March 26, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Hope #25

Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used the following prompt: “Why are you asking me these questions?”

Hope #25

Shane blinked at me from unfocused eyes, and I pretended nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Marisa played along, although her expression resembled a bust—cold and emotionless.
We're heading out now,” I said to Shane as I pulled at his ears. “We're going to get those dragon scales, so you can be human again.”
Shane lost all sleepiness. He wiggled in my arms, and his tail thumped against my belly in a frenzied motion. Despite the seriousness of the situation—and the light belly-ache I'd developed in the last few minutes—I smiled. I rubbed my nose in the fur at his neck and whispered, “You like that idea, don't you?”
He barked, and nudged his wet nose against my cheek. He followed this action with a few kisses of the moist variety.
Marisa and I exchanged a look that clearly expressed our feelings about each other. I wondered why she seemed so volatile. Was it me that brought this behavior out? Was it her usual attitude?
Do I need to take anything with me?” I asked.
Pack a rucksack with some food, and maybe a flashlight. Do you have any weapons?”
My jaw dropped. “Weapons? As in guns and things like that?”
Marisa nodded. “Guns, knives, anything you're comfortable with.”
Had she lost her mind? Me? Comfortable with weapons? Shane nudged my face and gazed at me from dark eyes. What if Marisa was right? What if Shane never cared about my safety? What if he wasn't the love of my life? What if...
I drew in a sharp breath. Why the hell did Marisa plant a seed of distrust in me? I couldn't, didn't want to believe Shane would ever jeopardize my life. That couldn't be. And yet there was this niggling thought—why didn't Shane come back to me earlier? Why did he leave me with the belief of his death for months?
I stamped on those unwelcome thoughts with all the power I could muster and said to Marisa, “I don't possess any weapons, but I'll pack a knife.”
Do you know how to use it?”
I shot her a glare. “No, I don't, but I bet Shane does. I'll hand it to him once he's back in human-form. Why are you asking me these questions?”
I'm hoping you'll see how absolutely hopeless your situation is,” Marisa replied.
A flash of heat surged through me, one so hot it was scalding. I pressed my lips together in a tight line to prevent myself from cursing. Not because I wanted to spare her feelings, rather because she was my only chance of getting us to... wherever it was we needed to go, so I could help Shane shift into a human again.
After counting to twenty, and enduring her relentless stare during the time it took me to come to the end of my counting, I asked, “Will you drive us?”
Her gaze flickered from me to Shane, then her shoulders slumped. “Yes. I'll be waiting in the car.”
I whirled around and stomped into the bedroom. There I set Shane on the floor and crawled under our bed to retrieve an old, battered rucksack. Shane bounced after me as I strode into the kitchen. I fetched a large butcher knife, which I wrapped into an old towel, and some food.
Marisa kept silent as we walked to her car. I slid into the passenger seat, put the rucksack between my feet, and patted my lap. Shane jumped onto it with an excited bark.
I glanced at our home as Marisa pulled onto the road. Would I ever come back?


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