Chapter 29 (Covered in a loved one)
Kkaj stuffed a piece of meat into his mouth.
The spiced beef burned his tongue in a good way and made his mouth water for more. A tangy sweet taste followed the burn as the meat climbed down his throat.
He licked his lips then turned away from the fire.
Between him and the ruined cart, Roffor stood with her hands on her hips. “Is it ready?” Click-click-click. Her left foot tapped against the stone, and she scowled at her sister.
Beside Roffor, Saffer glared at the ground with her arms crossed over her chest. Her breaths came in frantic bursts along with whimpering sounds.
“Yes, it’s ready to eat.” A sight deflated Kkaj’s lungs, and her rolled his neck. “I guess the three of us need to have a talk.” Why couldn’t this just resolve itself?
“We do.” Roffor poked Saffer in her right breast.
Saffer yelped and looked up with tears in her eyes.
Great. Just great. “Kkaj stepped forward.
“Your tears are not going to guilt me into giving up this time!” Roffor shoved Saffer to the ground.
Saffer landed on her butt then curled into a ball, crying into her legs.
“Roffor!” Kkaj knelt beside Saffer and massaged her shoulder. “I said we need to talk, not argue.”
“But she —”
“Just check the map and see if you can figure out how far we have to go.”
Roffor bit into her lower-lip, and tears began to well up in her eyes. “I-I-I … I’m sorry.” She wiped at her eyes then pulled the map from her Drunkzard vest. After unrolling it, she traced her fingers around it while glancing to the left and the right.
“Saffer?” Kkaj scratched the back of her neck — her feel good spot.
“It’s true.” Saffer’s entire body trembled as if those words had been the only thing holding a chill back.
“What Roffor says.”
Kkaj blinked. “About?”
“Stealing you from her. I knew —”
Kkaj lifted her chin and kissed her. “That’s why we have to talk. I don’t know what, if anything, will change, but we can’t keep glaring in the dark at each other.”
Saffer swallowed then nodded. “You’re right.” She held out her hand to him.
He stood before helping Saffer to her feet. “This is going to be —”
She placed a finger to his lips. “I know. Despite what my sister believes —”
A rumbling growl escaped Roffor’s mouth as she glared at Saffer.
“— I do love you, Kkaj.” Saffer interlaced her fingers behind Kkaj’s neck. “I didn’t just come after you to spite her.”
Kkaj stared down into Saffer’s beautiful golden eyes, feeling a true spark in the pit of his stomach for the first time in their relationship. Could I love her? “Why then?”
“It was after you raced into the burning building to save those three children.”
“Back in RiBer?”
“But I was still with Rokar.”
His eyes narrowed. “For what?”
“For distilling the liquor of distrust between you and Rokar.” Saffer’s grip around the back of his neck tightened. “But I had to. She was no good for you while I am.” She glanced at Roffor. “My sister is probably better than me, but I don’t want to give you up.”
Roffor rolled the map up and shoved it into her Drunkzard vest.
Kkaj clenched his gut. What am I supposed to do? This whole thing is beyond my ability. “I’m —”
Saffer jerked his head forward and wrapped her lips around his. So soft. Her tongue slithered into his mouth and brushed across the back of his teeth.
Icy Octospider legs danced across his skin, and he moaned.
She released the back of his head, holding him in place with her kiss. Her hands worked their way down to his chest, and she pinched his nipples.
An inferno raced through his veins, and he became hard. So hard it hurt.
Her tongue brushed across his then pressed into his cheek.
He melted in her embrace.
Ba-bang! The cracking sound ripped through Kkaj’s mind, and his cousin’s mangled body appeared in his thoughts, everything else vanishing. His knees became weak, and the world lurched.
Something grabbed him and slowed his fall.
He fought against the memory, shattering it. His vision faded into focus.
Saffer held him by the shoulders. She smiled just before a bullet ripped through her skull. The bullet gashed his cheek. Her body convulsed, and her grip let up. Boom! the bullet crashed into the ground behind him.
His eyes bulged as he fell backwards.
Warm blood and brain tissue covered his face. Her body went limp.
He hit the ground, back first. His shoulder blades scrunched together, and he grunted.
Her lifeless corpse landed on his midsection and knocked the air from his lungs is a gasp. Roffor screamed. More blood flowed from the hole in her head and soaked through his Drunkzard vest. Soon, his silk shirt clung to his chest.
Kkaj’s jaw quivered, but he reached out to shake Saffer.
She didn’t respond.
He bit into his cheek. This had to be a dream. A flashback. A — He didn’t wake up.
Saffer’s corpse still lay atop him, bathing him in blood.
“Impossible.” His voice cracked. “Please, Saffer. Say something.” Everything around him blurred, and tears rolled down his cheeks.
Roffor’s blurry form bent over him and moved Saffer’s body off him. Roffor caressed the exit wound. “This has to be a joke.” She kissed Saffer on the cheek, and Roffor’s lips came away a deep crimson. “The first time I stand up to you, this happens?” Sobs stirred between her words. “None of this can be real.”
Kkaj rolled onto his side and vomited towards the fire. Whoever did this — His stomach twisted into a knot. The wastes spun around him. Was he really thinking about revenge? With all the wrong he has committed, did he have any right to seek revenge? The bullet was probably aimed at him. Pain gripped his heart. “I’m … sorry, Saffer. Because of me, you had to die. I —”
“No!” Roffor’s voice echoed into the wastes. “Whoever did this was at fault. And we are going to make them pay!”
Whomp! Whomp! Was she stomping towards him? Whomp-whomp! No. It was coming from the other side of the fire pit.
Kkaj sat up.
A shadow danced just beyond the light of the fire.
Roffor squealed and scrambled backwards.
The light bathed the massive creature covered in black scales.
Kkaj’s teeth chattered, and his mouth dried. He lifted his hand to point at the monster with a massive jaw and sharp claws. “C-c-c-c-crocobear!”
Next: Chapter 30