The mob began to disperse. Someone draped her cloak back around her shoulders. Lacey wasn’t sure she could even walk; her knees were like jelly. If it weren’t for Blayd, she would just lay down right here, curl up into a ball, and cover her head. But his strong arms didn’t leave her.
For the second time since she had met him, Blayd scooped her off her feet. She hissed weakly, even though she knew he wasn’t trying to hurt her. He carried her inside Cooper’s hut and laid her on the bed.
Lacey didn’t look at him. She was humiliated; she had never felt so feeble.
He nudged her shoulder with his knuckles, claws carefully tucked under his palms.
She took a breath, he wasn’t going to leave her alone until he knew she was alright. “I’ll be fine,” she said, “thank you.”
He shrugged. He looked fairly ridiculous inside the hut, stooped over so he didn’t bump his head.
The stew bowl was lying in the dirt, knocked to the ground by the mob. Blayd bent to tidy the mess, righting the table and picking up the bowl. How could he do something so mundane after what just happened? They were going to kill her. Cold, golden eyes flashed in her memory. People didn’t kill people, except in the records of Old Earth. People on Eridan followed the Path.
Lacey wanted to cry, but it came out as a laugh instead. A laugh touched with hysteria.
Blayd shuffled over with his stooped head cocked to one side. His tail wagged uncertainly, knocking the bowl off the table again.
She laughed harder.
He brushed her forehead with the backs of his clawed fingers.
“I’m fine,” she said, pulling away and getting control of herself.
He gave her a doubtful look.
“Well maybe not exactly fine,” she took a deep breath. “But no bones are broken.”
He rested his hand on her shoulder, mindful of his claws. Everything was going to be ok. He did not say a word, but he was speaking in his own way. And she understood him, it wasn’t any different than with Meemu the cat, or the dogs in the dairy. She had a way with animals, Mama said.
Cooper rushed in, all business. “Out, you big lug. You’re going to bring the whole hut crashing down on our heads. The poor girl doesn’t need any more fangy beasts hovering over her.”
She shooed the wolf-boy out the door, which hung awkwardly on it’s frame from where the mob had busted in. “Poor child. I am so sorry. I panicked.” Cooper stood wringing her black hands over and over. “I didn’t know they would—”
“I don’t belong here. They were right.” Lacey didn’t belong anywhere except out on the Explorer’s Trail—alone.
Cooper sat on the bed and patted Lacey’s hand, “If the Lady says you belong, then you do. The others will not act against her.”
“Cooper, why doesn’t Blayd speak?” Lacey was curious, others in the camp spoke as far as she could tell.
The raccoon-woman pulled a cover across Lacey and tucked it around her shoulders. “None of us are all the way one thing or another. And the well likes to change things around a bit with each wish. Blayd just doesn’t have the parts to speak, I guess.”
Most of the Wished did have very human looking mouths, even when their faces were still elongated and snout-like. Blayd had a short snout, but still had the mouth of a wolf. She couldn’t imagine that lipless mouth forming words. He couldn’t speak, the same way she couldn’t cry.
Cooper started puttering around, doing a much better job of cleaning than Blayd had done.
“What did Lady Ezerelle mean about a choice?” Lacey asked.
“Shhhh. We can talk about that later. You need to rest. Do you need any more stew?”
I just wanted to stop here and let all you dear readers know how amazing you are. The fact that you have read this far is not something I take for granted. Thank you! Don't forget to vote, comment, and add the book to your shelves if you haven't already!
PS - Today's piece was short, but its only a part of Chapter 10. More of Chapter 10 is on the way. I am increasing my posting frequencey to two or three times a week, so you don't have to wait too long for more :D
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Lacey is a bat girl. Seven years ago, her mother wished at the well in the heart of the Wish Wood, transforming a young bat-ling into a human girl--mostly human. But Lacey is growing up, Mama has a real daughter now, the kids in town tug on her poin...