Friday, October 30, 2015

Flash Fiction #170 --Escaping Somewhere Else, Part 5: Enough

Whatever stood before us was huge, had too many teeth, and didn't like us.  I could see and feel all of that.  I didn't care.  There is a point where any person can be pushed beyond all hopes of logic.  I had just hit that spot.
"I don't know what the hell you are and personally, I don't care!"  I stalked forward.  Maggie grabbed at my arm and made a soft sort of whimpering sound.  "What do you want?"
"You.  Dead."
"Not going to happen," I said.  I did stop moving forward when Davis took hold of my other arm.  He was stronger than Maggie.  "Go away."
"You not master me."
"I don't care.  You are not going to kill me."
I had, I realized, confused the thing.  It wasn't stupid.  I could sense intelligence there, and then realized something else.  It hadn't come up from behind us.
"The local people sent you.  Go tell them we are simply passing through.  We will do them no harm if they do us none.  You have my word."
The word of a Protector.  I was testing it out, here in this place that none of us really understood.  I think Maggie caught on first.  She brought her staff around and up, the light glowing softly and without any menace.  We have power, I thought. 
"Will speak to they," it said and seemed to shrink and disappear.
"We better get moving," I said.  "A show of good faith and to prove we really are trying to get out of this place."
"That was -- that was --" Edmond repeated.  He walked past me and then looked back over his shoulder.  "That was insane.  Don't ever do that again."
"It worked," I reminded him, but didn't deny the insanity part.
"We can't just keep walking and walking," Davis said, though he was the first to start out.  "We'll have to find a place to rest before too much longer."
I started to argue, but then realized how much my legs ached.  "Yes, you're right.  Let's go as far as we can.  I can carry you, Edmond."
"Are you going to fall again?"
"I hope not."
"Huh."  He came over and rubbed against my legs.  I had to brace myself to keep from falling over.  "Okay," he said.  "You seem steady enough.  You can pick me up."
Maggie turned away.  I didn't know what Edmond would do if she started laughing out loud.  I wasn't even certain what I would do.  Maybe throw Edmond at her.
We started on.
I was aware of the others watching us now and then.  As long as they kept back, I didn't care.
"They must have had some battle with the people in that damned glowing city," I said as I walked by Davis.  I noticed he was starting to look very tired.  We'd be stopping soon.  "I suspect they don't get many strangers wandering around here."
"None that survive for long from the sounds of things," he agreed.
"Do you think Lord Snow and Lord Cayman came through here?" I asked.  I could not make myself refer to the fae as my father.  That was going to take a while longer.
"I don't think so," he said.  "They weren't that far ahead of us and I sensed no real travel in time as we came here.  Did you, Maggie?"
We caught her in mid yawn.  She shook her head.
"Time to rest," I said.  Edmond was asleep in my arms.
"Do you think it's safe?" Maggie asked.  She glanced to the right, knowing someone was there, just as I did.
"Not safe, but not safe to go on like this, either."
There was a bit of a cleared area just ahead.  I thought that might be the best place to settle in, where we could hear and see anything coming for us.  We would need a guard and to take shifts. I wanted to say so to the others, but as soon as I sat down, I lost all idea of what I should say or do.  I had to leave it in their hands.  I closed my eyes.
Odd dreams that were not entirely dreams.  I could tell.   Something looked down at me from a great height.  Found me interesting but not something she would trust.  Too much like the others.  But the magic -- oh yes, that intrigued her.  Not safe to leave us with such powers --
"Wake up!"
Edmond bit my ear.  I cursed as I came awake, and the sound woke up the other two.  We'd put Edmond on guard?  I didn't remember --
I realized there was a glow to the air around me, like a search light.  I looked up to find the source, not at all surprised to find the city directly overhead.  With a snarl and a wave of my hand, I dispersed the light, which had been trying to drain magic from me.
In the last moment I felt the surprise of whomever had been invading my sleep.  Whomever it was -- and there was a human enough feel -- I had surprised her.
"What is going on?" Maggie asked.
I told them what had happened.  "Thanks for waking me up, Edmond.  Though my ear still hurts."
"We'll get you an earring," Maggie offered with a smile.  Davis looked it over and it felt better. 
"Get some rest, both of you.  And Edmond.  I'll be awake now."  I looked up at the sky and the odd city. What was up there?  What did it want with us?
I had a long, quiet time to think about it.  The place was unnaturally silent.  The glowing city stayed in place, as though tethered to the ground.  Why didn't it fall?  Magic, of course -- but the amount made me realize how much power we were dealing with this time.
I wanted to find the door and leave.  Whatever had happened here was dangerous, but not my problem.
Oh, but I knew it would be.

To be continued. . . .

1000 Words


Friday, October 23, 2015

Flash Fiction #169 --Escaping Somewhere Else, Part 4: Others

“Fall from sky, you!” the woman accused again.  I could see her more clearly now. She had leaves in her curly, dark hair and layers of cloth wrapped round her skinny body.  She held a spear with ribbons on it and shook it at the sky in the general direction of the city above us.  “Not landers, they.  Fall from the sky, bad bad —”
“Shall I bite her in the knee?” Edmond suggested.
Which won an odd reaction.
She screamed and backed away in haste. The others yelled in fear.  Edmond stopped and looked around, his tail coming up, quite pleased by the reaction.
“Food talks!”
“Oh, hold on there Missy,” Edmond said and started to stalk forward.  “I am not now, nor have I ever been food —”
“Edmond, I think you need to come back now,” I suggested.
He turned to glare at me and realized what I had seen. The others were moving in with their spears up and he was an awful easy target out there in the open.  He backed up a couple steps then turned and walked back to us.  I can’t say he was safer standing between Davis and me, but at least he wasn’t going to be that easy to kill.
Of course, with that many spears, I was kind of thinking we were all going to fall together.
“Evil, they!” the woman shouted, which sounded much worse than bad bad.
“We are not —”
She lifted the spear again, this time pointing at us.
“Enough!” Maggie suddenly shouted.  She stepped forward, her staff in hand and the stone at the top starting to glow, which I think came from her anger.  "Enough of this!  You will not hurt Edmond --"
"Back evil, you!"
"We are not evil!"  She sounded as short tempered as I had ever heard her.  Her wings, which she hadn't unfolded in a while, sprang out in full form so that they blocked far too much of the view.  I was about to complain when I realized everyone had gone silent.
"Magic, you," the woman whispered.  "Not sky, but magic."
"Yes, I have magic," she said.  She took a step forward.  "Now tell me --"
The strange woman cried out in fear and took off at a run.  So did everyone else.
In a moment they entire city felt empty again.
"I don't think I'm going to like these people much," Edmond said.
"Just stay close to us," I said.  I picked the cat up.  "We don't want to lose you."
Edmond purred.
I looked back to the fallen building, but nothing stirred there.  I kept having the feeling of something following us, though.  Maybe it was just my well-founded paranoia that everything was out to get me.
"Something more than the were-bear might have come through," I said, hoping that I didn't sound too crazy.
The other two nodded emphatically.
Well, at least I wasn't paranoid alone.
Maggie brought out the compass again.  It pointed in the same direction, which looked like a long line of endless shadows.  We might be walking for hundreds -- maybe thousands? -- of miles for all I could tell.  We did have magic here.  I even had some,  though I wasn't very confident to use it unless I had to.  I had to believe, though, that magic would help us get out of here.
"I wish I knew more about who I am."
Maggie looked at me, frowning.  Then she gave a shrug.  "Only you know who you are, Mark.  What you learned since we got here doesn't change you, at least not in the basics.  Lord Cayman, your father -- I can't tell you much about him, either, really.  He's powerful, but he's always been quiet.  Davis, do you know anything?"
"Not much," he admitted.  "I knew there was some sort of family feud there, but I stay clear of fae feuds."
"Until now," I said.  "As long as you stick with me, you're pretty much in the middle of one."
"True.  But having seen Darman . . . Well, this is more about choosing the right side.  Cayman and you are certainly preferable to that madman."
"Where do I fit in?  I can't possibly have any real standing in the fae world."
"Fae politics are strange," Maggie replied.  She stopped in the shadow of a mostly ruined building.  "I don't think humans can understand it at all because it has to do with fae links.  You might, eventually, once you start being more fae.  If you ever do."
The idea of becoming more fae bothered me.  I didn't want to change.  But I had, hadn't I?  I was a Protector now, and I felt that even here in an odd way.  I could feel things moving if I concentrated, but doing so made me less aware of where I was.
I tripped and fell.  Edmond barely leapt out of my arms in time as I went down.
"Maybe I'll walk," he said.
"Sorry, sorry.  I was just -- feeling things out.  I know there is something more coming after us.  Maybe more than one.  And really, they're after me, you know."
Davis grabbed me by the arm and hauled me up.  "You think that's going to make a difference to us?"
"It should --"
Maggie came over and stood in front of me.  "It doesn't make a difference.  If they were after me or Davis, would it make a difference to you?  No.  Stop saying stupid things.  We have to get moving."
I wanted to argue.  I shook my head and stood firm, and I couldn't even say why until the huge, black creature rose up right where we would have been standing if we'd moved.
Edmond hissed.  I might have as well.  The big huge thing didn't look at all impressed as it opened it's mouth and showed rows of sharp teeth.  I thought we ought to back up . . . But then something howled behind us.
Well, fine.  I was annoyed now.
To Be continued. . . .

997 Words