If you’ve left a goal to sit for some time without working on it, the best course of action is simply to pick it back up and run with it again, no questions or waiting for the right time, or you will never do it. On that note, I’d better start with day three of the Festival! (If you are just catching up, don’t worry, so am I! For the beginning of Charis’ tale you should start here! It won’t take you long to catch up, I promise ^_^)
The Festival. Day three. Inhale the dawn. JR Manawa.
Charis inhaled the dawn with a sigh of relief. It seemed like an anticlimax to know she had made it through the night without it coming down to a final fight between her and the vampire, a fight she was set to lose. Every moment she had spent with August had been on edge while she waited for him to make the move which would mean her time was up. She had danced a careful game with him, of dangerous steps which she knew didn’t give her any chance of winning. And suddenly dawn had come, and Jenny had saved her.
No, August had let the dawn come. Charis glanced behind her warily. If he really was a vampire, he knew exactly when the sun was going to rise, and he allowed it.
“So what did you do to end up on death row?” Jenny asked, looking down from the dawn to Charis’ face.
“Me?” Charis replied in surprise. “Nothing. I actually didn’t do anything.”
Jenny raised one thin, perfectly arched eyebrow, “He seemed fairly confident that you belonged to him,”
“I belong to myself,”
Jenny laughed and shook out her tight curls as she looked around at the tired crowds milling in onesies and queuing at the food trucks for their greasy hangover fix. “Once you are in our world, you discover everybody belongs to someone. It’s the only way of surviving our food chain,”
Charis watched Jenny closely for a moment before she decided to speak again, “I saw something I shouldn’t have, I saw them kill a boy. And that means he has to kill me, apparently. But he says he doesn’t want to.” The words sounded ridiculous as soon as they left her mouth, like she was retelling a lame he-said-she-said story with no real solution.
Jenny nodded, “He let you go, and he broke the law in doing it. He’s right you know, no human can be allowed to live once they know.”
“That is ridiculous.”
“How do you think we survive?”
Charis wasn’t sure exactly what she meant by it, but knew it was a rhetorical question left for her to put into context.
Jenny shoved her fists into the tiny pockets of her hot pants and began to walk.
“Hey! Where are you going?” Charis ran after her.
“I’m going back to my tent to sleep, I’m tired,” Jenny told her.
“But wait, you can’t just leave me here? What happens when the sun goes down tonight?” Every word from Charis’ mouth ran together in jumbled sentences. She was surprised Jenny could make any sense of it.
Jenny turned and put her hand on Charis’ shoulder, “I hate to be the one to tell you this, because I had to fight for my freedom and for the right to live as I wanted, believe me. And I’m sorry, but you ain’t got a hope in hell of surviving this.” Jenny gave her a sad smile.
“What are you then?”
“Was it not obvious?”
Charis shook her head. The adrenaline of the night was wearing off and she was beginning to truly feel how tired she was.
“Werewolf.” Jenny grunted, and Charis could hear the disappointment and disgust in the back of her throat, like she was admitting to carrying an incurable disease.
“That’s a bad thing?”
“Look, I don’t want to talk about it, and anyway, even if I could help you I honestly have no idea how I would.” Jenny bit her lip and gave Charis a look that was full of pity. “You should also know this festival is the meeting place of our kind, anyone that’s not quite human, so be careful today of who you speak to and what you say.” She gripped Charis’ arm tight before she added, “If you do run, then God speed, you will need it.”
“So that’s it? You’re just wishing me good luck and goodbye?” Charis shook her head in wonder, she couldn’t help herself.
“Honestly, I wish I could help you, I do, but the law of the unseen world is just that, it’s the law. I barely survive because I keep to the sidelines and play it safe, but they hate me. One foot out of line and I’ll be gone too.”
“What’s wrong with you?”
Jenny looked down at her and smiled grimly, “I don’t play by their rules.”
“Why don’t they get rid of you then?” Charis asked, falling into step beside her.
“How many werewolves have you ever seen? Obviously none, because if you had you wouldn’t be here, but the truth is that we are a rare thing, and to kill a creature so rare would be a rather terrible crime,” Jenny shrugged, “so they sit back and watch me, making sure I take no step out of line.” She stopped then, and turned to look Charis up and down, “and right now you are a step out of line,”
“So why did you stop him?” Charis threw her hands up in frustration.
“Because he was doing what all vampires do, tease and abuse their prey,”
Charis blinked, but didn’t reply.
“I just didn’t like it,” Jenny’s voice fell softer.
“So that’s all then?” Charis looked at her in dismay.
Jenny stopped and shrugged helplessly, “I can’t save you Charis, I do wish I could, but this is bigger than either of us.” She shrugged once more before she turned and walked away into the glare of the rising sun.
Charis stood and watched her go helplessly, because there was nothing else she could do.