Author: Transparency PM
By a simple decision, one act from the Citadel, had my name appear on the screen. My life would be forever changed. And I knew it would be nearly impossible for it to change back. I was selected for the Trials, a brutal punishment meant for each and everyone of us. And now, here i am. Walking the path into a living hell, and surely, one that i'll never really return from...Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Tragedy - Chapters: 5 - Words: 13,648 - Updated: 04-27-13 - Published: 02-10-13 - id: 3100009
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I begin to surface, awakening from the fumes. But I feel loose, soft soil underneath me. I groan as I heave myself off the ground. I remain onto my knees, with my hands on the ground still. I can inhale freely now. It feels great as I can inhale and exhale without consequence. But then, I look around, trying to find out where I am. It is night, and a full blood moon is in the sky. I rise to my feet. It's the wilderness.
Vegetation is all around me, some reaching higher than me, hindering vision beyond it. I begin to panic. The kids are no where to be seen.
I'm almost start calling their names, but I don't want to attract the attention of unwanted predators. I begin to move silently, but I notice and stare at the vegetation change into a mixture of purple and blue as I come in contact with it. The sight is amazing, but I cannot delay for too long, I need to find these children. Their lives may been in great jeopardy.
I try to find a weapon, something blunt for now. I pick up a thick branch, and continue my search. After venturing for a few minutes, I find a small stream of water. I dip my free hand into it, and begin drinking. I need it to quench whatever thirst right now, so I'm not thirsty soon after.
I rise to my feet again, then step over the stream, and continue. A small wind has picked up, I'm not cold yet, but the young ones probably are. I try to hurry up and find them. I search underneath the flora, and into small ditches. But I cannot find anyone.
But, I catch scent of smoke. I look around me, then spot a billow of gray smoke rise in the distance. A fire is good for keeping warm, but the smoke ones can rouse up attention. I'm hesitant to go near it, but I remember they are just kids. When they're cold, they will try to do anything to keep warm. And a fire I what they might have thought. I start my way towards it.
Keeping a firm grip on the branch, just in case of an attack. As I begin to near it, I crouch low, and begin to move quieter. My breathing is too heavy. I try to slow it, but I can't. I'm paranoid. I remember the plants turn a different color when they come in contact, so this may not be the best approach. But I have no other way. I continue forward, as I begin nearing it, my mind begins asking questions. What if that isn't them? But someone else who kills anyone in sight? Just run away. It's not them. What if it's just a decoy? Or a trap? I push the thoughts away, then edge forward. Crackling and warm. But I cannot find anyone near it. I try edging closer. Then a figure moves close to where I am. I back away slowly, and prepare for an attack.
Then I hear whispers. More than one. I decide to try and abort, I try to shift around, to go back. But a stern voice shouts at me. "stay right there!" I stop dead in my tracks. "drop the stick..." I release my grip, and it clunks onto the soil. I realize the voice belongs to a female. Maybe the fox from earlier today. "get up.." I slowly rise to my feet. Carefully obeying her orders. Then the words I was thinking spills out. "please don't hurt me...I'm just looking for-" "shut up!" I remain silent. Run for it! She probably doesn't even have a weapon! My mind races. No! Stay there! and follow her commands! Then she gave an order. But I couldn't hear it. Fearing the worse, I remain still.
Then I hear them whispering behind me. Then another command breaks out. "turn around..." I do, but slowly. Trying not to scare her. Once we make eye contact, she speaks in a softer tone. "you're him...the man earlier.." "y-yes.."
"I'm sorry, I thought you were a bandit." I shake my head. She still has her gun trained on me, but she isn't as suspicious. "what were you doing sneaking around like that?" "...I'm searching for those kids..." "oh...I thought they were with you.." "no...last I had seen them was before they gassed us..." She remains silent. "I'm sorry, but I don't know where they are.." " it's fine..I'll just continue.." "well...good luck..." I nod. I turn around, and obtain my 'weapon', then make my way around the camp and begin my search once again.
I make it across a few more streams, then tried sniffing the air. Still nothing. I find a tall slender tree in the distance. But I see it has no branches extending from it,
I decide to still try and climb it. Might be able to use my claws. I place my stick onto the ground, and stab into the trunk's layers.
But then, a liquid oozes down my hand, my hairs prickle as I try pulling my hand free, but it remains stubborn. I try harder, then it loosened and I stumbled back. I look at the substance crawling down my hand, then wipe it on the ground until no more remains on my hand. I look at the punctures I made.
The liquid is trickling down the trunk. I try to scale it again, this time, trying my best to ignore the liquid crawling down my hands. I make it pretty high above the ground, and I'm capable of seeing at least a few miles. I begin to scan the area below me, there's a forest to the left of me, and ahead is still the plains of the alien like vegetation.
Then i feel a sudden excruciating pain , I send out screams and try to pull out my hands. I realize the liquid is like an acid, it begins eating through my fur and skin. Moments later, I find blood gushing out, and making it's way down the trunk. I try harder, then I finally pull my hands loose. But I plummet down like a rock, and the impact sends me into confusion, I begin choking for oxygen.
I try to prop myself in an upward position, but my hands begin a painful sting. I let out a scream once more, and fall back to the ground. I pull my hands in front of my face, trying to observe the damage inflicted on me. Several nails remain intact within the trunk of the tree, and the skin that came in contact with the liquid, is a mash of red lacerated flesh. Crimson blood begins gushing down my wrists and forearms. I try my best to not scream, as my mangled hands continue in pain. I use my palms, that part that wasn't damaged much, to help lift me from the ground. At this rate of blood loss, I'll be unconscious in minutes. I look for anything to help staunch the flow, But my despite the efforts of keeping my hands still, the slightest movement creases the remains of my skin, which bleeds me even more.
I decide I have to try and use the plants. I kneel onto the ground, then reach to one of the plant's leaves. The were fairly large, completely capable of using as bandages. Or so I thought, I hold my breath as I begin to reach for one of the leaves. The pain is unbearable, but I grasp firmly onto it. The plant turns into a bright purple as I continue increasing my grip. I can't hold my breath any longer, then I pull it loose from it's roots. I'm taking deep breaths as my hand is in an unbelievable amount of pain. But, the plant begins to weaken and soften under my grip, I drop it, wondering what was happening. Then it withers and crumbles onto the dirt. What remains is a soft pile of what looks like ash.
I hold in my anger as I try to stand up. I want to slam my fists into something, but doing that will increase the flow of my blood loss. I need to find something, quick.
But then, at the corner of my eye, I notice the plants convert into a blue and purple. Revealing that someone or something is coming. The person must've heard my screams. I can't run, I'll faint if I do. So I remain still, and quiet. Steadying my breathing. The figure passes by, I try and see if it's the fox, but I can't tell. They look around, then they begin smelling the air. Shit! They are going to smell the stench of my blood. I slowly begin to step backwards. As I increase the distance between us, I see another figure walk beside them. The fox. I was sure of it. Now that she's here, she might just give me the supplies I need, or the nice notion of letting me go was just a 'one time only' thing.
But I can't find any other way to keep me from bleeding to death. So I rise up slowly, then they turn and face me. They other one takes aim with his weapon, Then I yell, "please don't shoot!" The fox takes a look, then tells them to lower their weapon. She starts towards me. Then the other follows close behind. "was that you screaming?" "yes..." "why?" As they near, I raise my arms, and show them my injured hands. They stop, and make a nasty face. "what the hell happened?" "the trees...they...contain some type of acid...i didn't know that until I had put my hands in it..." They notice the excessive amount of blood on my arms, and on the ground. "you're going to bleed to death... follow us.." I nod, but stay a certain distance behind them. Still not trusting the stranger.
We're back at their camp, when she begins rooting through a large container, "where did you find that?" I ask. "our guess was that they leave containers throughout the arena, each containing supplies..." She pulls out some bandages, then starts treating my hands. I wince every time she wraps another layer. The stranger, a lynx, just looks at me with intent. I can tell they don't trust me.
When she finishes, she starts opening the crate, but then stops, then turns to me. "why don't you stay here? With us?" she asks. I sigh. "i can't...like I told you...I'm still searching for those kids..." "well...we'll help then.." "that's nice...but...we would make stops frequently...and that would waste time I don't have..." She stands. "why do you care about them so much?" "what do you mean why? They can't survive on their own! They don't even know how to defend themselves against some one like them!" I point my hand towards the stranger.
This makes them annoyed. Their ears point back, and they grit their teeth. She sighs. "alright...go ahead and continue...I can't seem to stop you..." I nod, as I begin to walk away, I turn and speak. "thank you...for your help.." She tosses the bandages to me. It lands at my feet. "keep them..." "but-" "we have more...just take them.."I bend down, and pick them from the dirt, "thank you again..." She nods. And I continue on. I already begin wrapping the bandages around each of my hands, ensuring that it'll stop the bleeding. I walk back to the tree, trying to remember where I decided I was going to go.
I take a look at my bandages, they are already stained with blood. I'm going to need to change these daily. I see the stick I held, laid on the ground. My hands still sting, and it doesn't help with the bandages I'm carrying. I decide to leave it behind. Rather have something that will keep me from bleeding to death.
I start going left, remembering that was where the woods lied. I know it may conceal enemies, but it may also conceal three little kids, whose lives depend on me. I find the trees in a distance, and as I continue, I see the trees are much larger and taller than from what I had seen from a distance. In fact, the one I had scaled seems like a sapling compared to these.
But these differ from that one, they have large branches extending from their trunks, but they wrap around other trees, and they have thick vines which extend down from the branches.
But as I near the entrance to the forest of the alien life. I notice the vines are moving. They are alive it seems. I use my hand and touch the surface of one of the vines, and it begins to wrap around it, And it's tearing away at the bandages. I begin to pull away, but more vines entangle my hand, and soon both. I almost start to yell, but as they remove the final layer of the bandages, they begin to glow a color so unique, it makes me stare in wonder.
They release my hands. And they have been restored. Skin is smooth, and the fur has been grown back. It's like they have never been touched. It's mind boggling. A plant life that has the ability to restore wounds. But I wonder, why? Why would a group so evil, which finds amusement in others pain, create something that mends their contestants? I thought they were just have predators, have their minds set on murdering us all. But this is perplexing. I begin to wonder, what if not all of the Citadel is evil. What if, some fraction, is actually helping us? And intend on us not being killed?
I enter the forest, watch as the plants are teaming with life. The trees sway, as if there is wind. But there is none. I pass some vines hanging overhead. As I pass underneath them, they reach, like if they're trying to touch me. It's creeps me out, seeing how they do that, but it also makes me feel somewhat safe.
I continue further on, now trying to hear for any noises. But all I hear is the insects chirping. They sound almost like the ones at home, but I know they're going to be different in some way or another. I begin looking around in places which the children might hide in. But I find nothing.
I find a small river leading somewhere, I want follow it, But my nose lands in a heavy stench of blood. I look around, now I'm worried. Is it one of the children? Or something else? I go slowly in the direction it's coming from. Then I see a body that has been impaled completely through. It must've been a trap. I near it, and find it isn't one of the kids. But it's a black cat. I look at the trap, there is a pressure plate, which propelled the spear into him.
I'm not sure if he's alive still, But I try and remove him from the spear. I grip onto the spear, and try to pull it back, but it's firmly held into that spot. I look around, trying to see if anything can help.
I find a small boulder, I think I can try place that onto the plate, and see if the spear would reset into it's original position. I set the bandages on the ground, and lift it from it's spot, then drop onto the pressure plate. The spear begins to move back, but it's pulling the body along as well. I grab onto his shoulders and pull back. It stops for a moment, then it jerks back. Completely taking it out from his body. I pull him onto his back. And place my hand above his mouth. But I feel no breathing. His eyes still contain the fear, and shock from what had just happened. I close them, and look around.
I begin to think. What if the vines can restore life? I lift his body from the ground, and begin walking towards a pile of vines. He was a little older from the children, in fact. He looked about in his teens.
I gently place him into the vines. And stand back. The wrap around him just like with my hands. And they glow, but a different color this time. It's a deep red and black. I wonder what's happening. As the vines release, and slither back down to the soil. He remains there, but he no longer has the wound. I stay and watch for movement. But none occurs. I was too late. He had been dead for too long. Maybe that's what the color meant. Too late to do anything now, but at least they could mend the wound. I pick his body from the vines, and gently place him in the river I had found before. His body surfaces the water, and floats down with the water. I leave, still a little sad that I wasn't able to save him.
As I near the trap, I stop. I don't want this to claim anymore lives. So I use the boulder again and drop it into the pressure plate. The wooden spear flies out, then I place my foot onto it, and grasp it firmly, then try pulling back, while pushing forward with my foot. Moments after trying harder, it snaps, and a loud crackle echoes through the woods. I throw the remains away. Then reset the trap, or what's left of it. I place my foot onto the plate, and the branch flies out. It's quite a few feet from my stomach. I decide this is the best, and leave it.
I kneel down, and retrieve my bandages. Then continue my search. Looking underneath vines, inside ditches, and around tree trunks. I begin to wonder if they even inside this forest, and if so, where?
I sigh deeply, and continue on. As I'm moving further inside the forest, the more deceased the plants start to look. The vines hang lifeless from the trees, and the the trees a frozen stiff. And the chirps of insects begin dying. I continue on, curious on what's killing the plant life.
But I come to a hill, it's covered with thick roots from the trees, and vines that lay across it. I try to climb it. But the soil is too loose, making it hard to grip. And the vines don't help much either. So I reach for one of the roots, and use that to help me make my way up. I rest on it's thick base, the top of the hill is not much further away now, but I realize, there is a cold brushes of air that come from the top of it. I begin using smaller roots to help me make my way.
But as I reach for the top, a vine coils around my leg, I stop and see what it's doing. It's trying to pull me back, but it's weakened, so I unwrap it from my leg, but another coils around my arm, what's happening? Why are they trying to keep me away? I slip out from the vine's grip, and continue.
As I reach the top. The cold winds are harsher, and I see a frozen wasteland stretching for miles. And a blizzard making vision difficult. The trees that part for an entrance are completely dead. They are gray, and are twisted. And the vines are black and are hardened to the core. I want to step back, it looks like suicide out there. But we were all placed randomly across the whole map. If this is part of it, I'm going to search it for them. Only because of the thought of the children suffering out there, brings me to start walking out and making my way into the frozen land.
I take a step into the snow, and my foot sinks several feet, before hitting something like ice. I take another step, and begin my way. I keep a firm grip on the bandages, and I begin squinting my eyes as the wind blows frigid ice into my face. So I start to shield my eyes with my forearm. But keeping that raised for too long, starts aching from fatigue and severe cold. So I drop it, and glance downwards.
I dig my feet inside the snow as the wind tries to shove me aside. I try to look around, trying to see anything. But nothing comes into focus, So I continue on. In my extended time of trudging throw the snow, It begins to burn as if it was fire. I pull my feet from the snow, and see they're scathed, and blood is already trickling down, I make haste, and try to look for somewhere safe. But nothing is near, My shoulders and legs are beginning to burn. It feels the frost being tossed around is slicing me open.
My whole body begins to bleed.
And I'm sprinting now, not caring if it pains my feet even more. I'm panicking and just looking for anything capable of shielding me. I'm looking all around me as I'm running. My vision is beginning to blur, and my limbs are becoming numb each passing second.
Soon after, I'm slowing down. And my limbs are becoming unresponsive. I begin to fatigue from trying to walk. But I come down onto my knees. I'm still not capable of seeing any specific detail, but I see my hands have a red stain that's growing underneath. My arms give way and I collapse onto the frozen snow. And I begin slipping away.
When I surface, I'm partially buried underneath the snow. As I heave myself from the ground, I notice the sky is clear, and so is everything around me. I realize the bandages aren't in my hands, so I dig around. But it's difficult, my limbs are still extremely numb, making it difficult to move my arms around. I find them, deeper than I was. I try brushing off the snow, and I grip it has tight as I can. I begin to walk around, The small breeze still is freezing. But at least I can see around me. I look at my whole body, seeing if I'm badly injured. It's littered with open clean cuts I've received. And my feet aren't looking any better.
I'm a little glad for the numbness, I can't feel the pain in my feet or body anymore. But I know it won't last. I start my search for any thing that can provide shelter. Than I can figure out a plan on how I can search for the children. My breath freezes as it hits the frigid air, I can see it crawl up through the air, until it's no longer visible. I look around.
I notice afar off, something that looks similar to a cave. I begin making my way towards it. It was what I had in mind. It may be cold in there as well, but at least it'll keep me from freezing. As I near it, I realize it's a fallen tree. My hopes sink, but I go closer. I kneel down, and underneath it was moist soil, that was little cold. I begin to dig, and make a hole, I made sure it was large enough to fit me and the kids.
I crawled underneath, it was spacious, and warmer than out there. Now that I've found something, I need to look for the children. I crawl back out. And rise back up to my feet. I climb a small hill, and look around from the top. I still see nothing, but I start down the hill, then just begin walking.
I look around every now and then. Then I'm beginning to feel my limbs again. First, I'm relieved. Then I realize I'm scarred all around my body. My feet begin to sting, and so do my hands and arms. I rest, and sit down. I use the bandages I've had in my hands to treat the wounds on my feet and hands. I don't use it all up, I'm still trying to save it. I tighten the coils around my feet and hands, making sure they don't slip off. Then I begin walking again.
I climb another small hill, but once I reach the top, I find what's left of a camp fire. I hurry over to it, and check the burnt wood. I place my hand above, the residual heat shows that it had recently died. I rise, then turn around.
An arctic fox has already taken aim at me. I raise my hands and begin to tell them I'm not a threat, But the clasp of their gun rings through my ears. Next thing I know, is that I'm lying across the snow. And the warmth of my blood escapes. A direct hit to my chest. Then I hear them. Their voices yelling in fear. Jay, Opal, and Cyan. The sound of their voices calms me. And I feel a satisfaction overwhelms me. The guilt of me not being able to protect them slips away. At least, I was able to know they are alive, and able to hear their voices one last time before I died.