Fern scuttled backwards, her bum scraping the floor and her hands doing most of the work. Panic welled inside her like a spring and everything was yelling at her to run. Her breathing and heartbeat echoed in her ears and the smell of blood soaked into everything. He was coming towards her with slow steps, his hands out patting the air in a calming motion. She felt a scream bubble into her throat, but he was upon her well before she could let it out.
He scooped her off the floor, like a baby animal and pulled her around the corner of the warehouse. Fern’s back hit cold salt worn bricks and she felt his hand press against her mouth. Her ears twitched at the sound of voices and she glanced to the side but couldn’t see anything. Her eyes shot back to the electric blue ones before her and the well sculpted face.
‘I’m not going to harm you, Fern,’ Dacian whispered, ‘what you did just then was very foolish. Where’s your maker?’
He dropped his hand from her mouth and Fern flexed her jaw before answering, ‘how do you know my name?’
Dacian shrugged, ‘I read your mind.’
‘Brook said we couldn’t…’
‘Where is he?’ Dacian cut in.
Fern shook her head and looked down. She noticed Dacian had the same clothes on as she had last since him in; a blue t-shirt advertising the promenade’s crazy golf course , torn stone washed faded jeans and scruffy grey trainers.
‘Did he abandon you?’ Dacian asked with a loud lick of his lips.
Fern shot him a look and punched him with both fists in the chest. It felt like she’d just punched a wall as her knuckles began stinging and her hands cramped up. She heard Dacian’s soft chucking and studied his face.
‘I’ll take that as a no and it doesn’t look like you’re running away,’ Dacian put in.
‘How do you know?’ Fern spit then stopped herself from speaking more questions.
‘You don’t have anything with you nor do you look emotional unstable,’ Dacian answered casually.
He moved and lent on the wall next to her. Fern noticed him hook his fingers into the empty belt loops of his jeans. He was taller than Brook and older too. A small smile lit up her face and a few seconds she forgot about everything else. She angled her body closer to his and discreetly tried to clean her face.
‘You still haven’t answered my question,’ Dacian said after a few moments.
‘We got separated,’ Fern responded, ‘crossing some farmland and fences.’
‘I’m kinda lost to be honest. The smell of blood drew me here,’ she added.
Fern heard him take a deep breath and saw a flash of mystification followed by anger cross his face. Fern turned away and rubbed at her cheeks. She heard the sound of the sea, boats and bells, but no longer voices. She listened harder and caught a few snatches of distant words and car engine.
‘We should go,’ Dacian said and pushed himself off the wall.
‘Will you take me home?’ Fern asked in small voice.
‘Sure….Whereabouts is it?’
‘It’s the large green block of apartments next to this village,’ she whispered.
‘Oh, that place. Fine,’ he answered and began walking away.
‘First though, can you take me to the beach?’ she called after him.
Fern rushed up to him and grabbed his arm in both her hands, ‘thanks.’
A little laugh escaped from Dacian and as Fern removed her hands, he took hold of one and led her out of the yard. Fern walked beside him, feeling happier then she had in days. As they left the dock behind them, fresh air brought cleaner scents and the hint of rain. Fern filled her lungs a good number of times and felt better for it. She felt Dacian swinging her hand slightly, but dared not to look up at him. Instead, she focused on the changing scene around them, as they moved from the docks and harbours and towards cliff faces and grassland.
‘Is it much further?’ Fern asked after they had been walking for about twenty minutes.
‘Not much,’ Dacian answered, ‘you can see the sea wall over there.’
Fern looked ahead and could make out the wall in the distance. They walked over and once there, she looked down into the night time waters and watched the waves lapping against the rocks.
‘The tide’s in,’ Dacian pointed out, ‘sorry.’
‘It’s not your fault,’ Fern sighed and relaxed against the wall.
‘Did you live by the ocean?’
‘No. I’ve lived in a city all my life. Manchester if you must know,’ she added.
‘But you enjoy water,’ Dacian seemed to say to himself.
Fern looked shyly up at him, ‘yes, I do.’
Dacian put his arms across the top of the wall and stooped down to her height. Fern watched his back arching unable to help herself.
‘I’ve lived here all my life,’ he said, ‘well, in different areas. But I really like it here.’
Fern nodded, ‘I’m starting to like it here too.’
‘And what about your maker? Brook was it?’
‘I don’t know, I guess he does…don’t you know him?’
Dacian frowned a little and looked out over the sea, ‘No.’
Fern hugged herself and went silent. Though the chill off the sea and the cool breeze weren’t really affecting her, the sudden icy feeling coming off Dacian was. She looked around, wondering where Brook was. She couldn’t see very much, just a couple of houses further down and some streetlights.
‘I should go home now,’ Fern whispered.
‘Of course. I’ll take you there,’ Dacian murmured.