Chapter 19 : Wanderer.
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“Watch out,” Dex said suddenly, his voice sounding louder in the quiet. He reached out, grabbing Teddy by the arm. He pointed to the place where he was about to step. A large Devil’s Snare grew there, waiting to entrap the first person careless enough to cross its path.
Teddy thanked Dex quietly, and the two friends skirted around its berth to avoid getting trapped. Teddy inhaled deeply forcing himself to focus on the forest and any signs of Victoire. He had forgotten for a moment that the island was a nature preserve, and no doubt specimens more dangerous than the Devil’s Snare lurked within its depths.
Teddy caught wind of the crunch of rocks and leaf litter off in the distance, and he paused, listening carefully. “Victoire!” He called.
There was no response, and when silence reigned over them once more, they began to move forward again.
“Ted,” Dex said after a while, squinting slightly from a bright ray of sunlight that burst through a break in the trees, “I’m sorry…”
Teddy inhaled sharply and spun on his heel, his wand trained on his friend. Dex backed up hands out in front of his chest in a gesture of surrender. “Sorry for what?” He growled in warning.
“Whoa!” Dexter cried, “just calm down…I just meant to say that I’m sorry that Victoire is missing, and about what happened to the Potter kids—I just…”—Dexter hesitated as though the words he wanted to say were foreign to him—”I know it must be hard on you, and I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”
“You’re offering condolences?” Teddy asked in shock, lowering his wand.
Dexter turned his face away to hide his embarrassment. “Well yeah, Teddy, you’re my friend. You’re my only friend…now that Brian is…gone.”
The two men stared at each other for a long moment.
“Thank you…I guess,” Teddy said. He clapped a bracing hand on Dex’s shoulder, and the two friends continued to move forward.
For the most part, they walked on in silence, scrambling over rocks and pushing their way through low hanging branches. Every once and a while the air would be punctuated by the sound of them calling Victoire’s name.
“You know…” Dex said, starting the conversation again. There was a slight pant in his voice as he wiped away some sweat from his brow. The sun was higher now that they had been walking for awhile, and it was getting warm.
“What?” Teddy asked, as he carefully avoided a bush that had some dangerous looking spines on it.
“I always thought you and Victoire made a great couple,” Dex said.
Teddy shot his friend a surprised look over his shoulder, prompting Dexter to add, “Not that I’m supporting marriage now or anything. I mean, look at all the problems it causes.” He waved his arms dramatically to indicate that he was speaking of all the horrors that had occurred over the last two days.
Teddy laughed darkly at the little joke. “That,” he said, glumly, “I’d have to agree with.”
Silence fell between them for a moment, before Teddy spoke again. “I wonder then, why you always complained about Victoire?” He mused.
Dex shrugged even though Teddy couldn’t see him as he walked ahead. “Someone had to, right?”
“—Teddy! What’s that?” Dexter cried suddenly, reaching out and grabbing the other man by the shoulder.
Teddy turned abruptly, and saw Dex pointing off into a dimly lit part of the forest. Teddy squinted, and saw a little light bobbing off in the distance. He knew what is was. Teddy knew he knew what it was, his tired mind just couldn’t compute fast enough as he stared.
“Teddy! What if it’s a sign, something the killer left for us to follow,” Dex said moving forward.
“No, wait! I don’t think it is, Dex. Dex! Stop!”
Dexter was moving very quickly through the woods towards the light, and Teddy chased after him. The noise their footsteps were creating made an awful racket. It sent birds into the air, and Teddy was afraid it would attract the attention of at least one unwanted visitor.
“Wait!” Teddy called again, “I think its a—” His words were cut off short as he tripped over a root, and fell flat onto his face with a grunt. “Ow,” Teddy groaned.
“Ted, are you all right?” Dexter called, spinning on his heel. But, it was too late, and he lost his footing on the slippery ground, stumbled backwards, and sank waist deep into the bog. “Shit.”
Teddy craned his neck around to look at Dex, echoing his friends choice of words for the situation as he tried to pull himself to his feet. Unfortunately, he couldn’t, and looking down, he saw the fibrous tendrils of a plant slowly wrapping themselves around his legs. “Dammit,” he swore, as the Devil’s Snare continued to wind around him.
Teddy closed his eyes for a moment as he lay on the ground, willing himself to be calm. A part of him kicked and screamed internally, demanding to know if things could possibly get any worse. He studiously suppressed that view, because he knew full well that things could always get worse. Teddy tightened his grip on his wand, and did his best to aim the flames that he shot at it. The plant shrunk away, and Teddy scrambled to his feet to help Dex from the bog.
“Here,” Teddy said, conjuring a wooden plank with his wand, “hold onto this while I think about the best spell to get you out of there.”
“Hurry,” Dex grumbled, as he was now up to his chest. “Then we have to find my wand.”
Teddy stared at him inquisitively.
“I dropped it when I slipped,” he elaborated.
Just as Teddy raised his wand, hoping a simple levitation spell would release Dex from the bog, a cry was heard in the distance. Both men froze on the spot, and they heard the cry again.
“What was that?” Teddy whispered.
“It sounds human,” Dex said as he continued to listen. The cry sounded again. “I think its saying ‘help’.”
Teddy’s eyes widened. “VICTOIRE!” He shouted, and then waited. “VIC!”
He paused to listen.
“Teddy!” He heard his name from a distance, “I’m here! Teddy! Help me!”
“I’ve got to go,” he exclaimed, turning back to Dex and quickly casting the levitation charm. Slowly, Dex was lifted out of the bog, and set haphazardly onto the ground.
“It could be a trap,” he argued.
“It could be Victoire,” Teddy stated, starting to run off in the direction of the cries.
“Wait!” Dexter shouted, stopping Teddy, “I need to find my wand!”
Teddy looked hesitant. “Go ahead,” Dex said, catching the look on his friend’s face. “I’ll find it and catch up with you.”
“Just go!” Dexter cried, “so we can get the fuck off this island!”
Teddy took off in the direction of the crying, leaving Dexter behind him.
“Vic!” He called as he crashed through the underbrush and thick branches. “Where are you, baby?”
“Teddy! Over here! I’m over here!”
As he got closer, Teddy heard the fear in her voice, and could tell that she was sobbing. He saw that trees got thinner and the air smelled salty as he adjusted his direction based on Victoire’s crying. Finally, he saw a break in the trees, and the ocean out in the distant. He picked up his pace until he stumbled out onto a grassy plateau facing the ocean.
“Teddy,” he heard Victoire feebly call his name. Slowly, he raised his head and looked up.
And there she was, floating within a transparent sphere thirty feet above the ocean.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed it!!!! Please, review--I'm dying to hear your predictions.
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