notevenjokingfic: futurelounging: Scalamandre Chapter…




Chapter 5

Previous Chapters / AO3

Thanks to my beta queens at OOT!

Adrenaline propelled her through a thicket of trees, sharp limbs snagging on her, snapping against her face. She couldn’t afford to look back, to lose her momentum or risk stumbling, and a scream echoed inside as she imagined them closing in. Keep going. A living flame, her lungs burned and her muscles stretched tight, begging for more oxygen. That sound she heard was her own voice, a whimper punctuating each desperate footfall.

Half-sliding down a hill, Claire’s feet skidded in the wet grass. Her backpack thudded incessantly against her lower back. How long have I run? How can I run before my body collapses and they descend upon me?

Her muscles began to cramp. Her side, then her legs. She needed water and rest. A thick, heavy tree afforded shade and she fell against the trunk, stilling herself to listen for any signs of her pursuers. No sounds, save the whistle and crackle of leaves caught in the wind, and a crossbill singing above her. She slumped, her breathing finally slowing and took careful sips from her canteen, letting the cool water run slow down her burning throat.

The minutes ticked by and she began to take in her surroundings. The rough, dramatic land rose and fell around her. The last time she had any sense of direction was when she ran from the hospital in Inverness to the helicopter, her last dreadful moments before the earth fell away.

She couldn’t be too far from Inverness. South seemed the sensible direction. Frank’s watch was clasped snuggly over her wrist. She removed it and held it flat in her palm, then slowly turned until the hour hand faced the sun, only a hint of it visible through the clouds. “South should be…” She moved her other hand, pointing to the space between twelve and the hour hand. “…that way.” A nifty trick she’d picked up from her days traveling with her uncle on archaeological digs. A smile grew on her face imagining what he’d say if he saw her now.

As she strapped the watch back on her wrist, a gust of wind blew stray strands of hair over her face and she peeled them away. How strange, to suddenly be thrust into the world that she’d dreamed of for so long. To have all the elements immediately and boisterously making themselves known to her senses. Her heart sped up and vibrated in her chest.


That’s not my heart.

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