Charlie was eleven the first time it happened since they had joined up with her uncle. Sebastian and Miles knew it was only a matter if time, their ever growing camp was one of the few thriving, even if they still struggled themselves some days.
Bass had told Miles, firmly, that the ragged bunch of tattooed men should not be welcomed into the group. Charlie had agreed wholeheartedly. There was something off about the group, she could feel it in her very bones, but her mother and father did not share that sentiment and Miles relented and welcomed the group of seven into the group.
Three days, that was all it took for those seven men with arms the size of her head to prove her and Sebastian right. The sun had just set, the sky growing darker by the second, and the first scream rose up. By morning, their previous camp of forty nine was down to eighteen, and Charlie's family was down by one.
The teen sat numbly by the blood spattered corpse of Ben, blue eyes cold and void, hands poised on her lap, stained crimson. Her jaw was bruised, along with her left eye and collar bone; her left wrist was broken, and she had a fresh gash from her belly button to the waistband of her dirty jeans. Had it not been for Bass, she would probably be where Ben laid.
Rachel had yet to shed a tear, her arms wrapped around six year old Danny who sobbed tirelessly in her arms. "C'mon, Charlie," it was Bass, lifting her carefully from the ground as if she weighed nothing, though she knew it must hurt. She had seen the blade that had been tearing through her shirt slice into the Marine's side, she knew that beneath his shirt there was an angry gash sloppily stitched together. She couldn't bring herself to refuse the hold though, her head simply falling to rest on his shoulders, hands fisted into his shirt.
"We'll set out once we bury them," her uncle's voice was softer than she had ever heard it. She couldn't meet his eyes, she couldn't look at the man who not be three days prior had allowed those monsters into their camp despite her and Bass telling him not to. The morning sun suddenly vanished, the canvas of Sebastian's tent surrounding them in a warm cocoon and he carefully set her on his cot, carefully examining her face, then her wrist, then her stomach. He stitched the gash in silence, and she supposed it probably should have hurt - it didn't. She didn't feel anything, not even as the needle pierced the sensitive tissue and pulled it back together.
"Will you teach me?" Her voice surprised them both. Small and frail, hoarse from being choked earlier in the night. Bass frowned at the girl, not understanding. "To fight," she elaborated, her gaze flickering up briefly so that blue connected with blue before she looked away again. Sebastian hesitated, fingers ghosting over the previously smooth skin of her belly as he stitched.
"Yes." It was the only thing he could say, his mind taking him back to sundown, the scream that came from her tent. His hands balled into fists against the scratchy bedsheets, jaw clenching with barely concealed anger. He remember her squirming and thrashing, her eyes wide with panic and filled with tears. He remembered the fear fading to relief when she saw him. He remembered seeing red at the sight of her bruised face and blood soaked stomach. Yes, Bass would teach her. He would teach her everything he knew so that he would never have to find her like that again. He would teach her so that the next time someone came at her, it would be her knife in the assailant's skull, not his.
Charlie nodded just once and the two fell into silence. When Miles came to fetch them, the dead buried - her father, buried - and the survivors ready to leave, Charlie limped past him, ignoring the visible flinch from her uncle and the consoling hand Bass placed on the man's shoulder. She wasn't ready to forgive. Not yet.
one more for you guys! the first couple chapters until we reach present day will be kinda slow and boring and short, im sorry! but please keep reading, it'll pick up soon! Just two more chapters until it picks up!