Chapter 29 - Get Comfortable

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The guards' horses were close to our camp. They must have decided to go on foot once they were near.

I hadn't spoken to Mindy or Sienna since they led us off. Every glance I took at Mindy showed her curls shaking. I couldn't meet her eyes. If I did, I wouldn't be able to hold it together either. Sienna, on the other hand, stood straight, shoulders back, head held high. I was liking the girl more and more.

"All right. We'd all like to get back sooner rather than later. We can put you on the horses, but if you make it difficult..." The main guard, the one who asked about cages, held up what looked like a leash letting the cord fall from his fist, the loop held between his thumb and forefinger.

I swallowed hard at the sight, my skin breaking out in a damp sweat even with the chill in the air.

My guard came up next to me. "I can help you up."

I nodded, still fixated on the leash. I didn't want to get there faster, but after the whirlwind of emotions in the past thirty minutes, I wasn't sure my trembling legs would make it. The woman motioned for me to put a foot in the stirrup and then she helped boost me up since my hands were behind my back. Once on, she mounted behind me.

Sienna and Mindy had done the same. No one wanted to walk or be leashed. My horse passed Mindy's, and we shared a look. She was crying, but to my surprise, her eyes flashed with defiance before she nodded at me. I nodded back.

I wasn't alone. We'd get through this together, and I felt a little of the weight slumping my shoulders lift.

We climbed. The trail getting steeper and steeper, and I wished I had opted to walk feeling not at all balanced on a horse with my hands handcuffed behind my back. Thoughts of falling off the horse and tumbling down the side to the river with my hands cuffed behind me kept crashing around in my head, so I kept my eyes stalwartly focused on the wooded area to the right of the trail.

As we drew closer and closer, I could make out lights in the middle of the river gorge off to our left. There was an ethereal beauty to it that calmed my racing heart, but then a moment of pure self-loathing washed over me. How could I ever find beauty in such a place? A place that captured women to control them, enslave them.

But Tobin was from here, and there was beauty in him. And from what I could tell, Gord too.

"Not much farther now, the lights are the dam. We'll be there in a few minutes," my guard said close to my ear. Her breath on my ear sent spider shivers down my spine, and I arched away. Amazing how one person could make you shiver with delight and another could make you quiver with disgust by doing almost the same thing.

I tried not to dwell on thoughts of Tobin, but I could still feel the ghost of him on my lips, down my neck,

Every time I thought of him, I forced myself to picture my mother and Eluena. If I didn't, then the urge to elbow my guard and make a break for it grew too strong. His offer to flee with him was a moment of ecstasy and dismay I kept trying to force to the back of my mind.

My mother and the others had to be my priority now. Get through this Facility and absorb as much as I could about what was going on.

All my life I had not let myself be distracted by boys, focusing on what I needed to do. The Offering had always seemed like enough deterrent to never get involved. Not that any of them had ever shown me much interest or interested me. Now it was more important than ever that I not be distracted, but I had to admit that I'd never felt this way about anyone before. No one had ever seemed to understand me the way he did. On occasion, I'd even exasperated Eluena.

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