Author: Ivi PM
I hate Summaries. High Fantasy/Science fiction...it started out as a creative writing project and has been equated to a cross between the Gunslinger and the Handmadens tale. Read and Review. But dont be a wuss about reviewing or reviews.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy - Chapters: 4 - Words: 7,201 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 09-08-08 - Published: 10-27-06 - id: 2267305
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Glaring white light was all that I saw. I felt like my eyes were burning. There was no time in those first moments; everything seemed to be happening at once. Noise, sounds, what should have been recognized as words sounded scrambled a cacophony of noise. My mouth opened to cry, but no sound escaped, dryness filled my thought and the entire world burnt, after all only babies can truly wail.
Slowly feeling came back, like blood suddenly deciding it could flow again, and a thousand knifes pierced my flesh as my body came back to life. But everything blurred with the pain, consciousness wasn't achieved, only awareness. A noise I should have recognized, a voice, came to my ears. Flooding senses and time stood still, the first achievement of my new life, I understood. "Do not try to move. You've been bitten."
Blackness, time shifted. The first thing I remember, smoke, the scent of logs burning, red hot embers drifting away in the wind. A smell I knew from somewhere, but I couldn't recall. Everything felt fuzzy. My eyes opened in what felt like haze, cloudy around the edges I was able to make out dark shapes swaying slowly over head, In contrast to the blue grey sky of twilight, slowly darkening. I blinked, a voice from the back of my head drifted into consciousness, a name, trees. Waving, leaves moving slightly, colors faint in the grey of night setting in. I try to sit up, my body protesting stiffening against the movement, but I prevail. The world spins, but my hands find the leafy dirt compacted ground. I attempt to recall my surroundings, to remember where I am, but my mind fails again. I remember nothing.
My body, which I still wasn't fully aware of mutinied. My stomach jumped into my thought, and heart was pushed into my brain, pulse drowning out all else, with exception of the overwhelming since of hopelessness and fear. The nothingness of my stomach clinched and I rolled, helpless to prevent the juices from burning my thought on the way out.
"It's normal, that you don't remember" a mans voice echoed over the fire. "Most don't, but it should come back to you, eventually."
I role back over and face the man sitting across the fire, who wasn't there before. Features softened by the early twilight sky. Bright eyes watching my difficult movements, made me suddenly aware of myself I hadn't been.
"Who are you?" I asked, conscious of the dryness of my own voice, scratching the recent burns on my thought.
"My name is Calin. I am a hunter. Who are you"
My mouth opened to answer what would be a simple question, but a blankness filled my mind and my tongue fell lack in my mouth. He smiled, white teeth flashed in a sinister taking of joy, enjoying my inability to answer. At this point I learned, remembered, or realized that in order to survive I needed things from this new stranger, and they would not just be given to me. I waited for what I new would come, a question, what could I do for him.
We sat in silence watching each other through the shadows cast of tree's, and in the orange light of the fire flashing across our faces. I went to bring my knees to my chest, for extra warmth, but my right leg refused. Pain shooting from my ankle up to my head, which swam with a new overwhelming pain. My hands reached out for the leg, in an attempt to discover the new form of pain.
"Don't move. You were bitten above the ankle, it looks infected, and your leg might be broken." Calin was on his feet on the way over to where I was stuck, dry leaves rustling and cracking under his feet.
"Bitten by what?" I asked pulling my long pants away from his place on my leg. Finding bandaging covering a section of my leg about the size of three of my fingers, midway between the bottom of my foot and my knee, on the outside of my calf, beginning to oozes brownish red blood. He sat down, leaves moving at my side.
His proximity alerting me further to the new awareness, and nervousness I felt. But he just sat for a moment, not moving, not looking at me, not talking. Until at last he sighed, "perhaps it will be better if it never comes back to you, your memory. Some never get it back, you might not, you've been out for a while. It took two days for your fever to break, when it takes that long they don't normally remember."
"You've been with me for two days?"
"Three," he answered smiling. "We found you about a quarter of a mile from here three days ago, your fever broke last night."
"What have you been doing with me for three days, And why-"
A snap came from somewhere in the distance, movement in the trees to the left. Calin raised his body to a knee, a sharp movement, hand to ankle and back again, a glint of metal shining in the fire light. I open my mouth, a tingling running up my spine, hairs standing on end. Calin sharp hand gesture silence me, finger to lips in a universal sign for silence. Another snap, louder this time, a twig breaking under pressure. A boot or a hoof? Leaves rustle and a branch bends toward us, into the clearing. Footsteps are now clearly heard. A brown boot appears in the clearing, I follow it up, past dirty torn trousers with a lot of pockets. To a ragged leather jacket, cloth shirt underneath, up to a clean pale face, bright green eyes, and brighter ginger red hair. Then as soon as the first man entered the clearing and was past the branch, an exact duplicate of the first man followed him out.
"Ah" Calin smiled standing up, "these are the twins, and they travel with me. Or I travel with them, either way, we travel together."
The first to enter the clearing smiled at me, and on closer examination I realized that they looked slightly different. The smiling one was taller, and narrower. The other had softer features. "So sleeping beauty is finally up." The taller one said as he sat down next to me, "I'm Mark."
"So that's John?"
"Of course" Mark answered, "What have you two been talking about?"
"Nothing really," Calin answered. "She's only been awake for a few minuets."
"I was asking how you got me here."
"We carried you."
"Well you couldn't exactly walk on your own could you? Or don't you remember?" Calin teased.
"Oh lay off" John added looking up from the spot he was settling in by the fire. "You both remember what it's like when you first wake up."
"You've all been- What was it he said?"
"Bitten," Calin sighed and rolled up his shirt sleeve to mid shoulder to a round indention about the size of a fist. "Yes we have all been bitten."
"But you got better. You got your memories back?"
Calin looked into the fire, but didn't answer. Mark tucked his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them. "I didn't, I only remember a few flashes. John will remember large amounts of information, may be from a day or two in the past. That will come out of the blue. Calin remembers everything."
"Everything?" I looked across the fire to Calin the light reflecting in his eyes making the hazel glow red in the fire light.
Calin stood up, "It's getting dark, and will someone give her some food. She should get to bed, we have a long walk tomorrow." He started out into the woods, "I'll take the first watch." And then he was gone.
My stomach burned my eyes opened to a blue sky seen between branches and browning leaves. I could hear them whisper as they brushed against each other in a breeze, disrupted by the sound of my stomach grumbling.
A snap, branch broken underfoot, beginning to become a normal sound. Calin is stirring. "Good Morning."
I sit up, there are indents in my skin from twigs and leaves from the nights rest. "Good Morning." I reply without knowing the reason why, not remembering why I say it. Calin smiles.
"The twins have gone to collect wood to make a splint for your leg"
"Thank them when they get back" He stands up, stamping on the last remaining embers of the fire from the previous night. Sparks shoot up in the air fluttering around him, a piece of ash clumps in his blond hair.
"So we're leaving?"
"We are going back to where we found you, then to Freetown, to have someone look at your leg."
"Why are you being so nice to me?" I ask the question that had been weighing on my mind since I first woke up the night before.
He stopped stamping on the embers, ashes settling down at his feet. "Its' the way of the world now. The bitten, the immune, we must stick together. We are the way to the future now."
"What do you mean the immune?"
"If you are bitten and you survive you are immune. The venom in there teeth is normally deadly. But if you are immune you are immune to all their poisons, all their controlling devices."
"Who are they?"
"I can't tell you that."
"What do you-"
"The twins are back" Calin interrupted me "We can get going as soon as your set."
The twins walked into the clearing John caring two fairly long pieces of wood. Walking up he said "I'm going to straighten these a bit more. Do you want me to fasten it to you, or do you want to take care of it."
Calin looked over from where he was scattering ashes with his hands "Ill do it" he said causally before going back to scattering ashes.
Johns green eyes met mine in a questioning gaze before sitting down and pulling out a knife the size of my foot, from a pouch in at his belt and began carving off the knots from the wood to straighten it.
I watched as they followed what I suppose was there normal morning routine. I ignored the loud rumbeiling of my stomach as they scattered ashes and broke up large pieces of wood throwing them to the underbrush, while John made a splint fro my leg.
Once one side of the wood was straight John broke the piece in two and set them down by my leg. Then went and sat down. "What is the other piece fore? I asked looking at the remaining long stick john was now spinning in the dirt.
"It's for you to lean on, It's a long walk."
Calin walked over and kneeled by my at my ankle, pulling some rope from one of the pockets in his pants.
"Why are we going to the Freetown?"
"We need someone to set your leg."
"Won't it heal naturally?"
"Yes, but in this life it's important to be able to move. A limp would plague you the rest of your life." He held one wood piece up to the side of my ankle putting slight pressure on it as he started wrapping with the rope. "Let me know if I hurt you?"
I nodded trying not to flinch, "Are you going to tell me who they are?" I asked trying to occupy my thoughts. "The ones that did this to me?"
John stopped twirling the stick and mike looked up. "What did you tell her?" John asked his tone icy.
"Nothing" Calin stated, now securing the other piece of wood. "I only explained to her the situation of getting bitten and surviving."
"What's going on?" I asked the blank numbness of my mind beginning to over whelm me again. I felt like I was swimming in a sea of things I had forgotten, things I should know, and every time I attempted to grasp them they slipped like fish through my fingers.
"It's just telling someone what happened to them, there past, if thieve forgotten is thought to limit there ability to remember." Mark explained, sitting down back against a tree.
"So you know who I am?"
"In truth no," Mark continued. "But we know things about the general past, things you would have, lost."
Calin tied the rope in a tight knot over the wound in my leg. Then stood up, "Its also illegal to tell you anything, they don't want people to remember. Were done here, time to move on." He extended a hand to me, I accepted. His hands were rougher than I imagined cold and hard, with thick bumps of built up dead skin on the palm under every finger. I brought my good leg up, knee to chest foot firmly placed on the ground. Feeling his strength all the way down my arm he pulled me to my feet. He let go, leaving me balancing on one leg. "Mark, will you take the lead? John could you help her? I will take drag."
And with that we were off. The hike was uneventful, but exhausting. I was able to put some weight on my bad leg, but I soon discovered how much was to much as my vision would blur and knees would buckle. John talked a lot, mostly about they way they lived. Mike and John considered themselves to be traders, members of the immune that went from town to town, brokering goods and food. He said they ran the black market. While Calin was a hunter, someone that traveled with Traders but mostly as protection, but they also hunted them, acting as an almost rebel army. He also explained to me that some of the immune considered themselves reborn. They took new names, although those who couldn't remember there past also took new names, always based on the location where they were found.
John looked around and then started to slow his pace. "Were almost there" he said turning to me "It's a bit shocking" he paused seeming to look for words. "I'm here if you need something to hold on to."
I nodded, then saw it. A spun wire fence, broken and torn where a tree had fallen across it. Mark was already crossing it. The sun was slowly rising in the sky, which had been grey when we left. The sun was now bright in the sky, burning off the morning mist. Calin caught up to us, putting a hand on my shoulder, briefly before walking past, also over the broken fence. "I will help her from the other side, John." Calin yelled back, as he crossed.
John looked down at me, "are you ready?" he asked cautiously.
I nodded, not knowing what to expect, but knowing my hopes. Hopes that who I was lay on the other side of the fence. John helped me up to the fence. I leaned on him, while I put my good leg on the fallen tree, lifting myself up. Calin's hand found mine and I was able to get through.
Nothing they said could have of prepared me for the other side of that fence. We were in a clearing, another fence on the other side, trees lined up past it, just like what we had walked through. They ran parallel to one another, leading up a hill. But that's not what surprised me. Calin had not let go of my hand, but I felt its pressure leaving my fingers. John was behind me, hands on my shoulder, but I could not feel their weight. Everything spun, I could see fire, I could here screams. But they weren't real, they weren't happening. The ground was soft, still wet dyed red. And when I opened my eyes there they were. The bodies. One on top of another, ten maybe more. They smelt, something I cant describe, my knees buckled. My stomach churned, and I was puking, the dry breakfast we ate on the while moving now seeped into the ground with there blood.
John helped me to my feet again. Mark was uphill, on one knee looking at the ground. I looked down, arches pressed into the ground. A shape I recognized, "horseshoes."
"What?" John asked.
"Horseshoes, there are horseshoe prints in the ground I remember horses. This is the lane."
"Do you know where it goes?" Calin asked.
"To the Meadow," I answered without thinking, it just came to me.
"Do you remember anything else?"
I tried, hoping, but nothing came to me. Nothing, happened, I felt like I was swimming in the nothingness again, drowning in it. I shook my head.
"Do you know your name?" Calin asked gently.
I hoped it would come, but it didn't. I felt my eyes burn, and a tear rand involuntarily down my face.
"Then let it be Laine, since we found you here."
"Laine," I repeated the word, testing it's feeling in my mouth. I could feel the grass between my toes and the wind in my face. Behind me I could still feel the fire from the bodies of my past. And while, I still didn't trust these new people, the man behind me, supporting half my weight, and the two looking at prints of horse shoes in the ground, I knew I had to rely on them. At least temporarily. So now we prepared to move on, to a Freetown, or whatever they call it. To see a man who could help me begin this new life.