“ I will love you until we run out of mornings. Then I will love you in the dark. ”
Echis finds him, halfway crawled from the river and caked in mud. There is still blood oozing thick from his broken wing and the corner of his mouth. Is he dead, she wonders? She’d never actually seen a body before. Her body quakes at the thought but there is a drive to approach him anyway, in case he hasn’t crossed over just yet. Maybe she can help him somehow. So she takes a deep breath and edges a little closer to the stranger.
Suddenly he coughs, and more blood splatters down his chin. She whimpers and pauses, considers running home for her mother. Ryatah could help, but would she make it in time?
Echis forces her legs forward and down the sloping bank until she is standing over him. His wild red eyes roll open and he scowls at her. So there is still some fight in him despite the shape of his body. She thinks that must be a good thing, and so she lowers her head closer to his wagging jaw in an effort to hear him better.
“Stay away.. from me..
” he rasps, gurgling with each word. The baritone of his voice unnerves her yet she shakes her head. She has her scales and Atrox to watch over her, but this stranger is clearly vulnerable still. Perhaps Carnage’s gift could keep him whole for a while longer? Of course, it could be a curse as well, judging by the way her body continues to ache ever since she came back.
“I won’t hurt you. I just want to help,
” she whispers as she presses a trembling kiss to his brow. And then he snarls, gnashing his teeth as a fire burns anew within him. Echis stumbles back and begins to run. She doesn’t look over her shoulder to see what the gift does to him. Her pale pink eyes don’t see the bone sprout from his skin and along his spine as he howls in pain.
He is whole, but her gift carves a raw hollow into him that aches worse than lying on death’s doorstep.