Chapter 23

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Chapter 23

 I see Elder James walking away from Charlie. I approach Charlie who had a confused look on his face but it drops when he sees me. He rushes to me.

“Winter, what are you doing here?” Charlie asked grabbing hold of my hand

I look at the bracelet. It wasn’t burning my wrist. What was going on?

“Winter?” Charlie asked with a concerned tone.

“Charlie. The bracelet. It’s not burning me anymore. I don’t understand. It should burn me but it isn’t.” I said to him.

Charlie quickly lifts my hand and looks at the bracelet closely. It glimmered under the light. He touches the bracelet and it still doesn’t do anything. Why wasn’t it burning?

“It’s not burning you. Sometimes wrong here. Have you done anything recently different?” Charlie asked me.

I think back to when I talked with Elder James and Duke. I felt my face turn red as I think about the kiss that me and Duke shared. I could still remember the warmth of his lips on mine. It was so perfect.

“Winter.” Charlie said breaking my thoughts.

“Yes?” I said.

“Have you been hanging out with Duke recently?” He asked in a serious tone.

“Umm. Yes.” I said blushing even more.

I look at Charlie who had an unhappy expression on his face. He took my hand in his and looked at me in the eye.

“Do you like him? Winter?” He asked looking at me.

I stay quiet, unable to answer him even though knowing the answer to that question. I look away from his penetrating gaze. He holds my hand tighter than before. He releases my hand.

“You can always tell me Winter. I won’t get mad.” He said.

I still remain silent for his sake and mine.

“Does he know?” He asked me in a hushed tone.

“Yes.” I said softly.

Charlie doesn’t say anything but looks away as if he wanted to chase something.

“Winter!” Someone shouted behind me.

I turned around to see Bertha running towards me. When she reaches me, she breathes in heavily before looking up at me.

“What is it Bertha?” I asked looking down at her.

“Something bad has happen. A dark source of power was found nearby here.” Bertha breathe out.

“What?!” I and Charlie said looking at her as if she was some crazy bat woman.

“Some of the Elementals detected it when they went training into the woods. They went to check it out. Two of them got injured very badly and one lightly bruised.” Bertha said.

My heart started to race. Don’t tell me. Don’t tell me. Duke.

“Who are the injured Elementals?” I asked.

“Mike wasn’t injured because he arrived at training late and is able to heal himself on the way back but Fay and Duke was injured badly.” She breathed out.

“W-what?” I said while shaking.

“They think who ever it was, Duke was the target. Fay protected them by putting up rock barriers around them as Jeffery carried Duke back here but then something exploded causing Fay to fly off. Mike brought her back here. Fay and Duke are both in intensive care.” Bertha said.

At that moment, I ran all the way to the nurse’s office with Charlie and Bertha behind me. As I turned around the corner I could see the door to the nurse’s office. I pushed it open causing both doors to bang against the wall.

I first saw Fay who was slightly awake but was still wearing her mask. Mike was sitting next to her with her hand in his. She looking at me with a light glare. Even though she was on a hospital bed, she still hated me.

I turned around, he was laying there on the bed with wires sticking from different places on his body and a heart monitor near him. It wasn’t beating as fast as it should be.

I run to Duke’s side, ignoring the looks from a tired Jeffery and curious Mike and Fay. I hold his hand in mine and looked at his face.

They had to take of his face due to all the injured to his face. Bits and pieces of his mask laid on a piece of cloth on the side table. I look at his skin to see bruises and open cuts. I placed my hand on his cheek gently, feeling all the cuts and bumps before retracting my hand away.

“I told you.” I mumbled looking down not being able to bear his face.

“Miss Valentine..” I heard Elder James said behind me, putting his wrinkled hand on my shoulder.

I moved my shoulder back to get rid of his hold on me. I put my hand over my eyes so no one could see the tears coming out of my eyes. His hand still felt warm in mine but it didn’t move.

“I told you, Duke. I told you. You, stubborn...” I whispered to him before sinking to the ground.

Everyone was looking at me as I sat on the floor with his hand still on mine and me covering my eyes but that didn’t matter to me. He didn’t move or respond to what I said or did. He was laying down on his bloody white bed lifeless because of me.

It’s all my fault. I knew something like this would happen. I knew I would only cause him pain. I just knew it. I’m not good. There’s nothing good about me being with him. I already said I would cause pain.

It’s all my fault.

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