The First Wave
Author: Hollie Leanne

Chapter 7
Chapter Seven

Dawn came around quicker than expected, and Haddon was already far behind us. The man refused to release the scruff of my jacket, his knife keen in his pocket, and he hadn’t uttered a word to me since we passed the sign welcoming visitors and residents to Haddon a way back. 

We were on a road, and as the darkness began to blend into an off-grey colour, the fog suddenly became much more eerie. I couldn’t see too far ahead, shivering with the chill in the morning air. I was damp, my clothes uncomfortable against my skin and my hair a matted mess of frizz. My captor didn’t seem fazed, however, and focused solely on the walk ahead. 

He was fast, not one to wait around. His long legs refused to keep in time with mine, and I stumbled a lot in his wake. He would only huff and growl in annoyance when I did, simply yanking me back into a steady pace that suited him. After hours of dragging me along, I wondered if he would ever feel the cramp in his hand that must have been there. 

The silence was awful, only his heavy breathing and the sound of our awkward footsteps to keep my ears alert. The sound of the odd fox and owl made me jolt, which once again only annoyed him further. I didn’t want to speak yet I just couldn’t stand not knowing where he was taking me, so I took a breath. 

“Where are you taking me?” I asked tentatively, my body tensing in preparation of a smack. He didn’t, but he didn’t even look at me, either. Until he spoke, I could have believed he had forgotten I was even there. 

“To an evacuation point.” He replied flatly. 


“Say what you want, sweetheart-”

I wanted to cut him off with my name, annoyed with the idea of him giving me a pet name, but I was too proud to give it away. Instead I snapped, “Don’t call me that.”

 He looked at me for the first time in hours, and a smirk played around his mouth with malicious intent. It was hard to imagine him smiling kindly. 

“A name would be useful, then,” he said with a sarcastic edge, but I knew he didn’t really care to know my name. I shook my head, glaring furiously. “Fine, whatever. Point is, flower, you won’t be safer with anyone other than me.”

I scoffed before I could stop myself. Before I knew it he grabbed me by the back of my neck and pushed the back of my knees in, forcing me down. Snatching a fist full of hair, he held me there, before he pulled my head back so that my neck was exposed. 

I felt like a rabbit exposed in headlights as he stalked around me, my knife once again in his hand. Somehow I knew he wasn’t going to kill me, after all the effort he had gone to, but that didn’t stop my heart from hammering in my chest. My blood singed, racing around my body, and I suddenly felt dizzy. 

The man knelt down, levelling our eyes as he teased the edge of the blade beneath my earlobe. I swallowed, but bit my cheek to keep from whimpering in fear. I wouldn’t allow him to carry on threatening me like this if he wasn’t going to do anything. It was a battle of wits; he wanted to force his power over me, yet I would refuse to let his power drive me into maddening fear. I wanted to find a level ground, one where I could keep my head on my shoulders and his temper in check. It was easy to tell that he was conflicted, a man who was unsure if the decision he made was the right one. In my stubbornness, I wanted him to regret stealing the girl from Haddon. 

I would get away, I’d decided, I just needed to stay alive for long enough to do it. 

He stared at me, his gaze intense on mine. I swore that I saw something flicker in his orbs, like he was noticing something for the first time. A frown briefly creased his brow as he continued to stare, and at the same time the knife went slack against my skin. 

I lashed out with a fist and smacked him across the cheek, knocking him back. 

“Fucking hell,” he all but growled, holding his cheek in his hand. The knife had nicked my jaw as he had flung back. I wiped the blood with the palm of my hand, smearing it on my chin in the process, but I didn’t move from my position on the ground. He gawped at me, eyes wide and angry, but I remained collected, ignoring the beating of my heart and the splitting headache beginning to form in my head. 

“So is this how it’s gonna be, huh?” he said slowly, his voice dangerously low. He remained crouched as he rubbed his cheek, his gaze piercing, like he was calculating what to do next. The distance between us was less than two meters, but the tension was thick, engulfing, and I felt that this could go very wrong very quickly. Perhaps not in my favour. “I’m trying to help you, don’t you see that?” 

“No,” I said, slitting my eyes as I glared. “Not when you keep pointing my own bloody knife at me.” I wiped my jaw again, and more blood soaked my hand. “I want to go home.”

“Those men,” he said, a warning in his tone as he tilted his chin in the direction we had come from. “They’ll gut you alive. Trust me, I’ve seen others do it.”

“Have you done it?” I asked, watching his reaction carefully.

He blinked, taken aback, before he shook his head stiffly. Liar. It was as if he could see the accusation in my eyes, which he gazed at for a moment longer, before he suddenly tossed my weapon back to me. It slid across the concrete in a clatter before it lightly hit the bend of my knee. 

“No funny business, girly.” He said, cautiously getting to his feet. I didn’t move, watching him as I tried to fathom what he wanted from me. Was this his way of earning my trust?

“My name isn’t girly.” I said as I stared at the knife he had given back to me. 

“It is until you give me your real name. Get up, we have to keep moving.” I realised that he was smirking, and suddenly I felt angry. But there was no point in rising to it, for I had actually won something. I had my weapon back. Maybe he had an ulterior motive, maybe he felt like he genuinely wanted to give me some type of advantage; I couldn’t tell. All that mattered was that I was armed again, and that I would soon be free from this monster. I got to my feet, and he turned his back to walk again. I followed like a lost foal, tucking my knife in its rightful sheath on my ankle. 

When I glanced up, the black, filthy gas mask he had worn the day before hung airily from his backpack. Its hollow eyes stared back at me, and the fear in my belly chilled my blood to ice. 

I looked away, but it kept staring.


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