18 - The Winter Reborn (II-III)

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September 2019 UPDATE: Hello. Due to the third issue with plagiarism since posting my work to Wattpad, this chapter will be removed as of January 1, 2020. It's not what I wanted to do, and I hate pulling my work from my readers' hands. However, I cannot have my art and writing plagiarized if I hope to have the chance of publishing these works in the future.

Thank you for your understanding and support. - Hannah

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II

A slender man with a pleasant but weathered face approached him with a hunched back. Garrett wondered if he too felt the draw to walk on all fours but resisted, as he had on his walk to what he could only guess used to be something of a building.

Hanger, his brain echoed. The voices that called it, again, were not his.

"This is President," the sun said. Her eyes cut between them like starbursts, seeming to connect invisible threads.

Garrett shifted, drawn toward the man. There was a coolness about him. His age, his weatheredness. He had lived—more lives than this one. He was also in charge, but in a different way than the sun. He did not feel as demanding. Garrett's shoulders slumped as he stepped away from the sun. The blaze, the radiating heat, ebbed away a little.

"He will take care of you when I'm not here. Understood?"

Garrett bobbed his head, mimicking President's motion. Yes. Though he didn't quite know what he was agreeing to. His bones were still heavy, but his mind felt more stable in the moonlight.

Moon.

His eyes darted around the group, looking for something familiar, a shape, a twist of Spanish hair. But he saw nothing but the building bathed beneath the moonlight. President, instead, met his gaze. It seemed they'd met before, though Garrett couldn't remember where. It was a strange sensation, that familiar unknown thing. He felt it everywhere that evening. Like someone had turned the world sideways, ruined half his brain and left some of the pieces behind. He closed his eyes, trying to think It was like the things he saw on glowing screens. Shows. Movies. That was it. It was like the movies. A...low point. He felt that low point when he stared at the sun once more, unable to defend himself yet feeling the burning need to do so.

He was constantly turning, oscillating between acceptance and rejection. He could feel his bones splitting. Two halves of a whole. Reconstructed. Rebuilt. He wasn't sure which word fit better. Ruined, maybe?

Come.

He turned his gaze to President's as the man straightened and started to back away from the sun. From Hailey. Garrett both wanted to follow and didn't. He didn't know what laid beyond the doorway to the hanger. He wasn't sure he wanted to.

Family, President coaxed again. In his head. Garrett felt the wise man's word in his head. It was not his. This was strange. Stranger than the chorus of voices. Because before he could pretend those weren't real. He could pretend he was dreaming. Now that President stood before him, he wasn't sure. He wasn't dreaming. But he also wasn't sure the word, the voice, was real either.

"Come." This time it was spoken in the same low rumble that invaded his head. Garrett watched the man's lips form the word. He felt the nudge from Hailey against his shoulder. And ever so slowly he stepped away from the sun. He didn't like it, that departure. It felt too cold too fast, though he relished the relief of escaping the stifling heat of her. She seemed to consume everything. But around that sun he didn't have to think. All he had to do was stare. And now, on his own, stranded on the cusp of wilderness with President, he had to think.

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