Part 5: Daybreak

A/N:Greetings. For those of you not keeping up with the babble, “Stalk the Stalk” is actually part 4, making this part 5. It’s short, but hopefully enjoyable as well.

Caution opened her eyes. Everything seemed as quiet and calm as it had before she fell, except that her cheek was burning where the road had taken some of the skin off it. One of her attackers was level with her, his eyes wide and his open mouth displaying an array of sharp, yellow teeth. The blackish substance, now a sticky powder on Caution’s fingers, was also around the base of his neck, which, Caution realized with growing trepidation, was no longer attached to the rest of him.

Caution scrambled to her feet. Sound returned to her world in the form of a high-pitched ringing which made it hard to see and caused her teeth to hurt. Around her feet were gathered the remains of her attackers, disembodied in the least spiritual meaning of the word.

Mr. Creep was standing several meters away, calmly observing the carnage. Caution stumbled towards him, trying hard not to slip in the tarry, black blood.

She did her best not to fall on Creep when she reached him. “You, talk, now.”

“Their intention was to kill you,” Creep said in an alarmingly calm monotone.

“I gathered as much,” Caution said, her voice still shaking. “Why?”

“Because you are destined to be queen of—”

“Not that again.” Caution shook her head and put her hand up as if to shield herself from the idea. “No. They just tried to kill me, Creep. I need real answers, not some bullshit about some far off magical kingdom. They tried to kill me. I mean, they wanted me dead in a serious way, and you—you saved me. Where did you learn to fight like that?” She looked back at the pile of bodies. “Where does anyone learn to fight like that?”

“The imperial guard at—”

“Damn it Creep. Forget it. I want to go home. Will you please just walk me home?”

Mr. Creep nodded silently, turned toward the mound of cloaks and blood and began walking.

“What are you doing?” Caution shrieked. “Creep, come back. Creep.”

Mr. Creep continued walking, stepping carefully over what looked like someone’s arm. Then he bent at the waist. He stood up slowly, a black shape clutched in his hand, and began walking back to Caution.

Caution tried not to cry, but failed. “Creep, please. Please, can we just go. Please.”

Mr. Creep held the black object out to Caution. After a moment, she realized what it was. She took it and examined it.

“I’m going to need a new purse.”

Creep took hold of Caution’s arm and pointed her in the direction of her house. Caution could have called for a car, she knew, but somehow walking seemed safer. At least, walking with Creep seemed safer.

“There will be more,” Creep said, as the sun made its first appearance over the horizon. It was the first time Caution could remember him speaking unprompted.

“How many?”

“As many as are required.”

Caution didn’t say anything for several minutes. Finally, she managed a weak, “Why?”

“Because you are to be queen—”

“I don’t mean that. You said you would watch me.” She pushed tears away from her eyes with the heel of her hand. “But when they were coming at me… why didn’t you come? You show up everywhere, but right then, the one time I needed you…” Caution had been slowing down. Eventually she stopped completely.

“I apologize. I was… distracted. It will not happen again.”

“Distracted?” Caution asked without turning to look at him.

“Yes,” Creep said simply. He put a hand on each of Caution’s shoulders. “Come, we should keep walking.”

Caution leaned her head against Creep’s shoulder, suddenly to tired even to question him.

After about ten minutes, however, Caution stood up straight and turned around. “We have to go back, Creep.”

“I assure you, we do not.”

“No, we do. We do. Because the cops are going to find those guys; they’re going to know we’re involved. We have to go back and clean up. They’re going to know it was me.”

“It was not you.”

“Yeah, like you’ve ever left a trace of yourself anywhere in your life. They’ll find my hair or a bit of skin, or God only knows what else, and they’ll pin me.”

Creep grabbed Caution’s arm around the elbow. “I do not wish to hurt you.”

“What?”

“I am sworn to protect you. If this means rendering you unconscious—”

“You wouldn’t.”

“Yes I would.”

“But—”

“You will not be suspected, Caution. I promise you.”

“Creep—”

“I promise,” he repeated. “The sun is nearly up; it is best that you be as far as possible from that area when the bodies are discovered.”

Caution relented. What Creep was saying made sense, and he had promised. Besides, Creep was trustworthy… or at least, Caution was desperate enough to trust him.

The sun was completely up bu the time they made it to the front of Caution’s property. She looked up at the twelve-foot metal gate. “They’ll be able to get in.”

“Yes.”

“And they’ll kill me.”

“Yes.”

Caution put her head in her hands. “I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I’m even thinking of asking you this.” She looked up at Mr. Creep. “Can you just… can you just stay here?”

“I will not be sufficient.”

“Are you kidding? Of course you will. You took all those other guys out without even breaking a sweat. And I’m sorry about what I said before; I know it’s not fair for me to expect you to come out of nowhere and rescue me… and you did save me, and I shouldn’t have been such a bitch to you about not watching, especially after telling you I didn’t want you around so many times and—”

Creep put his hand up. “Your apology is not necessary. The fault was mine.”

Caution sighed. “So you’ll stay?”

“No.”

“But you said—”

“I will not be sufficient, Caution.”

“But… then… what are we going to do?”

“You must come with me now. No questions.”

“Where?”

“M’leo.”

“I… okay. How do we get there?”

Creep lifted the back part of his robe, making him look something like Batman. He advanced on Caution and wrapped his arms around her.

“Creep,” Caution shouted through the folds of the thick, dark fabric, “What the hell are you doing?”

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