Searing agony strikes my palms like a jolt of electricity. I drop the book and jump away from it, as if the distance could make the pain stop. The sudden movement renders me dizzy. Only now do I feel the exhaustion sink in from my lengthy journey. I don't try to fight it. I'm not sure I could. Instead, I let lethargy cover me like a thick blanket as I fall backwards. A girlish whimper evades me. Everything goes dark.
My eyes slowly creep open. A bright light seeps through the thick curtain of my lashes until my eyes adjust to the brightness.
"I will never understand how walking proves to be such a challenge for you, yet dancing is the most natural thing in the world."
I turn my head sharply, until I find the source of the familiar voice. My cheeks are warm and flushed from sleep, but even so an icy chill begins to encompass my body. My voice is thick, and I croak, "Matthew?"
I'm laying down in my bed. Matt is sitting on the edge, he elevates my ankle, until it's resting on a pillow set at the foot of the bed. He gingerly sets the ice pack on top of it. "It's sprained, a clean break would have been better for you I suppose."
I prop myself up on my elbows. I'm overcome with a strong sense of deja vu as I glance at my ankle.We've been before, he's spoken those exact words, only years ago.“Garden hose, on the driveway. Your fault,” I recall in spite of my foggy state of mind.
Matt shrugs. “Its not my fault you cant walk and chew gum at the same time. Besides, I took you to the ER. Wasn't that noble of me?”
I stare at him for a moment. I can't believe he's here, in the flesh, sitting right next to me. I'm too overjoyed to question it. Instead, I throw my arms around him. “I love you Matt,” I cry.
He patts me on the back awkwardly. “The Doc said the painkillers would make you a little loopy.”
I cry harder at his oblivion. Once I regain my composure, I push him back at arms length. “Matty the book. I can save you, just tell me about it! Everything!”
I feel him draw away from me, and his posture grows rigid. “I, wh-what? How do you-”
“That's cheating Taya.”
My eyes dart to my bedroom door. Britta stands in the threshold, eyeing me skeptically. I start to push the covers off of me, intent on pummling her to the ground, but Matt's hand closes over my arm. “You should rest, I have to talk to Britta. Alone.”
I shake my head. “Please, dont leave me Matt, I dont know if I'll see you again!”
I reach out towards him, my hand clasps over his arm, and his features change. I'm overtaken by a falling sensation. Slowly I become detattched from my surrondings. Everything goes dark. I realize my eyes are just closed. My hand is still gripped around Matt's arm though. My eyes dart open. It isnt Matt I'm holding, in fact when I see where I am and who I'm with I want to cry out loud. It's the book theif, and I'm in a strange room, a strange bed to be more precise. I bolt upwards, searching for the nearest exit, preparing my lungs to scream.
"Going to scream? Go for it. In case you haven't noticed, we're in the middle of nowhere." He's tired, but his impatience with me is still present. There are bags under his eyes and I can tell by his posture that he's still hurting from the fall he took.
"Where's the book?" I demand,
"In a safe spot." His voice is void of any emotion, so it's hard to interpret what he means by "safe spot." I shoot him a pointed glare. "Where are my other belongings?"
He shrugs. "Safe spot."
My hands curl into fists. I lean in closer to him, hoping to intimidate him with my proximity. "Tell me where you put my stuff!" I scream. "Tell me right now, or I swear to God I'll-"
My threat is cut short by an animalistic shriek. I turn my attention to the demented creature who created the noise. The cardinal circles the room frantically. Carson stands up, and directs his attention to the bird. I turn back to him and begin to reprimand him some more with a few choice words. He ignores me and studies his pet, who is still producing that horrible squawk. "I'm talking to you!" I remind him enthusiastically.
He dismisses me with a wave of his hand. That's when I reach my limit. I point my finger at the insistent cardinal. "Enough of you bird!" A soft blue orb momentarily bounds Carson's pet. The noise instantly dies, and is followed by a soft thump on the floor.
Carson rushes over to the bird. He kneels down, obstructing my view. I pray that whatever I did, I didn't kill it. I cross my arms. I'm still annoyed over being ignored. "So what? It's a stupid homicidal bird. It should have died in the museum fire."
He stands and slowly turns to look at me. His brows are scrunched in anger. He cradles something small and fluffy in his hands. It's not until the object moves, and a small furry head pops up, that I'm able to recognize it as being a cat. It takes me another moment to register the turn of events. "Did I-"
"-Turn Iggy into an orange fur ball?"
I nod slowly. "A homicidal orange fur ball. Good God, it now has claws..."
Carson is seething as he holds the small kitten up for further inspection. The kitten extends said claws, and becomes overly rigid. "Damn it! He was trying to warn me, and now...what if, ugh! I don't speak cat!"
"But you speak bird?" I resist the urge to roll my eyes.
"I don't have time for this right now. We need to leave." He sets the kitten on the bed, and starts to round up his possessions.
"Give me the book!" I attempt again.
He looks at me like I'm special. "Do you really think I'll just hand it over now, or are you simply fascinated with the sound of your own voice?"
Before I can respond, we're interrupted by a series of thunderous knocks on the door.