We’re almost there! Only a day or two left and this book will be finished! I’m half tempted to just pump out the last chapter now, but I know I’ll rush and it’ll be terrible, so I’ll control myself. You’re welcome. 😛
With our pant and jacket pockets full of rocks, we leave the cave in search of Oliver. Zoe organizes the efforts to get us more rocks. The tree line’s still empty of other fomorians, and the sound has died down, but there’s no sign of Oliver, so the end of the battle doesn’t hold much relief.
Just as the path comes into view, he tumbles down it, landing face first in the sand with his sword a few feet away. Bird Face leaps from the trees after him, sword high above his head. Oliver rolls out of the way just before the blade hits the ground. Once he’s on his feet, I can tell he’s had the worst of it. Blood streaks his face, his right eye is already turning black and his bottom lip is split and swollen. He stumbles back, winches, and wraps one arm around his ribs. His gaze lands on us and his face turns to horror.
Bird Face is apparently having too much fun to notice. “Give up now and I’ll make it fast,” he cackles. “I want to get it over with as much as you do.”
I take one of the bigger stones from my pocket and wind up. “Get over this, asshole!”
He turns to the sound of my voice and gets a face full of stand stone, stumbling back and cursing. “You little brats don’t know when to quit, do you?” He takes a swipe at us, but misses.
Oliver takes advantage of the distraction and tries to get at the leather cord holding Bird Face’s amulet, but can’t quite get to it fast enough before he blocks it. Miguel and I take that as a sign to throw more ammo.
Sure enough, the rocks don’t seem to be doing any harm, but they’re doing plenty to get on Bird Face’s nerves. It’s impossible for him to get a good shot at Oliver with his head being bombarded. After the third time Oliver dodges out of the way, he shrieks in rage and charges at us,probably hoping to cut us down fast and easy.
Unfortunately for him, Oliver’s faster.
As Bird Face chases after us, he passes a boulder buried in the sand, giving Oliver the perfect launch point to grab hold of the fomorian’s shoulders. The cord snaps in his hand, choking the monster, the crumbles on the ground. Oliver lands on his feet, but Bird Face whirls and knocks him into a near-by tree. I pray to God the crack I hear is the bark and not Oliver’s back.
Zoe rushes out with more rocks. Miguel takes a few. I run for the monster with the sword the brothers gave me. It won’t do much in my unskilled hands, but it doesn’t have to. It just has to do enough.
I plunge the blade into the monster’s massive calf and he howls in agony. His meaty brushes against my hair as he swipes, but that’s all he gets. He lifts his sword. I’m too close.
There’s a slippery wet sound and the monster screams again. I get out of the way just as he lands on his knees with Oliver’s sword jutting out from his side. Bird Face tries to get back up, but Oliver kicks him onto his back and brings his foot down hard on his chest. The monster just reaches his sword. Oliver draws a knife from his belt. The fomorian tries to swing. Oliver’s blade slices across his throat.
I turn from the bloody scene and hide my face in my hands. Maybe if I stay in the dark behind my eyes, I can forget what I just saw. The way his body jerked, the guttural sounds, everything. The silence of the night helps. It gives me a chance to breath. The cold air eases my shaking and the lapping of the tiny waves distracts me.
The sound of another body hitting the ground forces me back into the world.
Oliver kneels next to Bird Face’s body, one arm wrapped around his ribs again and the other wiping blood from his face. “All right there, Miguel? Zoe?”
Miguel holds Zoe in his harms, cradling her face against his chest to keep her from seeing the gory scene. She looks past him anyway and nods to Oliver, horror still etched on her face. Miguel doesn’t look much better.
His voice sounds sweeter than the music we make together. It means he’s alive.
Despite the blood and mud, I drop to my knees and hold him tight.
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