Friday, 5 February 2016

If Adventure Comes Your Way - Fragment Sixteen

February. The month in which we begin to look forward to the ever nearing coolness of autumn. Or, if you're American (which I'm not), I suppose you guys look forward to the warmth of spring? Meh, I really wouldn't know.

On the topic of the story now:

Number three was voted in...and onto the stage comes a massive plot twist. A plot twist that is going to make this a little longer, and (I honestly don't know why I'm doing this to myself) it will have a sequel. Boy, I think I must be super crazy to do this, but for now it's a cool idea.
You know how I mentioned in the last Fragment how the two random characters, 'Ana' and 'James', wouldn't play a big part and were just totally random...weeeell, about that...Ahem, I think I'll let you read it so you can see for yourself.




I realised what had been shouted and looked at Maree. “Run?”

She was frowning and peering out of the cave entrance. “Jest weet a moment,” she said. “Somethin’ dinna be quoite right.”

I raised my eyebrows. “But they’ll catch us!” I exclaimed. “The soldiers will climb up here and catch us!”

“Thet voice were no soldier,” Maree said slowly.

Jack rose and stuck his head out of the cave. “I don’t see anyone yet,” he said. “Why not hide, just in case?”

Maree hesitated but I dragged her to her feet. “Come on,” I urged, pulling her out into the rain.

Jack dodged behind a large outcrop of rock, looking around. “There is some other way to get down?” he asked Maree, craning his neck to see down to the ground.

Maree nodded. “Ye’ve jest got t’ jump thet gap there, an’ then climb doown on the far soide,” she said.

I gulped as she pointed to the gap between our position and the far outcrop. “Did you say jump?” I asked, hoping that I’d been mistaken.

“Yes,” she returned.

“I’m not doing that,” I said definitely, taking a step backwards. “Nothing could make me jump that.”

Over the sound of rain I heard a yelp and the crunch of loose stones under feet. Jack grabbed my arm and pulled me behind a large rock hump.

The rain drifted down, making everything blurred and grey. I steadied my heart, keeping my breathing as quiet as possible. And, as so happens when one attempts such a feat, I felt the deep need to cough. First it tickled the back of my throat, making my breath croaky, and then it started to worsen until I feared that I would not be able to breathe.

The sound of more footsteps came from the other side of the rock.

Eventually I couldn’t hold it in. I covered my mouth and did my best to make it quiet, but in the lack of any other noise it came out much louder than I’d meant.

A hand shot around the corner and jerked me forward. A man faced me, his strong hand on my arm. I opened my mouth to scream but his hand clapped over my mouth. “Shut it!” he hissed. “You’ll bring the soldiers.” He turned his head. “It’s a girl,” he said to his companion.

For the first time I noticed another figure a little way off. I couldn’t make out any features in the gloomy light. The grip on my arm didn’t lessen as the man pulled me over to his companion.

A dark shadow flew through the air and Maree landed on the other figure, both falling to the ground in a struggling heap. A second later Jack ran for my captor, leaping at him.

I lost my footing and stumbled, banging my knee on the sharp rock. Everything moved too quickly, but in a moment everything was over.

Jack kicked and struggled against the restraining arms of the man just beside me, his mouth firmly covered with a hand, and Maree lay on the ground perfectly still, the point of a sword at her throat, and I saw the face of the wielder clearly now. A tall young woman, and something about her made me frown, something undeniably familiar.

I stood, limping backwards a few steps, conscious of the steep drop behind.

“Okay,” the man said. “A bunch of kids.” He looked to the woman, “Now what? You got some idea?”

She looked down at Maree and I was again stuck by something familiar about her. “The only thing I’ve got is no clue,” she said. A frown crossed her face as she studied Maree. “I’m certain I’ve seen this one before…” her voice trailed off and then her eyes widened, she clicked her fingers. “That’s it! You’re that…er…Flee…fleesprit or something…Freespirit!” She moved her sword, sheathing it quickly.

I looked on in confusion as she offered a hand and pulled Maree to her feet. “Sorry about that, if I’d known it was you I wouldn’t have hit so hard.”

“A-Ana?” Maree said hesitantly.

The woman frowned, then her face cleared. “Aye, that’s me,” she agreed. “I must say, I’d mostly forgotten about you, it’s been almost two years, right?”

Maree nodded.

I looked at the two strangers, either I was going mad or these were the very same two that had saved Maree from the soldiers all those years ago.

James coughed. “If this one is a friend of yours,” he said to Maree. “Perhaps you could tell him to stop kicking me?”

Maree shot him a look and Jack stopped struggling. “Ye can be puttin’ him down noow,” she said.

Jack dropped to the ground, stepping quickly out of the reach of the strangers. “Thees es Jack Danson,” Maree said. “An’ Looise Conweel.”

I only just stopped myself from dropping a curtsey. Such an action would betray my noble rank to anyone with half a brain.

A crash below cut off the pleasantries. Ana gave her brother a quick glance. “I forgot to mention the fact that we’re being tracked by a dozen soldiers, so it might be a good idea to move out.”

“So are we,” Maree added. She turned to the far side of the massive boulder. “We’ll have to go down the other way.”

I froze, staring at her. We couldn’t. Surely she couldn’t actually be suggesting to jump across that gap.

A small bird fluttered by, swooping close to Ana. She stood, blinking for a moment, then sneezed.

Voices erupted from the ground below, men shouting for their companions and running from all directions.

“Where’s that ‘other way’ you mentioned?” James hissed.

Maree led the way to the wide gap on the other side. I closed my eyes, imagining myself back in my bedroom in the De Corlette manor, wishing the whole thing to be just a dream.

I opened my eyes to see Maree jumping across to the far side. Ana followed and then Jack. I looked up at James and he motioned for me to go first. I winced, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t.

“Need a hand?” James’ low voice spoke in my ear.

I shook my head, and tried to stop myself from thinking about it. I jumped.

Maree caught my hand as my feet slipped on the far side, her weight pulling me up. For a moment my feet slid down but then I was across, sprawled on the ground beside Maree.

I picked myself up, Maree doing the same, and James jumped across, landing at least a meter further from the edge than he needed to.

Maree pointed a finger. “There be a beet o’ a track jest thet wey, noot too hard t’ climb,” she whispered.

I rubbed my sore knee as I followed he others to the track. Maree scrambled down agilely, her feet quick to find the tiny ledges that could support her weight.

The sounds of soldiers were dim but still near, and we moved slowly, keeping noise at a bare minimum.

When we were all on the ground Maree looked around, uncertain of the way to go. Jack tapped her shoulder. “I know a good place to hide,” he whispered. “I’ve got a friend who lives near here.”

She nodded, and he led the way. He paused often, looking around to get his bearings, but through the rain it was hard to see anything.

I shivered in my wet clothes, wrapping my arms around myself for warmth. My head felt light and I blinked away a wave of weariness.

Jack dropped to his knees in front of a large clump of bushes growing close together. He turned. “Okay, I’ll just warn you that this friend of mine is a little...strange. He’ll be very pleased to see you all,” he said reassuringly as he saw the look on Maree’s face. “He just might show it in an odd way. He’s a hermit,” he added as an afterthought.

I nodded slowly, peering into the bushes. If this friend lived under there, I wasn’t going to be looking forward to a warm bed. Hermits didn’t really have things like that. I’d never seen a hermit before but I’d always been mildly afraid of the ones in pictures – particularly their long, white beards that went down to their knees.

Jack pushed through the bushes. His feet disappeared and the only sign that he was still there was the moving branches. I glanced around, everyone else hesitated, so I shrugged.

I stepped forward, parting the bushes with my hand. A sort of track appeared before me and I crawled in. The bushes were surprisingly soft, and I had no trouble moving onward. In a moment I came into the clear. I looked up, uncertain whether I actually wanted to see the ancient hermit.

I never did.


***

1. A body crashed into me before I could rise and I started to struggle. Then I realised the hermit was hugging me. Awkward.

2. A boy of about fourteen looked at me curiously, his head on one side. “A girl,” he murmured. “So that’s what a girl is like.”


3. Jack pulled me to my feet. “Don’t say anything,” he breathed in my ear. “Just stand still and don’t yell, or scream. Don’t say anything.”

***

Sorry if this Fragment wasn't terribly interesting. More was supposed to happen but somehow it got long when only a short amount of story-time had passed. That just happens sometimes...
I also realised a fatal flaw in the story so far...They haven't eaten anything yet. Oops. I'm hopeless when it comes to writing practical things like that. In 'The Bridge of Anskar' there were a couple whole scenes that I got rid of because they were utterly ridiculous: my attempts at practicality. :D
Thanks for reading.

Fare Thee Well!

16 comments:

  1. can't choose.... any of them..... but if it is the second I would need a good explanation because the definition of a hermit is 'a person living in solitude as a religious discipline.'

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I'll work something out...I do have a slight vague idea.

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  2. I think I like number one but they all look very fun and very different!

    Oh, and here in America, February is usually the nastiest month of the year and we spend it huddled inside wishing for March/Spring. :) Just thought you might like to know that piece of information!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I obviously thought up good ones this time!
      One day I'll be an expert on America...but it is not this day. :)

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  3. I'll go for option three... not sure why though.

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    1. 'You will vote for option three' *waves hand dramatically*
      I know why, I used my Jedi mind tricks on you... :D

      Delete
  4. I just tagged you for the Infinity Dreams Award, Jane! That is, if you want to do it. Oh, and feel free to change my spelling of "favorite" to one that is more comfortable for you! ;)
    http://createdbythecreated.blogspot.com/2016/02/infinity-dreams-award.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! You actually managed to find 11 blogs to tag! To tell the truth, I've never actually managed to follow all the rules of one of those tag things. :)

      Delete
  5. I'll vote for option two :D

    Yay for "Ana" and "James"'s return! I wonder what they were doing there in the first place though... Hmmm.

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    Replies
    1. You'll learn soon enough...as soon as I have time for them to sit down and explain things a bit. I thought I'd just gotten rid of all the mysterious stuff! :)

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  6. Replies
    1. We have very varied votes this week! :)

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  7. I vote for option 1 and both the boys for option 3!

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    Replies
    1. Oh...it seems we have equal votes for option one and three...

      Delete

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