Friday, April 5, 2013

Day Four-Hundred-Thirty: Struggle

Eve wasn't in her little bedroll when I got up this morning.

That simple fact - which could have been innocently explained away in an instant with any number of excuses - put me into immediate panic mode. She'd been abducted by Libby, Antonia had carried her away in the night, the workers were crucifying her while she was weak, she'd wandered off and fallen into a pothole, there were shadow things under the mountain after all, zombies, mutants, King Jeffrey, so many outlandish ideas assaulted my common sense.

I leaped out of the wagon, casting about in a frenzy to locate my little girl. And, to my profound relief, she was almost immediately outside the wagon. But the person with whom she stood did not please me. He did not please me one single tiny bit.

"She looks a lot like you," commented Grayson as I landed beside Eve, his eyes dull and dreamy. "But she has mom's eyes. And her mouth. It's amazing."

"What's amazing?" I growled, putting my hands on Eve's shoulders protectively and pulling her away from her brother.

"How she can turn such beautiful features so ugly." His smile grew, and his blink was so long and sonorous that I thought he'd fallen asleep.

I took a step back towards the wagon. Eve stepped with me. She was expressionless, not insulted, but there was a slight tremble in her arms. "You stay away from her, you damned freak. What's wrong with you, anyway?"

Grayson laughed. "Suddenly playing the daddy, Dragomir? I'm touched, but I don't need your concern. I'm fine."

But he wasn't. Grayson swayed almost dangerously low, his head lolling from one shoulder to the other. Then he caught himself, stood upright… and began to sink again. He reminded me of Logan, in the prince's final days at the castle, though far dopier.

Gah. Logan. Gods. Why couldn't I have had a son like THAT?

"I don't think you are, kid. In fact, I got a theory."

"Yes?" Grayson laughed and coughed. "I would love to hear what the great Dragomir thinks of my health, truly, but I only came here to see my darling sister. Or what passes for her these days. Now I have work to do, so you'd best be -"

"I think you're competing with June."

Grayson stopped. His eyes flew open, alert and more than a little suspicious.

"She wants this place," I continued. "She wants it bad. I dunno why, but she does. 'n you can't stand it. How'd you put it? Back when you were actually cute? 'No dig.' You 'n her must be fightin' day 'n night to stop this thing… or keep it goin'. Looks to me like you're losing."

"You should see her," Grayson muttered, almost too low to hear. "Old bag's on her last legs."

"I bet." I shrugged, and hastened Eve back into the wagon. "But I don't care. I've decided. 'nother week to fix things up back in Pubton 'n I'm outta here. WE'RE outta here. Gonna go live a nice, quiet life somewhere else. You 'n your mom 'n June 'n whoever else wants ta stick around can fight whatever war's coming on your own."

Grayson's smile grew far too much for my liking as I spoke, and when I stopped he tittered and slapped his knee. "You think you can just leave? HA! Don't count on it. How far do you think you can go before that time bomb in blonde blows up and crushes your petty little dreams for normalcy? That's not Eve. That's a shell. When the real thing shows her face, you'll be very sorry you were taken in."

"Better the daughter I love 'n the son I hate. Off we go, sweetie."

Eve climbed in the wagon. I fetched the horses, fed them quickly, promised to stop and feed them more once we left the camp, hitched them to the wagon, and set off. Grayson watched me the whole time, slumped and half-smiling.

This is the last I'll ever see of him. I swear it.


Dragomir the Father

1 comment:

  1. Can we check the base of his head...just above the neck? We'll just have to shave a small amount of hair away, but I just gotta be sure Grayson doesn't have a 666 birthmark.