Day 3 – Chapter 7 – 09

             Kellin was at the rim of the ravine as they scrambled onto higher ground.  Her eyes widened as she caught sight of their generally disheveled appearance, the mud and water spattering all three of them from their wild dash.  Drew struggled to catch his breath, feeling like his heart was going to pound right out of his chest.  “Don’t stand there,” he said hoarsely.  He could see J.T. jogging up from the direction of camp.  “Get back.”
            “What happened?”  Kellin caught Marin as she stumbled, then let go of the other woman, eyes popping wider with shock as Marin went to her knees, breathing heavily and shivering.  “By every god and demon, Mar, you’re like ice.”
            “She got jumped by the grays.”  Rory cleared the edge of the ravine fully and glanced back, squinting.  He glanced at Drew and shook his head.
            Hopefully that means we lost them, at least for the moment.
            “Grays?  Like aliens?”
            Kellin ignored Brandon’s question as he approached and began to overhear a conversation he couldn’t possibly understand.  She stared at Drew.  “I thought you said they weren’t dangerous.”
            “I said they weren’t aggressive.  I never said anything about dangerous.”  Drew started shepherding them away from the ravine.  He couldn’t sense the grays near, but he wasn’t keen on taking any chances.
            “They seemed pretty aggressive to me, Drew,” Rory said, looking and sounding exhausted.  He nervously flicked his knife partially open and closed again.  “I think the end of the world pissed them off.”
            “Maybe,” Drew agreed.
            “Either way, those wards just got a lot more important, Kel.”  Marin leaned against J.T., who loomed protectively over her, tucking her under his arm and against his side.
            “What the hell were you doing down there by yourself in the first place, Mar?  You know better than that.”  Drew frowned at her as they made their way back to camp.  Hell.  You’re the one that made that rule after what happened to you and Thom and I down there that night.
            “I don’t want to talk about it, Drew.  It’s between me and him and I just needed to get away.  I already told you more than I should’ve.”  She rubbed her face.  “And now I want to get warm and I want to sleep.  Arm hurts like hell, though.”  Marin cradled her left arm against her belly, the sleeve of her sweatshirt slightly discolored.  She was also favoring her right foot, the foot she’d kicked at the grays with, but it didn’t seem to be bothering her as much as her arm.
            “Leah’ll look at it,” Kellin said.
            “Leah?”  Drew frowned.  “Not Jac?”
            Kellin grimaced.  “Jac’s sitting with Thom.  She’s worried he’s got some kind of head trauma they couldn’t pick up when they looked at him originally.”
            Marin growled.  “The only head trauma he’s going to have is going to come from one of us knocking sense into him.”  She looked at Kellin.  “He had a vision and fell over.  Then he lied about it.”
            “What are you guys talking about?”  Brandon asked.
            Drew grimaced.  Like some kind of lost puppy, following us and asking questions like a kid getting curious about what his folks talk about after dark.  “Just take a breath and settle down, Brandon.  Either it’ll make sense or it won’t.”
            “Either way, Leah’s looking at your arm,” Kellin said firmly.
            “And no one’s going down into that ravine alone anymore,” Drew added.
            “Thom won’t listen,” Marin said.
            Neither did you, and it was your rule in the first place.  Drew kept his voice firm, but even.  “Then we’ll make him listen.”
            Marin just shook her head.  J.T.’s arm tightened around her.  Drew tried not to sigh.
            Fantastic mess.  Rory can stop grays that are suddenly aggressive but probably not in a way any of the rest of us could manage, Marin’s fighting with Thom because he’s being a stubborn bastard, most of the people around us are going to think we’re batshit crazy until they start to see evidence of the shit we’re dealing with…  He took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly.  Marin was seething again, but her heart wasn’t quite in it.  She’d let go of it soon enough, hopefully before he got a headache.
            God, but I should be so lucky.
            Kellin touched his arm.  “You look like hell.”
            “I feel like it, too,” he mumbled, then scrubbed a hand over his eyes.  They let the others outpace them a little.  “You need to set those wards, Kel.  Y’should start now.”
            “You always told us the grays were just mischief.”
            “They used to be.  Dangerous mischief sometimes, but down there…that was malice, Kel.  I don’t know what flipped the switch, but something did.”
            Kellin smiled wryly.  “End of the world?”
            “Maybe.”  Drew exhaled.  “We have to do something about Thom and Marin.”
            “You mean other than letting them work it out?”
            “Letting them work it out could’ve gotten her killed.”
            Kellin grimaced.  “It was that bad?”
            “They had her surrounded.  She was starting to be in a bad way when I got to her.”  Could they have killed her?  I don’t know.  I don’t know what anything can do anymore.  He shook his head slowly.  “I don’t know what Rory did, but it quite possibly either scared them or pissed them off.”  Either way, it hurt them.  He could touch them.
            “I’ll get the wards set,” Kellin said softly.  “The rest of you can dump energy into them later.”
            Drew nodded, feeling drained.  “I think it’s going to be an early night for most of us.”
            She patted his arm.  “I’m starting to think you’re right.  Maybe we should reschedule the powwow.”
            “Might be best.”  Drew scrubbed his hand over his face again.  “Worry about the wards.  We’ll see how everyone is at dinner.”
            Kellin nodded in agreement.  “That sounds like a plan.”
            “Good.  It was meant to be one.”  Drew squeezed her shoulder.  She squeezed his arm and smiled.  He smiled back, then took a deep breath.
            At least Marin had given up her rage by the time they made it back to camp.  That would help, at least, until the next time.


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One Response to Day 3 – Chapter 7 – 09

  1. Erin M. Klitzke says:

    As I post this comment, I am preparing to spend a day lounging by the pool at the lovely Osthoff resort in Elkhart Lake, WI. That’s right, Erin’s on vacation! Comments this week will be short as a result, but entries should go up without a hitch.

    In this update, we’re getting the aftermath of the Gray Encounter–not the last, I assure you. Wednesday, Thomas realizes he’s come off as a big fat jerk lately where Marin’s concerned. Stay tuned!

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