The Stalker reached into a pocket and took out an iron chain with a collar to put on the girl. The collar was heavy enough that she stood hunched over from the weight. The links of the chain didn’t make the burden any lighter, and she groaned. The other end of the chain was attached to his belt and he took it off. The links grew red where he held this end, and he looked at the man. He had stiffened while she was being bound.
“Is that necessary?”
“This is my Prey. I’ll do as I wish with her. Your time starts now, human.”
The large man hustled over to the girl. He took her face in his hands and gently tilted it up.
“Hey, open your eyes and look at me.” His voice was gentle, although there was a slight tremor in it. From fear or rage or a combination, even he wasn’t sure. He caressed her dirty hair and smudged cheeks, feeling the cold of her body and the slowing heartbeat.
“Stay with me, dearest. You’ve still got something to do in this world. Look up. Look in my eyes.”
He heard a murmur, but it was hard to tell what it was. The tall man cocked his head and listened harder. She said something else, so softly that he couldn’t tell what that was either, and looked up slowly.
Large cornflower blue eyes looked up into his matching blue eyes. The eyes went wide in shock.
“Papa? But… I don’t understand…”
He shushed her, putting a gentle finger on her lips. He noticed that the cool skin instantly warmed at his touch.
“We don’t have much time. I wanted to tell you that I love you. I love you very much, and I would do anything for you, no matter what happens. I’ll always be with you.”
“I love you, too, Papa. But I still don’t understand.”