Chapter Fourteen: Medieval

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Jo's spoon clattered sharply against her plate when I sat next to her for breakfast. Connor sputtered into his juice before setting it down on the table.

"What are doing?"

Jo hissed, gawking at me.

I took a bite of my blueberry waffle and shrugged. "Eating,"

"No, what are you doing here? You're supposed to be resting."

"Yeah," Connor chimed in. "Didn't you almost die yesterday?"

"Yeah, but I was hungry." I said after swallowing my food. "Besides, I can't let a little near death experience knock me out of getting an education."

Plus I wanted to find out if my dreams had any substance to them. And I couldn't very well do that by lying in bed all day like an invalid.

Jo shrugged. "Okay, but if you pass out or anything it's your ass." She took a swig of coffee, adding, "Personally, I'd be milking the hell out this whole bed rest thing."

Connor nodded in agreement, munching on a bite of bacon. "Right? Especially during mid-terms."

Jo scoffed. "Honey, mid-terms ain't nothing compared to finals week."

I listened to Jo's horror story about her experience with last semester's finals, eagerly munching on another waffle, when an icy hand clasped my shoulder.

The whole table fell silent and everyone stiffened. I glanced down at the hand, noticing faint scars along the tanned knuckles, then looked up to see Lucius wearing a grave expression.

Busted.

I was supposed to be resting, I knew that. But was my defying doctor's orders really worth Lucius looking so serious?

"Come with me. Now."

I gulped, my throat robbed of any moisture.

Quietly, I stood and reached out to grab my tray.

"Leave it." Lucius mumbled. "There are more pressing matters at hand."

I obeyed, and gave Connor and Jo what I'd hoped was a reassuring smile before Lucius steered me out of the dining room.

I wanted to ask about the confession he'd made to me last night; why he had even confided in me at all, and if it was actually true. But I couldn't speak--it felt like my mouth was full of sand.

I also wanted to know where we were going. Having been caught out of bed, I figured he'd escort me to my room. Instead, we were heading outside, toward the stone steps that led down to the dock.

"Lucius..?"

"You are not safe here," he pulled me into his side when a harsh wind blasted us, his fingers curling around my bicep. "I have made arrangements for you to be returned to the mainland."

My heart shot up my throat.

Return to the mainland? Then what?

I had aged out of foster care a few weeks before leaving for Lachlan Island. What money I had saved up over the years was spent on a seedy motel room and the trip here. Where was I supposed to go? What was I supposed to do, live on the streets?

I tried to pull away from him, tears stinging my eyes. "Lucius, please. You don't understand."

Pride kept me from admitting it out loud, from telling him my pathetic truth. But now, as he kicked the silvery gate open, I felt that pride ebbing.

"Lucius, I--"

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Aiden was standing on the other side of the gate, arms folded across his chest. His eyes were narrowed, practically shooting daggers at Lucius. "She's not leaving."

"We agreed to keep her safe," Lucius' tone was measured, cool. "By any means necessary."

"And do you really think this is the best way? Sending her off to where we can't go? Where we can't protect her?"

Lucius released me to approach Aiden. "I am trying to protect her from us, you foolish boy."

From them? Aiden and Lucius?

"Do you not see how dangerous it is for us to be around her? Or were the events of yesterday not a clear enough indication?"

The events of yesterday? What the hell was Lucius talking about? I fell on a pencil... didn't I?

As the men bickered back and forth, a low whistle danced in the breeze. They didn't seem to notice, having carried their debate away from the gate and me.

I stepped through the gate as well, following the path that lead to the dock. There was a boat waiting at the dock, waiting for me. And as I traveled further down the path, I realized it was the same boat that had brought me to Lachlan Island.

I stopped for a moment, never noticing until then just how big the vessel was. It wasn't so much tall as it was long, and had barnacles stuck to it's rusty hull.

Just then the whistling continued, demanding my attention. Without so much as a backwards glance, I followed the sound, coming to a different path on the other end of the shore.

It lead into the woods, and took me through thickets of wet plants and slippery rocks. I carefully weaved past the ferns and trees, not really knowing why I was tracking the sound, and eventually came to a clearing.

The whistling was louder now; a slow and melancholy tune that tugged at my heartstrings and push me onward, despite the cold I felt everywhere. Before I knew it, I was standing in front of a cave, almost deafened now by the whistling.

It was here, whatever it was.

No, not it. I found myself thinking. Them.

Confused by that thought, I stepped inside, ignoring the feeling of claustrophobia trying to settle in. It was dark inside the cave, but there was a light up ahead. It flickered as I got closer to its source, dancing as if it were alive. Then, I got to the opening of a larger room, and spotted torches lining the walls.

It felt warmer in here, the orange glow of the torches momentarily blinding me to what was inside.

"I told you she would come."

I froze solid.

That voice, I knew it. It was low, menacing, and scraped at my ears like sandpaper, but I knew who it belonged to.

My heart thundered wildly in my chest as I scanned the room. It looked like a medieval torture chamber. There were cages lining the right side of the room, and some kind of table with cranks and wheels on each of it's corners to the left. Despite my fear, I trudged further inside to spot an array of vicious looking devices hanging on the wall next to the table.

"Leave," another voice whispered.

This voice was familiar too, and it was just as painful to hear as the first one.

They sounded so thirsty, like they hadn't had anything to drink in days. I was terrified of this room, of what was inside, but my heart ached for the men in here. I had to help them.

Further down the rabbit hole I went, blocking out the bloody rags and rusty chains fastened to the floors and walls, until I got to a giant wooden X at the end. Someone was chained to it, someone with white hair and a light English accent.

"Miss...Rid...ley," the voice was weak, grating. "Run,"

A/N*
Sorry for the long wait, but things have been pretty chaotic lately. I hope you guys are still interested in my story, and I really hope y'all like this chapter! 

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