Nightblood

In a world of eternal darkness, the light is slowly seeping in. It’s up to one particular winged warrior to save the Night.

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14. Chapter 14

Chapter 14

 

I awake staring at a rough ceiling, in an uncomfortable bed, but I am glad I awake at all. 

My head throbs, and my limbs ache, I yearn to close my eyes and go to sleep and never wake up again. 

But I can do that, because I have too much to live for. So instead, I haul myself out of bed. 

As soon as I am in an upright position, I topple over, my head clunking against the base of the wall. I groan in anger and exasperation and try to push myself back up. I slip again, my wing catching on something and twisting to an awkward angle. A yip of pain escaped me, and with a surge of desperation I manage to push myself to my feet. 

This time, I stand and stay up. 

My muscle quaver and I want nothing more than rest. But I won't let myself until I know what happened to Ryan. 

My memories of the battle are foggy, but I can remember every second of the agony I felt, the pain helping to clear the fog. 

One shaking step after the other, I manage to awkwardly walk to the door. With a summoning of strength and courage, I twist the knob and push my way out, finding myself in a familiar hallway. 

I try to remember which door leads to which room, but my mind is lost in a thick haze. 

I hear the sound of snoring coming from one, which had to be Dais', because for one Ryan didn't snore, and for two the door is slightly ajar, and when I peeked in I saw the older woman sleeping peacefully. That leaves four doors. One is the room I just exited, one for the bathroom, one for the room Ryan is in, and one leading into an empty room. 

From one, my ears pick up the sound of heavy breathing. From the others, silence. I make my way towards the one with the breathing, and push inside to see Ryan laying on the bed, staring absentmindedly at the ceiling. He is so lost he does not sense my approach. 

"Ryan...?" I say slowly, trying not to scare him. He jumps a little, jerking himself into a sitting position and scotching forward so his legs dangle off the bed's edge. 

"Estrie!" He exclaims, his eyes going wide when he sees me. I know how bedraggled I must look, my feathers on my wings brushed out of place, my hair tied in knots, my close dirty and bloodstained. Ryan doesn't look any better. Bloody scrapes and angry purple bruises dot him. His hair is tangled and spiked up, his clothes stained with blood and grime. His kohl and eye paint is smudged and smeared, drilling down across his face.  

But he's alive, and my heart flutters at the sight of him. 

It doesn't matter though, I still curl up next to him, my breathing uneven, my eyes burning. He flops back on the bed. 

"Did I stop him?" I ask after a pause of silence, voice quaking. 

"You did! You saved us!" Ryan exclaims. I let out a heavy sigh, dredged up from the bottom of my lungs. 

"I didn't save everyone. I didn't save Carson."

➿➿➿

Minutes turn into hours as we sit next to each other, in sleepy silence. I lie on the bed with Ryan, wings tucked behind me, guilt eating at my core. 

"Did you bury him?" I ask, my voice a hoarse whisper. Ryan nods sadly. "Where?"

"At the base of the Onyx Mountains. I'd thought it is fitting," a lump rises in my throat, I hastily swallow, trying to force it down. Tears sting in my eyes. I try to blink them back, but that only makes them fall. Within seconds, I break out into full out sobs, sitting up. 

Ryan follows me up, wrapping his arms around my shaking form, holding me as I cry. I rest my tear-streaked cheek against his sturdy chest, and he takes my hand in his. 

Eventually, my sobs lessen, and I manage to get my tears under control. 

After a moment of silence, I work up the courage to ask the question I've been needing to ask.

"Can we go see it?" I ask, Ryan nods, knowing exactly what I mean. A pang of sadness ripples through me, guilt making me nothing more than an empty shell.w

➿➿➿

Instead of flying, I walk with Ryan through the trees. After what could of been a year or a few minutes, we emerge from the trees at the base of the Onyx Mountains. 

Part of the ground lays disturbed, the soil fresher than the rest. A black slab lies at the start, a sun and a moon hastily engraved into it, as well as letters.

C-A-R-S-O-N. 

Tears begin to burn in my eyes again. 

"I'm gonna miss you..." I say, as I lower myself into a crouching position over the nearly unmarked grave. "You were a friend. I'm sorry I wasn't interested in you the way you wanted, I could sense how it hurt you. I just wished we'd have a little more time to make things right between us." 

I rest for a few heartbeats, and back up, leaning into Ryan's embrace. 

"Remember that stream where we first started meeting?" I ask. 

Ryan nods.

"Lets go there," I suggest, and we turn back, making our way through the densely packed evergreens. 

We trace our way across the woods, eventually coming into the spearing around the stream. The water glows bright blue. 

Together, we clamber up onto the rock, the two of us laying down, staring at the stars, before slowly drifting off to sleep, safely embraced in each other's arms, my head gently pressed against Ryan's chest. 

If I were to die now, I would die mostly happy. But there's still that ache in my heart, the pulsing emptiness. That feeling that something's missing. Carson. 

I will mourn him for as long as I can think, he will forever be the ache in my heart. The fracture. But with Ryan by my side, I can find some semblance happiness, some twisted version of mental peace. 

As I lull off to sleep in the safety of Ryan’s arms, my thoughts finally still, my mind at peace. 

 
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