I’m up. I didn’t bring my sketchbook with me, so this will have to be my nightmare therapy for now. I hate waking up with my heart in my throat and feeling like it’s going to burst out of my chest. I didn’t even try to look at my back this morning, I could feel the drying blood and healed myself before I woke anyone else up with my night time whimpers. Sleeping with someone I found out my nightmares are actually not so placid as I thought. Sage says even when he’s there, they are violent. But what he considers violent and what I do I think are two different things. I have never woken up bloodied by my own hand while lying in his bed, in his arms. Whimpering and tossing are nothing compared to what I must look like on a bad night.
I learned a long time ago that it’s best to wear red or black to bed. My sheets at home are a light color, but the miracles of bleach are a great thing. I don’t hide it at home, as I clean up my own space. But out here, it’s best to hide it. I don’t want strange boys or Trent and Dylan to know how badly things get.
So when Dylan found me washing up in the stream near by I had to play it off. He asked, “You rise early.”
I only shrugged, there was a slight twinge to my shoulders where the skin was still a little raw. Healing without a mirror wasn’t ideal but I did the best I could with the tools I had. “Best to get clean out of the prying eyes of the others.”
Dylan rolled his eyes in the dim light of my glowing ball that hung above my head. “Sensitive to others?”
I shook my head. “I doubt the boys are ready to see the scars real hunters get when the monsters don’t behave as they expect.”
“I’ve heard about your back. What did it?”
That was the one truth the Venatori don’t ever need to hear, so I lied. “There are some pretty evil creatures out there. Thankfully this one underestimated me.” It wasn’t a lie really, just didn’t reveal anything at all, but Dylan laughed and waded into the water wearing only his boxers. I asked, “Morning swim. Seems I’m not the only one stuck to habits.”
Dylan laughed. “Hiking is all well and good, but there is nothing like the feel of the water.”
I nodded knowingly, “I feel the same about running and yoga. I won’t be doing much running here, at least not the kind I’m used to but I’m gonna do my thing here, by the water, hope you don’t mind.”
Dylan shook his head. “Be my guest, swimming with a light is always a good thing.” He nodded towards my little trick with a smile and started swimming the length of the narrow pool of water that we used for baths. The drinking water was a little farther up stream.
We both went about our things and when Dylan was done we walked back to camp together in silence. I started breakfast which would consist of rations until the boys learned out to hunt and gather. I hated this part of the training. I hated the rations. They were dry and boring, but at least they were nutritious, I wasn’t going to be anxious with this change of diet. One small miracle.