Chapter 6

The wind rushing towards me was exhilarating, the air felt like it was going through me, cleaning my skin of any dirt—it felt like I could fly at that moment, like if I were to stretch out my arms, the wind would catch me and take me away. Even as I hit the bottom, we kept speeding away until even my legs couldn't keep up the speed anymore. Stopping next to the river, I leapt off the bike, letting it crash down. Hunched over, I let my breathing rate go back to normal. I couldn't stop smiling. Ever since Henry had pushed me off the cliff, it felt like I could do anything I wanted to do.

"Wasn't that fun?" She lay sprawled on a patch of grass, enjoying the morning light.

I wheezed; the wind knocked out of my lungs. "FUN? YOU THINK THIS IS FUN?" I replied angrily, spitting out bugs that had flown into my mouth during the unexpected flight.

"Well, yeah, the wind, the colors—" She turned to face me; her eyes were bright with adrenaline. "It was amazing!"

"Whoa, hold up. Artie..."

"Hmmm?" She looked at me, head cocked to one side.

"I don't know, there's something different about your face..." I dusted my arms off and inspected her face. There was a slight mottled feel to her cheeks; as if she had suddenly sprouted large freckles. But with a blink of an eye, they were gone. "Never mind—are we stopping for lunch?"

"Yup," she tucked a strand of fly away hair behind her ear; bent over the large back pack, "We're going to have... bread, again, fruit-" But I wasn't listening to her, I had discovered something quite perilous to our safety. My eyes widened at the sight of the numerous bandits hiding away in the branches above us.

"Whooooop Whoooop!" They called; I must have gotten older than I first thought if I let these amateurs sneak up on us without me knowing.

"Artie! There are bandits!" I threw a nearby stick at her, "Protect yourself." I launched myself; claws unsheathed, at the bandits, fury at the world, and the unfairness of it, fueling my rage.

Slapping the cheeks of the boy that I determined leader, I called to him, "Who sent you huh? Who is after us?" The youth groaned, and said nothing; he slipped back into an unconscious state. "Hmph, who would send half grown men into battle?" I swiveled to face Artie, "What do you think Artie? Do you think they're sent, or we were just unlucky?"

"Well," I sat bewildered, "I don't think the economy here is so bad that people—kids have to steal for money." I said, walking over to inspect the face of the group-leader. "Besides, I don't think we look like we have much money."

"True."

"So…" I swiveled my head, to look at the little creature resting on the ground beside me, "Henry, tell me about yourself, about, I don't know, how you know how to fight. You're a raccoon, raccoons aren't supposed to be able to fight?" I questioned awkwardly.

"But hey, I'm not just any raccoon, I'm a talking raccoon." He pointed out.

"Well, yes, but that doesn't explain any of this." I gestured at the unconscious bandits on the ground, thankfully none dead. Thinking back to the fight, I did nothing but dodge attacks and blows, Henry took out all of them; all 20 of them single handedly.

"That." He surveyed the scene of beat up teens littering the ground. "Is a long story, but we should probably get out of here before any of them decide to come after us again."

She scoffed, "Please, you could probably take them again easily."

"Yes…" I loped over to the fell bike. "But they could send reinforcements." I was totally bluffing, I had no idea whether they had any more people (most likely not), But I needed some time to think up a story; I couldn't screw up, not now. I knew my screw-ups from before were bad, even though I protested so. I knew enough to know what was done to the incompetent soldiers. They were crushed in our society.

"Alright," she sighed, rolling her eyes, "but you are telling me everything on the way." What was he not telling me? What was behind that cute furry face of his? What's what this whole talking raccoon thing? What if he wasn't really a raccoon? What if he was some sort of being from beyond the skies; my brother is a very well read person, he always told me fantastic stories of the Beyond. I wondered at the possibility and grinned. If that was the case, this adventure was looking to be full of fun and excitement.

Ignorant of Henry's worried expression she whistled happily, peddling away to adventure.

Slithering by, perched lightly on an overhead branch, a leopard gecko looked curiously on. It absently scratched an itch on its head and said looking at the retreating pair, "Well that changes plans." Taking one last peek at the bandit's features, memorizing them, the gecko loudly scampered back into the vegetation. The group of teens moaned, regaining consciousness one by one.

A/N:

Wow! With all the time in the summer I can keep on writing whenever I want to. :) If there are any spelling mistakes, or anything that seemed weird about the chapters, please tell me, I wrote it, so it's harder for me to spot mistakes and everything. (sobbb) Thanks for reading so far!