[This post is from Marin’s point of view.]
Even hours later, there was a strange tension in the air, an energy that gave off a low-level hum, perceptible to the sensitives among us—which, truth be known, was most of us. We stuck close to each other, all of us, as if driven by safety in numbers even though the threat had passed and we were, for the moment, safe. Thom and I certainly weren’t immune, nor was my brother and Hecate. As night fell and the rain continued unabating, we found ourselves by the fire, clustered together with some of the others while Tala worked on a later dinner for those of us who’d found our appetites lacking at the usual hour—herself included. Phelan was there, a half-asleep Jacqueline leaning against him, exhausted after working on the wounded with J.T for hours. Carolyn had been able to convince him to go to bed after he’d eaten, but Jacqueline hadn’t had an appetite at the time. Now she cradled baby Gwen and stared blankly at the fire, Phelan’s head resting against hers. He was only here because she was—I knew that beyond a shadow of a doubt. He was exhausted beyond reason after what he’d done on the wall and I could easily foresee a conversation later between he and I with him telling me that he didn’t think he’d be able to do that again.
Somehow, he always managed it. I feared the day he wouldn’t.
Tala hummed a soft tune as she stirred the stew. It smelled wonderful, though it was still hard to muster an appetite. My mind wouldn’t seem to quiet down, though the thoughts were ones that I couldn’t quite master, couldn’t quite gasp. They were just there, a low-level hum like the tension, something I couldn’t quell and couldn’t shake and couldn’t address.
Thom was asleep leaning against me, Lin fast asleep against his chest. I didn’t have the heart to wake him to send him to bed—he wouldn’t have listened, anyway. I knew he was worried and I couldn’t blame him. I was, too.
I was worried about a lot of things, including him. I was worried about Hecate, too, nestled in Matt’s arms. So far as I knew, she hadn’t spoken a word since waking, as if the trauma of whatever had happened to her up on the wall was too much to articulate, too much to put into words.
I didn’t want to push her—I didn’t want to push any of them—but my gut told me I’d have to.
I hated it, but it would need to be done.