Time for more Taylor, and more Guardians!
This is good, I'm getting back into the story now.
I wonder what she'll have for us next week?
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The Last Guardian
Jack fell asleep with his head in my lap. Nana sat across from me, telling me story after story of her travels. She'd been everywhere, to places that Jack and I could only dream of. I sat back against a smooth rock, fascinated. As I listened I realized something. In all of her stories, in all her drawings on the rocks, she had no Guardian.
Gently, I gripped the extra skin and fur on the bscl of Jack's neck. It was unthinkable. A human without a Guardian might as well be a human without a soul.
She stopped her story and looked quizzically at me.
“What happened to him? Your guardian, I mean."
She looked away from me, the firelight flickering and dancing across her face. She sniffed and wiped her nose with the back of her hand before turning back to me, her eyes wet.
"Her. Not him."
Jack stirred and yipped softly. His legs and ears twitched. I smiled at him and patted his shoulder. I could watch Jack dream forever.
"Her name was Layla."
I looked ats Nana. I saw her tears in the firelight. She blinked and continued.
"She was the most beautiful Guardian. Her fur was black like the night. Looking into her eyes was like looking into the brightest sunlight, or looking into a golden wood."
She looked at me, her head tilted, her eyes finding mine. I glanced at Jack. Nana nodded.
"Yes," she answered. "Just like him."
Just like him? Did Jack have a mother? Did he have a brother?
It never occurred to me that Guardians had families of their own before being paired with their people. It should have, but it hadn't.
Did Jack remember his family? Did he dream about them?? And, if he did, why hadn't he told me?
Don't think of this now.
I refocused on Nana's words.
"It was the wolves who took her. They attacked us out in the woods. They attacked me. And Layla - she tried to fight them off. They overpowered her and took away from me. I was about your age when it happened, and I haven't seen her since."
Jack lifted his head and yawned, sensing my distress. He
always did. I was trembling, my skin hot and my fingers gripping the fur on Jack's neck. He nuzzled my hand, groggy from sleep. I buried my face into his head and cried.
I almost missed her final words. “Protect your Guardian.”
I slept badly despite the warmth of the fire, despite having Jack at my side, despite the feeling of complete and total safety that enveloped me. My thoughts weren't on the wolf or the life we left behind. They were on Layla.
My mind flashed back to the night of the attack, the night I nearly lost Jack. It felt like forever since it happened.
I shivered. Jack made a soft noise and pushed his head under my chin. I kissed him. I rubbed his ear. My Jack.
How had Nana been able to go on? How had she managed to live her life without her beloved Guardian at her side?
I squeezed my eyes closed. Jack could've been Layla. I could've been Nana. So easily, we could've lost each other. Nana was right. For fourteen years of my life, Jack protected me. Now it was my job to protect him.