March 19, 2015

The Last Ones: Chapter 6

 - not mine -

Chapter 6

Charlie and Jet returned with three pieces of stale bread, a bottle of old whiskey, and two apples.

“The bottle goes, or so do you.” Iris evenly muttered.

Charlie laughed, a clear and strange sound in the gloom and the smoke, and he slipped the bottle into his bag.

“It’s not for me. I thought we could use it as a bartering tool later on, if we need to. Every trader in these parts is looking for something to drink.” He smirked.

Neither Nate nor Jet had either seen an apple, and they were both allowed the first bites. Jet teared up as the sweetly sour juice ran down his throat, while Nate sucked his bite for as long as possible.

So simple...their joy. So oddly beautiful in the horror of that place.

It was the first time he had seen the silvery girl smile at him.

After they had eaten most of the food, Charlie turned to look at the cat. As much as Nate tried not to notice, he couldn’t help but wonder at the boy’s fingers. He had seen them on Jet. He had seen them on Clara.

Brilliant fingers.

“He’s going to be fine. But we’ll have to find something to straighten the legs with, or they won’t heal correctly.”

He sat for a moment, running his hands through hair the color of burnt leaves in autumn. Slowly, he reached into his bag and pulled out the gun.

The way he looked at it, that longing, understanding look, was something Nate could not explain.

It was like the sad music from a country he couldn’t reach.

Working quickly, he broke the gun apart. Gears fell everywhere, and Charlie handed the bullets to Jet.

“Keep ‘em safe for me, okay?”

Jet nodded, putting them into his pocket.

With the care of a doctor, the boy began to mold the pieces of the gun around the cat’s legs. If I could tell you how that cat screamed and moaned, you’d get a headache just from reading the words. They finally had to give the cat some of the whiskey for fear of being found out.

Charlie grinned so hard at Iris she thought his face was going to burst.

When it was all done, Nate was bleeding and Charlie was sweating so much that his shirt was sticking to his body. Jet was the only one laughing.

The cat breathed quietly, it’s back legs now cased securely in small, red, metal pipes.

Iris sat back and closed her eyes. Nate wondered if she was going to laugh or cry, but she did neither.

“What should we name it?”

“How about Stupid?” Charlie muttered between gritted teeth.

“Mush-brain?” Nate added, and he got an approving laugh from Charlie.

“Tubes.” Jet said quietly.

The other three looked at him, at little black haired boy with soot on his face. He seemed to fit in, up there. He seemed at home in the dirt and the rust.

“You know, because he has metal tubes on his legs now.” He smiled sheepishly.

Iris smiled for the second time that day, and it split the darkness.

“Tubes. Seems about right.”

---

If Nate had known how Charlie could snore, he wouldn’t have come.

He was leaning up against the smoke stack, soaking in the warmth as the hot steam rushed past him. It would come out of the pipe and hover in the air for just a moment.

And then the wind would blow it away.

Charlie’s snore ripped through his moment of peace.

He was lying on his stomach, arms stretched behind his head, and Nate could see Iris curled up next to the other pipe. Jet was lying nearby on his back, Tubes sitting comfortably on his stomach.

“Nate?” His little voice whispered.

“Hmm?”

“I’m scared.”

Nate sat up slowly, watching the boy’s chest rise and fall.

It caught halfway down.

“Hey, no need to be. You’ve got Charlie, who can save you from any invention ever made. Iris, who can read the future. And a stupid cat who can... eat and poop, I guess.”

Jet laughed, and it came out as a sob. Nate sighed and moved closer to the kid, ruffling his dark hair. He knew. He knew what it was like to feel alone. He felt it even now, surrounded by people.

“I’ve got you too, right?” Jet whispered.

You don’t need me. You’ve never needed me. What is there left that I can give you?

“As long as you need me.”

“But what if we can’t help them, and they leave us over there?” He said, wiping his nose again.

“Then we’ll hop on a boat and come right back. Clara won’t even know we’ve been gone.” Nate replied, smiling up into the night.

The sick blackness of Windlyn was beginning to fade, and he suddenly noticed lights in the sky.

“Jet! Look at that.” He whispered quickly, moving Tubes off of Jet’s chest.

The little boy’s eyes sparked as he peered up into the inky blue of the darkness.

“I can't believe it. There must be millions of them!” He cried, a little too loudly. Charlie’s snore was cut short into a mumble, and Nate slapped his hand over Jet’s mouth.

“That’s really bad.” Jet mumbled through his fingers, snorting with laughter.

The two boys sat forever, necks strained as they stared into the void so suddenly full of stars that shone all for them.

A gift?

Maybe.

Jet soon fell asleep, and Nate propped him gently against the smoke-stack.

As he walked, running his fingers along the railing, he watched the ocean. It rolled and churned, a river that had no end and no rocks big enough to jut out from its depths. It was too big. Too wild.

He didn’t want to die out there.

He didn’t want to sink to the bottom, without even being able to say goodbye.

The thought made him sick, and he moved deeper into the hold of the ship. He had almost missed the hissing of the pipes and the popping of the gears, and he even dared a whistle.

From somewhere down the hall, a whistle came back to him.

Nate stopped, staring into the blackness, and he nearly screamed when a hand pulled him back into the shadows.

When he opened his eyes again, he was sitting against the wall with Iris’s fingers clamped over his mouth. She was sweating, her face was even more pale than normal, and her sudden fear terrified him.

It actually terrified her more than it terrified him.

She had woken from a black dream, and when she saw Nate was gone, something like terror nearly knocked her over.

For the first time she could remember, she was afraid.

And her blood was boiling with the heat of it.

They sat there sweating and panting in the darkness until Nate got up the courage to look around the corner. Standing in the farthest corner of the hall, a man in black stood whistling. He was tall, but evenly built. Like a father.

Like a brother.

But dread hung in every note that came from his mouth.

Nate looked at Iris with the guess in his face, and she nodded quickly. So. This was the Watcher? He looked calm, complete even. And that was what made him so frightening.

In the darkness, he caught the gleam of eyes and teeth, and the glint of hair.

Was it a smile?

More like a death-sentence.

After a few moments, the whistling ceased, and the Watcher moved into a different hall. It was ghost-like, the way he came and went. Iris refused to move even when the man had been gone for at least five minutes.

“It’s what he does.” She whispered.

“He’s patient. One minute he’ll be gone, or distracted, and the next he’s shooting you in the heart.”

She slumped against the wall next to him, eyes squeezed shut against the darkness. Like she alone could keep it out.

Like she alone could fight her way out of the void she was slipping into.


xoxo


p.s. heyo! i'm looking into getting a new blog design, and i was wondering if you guys had any suggestions on bloggers who are doing them? i'm hoping to get a free one, since I'm low on funds. (you can comment or e-mail me at addythompson8@gmail.com)

thanks, darlings! xx

11 comments:

  1. Nate, mah boyyyy. <3 Zis story. Mah heart.

    And why you want a new blog design? This one's so pretty! ;-P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nateee. *cries*

      And I know, I love it too. But I'm feeling the winds of change a blowin'. ;-)

      xoxo

      Delete
  2. I started reading this from like the third chapter, and I ADORE IT!!!! Will it be somewhere where I can read it all together? I think I want this in hardback one day! You got serious talent! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agh! I've got tears! Thank you so much.

      And yeah! I was planning to make a page purely for this book so that all of the posts would be in one area. And if I ever publish it, you guys will be the first to know. :-D

      xoxo

      Delete
  3. Is it wrong that I want to marry your Nate?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NOT AT ALL. HE'S FAB AND I WANT TO MARRY HIM TOO. ♥

      xoxo

      Delete
  4. YOUR GUYS IN YOUR STORY ARE JUST TO SWOON FOR.

    As for designs, well, I'm currently a part of this design collaborative business called Twenty-One Designs (twenty-onedesigns.blogspot.com), and either me, Emily of Lynde Avenue, or Paige from The Joys of Being Paige, would love to design your blog! Just check out our site and portfolio.

    xoxo Morning

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I KNOW RIGHT?

      And thank youuu so much. I put my order in, and am totally excited about it! ♥

      xoxo

      Delete
  5. HAHAHAHA MORNING. I love your comments so much! <3

    But Addy... Tubes. Jet. Nate. Charlie. Iris. These people mean...so much more to mean than I ever thought they could... or would. They break my soul into a million pieces and I can't breathe because... because why? I can't place it. They are so precious and meaningful and just yes. I can't. Thanks for writing this.

    Thanks for breaking my heart, mush brain. *tackles you in a hug*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true.

      ACK I KNOW. They're like family, man.

      And of course, idiot. *tackles you back* ♥

      xoxo

      Delete

be kind.

xx