Aria: Facing The Fear

I'd been fine until now. Sure I wasn't the best equipped for killing Hunters but their ability to not even notice me helped out a little. Good old sneak attacks. That's when I heard it. The gruff snarling behind me. I spun round an saw a masterless dog, barin' its fangs at me. I froze up. I looked around for Chesh or Sylvester but they were both busy. The dog started edging towards me and I found myself shuffling backwards.

"Back of, y'all!" I shouted feebly as another two dogs appeared, "I ain't afraid of ya so don't think that for a second!"

I pointed at one of the dogs and saw my arm shaking. Aaw, man, why'd the dogs have to come when I was on my own? Another animal sound joined the snarling but it was different. Almost like...a cat! Chesh had dragged the Hunter he was dealing with over with him, hissing at the dogs. They were puzzled by his appearance but he didn't deter them in the slightest. Chesh threw the half-dead Hunter and the dogs and managed to pin two of them to the ground. The third dog growled, its muzzle stained with blood.

"Chesh, don't just stand there!" I heard Sylvester shout. He seemed to be fighting a hell of a lotta Hunters and dogs in one go.

In an instant, Cheshire was stood in front of me, his hand on either side of my face. I could hear the dog slowly padding forward. "Aria, remember that game we used to play when you were younger? When we used to go up to the attic and pretend we were fearless warriors?"

I nodded.

"And remember one time we decided to fight our fears. I pretended I was a dog. What did you do to me?" he asked, his eyes pleading.

"I...I gave you a black eye".

"Right! And the next time we fought our fears, what did you do to me?"

"I broke your arm" I said, thinking I knew where he was taking this.

"That's right. You're doing so well, babe. Remember what you told me you'd do to me if I did it again?"

"Chesh, I could really do with some help!" Sylvester shouted again. I tried to look round at him but Chesh had a solid grip on my face.

"I...I said I'd break your neck".

"Exactly! Now, if you could do that to your best friend why can't you do it to some mangy dogs?"

"Cheshire!" Sylvester shouted for a third time.

"Alright, I'm coming!" Chesh growled and ran off to help Sylvester.

Chesh was right. If I could think about breaking his neck then I could sure as hell break a few dogs' necks. I faced the dog, which seemed confused by Chesh's abrupt arrival and exit, and glared. We leapt at each other. I got bit a few times but nothing more than a scratch. I fared better than a lot of dogs, we'll leave it at that. I ran after Chesh and found him and Sylvester arguing with each other.

"Oh my gosh, Sylvester you're bleeding" I said, looking at his clawed forearm.

"You can blame your stupid cat for that" he said bitterly.

The End

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