Slowly, we left the city behind us, the sky fading to the black of night, and the paths we were following turned to fields. The lights from the city disappeared behind the horizon and every sound of civilisation had gone. There was a small row of trees by the edge of a field, so I half dragged, half carried Eliza to them. She sat down, curled into my side, her eyes closed.
She muttered ‘Is it safe?’
‘As safe as it will be. Now go to sleep, Eliza. I’ll keep watch.’
She smiled. ‘You need sleep too.’
I kiss her lightly, tucking her hair behind her ear. ‘Not as much as you. Sleep.’
I keep stroking her hair, and after a while, her breathing slows. I drape my jacket over her, and she murmurs something, and moves closer to me in her sleep. I sigh, leaning back against the tree.
It seemed almost pointless keeping watch. For the few hours that Eliza slept, I saw nothing, heard nothing. But it gave me a chance to think about things. Think about Eliza, the girl I loved but had only known for a few days. I felt like I had known her forever. To think about me. Elijah Prince. The person I was- I hated that thought. I was a murderer. I vowed to make it up to Eliza. I would never kill again. And to think about what could be the truth. Another family? Was it even possible, that there was someone else involved? I knew we had to find out.
All too soon the sun was rising over the fields. I sighed, knowing I would have to wake Eliza. I shifted slightly, lifting her up so she was curled up on my lap. ‘Eliza?’ I whisper, shaking her. She groans, but doesn’t wake up. I stroke her cheek then kiss it. ‘Eliza, wake up.’ He eyes open slowly. ‘Good morning, beautiful.’
‘Morning? It’s barely light!’
‘I know. I’m sorry. But we need to move.’
I stand, and hold my hand out to help her up. She looks at my face, then reaches out to touch the bags I know are under my eyes. ‘Did you even sleep?’ she asks.
I laugh. ‘No. I’m fine. I had a lot to think about.’
She freezes instantly ‘Your not having second thoughts about bringing me, are you?’
‘No!’ I grab her shoulders and turn her so she is looking at me. I would never think that. I was thinking about me…what I have been.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I want to promise you something.’
‘I know what I have done in the past. And I hate that I have done those things. So I’m promising you…I’m never going to hurt anyone again.’
She smiles. ‘Elijah, you don’t have to promise me. I know you have changed.’
‘I know, but…’ I shrug, not knowing the words for how I feel.
She laughs. ‘I understand.’ She takes my hand and starts walking.
I see a small village in the distance, so we head towards it- although I know it will take all day to reach.
‘I was thinking about what your brother said. About another family. And I think I knowhow to find out if it is true.’
I smile. ‘The vaults.’
Both families have vaults- filled with worthless things. Old family trees, historical books no one needs- except maybe us.
Eliza laughs. ‘Of course. Low security and full of things… you’re a genius, you know.’
‘Only with you around.’ I smile down at her. ‘Come on, I want to get to that place by nightfall.’
‘Because I do actually need to sleep.’
Eliza laughs. ‘I knew the act was just to make me sleep more.’