I managed to find somewhere to sleep the day away, a tree house of sorts, I suppose, long abandoned and the wood worryingly soft. But it had a roof that covered enough of me, if I curled up tight and didn't move.
Which I didn't. The sun hurts.
As the cool evening darkness sweeps over the tree hovel, I roll onto my back and stretch out, groaning at the stiffness in my joints. The sunrise brawl replays in my mind repetitively, my mind tiredly noting how as determined as I was to kill Jesse with my bare hands, he seemed equally determined. If not, more. I wonder why, vaguely, dismissing the idea of a grudge against my entire family; I'd say it was a grudge against me and my occupation as a hunter, but... he was the one who killed my family, I'm sure of it, no matter what Grey Eyes said.
It's not an occupation that I will be giving up any time soon, especially now that I'm one of them. Evenly matched, and bearing deeper scars of their blight on the earth than I ever imagined I might, I have ever more reason to go after the ones who tore my life apart.
The question of ‘why is Jesse so determined to kill me?' grows louder and seems to paralyze me, holding me down to the rotten floor. It can't be because of my career. It started long before that.
My eyes glaze over, staring blankly at the roof, seeing not the sheet of corrugated iron, but the faces of my family, piled on top of each other in my parent's bed. Each is smeared with blood, their eyes more blank and glassy than mine are now, their bodies far closer to death than mine. They're still warm, the kills fresh, though they are firmly in death's embrace, and there's no chance of them waking up, gasping for air or asking what that gorgeous smell is. Nothing left in them, no blood, no soul.
Nothing. Nothing but the inset of cold and stiffness.
I watch myself dumbly, as my seventeen year old mind tries to comprehend the scene before me. I don't say anything to myself; he doesn't listen. He won't be consoled by the fact he goes on to work on making the world safer, or that he has a beautiful girlfriend. "You'll think of proposing to her one day, and everything," I've told him, but still he ignores me.
His silence is colder still as I watch him grow up and swear revenge like something out of a third rate film. His night terrors seem distant now, but to him, they are the end of the world, every time. Each morning should be a fresh start, a chance to work on repairing the wounds that his family's deaths left.
But he doesn't, and he wastes chance after chance, sinking into a state of bitterness that will only begin to lift when he finally snaps, losing his temper with a few guys in his year who are relentlessly bullying a skinny blonde kid in the year below. He comes across them cornering the blonde kid out side of school, the contents of his bag strewn across the grass, fluttering into the road. He is already sporting fresh bruises only a day old, and these guys are only adding to them.
I can't help the miniscule smile as I watch myself punch the guy nearest to him, nearly flooring him with just one blow. I'd always been a strong kid, and the kickboxing lessons had only increased this. By this point, I'd added MMA to the mix.
And god, did that guy feel it when I hit him. They turn on the younger me at that point, and time had lost all meaning as he beat the shit out of them, inexplicable rage fuelling this fight.
The blonde kid looks at him, dumbfounded for a moment, and more than a little scared as he stands back, breathing heavily, his fists still balled, as if expecting the bullies to start fighting again at any moment.
As time returns to his life, he turns to the blonde kid, pushing his dark hair out of his eyes, saying "stay out of trouble, bender," in what wasn't an unfriendly tone, just... weary. Seventeen and already he has seen enough of the world. He wouldn't have called the kid a bender if he wasn't so tired of everything - he just didn't want to make another attachment that might be taken away from him. He alienated all of his friends and reinforced the fact he had no desire for new ones, just to protect them. It was his burden, no one else's, and he would make sure no one else would feel its weight.
It's usually around here I try to whisper in his ear and tell him that the blonde kid he just saved will go on to be his best friend, and the guy he would consider making his best man at the wedding he plans out in his head. He would be the one who would willingly share the burden, and it would be a relief, not a constant source of antagonizing worry.
He ignores me still, though and I sigh, closing my eyes against the rest. I know how the rest goes like the back of my hand.
Hunger tugs at my stomach, and with a heavy sigh, I push myself, wincing at the dull throb in my arm, reminding me that I've still not healed fully. I prod the wound and am greeted only by another dull throb.
Guess there's no excuse to stay here and shy away from getting something to eat.