[This post is from Thomas Merlin Ambrose’s point of view.]
She seemed utterly content to just sit there and it was almost maddening. I drew a blanket a little tighter around my shoulders and frowned. I knew that she noticed, her brow arching slightly, an expression I could see out of the corner of my eye.
I shook my head. “Nothing.”
“You want me to leave,” she said. It was all I could do not to wince. I hadn’t thought that I was quite that transparent, even with someone who I’d known her whole life.
“No,” I lied. “You stay as long as you want to.” You’re going to anyway, whether I like it or not.
She snorted. “You are a terrible liar.”
I wasn’t, not really, but again, she knew me too well. “You’re going to do whatever you want to do, Kay. I have never been able to stop you from doing that. Though, really, I wonder why you’re sitting here when I’m sure there’s shit that you want to do beyond the ward lines.”
Her brows knit. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“You realize that after today, they’re going to keep us bottled up behind the wards for a while, right?”
“Why the hell would they do that?”
I looked at her, frowning. “What do you mean, ‘why?’ Think about it. Something just attacked me down in the ravine, something that they haven’t seen in years, something dangerous—something that could kill if we’re not careful. They’re going to keep all of us kids inside the wards for a long time—until they decide it’s safe again.”
“It was just one, wasn’t it?” She frowned, hugging a knee to her chest. “And didn’t you and Uncle Phelan kill it?”
“Probably,” I said. “But it’s never just one with those things. Don’t you remember the stories? They come in packs, Kay. There’s at least two more out there, probably more. And they’re never just out there hunting at random. Something sent them here for a reason and no one’s going to be sure what it is. Unless or until your dad figures that out, we’re going to be confined to the village wards.”
“He wouldn’t,” she said, shaking her head. “He knows better.”
“Knows better?” I leaned back against my pillows and stared at the ceiling. “Kay, there is nothing that he wouldn’t do to protect any of us and you know it. If he thinks keeping us inside the wards will protect us, he’ll do it and it doesn’t matter what any of us think about it, either. His word is law.”
“He wouldn’t confine us like that,” she said, though I could hear the doubt in her voice.
“Just wait,” I said. “By morning, none of us will be allowed to leave.”