IT TOOK HOURS for Paige to break through the fever and once she did, they cautiously untied her. Finding her body stiff and sore with all the unexplained manipulations the Grigori put her through, she did everything at a slower pace, frustrating Corvan even more. Paige decided to repack her backpack leaving all the tools in a neat pile, making her pack much lighter and comfortable.
Once they found her strong enough to keep up, they moved down the corridor that led them out the day before, until they came to the opening in the roof leading them up to another cavity of the cave. As the men could not jump up like they did before, to keep, what they were a secret. AJ, being the lightest volunteered to be hoisted up into the cavity and drop down a rope for the rest to climb up with. When it was Paige’s turn she grabbed hold of the rope, found she did not have enough strength to pull herself up.
“Hold on to the rope, we’ll pull you up.” Alex suggested, in no time at all she joined the men looking rather agitated.
“Sorry, I’m not myself today.” She mumbled putting her backpack back on her shoulders as Alex adjusted it for her and smiled as he walked on. She realized his smile did not reach his eyes and wondered what had changed that had made his demeanour toward her colder.
Falling into step behind Eddie bringing up the rear, with Corvan in the lead followed by Alex, Neal and AJ, she sensed they were going the wrong way, he felt the Grigori was behind them.
“Excuse me gentlemen.” Paige whispered. They ignored her. So instead of trying again she turned around and followed her gut, passing the gap that now acted as her floor, she carefully moved along the opposite direction to what the men were taking. The air was getting colder with every step. Following her instinct, she moved further away from the men until she could not hear their footsteps behind her any longer. She was alone in the dark, cold cave, making her way toward the deadliest creature on this planet. An unknown species to man, but yet she knew this creature was as old as the earth itself, it’s part of humanity, it’s part of what makes everything tick. The air around her became thicker, making it harder to breath normally. Taking a deep breath trying to fill her lungs up with fresh air, air that lacked oxygen. She could feel her body slow drown, a migraine hit her temples, she sank down onto her knees holding her throat, she could not shout out for help, they must be far away from her by now, it would be too late for them to find her. Paige felt she was losing consciousness, trying very hard to keep awake; she crawled with all the effort she could muster, trying to escape this oxygen deprived environment. This would be her final mistake; this is where she would die. As she collapsed Paige felt hands grab her under the arms and pick her up. The light from her flashlight must have gone out as it was pitch black and freezing cold, she could hear her teeth chatter, her consciousness dimmed but still gathering information. She tried to see what carried her so she dropped her head back as it felt as heavy as her limbs. Air, I need air, her head screamed. Paige looked around to see if there was a spec of something that would tell her where she was, or what was carrying her, it felt as if she was flying, yet nothing made a sound to suggest she was. With all her energy that was left in her, she lifted her head and saw its eyes, it shone back at her, an incandescent blue, they were beautiful, warm and mesmerizing. The last bit of energy she had finally left her.
Finding oxygen reintroduced into her lungs Paige gasped for air, her consciousness come back to her slowly, finding her body lying on the hard floor facing up. There was light, turning her head toward the source she found her flashlight lying next to her.
“Seriously, this is getting old.” Corvan voice came out of the darkness beyond. Paige shuffled her body to sit up to find the men looking down at her.
“Sorry but you chose to ignore me when I tried to tell you the creature was,” Paige looked around and realized she had no idea where she was. “Was, um, was, behind us,” she finally said very confused and disorientated.
“Look, you have got to realize you are putting yourself and my men in danger, you walked into a pocket of carbon dioxide, these caves are full of them, you need to understand if you don’t stick with us, you will die.” Corvan tried to explain in a very calm voice, even though he wanted to grab and shake her. To prevent him from doing so he jammed his hands in his pants pockets.
“Well that’s where you’ll find the creature, it’s using those pockets to hide in.” Paige realized.
“It’s what?” Alex stepped forward and knelt next to Paige and looked back to the others, then back to Paige. “How do you know this?” he asked.
“It found me and carried me out.” She replied.
“Ah, no the co-.” Alex wanted to say the commander saved her, but Corvan interrupted him very quickly.
“She may have a point, but still you need to get our attention before you wonder off on your own?” Corvan asked as he offered his hand to help her up. “Agree?”
“Yes. I don’t mean to get into these situations, trust me I’m normally very rash and responsible but since that creature bit and healed me, I don’t feel myself anymore.” Paige mumbled. Then looked up into the commander’s blue eyes, they were dark and seemed to be in pain, the same eyes she saw in her dream, empty. Paige looked back down at their hands; still in a grip realizing the tingle she felt came from his hand. She looked back up in surprise as he let go and walked away. Stunned by the feeling, the connection, she followed him. “Hold on commander, don’t tell me you didn’t feel that.” Paige asked anxiously.
“Feel what?” he turned to face her, the look in his eyes made her swallow back what she was about to ask or was she revealing something personal, so instead she shook her head.
“Nothing. It was nothing.” She replied and backed away, looking for her pack and put it back on. Not knowing where she was she followed the team like a lamb to its slaughter, she had the strangest sensations running up and down her spine, a feeling of dread was the strongest.
They walked, climbed and squeezed through the caves tunnels and crevasses, making their way to nowhere. Finally, she saw light reflecting off the rocks, there was natural light coming in ahead. Then the sound of running water, could it be a waterfall? Excitement hit her stomach as they made their way to this large underground pool, the roof of the cave cracked open to the sky. Rain was pouring in and hit the pool below, Stalactites dropped off the ceiling and Stalagmites raised up from the floor, some connecting making pillars others would still take millions of years to do so.
Paige’s mouth hung open with awe. It was beautiful as she stood looking at the wonder, the rain stopped and sun filtered into the cave, revealing the green algae and ferns covering most of the caves walls. The water of the pool cascaded its reflection onto the ceiling as water dropped into the pool causing a rippling effect. Paige was in a dream interrupted by a sudden yell from Eddie.
The men made their way to where Eddie knelt. Paige looked over her shoulder to watch the men huddle around some luminous jelly like substance pooling on the floor. Not going over to join them she walked closer to the pool of water and looked down at her reflection. Relieved to see herself in cargo pants and t-shirt, her eyes where sunken and dark with fatigue. The pool rippled by another drop of water and her reflection changed into the creature. It had pitch black wavy hair, red glowing eyes and luminous skin; it wasn’t the female that attacked her earlier, but a male. He now looked back at her, his red glowing eyes, changed slowly into a deep aquamarine blue, gentle and knowing. His skin still luminous like a glowing angle, his wings rippled with the waves as if he was flying underwater. Paige could not move or make a sound; her attention was focused on this beautiful creature. This wasn’t a monster at all; it had a sense of peace, grace and a strange agility in its form. The smell of sulphur filled the air around her, it tickled her nose and made her eyes water. It compelled her to join him in the pool, not giving it another thought; she slowly waded in, finding the water quite pleasant as she walked into the pools depth. Quietly it lapped her in deeper and deeper, until she was fully submerged. Paige could see the creature clearly through the water as she sank deeper into the pools depths. It came closer to her, an arm’s length away. Was this real, or is it just an image placed in her head by the female that bit her. She reached out slowly and to her surprise she touched the creature’s solid chest, he smiled. Paige smiled back. The surreal moment disappeared as the creature lifted his wings above his head and with one powerful thrust, swooped out of the water. As he left the pool the current pushed Paige back out onto the pools banks where she lay coughing out water she accidently swallowed. A little dazed she heard the men behind her shout out orders as the creature flew above them, spitting out fire. Paige felt the warmth of it as the creature dipped and aimed its deathly flame toward the men, now scattering for shelter, behind her.
Corvan shouted out for Paige to take cover as he dove behind a large bolder taking cover from the creature, just as it spat out a bolt of fire at him. A few moments ago he was taking samples of the luminous jelly, the next he noticed Paige had disappeared and just as panic set in a mass of water gushed up from the pool revealing the Grigori aiming its anger at them. The same second it took him to take cover, he noticed Paige washed up onto the bank of the pool, disorientated and soaking wet.
The Grigori now focused its attention on Eddie and AJ, who were still looking for cover large enough to protect them. With vampire speed they dodged and rolled avoiding the bolts of fire spat their way. Corvan and Neal both released their arrows into the creature, hitting one of the wings and the other in its shoulder, causing the creature to spiral down to the ground. Before it hit the earth it released another bolt of fire towards Eddie, hitting him squarely in the chest. It took another couple of seconds to incinerate him into ashes.
Paige screamed as she watched him fall to his knees and die. As the scream echoed against the cave walls, Corvan released another arrow hitting the Grigori in the chest, and sprinted over to Paige, picking her up and tossing her over his shoulder with his free arm. It happened with such speed and agility she hadn’t realised what happened, until she was dropped face down to the ground with Corvan’s body on top of her, winding her slightly.
A few more arrows made their way into the Grigori, angering him even more. Paige looked up to see what was happening around her. She found Alex and Neal shooting arrows at the creature with incredible speed, as AJ stumbled to safety.
Paige felt Corvan adjust his body over hers, trying to keep his weight off her but yet keeping her covered. Finding his cheek touching hers, he felt cold. Tears blinded her slightly as she watched the creature pull the arrows out of its body and spitting bolts of fire at Alex and Neal.
Corvan realized this would be a good time to stake the creature, but this meant he had to leave Paige vulnerable. Slowly he lifted himself off her, as he did so he whispered, “when I lift myself off you, you dash for the bolder to our right, understand?”
“Where you going?” Paige asked shocked that he was going to leave her.
“Do what I ask, please Paige” Corvan replied and kissed her gently on her cheek.
“Don’t leave me.” Paige cried out as he lifted himself off her. Without a word he scooped up his backpack and grabbed a couple of stakes and with blinding speed collided head on with the Grigori pinning the stakes into its chest, hitting its heart and paralyzing it.
As Corvan leaped off Paige, it took all her strength to get up and dive in behind a large rock that would protect her from the creature’s flame. She heard Corvan yell as he made his way toward the creature. Paige curled into a ball and held her ears closed with her hands and squeezed her eyes tightly shut as the creature gurgled with pain.
Nothing moved or made a sound.
Alex, Neal and AJ where the first to move out from behind the rocks and made their way toward the Grigori. Cautiously they lifted the creature off Corvan who was pinned beneath it, covered in blood. Without a word Alex reached out and gave Corvan a hand up and tapped him on the shoulder, Corvan nodded in acknowledgment and made his way to where Paige was lying.
Finding her curled up and unaware that the danger was over, he slowly moved over to her and took one of her hands covering her ear. She opened her eyes to find Corvan kneeling next to her covered in blood. She sobbed as she flung her arms around his neck and held on tightly.
“Hush, it’s okay,” he whispered as he held her close and nestled his face in her hair and neck, smelling the rich scent of adrenalin coming from her skin.
Paige held on a little longer then moved back a little to see his face. He was covered with blood and dirt, which concerned her. She held his face in her hands and stared into his eyes, not seeing pain she sighed with relief and moved her fingers through his hair. She smiled slightly to find him unharmed, but then remembered Eddie.
“Eddie,” she gasped and started to shake with fear and sorrow.
“I’m sorry you had to witness that.” Corvan said and wiped the tears off her cheek. “Will you be okay?” he then asked.
Paige nodded her head and swallowed as she nestled back into his chest.
“Commander, we need to secure the Grigori.” Alex advised, bringing Corvan back to reality. Pushing Paige away from him, he stood up and moved over to where the creature lay paralyzed and bleeding. He knelt down next to it and removed the arrows that were still pinned in its arms, legs and torso, but left the wooden stake wedged in its heart.
Paige was stunned by Corvan’s sudden coldness, but understood the situation needed to be addressed and so got up and followed the men. The Grigori was badly injured; its beautiful incandescent skin was now dull, grey and covered with black blood, its eyes red and sunken back into its skull, its wings torn at places and a large wooden stake stuck out of its chest.
“Is it dead?” Paige asked finding her body getting colder the closer she got to the Grigori.
“No,” Corvan replied as he was attending to the creature.
“You need to get out of those wet cloths before you catch your death.” Alex said with concern as he found her looking down at them shaking and lips turning blue. Stepping over the Grigori he asked AJ to get a fire started as he made his way to find Paige’s backpack. Searching the cave he finally found it and handed it over to her. Taking it she sat down behind a rock to undress, but found her fingers numb unable to open the clasps.
“Here let me help you,” Alex said gently and helped by taking out some zip lock plastic bags that contained fresh, dry clothing and handed them over to her. Paige thanked him as he moved back to help the commander. She shook so violently she could not make out if she was shaking due to the cold or shock, either way she needed to get warm and get her blood circulating again. Taking the bags from Alex she ripped them open with her teeth and lay them down on a rock, then tried to get the wet clothing off her body with no success. Her clothing stuck to her like glue and her joints did not want to flex the way they should to remove them. Defeated and angry with herself she put her face in her hands and cried out with frustration.
“I’ve got this.” Corvan advised the men and moved over to where Paige was sitting. “Do you need help?” he asked.
Paige looked at Corvan in defeat, her lips blue and her chin shaking as she tried to hold back her emotions. She did not answer him; she did not need to; he knew she was about to lose control. So he grabbed hold of her wet t-shirt and tore it off her. Paige was shocked by the sudden action Corvan took to strip her from her wet top, what was he going to do with her pants and underwear? She crossed her breasts with her arms and shook as he knelt in front of her. Picking up her right leg he untied her bootlaces and pulled it off followed by her sock and did the same with the left. He then undone her cargo pants button and zipper, pushed her back down on the ground and pulled her pants off. Paige yelped by the sudden and effortless motion it took him to undress her. She lay quietly in front of him with just her underwear on, shaking and skin turning blue with cold. He knew he had to work quickly to get her dressed and warm, he had no time in admiring her beauty. He turned her over and unclasped her bra and ripped her panties off, knowing she would rather show off her butt, then her bare breasts and private parts. It happened so swiftly she had no time to register what was happening. The next thing she remembered was been manhandle into clean, dry panties and cargo pants. Corvan then lifted her up to a sitting position, she still held onto her wet bra covered breasts when he handed her a camisole and t- shirt.
“Will you manage to put these on?” he asked coldly.
Before she could stop herself, Paige shook her head. Was she testing him or was it the tingling sensation she felt when he touched her? She wasn’t sure. Paige looked up at him still shaking violently, her teeth chattering she let go of her wet bra and lifted her arms to allow him to slip the dry camisole over her, he did so without taking his eyes off her face. They stared into each other’s eyes as he did the same with the t-shit, but this time he tugged the fabric down hard to her hips.
“I-I’m c-c-cold” she stuttered.
Corvan stood up and looked over the large rock, to find his men had made a fire and secured the Grigori. Lifting Paige up he started to rub her arms, he was about to embrace her to rub her back when she lifted her palms against his chest, to prevent her from sticking to the blood socked shirt he was still wearing. Realizing this he let her go, took off his holster and socked shirt, then started untying his belt and pants when he called out to Neal to through his backpack to him, which he did without any hesitation. Corvan grabbed a t-shirt out of it, but before he had a chance to put it on, Paige’s eyes began to roll back and started to sink to her knees. With his t-shirt in one hand he grabbed hold of her and lifted her into his arms.
“Move back, she needs to get warm.” Corvan ordered as he made his way to the fire. He barked out orders for the men to get her sleeping bag and backpack, he held onto her until it was put into place. He lay her down onto it and called out her name, no response. He checked her breathing, which was shallow and uneven so he tilted her head back slightly opening up her airway and started to rub her arms and legs. He asked Alex to retrieve warmer clothing from her pack and the others to find more firewood, which they did. Finding her rain jacket, and extra pair of socks he helped Corvan put them on and tucked her into the sleeping bag. Corvan then slid Paige onto his lap and sat as close to the fire as possible and started to rub her body and checking her vitals periodically.
Paige was watching the scene from above, through foggy, diluted eyes. She could see how Corvan and his men scurried around trying to make her warm and comfortable. She now lay in Corvan’s arms, still shirtless and looking rather concerned. She then looked over to the creature that lay a few metres away, paralysed and injured, her heart tightened in her chest, with sorrow and anger. She had to help him, but this was not the time to do it, she had time to make this right. Paige found herself move down a dark passage until it was pitch, she could not see where she was going.
“No stay,” Paige moaned. Corvan looked down to see color coming back to her face, lips no longer blue and her eyes started moving from side to side under her lids, indicating she was restless. He touched her face and whispered her name to wake her gently, which did not happen. She jolted awake and stared straight into Corvan’s eyes, without blinking she said;
“She was here, looking down on us.”
“Who?” Corvan asked not understanding whom she was referring to. Alex grabbed his weapon knowing exactly what she meant, as he did so he indicated to the others to do the same. Using hand signals he indicated to the others to get ready for cover. Corvan looked over to Alex then back down to Paige, who was still staring at him with dilated eyes, indicating she was possessed again.
“Paige?” he whispered hoping to get her back.
She smiled back at him, lifting her hand to his cheek, she felt much warmer. He watched her as she circled her fingers lightly around his ear as she snuggled up to his neck and took in a deep breath. Licking her lips slowly she moved up, pushing the sleeping bag down, not getting off Corvan’s lap she slowly climbed out of the covers and saddled his legs, keeping her hands on his shoulders and rested her forehead to his. She moaned seductively rubbing her nose against his. He stopped her going any further with her game by taking her head in his hands and moved her face away from his. As soon as he focused on Paige’s eyes he found they were her own, he could no longer hold his own sexual frustrations back. Grabbing her hair in a ruff ponytail in one hand and supporting her back with the other, he kissed her not so gently on her lips. Paige felt his passion and greed as she kissed him back. The hunger for him was finally released, as she tasted him. She grabbed the back of his neck and head and clamped her legs around his waist as their tongues danced; it tasted so good and so right.
Paige moved her hand down Corvan’s back, finding his skin cold under her palm, not getting enough of him, she held him tight as she broke away from his lips for air, panting, wanting she nibbled along his jaw to his ear, he did the same.
“You will be the death of me” she whispered in his ear and then moved to look back at him, he was about to say something, but she stopped him by putting her finger on his lips, then replaced it with a gentle kiss and slowly moved off his lap and stood up. She turned to find the men looking back at her, enjoying the scene a bit too much. Shaking her head she picked up her pack and sleeping bag and then moved to where her damp clothing lay. All the while the men looked back at her stunned at her coolness after the passion she displayed a few moments ago.
Finding the staring and the airy stillness unnerving she stopped at what she was doing and looked back at them. “If you want me to apologies for my behaviour you will be waiting for a very long time.” Paige stated tilting he head waiting for an argument to unfold. To her surprise they all shook their heads and returned to the fire and sat watching Corvan clumsily trying to put his shirt on. He was not himself after that kiss; he still felt her on his skin and tasted her in his mouth. He looked over at her shaking out her damp clothing and laying them out to dry a bit more before she packed them back into her backpack.
Frustrated he decided to take a dip in the pool, so instead of manipulating his t-shirt on, he flung it to one side and undressed.
She found it best to stay busy and not think of what had just transpired between her and the commander. It took a while for her heart and breathing to settle down to an easy rhythm. Then she heard a splash behind her, turning toward the sound, she found Corvan come back up to the surface and wash the dry blood off his hair and skin. She found it hard not to stare at him, but she was weak when it came to looking at his slim, hard body that was covered with the most intriguing tattoos. When their eyes met she quickly looked away and got back to being busy. She found it hard and awkward to be in the same space as him, so she moved back behind a large rock and settled down for the night.