26. The Wildside

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Zero wakes up a few hours later to a burning campfire and two exhausted girls.

He takes one look at me before storming off into the jungle, obviously upset.

I attempt to stand up to go after him, but Becky gives a sharp jerk of her head and I collapse back into a sitting position. I hope Zero's not too upset with me.

In those few seconds after I had sent that horrible sound down the bond, Zero had completely changed. Anything even remotely close to human vanished, and he looked exactly how I would imagine a cornered animal to look. Is this Island changing him? Or has he always been this ferocious? Have I not noticed it because I have never been on the receiving line of that ferocity?

A strong smell hits me and sends me soaring out of my thoughts, and I glance at Becky, who's chowing down on meat on a stick like it's a kabob.

"Where did you get that?" I ask, hating how hoarse my voice sounds at the moment.

She pauses to chew, looking unimpressed at me. "I hunted it. Duh."

I decide to not question It and grab another one of the mystery meat kabobs. I slowly start to eat, glancing from the remaining food to the forest where Zero dissapeared into.

Becky suddenly abruptly stands up, discarding her now bare stick and glaring down at me with a hand on her hip.

"Just go to him. We don't want the meat to be wasted anyway."

I stare at her for a split second, before cracking a small smile.

"For a Lightling, you sure act like a Darkling."

"Yeah, yeah." She says waving her hand. "Just go away."

Nodding, I stand up, grabbing a few of the extra sticks with meat on them. The jungle lurks in front of me, now giving off the sense of danger in the night. Swallowing, I start forward.

"Zero?" I whisper yell. I would use the bond to communicate, but after what went down between Zero and I, I don't think he would like it.

I continue walking, the light from the fire behind me getting more and more distant.

"Zero!" I whisper yell again, surveying the jungle. A shadow appears out of the corner of my eye and before I can turn to face it I'm hit with something huge.

A shriek escapes me as I'm tackled to the ground by what seems at first to be a boulder.

My eyes squeezed shut, I struggle, grunting and squirming, but the thing won't move. Finally I fling my eyes open only to be met with familiar light brown colored hair.

"Zero?" I ask.

There's a small whimper as he buries his head into my neck.

"Hey! That tickles!" I say, attempting to reach my hands up and push his head away, but he refuses to budge. "Hey." I say more softly. "What's wrong?"

He peels his head away only to stare directly into my eyes, those sharp blades which are his eyes cutting into my soul.

"Why?" Is all he whispers. And I instantly know what he's talking about.

Why hurt him? Why send that terrible sound down the bond? Why do that when he was just trying to protect me?

"I wanted to be put down and you refused." I say gently, stroking a side of his head. "You can't do something against another person's will, even if it was for my own good I wanted to go back and protect my father, just like you wanted to protect me."

Zero stares into my eyes for a second longer, before scooping me up in his arms. Once he's stood up, he gently sets me down, although not releasing his arms from around me.

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