March 3, 2015

The Last Ones: Chapter Four

poppies



Chapter 4


Men who had seen the dirt of too many lands.

The tavern stunk of it. 

And yet despite the filth and the stench, Charlie seemed more at ease in here. He walked confidently past the traders with the cold steal of pistols at their hips, like he belonged. Picking a booth, he slid in and propped his feet up on the table with a grunt of pleasure. 

The girl sat down nervously, her white fingers constantly adjusting the straps on her leather backpack. She seemed otherworldly in the darkness of that place. 

“We can only stay here a moment. Traders can be just as dangerous as the evil out there.” She murmured to Charlie.

The faint glow from the shuttered window reflected on her panicked eyes.

“Calm down. They won’t try anything on me, not twice at least.” He winked at Jet, who stared with awestruck wonder at the boy.

Nate, on the other hand, was staring in disbelieving horror.

“We just about got attacked by some shadow guy, which drove us into a tavern full of traders, and you’re telling us to calm down?”

Charlie smiled at him as he waved the barman over.

“Four waters, and make one strong.” He called out like he did it every day. 

Some form of tension suddenly shocked between the girl and the boy, and he cleared his throat.

“Better just make them all regulars.”

Nate watched as the barman nodded, took the slip of paper Charlie handed him, and disappeared behind the counter. 

“You’re out of luck. Water is basically impossible to find unless you have your own well-“

The barman had returned with four glasses, one of which Jet had almost fully drunk before it was set down. Nate downed his quickly too…he had almost forgotten what water tasted like. 

“You can find anything, even in this dump, if you’ve got the money.” Charlie sneered.

“Fine. Now, we can talk. First of all, you were going to tell me what the humming was.” Nate asked quickly, before anything else could happen.

Charlie snorted.

“As if the shadow man chasing us wasn’t enough to let you know?”

The girl placed her hands on the table and sent another glare in Charlie’s direction.

“We call him the Watcher, and he has been chasing us since we left the mainland. We had expected the sea journey to confuse him, but as you can tell, we were sorely mistaken. The humming comes from the weapons he carries.”

Her voice, though soft now, seemed to reach him clearly despite the stuffy, hot air.

“And he’s chasing you because…?”

A look of confusion flashed across her pale face.

“You…don’t know?

“Seriously? This kid doesn’t know anything. I don’t know why you even expected him to.” Charlie input.

The girl silenced him with a wave of her hand, but her blue eyes remained locked on Nate’s face. She seemed to do that often, and it was beginning to make him uncomfortable. 

Downing the last of the clear water from his mug, and wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he nodded at both of them.

“Well, I don’t mean to be rude, but we really should be going.” Nate attempted to catch Jet’s eye, but it was hard to see anything at that point. He slid out of the booth, trying to move past one of the larger traders.

The man whipped around and grabbed him by the jacket.

“Show some respect to your elders.” He snarled. 

Whisky and grief were coming off of him in waves.

He wasn’t sure where it came from, but Nate suddenly felt like rupturing. With a quick swing, his left fist collided with the trader’s jaw, and it felt like steel. 

Stupid, stupid, stupid! His brain screamed to him. 

Finally. Muttered his heart.

The man dropped him to the ground in shock, and when he raised a hand to touch his jaw, Nate could hear the metal-work moving underneath his sleeve. 

Just another day on the job, running from shadows and cyborg traders. 

The man roared at him, bringing his metal arm around to knock all of Nate’s brains from his head, when he was grabbed by a familiar set of hands. 

“I don’t know, mush-brain, that was pretty gutsy!” Charlie hooted.

For all the world, Nate couldn’t understand the grin on his face.  

As the daylight stung his eyes once again, he could make out the girl’s scowling face against the dirt of the road. 

“I’d prefer sensible over gutsy. Sensible doesn’t get you killed, or decapitated!” She shouted above the din of the city. 

It would’ve been fine if she was the only one yelling. 

But the roars of the trader just begged for a Sentry to take notice. 

As the trader burst out of the tavern, two Sentries came running down the street. But there really was no need. With one swipe of his mechanical hand, the trader had pulled his pistol from it’s holster and aimed at them.

Oh well.

It had been a good life, right?

As the trader pulled the trigger, Nate saw Charlie out of the corner of his eye. He looked calm and still, nothing but peace on his face. Good for him. It wasn’t like he was about to have a bullet in his gut.

But then something happened, like it usually does at the strangest times.

The gun exploded into pieces, and while Nate was still gaping in shock, it took Charlie three seconds to leap up and grab the pieces from the gritty ground.

Grabbing Nate’s collar again, who was now laughing in delirious joy, he took off at a run down towards the docks. They were wide, strange things, big enough to hold the huge sea-boats and carry the weight of thousands of people. And far away, if you looked hard enough, you could make out the edge of the blackened cloud that covered Windlyn. 

Something blue covered the sky there. 

The sea overhead and underfoot.

It made Nate’s head swim to think of it. 

As they neared the coast, he jerked free of Charlie’s grip.

“Hey! I think we’ve lost them by now.” He gasped, trying to get air into his lungs.

Charlie paused, brown head turned back to the ocean. 

He belonged to it, in a way. Too strong, and too free. He was restless, and yet all he wanted was order. So, sometimes, his waters would remain calm. So peaceful and beautiful that you wanted to sail on them forever. 

But then he felt the pull of the moon in his veins, and everything changed. 

“We’ve got to go, Nate.”

Something broke inside Nate’s chest, like his heart had burst and the blood was warmly seeping into his clothes. 

“What do you mean?”

He knew what it meant. 

It meant the sea, and leaving Clara, and Windlyn and being somebody he didn’t know how to be. And it meant that darkness chasing them forever. 

“If we don’t go now, we won’t get another chance. C’mon kid, were you planning to stay here forever?”

The girl came up beside them, panting.

“Despite all of my prejudices, we need you Nate.” 

He shook his head. No one needed him.

He looked to the little black haired boy, who moved closer towards the boat.

No one needed him.  Not even Jet, as he had once wanted to pretend. 

The girl looked at him like he was wrong, but he ducked his head. He didn’t even know her name, or where she had come from, or what she was. 

“Iris.” 

Iris?

What a name.

Nate turned and walked slowly back towards the Brick House. He would tell Clara that Jet had decided there was something better than the life they had always loved. She might cry, but it’d be alright. He would be there for her.

He always had been. 

And then he was running, back to the beautiful girl with the crazy name and the boy he wanted to hate and the little tinker who had somehow gotten him into this mess. 

And they were running towards the boat.

Twenty feet.

Ten.

Five.

One.

Off the dock and onto the boat, the sound of the hollow metal ramp clanking underneath their feet. 

Stupid, stupid, stupid! His brain screamed to him.

Finally. Smiled his heart.



xoxo


p.s. so Down By the Willows now has 50 followers and i'm like crying. you guys are the bomb. *group hug*






6 comments:

  1. How I love this storyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. *dies of love*

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  2. *group huggles back and sqeauls at the amazingness of this chapter*

    xoxo Morning

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *grins*

      I was kinda nervous about this one...it's one of those in-between chapters. Can't wait to get to some of the delicious ones!

      xoxo

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  3. askddksjfjr;asdsew'ewp;dl;
    i love this plot, i love the characters, i love your writing
    I need more of these please <3<3
    xxx.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YAAAAY. I'm so excited to keep going. :-D

      xoxo

      Delete

be kind.

xx