Temporary Sanctuary

"See Jonah, see-you see, Jonah? I told you! I told you!"

Evelyn stirred as she heard a child's voice. Charlie? she thought with a moan. You should be running, she wanted to tell him but couldn't find the energy to make her lips move.

"Oh, Christ. Help me, Charlie." She could hear a male voice-one that was currently tensed with concern, hoarse with surprise. She felt warmth as hard hands gripped her shoulders, pulled her to her feet. Water cascaded down her body as she rose into the air, her head drooping onto her chest. She hadn't the energy to make it move, either.

"She's bleeding," Charlie squeaked. She yelped as a little finger touched her knee. It jerked away. "Don't touch it, you dolt." the older man's voice scolded. "Run ahead, wet some towels. Warn Mother that I'm coming with a woman who's in dire need of treatment."

Dire? Evelyn thought dazedly as footsteps rapidly moved away. The world heaved around her as whoever held her shifted her horizontal so that she suddenly found herself curled against a broad male chest. The warmth comforted her after the sheer cold of the darkness.

"Hold on, sweetheart. We'll get you fixed up. Ouch, damnnit!"

A sudden flare of light turned Evelyn's eyelids scarlet. She felt a warm fluttering over the hand she had placed over her breast. The phoenix, she realized. She probed her mind, felt its presence. Clung to it like a man dying of thirst would clutch at water.

After only walking for hardly half a minute, she heard something that sounded distinctly like a door being flung open so hard it rebounded against the wall.

"Oh God! What is that?" came an elderly voice, obviously woman. It was high, incredulous.

"Dunno," the man carrying her grunted. "Some type of bird. It likes her."

"Alright, well, get her inside, Jonah, quickly. She's bleeding like a stuck pig."

Evelyn felt the world sway as she was carried up what she assumed were stepps. A moment later she decended into something soft, feathery. She felt the warmth and comfort the phoenix had given her fade away. The man and woman didn't seem to notice; they were too busy fretting over her. She felt her dress yanked high and vaguely hoped that her undergarments weren't completely transparant because of the puddle she'd fallen in.

She whimpered when fingers flitted over her knee. It throbbed terribly. She hoped it wouldn't have to be severed off.

"How bad is it?" the man whispered. "She must be in pain. She's yet to even open her eyes."

"Of course she's in pain," the woman said as she gently lifted Evelyn's leg, placed something behind her knee. "And so is your cousin. Go check on him, would you?"

Silence. Evelyn laid there, limp as a doll as the woman, the kind stranger that was healing her with no questions asked, bandaged her knee. When the woman tightened the makeshift binding, Evelyn felt a blinding pain. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head as she fainted once more.

When she came to, she realized her head was propped up on something hot and moist. Curious and starving she decided she should probably get up, discover who her saviors were and chastice Charlie for returning to her when it was so dangerous. Thank him, too.

Her eyes fluttered open, automatically narrowing against the light from the candle on the tablestand next to the tiny bed she lay on. She was dreadfully sore and stiff. Wincing with the effort, she sat up and took stock of her body.

There were numerous cuts and scratches marring her once-smooth skin. She hoped fervently-she was a bit vain, after all-that they wouldn't leave behind any scars. Her right palm ached, and upon glancing at it, Evelyn realized that there was a large burn mark on it. Even worse than her palm, however, was her right leg. She cringed when she spotted her knee. The bandage was completely stained with her blood. She had a feeling that one would leave something behind.

It wasn't until she had swiveled around, placed her feet on the wooden floor and stood, slowly and gingerly, before she realized that she was not alone. In the far corner of the room sat a man in an aged blue couch. He was sound asleep.

Clutching the bedpost for support, she wondered what ought she do. Wake the man, or leave him be? Torn, she merely studied him instead.

He appeared to look like most men around the age of twenty or so. Rangy, lean-muscled. His skin was a dusky gold, which meant he probably worked in the sun often. He had a shock of dark hair that was currently partially obscuring most of his face. Which was fairly attractive, now that she studied it. Prominent cheekbones, strong jaw, straight nose. His brows were darker than his hair. She wondered what color his eyes were. They were the most telling feature about a person, after all. Her own, a tawny color, told much about her. She'd never realized just how much until it was too late.

She didn't want to dwell on memories again. Shaking her head, she limped out of the room.

The End

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