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*Hello all my faithful Tales Readers!
I hope you enjoy this next installment in the saga and I would like to remind you guys to Vote if you like it!
And Comment if you have anything to say!
(Also I wanted to say that nothing but the written words in this story belong to me. I.E- I do not claim ownership of any images used from Book One and beyond)
Now lets get started.*
Nearly a week has passed since the Ghouls attack and Brandon’s attempted escape.
That made this nearly the third month Brandon had lived beneath Ezekiel’s roof.
Everything had gone back to normal after Ezekiel awoke from his fatal poisoning by Ghoul venom with amnesia. Everything had reset to the night before he had tried to escape, to where Brandon and Ezekiel were still avoiding each other and Brandon as refusing to let the Shifter touch him or get near.
And yet nothing was the same for Brandon.
Brandon sat alone in the kitchen. He avoided the Shifters like a plague. He was afraid to be near them....because the flame was acting strange.
With a back wards head movement Brandon forced the food down into his body. And lifted a full glass of orange juice to his lips with trembling fingertips. The sharp, acidic taste of the juice made him gag deeply and turn his sweaty face away.
After the events surrounding the attack and his attempt to escape, and saving Ezekiel from being fatally poisoned Brandon was beyond exhausted. As was the flame.
It begged for fresh energy to feed on, but as always Brandon denied its seductive cries for food. For life. For death.
In the absence of new energy, the pain returned, aching cramps in his soul that signaled the hunger. While waves of sharp nausea washed across his gut removing the food in the sea of his belly and thrusting it back up into the world.
Brandon had hardly managed to hold his food down all week and had in fact flushed most of his food down the toilet the last few days, in order to hide this fact that he couldn’t eat from Glen lest the Healer become concerned.
The kitchen was clean and quiet and for the first time in a long time he was all alone. And he was surprised to realize that he didn’t particularly enjoy the silence as much as he used to.
Brandon didn’t really know when the change had taken place but he knew that it had, Inside of him. Here he was alone; something that had always felt right and safe, and all he wanted to do was hear Lander make another mean joke, or listen to Glen humming as she cooked or Mantilo tell stories or watch Walter best Nate in some game of wits.... or just listen to Ezekiel’s strong steady breathing beside him. He missed the Shifter beside him....he missed his warmth, what little Brandon had allowed to touch his blackened heart seemed almost magical in hindsight.
Maybe it was all the months he had spent alone out in the world, maybe he was just craving companionship? Then again maybe that wasn’t it.
After all he enjoyed spending time with the Guardians and their parents. There was this love around them that he had never known. No family, no real friends; Brandon had always been alone and to some extent that it what had kept him safe. But now he was surrounded by care and kindness.
People wanted him, they cared if he came out of his room, or if he ate, they worried if he didn’t speak and were angry with him when he didn’t voice his wants and desires. It was strange and at first it had been hard to adjust to, but gradually he’d been learning and now he wasn’t even happy in simple silence.
It had always seemed strange to him when people had spoken of healing. Because Brandon had always believed that some things just didn’t heal. Some scars didn’t fade, but god help him, he felt it.
He felt healed...at least on the surface. On the other side he knew that he could never get as close to the Leopards as they wanted him to. After that incident with Ezekiel he hadn’t been able to look any of them in the eyes. He’d done a lot of thinking after that and he knew that he couldn’t afford to let them see what he could really do. He couldn’t forget that every day he woke up in their home that he was lying to them...endangering them. His secrets were too deep...
The festering corner inside of himself that he hid from sight would never heal as long as he was hunted. The truth about his scars, about his past, about himself no one would ever know.
But after weeks spent talking with Ezekiel or sitting around the tables with the rest of his family, the silence in the kitchen felt oppressive and lonely. Knowing that he should just go to his room, crawl into the bed and stay away from Ezekiel and his family...especially Ezekiel.
Brandon swallowed one last bite of his toast, took another sip of his orange juice without gagging this time and stood up. Soon he left the kitchen and headed straight to his bed so he could smother his worries in his pillows.