Forty-one – 02

[This post is from Hecate’s point of view.]

“I’m sorry,” he said quietly, reaching with his free hand to brush his fingertips over his son’s hair. “I didn’t mean—”

“It’s okay,” Hecate said, her voice firm but not unkind. “I shouldn’t have snapped at you like that. It was uncalled for and I apologize.”

“It’s all right. I think I’d do the same thing in your position.” Thom closed his eyes for a moment. Hecate bit her lip, reaching up to press the back of her hand against his forehead.

“You’re burning up,” she whispered.

Thom swallowed and shook his head. “Don’t worry about it.”

“How can I not?” Hecate exhaled a sigh. “You’re family and Marin and your son need you. This fever’s been going on for a while.”

Thom just nodded. In the distance, they could both hear the faint sounds of screams, the sound of the ground rumbling, drums, of rifle reports. The thought crossed Hecate’s mind that perhaps they should go below—Neve and her twins were sure to be there, along with Angie, Tala, and her twins. At this point, though, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to get both Thom and Lin down—it would be one at a time, even if she could somehow convince Thom to go, which she strongly suspected she wouldn’t be able to.

“Thom,” she said gently, “what are you not telling anyone about this?”

He shook his head again. “Don’t press, Hecate,” he said, his voice almost too quiet to hear. “Better for everyone if you don’t. Just leave it. Some questions no one wants to know the answers to.”

Her jaw tightened. And some questions you have to learn the answers to in order to pick up and keep going. “Then you do know something.”

“Suspect only,” Thom said quietly, staring at the fire. “That’s all.”

“Then what? What could be so awful that you don’t want to say?”

“Something she and I saw a long time ago,” he said. Were those tears glinting in his eyes, or was it just her imagination? “Something both of us hoped wasn’t real.”

He meant Marin. She knew that. Her stomach flipped over onto itself.

What could be so awful that they’d both fear it being real?

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