Chapter 3

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The boy's voice is threatening. Deep and hoarse and so quiet that it somehow sounds more menacing. But I am not scared.

"Are you one of them?" he asks, pressing the blade of his dagger farther into my throat. "Are you one of them, sent here to kill me? To keep an eye on me? Well I won't play your stupid games. I will kill you, I swear to God I will kill you if you are one of them."

I think of what I could do. He is behind me so I could try to kick him where the sun doesn't shine. I could lean down just a bit and bite his hand that is holding the knife. I could beg him not to hurt me.

The last option is less than ideal, but the other two are sound. I am not sure I could maneuver my leg backwards to hit him in the groin, but biting his hand seems simple enough.

So I lean a bit to the side and bite down as hard as I can, letting my teeth sink in deep into the bone.

His hands are huge, and though it is nighttime and dark outside, I can just make out the outline of his long fingers.

The boy barely winces as my teeth sink into him. "Shouldn't have done that," he growls into my ear. He lifts his knife away from my throat and for a second I think he is letting me go, but instead he raises the dagger into the air and brings the butt of the grip down onto my head, immediately knocking me unconscious.

***

My eyes flutter open and the first thing that I register is the wretched smell of smoke.

It is bright outside, dawn. I motion for my hands to raise, trying at a yawn, but my hands don't raise. I tug at them again, but something is holding them down. At this point my tired eyes fly open, and glance down at my hands.

I am leaning against a broad tree, seated, and my hands are tied down with some sort of strange looking rope. The bark of the tree is rough against my skin, and through my jacket. The sun is barely visible, but the luminous light shines through the branches of the many trees. Some birds fly around, and a pair of squirrels hops between the branches. It is beautiful and intimidating all at the same time. Moss covers every square inch of every visible tree, making the whole place seem like some green wonderland. The sweet chirps of some of the above birds bring this sort of serenity over the place where I am being held captive.

I hear a sizzle ahead of me and glance in that direction, where I see a small fire overtop a couple of charred logs. Behind the fire sits the boy who I assume is the one that threatened me last night and tied me to this tree.

Although boy is the wrong word. His tall muscular composure, suggests a man, not a boy. His tan skin is smooth and clean, except for on his face, where a small stubble is beginning to show. Grey eyes stare back at me, although his attention is clearly devoted to the knife in his hand, which he is sharpening against a small rock. His brown hair is short on the sides, but a bit longer on the top. A black tank top clings to his skin, revealing biceps underneath it, and showing off his toned arms. The top of grey cargo pants is visible above the fire, which he sits behind, leaning forward, sitting on, from what I can see, a log. His long fingers curl around the knife and the rock, and his right hand, holding the dagger, has some clear marks from where I bit him.

He stares at me for a while, never stopping the sharpening of his knife, and I stare at him, wide eyed, unsure of what to do.

Then he shifts a bit and looks down. "Axel," he announces in a deep, low, and masculine voice.

"I'm sorry?" I question.

"Axel. That's my name. Axel Finnegan." He sounds annoyed, but his grey eyes don't meet mine, staring down at his knife, which is glistening in the light.

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