“I suppose you leave me with no other choice, then,” I sigh sadly.
I know what he’s expecting me to say now. He thinks I’ll say that I’ll just go back inside, and do as I’m told. Actually, do as I’m told by him. He’s probably used to giving out orders, but I’m not really all that used to taking them.
“You will either accompany me now for a brisk walk not too far away from here, or you’ll risk me going alone then very soon,” I say, with such defiance I never thought I’d find inside of me, especially not under these circumstances.
But, it’s true. It’s just a walk. And, what can happen if we’re safe here?
The shock on his face is priceless. This is one of those rare, precious moments you feel bad you don’t have a Polaroid camera with you, so you can take a photo and always remember it. His lips are slightly parted, his eyes wide with disbelief. He never saw it coming, or even expected it of me. Then, against all my expectations, he smiles broadly.
“So, you’re blackmailing me now?” I see the corners of his lips dancing, and I want to see more of it.
“It’s just an invitation for a quick walk,” I shrug, pretending to be all indifferent, but in fact, my heart is pounding so wildly that I feel it’ll jump right out of my chest. “You kinda forced me to put it this way.”
“I see,” he nods, his body leaning a bit backwards, as if to give me a good once over, to make sure it’s really me, being all ballsy and confident.
Once he’s sure it really is me, he pulls back closer again.
“You don’t want me to go alone there, do you?” I ask again.
“Of course not.”
“Then, join me for a walk,” I urge him. “We’re safe here.”
“We’re not safe anywhere,” he corrects me.
“Alright,” I snort. “Then, we’re safer here than anywhere else in the world. Is that correct?”
I see the hesitation on his face. He wants me to believe that this is the safest place for us, but he won’t say it with certainty. I doubt there is anything certain in his world, expect for maybe death, and as Benjamin Franklin said it, taxes. Instead of saying anything, he just nods gently.
“Anderson is taking a nap,” I continue. “He won’t even know we’re gone. And, besides, it’s not like we’ll be going too far away. We’ll be just around the bend. If he calls out to us, for whatever reason, we’d still be able to hear him and rush back.”
He seems to ponder the idea for a lit
tle while. I smile at him, hoping that will induce his confirmation. He looks around. I can see his nostrils flaring, as if he’s sniffing the air around us. I wonder how that feels, to be able to foretell someone’s presence, merely based on their odor. For a moment, I feel a little self-conscious. It’s not like we have regular baths or showers here, so we all must have an unpleasant body odor. I instantly press my arms to my body, in a futile effort to prevent my glands from spreading my scent all around me. I’m not sure if he noticed it, but he turns to me and smiles.
“The coast seems clear,” he tells me, but there is still hesitation in his voice.
“Does that mean what I think it means?”
“But, just a quick walk,” he reminds me. “We shouldn’t get far away, in case Anderson needs us.”
“He’s snoring away, I doubt he’ll even notice we’re missing,” I assure him, but he doesn’t seem convinced. “I know he probably tells you this often, but you need to relax a little.”
“It goes against my character,” he says, and I almost miss the joke.
“You didn’t just joke there, did you?” I pretend to be all shocked, with my eyes wide opened in mock disbelief.
“Who knows,” he shrugs.
We start walking together, our feet synchronizing their steps. We pass through a small, narrow path, which leads us away from our hideout, but still in plain sight of it.
“So, how did you find this place?” I wonder, as we’re walking.
“I was running away from some hunters,” he explains. “I was still in my wolf form.”
I try to imagine him as a wild animal. Untamed. Free. Fearless. I turn to him, and realize that this is exactly how he is even as a human. There is little difference in his behavior. Probably some difference in body hair.
“I was bleeding,” he continues. “One of the hunters shot me. I still have a scar on my shoulder. I rushed through the thick bushes, and I found a little hole. It was barely an entrance. But, I knew I couldn’t run any longer. I had to hide. Or risk being caught and killed.”