Chapter 10

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Her heart was hammering in her chest. With each breath it only seemed to increase.

Izara winced.

It was beating so hard it hurt. It really hurt.

She swayed a little and she realized she was standing up. The darkness around her and the tangy metal scent drenching the air was closing in on her.

She needed to open her eyes. She had to face the pain, but she didn't want to. She didn't want to see the source of that overwhelming coppery smell.

Beyond her, she heard the repetitive clicking sound. The otherworldly sound echoed around her bouncing off the walls and Izara felt her heartrate begin to slow. She knew that sound. Taking in a shallow breath, she opened her eyes.

She wished she hadn't.

Blood. So much blood. Even with the pod's low interior lighting, there was no mistaking the glistening red substance covering the floor beneath her.

Standing just inside the open doorway illuminated by the sunlight, the yautja stood there holding a severed human arm in his hand.

Izara's stomach lurched and she looked away. That was also a mistake.

She wanted to close her eyes or turn around, just do anything but stand there frozen in place as her eyes took in more of the terrifying details of the carnage around her.

Leaning against a terminal with his eyes still open, permanently caught in wide eyed expression of shock, was Shane's mutilated body. The jagged mess of tissue and muscle where his arm should be spoke volumes in the quiet room.

Izara stepped back and stopped with a jump at the feel of her boot coming in contact with something behind her. She pressed her lips together tightly and held back the urge to cry. She knew without looking whose body that was.

The clicking sound filled the room again, faster now, dragging her attention back to the source.

The yautja towered in the doorway staring down at her, his red eyes holding her gaze. The urge to cry was so painful she could barely surppress it. Hot tears welled up in her eyes temporarily distorting his figure and the grisly scene around them.

"They...they were g-gonna kill me," she managed in a tiny whisper. Memories of the pain shot across her numb senses as the images of their furious faces replayed themselves in her head. Blinking, more tears fell down her face as she looked back at the hunter and whispered, "Thank you."

The hunter tilted his head and considered her. His tiny red eyes looked from her and then to the arm he held in his hand before opening his clawed hand and letting it fall to the ground.

The sickening wet thud of the appendage against the floor made her sway on her feet. Her mind began to lose itself in a thick fog once more when the grip on her arm appeared. In a daze, Izara looked up to see the yautja pulling her arm. With a gentleness that shouldn't exist with this creature, he pulled her out of the pod.

The fresh air of the jungle assailed her senses in glorious relief bringing a surge of strength back to her legs.

Letting go of her, the yautja turned and began to walk only turning his broad back once to cast one look over his shoulder in silent command that she follow.

Silently, she trailed the yautja following the path he made. Walking now, away from the scene in the ship she started to feel the soreness in her body. Her head, wrist, and back all ached, but there was no time to stop and examine herself. The first swipe of the yautja's blade through the tangled foliage made her already skittish heart jump in her chest. But with each subsequent singing swing of the sharp metal her nerves began to calm and her senses came back into focus.

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