‘His violet gaze shifts across my flight like something ravenous stalking its next meal.’
— Halden, “Ravenous” They Come at Night
My flight looms over Korik like a pack of brain-mad boars, waiting for him to make a move.
“Oooh…did you want me to prove it now?” Korik asks, feigning ignorance. Not cowed at all by their clear attempts at intimidation.
And why would he? He’s been bullied and harassed since the moment I met him.
I extend my hand down to Kor to help him to his feet without thinking.
He slaps it away. “Don’t touch me. I don’t need your help, Halden. I’ve never needed it.”
“Oi! Don’t call him that,” Erna shouts at him as she pushes her way closer. “Only his friends get to call him that. You only get to call him Aníkuson.”
“Right. Aníkuson,” Kor repeats as his eyes flick over to me. “I will try to remember that.”
The look in them—his eyes—it’s something I haven’t seen for so long. But also something I could never forget. Like two violet braziers just waiting to burn us all to ash.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” Sten questions, his tone less than friendly.
Kor crouches down to retrieve the kunai from the crabgrass. “Nothing at all.”
Korik takes one last silent look at the wall before extending his arm back beside his ear, a gesture I’ve seen him make more times than I can count. And then quick as a lightning strike—he snaps his hand forward, throwing the first of ten kunai.
But it falls considerably short.
“Tsk,” Kor hisses.
“Ha! I told you there was no fecking way he could possibly do it!” Sten jeers as he turns to the rest of our flight.
“He had to have thrown it from closer, and then started to run when he saw he’d hit me.”
Kor rotates his wrist without comment, wincing slightly and I realize he must have landed badly on it when he was knocked to the ground.
While my flight continues to mock his lack of physical prowess Kor throws another kunai. Thunk. It impales the wall without error.
He says nothing and throws another. And then the next.
Thunk, thunk, thunk.
My whole flight stops laughing as each blade—one after the other—sinks into that wall. Side by side so that you could not even slip a finger between them.
“How?” Sten questions turning back to me. “How did you know he could do that?”
“Because he's been throwing that stupid kunai into things for years.”
The words are out of my mouth before I realize what I've just admitted.
Finnur’s brow furrows. “What do you mean years?”
Korik returns with a handful of kunai and a smile that starts small before crooking up at a wicked angle.
Tonight is the first time we’ve spoken since that day in the rain nearly a year ago and he’s not said a word about our past. Just let me weave my own snare. And now he’s watching with a gleeful glint in his storm-violet eyes as I catch myself with it.
I want to plead with him not to say a thing. Not to ruin this for me. But it’s too late. It’s too late and it’s my own damn fault.
Kor presses the point of a kunai into the pad of his finger with just enough pressure not to draw blood.
“Yes, Halden, tell them how you know all about my kunai. I mean, you of all people would know.”
His eyes dart up to mine.
“You knew where I kept it. You knew how expertly I handled it.”
In one swift motion, he flicks the kunai into the air and drops the others. And just as it spins and arcs back toward the earth he thrusts his hand outward so his finger passes expertly through the ring on its end, catching it.
As the other kunai strike the ground at his feet, Kor meets my gaze again. “After all we did share a bedroom together for ten years.”
For a moment no one moves—no one even breathes. It’s like they can feel it in the back of their minds, just how lethal he could be…
If pushed too far.
Korik starts to twirl the kunai on his finger slowly.
“But you're from Ditchwater,” Lilja finally says her voice coming out more uncertain than she probably even realizes.
The kunai stops spinning. “Your point?”
There’s an awful pause and then…
Kor laughs. It’s an ugly mocking sound.
“Oh don’t tell me, Halden said he was from somewhere else?”
My flight all turn to look at me, but I refuse to look anywhere but at him.
Please, don’t do this, Korik.
I need him to stop. Need to try to convince him with a look. But it’s useless. His eyes aren’t even on me.
His violet gaze shifts across my flight like something ravenous stalking its next meal.
“Sorry to shatter your delusions, but he’s a Ditchwater Fledgling just like—“
“He’s nothing like you!” Erna screams at him.
Korik’s eyes fill with a distant darkness like a far-off storm. “Hmm. You’re right.”
He raises his blade as his gaze shifts to Sten. “You steal from me again, Brynhildarson, and I really will slit your throat.”
Oh, snap! Korik just made the whole flight eat crow. And did Halden just seriously screw things up with his friends? And what exactly happened between these two former roommates?
Find out in the next episode of They Come at Night!