Haven Page 27


Chapter Six


BODO AND I WALKED TO the showers in silence. My brainpower was split between worrying about being stalked and attacked by Coli and what my boyfriend was thinking - if he even was my boyfriend anymore.


When we got to the shower, Bodo untied my bandage. I walked to the water hoses without taking my clothes off.


“Aren’t you going to go naked?” Bodo asked. He stood at the entrance watching me.


“No. I’m too tired and sore.”


“I can help you.”


I looked over at him. “I can’t believe you’re making a move on me in the middle of all this.” I shook my head in disbelief. I didn’t know whether to be mad or happy.


“I’m not!” he said, sounding serious. “It is just a bad idea to be wet all night when you are going to be weak from an injury. But you go ahead and do it. It’s not a problem for me.” He turned around, facing out and no longer looking at me.


Tears pricked my eyes. I so didn’t need rejection in my life right now.


I squeezed the clips that kept the water inside the plastic bladders that were extended above my head. Gritting my teeth at the pain of water flowing over my wound, I bent over and took the soap bottle, pouring some of its contents over my arm. I scrubbed until I nearly wept with the pain. Once the soap was all rinsed away, I let the clips go and walked back over to Bodo. Watery blood dripped down my arm and off my hand.


Bodo’s back was rigid. He was staring out into the evening-lit field that reached the edge of the shower area.


“Can you put the bandage back on for me?”


He turned around and grabbed a piece of his t-shirt at the bottom, ripping another strip off. “Let me clean it first.” He walked over to the hose and soap, scrubbing the material and rinsing it well. When he was done, he came back and wrapped it around my arm, putting the knot once again over the wound. The mosquitos were out in full force, buzzing around the bandage and my face.


“Let’s move. I have to get away from these bugs.”


“Do you know where da looms are?” he asked, following behind me.


“Yes.” I was mad at him, so I said nothing else. We were in a life and death situation, and he was doing the bare minimum to help me out.


So he was a friend now, and not a boyfriend. He was making it very clear. I tried to ignore the painful squeezing in my chest, but it was impossible. I’d always considered Bodo a caring, loving person. Peter had convinced me that I was a special person to Bodo, someone he didn’t want to live without. But every signal he was sending said otherwise. I didn’t like being this confused or in the dark about my own love life. Things should be simpler than this. If you love someone, just love them. If you don’t, then don’t. But don’t say one thing and do another. Why did guys have to be such jerks?


“Do you want to talk?” asked Bodo, as we moved along the trail to the pool area and loom hut.


“Yes and no,” I admitted, speaking softly. Coli was still out there somewhere, but she’d been so out of it and loud earlier, I allowed myself a measure of confidence that I’d hear her before I saw her next time.


“We haff a problem.”


“Yes. Obviously.”


“Part of it iss my fault.”


“Ya think?” If this was going to be how I was the bad guy and had caused all this bullcrap, I was going to blow my stack. I had so little patience right now.


“Yes. I wass not very forgivingk when you told me about Paci.”


“No, you weren’t. Nor were you very understanding. I think you’ve been a real jerk about the whole thing if you want to know.” It was easier to say these things to him walking in front, not being able to see his face. I felt more free to speak my mind.


“But Paci is da wrong guy. If it wass Rob or Fohi, den I would say okay. But not Paci.”


“Why not Paci? What’s the big deal about him?”


Bodo didn’t answer for a while. When he finally did, he sounded as confused as I felt. “I don’t know. Because he luffs you, I think. He iss different.”


My face started burning. “He doesn’t love me. He might like me, but there’s no way he can love me. He doesn’t even know me.”


“A person does not needt to know all of your secrets to luff you Bryn. You can trust me on dis.”


I stopped walking and turned partway. “It’s all about the secrets with you, isn’t it, Bodo?”


His body immediately took on a defensive posture. He was practically screaming guilt at me. “No. Dare are no secrets. I know your secret now.”


“But you have secrets,” I said, getting mad again. “You’re keeping secrets from me, I know you are.”


“Why do you say dat?” He searched my face.


“I know you. I know when you’re acting guilty. This is just like when you kept Nina from me, when you acted all mad at me for stupid reasons. Something big is going on with you, and you’re not telling me.”


“Dat’s crazy. I’m just Bodo! Mr. Bryn!” He reached out to put his hand on my shoulder, but I shied away. He was trying to smile and laugh me off, but it was so hollow it made goosebumps come up on my arms.


“You’re not Mr. Bryn. Not anymore.” My ears burned. I couldn’t believe I’d actually said it out loud. I’d been thinking it, and my heart had been feeling it, but now it was out there - a big hulking gorilla standing on the path between us.


His face fell. “You are breaking up with me? Like Coli said about Kowi?”


Tears wanted to come, but I wouldn’t let them. “I can’t be with someone I can’t trust. You either need to come clean and tell me what’s going on with you, or that’s it.”


He threw his arms up in frustration. “Dat’s it, what? We are enemies?”


“No, don’t be stupid. Of course we’re not enemies. I could never be your enemy.” This whole thing was so damn confusing I didn’t even know what I was talking about now. I was running on instinct alone. “I care about you very much. You’re a part of my family. But you keep a piece of yourself away from me. Away from everyone. And until you give me all of you, you’ll just be … like a brother.”


Bodo scoffed at that. “Ha. Yeah, okay. A brudder. A brudder who you take a shower with and get to the naked with. I don’t think so.”


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I’d bruised his ego, that much was clear. And I understood it was a fragile thing and that we had work to do before it was pitch black outside, so I decided to call a truce.


I put my hand on his arm. “You’re right. Let’s just get all this stuff done and we’ll figure this out later, when we’re back at Haven, okay?”


He nodded once, not saying anything.


Five really awkward minutes later we were walking down the dock that led to the loom hut. The water in the pool was still but for a small current moving through the middle. No fires were lit in the hut nor were any lamps glowing. We walked as silently as we could, and I for one was praying that Coli wasn’t lying in wait.


***


The looms were all still there. I got really excited for about two seconds until I noticed a figure lying underneath the contraption farthest from the doorway.


My heart sank. Another dead friend, either Miccosukee or Creek from the looks of her clothing.


“Rraaaawwrrr!”


An unholy screech filled the air, causing me to scream in fright. I leaped and turned sideways, ready to punch, eye gouge or whatever else I needed to do to protect myself.


A small, soft body hit my leg and scampered off into the darkness.


I put my hand over my racing heart and laughed little. “Fucking cats.”


“Dat scared da doodles out of me,” said Bodo, laughing a little too.


The body on the floor sat up. “Who’s there? Winky?”


I rushed over, so relieved the dead body was talking I nearly wept with joy. “Mandy! Oh my god, what are you doing here?!”


“Bryn? Holy crap! Never mind me … what are you doing here?” She jumped up and gave me a huge hug. I stayed that way with her for a few precious seconds, reveling in her warmth and aliveness.


We separated and I gave her a quick once over. “You injured anywhere?”


“No. Luckily. Those a-holes didn’t get this far, but I was ready for them.” She gestured to a rifle on the floor next to her bedding.


“And they’re not going to, either. We got rid of all the ones that were in the ceremonial hut.”


“With Coli’s help,” added Bodo.


Mandy got suddenly very sober. “You saw her? Coli?”


“Yeah. She’s not good.”


Mandy sighed heavily. “Tell me about it. She’s totally off her meds. I don’t know what to do about her.”


“Meds? What meds?” I wasn’t sure if she was being serious or just using an expression.


“She was taking something for her moods or whatever. She had a huge stockpile of the medication, but either it ran out or she trashed it or used it up … I don’t know.”


“Well, that explains a lot. Did you know that Kowi’s gone?”


“Gone? As in back at the ranch?”


I shook my head, tears coming again as I realized I was about to give her the news that her chief and friend was no longer with us. “Gone as in killed. Gunshot, by those canners. Same with Jason. They’re both dead.”


Her hand flew to her mouth. “Oh, my Jesus.” She shook her head in silence. When she spoke again her voice was rough. “You got all of them, I hope?”


“As many as we saw. Except for the ones that Coli gutted.”


Mandy turned to cry in private, her shoulders quaking with grief. “When is it going to end?” she moaned.


I couldn’t answer her because it would be a lie to suggest it would. We’d forever be fighting off the evil in the world. It was a seriously depressing thought.


“Why are you here?” asked Bodo. “Why aren’t you at da ranch?”


“I had to protect the looms,” said Mandy when she was able to collect herself enough to speak. “We were going to transport them once we had the ATVs ready.”


“ATVs? What’s dat?” asked Bodo.


“All terrain vehicles. Rob and Trip went to get them. Kowi was going to go too, but then Coli disappeared, and he didn’t want to leave her behind.”


“Oh man,” I said. “She’s seriously freaking out about him. She said they broke up.”


Mandy shook her head, wiping her eyes and nose with her sleeve. “Who knows with her. She doesn’t live in the same reality that we do.”


“She tried to kill me,” I said. “I know she’s your friend, but I can’t trust her. I have to get out of here before she finds me again.”


Mandy nodded. “I’m not surprised. She never did connect with you very well, did she?”


“Uh, no. Not at all.” It felt like the understatement of the year, but there was no reason to beat a dead horse. “So are you coming with us to the ranch? I’d appreciate you guiding us there.”


“I guess since you got rid of those loom destroyers, I can go.” She gave me a watery smile. “You want to leave now or in the morning?”


“Now,” said Bodo before I could. “Canners are going to go to Haven. We haff to be ready.”


I knew he was right, but hearing it out loud like that was worse than just thinking it. My anxiety level ratcheted up significantly.


“Let’s go, then,” said Mandy. “It’s going to take us thirty minutes to get there.”


We followed her out of the hut and walked silently through the trees. My ears were tuned in for the sounds of a girl off her meds and my heart was aching for the friends I had lost and those who were in danger right now.

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