Phoebe swallowed and tried to keep her breathing steady. It hitched every time he began tracing his fingers somewhere new. Quick jolts of nervousness struck her heart when his breath hit tissue that had never felt air before. Her hands floated in front of her, unsure of what to do or where to touch; finally she dug into the roots at her side. Her fingers curled and twisted around them. The tree supported her as she grew cold, her legs weak and wobbly against Silver’s chest.

There was a buzzing in the distance. At first she paid no mind to it, lazily willing it to be an insect, willing it to pass her by. But its approach was swift- She heard the second boat before she saw it. The next thing she heard was someone yelling.

“What are you doing?” Julia called out and Phoebe snapped her head to the side. The boat she’d stolen glinted in the moonlight. It had to be visible from halfway across the lake. Life roared back into her. Panicked, she used some of her remaining strength to kick Silver off and bolt for the nearest safe place her animal brain could locate. Her hands clawed at the bark as she dragged herself over roots and up onto the trunk of the cypress. He followed without hesitation and climbed after her like he had been born to.

Image: Silver, his maw covered in blood, climbs onto the trunk as he watches Phoebe escape. Phoebe is on her hands and knees, crawling out towards the water. She is leaving a trail of blood behind her. End description.

She crawled further and further out as Silver’s tongue flicked out of his mouth, aching to sink into the soft fur of her face. The tip of the trunk began to bow.

“Stay where you are.” Julia’s voice was tense as she pulled closer. When Phoebe looked down at her, she saw something in her hands. A gun. “Listen, the binding might be acting more like a Rise, and if that’s true then you really-

Image: Julia looks up at Phoebe and Silver in fear. She is visible from the shoulders up and her shirt is inside-out. Phoebe is at the tip of the tree, and Silver is running at her on all fours. End description.



Just as soon as it starts... well, maybe they won't be interrupted next time? If there is a next time.

Special announcement: There are two pages left of the chapter. Normally, they would get posted next wed and sat, but I happen to be travelling on both of those days. So instead of postponing the series for a week, I'll be uploading the final pages this Tuesday, 8/31.