Friday, February 15, 2019

#FridayFlash - Lost Little Lamb part 4


I blinked, and Albrecht was gone. The sounds returned to normal, and I jerked back, suddenly able to move again. My heart thundered behind my breastbone, and a fine layer of sweat formed along my skin. What had just happened?

Was it an illusion? No one around me acted like a bizarre crimson-haired man had just been standing there. Was that part of dokkalf powers? What was a dokkalf? Was it all a trick being perpetrated by whatever we really hunted?

There was a slip of paper in my hand, proof enough that someone had been here. I didn't remember taking it from him. I would surely remember being that close to his hand, those fingers, those rings.

A shiver raced through me, violent, chilling me to the bone. There really had been a monster right here, inches from me, talking to me, inviting us to a truce. A very intriguing, attractive monster that stole my breath, but a monster nonetheless.

I hurried for the suite, anxious for the safety of my friends. I didn't want to be alone anymore, needed to be surrounded by their protections. While I didn't exactly run, I was soon bursting into the room, barely aware of the journey.

Everyone's gaze snapped toward me, startled by my sudden entrance. After a heartbeat, Brenna frowned. “You forgot the ale.”

Her statement caught me off-guard, reminded me that none of them knew what had happened downstairs. To them, I'd simply been away on an errand that I'd failed to accomplish.

“I saw him,” I managed, holding out the slip of parchment.

Dirk rushed to my side, pulling me completely into the suite. Brenna and Chen dashed into the hall and downstairs, presumably to look for Albrecht. I knew they wouldn't find him, but I said nothing. They would need to look for themselves, make sure we weren't under attack.

“Are you okay? Did he hurt you?” Dirk checked me for wounds, ran his hands through my hair, frowning deeply with concern. His fingers lingered on the mark on my neck, the fresh scar from our last hunt. A wave of remembered pleasure traveled up my spine, stealing my breath. Would they be in time if Albrecht tried something like that? “Lamb, are you all right?”

My face felt warm and flushed, and I shook my head to clear away wicked thoughts. “I am. I just need to sit...” I clutched at Dirk's arm, my knees weak. What was wrong with me?

Dirk assisted me to a chair, handed me a glass of ale. I took a sip, and Aidan took the parchment from my numb fingers. “What's this? Did he give you this?” His words were heavy with concern. Curses and magic could be worked through something as simple as a note.

I nodded my head, then drew a calming breath. I needed to get control of myself, needed to be stronger than this. I might be a lamb, but I didn't have to act so scared. Closing my eyes, I slowly told them everything.

“There hasn't been a dokkalf in these lands in decades,” Dirk said, stroking my hair. His hand trembled, and his jaw was tense. “They're noble, powerful, and not to be trifled with.”

“So what's the plan?' Aidan asked, handing the note to our boss.

Chen returned and interrupted Dirk's answer. “No strangers down there. Brenna is going to patrol the streets for a while, see if he shows himself to her.” He touched my shoulder, then moved to strap on his weapons. “I'm going too.”

“No need.” Dirk sounded resigned, his voice gruff. “We'll be seeing him soon enough.” I glanced at him, watched him frown at Albrecht's note. The tremble in his hand had increased, as if he was restraining himself from rushing right out and facing the dokkalf like Brenna and Chen were trying.

“You want to do what he says?” Aidan asked. “Walk into his trap?”

“Do we have much of a choice?” Dirk snapped. “He threatened to steal my Lamb, to start a war, to punish everyone. We haven't found a real trace of him in the two weeks we've been here, and he walked right up to Lamb like he owned the bloody place. What do you think we should do? Huh? What brilliant plan do you have that's better than doing what he says?” He was practically shouting.

After several silent heartbeats, Chen spoke. “I'll go get Brenna and the horses.”

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