A Murder of Crows: Part 7
Cold, dark liquid flowed over me, but I felt dry. I could hear the screaming of those that died at my hands; men, women, and possibly children. It all washed over me, feeding me with energy. But one scream became louder than the rest. That voice belonged to me. I was screaming with my all, desperately trying to wake me up...
/ QUATRE! /
My eyes shot wide open and my pupils dilated, trying to adjust to the semi-dark room. Slightly to my left, Trowa sat on the bed, arms crossed with all of his attention focused on me. Looking around, I realized that I was in my room. The fireplace did the lighting. The candle that usually sat next to the bed was on top of the fireplace. The flame was an icicle.
I found Duo standing in front of my window, with the shotgun primed in his hands. Hearing me move, he turned towards me. I was surprised to see so much flatness on his face. There wasn't a trace of Duo at all; his smile, laughter, and good spirit were all tucked away neatly somewhere. What I was seeing was the anger in his eyes, and his hatred. What I saw right then I have never seen outside of when we were about to face OZ or Romefeller. Shinigami was out in full force, ready to claim souls to take back to hell.
I let my sight drift to the window. Light from the outside was seeping into the room, so I knew it was still daytime. The crows on the window were blocking the majority of the light. I couldn't say how many there were. Fifty or sixty maybe, stacked one on top of the other like a pyramid. How close together they were made it look like there was a solar eclipse. That was why Duo was at the window. But then again, why was I in bed?
"Trowa, what happened?" I croaked, my neck and throat not exactly working with me.
"What?!" Duo bellowed from the corner of the room. He stomped his way heavily to my bed, and threw the gun to Trowa, who caught it effortlessly. Duo jumped on top of me, and pinned my arms and legs to the bed with his own. He had death in his eyes.
"What do you mean ‘what happened?' You jumped out the fuckin' window!"
"What?!" Now *I* was screaming.
"Yeah! I was making snow demons when I saw the window to your room open, and you walk out on the ledge with your god damn eyes covered!" With every word, Duo's grip tightened on my arms. "Luckily, Trowa was on his way in and managed to catch you. What the hell is wrong with you Winner?!"
Oh no. Now he was starting to sound like Wufei. "I don't know! I-I I got cold, and tried to get away. But the light was bright and--"
"What? What light? What cold? What the fuck are you talking about--"
"That's enough, Duo." Trowa motioned with his hand to release me, which Duo obeyed. I sat up, wincing from the stiffness in my neck and back. Duo snatched the gun roughly from Trowa's hands, and went back to guarding the window.
"Both of you, listen very carefully." Trowa's voice was hardly louder than a whisper. "We have to leave. Quatre, you would have broken your neck. This has gone too far." He sighed, and for a moment, I expected him to run his hand through his hair in frustration. "You and Duo leave now. I will stay behind and wait for Heero and Wufei." I started to refuse, but he talked over my protests. "Take the cell phone, and when you get to the carriers, take off and go back to the boarding school. You might as well room together until the rest of us return."
"No, Trowa. We can't leave you--"
I was cut off when Duo yanked me out of bed, gun in hand. While Trowa forced my coat on me, Duo put his coat on, gun still in hand. Also ignoring my protests, Duo wrapped his arm around my waist, for support. He turned to Trowa to hand him the shotgun, but Trowa pulled a 9MM from his waistband, and my machete from under the bed. Duo nodded his approval, and half-carried me down the stairs.
I chanced a look back at Trowa. He had his hand held up, as if waving goodbye. It was just like I saw in one of my dreams.
The snowstorm was horrendous. It was so strong that I couldn't see Duo's face next to mine. How he made it to the car was a miracle. Once there, he shoved me into the backseat like I was a sack of potatoes, tossing the gun to the floor. He jumped over the car, and hopped into the driver's seat with duck tape between his teeth. Since the passenger side window was busted out (which was my fault), he used his coat to cover the broken window, and taped it into place.
It took a couple of tries to start the car, since it was so cold out. "Duo! Don't forget to let the engine warm up so that it won't die!"
"Fuck that! The engine can warm up while we drive. We don't have time for that shit." Duo changed the gear into drive and punched on the gas, sending the car sharply into motion. I flew back against the seat, sending yellow foam speckles to float up around me.
Speeding off, I tried to look back at the mansion. It was completely engulfed by the storm. I didn't know what I expected. The sun couldn't even shine through! It was just a dull yellow ball in the sky. "Trowa, stay safe."
I didn't know if we ran over a patch of ice or what, but Duo lost control. I was flung against the window, then fell back on the seat as the car swerved out of control. I could hear Duo scream for me to take cover, over the screeching of the tires. I sat up and saw the tree we were about to hit. Duo didn't have his seatbelt on, so I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and braced my legs against the back of the seat.
CRASH! We hit the tree head on. I was no where near strong enough. Duo was ripped from my arms, his body ramming into the steering wheel. I saw him bite down on his lip to keep from crying out in agony. I had flown over the seat, and landed on my back on the passenger's side. The back of my legs got slammed on the dashboard.
ARGH! That hurt!
Pain or no, we still needed to get moving. Arms wobbly from strain, I ripped off the duck tape, and put Duo's coat on him. He jerked from the rough treatment and the blast of cold air. Once outside of the car, I flung one of his arms around my shoulders, and grabbed at the inside of his pants. If he had trauma to his chest, holding him up by the stomach wouldn't be good.
It took us twenty minutes to reach the pond, but it felt like an eternity under the weight of the snowstorm. It would have been quicker to go over the ice, but the hair on the back of my neck stood up higher than it already was, and that was enough to tell me to walk around it.
Halfway past the pond, a figure rose from it. The water flowed freely around him, completely unaffected by the temperature and snow. He stood on top as if he was Allah himself, walking almost seductively in our direction. I pressed on. I was not going to die like this, not when the Colonies needed to be protected. Duo, however, had other ideas.
"Fuck you turd!"
Thanks Duo. You are a lot of help.
He was rewarded with a conniving, semi-demonic smile. As if to return the kindness Duo showed him, Krahe raised his arms to his shoulders, and turned into a crow.
I had to stop in my tracks. That was not what I was expecting. Of course, this was totally beyond me, and I really didn't know what to expect. All the same, I was blown away.
Duo suddenly felt ten times heavier in my arms. I didn't know if he passed out from pain, or from our 'friend's' magic trick.
Finally, I made it to the door. I didn't know if he heard the accident or not, but Trowa was there to greet us. He snatched Duo's limp body out of my arms and disappeared into the house. I turned around sullenly to meet the gaze of a sinister prince, human again. His confident smile faltered as I stared head on into his eyes.
He was beautiful, and that was why I was weak. Not just because he was attractive. There was something else about him that was drawing me in, like a magnetic force. I have... underlying feelings for this being. I wanted to be with him. At the same time, another force inside of me was fighting to keep him at bay. Destroy him if possible.
"Quatre, hurry inside!"
Trowa's voice brought me out of my trance. I shook my head clear, and squared off with him again. I wanted Krahe to feel my anger, and rage. This was not over, and I wanted to do whatever it took to make him sorry he ever breathed the same air I did. I continued to glare at him, willing him to disappear as I stepped into the house and slammed the door shut in his face.
Trowa waited on the couch, as Duo sat beside him sipping hot water. Everything that we had was in the car. The cellphone I had stuffed in my pocket after the accident, so at least I didn't have to worry about Heero killing me because of a phone. He could kill me for blowing our cover instead.
I left them downstairs after I raided the kitchen. Nothing. I had already gone through Trowa's room, Duo's room, Wufei's room, and now I was in Heero's. What I wished I noticed from the start were the other rooms. None of them were decorated like mine. They had the blankets and beds with the drapes, but they weren't as elaborate as mine. Heero's room didn't even have a window!
I punched four holes in the walls, which were magically repaired. The magic wasn't enough to keep it clean, though. The whole house was in complete and utter disarray in my wake. I had thrown fabric, pillows, and anything I could pick up out in the hall. I turned over furniture, and broke what I couldn't. But I did have a purpose. I wasn't wrecking the place just to wreck it. I was looking for something. What was I looking for? I didn't know. Something, anything for me to jump on and tear to shreds. He had a weakness. Just what was it?
Now I was back in my room, being watched intensely by the crows on the window. I shattered the flame icicle when a pillow flew at the fireplace when I flipped the bed over. I had paused to catch my breath, when a strong hand landed on my shoulder. He forced me to face him.
"Quatre, what are you looking for?" Trowa almost looked concerned.
I started to massage my temples. I felt a migraine coming on. "I know this is going to sound crazy," I said softly, "but I...don't know what I'm looking for, exactly. I need something, anything! But I'm so tired." I sighed. "I just want this to be over with."
"I know you do. Keep in mind that the others will be back soon."
"I hope so. But I'm not going to sit back and wait for them. This is not natural Trowa. I want to find answers. There has to be something I can do."
"Yes. You can rest with Duo."
Ah! I never win! "No Trowa, you don't understand. There's more to this. I just haven't figured it out yet." I stepped around him so that I could pace the floor. It helped me think. Turning sharply, I tripped over the post of the bed. Trowa moved in front of me and caught me around the waist. In an attempt to stop my fall also, I had reached up and fisted my hands in his turtleneck. I stared at my hands in horror, but I couldn't let go. I felt his arms around my waist, supporting me. I was so afraid to look up in his face, knowing that if I did, I would probably kiss him.
Oh well. Here goes everything.
My eyes slowly followed an invisible trail up the now-wrinkled turtleneck, to his neck, then continued up to his perfect lips, nose, and lastly, eyes. Because of how close we were, I was able see both. I stopped breathing. I was in the arms of the man of my dreams, frozen stiff.
I didn't know how long we stayed like that, but neither one of us were willing to make the first move. My heartbeat was fast and hard against his chest, and his grip on my hips tightened painfully. Something had to happen soon.
"Hey guys! Hello! I'm dying down here!"
I didn't mean for THAT to happen. Damnit Duo!
I tore my eyes away from his beautiful face, and stood on my own feet. I focused my attention on the fireplace, apologizing profusely. He nodded and told me not to worry about it.
In staring at the fireplace, something came to me. The boy stood there, arm outstretched, welcoming his eternity. The crow sat willingly on the wrist of his master. I always focused on them, but there were more pieces to the game. I never thought about... "The tree."
Without another word to Trowa, I ran downstairs, bumped against the rail, and slid down the last four steps due to a pillow case. I yanked my coat from the back of a chair to put on. Duo snapped out of his trance long enough to give me a 'what the hell are you doing' look, before Trowa met up with us downstairs.
"Quatre, where are you going?" Trowa asked calmly.
"To the tree."
"Quatre." Duo spoke up, quiet for a grand total of thirty seconds. "Do you see the snow out there? You will be buried alive! Besides, what is out there that you need?"
"I don't know yet, but I want to find out."
"Fine. Duo take the gun, I'm going with Quatre--"
"No, Trowa. Stay here with Duo. He's hurt."
Duo's mouth hit the floor like a ton of bricks. I would never say 'no' to any suggestion Trowa made. But this was my mess, and I was going to clean it up.
He recovered quickly. "Quatre dude, look. Let Tro go with you. I don't want you out there alone with Birdman on the loose."
"That's just it, Duo! He's after me. If something happens, you two still have a chance--"
"Quatre, you are NOT winning this argument! Either Trowa goes or I go--"
"No! Duo, it's too dangerous for you to--"
"Yes! And that's final--"
"No! Duo, please--"
"Enough!" Trowa's voice cut through our shouting match. Face still calm, he turned to me. "Quatre, if you don't want me to go, fine. But if you take longer than ten minutes, I'm coming after you." The resolution in his voice let me know that I couldn't talk him out of his decision.
"Wait. I'll need longer than ten minutes. I need to get the flashlights from the car."
"I'll get those," Duo volunteered. "You find what you're looking for and get your butt back here, okay?"
I knew I was outvoted, so I sighed in defeat and nodded my approval. Duo stuck his feet back in his boots, complaining, and I got my coat back on. Trowa slipped into his coat and perched himself on the thin sill of the window, ready to make good on his threat. I slipped the machete inside the bottom leg of my pants, making sure the blade laid flat against my skin, and that the handle was firmly in my sock. Then I tied the shoelaces extra tight.
Once the door opened, Duo and I did a once over on each other, to make sure we were snuggled up as well as could be.
"Ten minutes, Cat."
"That goes for you too."
"Ch'. Don't worry about me. I'm not the one trying to explore around here, okay Casanova?"
"Casanova was a gigolo, Duo, not an explorer."
"Same thing." He darted off towards the car, braid trailing behind him. Smiling, I went to my destination, hoping against hope I would find something there.
I walked around the tree twice already. There was nothing special or unique about it as far as I could see. But something was itching the back of my mind, telling me that I should climb it, almost screaming at me to do so. Well, it's always been right before. Now was not the time to doubt it.
The tree wasn't really that big. It was as thick around as a manhole cover, and maybe ten feet tall. Problem was, the tree was dead. That, combined with the wind, will make it a difficult climb. The crows perched on the top branches could also be problematic. When I got up there, would they attack me, or let me be? I needed to get a move on. I only had seven minutes left.
I wrapped one leg around the base of the tree, with both arms hugging it simultaneously. With my other leg, I jumped slightly, swinging that leg around to wrap around the tree. I felt like a caterpillar. Using my stomach muscles, which were sore from the accident, I drew my legs up toward me, and squeezed the tree tightly as I pulled myself higher.
This took me a few minutes to do. Every two advances I made, I slid down three. But once I made it to the top, I saw a little hole between the top branches. Unfortunately, my hand was too big to fit in it. Now, holding on VERY tightly, I reached down to my pants leg, and drew out my machete. Carefully, but with some force, I stuck it into the hole, widening it. The crows, up to this point, had been sitting quietly. It wasn't until I was clawing at the hole that they started cawing and pulling at my hair. One managed to scratch me on my cheek.
With the increased noise and wind, I started whacking wildly at the torn wood. Chunks were falling away, hitting me in the face and eyes. The wind blew, the cold nipping at my nose and ears, despite the hood I had on. The crows were also not helping. If I didn't hurry, Trowa would be out here and something will be dead. As one claw nearly got me in the eye, I started to think that maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing.
Dropping the machete, I reached my hand inside the hole to feel around. I lifted myself higher when something caught my hand. That was when a crow charged at me, biting me on the lip. I swung to fight it off but the wood broke, sending me crashing into the snow. I landed next to the machete, point in the ground. Yikes. Lying flat on my back, I could see little stars dancing in front of my eyes. "Great."
When I sat up, something solid slid against the back of my hand. Lifting it up, I saw that it was a key. A black one, with the handle in the shape of a crow's head. "A key?" I studied it closer, as if it would tell me its purpose. I must've really hit my head.
"What can the key go to....that's it!"
Time's up. I used my hand to push myself to my feet. I yanked the machete out of the frozen snow, and ran as fast as I could to where Trowa was waiting for me.