First: A beginning of a story which obnoxiously cuts off just before the description,
Previous: In Which Amrit Reaches and Mieve Backs Up.
Amrit glared after Mieve in frustration. So, fine. She didn’t want to trust him. She didn’t want him to help her.
If you want to go hunt, she’d said. But that was as far as she was willing to let him go. He snarled and slammed the ax down into another piece of wood. What was her problem? He’d been polite – okay, recently. He’d been helpful – the whole time, nobody could say he hadn’t. He’d even been chill about the whole leg-breaking thing. Nothing got through to her. Nothing mattered. She wanted a nice little slavey, and that was that.
He finished the pile of firewood aggressively, knocking it into tiny pieces and throwing it into the wood pile. Fuck her. If she wanted to be a bitch, he could be an asshole right back at her. He worked his mouth, feeling where the gag had been, where the thing the slavers had put in had cut him up. He was healed, now. His leg was pretty much healed, too. He pulled off the splint and tried it. Yep, it held his weight. It was a little tender, still, but he could work with tender.
If you want to go hunt. Of course he wanted to go hunt. Hadn’t he been offering that for days? Was she even listening? He stomped off to the garage and rooted around, looking for the bows.
He found the keys, first. He paused with his hand on them, looking at her car, looking back at the keys. He couldn’t leave without being forsworn, but the temptation was very heavy right now. She didn’t want him here. She didn’t even like him, she just needed a body to boss around.
He picked up the keys, stared at the car, and, with a huffing sigh, put the keys back down. He’d said he’d stay through winter. And this place was nicer than any other options he had for the cold that was coming, anyway.
He found the bow – a very nice one, looking like she’d picked it up from a sports-ware store before everything fell to shit – and the arrows, half of which matched the bow and half of which were Worked or whittled from wood. He slung the quiver over his shoulder, strung the bow, and checked everything out. He hadn’t done all that much bow-hunting, but he’d gone a few times with his uncle when he was a kid, and a few times with whatever came to hand after the world went to shit. He knew he could manage to catch something if he put his mind to it.
Three hours later, as the rain started to come down, he wasn’t so sure. He’d seen a few things; he’d even loosed two arrows. The best he’d been able to catch was a fat squirrel.
He’d thrown a Preserve Working on the squirrel, just to keep the meat fresh, but he’d managed to spook three deer and a turkey without catching anything else.
He was clearly going about this wrong. All wrong, and now it was raining. He needed – well, wanted – shelter, but he didn’t want to go back until he’d caught something big enough to count as a couple meals.
He needed an umbrella, no, that would just get in everyone’s way.
He needed… something. “Fuck,” he muttered, slapping his forehead with his palm. “Idiot.”
His uncle had hunted from a deer stand, a little box in the middle of the woods with a supply of beer and, more importantly, walls and a roof. Amrit didn’t have anything like that, but if he nestled down under that pine tree that he’d just passed, he could be almost invisible from the outside and, if he was lucky, maybe a deer or a turkey would wander by.
“Deer stand. Duh.” He made his way back to the tree and snuck underneath. After a minute, he found a position where he was out of the rain and could see clearly, see clearly and aim decently out of his shelter. He was going to need to build something out here.
If she let him. If she even let him go hunting again. She’d only done it because she was mad at him – for whatever reason; he hadn’t figured that out yet and didn’t know if he cared enough to try.
Well, cross that bridge when he came to it. He hunkered into a comfortable position and waited.
And waited. It was getting dark. If he didn’t head back soon, she’d think he had run off, despite his oath.
She would panic, wouldn’t she? Someone who she didn’t really like, who, he supposed, didn’t have all that much reason to like her, someone she’d bought as a slave and then gagged and chained up… and he was gone, and he knew where she lived.
How had she handled that with her other Kept? Driven them off all blindfolded like she’d brought him here? Knocked them unconscious and left them in a ditch somewhere?
For a moment, he considered the possibility that she just killed them all when she was “done” with them, but that didn’t strike him as anything like what he knew about her. There probably wasn’t a line of unmarked graves under the carrots or something.
And if there was, well, he wasn’t going to let her kill him. There wasn’t anything about that in his promises, and he’d make sure there wasn’t.
He was so engrossed in his thoughts, he nearly missed the turkeys strolling by. He pulled, took aim, loosed with a very quiet Working.
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