That was the most I have heard him talk since I met him yesterday, or a few days ago.

I grumble underneath my breath and force down the rest of the squirrel meat. When I finish, I throw the stick the meat was on into the fire, in frustration, shove my hands in my pockets and walk over to lean against a tree.

"This yours?" I see him lift up a small wooden box that I recognize as my mother's radio. I nod.

He sets it down and glances back at me. We stare at each other for a while. His piercing dark grey eyes on my brown ones, each of us trying to figure out what to do next. Unsure. Uncertain. Like a wolf and a deer, each knowing the other's presence, waiting to see who will back down first.

"You never told me your name," he clears his throat.

"I know," I shrug.

He saunters over to me and leans against the broad tree, right next to me. He is taller than me. By several inches. The top of my head reaches the crook of his nose. He stares straight ahead and I do the same, sneaking a glance at him through my peripheral vision. "So are you going to tell me what to call you?" he asks.

I shove my hands in my pockets and feel the thin paper of my mother's copy of Moby Dick. I grin. "Call me Ishmael," I say and stare up at him.

He looks down at me and smirks. "How about instead of quoting classic english literature in my face, you tell me your name," he pauses, "Ishmael."

I turn to face him. "How about you tell me why you were trying to kill me?"

"I thought you were one of them," he says simply, "but I can see you aren't."

"One of who?" I ask.

"The people behind all this."

"What?" I am confused.

"The fires."

"The fires?"

"Think about it. Have you seen any smoke coming from any of the fires except for the one at our campfire today? Have you ever seen fire that catches on everything except for wood? And where did you get that knife, because I have a feeling it was dropped on your doorstep just like mine."

I take it all in for a minute. He is right. I haven't seen any smoke from any fire. It did seem strange to me that the woods didn't burst into flames. And all the stuff he says, about people being behind this, makes so much sense. That woman that showed up at my house. The shoes. The knife.

"What are you saying," I ask, "that people are controlling all this horrid stuff that has happened to me in the past few days?"

He stares ahead. Then he bends down to pick up a rock. He tosses the rock a few times, then throws it against a tree. Instantly a flourish of movement, arises, and a bunch of rabbits start to run. Without a second thought, he flings his knife at them and manages to stab one. I groan and look away as he walks over to the rabbit, whispers something under his breath, and takes the knife out of it. I see the rabbits feet twitch and know that the poor creature is still alive. He then proceeds to stab it again, and this time the rabbit goes still.

"We're having rabbit for lunch," he says without looking at me. "And to answer your question, yes. Someone is controlling all of this."

I stare at him in shock. How could a person be behind all these inhumane things that are happening to us? "Did you have to kill that rabbit?" I ask.

"Do you want to starve to death? For all we know, the berries and fruit are laced with poison."

"When we get out of this, I am going to be a vegetarian," I announce. Axel just laughs it off, a deep laugh, that instantly feels warm and welcoming. It draws me in.

As I walk closer to him I notice something peeking up over the side of his shirt. Some sort of dark thing that wraps around his collar and goes on down his back, disappearing under the black fabric of his tank top.

I inch forward and, completely without thinking touch the thing that seems like it could choke him.

Instantly he grabs my hand, spins me around, and points a knife at my chest. Then he sees that it is me, exhales and lowers the dagger. "Don't sneak up on me," he growls.

I ignore him and point at his collar, "What is that?"

He looks up at me as if I am the dumbest person that is known to mankind. "A tattoo," He rolls his eyes.

"Yeah, I realize, but what is it of?"

He pauses and looks at me sideways. "It's a chain."

That startles me, but I don't understand why. "Why do you have a tattoo of a chain?" I ask.

"Do you ever stop asking questions?" He asks menacingly.

"Do you ever answer them when I ask?" I retaliate.

"How about you tell me your name, Ishmael, then maybe I will tell you about the tattoo."

I think about it for a second, then shake my head. "Have it your way, Ishmael." He says, and walks away.

"Where are you going?" I shout after him.

"What is your name?" He asks back. I don't answer him. I am not sure why yet, but I don't feel very inclined to trust him.

He keeps walking further into the woods, and further from me.

I sigh, "Beatrix Dixie!" I shout after him, "My name is Beatrix Dixie!"

He turns around to look at me. Then he nods, "Beatrix, I like that." Then he turns and keeps walking.

"Wait! Tell me where you're going! And what's with the chains?"

"I'm going to get some wood for a fire, you can come if you'd like," he pauses and turns to glance at me, "and as for the chains," he smirks, "all in good time Beatrix."

So what did yall think?

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So what did yall think?

I loved writing this chapter, especially the banter between Axel and Beatrix! I hope you guys enjoyed it!♡

Why do you think Axel has that chain tattoo? And if this book is finished when you read this and you are an #rr, please don't ruin it for others!♡

Okay bye yall! Love you! I will update the next one on Thursday!

Okay bye yall! Love you! I will update the next one on Thursday!

Oops! This image does not follow our content guidelines. To continue publishing, please remove it or upload a different image.
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