Tom raced through the woods toward Saal and his daughter. Vrag moved as a silent wing man on his right side. Anguish burned away all thought and breath until he saw her sitting safe by the creek with Saal standing watch. He wanted nothing more than to hold her close but he approached with caution. Their eyes met. She looked brave but he saw the control slipping. Her flush cheeks paled. The aftermath of her ordeal crossed her young face in a raw display of anger, terror, guilt and finally horror.
Tom knelt before her, his face riddled with his own guilt. "I'm sorry," he said but it wasn't enough.
"He killed people," she whispered.
"You saw them?" he asked.
"Parts," she said, a look of disbelief crossed her face before she reigned it in. "The cop sent him after me, Dad. The one from the restaurant. I heard them talking on the phone."
Tom's vision saw red. He checked Jill over for injury or bruises but it didn't matter.
"I'll have their blood for this," he snarled.
"No, don't go there. The police will find him soon enough. I want to go." With those final words, Jill's composure ended. Her whole body shook in sobs that made Tom's heart ache. He pulled her into his arms and murmured soft words to ease her crying. She buried her face in his shoulder as he carried her back through the woods. Shadows elongated and stars began to dot the sky as they came within sight of the cabin.
A breeze blew a rare scent through the trees. Tom froze. He glanced at Saal and Vrag, their expressions looked worried.
Tom handed Jill over to Vrag. She screamed and pleaded but he wouldn't risk losing her again.
"Take her home and keep her safe. Saal, come with me," he said.
Saal quickened his pace to keep up with Tom as he moved with deadly silence though the trees tracking the scent. He stopped short just as Tom crouched behind a downed tree.
"Who's scent is it?" Saal asked.