Chapter 23

2K 205 25

Amber alerts had been issued, pictures circulated around various police departments and online, and dozens of people had been questioned. None of it brought any leads. Derek and Jessica had been missing for close to forty eight hours, and both family and police were getting more and more anxious as the hours continued to tick away. From experience they knew, the more time elapsed after the initial disappearance, the worse the chances became for a positive outcome.

Volunteers and police alike had searched every inch of town, every known hangout and every abandoned building. Or so they thought. Later on no one would be able to explain how everyone, including the couple's friends and families, had completely forgotten about the abandoned camp ground. As if a fog had settled over that one part of everyone's collective memories, the site had remained completely untouched throughout the entire investigation.

Then just around ten o'clock Monday morning, it was as if a loudspeaker had announced the camp's existence to everyone at once. Dogs were loaded into cars and officers summoned in the same moments that phones in the police station began ringing off the hook, calls from family and friends of the couple calling to confess they had somehow forgotten to mention the popular camp.

Although the camp wasn't far away, it still took longer than expected to begin the search. The first car on the scene passed the entrance completely, as did the next several after that. Somehow the old dirt road that just days before had been such an obvious landmark had faded away into near non-existence. It had become completely overgrown and almost indistinguishable from the surrounding forest. The only blemish to its newly grown camouflage was the strange wall of thick vines that had completely overgrown and encased the metal gate that marked the entrance of the camp.

Puck watched the first of the searchers ponder the new growth while they waited for the search dogs to arrive. Hot tears still distorted his vision from his argument with Evelyn. Somehow he had hurt her, and that hurt burned into his heart like a fiery dagger. What had he done? When humans were bad, or dark, they were punished. Often killed. It was just the way of things. The two he punished, they were both! Why would Evelyn want to save creatures like that? It was her they wanted to hurt!

Puck gripped the limb of the tree he was hiding in tightly, his skin turning a dark shade of red that matched his anger and confusion. Never once in his life had he allowed those he punished to escape his grasp, never once had he granted life to those who deserved death. But now he had no choice. Disobeying Evelyn wasn't within his abilities even if he desperately wanted to. Just his small attempt at changing her mind earlier had sapped much of his strength. To betray his blood oath to her father would be to forfeit his own life.

Still, if she hoped to survive in the world she truly belonged to, Evelyn would have to let go of her love and protection of these people. The elites wouldn't tolerate it, a fact Puck was certain of, but they would be the least of Evelyn's worries. It was the queen who would be the true danger. Her hold over the mechanicals was tenuous at best, and she would be sure to quickly stamp out any potential threat to the authority held over them.

More people arrived, bringing with them dogs trained to search out other humans. Their presence brought a tiny bit of relief to Puck's mind. At least he wouldn't have to deal with any more humans personally today. At that moment the very sight of them sickened him. Liars and thieves, that's all any of them were! The sooner he was away from this world the better!

The dogs would be used to his advantage, but he had to move quickly to avoid being seen. Puck closed his eyes and forced himself to calm, allowing his skin to revert back to more camouflaged tones. When he opened them again he glanced at his arm, which once again bore mottled patterns of greens and browns. Satisfied, Puck climbed quickly to the uppermost branches of the tree.

Seasons of Ferne, Summer's PassionWhere stories live. Discover now