Into the Woods

They drove in silence for the next forty or so miles.  Jeremy slept against the passenger door.  Jen stared out the window alternating between hope and panic.  She did not know these two men and here she was, driving down the road to who knows where trusting they were not going to harm her.  Maybe her mother was right and her hope, her need, to find Cullen kept her from thinking through decisions well.

“We’re almost to the last turn off.  Do you need anything before we do?  Once we turn, there’s nothing between the turn and the cabin.”

“I’m fine, thank you.”

Rhys nodded.

Feeling a sudden rush of impulsiveness, Jen broke the silence.

“The herbs.  Are they hard to find?  I mean, can just anyone find them and lace your food with them?”

Jeremy answered without opening his eyes, “No.  They’re rare.  And they need to be brewed into a potion before they can affect us.  You thinking about trying to drug us?”

“No,” Jen’s heart leapt into her throat at Jeremy’s words, “You can keep your precious potions.  I just wanted to understand how someone could gain control of people as powerful as you.”

Jeremy sat up and opened his eyes, “Power has nothing to do with anything here.  We are no different than you.  We live, we love, we lose, we die.  Just like you.”

“That’s enough, Jeremy.  She’s still learning about our world and filled with the illusions Hollywood has painted about us.”

“My apologies, ma’am.  I did not intend to offend.  The messed up stories about us bother me.”

“May I ask why?”

Jeremy closed his eyes.  Jen looked to Rhys.

“Was that not okay to ask?”

“Jeremy’s had a few run-ins with people who thought they knew about our kind from places like the internet and Hollywood.”

“Oh.”

They turned off the highway onto a dirt road that wound through trees Jen estimated to be several hundred years old.  She thought she saw glimpses of fur as the headlights flickered into the forest.  Horror movie scenes started to play through her mind, though she never liked those movies.  Now, however, she seemed to be in one.

Rhys pulled up to a shed at the end of the dirt road.  Jeremy got out and disappeared without a word.  Jen slid over, but stayed in the truck.

“Now what?  I don’t believe this shed is our final destination.”

“It isn’t.  We need to walk the last little ways.  I have your things.  Again, I swear, you will be safe here.  In this place, my word is law.”

Still feeling like something ought to be jumping out of the woods to kill and eat her, Jen followed Rhys down a path no bigger than a deer trail.

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