We had photocopies of everything we wanted to take back with us. Riv had placed them in a Friends of the Library plastic bag for us, and cautioned me to be careful. I wanted to say that it was just one hundred yards, but I knew better than to jinx us now. Maybe I’m not exactly superstitious, but… why risk it?
I have had enough of risk lately.
We hadn’t taken the time to read what we’d found. We’d just photocopied everything we could find on Evalanedea and the girl goddess and shoved it into that bag. Riv came out of the backroom when we were just about finished. “I found this in the discard pile. It was supposed to go to the fundraiser. I put the money in the jar for it. I don’t know if it’ll have what you are looking for, but…”
“T-thanks, Riv. It’s just a side project Coty and I are w-w-working on. We appreciate this.” I hated lying to my sisters. Hated it. But…sometimes you have to do what you have to do.
We finished at the library, grabbed our books and papers, and shoved them into the bag. I hugged my sister. She is so clever, my Riv. I could feel a bit of her worry, though. It seemed like Riv was constantly worried lately.
“Do you all have enough food?” I asked, quietly. I knew Coty is listening. But she would not judge. How could she? She and her sisters depend on charity now, as well. For those of us with a bit of pride, this…charity…was insulting.
“We will manage,” Riv said. “The Jareths…they convinced the suppliers to be a bit more fair, after all.”
“It shouldn’t have been because of warriors,” Riv said. “It shouldn’t have been that way. I am so tired of overbearing, chauvinistic warriors thinking they may decide for us simply because we are female.”
I hugged my sister again, trying to do what I could to soothe her a bit more. Something ate at her soul, too. I could just feel it.
I mentioned my concerns to Coty as we hurried across the road to the resort. “A-a-and I fear what the future holds for her.”
Coty just looked at me, her own fears in her green eyes. She had sisters she loved, too.
“We…we will all be ok. We’re kick-ass women… well, vampires, for you. We will be ok. We’ll make sure of it.”
As the black hawk flew from the trees and circled overhead, I hoped she was right. I didn’t want to contemplate the opposite. I could not lose my sisters, I just couldn’t.
Coty squealed, and I jumped back when the black hawk dove at the two of us, practically running us behind the largest of the trees. Coty grabbed my arm and pulled me against the trunk as the bird continued to circle overhead. “Sshhh.”
We huddled there as a bunch of males I did not recognize rushed out of the back entrance. There was urgency in their movements.
One turned toward me. As if he sensed us, but Coty masked our presence somehow. I am almost sure of it. I did not recognize him, but I knew…
He was pale and fierce looking and strong.
We stayed right where we were until the males were gone.
And we snuck back into the hotel just the way we had left two hours earlier.
Leaving our guards none the wiser.