’s main delivery runner and, although she was hesitant to call it so, she suspected that she and the woman had become friends. Francis always asked her to remain behind for some tea or coffee, an invitation Vaughn couldn’t wait to hear, and they spend hours talking about philosophy and the many books that was scattered around Francis’s home. Her cabin had become a refuge to Vaughn, a place where she could find rest from the existent world and its pressures. When she was with Francis, she was the only person that mattered. She loved the way the woman could take a conversation topic and run with it, bringing in every element from history to humour and she loved, and sometimes feared, the way her green eyes could see into her soul. Although Vaughn wasn’t sure how true it was, it felt as if Francis could see very inch of her, know every one of her thoughts.
“Ms. Mosse, isn’t mad,” she pointed out. “She just likes being on her own.”
The man from Mike’s grunted and rolled his eyes at the Post Master. “A woman shouldn’t be on her own, not in this county.” he said. “Though,” he laughed. “Rumour has it she wasn’t before she came here. That babe certainly was proof of it.”
Vaughn blinked at him. “Babe?” she said stupidly and turned a questioning look on the Post Master. “Francis doesn’t have a child.”
The Post Master wanted to answer, but it was Mike’s mechanic who gleefully replied. “She would’ve had one, had she not fed it to her wolves.”
Her world swayed. “Fed…” Vaughn turned wild eyes to the Post Master. “That’s not right.” She wasn’t sure whether she was objecting to the story or to Francis’s action. Who would start such a terrible rumour?
The Post Master wasn’t looking at her, but at the mechanic, his eyes sad as he took a pencil from behind his ear and chewed it thoughtfully, perhaps an old smoker’s habit.
“It’s not our place to say,” he said quietly. “Really Alan, its all rumours.”
The man, Alan, snorted and pushed his way to the front, past Siobhan. “Call it what you want,” he said. “It doesn’t change a thing. That woman’s dangerous. Her kind shouldn’t be here and her wolves… Well. They are not welcome either.”
With their attention fixed on each other, Vaughn quickly exited the post office and all but fled to the truck. She drove out of the parking lot, only to pull over a few miles down the road, her hands shaking as she dropped her head to take a few deep breaths.
Was this the rumours Francis mentioned in the beginning? She thought quietly and pushed her hand against her chest, trying to still her beating heart. Was this what she meant?
She swallowed and looked up to the mountains around her, trying to make sense of what she had heard. Wolves? She thought. There’s only Romulus. And he is as harmless as she said he was… She swallowed again, her heart aching unexpectedly. Had Francis had a child?
To Be Continued…