They were close, leaning against each other, neither saying a word, but instead listening to each other breathe. It was silent. Finally, the Witch had peace. The words were beginning to fade with the constant breathing of the Hunter. But the silence wouldn’t last for long.
There was another sound, much louder and much more prominent than either of the creatures’ breathing. It sounded like steps, and there were many of them. Reflexively, the Witch cowered in on herself, all of the words in her mind making their way back to the forefront and matching the intensity of the steps. She had begun to sob when the Hunter growled,
Quiet. She could do that, but the words in her mind wouldn’t do the same. Biting her lip, she muffled most of her cries, seeming to satisfy the Hunter well enough. With the steps being the main sound, the Hunter crouched forward and toward the door. He went forward on all fours, swift, but blending in well with the darkness at the edge of the bulb’s light. The Witch was frightened, more than she had ever been in her entire reborn life, but it was not for her. It was for her Hunter. She could barely make out his form in the dark, but she was almost positive she could see him pressed against the door. He was listening, but for what she wasn’t sure.
Silence fell again, this time with a much louder, but steadier set of footsteps. The Witch knew there had been more, but this set scared her even more than the mass. This set was hunting, and for an instant, she guessed they were hunting her. She was sure the Hunter felt the same as his form went rigid, and he turned back toward her. His mouth opened to speak, just as the door was ripped open to reveal a dark silhouette on the other side.
The Witch began to shriek and attempt an attack, but the light was far too bright for her eyes to adjust in time. Before she was thrown back into the throes of the blinding light, she could make out her Hunter turning around to face the silhouette and the silhouette lifting something above its head. It was something that gleamed in the light like a razor blade, and the Witch was reminded of her claws. Panic struck and she was ready to tear through the blindness and just attempt any kind of attack. She had to protect her Hunter.
But before she could even take a step, she felt her Hunter’s hand on her wrist. He tugged her around in the other direction with one word,
And she did.
Though the Witch had been in that house since her change, she had never explored it beyond the foyer where she had always been. She didn’t have the ability to recall the layout from her past life. Regardless, the Hunter seemed to have a better sense of direction than she ever could have, and he led her through the darkness without too much trouble. She couldn’t see a thing, no other lights had been turned on, but the Hunter could see fine. She trusted the Hunter and instead focused on keeping her feet moving, but the sounds around her often caused her to stumble in fright.
The Hunter’s breathing was steady and focused, but speeding up as each new room just led to another, then another, then another, with no end in sight. He was panicking, which only served to increase her panic. She could also hear the steps. There were others, but they were much farther away than the one set which only seemed to get closer and closer with every room they entered. The person was speaking, but the Witch wasn’t sure who he was talking to.
“Kill. Gotta kill all of them.”
Kill. The word bounced around in her head a few time and suddenly expanded. The word seemed to infect all of the other words, and they became similar in sound and intensity. They were painful, the most painful any word had ever been, and the Witch began to stumble again. She was no longer aware of anything, but that word and the sobs which clawed their way up her throat and out into the house around her. There was only one thing keeping her going, and that was the Hunter’s hand gripping her wrist.
Though she had long since released her grip on his wrist, he held fast to hers, and there was no sign that he was letting go anytime soon. But she was weighing him down now, and she knew that he knew that.
The Hunter only growled in response as he ripped open another door and ran them through it. He wasn’t going to let go, even if she caused them to be captured by the man with his painful words. He wasn’t going to, and she didn’t know why. She had to know why. So, she focused. She steadied her breathing and pushed herself forward, and when she did this, the Hunter’s speed picked up. The pursuing steps were growing distant. There was one more door, and then the darkness became light, blinding, but it was light. The light faded much quicker than before and the rain came down much harder. Though she could see the rain and the world around her, it wasn’t easy, and it was maddening being blind when she knew she could see.
But even as they had made it outside, the Hunter continued to run. The Witch noticed the cuts and the open wound on the back of his head. The man had cut off the hood of the Hunter’s jacket which allowed the Witch to see his hair, a shaggy head of chestnut being matted down with blood from his wound. The Witch felt a twinge of panic once she saw the wound, but she had no time to dwell on it.
Gun shots and voices erupted from behind them as they ran, and the Witch could only peer back for a second, long enough to see a group of people with guns raised and blades hanging useless at their wielders’ sides. Then, she saw the leader of the group. He stood ahead of everyone, blade pointed outward and following their path. He would remember them, she could tell, and she would make sure to remember him. They disappeared into a forest, and her view became all trees.
But even then, they didn’t stop running, and the Witch was glad for that. She squeezed the Hunter’s wrist and continued on their path. She wasn’t sure where they were going, and she wasn’t completely sure that he did either, but she trusted him, and that was all that mattered.
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