Recon- 3 | i

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21 days after she went missing...


"Shea. Shea."

The voice shifted in and out. At one point, it sounded as if it was miles away but every time she heard it, it seemed to drift closer and closer. She wanted it to go away.

"Shea? Can you hear me?"

Shea raised up roaring pushing away the voice. The voice went away. She sat up to find herself in a puddle feeling dazed. A few moments later it registered to her that it was raining. Sheets of rain drummed down on her, thunder rolling in the distance. Head back she allowed the water to beat down on her face.

"Shea?"

She looked toward the voice that had called her back to the present. It was Ichiro. He got to his feet rubbing the back of his head. She looked around her to take in her surroundings. Shea was unsure of how exactly she should be dealing with what had happened. Unsure of how she had found her way back to the mountain. She got to her feet and started to walk in no particular direction. Ichiro jogged over to her. He held on to her arm spinning her around to face him. Her hair was loose and hanging wet around her face. Framing her face with his hand, he pushed her hair aside, tilting her head. His head looming over hers blocked the rain from falling into her eyes.

"You scared me," he said. "And I do not appreciate the feeling."

Shea only stared at him. In her mind, she told herself that she had to hold it together. She had to be strong. No show of weakness. Her lips started to tremble before she burst out into tears. Her pride be damned, she was tired of having to be strong. Of pretending that she was. There was nothing strong about her. Only her anger, her thirst for revenge kept her emotions in check and now with the levy gone, her dam of emotions exploded.

Ichiro sat now in the rain holding her. Her cry cut through the rain as she screamed releasing everything that had lain dormant in her heart for years. Things that had been poisoning her. Things that caused Shea to keep others at arms length. Holding it all in was a bad habit she had not accepted she needed to change—not until the sewers. Her screams were pure pain.

She screamed for losing the man she loved.

She screamed for feeling as if it had been all her fault. For having been too weak. For not having seen what had been in front of her all along.

She screamed for her brother. For his death. For her family who she alienated. For never building up the courage to face what she had done out of shame.

She screamed for being so lost in someone else that she had lost sight of the rest of the world. For losing sight of who she was.

She screamed, clawing at the mud, at her skin. She fought to get free from Ichiro, but he never let her go. She collapsed against him embracing his strength. She was so tired of fighting. So tired of pretending she was not a ghost walking in a world that had started to feel unfamiliar.

Ichiro held her and allowed her to scream until there was nothing left. No sound, no tears. He just sat there in the rain; Shea curled up in his lap as she clung to him. It had been years since she had clung to anyone. Years since she had felt like she could. She was grateful that he said nothing. He simply held her, as she needed to be, as she released emotions she had finally had the strength to let go.

***

Marx stood on the porch looking out at the woods. All of them had heard her. Her pain reverberated through the entire pack. Mournful howls echoed from different parts of the Mountain. Since the day he accepted the responsibility of alpha, the pack had steadily grown with at least one new member every other day. Since the land was plentiful, Marx had given them the go-ahead to clear different sections and start building homes. It may have been a strange thing in light of the situation, but the a home was what they all needed. The time of the nomads was wrapping up. They did not have a fancy city like Pentorium, but the Mountain was now home.

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