Raven’s Wrath Part 16 #horror #thriller #Halloween

(We’re over the halfway mark!)

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“I’m sure you understand why we’re doing this away from the camp,” Melissa explains, her rifle aimed at Dawn’s head. A gunshot goes off in the distance and she peeks through to trees to see that the angry mob is still being kept at bay by the guards. “The only thing keeping them from tearing you apart is my request to handle it alone. I won’t lie and say the thought of putting a bullet in both of you hasn’t crossed my mind a hundred times.”

“Leave the girl alone,” Dawn growls as she steps in front of Kara. Crouching to use her torso as a shield, she makes sure to keep her hands away from her knife. “The message said to blame me. She had nothing to do with it. The only mistake she made was bumping into me and not running away. All she wants is to be a part of the Grand Caravan. If I have to leave then that’s fine, but she deserves to stay.”

“I go where she goes!” Kara shouts, her fists clenched at her sides. Seeing that her friend is off-balance, she knocks her onto the ground and gets closer to the caravan leader. “Dawn helped me when I was alone. She could have abandoned me in the desert, but she didn’t. So, I won’t leave her behind either. You people have been mean to her since we arrived. I have ears that work and tents aren’t as thick as buildings. Nobody trusts her or wants her around, which means you don’t want me to stay. I want to use the language I heard the adults use, but my mom and dad told me not to.”

Feeling the scar on her throat start to itch, Melissa lowers her weapon and takes out a handkerchief to dab at the old wound. Sweat forms on her brow as she looks back at the caravan, which is an unorganized mob of damaged vehicles. She can see smoke billowing from a few of the trucks, the mechanics too busy screaming for Dawn’s blood to tend to their job. Her guards continue yelling for everyone to stay back, but the terror of nearly getting wiped out by Ian is still too fresh to be controlled. The wind carries the loudest voices to the trees, each one demanding justice for someone who died during the escape. Melissa grips her rifle when she hears a mother talk about her lost children and she nearly loses her temper. The only thing that stays her hand is Dawn’s expression, which is a mix of shame and grief. With a muttered curse, the caravan leader leans against a tree and stares at the ground.

“Kara is right,” Melissa finally says. She is about to kick a pinecone when she remembers that they are standing among oaks and maples. “I know you want her to be safe, but that might not be here. The people know she’s your friend. Also, many think her actions cost us a quarter of our medical experts. All to save you. What I’m saying is that some may decide to go after Kara if they can’t get to you. Whether as a surrogate or in the hopes of drawing you back, her life is already in danger. I can’t protect her either. Those who want to lead the Grand Caravan could use me being nice to a friend of yours as a reason to remove me. I have thousands of people to protect here. You’re only two. Sorry, but those are the numbers.”

“At least you aren’t sugarcoating it,” Dawn replies, her lip quivering as she holds back a smirk. She attempts to stand, but stops when she notices Melissa’s rifle move an inch in her direction. “I know you didn’t ask, but it wasn’t like I went to Ian willingly. There was a guy in your camp named Trent. Maybe you know him or he was recently added to your people as a trap to draw all the hunters into the wilderness. It was a slaughter as soon as we got to the ponds and trees. The only reason I escaped was because-”

“No lying,” the caravan leader angrily snaps. Walking over to the other woman, she yanks her up by the hair and stares into her eyes. “I don’t know why, but I can just tell that you’re lying right now. There was no reason for our hunters to be drawn into a deathtrap. We were never a threat to the monsters. They never even paid attention to us until you showed up, which is why you surviving is suspicious. You even called the male by his real name. What is your connection to Ian Connors and Dawn . . . Addison?”

Pushing herself away, the brown-haired woman swiftly puts up her hands in the hopes of delaying her execution. “This is going to sound crazy, but maybe the unhinged world we live in will help me here. Years ago, Ian and Addison got into a fight. He hit her hard enough to knock what little sanity she possessed out of her head. That’s where I came from. I am the sane side of Dawn Addison, which means I’m her, but not her. By the time they noticed what happened, I had wandered off and made a home in a little forest. Addison decided to made that my prison, which obviously didn’t hold because she no longer had a rational side to think things through. Please believe that I don’t have her powers and have no desire to hurt humans. All I want is to be left out of their fight and get Kara to this haven. None of that has changed.”

“Why are they interested in you now?”

“Because I left my area, but I don’t know anything beyond that.”

“What do they want with you?”

“Addison wants to bond with me, which I refuse to do.”

“I could kill you now and solve that.”

“We don’t know if I’d go back to her if killed.”

“What about the male?”

“Our conversation ranged from my death to an alliance.”

“Obviously, you disagreed with his ideas.”

“Yes, so where does that leave us?”

For a second, Melissa grips her rifle and lets her finger tap the side of the trigger. She looks from Dawn to Kara, who has been quietly sitting on the ground while the two women talk. A pang of guilt hits the caravan leader and she considers returning to camp to argue for the pair to remain. Hearing the angry voices, she knows it is no longer an option and the recent attack might be only the beginning if they stay. With a sigh, she gives in the inevitable and immediately feels a wave of relief that eases her tense muscles. Reaching behind a tree, Melissa takes out Kara’s satchel and a new backpack for Dawn. She silently drops them at her feet and gently places her rifle on top of the pile. Taking a box of bullets out of her jacket pocket, she turns it in her hands before putting it in the crook of a small tree. The caravan leader is about to walk away when she thinks of a better idea and draws a pistol. She aims for the sky and fires two bullets, adding a pause between the shots to help with the illusion.

“As far as the Grand Caravan is concerned, the two of you have been executed,” Melissa states with her back to Dawn and Kara. She watches her people, who have stopped yelling and pushing against the guards. “Wait for darkness and then go anywhere, but east. If we cross paths again, I’ll probably be killed alongside you. Consider this a gift for you being honest, Dawn, and an apology for not being able to keep Kara. Good luck and I’ll pray that you can stay ahead of those monsters.”

“What if we meet at the haven?” Kara asks as the caravan leader walks away. Not getting a response, she hurries to check her satchel and finds canned food added to her belongings. “I think they were nicer than we realized. Maybe we’ll see them again and be friends. Do you hope that happens?”

Blindly picking up the backpack, Dawn cannot stop staring at the large crowd that is celebrating her execution. “Sure, kid. Be great if we can all meet up at the haven and live happily ever after.”

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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14 Responses to Raven’s Wrath Part 16 #horror #thriller #Halloween

  1. Pingback: Raven’s Wrath Part 16 #horror #thriller #Halloween – by Charles Yallowitz… | Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

  2. Nice bit of character here today.

    Like

  3. L. Marie says:

    Oh man. I’m going to go back and read the ones I missed while I was away!

    Like

  4. Enjoyed the back and forth between Melissa and Dawn. I too hope they can be friends. I loved this line. “She is about to kick a pinecone when she remembers that they are standing among oaks and maples.” Author humor.

    Like

  5. Pingback: Raven’s Wrath Part 17 #horror #thriller #Halloween | Legends of Windemere

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