I wait, not daring to move just yet. After a few moments I hear the front door open and close. He’s gone. At least for now. I raise a shaking hand to my neck, inspecting the injury. It doesn’t feel like he cut very deep, but it’s still bleeding. I slowly stand up, keeping my hand in place. Maybe it’ll help if I keep some pressure on the wound.
I try to ignore the dizziness as best as I can while limping to the window and pull the curtains aside. The sun is so high that it must be nearly midday. I sigh sadly at the pretty sight and turn around to take a better look at the room. I’t nice and cozy. The ornamented furniture looks like it’s from another century. And there is a beautiful copper bathtub in one corner. I get a very homely vibe here.
Maybe I really should stay? I mean, where else could I go? You shall certainly have to leave. And fast! He’s an Elf. They can’t be trusted.
“Oh, shut up!” As the words leave my mouth I realise I said it out loud. Talking to my creepy inner voice is definetly not a good sign. I try to close off the part in me that gets a weird feeling every time the voice emerges. When I’m done with that I realize that the bleeding on my neck has stopped. I look at the dried blood on my hand with distaste. I’m a complete mess.
Then I remember the comment about my smell. I sniff the air around me and let’s just say that the words “you smell funny” were quite an understatement. I absolutely stink. I think I’ll take the opportunity to bathe. And after that I’ll decide what to do next.
I take a closer look at the tub and am glad (though very surprised) to discover there’s running water in this house. I’ve read about it from one of mother’s books, but I’ve never actually seen it. I turn one of the faucets and water starts coming from a pipe, straight into the bath. I explore the mechanism for a while and discover there is no hot water coming from either of the pipes.
I rummage the cupboards and drawers for a towel and also borrow some of the Elf’s clothes. If he’s friendly toward me now, he might not mind. And should he still want to kill me, he’d do it anyway, even without me taking his stuff.
As I clean myself, shivering because of the cold water, thoughts keep spinning in my head. Should I, or more importantly, can I trust my life in his hands? Because that’s exactly what staying here would mean. Was he only protecting his property when he threathened to kill me, or is he prone to using violence? I’d be a nervous wreck if I had to watch my back and fear for my life all the time. And where did he go, anyway? I wonder if he left to give me some privacy or to find a bigger weapon to kill me with.
I sigh. The day before yesterday my life was ordinary and predictable, though not entirely pleasant. I already miss it.
I still haven’t come to a conclusion by the time I’ve scrubbed myself completely clean. I briefly think about finding my aunt and asking her for help, but I discard the idea right away. She lives in the capital, Lekolla, which is about a two-week journey from my home. But I’ve only been to her place a couple of times, and I was very young then. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t find her house even if I managed to choose the right path toward the city. Plus, I’d be travelling by foot. And my feet are currently in a very sad shape.
After I get dressed in clean, but ill-fitting clothes, I sit on the bed to catch my breath and wait for the black spots to fade from the edges of my vision. I definetly need to eat something, or I’ll collapse. I raise slowly and limp to the kitchen. A thorough search proves that there isn’t even a single breadcrumb here. Don’t Elfs eat?
As I go out of the cottage, I take a knife I found from the kitchen along as a precaution. I take a couple of steps and the first thing that catches my attention is the smell of fried fish, which makes my stomach rumble. The second is a voice right behind my left shoulder.
“Should I decide to attack, your weapon would be useless. You are by no means a threat. But you may carry it along if it makes you feel better.” My heart is racing again and as he steps away from me, I force myself to calm down. He leaves my company without a single glance toward me. I look at his back as he rounds the corner and dissapears behind the house. I feel IT inside me again and mercilessly push it down. I have enough problems as it is. Dealing with my madness would currently be one too many.
I take my chances and follow the Elf, gripping the knife in my hand. It really does make me feel more confident, even if the feeling is delusional.