Someone was shaking my shoulders. I grimaced in my sleepy state and swatted at the person.
"Go away, the sun's not up yet!" I muttered, muffled by my old trousers for a pillow. I snuggled in closer to my hammock and ignored the insistent shaking.
"Oi! We've docked, again! Get into town and get some things." It was the voice of Yorker.
I groaned into my pillow and grunted, "You get it."
"I have ship duties! Besides, Cap'n insisted you go, since you have nothing," Yorker continued. I heard the rustling of papers and something shoved into my dangling hands. "We're departing at sunset, it's best you get going now."
With another complaining groan, I wrenched myself up and scratched at my unruly hair. "When again?"
"Sunset. Make sure to be back by then or we leave," Yorker repeated and headed towards the stairs that lead to the deck.
"Where are we?"
"Octavia Grand Port," Yorker replied before disappearing up the stairs. I squinted at him before looking at the list. To my pleasant surprise, I saw that soap was one of the top things on the list. Finally! I thought they were never going to realize that the soap was out. I shoved my feet into the heavy boots and tucked my oversized shirt into my oversized trousers. I should perhaps buy something for myself too. Nothing bad about indulgence. I tromped up the stairs and was greeted by the heavy, salty air of the sea, mingled with a lot of rotting fish with sweating people. Seagulls flew over the sails and seemed to rain whiteness down onto the ships. I swiveled around and saw Yorker aiming an arrow in the direction of the airborne birds. I'm pretty sure that was going to be part of dinner.
My boot-cladded feet clunked heavily on the blank as I balanced my way over despite my bad foot, with the list tucked neatly under my chin with my arms outstretched outward in a way so that my damaged arm wouldn't hurt too much. Suddenly, someone shoved me from behind and I stumbled forward in an attempt to catch myself from falling into the murky, smelly waters below. My head bumped against another person. I jolted away from the statue-like Cereous who was staring at the ship in a mesmerized way. His gaze turned to me as he threw me a half glare half questioning look.
I ignored him, but hissed angrily at the perpetrator, "What the hell?! Why would you do that--" It was a kid, not a kid, more like a teenager. About a few years older than Wilbur. Why had I not noticed such young people on this ship? Looking at this face allowed my maternal instinct to kick in again as I thought back to Wilbur.
"That's not nice," I reprimanded, smoothly, my eyes set stonily on him.
"I know," he grinned at me, his lanky body convulsing in laughter. "Who told you to look so stupid?"
I glared at him, not able to take him seriously. "Cereous."
"It's Captain Cereous," Cereous corrected, disdainfully. He has gotten nicer in that strange twisted way. I edged away from him and slunk around him.
"Why is this boy here?" I said the word boy pointedly. "Why do you keep hiring children?"
"He wanted to join, we let him join. He just has to comply and work his ass off like all the other crewmembers are doing," Cereous said a-matter-of-factly.
"Too bad you forgot to add the part about whipping people's asses off if they fail to comply."
"Yes. So?" Cereous was dead serious. His eyes glinted with warning and I could tell that he was remembering the time before Wilbur had died. Before the ship was attacked by the other pirates. I became silent as I stared at him distantly.
"I need to go do some errands now," I said, emptily and walked away from the two. I could feel the teenager's beady, black eyes glued to my back along with the cold, cerulean eyes.
As soon as I entered the marketplace part of the port, I found myself thinking back about my hometown. The things they sold here were a bit different, but the whole concept of shopping for things needed was nostalgic and welcomed. I assumed that the crew would've wanted something from the blacksmith as well.
The sun has risen high above the marketplace and I was staring at a bar of soap that smelled of rose. Should I get this one? My eyes flickered over to the lavender scented one, or would that one be more a preferred. Sighing, I shifted my weight on my unhurt leg. Yes, they were such smart people to send the person who is hurt to run the errands. A shuddered trilled down my spine despite the fact that the sun was high in the air and beating down on my neck. I turned around to confront the uncomfortable feeling. There were two people standing across the road from me. One was a tall, eloquent looking woman who had dark, hair that billowed in a loose ponytail behind her back. I squinted against the dusty haze that the horses aroused. The little child next to the woman raised his hand and began to wave enthusiastically at me. My breath got stuck in my throat as I stumbled forward towards the two people.
"W-" My lips trembled as I stumbled another step. "Wilbur." His enthusiastic wave lowered as he gazed at me sadly. My eyes wandered up to the tall, willowy woman. Who was she? Their images blurred as I staggered forward towards them. "Mom."
"Sir?" A woman's voice called from behind me. "The soap…" I zoned her out as I began to walk faster towards the two. They began to turn around. The woman placed her thin hand at the small of Wilbur's back while glancing back at me. Her eyes seemed to portray worry and angst. She turned her head just as I began to run.
"Stephan!" Someone roared and I was yanked back, away from them. Arms enclosed me just as a horse carriage flew by, narrowly missing me by mere inches.
"Mom! Mom!" I screamed after the woman, blinking against the sudden dust that made my eyes hurt. I could tell that the two were gone even before the dust settled. I twisted around and struggled against the strong hold. "Let go of me!" I shrieked, furiously. I blinked at the tears that clouded my vision. "Why.."
"You were going to get hit by a carriage." A blunt, smooth reply with a voice that could've only belonged to Cereous. I froze as I felt myself shudder at the proximity of the voice. With a powerful yank, I pulled myself from his grasp I stared at his shiny, dark boots that seemed only a Captain had the privilege to wear.
"Did you see them?!" I jerked my head up to face him. His pale face reminded me of the glowing moon and his eyes almost turned a pale silver.
"See what?" He murmured his voice conveying no emotion. I searched his face but came up blank. There was nothing to look for in this man.
"Why are you here?" I finally sighed as I stared at my soiled hands. I had clenched the soap too tightly and it left a slippery residue on my palms
Cereous didn't reply, but his gaze seemed to say otherwise. It felt like he wanted to say something. We were fairly far from the ship and Cereous had become gained a ghostly pallor that made him look like he was glowing even more.
"Are…you alright?" The ghastly sighting just now had phased me, but Cereous looked even more ghastly.
He cleared his throat, stiffly and began to shuffle back in the direction of the ship. "I need to head back to the ship. You keep buying the stuff. Remember to return to the ship by sunset!"
"Wait!" I called after him, confused. "Why would you.." He had already disappeared into the crowd. I gazed after him, unable to finish my sentence. That was dumb, why would he appear and then disappear again? The whole trek there and back was very unworthy of it. I walked back towards the soap stand and offered the woman a few coins for the ruined soap. I casted a brief gaze behind me to the empty alleyway. I still needed to get the swords from the blacksmith. Tucking away the extra soaps, I sauntered further into the town. Why was he so pale? My mind wandered back to the tall, thin woman and the Wilbur look-alike. A slight throbbing panged in my chest as I tried to conjure up his face and the face he wore at death. It was impossible for him to be alive, simply impossible. I stared at the large, wooden doors and knocked on them quietly. Nobody responded and I began to glance up at the sky nervously. Would I have enough time?
I pounded again and called, "Hello?" No respond again. I sighed and edged away from the door, it would take me about a half an hour to walk back, so I should set out to my other destinations. Sighing, I turned around and started my march towards the post office. They had added that on the list for some odd reason.
The name sent the hair on the back of my neck standing as I tried to calm my heartbeat. It was just a coincidence.
"Serena, lovely child, turn around!" The voice resembled something of old, dead leaves or the night gust of wind that'd hit the windows and send you hiding under the covers. Who was this person? A woman nonetheless. I turned to face the elderly lady who stood hunched in brightly colored apparel. Her marble, green eyes glittered at me as she smiled a crooked smile.
"Pardon me, ma'am, my name isn't Serena," I corrected her, slowly, my eyes eyeing her watery, green ones.
"It's not nice for such a young lady to lie to her elders," tutted the old woman, her smile widening again. "Want your fortunes read?"
I stared at her, bewildered. Why would she suddenly ask me such a question. "No…it's okay."
'No, no! I insist! It'll be a free reading," she insisted and reached out a gnarled hand for mines.
"But…" I glanced up at the sun that had moved closer to the edge of the horizon. Then my gaze flickered back to the urging woman. "..Fine."
"Good, good!" She cheered in a way that made it look like she was going to snap her back. I glanced back in the direction of where the docks were and followed the woman away from it.
"Where are we going?" I asked after a few moments of walking, unable to prevent my curiosity.
She ignored my question. "Something is different about you."
I stared at her back and then at her grasp on my wrist. "How?"
"What is wrong, my sweet," she rambled to what seemed like herself. Her aged legs limped and dragged along the loose pebbly road. "You're so pale and surrounded by the aura of death."
I laughed nervously. "My job is something surrounded by danger."
A light chortle as we neared this small, cottage that had smoke billowing from the chimney. I stood there amazed at how little people there were around here. What was it, only about a few minutes walk and we were already out of the town? I turned around suspicious of this sudden change in environment. Before I could give another reluctant glance back, the old woman yanked me into her cottage and shut the door behind her.
"Now, it is time to see your reading!" She announced loudly as she hobbled over to the old, heavy oak desk that sat right in front of the flickering fireplace. Without a word, I followed her and sat on the opposite side. The flames cast an eerie shadow across her thin, haggard face.
"How are you going to read my fortune?" I asked, awkwardly, trying to evade her probing stare.
"Tarot cards, but of course!" She proclaimed and pulled out long, but old and yellowed cards. I stared at them curiously. I was never one to believe in such tricks and charms. She shuffled the cards professionally and withdrew three cards to lay out in front of me. Slowly she stared at the three cards that were placed in front of her.
Distracted, my eyes scanned the inside of her cozy cottage to find little charms that dangled along her walls, windows, and doors. There was even salt poured all over the place. The same charms hung from her arms as bracelets. Why would she need so many of them? They glittered as if responding to my thought question.
"The fool, the high priestess, and death," the old lady hummed to herself as she tapped the card that had the words "The Fool" labeled boldly at the bottom. She eyed me critically. "Beginning of a very spiritual journey. A cycle." Then she flipped the card upside down and tapped it thoughtfully again, "But reversed. You're ill-advised, impulsive, and stupid."
I shrank at her harsh words, but to my surprise she flipped the cards sideways. I never knew you could do that.
"You're of both. You can await a journey, you are innocent, but you are dumb as a rat."
"Rats are clever," I suggested, timidly to her in defense. She perked an unruly eyebrow at me as she moved on to the next card, the High Priestess.
"Strange how this card comes to you, my boy," she chortled the last word. The card was already upside down. "Suppression of the feminine, intuitive side. Ignorance and the inability to see." I stared at her confused. What could I not see? Nothing in my life was strange…
Well if you exclude the fact that I was disguising myself to be a male on a pirate ship. A smile quirked to my lips as I watched her arthritis ridden fingers move to the last and final card, Death. It was upside down just like the High Priestess card.
"Change that is painful and unpleasant. A fear of change or change itself. Periods of transition, fatigue and emotional exhaustion. Whether it be right now, or in the near future, this is inevitable," she murmured so quietly that I had to lean in to hear her. "You, my love, is in great danger. You have recently adjoined yourself to something deadly and sinful."
I stared at her with disbelief. She can't be talking about…no.
"Your life is being drained from you. I can see it!" The old woman wailed. "You're being leeched by a strong, powerful demon. You're slowly dying."
Strange, I didn't feel like that. I stared at my pale fingers and then touched my smooth face. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary for me.
"I warn thee! Beware!" The old lady was screeching now, to a point where I had jumped out of my seat and backed towards the door.
"Listen, I really need to go now!" I excused as I walked closer to the door.
"No!" She screamed loudly and lunged at me. "Don't open that door! Don't open that door!"
"What? Why? I need to--" She shoved me from the door and I crashed against the table. She peeked through the hole cautiously. "Don't gooutside! It's dangerous!"
"But it's late! I have to go!" The sun was already halfway gone. I needed to get back before it was completely gone. No way I was spending another moment with this nutcase. I tensed as she bustled herself with locking the doors. So, my plan was to shove her out of the way and perhaps unlock all those locks as fast as possible. Good? Yes. I counted to three in my head and jumped onto my feet. I yelled as I rammed into her, causing her to fall into the nearby arm chair. I unchained this, unhooked that, turned that, twisted this, and grabbed that and finally, the door popped open.
"You imbecile! You're going to let them in!" The elderly female wailed in horror. I prepared to run outside, but was yet again confronted by something cold and firm.
"Cereous!" I cried in surprise before I even saw his face. He stood there rigid and pale as he glared at the quivering woman in the armchair.
"You're late." The moon had already come out and the sun had disappeared. His raven hair seemed to glow silver in the moonlight. "We're leaving."
"OH! But the blacksmith!" I protested quickly not knowing what else to say.
"I said we're leaving!" He growled at me and yanked me by my wrist. I stumbled forward and gasped at the sudden coolness of his fingers. "We're setting sail, now."
"Sorry." I was a bit surprised that he had waited for me. Why? The woman's voice came back to me. "You're being leeched." What was that supposed to mean?
The woods suddenly seemed much deeper and much further than the walk seemed. I squinted into the darkness, trying to find the distant glowing of the town lights, but found none. Where were we?
"Hurry up. We have to leave before…"
Light laughter filled my ears as a sweet, earthly scent filled my nose.
"They come." I tried to figure out who "they" were, but I saw little globes of light and more sinister laughing.
Something darted out and grabbed my hair, yanking me back and onto the floor. At the same moment, Cereous disappeared in a loud whoosh and my jaw fell open.
"Faeries?" And they didn't seem very happy to see us.
A/n: Now I am having a roadblock. I am trying to determine something that I will not tell you just yet! I hope you enjoyed this chapter…It's kind of..boring, I guess. I hope it adds to the plot and isn't just a stupid filler.
Review please and thank you! I hope you all a happy school year!!!