We are almost to HQ in Boulder. Another 1 hour hike, but the boys all wanted to camp out one more night. I think they were hoping that Dylan and Michaela would catch up with them. I think they felt abandoned by them. Left to die. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that they were. That the Venatori knew about this. They may not have been hand picked, but they had been sent here by the Academy to die. I had every intention of finding out why we thought it was a good idea to sacrifice a bunch of boys to the fucking therians. And why those therians weren’t dead before now.
I was grateful that Michael and Dylan had killed those who attacked the boys. But it devastated me that they killed their families first. What kind of people do that? They were innocent. Their only flaw was that they were bitten or born into a world where they shifted at the full moon into a predeator. It’s a harsh reality. The Venatori need to change. I probably can’t do much about it, but I have to try. Killing our own to satisfy another race blood lust, just so they don’t kill more. And even the Therians were sacrificing their own for the stupid tradition.
It makes me sick. And …. I don’t know and nothing. This has to stop.
I still haven’t called Sage. I’m afraid of collapsing into a pile of goo the moment I hear his voice. He’s my safe place, my home. He’s my rock. But right now, I need to be that rock. I can’t allow myself to implode.
The boys are all hanging out together. At least while the fire is burning bright, here is plenty of food. Jerry rigged up some music, and they are dancing around like the boys in Lord of the Flies… that is the movie right?
Even Faelen and Matt are out there, though Faelen is still attached pretty much at the hip to Matt. But I don’t think Matt minds. He likes taking care of people that’s one thing for certain.
Darwynn is watching outside the ring of firelight. He keeps looking at me like he’s trying to figure me out. I smiled at him and he came to sit next to me. We sat for a while just watching the boys. “You think you can make a difference?” He said breaking the silence.
I shrugged. “No. Tradition and all that. But I can’t sit by and let 15 more boys die someplace else because of tradition. Chris should be going home to see his family, work on the farm and grow the biggest damned pumpkin he can. Instead I’m carrying him home in a plastic bag so his family can bury him properly.”
Darwynn nodded, “I’ll come. I don’t know how much help I’ll be. But I’ll come. If anything I’ll be at your side when shit hits the fan.”
We sat in silence for a while longer, “Faelen likes you. He likes Matt. He has no family. He had none to begin with. He was turned a few years back. He hasn’t shifted yet. He needs a pack.”
I smiled. “He’ll have one. It’s small, but he’ll belong. He’ll be loved and looked after. We may not be be shifters but he has a pack. And have the resources to make sure he grows up to be a productive member of wolf society. Maybe not human, but I hope Sage can handle that.”
Darwynn laughed, “I’ve never been to New York City. I’ve never flown on a commercial plane either.”
I smiled. “Well don’t sit next to me.” He looked at me curiously. I grinned. “I’m afraid of flying.”
“Big bad hunter, afraid of flying?”
I laughed. “You’ll find I’m afraid of a lot of things.”
Darwynn and I chatted until the boys all collapsed from exhaustion around the fire. Tomorrow we are back in civilization and get to put this all behind us. Tomorrow is a new day – the Venatori have a lot to answer for. And I am not exactly how far I am willing to go to make them see the error of their ways.