Gator was up again with the bow, aiming at the first of the three-target series. I was reaching the middle of the target area, groaning against the weight of the giant keg as my legs threatened to give way. Tracer was ahead, rolling the keg smoothly. It ran ahead of him, catching a good slope, and he hustled after it.
That’s when I saw it coming.
Feathers vibrating in the air. The smooth wood of a shaft. Bright blue of the sky…no, of an eye.
A spray of blood.
“Tracer, look out!” I shouted and sprinted as all get-out. He turned at the instant Gator aimed at the third target.
He let go before he realized someone was in the way.
Right as the arrow left the string, I reached Tracer. I was directly between the target and the arrow. The head spun slowly as it flew towards me. There was a slow, high scream, warped by my altered perception. Shadela had seen me move. Tracer started a yell. The arrow split the air, which tickled the feathers on the back, bending them in the stiff force of a gale.
All this happened in a moment.
They’d expected me to fall back dead onto Tracer, with the arrow sticking out of my forehead. Instead, they stared at me as it rotated an inch in front of my nose. It wasn’t hard to hold it there, but the gravity of the consequences if I let go definitely made me hold it tighter. And by the way, I wasn’t using my hands.
“Tracer,” I said calmly, staring down the shaft of the arrow, “You’d best move out of the way.”
Gator stood with his mouth agape, still waiting for me to fall down. Falcon didn’t move. Kael, Shadela, and Wayk didn’t move. Only three things moved. Tracer, as he moved out from behind me, then me as I twisted back and out of that way, and the arrow, which continued at its original speed past me and struck a bull’s eye.
“Nice shot, Gator. But, uh, watch for people next time, okay?”
“Uh…yeah…sorry, Tracer.” Gator found his voice again. It cracked as he spoke.
Tracer stared blankly at the target. I watched the color return slowly to his face. He looked at me in astonishment. “Thanks,” he said.
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