Part Thirty Seven

You Will Find Your Way

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Part Thirty Seven of You Will Find Your Way
Dallas need to do better at protecting her arms.

Present Day

Flames sear at the back of Dallas’ hand when she plunges the point of her glowing blade into the neck of the flaming creature that’s trying to take a chunk out of her right side with its dripping claws.

The flames die with a hiss, and when Dallas yanks her hand back, it’s covered in the strange, blood-like substance that flows through the creature’s veins, all bordered with charring that stands start against her pale skin.

Out of the corner of her eye, she spies another creature trying to sneak up on Luke’s weak side. For a guy who, as far as she knows, has never fought with a sword before, he’s doing pretty well at not dying, but Dallas lets out a half-squawk in warning before she throws herself around a tree and into the creature bearing down on him, knocks it off course and into the dirt.

In the scramble, the creature rolls onto her and snaps at her chest, so Dallas flings her arm up, grunts when it locks its massive maw around her elbow.

Because it’s not like she hasn’t already lost an arm once.

Her blade falls from her grip as pain shoots up to her shoulder, but before the creature has the chance to bite down any harder and take her arm off, Dallas forces her knees up and into its belly. She uses the leverage to roll up and to the side, pushes her free hand into the soft, slimy skin under its jaw.

Dallas presses all her weight into it until the creature lets out a wet gasp and loosens its grip on her arm as it struggles to breathe. Blood streaks down to the back of her hand as she grabs the fallen sword and plunges it into its neck, severing it down to the bone.

“Damn it, damn it, damn it,” she falls into it when the creature extinguishes and starts to melt, or whatever it is that it does.

She rolls over and swipes her hand down down her side, but her shirt and the right leg of her pants are by far a lost cause.

As Mathias extinguishes the last of the creatures trying to rip him and Luke to shreds, Dallas sits forward and props her elbows on her knees, watches as he blade blessedly goes dark, “Where the hell are these things coming from?”

“I don’t know.”

Luke kicks a chunk out of the way, makes a noise that borders on disturbed when it quenches against his foot, “First of all, what are those things?”

“Gross.”

“Not an answer,” Luke grumbles while he holds a hand out and yanks Dallas to her feet. “My training officer would have strangled you.”

Dallas winks before she looks down and tests the ankle she tweaked in the fight, “Sounds like fun,” at the startled look on Luke and Mathias’ faces, she snorts, shakes her head—apparently this isn’t the time to make jokes. “Kidding, kidding. You and Mathias can trade horror stories about how awful trainees can be on the hike back home.”

“I’d rather talk about what the hell those things were.”

Because she doesn’t have that answer, and for whatever reason, Mathias doesn’t seem to be inclined to offer whatever he knows, Dallas shrugs, flails her hands out to the sides as she does.

“That’s not an answer.”

Dallas tries to flap her hand a second time, but it’s the actually-flesh-and-blood arm the creature had been gnawing on, so she gasps and tugs it to her chest instead, glares at the little punctures that are oozing blood that mixes in with the dirt and gore on her skin.

Not sanitary.

Her gasp draws Luke and Mathias’ attention, and they both bear down on her like a pair of over-attentive hens, “You need to get that looked at,” Mathias says as he grabs her wrist, turns her hand over until Dallas hisses and snatches it back.

“Yeah,” she mutters. “There’s a first-aid kit at the house. We can deal with it there and then you will explain what the hell is going on. Got it?”

Mathias purses his lips together, but nods.

——

It takes a while to keep hidden and get back to the house before the grime and blood dry on Dallas’ skin, and she heaves a sigh as Luke pushes the door open for them, nearly stumbles over the threshold.

“Okay,” Dallas tugs at her shirt, winces when it sticks to her skin. “I’m going to go upstairs and get cleaned up. There’s a bathroom off the kitchen, you guys can-”

She’s cut off when a feminine moan echoes from upstairs.

“Oh god, oh god,” Dallas mutters, words muffled by the hands on her face. “Please tell me she didn’t bring Sweeney home. Dinner was above and beyond enough.”

Upstairs, there’s a bang, before another familiar, feminine moan, and—

Oh no.

Dallas drops her hands and rounds on Mathias, nearly whacks Luke in the shoulder with her hair, “This isn’t happening. I blame you for all of this,” there’s another moan, and then something—the bed probably—lets out a resounding creak. “Oh god, please tell me they’re not having sex. How could you let her do this?”

Luke pats her shoulder, “Look at it this way, we kind of do owe Giselle after that time.”

“I was trying to ignore that part.”

He shrugs, and Dallas looks back at Mathias, who looks bloodied and confused, which isn’t a bad look for him.

One that she remember was often her fault.

Dallas claps her hands together, and then regrets the way the movement sends a flare of pain all the way up her neck, “So,” she mutters through teeth clenched by pain. “How are we supposed to go about getting those two downstairs?”

“Oh that’s on you.”

She levels a violent glare at Mathias, “It’s your fault she’s here. How could you possibly think it was a good idea to let her run around on her own? Have you met her before? Seriously.”

“Well what’s done is done,” he grumbles, crosses his arms over his chest while his ears go red when another symphony of moans echo from upstairs. “You’re more than capable of dealing with it.”

“I’m more than capable of running you through with my sword.”

“We don’t have time for this.”

“Then you should have thought things through. Is that a genetic defect you and your mother lack? Seriously Mathias.”

Luke snorts and pushes himself between them, “Children, that’s enough now.”

Dallas turns her glare in his direction, “Damn it, I have to be nice to you, don’t I?” She grumbles and scrubs her hands over her face again, but only now realizes how much ew she’s spreading across and into her skin. “Okay find, I’ll go get them. But Mathias?”

“Yes?”

“I hate you.”

You Will Find Your Way continues with Part Thirty Eight

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A life-long college sports fan and forever bitter about the country’s east coast biases, Kathryn, the Fake Redhead, graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Creative Writing, emphasis in poetry because she felt the fiction studies emphasis was too pretentious. She is currently helping other writers hone their craft while she pursues her dreams of becoming a published novelist.

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