Maelin took a deep breath and exhaled. “It’s okay, Jay. I’m fine now.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes.” She noticed his concerned expression. “Sweetheart, I’m okay.”
“Talk to me. Tell me what happened.”
Maelin sat back on her feet and thought over what she had experienced. She frowned. “I was watching the monitors and I felt afraid. More afraid than I have ever felt in my life. I needed to get out of there. I couldn’t stay in there.”
He put his hands on top of her hands. “Was it Preyuna’s doing?”
“I don’t know. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t think rationally. All I could think about was escaping. But now that I’m out here…I don’t know, Jay. It could have been obscure fey queen magic or it could have been a ghost standing on my grave. I don’t know.” She stood and helped him up. “All I do know for certain is we should not leave Isellta in there for too long.”
“Why? Is it something that can hurt him?”
She considered the question. “I don’t know. But he could hurt himself trying to escape…whatever it is.”
“Then, we’d better go back to him.”
Isellta idly flapped his wings as he watched the monitor.
I will see him.
Which direction will he come in? Will he walk or will he come running? I like the idea of him running to me.. Will he be yelling my name? I really like that mental image. It’s so nonsensical, but it is such a Robin thing to do.
Will I see why he hasn’t come to me? Will I find out what happened to him? I hope so, but I’m afraid to find out. What if he has been staked? What should I do?
Isellta glanced at the door to the monitor room. “I hope Jay comes back. I—-” The feathers all over his body bristled. A sickening feeling of dread sank into his gut.
Something breathed hot air on his neck.
Isellta clamped his hand on his neck. He wanted to look back, but he knew what he’d see.
Darkness and glowing eyes.
He shivered, a hard shiver that sent a handful of wing feathers to the floor. “robin.”
“IIIIIIIISSSSSSSSSSSELLLLLLLLLLTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” Claws grabbed his shoulders.
Isellta whimpered. “Jay. Jay. Help me.” He stayed focused on the outside monitor. “Robin.”
Long, sharp fangs bit into him.
Isellta cried out and tumbled out of his chair. He covered his head with his arms. “don’t. Don’t! Please! DON’T!”
He scrunched his eyes shut.
Robin! Where are you? Why aren’t you here? Why aren’t you with me? Where are you? Why don’t you speak to me? Why don’t you answer me? WHERE ARE YOU?
“Isellta! Isellta!” Hands grabbed his shoulders.
He whimpered. “don’t hurt me. don’t hurt me. please don’t hurt me.”
“Isellta, it’s me. You’re safe. Look at me. It’s me. Jay.”
Jay? Jay. Jay…
He opened his eyes. “Jay?”
“It’s okay, kid.”
Isellta hesitantly raised his head.
Jay was down on his knees. “What happened?”
“Monsters. They attacked me. Jay, they always attack me. Why?”
Jay gently guided the fey into his arms. “I don’t know.” He kissed the top of Isellta’s head. “But they’re gone now. You’re safe now.”
Isellta sniffled and rubbed his nose. “They are gone.”
“I’ll keep you safe.”