February 19, 2015

The Last Ones: Chapter 2



Chapter 2


The sound of sirens woke Nate up the next morning.

He groaned, opening one eye to glance out of the window. Even from the second story, he could make out the deep, coughing noise of the Sentry’s runner. Issued by the government, whoever or whatever that was, the Sentries were in charge of keeping people poor. They often arrested roamers on the street, and Nate had seen them often enough to know to stay away. Turning towards Jet’s empty bed, he started awake.

Strange how much panic a little kid could cause.

Grabbing his leather jacket from the peg he had hung it on last night, he slid down the stair railing and ran to Clara’s living space. Jet stood at the door, watching as the Sentries dragged a teenage boy out to their runner. He yelled and struggled, but the things never even flinched.

Some people didn’t think the Sentries were human.

It would make sense. You’d have to be heartless to do some of the things they did.

Clara came and put her hand on Jet’s shoulder, eyes flashing over the runner as it rocketed past her door. It was no secret that she hated those things. Nate sighed, dragging a hand through his hair and sitting down at the old wooden table.

He would never let Jet know how much the Sentries scared him.

“You better get going if you’re planning to bring me enough material by nightfall.” Clara said, thumping a hunk of bread down on the table, eyebrows raised. It was amazing how well she could do that.

Nate grinned, stuffed the bread into his bag, and walked towards the door.

He looked back once.

Clara stood like a queen, the dust in the air filtering around her like snow, with Jet like a shadow near her side.

They hurt him, in the deep places of his heart.

They hurt, because of how much he wanted to love them.

He ran, and didn’t look back again.

It always felt good to run in the shade of the buildings, some purpose beating in his chest. He weaved past the closed windows and darkened doorways. Sometimes he would see someone there, but that only made him run faster.

Ghosts.

A city full of ghosts.

Pulling himself up one of the many metal vents on one of the older factories, he ran across the roof, spread his arms, and laughed down on the sight. Black roofs and smoke-pipes, but beyond them, the sea.

Glistening cold and white, without end.

 As he breathed and sucked in the draughts of his freedom, something caught his eye down in one of the trash-heaps. He usually liked to pick through the ones on the outskirts of the city, but he couldn’t pass up a good find.

As he drew closer, however, kneeling in the shadow of a stack of crates, he realized his mistake.

Standing beside the pile of discarded food and debris, was a tall boy with a knife in his belt. It was nearly impossible to find weapons, unless you were willing to kill for it, and from the size of his hands, it was probably easy. They were the kind of hands he had seen on the men who worked the machines at the factories.

Nate reached past one of the crates for a bar of scrap metal.

As he picked slowly through the items, it was easy to see that the boy was aware of something. Every now and then, he would look in the crate’s direction, watching for something.

Just as Nate was about to make a move, a sound caught his attention. A slow humming, ringing at the pitch that made the air vibrate with the force of it.

The boy’s head snapped up and he turned towards the sound.

For a moment, Nate though the boy would be sick. A look of utter terror had spread like a virus across the his face, and he went pale. Like a dead man. Like a ghost. Like a tree with strong roots withering under darkness.

He fell back, crawling away from whatever was coming from the ally opposite him, fear racking his body. But just as the humming became unbearable, the boy ran.

The noise faded.

And Nate sprinted for the main road like it was the last thing he would ever do.

As he ducked behind a market stand to catch his breath, he craned his head around to look back towards the trash-heap. Sitting where the boy had been, something golden glittered.

 Nate cursed and stretched his taunt muscles, willing himself to stand and walk back.

It was a gear.

A little golden gear, as tiny as his thumbnail.

And for some reason, it gave him the same feeling as the sea did.

Something free. Something like Windlyn should’ve been.

He tucked it into his bag and ran off towards the outskirts of the city as fast as his two legs could take him.

~~~

Night came like fire and brimstone against the horizon.

He had only found a few scraps today. Clara wouldn’t be angry…the two pages would last him at least another week.

What was painful was the burning of the little gear in his bag.

The memory of the boy and his fear was seared onto Nate’s brain, and the questions were driving him insane. But what answers could he find? It was dangerous for even experienced roamers to go into the heart of the city, where most of the people lived.

And the boy was fast.

Too fast for him.

Standing on the roof of the Brick House, he let the wind seep down into his shirt and bones.

It was the only thing they couldn’t steal or ruin.

“So, are you just going to stay up here all day?” Jet’s voice came from his window.

Uncalled for, a smile slowly stretched across Nate’s face. He leaned over the edge of the building and dangled his bag in front of the boy’s face.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?”

“Yes, actually, I would. Thanks for asking.”

Jet was too quick. He grabbed the bag and dug down into the bottom. Nate saw him stop, quietly pull the gear free, and stare at it.

A gentle soul with silver fingers, and here he lived in the dirt and the muck of what had once been a life worth living.

Throwing the bag back up into Nate’s arms, Jet ran inside and pried open the little mouse. He was practically frantic as he put the gear into place.

“Clara! It works! Dear Lord, it works!” He shouted down the stairs.

“How many times have I told you never to use my God’s name like that?” She yelled back. But she stopped short when she saw the mouse moving across the floor.

“You found it?” She whispered to Nate, unbelief in her eyes.

He nodded, handing her the bundle of scraps he had collected. She took them, but he noticed that her fingers were shaking.

“How?”

The word was a question, and a silent command.

“It…was a gift.” He stammered.

How could he tell her? She would tell him to stop dreaming. Or maybe worse, she would tell him to go find the boy and figure out how he had found the gear.

She raised an eyebrow, but asked no more questions.

As Jet fell into bed that night, he clutched the mouse against his chest and gazed out the window. There was a look of faith in his eyes that made Nate uncomfortable. He could deliver when the boy expected nothing amazing from him.

But the gear had been an accident.

One he couldn’t redo.

Jet fell asleep quickly, and Nate lost track of time as he sat with his back leaned against the cold bricks of the wall. He fingered the pages of one of the old books he had stacked beside his bed, feeling the chill creeping along it’s spine.

And to think.

He might be one of the only left besides Clara who could even open it and understand the words. She hadn’t gotten around to teaching Jet yet, but he had picked up fragments here and there. Nate had caught him trying to read one of Clara’s unfinished books, his mouth moving as he tried to grasp it.

How the words called to him.

Even him.

Suddenly, or it might’ve been hours later, there was a knock at the window.

Nate started awake, unable to move as a slow shadow moved out of the light. His hands were shaking as he drew closer, and he accounted the tremor running down his spine to the cold.

“What do you want?” He called.

“To talk.” A voice muttered back.

Into the light of the gas lamp, stepped the boy. He was even taller here, and he smelled like gasoline. Nate slowly inched backwards, reaching for something to defend himself with. But the boy grinned at him like he could read the thoughts streaming through his brain.

“Waste of effort, kid. If I was going to kill you, I would’ve done it already.”

“Yeah, that’s what they always say.” Nate spat, trying to feel around for the knife he kept in his bag. It was too small to do any real harm, but he wanted to make sure he had it in his hands if something went wrong.

The boy’s wolf-eyes flickered over his movements.

“A little more to the right.” He said, the grin on his face eerie in the golden light of the lamp.

Nate decided to leave it be.

“So, what do you really want? People like you don’t usually just want to ‘talk.’”

“People like me? Well, aren’t you quick to judge. You don’t even know what I am.”

As the boy pushed up the sleeves of his dirty white shirt, Nate could make out scars on his forearms. Massive, jagged things, white and clouded with age.

“And maybe I don’t want to know.” Nate said, trying to keep his voice steady.

A sudden change came over the boy’s face, and he threw the massive knife at his side down onto the floorboards.

Nate stared at it as it quivered violently.

“Listen, pipsqueak. I didn’t want to come here in the first place. You’re just a filthy street rat who only cares about himself. I’m only here, because I want to know what you did with the gear.” He said, ducking in through the hole in the glass.

He must’ve been at least four inches taller, and the green light in his eyes had gone dark.

That’s when the humming began.

And for Nate, the world went black.



xoxo




15 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh. "And for Nate, the world went black."
    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Please, publish this.
    - June
    http://weezasjournal.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HAHA. Agh, thanks. I'd love to someday! ♥

      xoxo

      Delete
  2. I nominated you for the Best Blogging Buddies Award :)

    http://thefashioncheetah.blogspot.ca/2015/02/tags.html

    ~Lydia~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lydia!! I'll check it out as soon as possible. :-D

      xoxo

      Delete
  3. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.
    asdfghjkl
    Adelaide, your story,your writing, everything. It's soooo perfect! Though, if I were to give a suggestion I'd say there should be a character named Jordan Sky, who's called Jordy by her friends...
    lol. Just kidding. <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. What's that on the ground?

    Oh, it's my heart.

    It loves this story too much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad that you commented! <3 I always love to hear from you!!!

      Delete
    2. You stinker. *smack smack* XDDDD

      Thank youuu. ♥

      xoxo

      Delete
  5. Ahhhh just AHHHHH girl my feels are vibrate and that rarely ever happens. My feels will shake, but vibrate? That's new. ^.^ More!

    xoxo Morning

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HAHA. Oh mannn. *dies laughing*

      I'm super excited to share the rest of this story with you guys!

      xoxo

      Delete
  6. STOP IT STOP IT
    it's too good i can't gahh this was amazing.
    i love it! can't wait for more xxx.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elisabethhhh. XD

      I'm so stoked for you to read the rest. *grin*

      xoxo

      Delete
  7. *muffled squeal*
    This is so good.

    So good.

    My fragile heart can't take it.

    *THUD*
    ~Adi

    ReplyDelete

be kind.

xx