Author’s note: This is the third part in the Missfits series. You can find part 2 here.
The cover of darkness let Jack breathe easier. Somehow, and he counted his stars lucky that he’d managed it, he’d climbed up the hill to the forest without another kidnapping. The rumbling of the carts all around had pumped Jack’s blood so he’d been sure someone would have heard it sloshing around in him.
Lucky. He was lucky.
“Always been lucky,” he spoke his dad’s words aloud, “born lucky.”
“I bet you’d think that.”
Jack spun around. The darkness squeezed in on him. The owner of the female voice hid somewhere in its folds.
“Who’s that?” Jack turned around slowly checking the swaying branches.
The girl laughed, “Who’m I? Who’re you?”
Tripping over a rock Jack found himself sprawled amongst the dirt. His eyes met directly level with a pair of shoes.
He looked up. A smile broke out over the young woman’s face exposing her missing teeth. Jack swallowed sharply, “Hello.”
“You look a bit odd, don’t you?” She said, cocking her head to one side. A braid dangled down past her ear, like a miniature rope leading up to her head.
“Odd?” Jack asked. He spit as a leaf attempted to blow its way into his mouth. Taking the coughing boy by his arm the young woman picked him up and sat him on a log.
“Hush! Hush now!” She said scanning the trees. Moonlight broke through the clouds as she asked,
“What’s your name?”
Catching his breath, he finally got to look at her face, blue eyes, yellow hair, and dirty nose.
“I’m Jack.” He said.
“Jack. Good.” She scanned his eyes, “Run.”
She ran. He followed. The darkness swallowed them up between the trees.
“Hey! Slow down!” Jack screamed into the thickening bushes.
They ran a short distance zigzagging around and around. The brushing of the twigs past his face abruptly stopped. Out of breath, hands on his knees, Jack found himself in the middle of a clearing. The trees overhead stood tall enough to block the moon. The girl stood a few feet from him. Her breath was normal.
“You’re loud, you know.” She said. Then suddenly she began walking around the clearing. Her raised hand touched each rock surrounding them. Under her breath, Jack could hear muttering.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
She sushed him and continued walking and muttering, walking and muttering. The hairs on Jack’s neck rose. The mutter began to come from behind him. A whisper slithered straight up his spine. You don’t belong here.
“What are you?” He stood as still as he could trying to keep his shivers to himself.
The question sent a falter to the girl’s steps. She looked up from the rock and smiled, “Funny, I was about to ask you the same thing.”
“You’re missing some teeth.” He nodded at her mouth.
“Lots of people are missing teeth around here. Not you though.” She cocked her head to the side again.
“You’re missing the same ones that other girl was missing.” He took a deep breath, “Did you kill the old man?”
“What does it matter to you? He stole you.”
Silence descended on the forest.
She smiled her black smile, “There, that’s better. Relax now. I’ll make us some tea.”
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