[identity profile] lslaw.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] writing_shadows
The monster reached the road and began to run, eating up the miles in massive, bounding strides. The girl he carried kicked and screamed and struggled futilely against his grip. Her body was warm and soft and he held it with the utmost care, although he knew that minutes earlier she could have broken both his arms with barely an effort.

Haywalk remembered what they had told him, about the last one; about the one who had changed and been locked away with others of his former kind until he went mad and killed himself. He didn't want that to happen to this one; not to Six for Gold. He had barely met her, but she had let him tag along with her and when he had been about to say something she didn't want him to say she hadn't shouted or told him he was stupid or made him feel stupid in anyway at all actually which wasn't what people usually did but she didn't and he wanted her to be safe and far away from them all but she couldn't go as fast as him when she was like him so she really couldn't now and...

A flailing hand caught his ear and he lost his train of thought.

He hoped she wouldn't mind, in the end, that he'd carried her. He hoped he hadn't damaged her when he picked her up. He was still much stronger than even he knew and he had felt, just for a moment, how weak she must be now.

He remembered the feeling when she changed. It was frightening and at the same time... It had felt right. For a moment he hadn't felt huge, or ugly, or stupid, or just wrong. And for a moment as he lost that feeling, he had hated the soft, squirming woman he now held; for a moment he had wanted to smash her soft body for fitting in so perfectly where he couldn't, to tear the humanity out of her.

He was glad he hadn't. He would have felt bad. But he had wanted to, and that felt bad as well.

The lights of the town flickered ahead of him. He slowed and stopped, then set the woman down on the ground, keeping a hold of her arms. It was, for him, a gentle grip - he could snap Promethean fingers with a handshake; he could have torn both of her arms off with a shrug - but nonetheless she would bear the faint impression of ten, huge fingers as pale marks on her upper arms for the rest of her mortal life; not that Haywalk would ever know that.

He looked into her eyes and, as the unnatural power faded from his limbs, so his scars faded from her sight. "It's alright," he said, but although he meant it sincerely she could never have believed him.

Struggling for the right words, something to take away the fear, he said: "What you know, forget. Go forward, don't look back. Live well. Be safe. Goodbye."

He let her go and she ran. He watched. Had he said the right thing? The wrong thing? Had she even understood his words?

He would never know.

Author's Note: With thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mistress_fran for permission to use her character.
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