“Do you really think we'll find a place to stay in this forest?” Jessie looked up and down the path they were walking on. They had been following it for hours without seeing a living soul. “Everything looks the same. Trees, trees and even more trees… Oh look Senna, a tree!”
It seemed to Jessie, as if they had left the chaotic city years ago. Though in reality, it had barely been half a day. By now, the shadows of the trees stretched longer and longer while the sun moved towards the horizon.
“I guess we'll have to sleep out here”, Senna replied calmly.
“Out here? But we don't even have sleeping bags.”
Senna grinned when she heard the shock in her young companion's voice. With a chuckle she said: “Don't worry. It's warm enough. And we'll make a fire. We have everything we need.”
Jessie glanced at Senna suspiciously. “I'd prefer a nice, comfy bed.”
Senna didn't answer to that. But her eyes regarded Jessie with open amusement. A second later she suddenly grabbed Jessie's arm and pulled her with her, away from the path and into the forest.
Jessie didn't fight it. Even though she had the eerie feeling of being taken deeper and deeper into the unknown, she trusted that Senna would find shelter for the night.
“Here we go!” Senna stopped abruptly and let go of Jessie's arm. “Looks pretty comfy to me.”
Jessie's gaze followed Senna's.
They stood in between some trees and looked out onto a small clearing. Thick bushes built a fence to the outside world as if this place was simply meant to be a campsite.
“Not good?” Senna grinned sheepishly, before stepping into the open, looking around quickly and then dropping her backpack onto a fallen tree log. “It's cozy.” She glanced back to Jessie, who still stood frozen in the exact same spot, watching her. “Come on, it won't be that bad.” Senna started to push away some branches and leaves in front of the tree log with her foot until a bald, dark brown spot of soil appeared.
Jessie slowly stepped closer, her eyes taking in their soon-to-be-campsite. It seemed – comfy. Senna was right about that. Jessie smiled and when she saw the large log, she hurried over and sank down on it with a deep groan. “My feet are killing me.”
Senna had already returned to the border of the small clearing and was searching for dry wood. “They'll get used to it”, she called over to Jessie.
Jessie rolled her eyes, pulled one foot out of her boot and began rubbing the sole. A dreamy smile appeared on her face. “Dear god, this is so good!”
It didn't take Senna long before she came back to the makeshift bench, her arms loaded with wood. She dropped her findings on the ground and knelt down to start building a fire.
“So, you're capable of making fire as well, huh?” Jessie asked and switched to her other foot, first taking off her boot and then massaging the tortured flesh.
“I have many talents”, Senna replied and pulled out a lighter. Her blue eyes sparkled at Jessie.
“You're really enjoying this, aren't you?” Jessie had seen the change in Senna the moment they had passed the last suburbs out of the city. As soon as they had started their journey over open fields, making their way towards the forest, Senna had relaxed visibly -as if nature was a part of her and there would be no danger out here waiting for them.
I doubt that though … Jessie thought to herself. Who knew what kind of creatures lurked in the bushes, just waiting for them to lie down before attacking?
“I don't know”, Senna mumbled. Her face turned serious. “I'm not sure I'm enjoying it. But out here, I feel...” She shrugged her shoulders. There were no words to describe how she felt. It was as if she was connected to something deep inside of her. It had always been like that. Even though she had never really paid attention to it. But being locked up in that prison had been hard on her. And then there was the fact that until now, she had never cared about her feelings anyway. It had always been a waste of time for her to think about emotions. But Jessie seemed to stir those questions suddenly.
“Out here you're free”, Jessie suggested. She held her breath and watched Senna, who was now carefully tending the delicate flames of the new born fire.
When Senna realized that Jessie was regarding her, she stole a glance at her and smiled quickly. Then she got up and tidied the pile of wood beside the fire. “Hmm...” was her only answer.
Jessie looked at Senna thoughtfully. It was obvious this was a subject Senna didn't want to discuss. Feeling her companion's tension, Jessie quickly waved the subject off by saying: “Well, we don't have any choice anyway.” She frowned and added: “So, I guess, we can only try to make the best out of it. And since you seem to know a lot about life in the wilderness...” She didn't finish her sentence when blue eyes fell back onto her. They looked at each other for a moment in silence.
Jessie felt a tingle somewhere deep down in her stomach. Before she was able to put a finger on what it was, Senna moved and sat down beside her on the log, breaking their connected gazes.
Jessie bit her lip not to sigh.
Whatever it was about Senna, there was this feeling she stirred inside of her. This tickle in her stomach and an unusual warmth when they simply looked at each other. A wonderful peace, that Jessie needed more than anything these days. As if spending this time with Senna gave her a place to be.
They stared into the flames of their fire for long minutes, both only listening to their own thoughts. A feeling of contentment settled over them. A feeling of familiarity, of being safe and in a place where they could just be.
A deep growl abruptly broke the silence of the camp.
“Ugh...” Jessie dropped a hand onto her stomach and rolled her eyes at Senna, who had lifted an eyebrow. “Sorry.”
“Don't say sorry.” Senna chuckled and reached for her backpack. She searched through it and pulled out one of the tins they had found in the supermarket. It had no label on it. “Time to eat.”
Jessie watched as Senna got up, pulled her knife out of the sheath and then pushed it into the tin. After a few turns the tin opened. “Ravioli in tomato sauce”, Senna said and placed the tin close to the flames.
“Yummy”, Jessie replied. Yet again, it had stunned her, how quickly and easy Senna had made use of the knife. Just like back in the supermarket during the attack. She had used the weapon as if there was nothing more natural to her. As if it simply belonged in her hands. She, herself, wasn't all that familiar with knives or tools. Her parents had always encouraged her and her sister to be girly girls, not worrying about these things. And so she had concentrated on other things – like writing in her diary or reading books.
Jessie sighed and watched how the tomato sauce started to boil in the tin. I guess I should've watched dad while he built things more often, instead of disappearing into my dream world for hours on end.
“All done…” Senna pulled the tin out of the fire with two sticks.
“And now?” Jessie looked around for a way to separate two portions of food for them. “We're fresh out of cutlery I'm afraid.”
“Eat”, Senna said and nodded to the tin.
“No, you start.” Jessie's stomach commented her hesitation with another deep growl and she immediately felt herself blushing.
“Eat. I'm not that hungry.” Senna nodded at the tin with more force and then grabbed a small stick. With her knife she quickly chipped away at the end and then handed it to Jessie. “Not exactly pretty, but better than nothing.” She grinned at Jessie.
Jessie took the fork and inspected it. “You have a solution for everything, don't you?”
“Well...yes.” Senna got up with a smile. “Be careful, the tin is hot.”
Jessie had already pulled it closer to herself with a longer stick and started to dig into the ravioli. “Where are you going?” she asked with her mouth full.
“Just having a look around.” Senna pushed her knife back into its sheath and then turned away from Jessie.
“No! Wait! You can't leave me here.” Jessie felt her stomach tighten. Panic suddenly grabbed her. What, if Senna didn't return?
“Relax. I'll be back soon”, Senna said calmly.
“But...” Jessie wanted to start again. Then she saw the lifted eyebrow Senna was giving her and she quickly closed her mouth.
“I'll be back soon.” With that Senna turned away and disappeared into the darkness of the trees behind their campsite.
“Uh-uh.” Jessie felt a tingle run over her back. With wide eyes she looked around herself. By now night had settled down over her and apart from the fire's shadows and the sparkling stars above, everything around her was pitch black. “Well, at least I won't starve before the monsters come and get me”, she mumbled.
She watched the flames dance in front of her while finishing her dinner, leaving a good portion for Senna to eat once she came back.
“If she comes back...” Jessie whispered. “She will come back”, she replied in the same breath and started pushing her 'fork' into the embers.
Somewhere, deep inside of her she knew that Senna was not going to leave her here to rot. No matter how scared she was that she could be wrong. But it was a feeling. Like the one she had felt when her eyes had landed on Senna the first time. Back there, in that alley, with those horrible guys trying to force them on her. Senna had been there to save her. And she was not going to leave her now.
Jessie didn't know how long she had been sat by the fire, adding some wood now and then to keep the flames high, when she heard footsteps. She sprang to her feet the moment a figure stepped into the clearing. Quickly she lifted her home-made fork in front of her and pointed it at the intruder.
“Stop right there!” Jessie ordered.
“And what exactly are you planning to do with that?” Senna walked past her and reached for the stick. Her fingers brushed Jessie's when she pulled the wood out of her grasp.
Jessie held her breath. Her heart had started beating faster when she had seen Senna step out from behind the trees. “Nothing”, she replied quietly. She felt like an idiot. As if she would have been able to defend herself with a fork!
Senna sat back down on the log and shook her head with another low chuckle.
“You can finish that”, Jessie nodded to the tin. She watched Senna reach for it and then dig into the food. It didn't look as if her companion wanted to tell her where she had been or what she had done. And Jessie wasn't so sure if she should dare to ask. So, instead of starting a new conversation, she sat back down on the log and returned her gaze to the fire.
After long moments, Senna dropped the tin and threw the self-made fork into the fire. “We should get some sleep. I want to start early tomorrow.”
“Okay.” Jessie sat up straight.
“I know it's not the most comfortable bed but the leaves over there should do the trick for the night.” Senna nodded to the left side of the fire. Then she got up and walked to the opposite side, inspecting the ground with her foot.
“Okay.” Jessie didn't know what else to say. Though she felt that there definitely were things they needed to talk about. But what exactly they were, she didn't know. It was as if there were a million questions lurking in the back of her mind. But she just couldn't build a sentence to start the conversation. Nor did she know what it was exactly that she wanted to talk about with Senna. And she doesn't seem to be the conversational type anyway . Jessie had to restrain a giggle. She got up quickly and walked over to her side of the fire, then settled down on the ground, facing the campfire. Through the dancing flames, she watched how Senna also lay down for the night, her back facing Jessie and the flames. Jessie let her eyes travel over Senna's head, the long black hair falling softly over her shoulders. The arm folded underneath Senna's head. She's so… different to anybody I know . Jessie smiled when she remembered of how smoothly Senna moved, barely making a sound. Like a cat on the prowl, she had come back to camp and Jessie had only realized her presence when Senna had stepped on a branch. And suddenly, it came to her that Senna most likely hit that branch on purpose as not to scare her too much. This tall, dark woman, who had fought so easily against her attackers without any sign of mercy, showed compassion for her. It's crazy , Jessie thought to herself. Everything around her was a nightmare and there was no way out. But with Senna by her side, there was, at least, a light at the end of the tunnel.
Jessie closed her eyes and sighed contently.
A loud hiss tore Jessie from her sleep. She shot into a standing position, wobbling before catching herself. The fire that had kept her warm through the night was now just a pile of dark burned wood. White smoke rose to the sky where Senna had poured water into the fire pit.
“Morning.” Senna smiled and held out the water bottle to her.
Jessie blinked and tried to focus on her surroundings. She had slept deeply, not stirring once during the night. Now a clear blue sky and the already hot summer sun shone down upon her. Birds chirped somewhere in the forest, a wood pecker hammered against a tree nearby.
“Wasn't such a bad idea to stay here for the night after all, hmm?” Senna chuckled as Jessie took the bottle from her. “How is your head doing?” She pointed to the dark purple bruise on Jessie's forehead.
“Good”, Jessie mumbled between sips. “Surprisingly good.” By now her mind had awoken as well and she was slowly remembering all the things that had happened. And yes, she had to agree, it had not been bad to sleep outside. Maybe though because she had been dead on her feet anyway.
Senna simply nodded and reached for her bag to pull out an apple. “Breakfast.” She threw it to Jessie, who caught it just in time. She laughed and handed the water back to Senna, before biting into the apple. “Maybe I could even get used to this”, Jessie said after swallowing.
“Well, don't get too comfy. We should leave soon”, Senna replied and closed her backpack.
“Of course. I just have to... you know....” Jessie felt herself blush. She started dancing from one foot to the other, nodding to her stomach area.
“Those bushes over there should do the trick.” Senna shook her head. She chuckled softly when Jessie grabbed her boots, turned around quickly and ran off.
When they rejoined the path they had left the night before, another silence fell over them. And even though this stillness would have seemed uncomfortable to some, Jessie felt good. From time to time she couldn't help but smile to herself. Sure, if she had the choice, she would have most likely chosen things to be different. But only the current circumstances had allowed her to meet Senna. And that was, by far, the most exciting and wonderful thing that ever happened to her – maybe even since she had left home to go to university.
Soon the forest cleared and they stepped out onto a field. In the distance they were able to make out a farm house.
Senna stopped and kneeled down.
Jessie followed her example quickly. “What is it?”
“I don't know.” Senna's eyes lay on the farm house.
“It looks as if no one's home.” Jessie gazed around and over the fields. Maybe the farm owner was somewhere out here, working his or her land. “Or the farm is abandoned.”
“It's not”, Senna stated.
“How can you tell?” Jessie squinted her eyes, trying to see any movement on the farm. Not a soul to be seen.
“See the curtains?” Senna asked.
Jessie looked to where Senna was pointing. Then she nodded. “Yes, they're half open.”
“They weren't yesterday”, Senna indicated and then looked around, as if trying to sense anyone nearby.
“You've already been here?” Jessie asked in surprise.
“I scouted ahead yesterday night while you were having your dinner.” Senna grinned sheepishly at Jessie. Then she rose again. “We should take the road.” She nodded to the track that was leading directly towards the farm. “Maybe they have some supplies for us.”
Jessie stood back up too. So, now she knew where Senna had gone off to the night before. But why had she not told her? After all, they were in this together. Jessie frowned and followed Senna. They crossed the field and then took the path towards the farm building. It wasn't a very big house. An eerie silence lay over the whole area. As if something was hiding from them, but still watching every step they took.
“Be careful”, Senna warned when they entered the courtyard. Her eyes darted around, scanning every corner.
Jessie could feel the tension in her tall companion and goose bumps rose on her arms. She could sense herself that something was up. Instinctively she stepped closer to Senna.
Senna seemed to realize that immediately. She nodded at Jessie and smiled to calm her down. “It's alright”, she said softly.
When they reached the door of the main house, Senna rang the bell. But there came no sound. Jessie turned around, looking for any signs of people on the farm, while Senna pressed the buzzer once again. “I guess they have no electricity either”, Senna said. Impatiently she knocked on the door. “Hello? Anyone home?”
“Or they left early this morning”, Jessie suggested and took a step away from the door. If nobody was home, there was no use in staying. No one was going to give them any supplies.
“There is someone at home”, Senna said and pounded on the door again. “I saw movement in the window as we came closer.”
“You did?” Jessie was surprised. She had watched the house closely herself and had seen nothing.
“Yes.” Senna knocked on the door again and called loudly: “Hello? Open the door! I saw you in there.”
“Maybe they're hiding”, Jessie pointed out. After all, these weren't the friendliest of times and whoever was in there most likely feared for their safety.
Just as Senna wanted to reply, the door opened just a crack. An old woman looked through the gap. “There's nothing for you here”, she said. No sooner had she spoke, the door started to close again. Senna quickly lifted her hand and stopped the door from shutting.
Jessie stepped up beside Senna and smiled as friendly as possible at the woman. “Hello. My name is Jessica. This is my friend Senna. We wanted to ask if you have any supplies for us.”
Senna dropped her hand away from the door. Her eyes met Jessie's for a second and she immediately lifted a brow in doubtful question.
Jessie's lips twitched at the puzzled look on her companion's face. ‘ Yes, you're my friend' , she answered Senna's unspoken question in her mind.
“We have nothing. Go away”, the old woman answered. She glanced from Jessie to Senna and back. Then her pale eyes drifted to the floor and she started to close the door again.
“But...” Jessie wanted to object.
She was stopped by Senna, who grabbed her shoulder and pulled her around. “Let's go.”
Jessie looked up to Senna in surprise. Why did Senna give up that easily? After all, this was only an old woman and she probably had food and water somewhere in that house. All the stuff they needed so badly for their journey.
“But... we have goods in exchange for some water.” Jessie quickly dropped her bag off her shoulder. She started opening it, intending to show the woman the tins in her possession.
Senna grabbed the bag out of her hands and dug her fingers into Jessie's shirt. With a glare, she pulled her on. “Let's go”, she ordered with more force.
“No, wait...” Jessie wanted to protest, even though the door of the farm house was firmly shut.
Senna pulled even harder until Jessie gave up and let herself be guided away from the farm house.
Senna didn't stop. With long strides she walked over the courtyard, then along the path that led them back to where they had come from.
“Wait,” Jessie had to run to keep up with Senna. Her breath was starting to come heavier already. “Why are we leaving again? Maybe she'd have given us something! Water or food. I bet she has enough in there.”
Senna looked around herself while still hurrying further away from the farm. “Something's up.”
“Excuse me?” Jessie had by now caught up to Senna and was half running, half walking by her side. “What do you mean?”
“I mean”, Senna led them off the road and back into the trees of the forest. “Something is going on in that house, and whatever it is, we don't want to get blindsided by it.”
“What are you talking about?” Jessie stopped and placed her hands on her hips.
Senna had walked on a few steps but when Jessie didn't follow, she halted, turned around and looked at her. “She was scared.”
Jessie grimaced in disbelief. “She wasn't scared.”
“Yes, she was. Believe me.” Senna stepped up to Jessie.
“She wasn't scared. Maybe a bit surprised. After all we are strangers banging at her door out of nowhere.” Jessie gave Senna a meaningful glance.
“She WAS scared.” Senna looked over Jessie's shoulder towards the house in the distance. “I know fear when I see it. Believe me.”
Jessie wanted to object, but hearing Senna's words she remained silent. She studied the taller woman closely. There was a small sign of bitterness reflecting in the blue eyes. When Senna realized Jessie's eyes on her, she hid her feelings behind a mask of hard, cold stone.
“What would she be scared of?” Jessie asked tentatively. It seemed to her as if this place was yet untouched by recent events.
“I don't know. But I intend to find out.” Senna stepped past Jessie, her gaze transfixed on the farm house.
Jessie turned around too. There was this tingle in her stomach and it told her that trouble lay ahead. A lot of danger. And she wasn't sure if she was up for it.
“So, now we just stay here and watch the house?” Jessie lay flat on her stomach on the ground, shoulder to shoulder with Senna. They had moved further to the side to hide behind some bushes and still keep an eye on the farm without being seen.
”Yes. I want to know if there is any more movement on the farm before returning there.” Senna lay still, her eyes didn't leave the farm house.
“We could just go there again and talk to that woman. Maybe if we ask nicely, she'll let us in and she'll tell us what is going on”, Jessie suggested.
“No”, Senna replied sharply. Her face turned serious.
Jessie stayed silent this time. The hard word had stopped any more protest. Even though it made no sense to her that they were simply lying here, waiting for something to happen. Who knew if something was going to happen at all? And, Senna had told her that there was something wrong on the farm. What if that old lady was in danger and needed help?
And all we do is watch , Jessie thought to herself bitterly.
After a moment of silence, Senna slid a tiny bit to the side. Then she looked at Jessie. “Listen, I'm going to move further this way to get a better angle on the other side of the house. You stay here and keep watch of the front.”
Jessie lifted her brows, but didn't say anything. Instead, she simply nodded and then watched as Senna moved away from her like a cat, not making any sound at all. When she was out of sight, Jessie let out a long breath. Whatever you say, Senna , Jessie thought and concentrated on the front door of the farm house. She waited and watched – watched and waited. But nothing happened. Not a single living being was anywhere nearby. After long minutes, Jessie couldn't stand it anymore.
“Maybe this quiet watching thing is good for you, Senna”, she whispered. “But I prefer to talk to find things out.” There was no way she was going to stay here any longer and simply do nothing.
Jessie tentatively looked around for Senna. When she didn't see her companion anywhere nearby, she grinned, then grabbed her bag and got up. With self-confident strides she walked towards the road to the farm house. Even though, somewhere in the back of her mind, a small voice warned her to do this. But she ignored the soft whisper and walked on.
“Jessie?” Senna moved back to the spot she had laid in with Jessie earlier. But the place was empty.
“Jessie?” Senna looked around herself and called a bit louder. There was no answer.
“Damn it!” Senna pushed her hands onto her hips. Where was Jessie? Her own backpack was still by the tree where she had placed it earlier. Jessie's bag was gone though.
Senna turned around and let her eyes travel to the farm house. There was no time to ponder Jessie's whereabouts.
You didn't want anyone to travel with you anyway and maybe she has decided it's time for her to move on alone , a dark voice inside of her suggested.
Senna bit her lower lip and forced herself to concentrate on the farm house. In the few seconds that she hadn't paid any attention to the building, something had changed: the curtains were closed now.
Senna moved closer to the outline of the forest, her eyes fixed on the farm house. There had been a few things going on, while she had watched the other side of the house. Men had arrived on motor bikes. Three of them, dressed in black leather jackets. After they had parked their bikes at the back of the farm house, suddenly some kind of discussion had started between them and Senna had watched with interest, how the tallest of the three men had grabbed another guy by the throat. He had pushed his companion against a wall, his grip strong on his throat. Even though she had not been able to hear anything the men had fought about, she had seen the sudden fear in the man being pushed against the wall. It had only taken a few seconds, before the tall guy had let go of his companion. Then the three of them had entered the main building through the back door.
And now with the curtains closed again, Senna was sure they were still in there. And that they had been yesterday as well. Those guys had not looked like the typical farm boys. More like real troublemakers. And if that old woman was in their hands, then it was no wonder she had been so scared.
Senna stole a last glance to the spot that Jessie had been in earlier. And suddenly her heart cramped painfully.
They had travelled together for not even two full days now. But there was something about Jessie that had touched her. Something strange– maybe the green eyes, regarding her with such adoration. Or that shy smile, so full of warmth. Or had it been Jessie's innocence? Her strong belief that life was going to be better again soon, despite all the things going on around them? Or maybe the single fact, that Jessie stayed by her side, even though she knew, that she, Senna, was dangerous enough to be locked away in prison? Jessie had decided to go with her without any more questions about that subject. Just accepting that she had a dark past but that it had nothing to do with the future – with their future.
Senna took a deep breath and pulled her eyes away from the empty space behind the bushes.
It didn't matter anymore. And it's never good to let anyone get closer to you, anyway , Senna thought bitterly. It had never been good to trust anybody but herself. She had more than one proof of that in her life.
Senna fought any small sign of pain about Jessie leaving her so suddenly, back down. There was no time for that.
Senna lay down again and scanned her surroundings. By now the sun had already started to set and darkness came closer and closer. Senna waited only a short bit longer, before creeping closer to the farm house. She stayed out of sight as best as she could. On her way she used any trees or other objects blocking the view to the farm house. With the darkness enveloping her, it was fairly easy for her to get to the house without being detected.
Slowly, like a predator, she moved closer and closer.
When she had made it to the outline of the courtyard she stopped by a huge building. There were noises coming out of it. Movement. Then the snort of an animal.
Senna slid further around the barn and then slipped inside.
The smell of horses, fresh hay and leather greeted her. Senna felt a tingle in her stomach - as if a far distant memory welcomed her with open arms. She scanned the building.
The barn wasn't very big. There were four boxes and an open area with a ladder to climb to the top floor. In three of the boxes something moved. Then one of the horses stuck its head out of the box. The animal snorted as its eyes fell onto Senna. It whinnied softly, before hitting its hooves against the box's gate.
“Whoa! Shhh... not so loud. You'll alarm them!” Senna moved closer to the horse. It snorted again when Senna stopped in front of it.
“You're a real beauty.” Senna lifted a hand and held it out to the horse. Even in the darkness around her she was able to see the golden fur and white mane. The brown eyes that meet hers. A soft horse nose sniffed her fingers and then the horse opened its mouth and started muffling Senna's hand.
Senna had to bite her lips not to chuckle. The tingle in her stomach got bigger with each passing second.
“Good one...” Senna smiled and lifted her other hand to stroke over the horse's forehead. It snorted again and then started nodding its head up and down.
“As much as I'd love to stay here with you, I have to move on.” Senna padded the horse's neck and then turned away. Another soft whinny and the horse pulled back into its box.
Senna crossed the barn to where the ladder to the floor above leaned against the wall. She climbed up on it swiftly and then moved through the darkness. There was an opening on the wall, most likely the place where the hay was moved into the barn. It gave Senna a good view to the farm house.
She crouched down and then let her eyes travel over the other building. The curtains on the ground floor were closed still. Those of the first floor weren't, though.
Senna didn't need to wait for long, when suddenly the light in one of the upper rooms was turned on. It was a sleeping room with a large double bed by the one side of the wall.
Senna held her breath. There was movement. She squeezed her eyes and watched as another biker entered the room. “And another one”, Senna whispered as she saw the new guy. He wasn't one of the other three guys she had seen earlier. But he looked much stronger and older. He hauled something onto the bed and then placed his hand onto his hips. Even from her distance, Senna was able to see the dirty grin on the man's face.
Senna's eyes flew to the bed. And when she saw, what - or who- had landed face first on the soft cushions, her heart made a flip only to speed up the next second.
The woman with the blonde-reddish hair, now rolling off the bed onto the other side and trying to use the bed as a barrier between her and the man, was Jessie.
“God damn it!” Senna furrowed her brows and watched what was happening in the bedroom.
The guy laughed when Jessie said something to him. Then he stepped up to the bed and then, with unexpected speed, he shot forward and grabbed Jessie. As soon as he had a hold on her, he pulled her onto the bed. But Jessie fought against him as best as she could, hitting and kicking wildly. At some point one of her hands met his face and the guy let go of her. Jessie quickly spun away from him and jumped up. But now she was in an even worse position - the bed was not between her and her attacker anymore. And the hit to the face had made the biker even angrier. He stopped only for an instant, then rose again and walked towards Jessie, his head lowered dangerously. Jessie lifted her hands in defense and stepped backwards as far as she could until she hit the wall behind her.
Senna watched as the man closed the distance between himself and Jessie. Next he pinned her against the wall. Now with his back towards Senna, she couldn't see his face anymore. But the way Jessie squirmed against the hold he had on her, it was obvious he was trying to press his dirty mouth against hers. His hands grabbed hers and pressed them against the wall.
Senna felt her stomach tighten. Seeing Jessie like that suddenly blinded her. As if there was a thunder storm and she had looked directly into a lightning. Quickly, she reached for the knife at her waist, pulled it out and then rose. She aimed and threw the knife with as much strength she was able to bring up. The noise of breaking glass tickled Senna's neck. She watched with joy as the man tumbled backwards and then collapsed. And with that sight, a well-known calmness overtook Senna. She smiled to herself and took a deep breath. “Sorry buddy…” she whispered and grinned devilish. She had not wanted to kill the guy. But seeing Jessie's fear and not being able to do anything else, she had simply reacted.
And saved your new friend , a voice reminded her.
A scream pulled Senna out of her thoughts.
Jessie stood with her hands pressed against her mouth, her eyes transfixed to the lifeless body on the floor in front of her. The knife stuck in the man's back, right between his shoulder blades.
Senna blinked and then stepped further into the opening in the wall. She had to get over to Jessie somehow. Before the other men in the house realized what had happened. She stared over to the bedroom.
In that moment Jessie lifted her head and her gaze travelled to the broken window.
Senna smiled when she saw Jessie looking at her. For a moment both women stood still, simply gazing at each other. As if both their hearts reacted with the same kind of jump as they saw each other.
Senna swallowed hard. Her mind felt blurry, but no matter how hard she tried to focus on what to do next, she simply couldn't turn away from Jessie. It felt as if there was a strange force pushing her over to the other house - over to Jessie. As if it didn't matter what lay in between them and that there still was the danger of the other men in the house. But that it was the most important thing on earth for them to go through this together - to be together again.
Senna blinked. How long had she been stood there, staring at Jessie? Had Jessie even seen her?
“Damn...” Senna shook her head. With a deep breath she forced her suddenly fast beating heart to calm down. Then she dropped her gaze and looked at the space between the house and the barn. She counted the distance, then stepped backwards to take a run. With long, powerful strides she made a dash towards the opening in the wall and then jumped. It took her two flips before she hit into the wall of the farm house and before she was able to hold on to the water gutter. She groaned and then climbed up on it. Swiftly she brachiated over to the bedroom window.
With a low moan, she pulled herself through the broken window into the room. Jessie still stood as if frozen to the spot. Her eyes had returned to the dead man at her feet.
“Are you okay?” Senna didn't wait for a reaction from Jessie. Her own heart was racing wildly, the blood rushing through her veins. She placed a shaking hand onto Jessie's cheek and lifted her face away from the corpse. Her eyes floated over Jessie as she tried to find any wounds or bruises. Even though it was only such a small touch, her hand still started to tingle right away. Senna quickly bit her lip and forced the sensation back down. Just calm down, damn it – she's alright! the dark voice inside of her scolded.
In the next moment, Jessie laid her hand onto Senna's and smiled. “Yes, yes. I'm fine.”
“Good.” When she realized how close she suddenly was to Jessie, Senna pulled her hand back and stepped away from her companion. Her eyes dropped to the man on the floor.
“He's dead, I think.” Jessie's gaze had followed Senna's. Nervously she folded her hands in front of her as if she wasn't sure what to do with them instead.
“I'd say so”, Senna replied and reached down to pull her knife out of the body by her feet. Then she stepped over the body and moved towards the door. She leaned against the wall beside it and opened the door a tiny bit to be able to peek outside.
“He's dead.” Jessie's full attention though was focused on the corpse. It seemed as if she simply wasn't able to look away. Her face showed nothing but pure shock, her lips quivering. Jessie slowly folded her arms over her chest and then repeated again: “He's dead.” Her voice was shaking with disbelieve.
“Yes, he is.” Senna rolled her eyes and then shut the door. Silently she crossed the room and placed her left hand onto Jessie's shoulder.
The gentle touch seemed to pull Jessie back to reality. She lifted green eyes and stared at Senna. “He's de-“
“Jessie”, Senna said carefully, but with enough force to keep Jessie's attention. “Listen to me. We need to get out of here.”
Jessie blinked a few times. Then she shook her head and nodded. “Yes... yes, of course.”
“How many are down there?” Senna let go of Jessie and returned to the door, this time keeping it closed though.
“Three or four. But they won't come up here. He's...” Jessie's eyes flew back to the lifeless body on the floor. She stopped for a moment, before pulling herself back together. “He's told them not to come up here. No matter what they heard. And I think they are too scared of him to even think of disobeying.”
Jessie looked away from the dead man and over to Senna.
Senna nodded before turning her attention back to the door. She held her breath and listened for any noises from downstairs. “What about that old woman?” she asked a second later.
Jessie caught her breath. Senna's words seemed to have reminded her of the other person under the thumbs of those thugs. “She's downstairs as well. With her husband and a little girl.”
“Alright...” Senna paused, contemplating this information. So, she didn't only have to worry about Jessie and her own safety. But now there was also an old couple involved. Plus, a child. Things couldn't get any better!
After a moment, Senna walked over to Jessie. She searched her companion's eyes. “I have a plan. But I need you for it.”
Jessie simply nodded and listened to Senna's words closely.
“Boys?” Jessie halted on the first step of the stairway to the lower floor. Nervously, she clasped the balustrade with one hand. With the other one she held the towel around her body closed tightly. From anybody's point of view it looked as if she was naked underneath. Even though she had only taken off her boots and shirt. Her hair, tangled and all mixed up looked as if she had crawled out of bed only just now.
Jessie leaned a bit further over the balustrade and then spied into the living room area on the lower floor. “Hello? Boys?”
Her heart beat frenetically. This is so crazy… I should return to the bedroom , Jessie thought.
When she didn't hear any answer from downstairs, Jessie looked back to Senna, who stood in the doorway to the sleeping room. “Go on...” Senna hushed her on with the low whisper.
Jessie bit her bottom lip. Then she turned her head back to the living room area. “Helloho?” she called again, putting as much effort as possible into sounding as coarse as possible. Tentatively she took another step down.
This was ridicules. Senna's plan was crazy. But on the other hand - if she didn't believe in the idea, why was she standing on the stairway, trying to lure one of the motorbike guys to come upstairs?
Jessie was just about to call again, when two of the guys stepped into the doorway. “What is it?” one of them, the much larger and more dominant one, asked. He watched her closely. Still, he couldn't hide the surprise on his face, when he saw Jessie's well-formed naked legs and the towel that outlined every inch of her body. He licked his lips and forced himself to look further up at her - into her eyes and not on the outline of her breasts.
“Your boss wants to see one of you.” Jessie's voice broke. A cold chill ran over her body. Those guys scared her and the pure thought of their dirty hands on her body, their stinking mouths searching hers, turned her stomach.
“Says who?” The second guy asked. He furrowed his brows. It was obvious he had to fight his own arousal.
“Him.” Jessie retorted and nodded into the direction of the sleeping room.
“Then he should tell us himself”, the same guy replied, while his friend's eyes took in Jessie's body again.
“He can't....” A picture of the dead body in the sleeping room flashed Jessie's mind. Suddenly she felt the shock grab her. Panic overtook her.
The two men seemed to sense the change in her mood immediately. They pulled back their shoulders, suddenly forgetting about the way Jessie was dressed - or rather NOT dressed.
“What do you mean, bitch?” The taller guy took a step forward, ready to storm up the stairs if he found out something had happened to his boss.
Jessie blinked. Then it hit her. If they both came up, Senna's plan was going to fail, right then and there. Without thinking, Jessie pulled the towel a bit apart, and then pushed her leg out through the gap, careful to keep her skirt hidden underneath.
Both men's eyes dropped to the bait. “He's...” Jessie forced a grin onto her lips. Then she wiggled her eyebrows. “…tired. If you know what I mean.”
Both men exchanged questioning looks. Then they grinned at each other. “I knew he was going to tame this little wild cat”, the smaller one sneered and boxed his friend onto the shoulder playfully. The taller guy snorted and then reached for his crotch. “Oh, I'm sure, he's tamed her alright.” They laughed dirtily and then both turned to climb the stairs.
Jessie quickly dropped the towel in front of her leg. “He was very specific: ONE of you guys only.”
Both men stopped and looked at each other. It took them a moment to silently compare their positions in the group.
Jessie used the second to gaze back to the sleeping room. Senna smiled at her and nodded slowly. Jessie had to fight not to smile back. All fear of this plan not working out vanished instantly. Senna was with her and nothing was going to happen to her.
“I'll go. You keep an eye on our other 'guests'”, the taller guy said, grabbed his comrade's shoulder and then harshly pushed him back into the living room. The other one wanted to object, but one look of his friend and he exited the hallway.
The tall guy wiped his mouth and then turned to the stairs. “And now, for the both of us....” He climbed the stairs quickly, taking two steps at a time. When he was about an arm length from Jessie away, she turned around and away from him.
“Now, wait...you know, you and me, we could have some fun as well. I swear I'm not as rough as him. I can be very soft and gentle.”
Jessie clearly heard the arousal in the man's voice. And even without looking back she could feel his eyes following her hips, then staying on her ass. It sent a tingle through her body as she realized just what kind of power she possessed over the guy now. Slowly, her hips swinging, she walked up to the closed bedroom door. There, she turned around and leaned against it. With innocent eyes she waited for the guy to catch up to her. He stopped right in front of her, his eyes wandering over her body.
“Talk to him first. And then...” Jessie lifted a hand and fighting down the urge to somehow pull away from the guy, she reached for the zipper of his leather jacket. Then she played with it in her fingers.
The guy made a deep, gurgling sound in his throat and Jessie lifted her eyes, battering her eyelashes at him. “...when he's asleep...” Jessie let her voice drift off. The hidden promise of her words had the anticipated impact. The man flashed dirty teeth at Jessie and then reached for the doorknob.
Jessie held her breath. She could smell a good dose of his sweat, mixed with alcohol and the dirt of living on the streets without ever using anything close to a shower.
She slipped to the side to let the guy enter the room. Without looking around any further, he walked over to the bed where his boss lay on his back, his hands folded over his stomach, his eyes closed. “Boss?” the man whispered. There was no answer from the man on the bed.
“Hey, boss, you wanted me to come here?” the man whispered again. When he didn't get any reaction, he looked over his shoulders at Jessie. “What's going on?”
Jessie shrugged her shoulders. “I don't know. Maybe he was more tired than I thought... go, wake him up.”
The man furrowed his brows and tried to read Jessie's face. But she simply gave him her most innocent smile. He frowned and started to walk around the bed. Jessie held her breath.
Suddenly, out of the corner of her eyes, she saw a tall shadow fly through the room. Next, the man was grabbed and one hand landed over his mouth, one arm slipped around his throat.
The man groaned in pain and surprise. But before Senna was able to knock him out, the guy turned half around, his fist hitting Senna into her stomach hard. She tumbled backward and let go off him.
Jessie bit her lip. Quickly, she jumped to the left, putting the bed between herself and the guy and Senna. Her heart stopped as she saw Senna bent over, a deep moan coming from her.
But the taller woman didn't need more than a split second to recover. She rose again and let her fist fly towards the man. The last thing he was able to do, was yell in sheer horror for his other friends. Then he flew through the room as Senna's fist connected with his chin. He landed in a table on the other side of the room.
The noises of the breaking wood sent a chill down Jessie's spine. It had been loud and there was no question that the people downstairs had been able to hear it as well.
Jessie lifted her eyes towards Senna. For a split second they stared at each other. Then the door flew open and the third guy came rushing in, a baseball bat raised in his hands.
Jessie froze. Senna was still on the other side of the room with the bed in between them. But she, herself had no barrier between herself and the guy. She swallowed when her stomach cramped in fear.
“What's going on?” the man screamed, his eyes darting around the room, then landing on Senna, before catching sight of Jessie just opposite of him. Suddenly his face darkened. He raised the bat in her direction, ready to strike.
Jessie took a step backwards but the back of her knees hit directly into the bed. She already saw the bat flying towards her head. In the last second long fingers closed around it.
The man was hurled around by the sudden stop in his movement, finding himself face to face with Senna.
She gave him a tight grin and then lifted her leg in one swift motion. As her foot made contact with his chest, he was thrown right out of the room. He landed against the door on the other side of the hallway. As he hit the surface, he groaned, but stayed on his feet, wobbling from side to side.
“Bad idea...” Senna's evil grin widened. She dropped the bat she had taken off the guy and left the room. Then she grabbed him by his collar with both hands. Before he was able to react, she head-butted him. The next moment his body dangled lifeless in her arms.
Jessie still held her breath. She quickly grabbed her shirt and boots, threw the towel on the bed and put her clothes back on. The moment she stepped into the doorway, Senna threw the guy in her arms across the floor. He landed just beside the stairway.
“Hey! What's going on up there?” Now the fourth man came running to the stairway. When he saw Senna at the top, he pulled out a small pocketknife, opened it and took the first steps of the staircase. “Bitch...” he hissed through clenched teeth.
“Ah-a!” Senna lifted her index finger, stopping the guy in his movement with a lifted eyebrow. “Think...” she suggested in a cold voice.
The guy's eyes fell to his unconscious friend, lying by Senna's feet. “What have you done to him?” The man's voice started to shake as he looked back up to Senna.
Her grin turned into a small smile. The corner of her lips twitched. “Are you sure you want to find out?” She slowly, step by step, went downstairs.
The guy held his small knife in front of him, moving backwards the closer Senna came. “Stay back or else...” he said, pushing the knife into Senna's direction.
“Think, think, think...” Senna shook her head in slow motion, as if she felt sorry for the guy in front of her.
Jessie hurried to the stairway. The guy was at least two heads smaller than Senna and now that she moved off the last step, he had to raise his head to be able to look into her face.
“Think, before talking. Think before acting”, Senna advised and closed the distance between the guy and her. He moved backwards, hitting the wall beside the front door. An ‘uff' was the only sound that came from him. Panic filled his eyes as Senna stepped even closer to him, his small pocketknife now pushed hard against her stomach.
Senna though didn't seem to care. She laid her head to the side and looked down at the man.
He was shaking from head to toe. But before he was able to say or do anything, Senna moved. Her hands seemed to fly in lighting speed and the next second she had his knife pressed against his throat.
Jessie gasped. With wide eyes she watched the scene unfolding downstairs. Was Senna going to slit that guy's throat? Without any hesitation?
“Senna...” she called.
But the taller woman ignored her. Instead, her eyes took in every inch of the guy's face. “Live...or die... live or die... such difficult things to ponder these days.” Senna shook her head and then smiled sweetly at the man. He pressed himself harder against the wall. Blood was already dripping out of a small wound on his throat. “And they didn't even give you a proper weapon. Left you with this toy to fight in their name - to die in their name.” Senna pulled the knife a bit away from the guy's throat, then turned it to each side, inspecting the short blade. “But you know what?”
Relived by the knife being taken away from his throat, the guy relaxed a bit. He quickly shook his head no.
Senna grinned and pushed the knife back against his throat. He yelped and then moved backwards, lifting himself onto his toes to get away from the obvious pain at his throat. “Didn't your mommy ever tell you that size doesn't matter? It's a question of technique.” Senna's smile turned into a knowing grin.
Jessie felt a chill on her arms. Quickly she ran down the stairs and stopped beside Senna and the man. “Senna...” she softly said, “Let him go. He's no threat anymore.”
Senna didn't seem to realize that Jessie was standing beside her. Instead she pushed the knife harder against the man's throat, the blade cutting the skin even deeper.
“Senna!” Jessie's eyes darted to the blood dripping out the wound. The man's soft whines scared her. Without thinking, she lifted a hand and placed it onto Senna's hand. “Senna.. it's okay, He's no threat anymore. Let him go.” Jessie turned her attention back to Senna.
Then the blue eyes met hers. They stared at her for a second, the anger and hate burning like deep colored flames in them. But then suddenly Senna's gaze changed. She blinked and lifted a brow. Her lips opened a tiny bit.
Jessie felt how her stomach did a flip. There was some kind of energy, some kind of force pulling her closer to Senna. And at the same moment it seemed to pull Senna out of the burning fire she stood in – giving her the chance to calm down and to not do something she didn't really want.
Then the moment was over. Senna moved, lifting the knife holding hand and ramming it against the wall. The man screamed in surprise and fear.
The knife was stuck in the wall, just millimeters away from the man's head. But the guy had no chance to react. Senna grabbed him by his collar and hauled him over to the main door. Ripping it open, she threw him outside. He landed on his ass with a yelp.
Jessie quickly stepped up beside Senna, instinctively placing a hand onto the small of her back. She watched, as the man's scared eyes gazed up at her and Senna.
“Move. Get out of here before I change my mind.” Senna took a small step forward, threatening the man to come after him. He quickly turned around and crawled away. Then after a few meters, he scrambled to his feet and hurried off to the other side of the house. The noise of a motorbike rushing off let the air vibrate.
Jessie let go of a heavy breath. It had been close. She had seen it in Senna's eyes: there had been so much anger. As if she really had wanted to slit the guy's throat. It had scared her to see that in her friend. But then, when Senna's gaze had changed, she had immediately felt Senna's other self take over and fight down the dark side in her.
“Thank you”, Jessie whispered.
But Senna simply stepped back into the house without a word. She closed the door after Jessie had entered as well. Then she crossed the floor and went into the living room.
Jessie waited for a second. Why was Senna ignoring her like that? Sure, there were enough reasons for her friend to be angry. After all, she had snuck off to talk to the woman, even though Senna had told her not to move from her place at the rim of the woods. And it all had let to this mess. But this ignorance scared Jessie.
Her eyes fell on the knife in the wall. There had been so much force in the way Senna had pushed it into the wall. So much fury. What, if she, Jessie, was the reason for that as well? What, if, after this, Senna was going to leave her behind?
Jessie stepped up to the knife and grabbed it. With all her strength she pulled on it. It didn't move. Not even a centimeter. She pulled again, and then lifted a foot against the wall. With some more pulling and bending of the knife, it finally slipped out of the wall. Jessie grinned. Oh yes, I'll be able to defend myself. And that way, Senna doesn't need to come to my rescue anymore.
Maybe that was going to calm her companion down again. Jessie closed the knife and pushed it into the waistband of her skirt. Then she followed Senna into the living room.
There, Senna had already freed the old woman and her husband plus the little girl from the ropes the motor bikers had used to tie them down. The three of them stared from Senna to Jessie, rubbing their hurting wrists.
“Thank you so much!” The old woman said and reached for her granddaughter. “You saved our lives.”
Senna flashed a quick smile, throwing the left over pieces of rope onto the couch on the other side of the living room. Her eyes flew past Jessie, who smiled at her. But Senna didn't return the gesture. Instead, she guided her attention back to the small family. “Are you okay? Is anyone hurt?”
“No. Thanks to you, we're fine. Those men...” The old woman let herself fall onto an armchair, pulling her granddaughter onto her lap. The little girl, not much older than maybe four, looked at Senna with huge eyes. No sound came from her, even though the traces of tears were still visible on her face. She threw her arms around her grandmother's neck and then hid her face against her.
“How will we ever be able to thank you?” The old man asked as he stepped up to his wife and granddaughter. He placed a gentle arm around his wife's shoulder and squeezed her.
Jessie quickly stepped further into the room. “Well, we don't need anything. Or… do you have any goods to trade?”
Senna lifted a brow skeptically.
Jessie stopped immediately and looked over to Senna. But her companion seemed to still ignore her. A high wall had risen around Senna and even if she lifted onto her toes, Jessie wasn't able to look over it. Suddenly, Jessie's heart felt heavy. Had she destroyed the small bond that had grown since they had met?
“Of course, take what you need.” The old man waved his hands. A hint of fear crossed his face as he regarded Senna nervously.
“We haven't even introduced ourselves yet.” Jessie took another step forward. “My name is Jessica, this is my friend Senna. We came to your farm in hopes of trading a few things. We're on a journey to the south. We don't mean you any harm.” Jessie smiled softly at the little girl, whose attention was jumping in between her and Senna.
“My name is Harry. This is my wife Emma and our granddaughter Sarah”, Harry said. “We don't have much, but you can take whatever you need.”
Jessie nodded and crossed the room to where her bag lay. The goods in it were thrown all over the floor. When the motor bikers had caught her, they had searched through her stuff, cheering at each other when they had found the few tins and two bottles of water left in her bag.
“I don't have much to give to you. Maybe a few tins in exchange to some water?” Jessie lifted two tins without tags on it and held them out to Harry. “I know it's not much and we don't know what is in them, but we really need water.”
Emma gently pushed Sarah off her lap and then got up. “Why don't you two stay with us for a while? We have two guestrooms where you could rest and we have some food supplies. Plus, we live off our fields and the garden outside. It should last for a while.”
Senna quickly answered before Jessie was able to reply something. “We want to be on our way again, soon. We didn't search for a place to stay.”
“But one night...” Jessie started. She looked over to Senna.
Senna closed her mouth tightly, but her lips twitched anyway. This time she didn't look away from Jessie. Instead she held her gaze, questioning her intentions without needing any words.
Jessie helplessly shrugged her shoulders. She wanted to be on her way as well. But it had been a stressful day and the idea of a soft bed, maybe even a warm shower was too alluring.
“There are still a few hours before sunrise. Why don't you at least stay here for the night? Then you can leave whenever you want.” Emma stepped up to Jessie and smiled at her.
Jessie looked to Senna full of hope.
The blue eyes danced from Jessie to Emma and then back. After a moment, Senna nodded. “One night. But we'll have to leave early in the morning.”
“Wonderful”, Emma said and then turned to Sarah. “Darling, you want to sleep with us in the big bed tonight?” The little girl nodded strongly and then reached for her grandmother's hand.
Jessie felt the urge to step up to Senna and smile at her. But the wall was still there and so Jessie stayed where she was on the other side of the room.
“Can I come in?” Jessie pushed the door to Senna's guest room open and stuck her head in.
Senna stood on the other side of the bed, searching through her backpack. She only looked up quickly and then nodded to Jessie.
Jessie entered the room and closed the door behind her. Then she leaned against it with her hands pressed on the cold surface just above her butt. She watched Senna close the backpack and sit down with her back turned towards her.
“Are you angry with me?” Jessie asked softly. She felt a ping of guilt shoot right through her. Actually, she didn't need to ask to know that Senna was angry with her. It was more than obvious. And it hurt her to see the older woman act so repellent towards her.
Senna pulled her foot up and opened her boot without reacting to Jessie's question.
“Senna... I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...” Jessie started but was interrupted by Senna as she stood up again and turned around to her. With an emotionless voice she said: “If you want to travel with me, you have to follow my rules.”
Jessie closed her mouth. The guilt in her heart moved a bit to the side and made room for a good portion of defiance. “I didn't mean to make you angry or ‘ disobey' . I just wanted to check on Emma. It scared me to know she was in trouble. And after you had disappeared, I couldn't stand the thought of not knowing what was wrong with her. You had said yourself that something was going on.” Jessie searched Senna's eyes.
“And I told you to wait for me. To keep watch. I didn't tell you to go to the farm by yourself and play the hero.” Senna closed her mouth tightly and then sat down again. “But if it is too difficult for you to follow my rules, then maybe this makes no sense.”
Jessie caught her breath. The feeling in her gut had been right. Somewhere inside of herself she had known that Senna was going to leave her here. But it had been her own fault and now she had to pay the prize for her foolishness. “I'm sorry, Senna. I just wanted to help. I didn't mean to hurt you with this.” Jessie pushed herself off the door and turned around to open it.
But Senna's gentle voice stopped her. “You nearly got yourself killed.”
Jessie stopped, but didn't turn around. Instead she gazed over her shoulder.
Senna was still sat on the bed facing away from her.
“I know.” Jessie nodded slowly. If she had known before what her solo-attempt had led to, she wouldn't have done it. “I'm sorry. I know I crashed your plan and you had to come safe me yet again .”
Senna breathed out softly. No sound came for her. She didn't move neither simply listening to Jessie.
Jessie turned around and stepped up to the guest bed. “I'm sorry. Look, I'd understand if you won't let me go with you anymore. I just...”
Jessie's heart cramped and she stopped the words pouring out of her mouth by biting her lips. The pure thought of Senna leaving her now, turned her stomach.
“It's not about me not wanting you to come with me, Jessie.” Senna turned her head a bit and glanced over her shoulder to her companion.
Jessie wasn't able to reply anything. She waited when Senna got up, one boot in her hand and looked at her. “But I can't always fear that you might run off with a silly idea.” Senna's eyes met Jessie's. Then she added softly: “Endangering yourself. What if I had not been there at the right moment?”
Jessie was able to see a spark in Senna's eyes. For a moment she wasn't sure what it was. But then it suddenly hit her: it was worry for her. Not obvious, but hiding behind the deep, dark shadows of Senna's soul.
“Then teach me to defend myself. Teach me how to use a knife against an attacker…” Jessie said. “That way I can take care of myself and you don't need to worry about me anymore.”
„No“, Senna said quickly as a shot. She shook her head and placed her boot by the bed. “Knifes are no toys.”
“I don't want to play. I want to be able to defend myself. And who would be a better teacher than you?” Jessie winked at Senna and pulled out the knife she had hid in her skirt. “Show me.”
Senna's eyes fell on the knife. Then she lifted her gaze. “What do you want with this?”
Jessie looked to the knife in her hands. She shrugged her shoulders and grinned. “Defend myself if need be.”
Senna shook her head and came around the bed. She stepped up to Jessie and looked down at her. With gentle hands she closed her fingers around Jessie's hand. “You don't need that”, she said softly. “You have all the weapons you need in here...” Senna lifted her free hand and pressed two fingers against Jessie's temple. “...and here...” Senna pulled her fingers back and pointed them at Jessie's lips. “... and here.” With that, her eyes drifted down to Jessie's upper body. Then she lowered her hand and pointed to Jessie's chest. “That is all you need”, she added.
“But I...” Goosebumps rose on Jessie's arms when she heard Senna's low voice.
“Give me that. You don't need a knife, a bat or any other weapon. Use your brain, your skill with words and your heart.” Senna smiled warmly and then lowered her free hand. With her other hand she pulled the knife out of Jessie's fingers. “Just like you did on the stairway earlier, when luring the guy to the bedroom.”
Jessie let go of the weapon without resistance. What could she say to this? Her words had not helped her today. She had wanted to use them, but in the end, she had been in the hands of those dirty guys.
Senna seemed to feel Jessie's hesitation. She winked at her and then said, while slipping the knife into one of the pockets of her trousers. “And for the worst cases, you'll have me around.”
Jessie had to repeat the words in her brain first, before realizing what they meant. When she did, she lifted her gaze and grinned at Senna. “Does that mean I can stay with you?”
Senna placed a hand onto her shoulder. Looking deeply into Jessie's eyes, she said: “It was never my intention to leave you behind. But please promise me you'll listen to me.”
Jessie nodded slowly. She was helplessly getting lost in Senna's eyes. There it was again, this tingle in her stomach. Not like back then, when she had been a love-struck teenager, lusting after her teacher. This feeling she got from Senna was something touching her so much deeper. So much stronger. It left her standing yearning for more when Senna blinked and then turned away.
“Maybe we should go to bed now. We'll leave as early as possible tomorrow morning.” Senna's voice sounded neutral again as she stepped back to the other side of the bed.
Jessie couldn't respond anything. She swallowed and then turned away to the door. Her heart was racing with joy. Senna didn't want her to stay behind. They would travel together again. The fear of losing this new friendship after such a short time, died away immediately.
Such a short time - that's right. Two days and you act as if Senna and you are friends since your childhood , a voice inside her head scolded Jessie silently. She opened the door and then slipped into the hallway. Before closing the door behind herself to go to her own room, she looked back to Senna and smiled softly. “Goodnight, Senna.”
“Goodnight, Jessica. Sleep well.” Senna's smile was full of warmth when she looked at her.
Jessie nodded and then closed the door behind herself. It had been a rough day. But now it seemed to end better than ever. Jessie smiled to herself and then went to go to bed...
To be continued in episode 4…I'd be happy to read your comments to the story at www.facebook.com/PledgedSouls or in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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