I woke to my nightmares. I bolted upright and I could feel the blood dripping down my back. I hated this feeling. I wove the elements around me and let their healing take affect. The skin knitting together always felt weird. I didn’t like feeling it. But it was necessary.
The fires all were dead except a few embers keeping the fire warm. I looked over to the sleeping form of Matt. He shivered in the cool air. I warmed the air around him and he stopped mostly, he still shivered but I think that was something I couldn’t do anything about while he slept.
I looked up and Dylan was standing over me with a smile. He whispered, “You need to wash up?”
“I don’t want to leave him here.” I nodded towards Matt. “Timothy might try something while I’m gone and I couldn’t let that happen.”
“No one ever watched over you like that.”
I smiled. “No one cared about me. I care about him.”
“You don’t even know him.”
I shrugged. “I don’t have to know him to understand what he’s going through.”
Dylan frowned. “I wanted to talk to you, but not here.”
“I’ll wake him up, if you don’t mind an extra set of ears.” I said knowing that Dylan would likely decline. But I was wrong he nodded. I shook Matt careful not to touch him too much.
His eyes shot open and I could see the fear in them. I smiled at him. “I need to wash up, but I don’t want to leave you here. You want to come with us do the creek?” I motioned to Dylan standing a few feet away. Matt nodded and uncurled from his sleeping bag.
The three of us walked out of the camp and headed for the creek. We were silent for many steps, only the rare crunching of leaves underfoot.
Dylan broke the silence. “The scars. Can you talk about them?”
I sighed. “What do you want to know?”
“When did they start?” Dylan asked almost too quiet to hear even for my ears.
“When I was six when they started appearing.”
“Do you know why?”
I nodded. “I do it to myself. I dream of a demon beating me with tentacles of made up of the elements. When I wake up sometimes I have marks, sometimes they are just red, sometimes they are like they are tonight.”
Dylan stopped and stared at me. “Can I see?”
“I’ll show you if you tell me why you are asking.”
Dylan nodded. “Okay.”
I turned around and lifted my t-shirt. I heard them both gasp when they saw the gashes and blood. No one tried to touch me, that was a good thing, or I might have freaked out a little more than I already was. Heart racing, breathing fast. I was glad no one touched me. I pulled the shirt back down and started walking back towards the creek.
They both followed. When we got to the edge of the water I pulled my shirt off and started soaking it in the water. Dylan knelt down next to me. “You know I have a son?”
I turned to look at Dylan and shook my head. “No, I didn’t.”
I continued to wash my shirt against the stones. “He’s a firestarter.”
I froze and gasped. “He’s done with training?”
Dylan nodded as he sat down on the bank. “Yes. He’s six, too.”
“He only touch fire?” I asked. “Who was his teacher?”
Dylan frowned. “He can only touch fire. Garrett Spencer was his teacher.”
My eyes closed and I fought back the rage that enveloped me. I could feel Dylan’s eyes on me, but a hand on the other side touched my shoulder. Matt whispered, “He’s angry. There is fire everywhere.”
Dylan glanced around. Matt shook his head. “He’s in control”
Dylan asked, “What’s wrong Nox?”
Matt’s hand on my shoulder grounded the fire and the other raging elements and I turned to look at the teenage and smiled. “You are are ground to a Magnus?”
Matt shrugged. “I am Magnus, but I can’t touch any of it. I repel it.”
I laughed softly. “That’s not repelling, that’s absorbing. Thank you. You are handy to have around. I know a lot of people that would abuse that power.”
Matt sighed and looked down. I frowned, “We’ll deal with that later.” I turned back to Dylan and pulled Matt down closer he sat down and leaned against me. “Garrett was my teacher. He found my spark came when I was afraid. So he made me afraid by hitting me. But not so the world could see. He’s press my back against the wall and he’d whisper that I was his in my ear. He’d then turn me to face the wall. My hands spread shoulder width apart. He’d kick my feet to be hip width apart and then he’d tell me to close my eyes. Then he’d get in my head and he’d hit me. He’d make me spark, and he’d hit me again. He’d hit me if I made noise. But never where anyone could see. The last time I was with Garrett, was right before I would graduate to regular Magnus classes. But Garrett when to try to hit me again. I sparked.”
Dylan interrupted, “We all know about the accident.”
“That’s the thing, It wasn’t an accident. I did it on purpose. I lite him on fire. I put it out when I realized I did it.” I sighed. Matt gasped beside me. His hand was laid across my leg. I think he wanted to curl up closer, but he wasn’t comfortable. And until we set boundaries I wasn’t going to let him close. I wasn’t going to sleep with him. I wasn’t going to be anything more than a friend. I knew he needed to feel safe and I’d give him that.
I looked at Dylan. “When my nightmare ends, I’m looking at the face of my demon.”
“Who is it?” Dylan asked.
“Garrett. Why are you asking, Dylan?”
“My son. The scars showed up a few weeks ago. Lana, has no idea what’s going on. He’s waking up bloodied, and has scars just like that.”
“I’m sorry.” I said. “I don’t know how to fix it. Or how to block it. I’ve been having nightmares every night since I was six. Take him to Dr. Margo Silverman. She has an opening at 9:30. I can arrange it.”
I nodded. “She knows about me. She can help your son.”
“Sam doesn’t need therapy, he’s not troubled.” Dylan said.
“He is. He’s just not telling you. Take him.”
I pulled out my phone and I called Sage on Skype. He picked up on the first ring. “You are calling early.”
He grinned at me. “Why are you shirtless, love?”
I laughed and smiled. I pulled my shirt up out of the water. “Washing the blood out.”
Sage frowned. “I’m sorry.”
“No worries.” I reassured him. “I need you to tell Margo that Dylan’s son, Sam needs to take my spot in therapy and have her set a new appointment for when I get back. But only one. It may not be regular.”
“What changed Nox?” Sage asked concerned.
“Nothing, but if Garrett has hurt other boys like he did me, then I need to make sure I tell Margo.”
Sage nodded. “I’ll do it as soon as her office opens. Why’s the eye candy?”
I grinned. I pointed the phone at Dylan and introduce them, then at Matt.
Sage smiled. “Matt, Nox is a good man. He’ll keep you safe. We’ll keep you safe, if you let us.”
Matt smiled at Sage, one of those real smiles that I’d only seen once this trip.
Sage and I chatted for a little while and then we hung up Dylan swam and Matt leaned against a tree trunk and slept. I imagine that’s what he was trying to do it couldn’t be too comfortable.
Taking this trip I hadn’t intended to make any friends. And yet here I was playing big brother to one of the boys – a role I’ve never had in my life, and Dylan is confiding in me because of my childhood. Two very strange things to happen and it’s only day 4, well the beginning of day 5 but barely. Today is first aid. CPR, treating broken bones, as well as other typical hunter injuries. It’ll also include knowledge of fatal injuries even if they don’t look it.