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Birds of a Feather



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Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:13 am
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soundofmind says...



James felt a rush of relief when he heard the soft hoofbeats returning to him in the forest undergrowth. He'd thought it would be a good idea to accept the help for Elliot's sake when he'd asked, but once Elliot had left with her he'd been struck with an unshakeable pang of worry. He didn't think Resa had any reason to steal a horse, but he'd been filing through all of the possible worst-case scenarios in his head until they'd returned.

He let out a quiet sigh as he watched Resa tie Elliot back up at the tree. She was whispering to Elliot softly like he often did. He couldn't quite hear her, but he could see her lips moving.

"Thank you," he said when Resa glanced over at him. "For everything."
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:30 am
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mydwindlingsanity says...



Resa blinked in surprise. “You’re welcome,” she replied with a surprisingly confident voice. After a pause she decidedly continued, “Thank you... for talking with me.” You’ve given me hope I’d never thought I’d have.

She breathed deeply before she lifted herself off the ground and spun gracefully towards her home. She glanced back briefly before they were obscured by trees.

She landed in the tree less gracefully than she left. She could feel the fatigue creeping into her limbs as she crawled into the hammock. She sighed, staring at the sparkling stars above. To her, they seemed brighter than before. Her lips formed a soft grin as she shut her eyes and drifted off into a peaceful slumber.




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Thu Apr 23, 2020 8:37 am
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soundofmind says...



Later that night...


Not long after Resa flew off, James fell into a fitful sleep. The sound of the crackling fire and the faint noises of Elliot shifting in the night lulled him, and the moon above shone with a blue hue.

Sometime later - and James couldn't be sure how much later - James's eyes shot open for the dozenth time, heart racing as he reached for his knife at his side. His clothes were still sticking to him with sweat, but he could feel it.

His fever broke. He was tired, but the weight of the cloudy headache swirling in his mind had cleared, and he could think.

He turned his head, looking at the dying embers of the fire. A mound of ash had gathered under what was once a stack of wood. Some of the ash had fluttered in his direction, leaving flakes on his blanket, and probably in his hair. The small, flickering flame was fading, leaving only the moonlight shining through the trees to show him what was around him.

Surely, the sun would rise soon. He felt like he'd slept the whole night away, even if half of it was less sleeping and just laying there still, with his eyes closed.

James took in a deep breath and tried to relax as he scanned the area.

Elliot was there, asleep. Resa was gone, along with her little pet. Apart from his immediate surroundings, everything else was shadowed in darkness. His eyes were still adjusting.

He shifted and felt a shiver run up his spine.

Without a second thought, he rolled to the side onto his hands and knees. Something caught on his blanket, pinning it to the ground, and he scrambled forward out of it.

All the while he felt like his body was weightless and empty, like with one wrong move, and he'd go flying to the ground and shatter. He hadn't even seen who he was running from yet when a hand grabbed the back of his jacket in a fist and pulled him backward.

He leaned forward and pulled, slipped his arms out of the sleeves, and ran back and forth, trying to find cover.

A gunshot rang out, and a bullet lodged in the back of his thigh. He stumbled to the ground. His ears rang as he forced himself to his feet, running into the darkness of the forest.

Somewhere behind him, he could hear a frustrated growl.

Hoss had come back for him, and Hoss was no bounty hunter. He just wanted James dead.
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Sat Apr 25, 2020 4:26 am
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mydwindlingsanity says...



Resa instantly sat up in bed, heart racing as her eyes tried to adjust to the moonlit world around her. She knew the sound of a gunshot anywhere, for occasionally hunters would journey through this forest. It was far too dark out for hunting, and Resa couldn't tell whether she imagined the sound coming from James's direction or not. With her eyes wide open, she shot up into the sky in the direction of the campsite.

Still in the air, her stomach dropped as she heard shuffling sounds below, and James frantically running away from another man. James was clearly struggling to run and the other man was quickly catching up to him. Without thinking, Resa swooped behind the strange man and unsheathed her dagger as she hit him in the head with the handle with the most force she could muster. He fell down limply. Resa stared down in shock of her own actions.




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Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:00 am
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soundofmind says...



His entire body was throbbing with one solid pulse. James had been running, but it turned into skipping, hopping, and limping in a matter of moments as his head began to spin.

It wasn't a fever again. He knew that. But everything hurt.

He glanced back just in time to see a blur of Hoss's figure rush up behind him and push him face-down to the ground. He felt the heel of Hoss's boot digging into his back.

“Wonder how long it’ll take this time," Hoss said, his breath labored, though hardly as much as James's. James wondered how many sleepless nights Hoss had spent in pursuit of him. "No Bella here to save you now," Hoss continued with a burst of sinister laughter. He felt Hoss put his weight on him as he leaned forward, closer to James's ear. "You're not looking too-"

James heard a hard whump, very soon followed by Hoss collapsing on top of him.
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:13 am
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mydwindlingsanity says...



Resa felt her feet hit the ground the same moment the man did. She looked from the unconscious man, to James, back to the man, then at the hilt of her dagger. She blinked as she slowly loosened her grip on the handle and stared back at James lying on the ground. Did I really just do that? Am I still asleep? Oh gods, is he dead? Breathing heavily, she reached out to help James up. Breathlessly she asked, "Are you okay?"




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Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:19 am
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soundofmind says...



James grunted as he started to push himself out from under Hoss's unconscious body, pausing when he heard the voice. Resa had come to help him.

She was probably the only reason he was alive.

He pushed himself up to his knees, his arms trembling like the legs of a newborn deer. He accepted Resa's help to get him to his feet - it wasn't like he had the clarity of mind to push her away anyways.

"No," he said, stumbling on his wounded leg and leaning his weight towards her, and then away from her, barely able to keep balance. His wounded leg instinctually shot out straight to catch himself but he hissed through his teeth when it bore his own weight.
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:30 am
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mydwindlingsanity says...



She winced as she saw him struggle to stand. Her eyes widened in realization when asked, "Did he shoot your leg?!" She swore in harpy tongue as she frantically started to wrap her arm around his shoulders to lean his weight on her. Trying to look at James's downturned faced, she questioned, "Who was that? Was he trying to kill you?!"




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Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:55 am
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soundofmind says...



James let Resa carry his weight. This would have been so much easier if Resa hadn't shown up. Perhaps not easier, but definitely simpler, because he could do what he wanted to do: get on his horse, tie a belt around his leg, and flee on Elliot. It seemed the most sensible thing to do. Even though Resa had knocked Hoss out, Hoss was a big man, and he didn't know how long he would be out for. There were no guarantees that he would have time to thoroughly take care of his wound.

He didn't know how Resa fit into all of that.

"Yes," he said breathily. "Yes," again to the second batch of questions.

"He doesn't like me," he explained wearily, leaning more of his weight into her shoulder. "Hates me. There's a story. Now's not the time."
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:05 am
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mydwindlingsanity says...



Resa nodded and glanced back at the man on the ground. She felt helpless as she frantically tried to think of ideas. Ok, I've got two plans: either I fly James away to my tree to keep him safe for now or I fly that guy away and throw him somewhere... maybe the trash. Oh, but even if you can carry James to safety, you can't carry Elliot! Stupid! Stupid! Think of something else. How can we do this when his leg has a bullet in it? Overwhelmed, Resa looked at James and asked quietly, "What do you want me to do?"




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Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:20 am
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soundofmind says...



James took a few shaky breaths.

In a perfect scenario, were he not sick, he wouldn't have gotten shot and would've been out of Resa's patch of forest, away from it all.

"Help me to my horse, please," he said simply, already turning and hobbling in that direction with her at his side. "I need to get away first. This isn't his first attempt on my life."
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:54 am
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mydwindlingsanity says...



"But your leg..." her voice trailed off as she saw the decided look in his eyes. She sighed before she said, "I can get you there faster."

She reached under his legs to carry him in her arms. Although she was much smaller than him, she managed to keep her grip as she lifted them off the ground with her large wings. She smoothly lowered his body towards Elliott, and tried to shush the horse as she set James on top of his steed. She paused to make sure he was balanced, and glanced toward his blankets. Her jaw set firmly in determination before she asked, "What do you want me to do with your stuff?"




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Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:08 am
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soundofmind says...



James's eyes shot wide open as Resa tucked her arms under his legs. He struggled for a moment - his mind split between cooperating and fighting it. Fear and confusion finally won over, resulting in him grabbing around her waist and holding on for dear life as she lifted the two of them in the air.

His heart was already racing, but it continued to pound as he watched Hoss grow smaller beneath them. At that moment, he was glad for the pain as a distraction from the alarming and unsettling new feeling of moving through the air. Thankfully, the trip did not last very long. He hadn't made it very far from his own camp, and Resa got there in under half the time it would've taken him to get there limping.

As he was set on Elliot's saddle, Elliot stirred, clearly uncomfortable with the strange feeling of James being lowered onto him, instead of jumping up. James steadied himself and pat Elliot's side, cooing softly to try to calm him before looking up at Resa.

"Toss 'em to me. I'll throw them in my bag," he said.
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.





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Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:16 am
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mydwindlingsanity says...



Resa nodded silently before she ran over to his blankets and tried to roll them up as quickly as possible. After a few seconds of erratic scanning of the area for any items she missed, she took all the items and brought them over to James. As she lifted his things towards him, she shakily asked, "Are you sure you're going to be okay? That bullet's still in your leg and I don't know how long that man will be out." Her eyes reflected the moonlight and flashed a bright green as she glanced up at him in concern.




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Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:28 am
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soundofmind says...



James's face drew into a frown as he took his things and threw them into his saddlebags, securing them closed with the belted clasps. He was quiet for a moment, looking at the nearly dead embers of what was once a fire - the most apparent evidence that he had been there, apart from the slight imprint of his body in the ground and the disturbed ground from the scuffle.

He looked up at Resa as her eyes caught the moonlight. He knew she hadn't meant to sign up for this when she came innocently, offering him tea. Tea was a far cry from helping a man with a bullet wound to his horse. She'd already done enough.

He took in a deep breath before meeting her eyes directly, leaning forward in the saddle a little.

"Resa, you've already helped me more than I know how to repay. You owe me nothing, and I don't want anyone - harpy or human - to be dragged into my personal matters. Especially like this."

He paused, eyes flicking around their surroundings, but he kept from turning around and brought his gaze back to hers.

"Thank you for everything. But I will manage from here."

He offered Resa a small smile. Though he delivered it with the confidence of a man who was sure and undeterred, on the inside, he was entirely uncertain.

It wasn't his first bullet wound, but it was in the back of his leg and it would be hard to get a clear look at. A long list of things that could go wrong with his wound rolled in his head in a second, with infection and blood loss at the top of the list.
Pants are an illusion. And so is death.








"Who am I? I'm just a writer. I write things down. I walk through your dreams and invent the future."
— Richard Siken