Sarah Hale - Living ShieldMature

At first she was unable to answer. The night around them was so quiet that all she could hear was her own frantic breathing and his unnaturally calm voice. It’s only when she felt his nose touch her neck that she hurriedly whispered, “Yes.”

Her heart stumbled in relief as he pulled back and when she took a chance to glance to the side, he seemed in thought until he caught her eye.

“Eyes Forward,” he snapped and that’s all it took for her to focus intently on the mural in front of her. At that point questioning why didn’t seem appropriate even though she really wanted to know. But honestly, as long as he was talking she was not being eaten. “Did she send you to test me?”

What did that mean? The right answer seemed so important but she didn’t know what he was talking about. Stick with the truth, Sarah. “I don’t know who she is. I was on my way to a convention…” Her voice was shaking because she didn’t know if admitting that she was lost was the right thing to do, but the other option was running back down the alley where Predator Pooch was last seen.

“Convention?”  She couldn’t see but she could hear the smirk in his voice. “Is that the way she wants to play it? Does she think that a little more of her attention and a cute little thing like you is all I’ll need to come around? She should know me better by now.” Out of the corner of her eye she saw him look up at the red hued apartment above them and then down the dark alley with a grim look. Despite his morbid condition, he seemed to be standing straight and nonchalant about the blood clotting on his skin. It made her wonder how long he was in the mural. Focus. He seemed to have her confused with someone else.

“A convention. Here in Vegas. There were people everywhere, I’m not sure you could miss it. I was distracted just a moment by…something and then my friends were gone and so was everyone else. I know that there is no reason for you to trust me. There is even less reason for me to trust you, but I don’t really have any choice. You’re the least aggressive being I’ve run into since it got dark… so far.” She added the bit at the end almost too late as she caught him looking at her sharply. She even averted her gaze again, and chose to look at the ground.

He leaned in again and inhaled close to her neck, it was everything she could do not to shy away but she managed just a flinch. “It doesn’t matter if you’re telling the truth or not. Just leave. If you were sent by her, tell her I refuse. Again.” With that, he walked up to the mural and reached out a hand…which to his apparent shock just touched the wall. As she watched, his eyes narrowed and he slapped his palm against it again before turning around to face her, fury in his eyes. “You did this.”

“I didn’t! I just came down here because I thought someone needed help. They were calling.”

Not bothering to stay out of her line of vision, his hand gripped her arm and pulled her roughly to him. She thought it was disturbing to not look at him, but it was nothing compared to meeting the fury in his eyes right then. “There is help for no one here. You shouldn’t be here.” By the tone of his voice, she had the feeling that he believed her. What that had to do with him not being able to re-enter the mural, she didn’t know.

“Who is she and is she coming back? Can you get us out of here?” The questions just came flooding out. This was her chance; she didn’t want to squander it.

“She is the keeper of this district. It’s her job to make sure I am hurting and it’s her that locked me in that mural. Getting out of here is impossible and you should run away before she comes back.” His grip on her arm had loosened and he seemed to be staring off to the side, unable or unwilling to hold her gaze any longer.

“Where will I run to if it’s impossible to get out? And you’re bleeding. If she locked you in the mural, I doubt she meant for you to get out… so come with me.” She knew that the odds of him coming along for her benefit are probably small, but why would he stay if he knew that he would be punished again?

“She won’t be forgiving if she finds a human here. Are you prepared to suffer her wrath? If you aren’t dead yet, she will fix that and make you wish you were.” His eyes were staring vacantly at the bloody wings still left in the mural.

“Even so,” she said. All or nothing.

“Do you like me? Think I’m cute? A lost puppy for you t pick up and carry around until it gets better? You’re a fool. You never should have come down this alley.” The scorn in his voice was apparent. What an ass. It was so typical for a guy to assume that a girl must like him if she doesn’t treat him like shit.

“I like you like I’d like a donkey at the Grand Canyon. You’re the only other sentient being that I’ve come across. Can’t you just decide to TRY and take me with you? If you’re going to be punished anyway, will it hurt?”  Is that a smile? Kind of…a quirk of a lip.

“Fine. You first.” He gestured to the dark alley ahead. What the hell did she just agree to do? Be his living shield?

At this point,she’s pretty sure that he must be fallen...or kicked out of Heaven. God himself probably did the honors and threw a party afterwards.

The End

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