“How did you know to shoot at Rhys’ palms?” I asked.
“Black witches have a penchant for werewolves… it’s just a trick I learned from my pack.”
“Thank God we had you there,” I muttered.
He looked down at the deck. “It’s because of me that Rhys found you in the first place. I led him to you.”
I suspected as much already. “If he hadn’t used you, he would have used another werewolf. It’s not your fault, Micah.”
Micah didn’t argue, though he still looked guilty. Silence fell between us.
My stomach grumbled, my head faint from dehydration. I began rummaging around in the compartments. This was a lifeboat, surely they must have at least a small stock of food. Finally I found what I was looking for in a little storage compartment beneath the deck. My eyes lit up on seeing several liters of bottled water, a box full of dried crackers, some long-life milk, and packets of dried fruit. I grabbed an item of each and headed back to the front of the boat, beneath the covering where the men sat. I sat down between them on the deck, cross-legged, laying out the food in front of me. I ripped open the water and began chugging it down. I looked up at Micah. “I’m not sure if any of this is appealing to a werewolf, but there’s more in the left-hand corner of the boat, back there beneath the deck.”
Micah eyed the deck and shrugged. He got up and returned with a packet of crackers and began munching on them.
“Caleb,” I said through a mouthful of raisins. “What are you going to do for blood?”
He swallowed hard. “I’ll have to hold on. We can’t afford to stop.”
Brett’s words suddenly echoed in my ears. My eyes shot up toward the werewolf. “You’re good at fishing, right?”
“Can you catch some fish while we’re speeding along like this?”
Micah cast one look at the waves and scoffed. “I’m not that good. And besides, there doesn’t seem to be any fishing equipment on board.”
“Then you need to drink my blood, Caleb,” I said.
Now it was Caleb’s turn to scoff. “You’re insane.”
I recalled the story my parents had told me, how my mother had fed my father when he was desperate. Somehow, they had managed and it had worked out all right. My father had described how much of a struggle it was, and how much of a strain it had put on their relationship, but they had both come through it in the end. But as much as I tried to convince Caleb, he refused even one drop.
“What if you took a few gulps of mine?”
I whirled round and stared at Micah, barely believing what he’d just said. Caleb looked just as shocked as I felt.
“Werewolf blood tastes bland to vampires,” Micah continued. “You wouldn’t crave me like you would Rose… And even if you did, I’m strong enough to defend myself.”
I could see that Caleb was tempted by the offer as he continued staring at Micah.
“You’d do that?” I asked, leaning forward and gripping Micah’s forearm.
“I think I owe you that much,” the wolf said.
I looked up at Caleb with pleading eyes.
“All right,” Caleb said, after a few more seconds of eyeing the werewolf. “I’d be a fool to not accept… Thank you.”
I gathered my food and water bottle and crawled out of the way. I sat at the edge of the boat to give the two men room. Micah stood a foot away from Caleb and extended his right arm. One hand still on the wheel, Caleb gripped Micah’s arm and dug his fangs into his wrist. Micah flinched, but remained steady. Caleb groaned as he gulped deep once, twice, thrice, and then a fourth time. He lifted his fangs out of Micah and licked his lips. Micah and I both stared at him expectantly. Micah extended his arm again, offering more.
“No, it’s okay,” Caleb muttered, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand before replacing it on the wheel. “You’re right. Wolf blood tastes like crap.”
Chapter 20: Rose
We didn’t make it to Panama in that boat. Not even close. The boat ran out of fuel after a day and we had no choice but to make a stop in Aruba. It was early evening as we approached the shoreline. Micah took a turn navigating as we headed toward a port.
I kept expecting Caleb to drop dead. I found it hard to believe that seven days hadn’t passed by now, what with our initial leg of the journey, then being transported by vehicle all the way to the tip of Venezuela, and now traveling all this way by boat. Caleb hadn’t said anything yet, but I was sure that he shared my suspicion.
“Do you think something could have gone wrong with the spell?” I asked hopefully. “Maybe it’s no longer working? I mean, there’s no way we can still be within seven days.”
“You’re right. I should be dead by now.”
“Is there any way that the spell could have lifted?”
He paused, running his thumb over his jaw. He looked disturbed suddenly. “If… Annora never recovered—if she… died—I believe that’s the only way it could have lifted.”
I walked up to him and placed my hands on the railing next to his. “How could she have died?”
There was a long pause before he answered. “It’s possible she died because I left her alone in that cave.”
“What were you doing with her in the first place?”
“I…” His voice trailed off. “I was trying to fix her.”