I've been so busy lately with work that I haven't had the time to sit down and type decently. Between flights and bus rides, I've only managed to scribble a few more sections of Chapter 3. Hopefully I'll be able to type them all out this weekend and post it by Monday!
So meanwhile, here's just a short snippet of the upcoming chapter! It's an unedited version, so pardon the errors ;)
Mallory was sure she was in a dream – one where she was a third-party observer; understanding everything despite the incredulity of the situation.
Yes, she just witnessed a man changing into a wolf – she had clutched at his fur while riding on his back and she had seen the wolf change back into a man.
How dare he say that werewolves didn’t exist!
There was no mistaking those eyes. She knew them – man and wolf. They were the same piercing blue that had first stolen her breath back on the slopes of the Sleeping Giant. Mallory wasn’t a historian archaeologist if she didn’t have an eye for detail.
And she had noted that the five seemingly normal wolves who had appeared a while ago were of the changeling kind like him –but different. Not only where they smaller, they also had an air about them that denoted a lower rank in hierarchy.
The only thing she couldn’t understand was why he had followed them and left her alone in the foliage. He had even taken the assailant who was after them!
Fumbling around her for support, Mallory tried to get on her feet but her muscles were under the attack of pins and needles after having crouched behind a bush for so long.
“Goddamn it Mallory!”
Cursing to herself, she managed to rummage for a thick broken stick and used it as a form of lever to hoist herself up. “Who says I love you and then disappear?” she grumbled. The fear that had consumed her earlier was replaced by annoyance and a tinge of worry.
Emotions aside, she had understood that something sinister was happening under her nose. Why had the man come after them? Was it Clay that he was after? Or was it her? And those wolves…
One of them – the black one –had looked straight at her before leaving, the warning in his eyes clear.
“Clay…” she whispered, her eyes following the direction where she last saw him. She didn’t want to admit it but it hurt.
It hurt that she had allowed herself to let him in only to have him abandon her. Hadn’t she already had enough of that while growing up?
Each time shipped from house to house after her foster parents could no longer tolerate her or control her. And finally, at 18, when the system could no longer support her, she was thrown out on the streets to defend herself.
It wasn’t that she resented being left behind for Mallory had no parents, no family, nothing –she never had a bond to anyone that mattered. At every stage of her life, relationships were temporary – foster home to foster home.
That shouldn’t have changed.
Even with his arrogant face plastered on, Clay bore the slight note of worry in his eyes – something that Sophie had picked up, despite his insistence that Mallory meant nothing to him. She was merely a human he saved from an attacking Risen, so he said.
Although Mallory was off-limits to them for the moment, Jean-Pierre had still ordered three of them to continue keeping watch over her. Sophie couldn’t disagree. Human or not, Mallory Roux was a piece of the bigger puzzle and they needed to figure out what part she played.
As for herself, the senior tracker had requested that she accompanied him back to Notre Dame, in a bid to coax some answers out of the two prisoners.
Pursing her lips, Sophie crossed her arms as Jean-Pierre tried to discuss his interrogation strategy. There were times when she really hated how he used her looks as a tool to acquiesce men, especially when the specimen in front of her was anything but attracted to her. Clay had not once looked at her nor acknowledged her presence.
“Jean-Pierre, please. You know as well as I do that he is not going to speak to us.”
“Doesn’t mean we stop trying,” he replied curtly before turning his attention to the captured Risen in front of him. They weren’t any more successful with him either.
Yuli was sat back in his seat, eyes wary and watchful. Though they had bound his hands and feet, he knew he could escape if he wanted to –merely disappearing in a puff of smoke.
By the looks of it, the captured Light Walker knew it too.
Their eyes crossed for a split second and Yuli caught the murderous edge in those sky-blue irises.
Finally, after a long period of silence, the two trackers stood up.
“It won’t be long before we reach Paris,” announced Jean-Pierre, looking intently at his two captives. “I do so wish that you would tell us something useful so we could help you out. The Shadow Lords can be merciful.”
Clay resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He knew all about their mercy alright. Like how they mercilessly butchered his entire family.
So screw them.
Crossing his arms over his chest, Clay endured the slow descend to Charles de Gaulle Airport. He hated the place – the rank scent of decay and filth was always heavy in the air, choking him.
He longed for the vast countryside, where the air smelled of ripened grapes and wheat and fields of sunflowers.
Coming home had a bittersweet taste to it.
The journey to the grand cathedral was wordless. The captives found no reason to speak and the captors knew there was nothing more they could gleam from the two.
Clay kept his eyes on the road, noting how despite the passing of time, every building was still recognisable, the streets littered with the same type of people and the air of melancholy still permeated the city.
Even the river Seine held the same charm and serenity as before. Now that the car was crossing the bridge over her, he knew the time had come. He was finally home, in the land of his forefathers and back here he was after a century.
When Jean-Pierre tried to guide them towards the main entrance of the cathedral, Clay simply pulled away and headed up the path that he had memorised by heart. He knew the tracker was going to bring them through all the memorials and grandeur as a farce of intimidation but Clay was not one to waste time.
At the side of the spiral staircase at the back entrance was a secret door that led to another set of stairs at the end of a corridor. It was there that he had seen his family for the last time before they were all herded to the main courtyard like sheep to slaughter.
Clenching his teeth at the memory, Clay continued down the path; aware that Sophie was following him. Jean-Pierre must have set her on him while he tended to the captured Risen.
When they finally reached the end of the corridor, Clay pushed the door open and welcomed the flood of light from the open-air cloister.
But it was the chapter-house at the east side of the cloister that had his attention.
A soft hand on his shoulder. “Wait, please.”
He gave her a momentary glance. “I know they are aware of my presence. There is no need to chaperon me.”
“I don’t understand.” The tone of resignation and innocence had him stopping in his tracks.
Clay continued walking. There was no need to explain anything. His business was not with her.