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    Cia
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Ancalagon - 102. Chapter 102

“We can’t risk a fire. I’m going to shift. I’ll stay warm, and you can layer up with my clothes.” It was getting darker, and Ases was right. There was no way we should build a fire this close to the port, if I even had the ability to start one. At least the lightning arcing from the storm kept the complete darkness at bay.

“All right.” Bouncer had grumbled, probably about the lack of easy access dinner. I’d encouraged him to go find something to eat, but he wasn’t the best hunter. “You should take Bouncer to go find something to eat.” He didn’t usually eat in shifted form, but I knew he’d done it before.

“What about you?”

I was hungry, but I sure wasn’t eating raw whatever-they-could-catch meat. Nope, no thank you. Maybe in a day or two, if we were still out here, I’d be hungry enough to gnaw on raw flesh.

“I don’t want to leave you unprotected.”

Being alone wasn’t ideal, but Bouncer would never settle if he wasn’t fed. Ases had never seen it, but a hungry cerops was a restless, cranky cerops. “I’ll be fine. There’s no one anywhere close to here, and the electricity from the storm keeps everything but the trincophants away. They eat charged particles, so my tender flesh should be safe.” My joke fell flat when Ases looked uncertain.

“Hey, who’s the biologist here? I think I’d know if I was in danger. What are you afraid of?”

“Garjah finding you all alone, then killing me when I come back because I let a little thing like hunger leave you unprotected.”

If only Garjah would come find me that quickly. He wouldn’t be able to find me, though; we’d never talked about this. He’d always assumed if the house was attacked, I’d make it to the security suite, which was impenetrable. At least I’d taken the time on our space flights to research the planet and its flora and fauna, always looking to learn about new wildlife. I’d extracted a promise from Garjah to take me out to explore when we’d settled… well, everything.

Guess the Kardoval moved up the timetable. They’d also taken my guide away from me. I clenched my hands into fists. “Just go. He won’t be coming here; no one knows where we are. That’s why we’re safe. There’s nothing here to hurt me, excerpt the constant sound of Bouncer’s whining giving me a headache.”

“Fine. But if he finds out, I’m telling Garjah you made me leave you. We won’t go far, and we’ll be back as soon as we can. I think I smelled some burrowing mammals back by that small spring we passed.”

I nodded. “Bouncer’s got the claws for digging.”

My feral little ball of energy flexed his paws, digging furrows into the ground. “No, don’t dig here. I don’t need a tripping hazard. We talked about this.” I yanked his big paws out of the dirt, grimacing when clods rained down on my lap. “Thanks.” I tried to brush it away, but it was damp and smeared. “Great." I glared at Bouncer. He butted his rough cheek against mine, and I held firm until he chirped and tilted his head. “You’re lucky you’re cute.”

Ases, already done shifting behind my back, chuffed. His tail flicked.

“What? He is cute.”

Ases flicked his ears, then nosed his clothes. I leaned back and grabbed his robe, wrapping the long fabric around my shoulders like a cape and draping his pants down my legs. Good thing he liked flowing clothes.  

Left alone in the near-dark while they hunted, I had nothing to do but think. I ignored my hunger as best as I could, the water we’d drank at the spring at least taking care of my thirst and putting something in my stomach. We’d been too busy just getting away from Garjah’s house and worrying about pursuers to forage, but tomorrow we’d have to try to find other food. There were some ground plants I could eat raw that Ases should also be able to digest.

What was harder to digest was the conversations we’d listened to. Someone had known that Garjah had left the house with Timok, leaving us vulnerable. Could Timok be the traitor? Leaning back against a tree trunk, I tried to figure it out. Who could possibly be working against the alliance?

Timok was extremely knowledgeable about other species; he didn’t hide his amusement or pleasure at flicking at me, especially when I got irritated. An alliance with the Galactic would give him more aliens to meet, to learn about, to experiment on. Of course, his callous disregard about the genetic changes he’d forced on me—regardless of how he claimed it was saving my life, not seeing how I was different and what he could manipulate medically—could hide a traitor’s motives. Maybe he’d intended to kill me?

Maybe Timok wasn’t as good of a doctor as he claimed to be?

I just wasn’t sure if that fit though. There were easier ways to kill a person if you were a doctor. Hell, he could have injected me with a placebo and did nothing.

So who else knew Garjah’s plans that morning? Seedrah? Garjah claimed he was loyal. He was like a young cerops, always eager and happy to please. He did his duty, and he was eager to learn, always asking questions. But we’d been alone a lot too.

If he wanted to kill me, he could have.

I ran my hands through my hair, pulling on it. Stars! Why couldn’t I figure this out? Thumps crashed through the bushes. I turned to warn Bouncer to be quiet, a little surprised he wasn’t more tired after our long day of trekking through the jungle, but it wasn’t him.

Ases was going to kill me.

If Timok wasn’t the traitor, and he didn’t do it first.

Copyright © 2020 Cia; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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6 hours ago, drsawzall said:

Huh???

 

Exactly my initial reaction after reading this! :gikkle:

Steve Brule GIF by MOODMAN

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Has anyone noticed these short chapters give @Cia way too many chances to create cliffhangers?

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