April 18, 2015

The Last Ones: Chapter 10

not mine



Chapter 10


When Iris truly woke up, she could feel hands working at her stomach.

For a moment, she thought she was dead, or worse, and so she kept her eyes closed. There was the sound of water all around her. The creak of wood beneath her.

And the familiar presence above her.

I fell. 

Her mind was wracked with the sudden thought of it.

We all did.

She and Charlie had always been able to speak without words when they were younger. They had tortured the placement agent looking to put them into factories. One minute, they would be there, and when she turned back, they weren’t.

They assumed it had come with their gifts…their responsibilities.

They were one, back then.

What had changed?

You really look dumb when you sleep.

His words felt cool in her mind as they quietly slid into her consciousness.

You really look dumb all the time.

Something popped and fire filled her insides. Her eyes flashed open, light searing everything, and she was suddenly in too much pain to scream.

Charlie was kneeling by her, his warm hands holding her body as she wracked pain.

“Easy, kiddo. The more you move, the more it’ll hurt.”

I fell.

We all did.

Iris leaned into him as the pain subsided, and she was finally able to let the air out of her lungs. Her next breath smelled like sea, and soot, and their sweat.

The world came into focus.

Jet was lying as far away as possible holding Tubes, whose huge yellow eyes stared at her patiently. He opened wide his mouth, white teeth gleaming in the sunlight. Nate was watching them with a dark face, fiddling his fingers, sea water still drying on his shirt.

“What happened?”

Charlie sat back and propped himself up on one knee. There was blood on his hands, and blood on Jet’s forehead.

“We hit pretty hard. Because you were lying down, you got slammed up into the front of the boat. Dislocated a rib.”

He motioned to her bare stomach, which by now was turning purple.

“Jet got a scrape, and Nate actually fell overboard.” He grinned at the scowling boy. “But overall, we had a pretty successful launch.”

Iris sat up too, gently feeling at her ribs. She could breathe now, though the pain twitched every time she opened her lungs.

Nate moved closer, steadily walking along the center of the boat.

“Why did you faint?

“None of your concern, Nate.” Charlie muttered, putting a hand out to stop him.

“No. We’ve come this far, and he deserves an answer.” Iris said quickly.

“I fainted, because the Watcher was never supposed to know about the Book. We’ve always believed that, if he ever found it, he would use it for his own purposes.”

“But what is the Book?” Jet asked.

“It’s the reason you were in the dream.”

You’re moving too quickly. One wrong move, and they’ll bolt.

Charlie’s eyes were cautioning.

They have to know. They must know why we’ve brought them this far.

A groan passed through him, and he nodded. She noticed passingly that the sun had started to bleach his hair, back to what she remember it was.

Back it what it had been.

“When we first got to Windlyn, we watched you both for a while. You in particular, Nate, because of the dream. This may be news to you, but you are one of the last people on this planet that even has the ability to read.”

“But Clara…she still binds the books. That must mean people read them.”

Charlie shrugged.

“She’s a good storyteller, I suppose.”

Nate threw up his hands and fumed to the open ocean.

“So, you’re saying I’ve lived my whole life doing nothing? Nothing important? Just collecting paper for a bunch of dumb books people will never read?”

“Nate, no.”

Iris shook her head, eyes gentle.

“What you did wasn’t worthless. The fact that you are able to read is the reason you’re here. And this, right now? This is important.”

“Clara, though.” Jet suddenly rasped, tears unconsciously dripping down to the end of his nose.

Oh, Jet.

“She knows what she’s doing, kid. And what she has right now can't be taken from her.” Charlie said quietly.

He dug his hand deep into the boy’s black hair, pulling him close.

“The Book, the reason you are here, contains the location of a place…a safe place. Where The Last Ones can hide, until we’re needed. The Watcher has been looking for it too.” Iris murmured.

“So, what happens if he gets the book?”

Another flash of emotion between Iris and Charlie that he couldn’t get his hands on.

“We stay here and burn.” Charlie whispered.

---

Jet stared up at the sky.

For the first time, he felt like he really noticed how strange it was. Layers upon layers of deep, deep blue. Deeper than he himself could ever go.

Deeper than he wanted to go.

Tubes awkwardly stumbled to his side, soft tail curling up around his leg.

He missed Clara.

She had always told him stories about this. About people running off and leaving everything for the sake of people they barely knew and then getting back home and being better than they had before.

But she never told him about the tragedies.

Was it protection of innocence?

Perhaps.

But now, floating on a creaking old boat in the middle of an ocean, he wanted to know about those. About the blood and the heartache, and the blackness.

His story was a tragedy.

And he wondered if he would make it home.

Watching the horizon, he noticed a black line begin to grow. Slowly and steadily, it split the blue apart. Like a rift.

Like a void.

And then it became golden and white, tinged with shadows, and he was yelling, and crying and buildings came into view.

They stretched to the sky, arching in huge domes and spires, with the sky blue above them.

Could it be?

Could people truly live underneath a blue sky for their whole lives?

Iris sat in the bow beside him, and the pressure of her arm around his shoulders felt warm.

“The mainland. The center of the trading world, and a collection of the finest rabble you could hope to find.” Charlie shouted, hanging out of the boat to touch the water.

He gunned the motor, and they shot forward towards the city.

Nate whistled and whooped as Charlie drove them near one of the hulls of the trading ships, the biggest vessel he had ever seen. It loomed like some sort of iron mountain up into the day, and around the mast, huge white birds were circling.

One sent up a cry, and it shattered them.

Pulling slowly into one of the farthest ports, under the shade of one of the bigger ships, they docked the boat. Charlie jumped out quickly and tied it off, looking sharply into the shadows.

“He said he’d meet us here.” He muttered.

Nate was helping a struggling Iris out of the boat, and she stumbled awkwardly onto dry ground. She pulled her hand quickly out of his grasp.

“I’m fine.” Her voice shook as she laughed.

Nate pulled their bags out and laid them on the dock, looking at Charlie out of the corner of his eye.

But there was only a soft smile on the boy’s face.

Something bubbled up in Nate, something red hot. Charlie was laughing at him, scorning his bumbling ignorance.

But his thoughts were interrupted by a black shadow rushing towards them along the wall, shouting something unintelligible.

The words reached him at the same time as the man.

“My brother and my sister on one dock! Praise the Maker that we have all lived to see this day arrive, in glory and splendor.”

Two huge dark arms wrapped Charlie and Iris up into a hug that cracked their spines. Iris let out a whimper of pain, and the arm released her. Nate stared at the smooth, black face that looked down gently at them all.

“You’re wounded, sister?”

She wiped the squeezed tears from her eyes and shook her head.

“Just a little bruise.”

Charlie shook his head, almost invisibly, and the man tenderly knelt down beside her.

“If something is wrong, you know I want you to tell me.” He said quietly.

She swallowed firmly, and lifted her chin. There. A quiver of the Iris Nate had known on the ship. As strong and gentle as the seas. But she was losing traction, losing will.

A crumble in the wall.

She lowered her face, hiding the lines that suddenly fractured her strength.

“Charlie, our sister is broken. I shall take her back to the camp, and the younger boy as well. You and the other can follow with your things.” The man lifted Iris gently into his arms and motioned for Jet to follow. Tubes meowed softly, shaking the water out of his fur as Jet picked him up and ran after the man.

When he had gone, Charlie turned back and began picking up the bags.

“That was Theo. He’s William’s right hand man, and, frankly, a father.”

“How many people are there? In the group, I mean.”

Charlie slung a backpack over his shoulder and started down one of the alley ways.

“There are only eight of us so far. The youngest is six, although brilliant. You’ll love her, or she’ll kill you.” He grinned.

The path they followed wove it’s way deep into the city, following the marble veins between the buildings. Nate had never seen doors so tall, or glass so clear.

It broke his heart…the beauty of it all.

“What kind of man is William?” He asked quickly, remembering the name.

“Lionhearted. He’d give his life one million times over to save us if he could. Ever since he came to the gang, he’s been leading us. Mainly because he’s smart, but also because he cares.”

“He is unfailing, in most people’s opinions.”

Nate snorted, tugging at his bag. He was grim with his doubt, but his brown eyes were gleaming with the light coming off of the golden rims on one of the doors they were passing.

“Sounds perfect.”

Charlie snorted back.

“Hardly. He can be too generous, and weak willed when it comes to the harsher tasks. I do believe he wouldn’t even kill the Watcher if it came down to it.”

“So, would you consider yourself weak willed?”

The question stopped Charlie. He turned, the light withering in the depths of the green rings around his pupils.

And he looked afraid.

“Sometimes, yes.”



xoxo



6 comments:

  1. You must be doing some crazy editing because whenever I reread any parts of your book there is so much more clarity, yet it retains its original charm and loveliness.

    In a nutshell, it's perfect. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. CRIES. ♥ Thank you. Agh.

      But every time I even look at my book I'm editing and stuffs. XD

      xoxo

      Delete
  2. Charlie isn't weakwilled! He's totally a strong willed guy; a strong person would admit and say that they have fears and weaknesses. :)

    xoxo Morning

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's trueeee! He just takes forever to figure it out himself. ;-)

      xoxo

      Delete

be kind.

xx