Happy Wednesday, everyone! Here is a deleted scene from the final battle between Michaela and Clark and the Watchers. IT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T ALREADY READ THE HUNTED ONE. So be careful what you read 🙂
Also, this hasn’t been professionally or extensively edited as it was ultimately cut.
Spasms of bright, piercing light flashed across the night sky. The fight still waged, but the searing lightning and killing trees had stopped. The air smelled of fire and sulfur. For all its activity in the skies above it and in the shadows within it, the woods were fairly quite. Snippets of rushed, whispered words slipped through the cracks in the trees. They sounded like venom and hate.
A broad shouldered Nephil carried Clark through the woods. Three more Nephilim, including the one named Sophia, who Clark had just saved from the research facility, protectively encircled Clark as they slipped toward the road. Sophia was closest to Clark, the back of her arm only inches from his face. The scent of honey and summer drifted from her hair and into Clark’s nose. Her pretty face stayed tense as she probed the darkness around them.
A Nephil behind Clark spoke a sharp sounding word in the Watchers’ language. The marks along Clark’s arms flared, sending sharp pin-pricks of pain through Clark. He winched, but he recognized the word. It meant father.
The Nephil carrying Clark crouched. The others turned toward the woods, waiting. The Watcher appeared around a tree beside Sophia. Clark tried to tell her to watch out, because her head was turned the other way, but he couldn’t make the sounds.
Sophia heard the Watcher though. Her head tilted, catching its scent. The Watcher surged, like a snake’s strike at her. She feinted to the left, stepping out of the Nephilim’s circle. She danced closer to the trees, dodging the Watcher’s long clawed fingers that scratched out at her. She pulled the decrepit angel farther into the shadows and away from Clark.
The Watcher spoke too quietly for Clark to hear. The ground bulged and a dirt-formed hand reached up and wrapped around Sophia’s tiny ankle. She stumbled, wrenching her ankle. The ground twisted more, and she fell completely.
The Watcher descended on her immediately. Its hot breath was on her face as she whispered into its mouth. A sharp wind buffeted into the Watcher, sending it sprawling backwards. When Sophia stood, limping, it twisted her fine hair around her face in a soft caress. She spoke again and sprung high, unnaturally high, into the air.
The Watcher stood, looking around in confusion. He turned back toward the group, eyes narrowed on Clark. Like a silent wraith from the sky, Sophia landed deftly on its back. Her tiny hand slid softly across the waxy pale skin of the Watcher’s neck. In the wake of her finger grew a bulging, gaping slice. Black tar blood poured from it the cut. The Watcher sagged. In Sophia’s hand as she walked back to the group, her hair slightly mussed, was a thin branch darkened with blood.
“Let’s hurry,” Sophia said quietly.
As they jostled along to the road, Clark flickered in and out. The pain in his chest was like a hollow beat of another heart. He felt it predominately in his head, beating a steady song.
Your mother is alive.
Your mother is dead.
Your mother is alive.
Your mother is a Nephil.
Clark opened his eyes and they were on the road. A large van idled on the road. The door slid open and Clark was delivered inside. A warm, interior light illuminated the van’s inside, which was stripped of seats. Instead two gurneys along with IV’s and other medical supplies were laid out inside.
The next time Clark opened his eyes, he was stretched out on one of the gurneys with a needle in the crook of his elbow and his favorite shirt cut open. He looked at his chest where the Watcher had stabbed him.
The skin was torn flesh and dried heaps of blood. A peek of bone emerged from the inflamed flesh. Fresh blood bubbled, slow and seeping, around the wound.
Clark gagged and lowered his head. His cheeks were flaming hot, yet his fingers trembled. Now that he had seen the wound, the pain shifted from a steady echo to a raging tiger in his chest, clawing its way out. Clark’s shoulders contracted on the gurney, ready to buck with pain. His mouth opened to scream in agony.
A hand with long fingers and slightly calloused skin settled on his arm. He knew that hand, that touch. The breath left him with one clench of his lungs. He carefully turned his head to follow the hand up the length of the arm to see the face.
“Clark,” his mother said, speaking his name with a smile. She crouched beside him and adjusted the IV in his arm. When she looked back at him, in the lighting, Clark saw the wrinkles that fanned around her eyes. Wisps of gray hair framed her face. She was still pretty in her own way as she always had been. Her blue eyes watched him, drank him in. Her hand rose from his arm and reached toward his face.
Clark cringed away. “Don’t touch me!”
Her hand fell away, but the kind look in her eyes never changed. “I’m sorry, Clark. You’re okay.”
Clark’s throat closed. His lungs protested in his ruined chest. He gasped, pleading for oxygen. The gasps grew into great, sucking heaves as the panic assaulted him. His mother was supposed to be dead. The words were like a flashing light racing around inside his head. They made his heart spasm and clench as he struggled to breathe. He thought his head might split apart and spill his brain onto the floor. He felt like he was going to die.
“Calm down, sweetie.”
Clark shook his head furiously. Pinpricks of light flashed in his vision from lack of air. His eyes watered. The hole in his chest poured a steady stream of blood now, which Iris, his very much alive mother, covered with a new, thick layer of gaze.
“Start cleaning this, Jeremiah” she commanded to the front of the van, where the Nephil who carried Clark out of the woods appeared. He began gathering supplies.
“Where’s…” Clark gasped. He choked on the word. “…Michaela?” His chest still heaved with the effort, and Iris settled an oxygen mask across his face. Sweet air flooded through Clark’s nostrils and into his gaping mouth. The concentrated oxygen expanded his chest, and the lights in his eyes went away.
“Where is she?” The question came easier this time and sounded muffled under the mask.
“Has the pain medicine kicked in yet?” Jeremiah asked Iris from where he stood beside the gurney, his hands full of medical supplies.
Iris shook her head. “He can handle it.”
Jeremiah descended on Clark with a focused, grim expression that worried Clark even through the haze of pain. Gauze soaked in alcohol replaced the blood soaked rags on his chest. The liquid hit his injuries, spreading licks of fire throughout his body. Clark screamed. His eyes rolled back in his head, and he passed out.
Later, Clark opened his eyes. He didn’t know how long he had been out, but his head was soft and fuzzy. The pain was gone. He knew the van was moving. He turned his head to the gurney beside him.
Michaela laid there. Her body was a jumble of twisted limbs. Nephilim were crouched on either side of her with their heads bent and hands flashing across her skin, leaving gauze and splints in their wakes. One of Michaela’s arms hung off the gurney. A piece of bone from her forearm poked through the skin. Her fingers were bent and poking out at all the wrong angles. Blood, gold and shinning, ran a narrow stream down her arm and dripped from the tip of her finger.
The panic from earlier welled back inside Clark’s chest. She was dead. She looked dead. His heart sped through the thick sludge the pain medicine had put him in. His hand clenched around the single sheet beneath him as he struggled to rise up. The heart monitor next to him began beeping quickly.
Iris appeared above him, her hand settling on his chest. She blocked his sight of Michaela when she kneeled beside him. He tried to talk, but his tongue wouldn’t move.
“It’s okay,” his mother said. She reached up and stroked his face.
He shook his head as the tears ran down his cheeks. He needed to see Michaela, but Iris blocked his view. The tightening of his chest began again, making the heart monitor beeped even faster.
“Clark, would you like to hear about the first time I met your father?”
Clark looked back to his mother, who smiled down at him. She looked so calm and assured. She wouldn’t stare at him like that if Michaela was dying or dead already. Surely she would tell him. The heart monitor slowed marginally. He wanted to see Michaela, yet he still found himself nodding his head.
“It was the summer of 1976,” Iris began…