Chapter 2: The Siren of the Woods

999 Words
Josie sat in a chair by the bed in one of her guest rooms, which was really her “physician's office" and surveyed the resting man who lay there. His skin was a few shades lighter than hers, but the sepia was more ashen at the moment. He wasn't lanky by any stretch of the imagination, his muscles flexing and relaxing as he shifted positions in the bed ever so slightly. His skin was still hot to the touch and beaded with sweat. The witch gathered it was from the fever caused by his wound. In her mind, that meant only one thing. “That wasn't just any bear trap." She muttered bitterly, her breath shaking ever so slightly. “They knew what they were looking for." Her mind raced as she dabbed his forehead with a cold wet towel. She knew that there were upstart cryptid hunters who liked to frequent the forest every once in a blue moon. Usually, they weren't a bother and no one was able to find her cottage unless she wanted them to. However, it didn't escape her that there was always the chance it could be some very unwelcome guests. Her attention turned back to her current patient, checking his skin once more for any additional wounds. To her relief, none reared their ugly heads. She had struggled to get him inside the night before, but somehow, she managed without doing any further damage. It also helped that his body slowly shifted back to its human as she dropped him into the bed. She made sure to clean and bandage his wound, knowing full well why his skin was blazing like he had just had a vacation in a fiery pit somewhere. 'We can discuss that when he wakes up.' She thought as she gently brushed a few stray strands of hair from his forehead. wrung the excess cold water from a hand towel and placed it back on his forehead. This time, his eyes shot open and his hand shot out to grab her wrist. His honey colored irises slowly melted away to the hue of earth after a warm rain. “Shh," Josie soothed him, keeping her voice as soft and calm as she could, “you're safe, Rakesh. It's okay." “How…how do you know my name?" He muttered, realizing how dry his throat felt. “I found your clothes not too far from here, or what's left of them." She admitted with a smirk. “You had a work ID in your pants pocket." Josie grabbed said ID from the bedside table. “Lead IT in your company. You the big boss over there or is that title left to someone else?" She asked as she helped him sit up before handing him a cold glass of water. “Absolutely not!" Rakesh answered with a small chuckle. “That honor would belong to my friend, Martin. I refuse to willingly have that kind of headache. I'm happy right where I am." Josie couldn't help but laugh at his response. She let him set down the water glass before picking up a small marble bowl with a matching little spoon. It was filled with a dark green colored liquid, which she stirred a few times before handing it to Rakesh. The man arched his brow, looking none too exciting. Josie pursed her lips, but didn't take the bowl away. “You want to feel better, don't you?" She asked. “I suppose." He answered cautiously. “I just…I don't just take random drinks from strangers, especially when it looks like you scooped it out of a swamp." “There's something you can always trust when it comes to me, among many other things. If I wanted you dead, you'd have been so way before now." Josie then donned a warm smile. “This is to just help with the fever, but it'll also make sure the rest of the silver is out of your bloodstream." “Silver?" Rakesh yelped. He immediately gathered himself, his voice returning to his normal pitch. “You mean, from the trap?" “Sad, but true." Josie nodded. “Those hunters knew what they were looking for. My guess is there was colloidal silver on the teeth of the trap and when it broke your skin, it seeped in through your open wounds." She hesitated a moment before continuing. “Usually, with my patients, I can mend them and send them on their way. In your case, however, I would hate myself if you went back home and something happened. So, if you're comfortable, I'd like to keep you under observation for another day. Totally your choice, though." Josie added the last part quicker than she would have liked, but didn't particularly care enough to correct it. “How do you know so much?" Rakesh finally grabbed the bowl and sipped slightly, relieved that the concoction was palatable, with an almost minty aftertaste. “The only other person who knows what I am is Martin and that took him a while to come to terms with." “I take it you don't remember what I did to keep your new friends off your trail last night?" Josie asked. “I mean, it's okay if you didn't. You had quite the eventful time." “Oh." Rakesh said sheepishly. “I suppose it did slip my mind. So, you're a witch, then?" “Not just any witch, my dear." Josie chuckled. “You mean they've finally stopped telling all those stories about me?" Off his silent shrug, she nodded slowly. “That's actually kind of shocking. Usually, it's the Mundanes who I get this response from." She watched him frown in deep thought for a moment or two before realization dawned on him. His hands shook as he handed the small marble bowl back to her. “Wait." He breathed. “You mean, you're–" “The Siren of the Woods." Josie finished with a wink.
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