When I woke up, my head was pounding, my body ached, it was dark and I was starving.
“Hey,” Hunter said.
I was startled by his voice because I hadn’t noticed that he was basically around me and I was leaning on him.
“Are you okay?” he asked. I looked at him and he said, “Besides the massive headache, soreness and dire hunger.”
“I’m fine, I guess,” I said.
“Here.” He handed me 2 pills and a bottle of water. “Take these first, then you can eat.”
“Okay,” I said without questioning him. He made it clear that he wasn’t going to hurt me. I tried to swallow the pills, but it was difficult.
“Relax. Don’t try to force it down. I don’t want you to choke.”
I slowly swallowed the pills.
“Good girl,” he said and handed me a burger and fries. “Two burgers and fries, the way you like them.”
I looked at the food in my hands. “Two?”
He held up a paper bag. “Two,” he repeated.
“Oh,” I said and took a bite of my burger.
“Yes, I can count.”
“I am aware of that,” I snickered.
“Sure, sure. I’m glad that you think I can’t count to two.”
“I don’t think that.”
“You hurt my feelings.”
“Hunter, stop it,” I said worried that I really hurt him.
“I’m offended,” he said looking away.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” I cried out.
He looked at me and stuck his tongue out. “That’s what you get for making fun of me,” he joked.
“Meanie,” I said lightly hitting his arm, “Don’t do that. I thought you were actually mad at me.”
“Too bad,” he said with a smile.
I smiled back and continued eating. Hunter began to explain what was happening.
“I was sent away to a school called Harkside Academy of Advanced Learning,” he began. “It’s a horrible place that forced me to control my powers, forget about my past, and become a cold-blooded killer.”
Hearing him say that made me shiver a little.
He continued, “There were more people like us that had to learn all of this. All ages. Male and female. If we didn’t succeed, we were brutally punished. If you loved something, they would destroy it in your face to teach you to not let emotions get in the way of your development. I wanted to write to you, but they refused contact with the outside world. I hate myself for not trying harder.”
“It’s okay now,” I said.
“No. You don’t understand,” he said. “I watched them kill a person. I killed a person! An innocent person! And I felt no remorse, guilt, or sadness! Nothing!”
“I’m a monster! You saw me when I got back. They assigned me to train you and I felt nothing. I just thought of you as another person who needed to be disciplined. Until today, I forgot how important you were to me. I missed you. Even if I didn’t know it, I missed you. Without you, I was so empty, so lost. Seeing you cry made me see how much I hurt you.”
“I feel so stupid. I shouldn’t have left. I should have taken you and ran away.”
He finally stopped talking.
“I don’t care what happened then,” I said. “All that matters is that you’re here now. You’re here with me and that’s all I could ever ask for.”
“No. I wanted you back. I wanted to see you, even if it was only for a few hours a day when you were yelling at me and calling me a failure. I was glad to have you back.”
“Yeah…I’m glad to have you back, too.” We stared at each other and smiled. “Rose?”
“I-” he started.
“Shh.” He looked scared. “Stay here. Please don’t move and don’t make a sound,” he said as he stood up.
“I’ll come get you when it’s safe to move.”
Before he could go, I grabbed his shirt and said, “Be careful.”
He looked worried but calmly replied, “I will,” and walked away.
I’m glad that he didn’t ask if I was scared of him, because I wasn’t sure of what I would have said. More importantly he never said who was after us or why. I guessed they were from that academy, but if he was released, why were they after him? Unless they were after me too…
“Hello, Princess,” a voice said.
I looked up and saw a boy standing in front of me. He had short dirty blond hair and pale blue-grey eyes. He was wearing a dark blue tee shirt, faded black jeans, black sneakers and a watch with a strange symbol on its face.
The boy looked at me, satisfied that he caught me off guard.
“Who are you?” I asked steadying my voice.
“I am Leon Cain. If you come with me, you will be safe. I will protect you,” He said moving closer to me.
I tried to back against the wall as much as possible. “Where’s Hunter?” I managed to squeak.
Leon paused. “He is…unnecessary.”