Seth cradled Vikki against his chest as they sprinted through the forest brush, with no more thought than you’d give a piece of luggage. An hour passed with no speaking and a pissy glare frozen on Seth’s wildling face. It didn’t help to improve her opinion of him.
“So what happened to make these guys chase you so hard?” Seth finally said, rather bluntly.
“I was born.”
“Care to elaborate?” , Seth asked as he jumped down into a dry creek bed.
“I’m a scientific anomaly in species crossbreeding. In other words, I’m a freak.” Vikki shifted a bit, to remove the pressure put on her collarbone. It still throbbed a little as it finished healing.
“If you haven’t noticed, to the whole world, all Others are freaks. I met a Liger when I was young, one of the biggest fellows I’ve ever seen. Made my father look tiny. Last year, I met a Coywolf. What makes your mix so special?”
Vikki rolled her eyes at his tone, so dismissive. Like she had chosen for Harold to hunt her across the country and she was hiding for the attention.
“My mother was a genetically altered fox/wolf mix believed to be infertile. A rare success for the government scientists, particularly one named Dr. Harold. They kept her at a facility trying to replicate her DNA. My Dad was wildling. They fell for each other when he was working as a security guard at the facility. He helped her to escape, and they stayed on the run their whole marriage. Then she got pregnant with me, the miracle baby. So I am fox/wolf/wildling.”
Seth cleared his throat and adjusted his hold on her. “How does the government even know about you then, if you all were on the run?”
Vikki closed her eyes and fought down the ache that came when she thought of the night her mother and her were captured. “We moved a lot, as you can imagine. Anyway, we settled into another podunk town and I complained about not having anything nice to wear, I mean, I was fifteen. Mom wanted to cheer me up so we drove out to the big mall in Bloomington while Dad searched for a job. I made her follow me around for hours looking for the perfect outfit. I was just being a shit. I overheard from the guards later, that a do-gooder wildling had recognized my mom from a poster and called it in. Government officers swarmed us in front of the food court. Mom fought and got knocked on the head trying to protect me. By the time we reached the facility she had stroked out…with her head in my lap.” Vikki paused to wipe the tears from her face and Seth squeezed her more firmly in what felt like a hug.
Seth slowed his pace a little as he talked, “I’m sorry, I’ve been a jerk so far. I was just thinking of myself and how I didn’t want to be saddled with you. You’ve had it so hard. How did the doctors know you were her kid, if they thought she was barren?”
“When they couldn’t save her, they used my mom’s body for samples and saw that she had birthed a child. It didn’t help that I look exactly like her either. Then the testing started.”
Seth shook his head, he couldn’t believe the horrors she had been through. “If they’ve done testing and taken samples, why are they chasing you still?”
Vikki stared up at the moon for a moment before answering, she liked how it blinked at her through the tree branches. “Well, they were waiting for my fertile stage, so I could carry a child. Whatever creation they could think up.” She shivered at the thought of how that would have been accomplished. Definitely not with love and kindness. Then her baby would have been used as leverage to keep her in line. She’d seen it happen at the facility before.
“My dad was able to track me down right before I turned eighteen, and reached my baby makin’ time. He was shot in the escape and didn’t make it, but he made sure I was free.” She sniffled and Seth handed her a handkerchief to blow her nose. “Thank you, maybe you’re not such a jerk after all.” she said and smiled at him.
“It sounds like you had some amazing parents. I’m sure they’d be happy with how well you’ve done being on your own.”
She chuckled, “Not likely, when your father found me, I’d just escaped a group of clanless wolfling men, they were trying to negotiate my ransom with the government. I kept trying to escape and they kept beating me. I have a feeling the government asked that I stay a virgin or things would have been really bad. I pushed one of them into a well, when he had his back turned. They figured I was in too bad of shape to try and run.”
“See you didn’t give up, and your here now.” Seth said in an attempt to cheer their situation. He stopped for a second, and listened. Vikki listened for whatever had spooked Seth. There was faint rustling coming from behind them about three hundred yards. Then a definite “Dang it!” echoed. Seth sighed heavily and waited for the person to catch up. “Friend of yours, I hope.” Vikki asked.
Sounding only slightly annoyed, he answered, “My best friend, Gunter. I told him I would bring him on my next hunting trip, and seeing as how everyone was told that’s what this is, he’s decided to invite himself along. That’s how he is. Like a bull in a china shop and blunt as all get out.” He sighed again, “But he’s a good guy, and a loyal friend. You won’t have to worry about him saying anything to anybody.”
“Okay, good.” She said and watched as the dark form emerged from the trees and came closer. He was a big guy, at least a foot taller than Seth. Wide in body too Vikki thought, Seth’s description of him being like a bull was right on.
He was out of breath when he came up to them, he stared at Vikki for a second and proceeded to talk to Seth like she wasn’t there. “Hey man, I thought you were going to bring me along, I figured you just forgot, so I packed up and followed your trail. I brought some cookies my Ma baked for you. So, where we going?”
More to come…..