The Fae Worlds

Driving

Calling For Help

Driving through the night wasn’t something unusual for us. Jared was in the driver’s seat, focused on the road, while I was on navigation duty, to make sure we got to where we needed to be on time. Lou and Jen made it obvious when they spoke to us we had to be at Beth’s motel when we said we would, otherwise there was no chance of stopping what was coming.
The walking dead were something we’d dealt with in the past, in small numbers, but what we’d been told Max was in the middle of wasn’t small numbers. Raising hundreds of the dead took power most didn’t have, at least not without making choices no sane person would normally make. There were those who said he probably wasn’t sane, and it was possible they were right, considering what he was attempting, although I couldn’t say one way or the other. I was lucky enough to have never met him.
Without saying anything I gestured to let Jared know he needed to take the next turn. It was something we’d come up with in the past when Raina was sleeping in the back seat, and I hadn’t broken the habit. Jared glanced at me, still taking the turn, and I waited for the annoyance to get the better of him, the way it normally did.
“Miss her?”
“Sometimes.” His unexpected question was enough to get honesty from me to begin with, and then I shook my head. “Are you thinking about her?”
Jared’s silence was almost long enough for me to think he wasn’t going to say anything, but then, sighing, he nodded. “I don’t know if I’m ever going to stop, Sam.” He ran his tongue over his bottom lip. “She changed our lives, and then she left.”
“Only because she had to. It wasn’t a choice.”
“Neither was what happened. She said, more than once, we were making a mistake, and we probably were. Yet it was a mistake we both wanted to make, for different reasons.”
“You’re thinking about this because of tomorrow?”
He nodded. “I assume this is path of the reason she was called to us. We were needed, and she did what she could to keep us alive to make sure we got to where it was we were supposed to be. This, though… are we making the right choice going to Beth? Do we stand a better chance of dealing with the dead alone?”
“Beth’s a necromancer. She knows more about what Max is in the middle of than we do, and that’s why we need her.”
“Necromancers aren’t often good people.”
“Lou and Jen trust her, which is enough for me.” I shrugged. “I understand the doubts, but right now we need to put the needs of the many above everything else, because if things go the way I believe they could then we’ll wish we made a different choice.”
“I’ve heard a lot about what Max is capable of, Sam, and the chances of her being able to stop it are lower than I think we want them to be. Going to her… I understand why Lou and Jen would think it was the best thing we could do, especially as it means we’re in the right place to protect Beth, only the more I think about it the more I wonder if that’s the reason they want us there. This isn’t about stopping the dead, but saving Beth.”
“Maybe Beth is the person we need to be saving.” Thinking of Raina, and the way she was called to those who needed her, I couldn’t help seeing what we were doing as something similar. Even if Beth couldn’t stop Max then it was likely she had information we’d need in the future. “This isn’t only about the dead.”
Again Jared fell silent, eyes on the road, and I gave him time to work through everything. Then, sighing, he nodded, glancing at me once more. “You’re probably right. I know part of the reason we’re going is because I feel like it’s what we need to do.”
“Letting your feelings guide you?”
“Back when she was with us I learnt a lot of lessons about the choices I was making, and the reasons I made them. She wanted me to understand myself better than she believed I did. At the time I was so focused on being logical, because it was what Dad wanted from me, but she reminded me I’d been a hunter far longer than he had. I’d grown up a hunter, making me different to him.
“Paying attention to what I feel is important in ways I didn’t realise until she told me to listen to what I felt. To set aside the need to be logical all the time, as there would be times when letting myself act the way I felt was best was better than what I thought was best. Especially as it’s not unusual for me to overthink things.”
Nodding, I smiled. “At least something good came from it all.”
“She never meant to hurt me. I know that, but emotions are complicated.” He shook his head. “I wish they weren’t. I wish I could move on, not dream about her almost every night, but it’s harder than I imagined it could be. Then again I’d never been in love before, and I think, finally, I understand why Dad made the choices he did. Losing Mum changed him in ways I doubt he thought was possible.”
“Had it not been for what happened neither of you would have been hunters.” I stared out at the road, thinking of Dad. “Had it not been for what happened Dad wouldn’t have made the choices he did, in the hope he could protect his brother, only for him to be the one who ended up losing his life.”
Jared put a hand on my shoulder. “I’m sorry, Sammy. Dad, I know, would have done everything he could to protect Uncle Tom. It was bad luck.”
“Dad’s death wasn’t anyone’s fault, other than the creature that killed him.” Uncle Mark, I knew, killed the creature, and it was possible they might have both died. Hearing the story he told, helping him to patch himself up, I was surprised he hadn’t. “Things are different due to the experiences they had in the past, and had it happened to me I’m certain I’d have made the same decisions they did.”
“Yeah, so would I.” Jared’s hand went back to the steering wheel. “Even knowing what I do now there’s no possible way I could walk away from this.”
“There was a time when I thought about it.” I didn’t look at Jared, because it was easier. Opening up to him wasn’t something I’d done much before. “It was about six months before we met her, and I was seriously question whether I could keep walking the path we were on. Part of me wanted a normal life. The life I could have had if it hadn’t been for the decision Dad made.
“In the end I made the decision I couldn’t walk away, because we were needed. There are so few hunters out there, doing what they can to make the world a safer place for those who don’t know the truth about what’s hiding in the shadows, and stopping would simply mean there was one less person working to make the world a safer place. Plus I wouldn’t be able to forget any of this. I’d still know they were out there, but I wouldn’t be doing anything to protect people.”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Jared nod. “Honestly, Sam, there was a time when I thought about walking away too, but I couldn’t. For similar reasons. It was after Dad died. Losing him changed everything. I didn’t think it was possible, and then he was gone, never coming back, the same as Uncle Tom. Only I did it for you, for him, for Uncle Tom. This is what they chose, to protect people. As much as I hate this sometimes I know I’m doing something to make life better for those who don’t know the truth.”
Both of us fell silent then, as I thought about the choice we’d made to drop everything to make the journey to Beth. Even though I was certain we were making the right choice we were still throwing ourselves into a danger we didn’t truly understand, and we’d arrive there after a night of not having slept, making it even more dangerous than it would be otherwise.

Thoughts