I opened my mouth to respond, but another noise from the end of the hall stopped me. Antheus held his finger up to his lips and stealthily got to his feet. I lay back down on the floor and closed my eyes. I thought about everything that had happened since I arrived in Anderosea and everything that Antheus had told me so far, but the two stories didn’t connect.
Some parts seemed to match up, but what had happened between the times that he had left Perdeen and now to make the land devoid of people and sound. Even the trees and bushes were silent and they felt like stone. Something was missing and I wanted to know what.
He called those monsters his brothers, but were they really? And what was the significance of the nighttime hours? Where was Antheus between the times that I had met him in the tower and tonight when he finally appeared to tell his story? I was no closer to finding these answers than before.
Cautiously I opened my eyes to try and gauge the time. From the dim light in the hall I knew that morning was approaching. I wondered if Antheus would stick around for the day or if I would be left to myself again to wander the halls searching for answers. I breathed a discontented sigh and then froze.
Maybe it was a noise or even just a harsh guttural breath, but instantly I knew someone or something was standing behind me on the steps. I closed my eyes tightly and waited. The seconds ticked by and I didn’t dare breathe. At first I thought it might be Tuug or the other brother, but there was something different, more malevolent.
I silently let the air out of my lungs and replaced it simulating sleep the best I could, but I was certain it knew I was awake. Then I realized it was standing next to me in the hall. I didn’t even dare glance through my lashes, but curiosity was burning in my mind. I parted my eyes just enough to see through my lashes and my gaze was met with a pair of small leathery feet with horns on the heels and what looked like scales on the top.
Mehean, was my first thought, but then I wasn’t sure. I could sense the burning hatred in this thing, but I wasn’t sure it was aimed completely at me. The strangest thing I felt was an overwhelming feeling of fear and anguish. I didn’t move, but suddenly found the ugliest face staring into mine and before I could react I realized there was a pair of piercing blue eyes staring into mine.
Involuntarily I opened my eyes and sat up looking at the creature with surprise. “Sareanne?” I whispered.
The creature stared at me longingly and I knew I was right. She reached out ever so carefully toward the protective circle and as her hand passed through I could hear the sound of burning and the gasp of pain from a guttural throat.
I cringed back as the stubby, scaly hand reached toward me, but as it passed the invisible barrier it became as human a hand as mine. We both looked as she stared at the white skin and fine boned fingers for several minutes when a noise brought Sareanne’s head up with a snap. She glanced down the hall and then silently moved down the stairs.
I lay back down quickly, closed my eyes, and tried to maintain even control of my thoughts. I focused on the questions I’d had earlier and the story Antheus had shared. I wondered if he could read my thoughts all the time or just when I was near. I was frightened and now I didn’t know who I could trust.