Part Twenty Eight of You Will Find Your Way
Dallas takes another late-night jaunt through the forest. It’s probably not going to end well.
Dallas can’t sleep.
With the way things have gone since the storm, it’s the first thing she wants and the last thing she gets as she curls up where her bed meets bedroom wall. She’s wrapped in a cozy cocoon in all her blankets, her head on her well-worn but still well-shaped feather pillow.
But she can’t stop looking at the blade resting on her nightstand.
It’s not glowing, hasn’t since it flickered the other night—a tiny voice in the back of her mind asks if she really saw what she thinks she saw, but she shoves it back to the depths of her consciousness because yes, she damn well did.
There’s something itching at the back of her mind, keeping her from getting the rest she sorely needs.
For the millionth time since Maris dropped her in the wrong year, Dallas curses the woman for not offering a contingency in case she needed to get in touch.
Irresponsible, the lot of them.
Her fingers itch for another bottle of wine–or even something stronger–but that’s already a road she’s gone down—and also why she doesn’t remember much about what she did until midway through the summer of 1880.
She pinches the bridge of her nose as the beginnings of a hangover pounds at the base of her skull, and she probably should go get something to drink, even if it’s water from her bathroom sink, but that would mean getting up and—nah.
Her shoulder throbs where her body meets foreign bone, and Dallas shifts off that side so she can dig her fingers into the spot until her right hand spasms and the discomfort slowly recedes.
Minutes, or maybe even hours pass, and Dallas tries to fall asleep—counting backwards doesn’t seem to be working tonight, not that it ever does. It doesn’t help that the old house creaks when it settles and Giselle’s quiet muttering and typing as she works through some of the data they downloaded before the storm is nearly deafening.
Another beam pops, this one sounding from somewhere in the wall behind the headboard, and Dallas jolts, curses under her breath and buries her head in her palms.
She keeps her face pressed into her fingers for long enough that her breathing evens out, and her head goes heavy when something zings out of the corner of her eye.
It’s a minute before she manages to lift her head, and her heart stutters to a stop.
The blade is glowing.
Not flickering, but glowing, in a steady orange pulse that grows brighter when she stares.
Dallas fights her way out of the blanket cocoon, rolls off the bed and stumbles into something to wear so she doesn’t have a repeat of the other night.
When she turns back around, a part of her hopes that the glow was a hallucination from her over-stressed imagination and she got dressed for no reason other than the events of the week, but—
No, the blade is still glowing.
“Why me?“ She mutters and drops to her knees with a thud that probably echoes through the house, gropes for her harness and backup sword.
Giselle is waiting for her in the foyer.
Her brows furrow as she takes in the way Dallas is dressed and armed, her face gone pale from the yellowish light from the sconces that bracket the front door, “What’s wrong?”
She reaches around and pulls the blade off her back, doesn’t have to say anything because a gasp catches in Giselle’s throat as she reaches out, her fingertips hovering over the glowing metal before she snatches her hand back.
“That’s not good,” her throat works when she swallows hard, squares her shoulders. “How can I help?”
“You can’t with this,” Dallas shakes her head and pulls her jacket on over the harness, the glow peaking out of the back of her hood. “I need to go.”
Giselle bites down on her lower lip as Dallas strides to the door, “You call me. Regularly.”
The forest is damp and dark, moisture clinging to the heavy branches as Dallas squints through the gloom for anything that would indicate there’s a creature nearby.
Something rustles in the brush and Dallas grips the hilt of her sword as she moves soundlessly to the protection of a large tree on the other side of the small clearing she’s in, and backs up against it.
She holds her breath but the sounds stop—so, probably a rodent or something—and she peaks over her shoulder to find that the blade is still glowing bright.
Dallas tamps down on her nerves and looks around, but no one in their right mind would be traversing through the forest at this time of night—any time of night, really—so she frees her sword and holds it tight in her left hand.
Her eyes scan back and forth as she starts walking again, the trees getting thicker and thicker as she makes her way toward the far-off hills that loom above campus.
It’s a relatively unpopulated area, and here Dallas is, trying to go at it alone.
“I’m probably going to get ambushed and ripped to pieces,” she grumbles while switching her grip on the sword, her fingers unused to holding so tight for so long after decades of only practicing her weapons stances a few hours a week.
A gust of wind rattles around the trees, and Dallas’ heart jumps when she hears a hiss of something—
Before a snarling weight drops on her back.
“Oh, son of a—” she gags when whatever slime that covers the creature leaks down her neck when it knocks her hood aside, and she barely has time to flip her sword around to blindly stab at it from behind.
Its thick tail knocks into her arm hard enough that she loses her sword and falls face-first into the dirt.
She feels the heat of its breath as it looms over her, pressing its talons into the dirt around her arms so she can’t go for it or the blade on her back.
A damn ambush.
Dallas always hated when she was right.
You Will Find Your Way continues with Part Twenty Nine
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