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Water dripped from the stalactites above the fire pit and added a mist to the smoky haze in the cave. Jenna trembled and glanced over the flickering, reddish flames to where her father sat. The lines etched in his face appeared deeper than before the global attack.
Unable to stop repeating the question but she had to know, to be sure and only her father could tell her. “Are we safe here?”
Turning sixteen had not prepare her for this type of situation. She should be at a show or hanging out with friends, not huddled in a damp, cold cave with her father, too frightened to even peek outside.
Her father sighed and shook his head. “I don’t know. Maybe if we lay low for a while, things will settle down. Until then we stay put.”
A gust of air from the cave entrance spiraled up Jenna’s back, chilling her. She huddled deeper into her coat and whispered. “I can’t help wondering who they are and why are they doing this.”
Small stones rattled at the back of the small cave. Jenna jerked her gaze toward the sound. In a deep crevice of the stone wall off to one side her, a half concealed boulder protruded from the dirt floor. On top, an outline of a darker shape moved.
Jenna gasped. On her hands and knees, she scrambled around the fire to hunker beside her father.
The old man grabbed the handgun by his side and pointed it toward the figure. “Come out or I’ll shoot.”
Low laughter came from the figure. “Do you think to frighten me with such a threat, human?”
“It’s one of them.” Her father nudged her with is elbow. “Get behind me.”
“But how did he get in?” Jenna, close to panic, clasped the back of her father’s coat. “He didn’t come in from the cave opening.”
“You dare judge me by your abilities? A true insult if ever I heard one.” The voice, deep and melodious, should have invoked more fear but instead, Jenna found herself relaxing under the gentle tones.
Her father remained tense. “What do you want with us?”
“Your death.” Amusement laced the low, husky words.
The older man tightened his hold on the gun, keeping the nose pointed at the figure. “Not without a fight.”
More laughter issued from the corner. “You think to defeat me?”
The figure shifted and stood. A tall, lean man stepped into the firelight. Shining black hair flowed about his face, shoulders and down his back. Twigs and leaves decorated the waves. His clothes were muted tones of greens and browns. Laced up knee-high boots encased his slender feet.
He moved to the fire and squatted in the spot Jenna had just vacated. His eyes, the irises now visible, picked up the surrounding hues. Reddish orange flickered in his eyes. He lifted a hand and tucked a strand of hair behind his left ear, revealing the sharp point to the tip.
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