Friday, 13 January 2012

Chapter 2

          I ran. What else could I do? I had no idea who this kid was running next to me and frankly after what I just saw, I didn't care much, but those thoughts and feelings lasted two more seconds before I heard my gramps voice whispering in my head.

                    Don't be stupid Tobi. You don't trust strangers.
                           Don't forget the things I taught you!!

With that I ran into the boy next to me, and putting all my weight behind it shoved him off the pavement and into the street, despite the fact that he probably just saved my life. I heard the cars honking, heard him yell something in my direction but I couldn't look back, I just dove past the bushes on the other side of the pavement and ran into the night forest of Marshall Woods.

When I was younger, gramps would carry me walking through these woods for hours. He'd teach me how to get lost and find my way back, how to cover my tracks and make it look like I was never there, before tonight I always thought it was just his weird way of playing hide and seek. That was before tonight. It took me less than 5 minutes to get lost in the dark and find a good hiding place in the trees, by then I could hear the heavy thumps of feet running in my direction. 

Peeking below from the high branch I lay stretched out on, I could see that it was the boy who pulled me out my house. He ran past the tree I hid in a couple times before I heard his noisy footsteps moving farther and farther away from my tree, with that I slowly and as soundlessly as possible dismounted from the large tree. As soon as my feet hit the leaf covered grass my knees gave in and I fell face first into the ground like a sack of flour.

The adrenaline was wearing off and my body was starting to feel the backlash. 

Looking up from my position on the ground I tried to lay still and listen, the sound of me falling shouldn't have been loud enough to make him backtrack and return my way, but gramps always taught me not to take chances. After a couple minutes of nothing but crickets chirping and frogs croaking, I decided it was safe enough to make a run for it.

If I can just get to the highway, from there I can take a taxi to the inner city of Troian and find somewhere safe to stay while I try to figure this all out.

I thought. Picking myself off the ground took a lot more effort than I thought it would, making my swift get away not so swift, but the forest was silent. No footsteps. Taking that as a sign that luck was on my side, I fast walked through the woods the way I came.  Hiding from the moonlight beneath the thick shadows of the forest trees, I was almost halfway to the highway when I stopped to catch my breath. I could almost hear the cars driving by. Sighing with relief I took a look backwards, nothing, gearing myself to walk the rest of the distance I turned forward ready to make my way, only to come face to face with him.

The boy, he stood right in front of me, staring down at me with worry and a little irritation in his eyes. It took me less than a second for my brain to get over the shock of his silent approach, by that time my fist had already connected with his jaw. It wasn't much of a hit with what little strength I had left, but he was caught off guard so I used my advantage. Pushing past him I ran in the direction of the street. I made three strides before he grabbed my shirt from behind pulling me backwards to the ground. I hit the ground so hard I could feel all the air rush out of my lungs.

“Oh crap, I'm so sorr-” was all he got out before I started clawing at his neck with my hands, trying to get a grip. Fighting my hands away and restraining them to my sides took little effort on his part, when he saw my legs start to kick up he pinned them down with his body. 

“October, stop!!” he screamed in my face. 

“Let me go!!” I screamed back in his. I was breathing so hard I could feel the lack of oxygen getting to my brain.

“October, my name is Daniel. I know your grandfather, he sent me to get you.”

“My gramps is dead!!” I heard my voice crack as I said the words.

“Look, I know everything is pretty messed up right now, but we need to get you someplace safe.” 

“Get off of me!!” I yelled at him. Feeling dizzy and finding it harder and harder to breathe.

He looked down at me concern in his eyes. “Hey, I'm really sorry but we need to go. Now.” He said, as he started pushing himself upright, pulling me along with him.

“No!” I yelled at him as I stood upright and took off again into the trees. This time I made four strides before he caught up with me. Grabbing me from behind he wrapped his arms around me like manacles, pulling me against his chest, pinning my hands to my sides.

“Look , I've had just about enough of you. Your grandfather asked me to look after you. I gave him my word that I'd protect you and keep you safe.” Daniel said into my ear.

“Let me go!!.” I screamed with heavy breaths willing myself not to faint.

“Fine…..” he said with an exasperated sigh as he loosed his arms and let me go.
“I get it I'm a stranger. I'm no one and you have no right to trust me” He said looking at me straight in the eyes “but your grandfather asked me to keep you safe.”

“How do you know him?” I asked, finally getting a good look at him in the moonlight as he stepped out of the shadows. He had short blonde cropped hair, so light it was almost white in the moonlight. Eyes so intensely dark and piercing, they looked like they could see straight through you to the very core. His baby face made it hard to believe that he was even strong enough to take me down the way he did. He was tall, but not at all lanky the way he filled out his dingy jeans and faded t-shirt.

Seconds ticked by with no reply, looking around trying to figure out how long it would take me to lose him. I was about to take off again when he turned around and started walking in the opposite direction of the highway, deeper into the night forest. Glancing back to see that I wasn't following him he strode back to where I was standing.

“We need to get to the safe house before dawn.” He said to me as he waited for me to walk with him.

“You didn't answer my question.” I said following him “You said you know- knew my grandfather. How?”

Daniel, barely swung his head around to answer my question, as he continued leading the way.  “When we get to the safe house we'll talk. Right now we need to just get there in one piece.” He answered.

          Saying nothing, I followed, Daniel, quietly listening to the sounds of the night's creatures. After almost an hour of walking we finally reached what I assumed was our safe house. The little wooden cottage sat right beneath a giant oak tree, so tall that it towered over everything next to it. Lush green vines carpeted the roof, spilling down over to the cottage walls. 
          “More delicate than safe looking this house of yours” I threw at Daniel as I walked over to the cottage. “What are these symbols carved into the door?” I asked turning to look at him. “What do they mean?” glancing back, to where my fingers touched the intricate lines and curves.

           “They're hex symbols of protection.” He said looking at me questionably.
 “Let's go inside, you look about ready to collapse and we should make sure you didn't get any serious burns” following his line of vision I looked down to see that most of my clothes were either singed or burned from running through the fire. 

“Maybe I should take a shower first, wash off all this smoke and ash” I said to him.

“Yeah, sure. There's a stream running behind the house, and a waterfall a couple feet upstream. You could wash up there. I'll take you” Daniel, said already making his way around the house.

“Wait. You don't have a shower here?” I asked pointing at the cottage.

“Well…no. sorry.” He said sounding not at all apologetic.

“But I can take you to the falls and you can borrow some clothes. Be right back”  He said as he strode inside the cottage. 

               Not wanting to just stand there, I decided to walk to the back of the house. There I found a quiet little stream, dark water flowing calmly by.    

   Looking up at, Daniel, as he made his way towards me I said "Thank You." Looking him in the eye, and truly meaning the words, as he offered me a wadded up bundle of clothes in his outstretched hand.

“No problem.” He softly said, looking down as I took the clothes from him “Come on.”

“You don't have to walk me there, you know.” I said to him as he started walking. “You said all you have to do is follow the stream and you'll find it.”

“Yeah, but I don't think I should be leaving you alone-” interrupting him I said “Alone, is something I could use right now. Please”

The please probably did him in. 

“Yeah, sure. But I'll be nearby in case anything should happen. You just scream or something. Kay?” Daniel, said with a seriousness to his tone. I just nodded a yes as he handed me his flashlight and headed upstream along the bank.

It didn't take long for me to find the waterfall, even at night it was hard to miss the water as it fell from a small cliff, into a shallow pool before streaming out. Turning the flashlight off I Dropped it and the bundle of clothes on a boulder at the bed of the stream, as I peeled off my clothes and shoes. It was a strain to take them off, my worn and tarnished clothes, but it only made my sigh that much sweeter as my feet touched the cool water. 

Pulling the tie from my hair I shook it out before wading neck deep into the water. Dipping my head back, I let the water soak through my hair. With my head tilted back I opened my eyes and looked up and saw the most beautiful sight. The full moon hung high beyond the forest trees, against the dark sky littered with stars. The moonlight gleaming off the light mist as the falling waters hit the rocks below.

For a moment, as I stood there looking at the night's natural beauty, I almost forgot the events that happened only hours ago that brought me to this place. That I just lost everything. That was when I felt the tears trickle down my cheek. Finally giving in now that I was alone, I covered my face with my hands and cried, sobbing so hard I felt I could barely breathe.

1 comment:

  1. great pace for a second chapter, loved the soothing imagery of the waterfall as everything slows and realisation hits :)


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