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APPRENTICE (6-25 posts)
APPRENTICE (6-25 posts)

Posts : 15
Age : 17
Join date : 2016-03-20

PostSubject: Swift   Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:28 am

 Chapter 1

     Uh… where am I? Bright yellow light filtered through my eyelids and warmed my face. I slowly opened my eyes and blinked. This wasn’t home... and what was home? There was something soft and a little pointy tickling the base of my neck and something scuttled across my hand. I didn’t move, though. My head was pounding like mad.
     I fought for something to tell me where I was. I knew that I knew, like I had heard something before and I was hearing it again, but couldn’t quite place who had said it or what exactly was it supposed to mean. After a long time of dry, infuriating searching in my brain, I gave up.
     However, I did know that I was a girl, I was older, not an adult, but not a child, and that I was not in any place that jogged my memory.
     In that case, where was I? I sat up slowly and looked around. There were gnarled, brown things with lines in them all around me, with flat, disk-like green things hanging off small… I closed my eyes, trying to concentrate. In the back of my head, deep down, I knew that I understood what the gnarled things around me were. I had seen them and heard their names countless times…
     “Ter… Tears… No, that’s not it,” the words sounded odd on my tongue. Okay… So I could remember how to… What was the word? Take…? No, talk! That was it, talk! And the gnarled things around me where… Trees!
     Then my eyes landed on a tan… Rectangular thingie laying on the ground a couple inches beside me. What was that? Was it an explosive? And what the heck was an explosive, anyway? I knew the word… But what did it mean? Was it good? Maybe I should touch it…
     Then the leaves behind me rustled, not like the soft musical rustling I had awoken to. I pivoted to my knees, but my left hand and knee hit the tan rectangular thing and I lost my balance, falling on the ground again. I straightened, something banging on my head, screaming for me to get up and… Do what? I knew that I was supposed to do something in the face of danger, but…
     But what was it behind the bushes? Maybe it was one of those ridiculous squirrels…
     And what’s a squirrel? All I could see was a very faint picture of a bushy tail and acorn.
     Two eyes blinked at me through the smaller trees (bushes) and I screamed and sprang backwards, landing uncomfortably on my back with my knees bent beneath me.
     “She’s out of it,” a deep voice said. “Poor thing.”
     What’s that supposed to mean?
     “Just shut up and get the job done!” a higher, but still deep voice snarled. “The longer we sit here, the hungrier I get!”
     I struggled to get to my feet and twisted around, trying to crawl away. But the world swirled around me and I almost blacked out again. I landed on my knees, still trying to scramble away. What was wrong with me? Even though I couldn’t remember a lot, I knew that this was not normal. But how exactly did I know that?
     You REALLY don’t have time for this!
     I stood unsteadily to my feet, getting ready to sprint, but I shouldn’t have bothered. Something with a whole lotta momentum ran over me. I lay on the grass and blinked once, stunned.
     “This won’t hurt a bit, kid,” the snarly voice said. He was right in front of me.
     Somehow I doubted that and scrambled to my feet. There, in front of me, was some huge thingie. I’m pretty sure it was alive, like I was. It growled, baring white things… Teeth!
     I opened my mouth and a hoarse scream came out.
     “Make this painless. She’s scared.” there was something huge behind me, I could feel the breath of it on my back. Something in my brain kicked in and I leapt to the side and twisted at the same time. I was cornered and something told me I couldn’t outrun them. And what was them? Two hairy things, one the size… Well, it was much bigger than I was. The second thing’s back went to my shoulder… I think. I really hadn’t had the time to measure him. And both were watching me closely.
    Now, you’re probably thinking that I should have been running long ago. But I would ask you what you would do if you suddenly awoke in a crazy new world that you couldn’t remember and you didn’t know what exactly was dangerous and what was not. Also, you were too stunned to be thinking clearly and everything felt very wobbly, so any flight or fight you could have attempted would have been pretty futile.
     “Listen, I don’t know… Do you… Um…” I began, trying to scramble in my head for something to distract them. But it was hopelessly empty. Fear pulsed through me and my heart pounded. I’ve got to stay alive!
     “Of course you don’t know,” the smaller thingie growled. “And that’s how it’s going to be. Finish it, now.”
     Something that felt like the size of a small slipper collided with my head. I fell over off balance and there was a sharp crack to my skull as the little slipper hit my head again. I was instantly knocked back into the pitch blackness I had awakened from.
Claudia:  An hour later…
     “So the next time you mess with my kick-quick, you miserable, little vermin,” Claudia seethed through her teeth. “I will personally ask Evergreen to roast you alive!”
     Chester twitched his tail and popped a nut into his mouth, blinking his eyes innocently.
     “You ignorant little…!” Claudia reached for the small reed woven basket filled with popcorn that she had smuggled away at lunch to throw at him. (That probably wouldn’t have chased him away, since squirrels love popcorn, especially air-born popcorn and a reed basket doesn’t hurt much when it hits you, but the angry look on Claudia’s face was enough to make Chester think twice about staying.)
     He popped another nut into his mouth and scampered out of the wide open dugout door. Claudia snatched her kick-quick off of the ground where Chester had left it. The kick-quick was a small, round ball filled with sand that she would try to keep in the air using only her ankles and feet. She could even keep it in the air now using her elbows and head. Claudia gently held the kick-quick in her palm and gentle rubbed it with her thumb. The soft, bumpy feel made her relax and she took a deep sigh before picking up the thrown popcorn. However, the look of the popcorn made her frustrated all over again.
     Didn’t Chester understand? Her kick-quick was the only thing that she had that was hers and hers only (besides her clothes) and Chester the stupid squirrel didn’t realize that this thing that everyone else said leaked sand a little bit every time she played with it was hers alone! Claudia reached into her pocket and rubbed it again, slowly feeling a relaxed, contentment.
     “Y’know,” Claudia muttered, again crouching before picking up the spilt popcorn from the ground. “All of the talking animals are majestic, honorable, and only the wolves are slightly irritating. But somehow, the squirrels were somehow a part of the talking animals-“ (who are simply just called animals, the non-talking ones are called prey)- “and have no majesty, no honor…” (as far as Claudia was concerned) “…and are EXTREMELY irritating.
     “Plus, unlike normal squirrels, they are the size of cats and eat like adolescents!”
     “What? Did Chester visit again?” Twelve-year-old Brianna walked into the dugout. A smile lit her brown eyes and she looked eagerly around the room. A nut was in her hand.
     “So that’s why Chester keeps getting into our room,” Claudia thought irritably. “And then while he’s eating his snack, he plays video-games!”
     “Oh, did you chase him away already?” Brianna giggled. “It sure is a lucky thing that he’s fast or else he’d get hit with…” she glanced at the floor. “Flying popcorn.” It wasn’t very uncommon for Claudia to throw things around when she was angry.
     “So… Are you going to go see the new girl when Evergreen gives the okay? Nathan almost had to wrestle her from Ranger’s jaws,” Brianna smiled sympathetically. “Poor girl.”
     Claudia turned her head at the news, excited. Another girl? It would be awesome to have another friend! It had just been Brianna, Claudia, and Nathan… oh, and Lyle, for a while. “You’ve seen her?”
     “Yeah, but not closely, since Evergreen didn’t want anyone to wake the girl up. Hey, I wonder if…”
     Claudia tuned Brianna out after that, falling onto a huge leaf-filled cushion that acted as her bed. She settled on the two warm, plush blankets that served to warm her at night and closed her eyes, automatically going for her kick-quick again that still laid snugly in her pocket. She had only till the sun was just touching the top of the hill where the boys’ dugout was neatly snuggled under before she had to walk down to the big lake with Nathan, Lyle, and Brianna. There would be morning jogging, gymnastics, and surprise training provided by the squirrels themselves (today was Monday… yippee), which, all in all, would be overseen by Ranger the Moon Wolf.
     “…poor new girl,” Brianna mused.
     Claudia’s ears perked up at that. Now here was a subject she was actually interested in. She turned in her bed, hearing the leaves crinkle and crunch beneath her. “Do you know what her case is?”
     Brianna shook her head. “Nah, but I do know that she was found only an hour from here, I think past the lake a little bit. That’s pretty close, though Ranger can go for miles and miles without stopping. I just wish his attitude was as good as his legs.”
     “Maybe if he got some breakfast before he went on his hunts, he would have a better attitude,” Claudia pointed out sarcastically.
     Brianna giggled. “Then he never has a big enough breakfast.”
     Claudia jumped when the light thing hit her forehead, the leaves crunching their protest. Brianna burst out laughing and that was when Claudia heard the high pitched squeaking from the dugout window and saw the acorn laying innocently on her lap.
     I awoke to soft things wrapped around my body, myself lying in some sort of thick mat tied between two trees, and the smell of something nice cooking.
     And high-pitched screaming.
     I heard a sharp patter fly by me and then harder footsteps and something crunched and crackled past me. I struggled to sit up and my head peeked over the side of the sheet.
     Who is going to be killed? Am I going to be killed?! What’s going on!?
     Then I saw the thingie. It was the same thingie as the bigger thingie that had told the littler thingie not to kill me. You follow?
     “It’s alright, honey,” the thingie pressed me down with an enormous paw back into the sheet. I struggled. “It’s just Claudia trying to get back at Chester. It’s harmless, trust me.” After a pause, she whispered, “It happens often.”
     I still didn’t lay down, struggling to get out. I needed to leave, escape, run away, whatever!
     “I’m your friend, my name is Evergreen, and I am a bear,” the thingie, Evergreen, said in one breath. “You’re safe.”
     I stilled when it registered in my brain that I wasn’t going to escape. However, I wasn’t convinced at all that I was safe, but I wasn’t about to try to fight against those enormous paws. I lay on the bed, looking up at the trees that swayed above me. Well, I might as well try to ask a question. It wasn’t like Evergreen had threatened my life. Though I guess the sharp, half a dinner knife long claws on her paws was already a threat to my life.
     I sat up again and watched Evergreen for a couple of minutes as she worked at a large pot, her mouth biting a pole-length-and-width spoon and stirring whatever was bubbling in there. I hoped that I wasn’t going to be boiled in there, but by now, I wasn’t that concerned about being eaten. Evergreen seemed… okay.
     I looked behind her large back. In the side of a steep hill a couple of leaps away, there was what looked like to be a rectangular hole with a wooden board snugly fitting in front of it. There was a smaller wooden board to the left of it. Dirt bricks surrounded the two wooden boards snugly and went about three layers higher than them. A grass-covered roof peeked out of the steep hill. Besides the quiet whisper of the trees waving in the breeze above me and the gurgle of the stream that was about ten leaps away, there was no other sound.
     Finally satisfied that it wouldn’t hurt to ask about the things around me, I said, “What’s this wrapped around me?” holding up the soft thing.
     Evergreen turned her big head to look at me. The two corners of her mouth pulled up and her teeth bared. I froze, suddenly very terrified. I will never ask a question again!
     “Please-don’t-kill-me!” I begged. “I won’t ask another question! I promise!”
     Evergreen cocked her head, the snarl slowly fading, and then her whole body shook. “Humph, humph,” came out of her mouth and I sure as heck didn’t know what that meant either! “Honey, I’m smiling. It’s what we do when we’re happy.”
     Oh. I tried it myself. I couldn’t see myself, but I knew that it was bad when an even wider smile came across Evergreen’s mouth.
     “There… That’s a pretty good smile! And that there is a blanket,” Evergreen was still smiling. It still made me nervous, but I tried to relax a little with meager results. But she didn’t seem mean and right now, I had no reason not to trust her. Except maybe for the attack in the forest.
     “How did you get me away from the… bear and the smaller thingie in the woods?” I asked. Not to mention the thing that knocked me out!
     “Oh, the bear, the wolf, and the squirrel were sent to retrieve you,” Evergreen sank in a brown, soft, furry heap onto the ground that was covered in brown, crinkled leaves that still hadn’t decayed from last year. The only way I could tell where her head was because of her sparkling brown eyes. “I apologize for Ranger the wolf. Wolves have… Trust issues. Believe me. And Ranger takes ‘earning trust’ to a whole new level.”
     I nodded my head, making a mental note to never be around Ranger. I fingered the soft blanket between my thumb and forefinger and looked at Evergreen. I still wasn’t entirely sure I could trust her, but since she was answering every question, it probably wouldn’t hurt to pose this one.
     “What’s wrong with me?” I asked softly, bracing myself for the answer.
     Evergreen looked at me, her cheery brown eyes becoming sad and misty and I braced myself even more. “I don’t approve of keeping things away from patients when they ask for it, unless it’d vital that they not hear.” Evergreen paused for a moment. “You were shot with some sort of memory eraser. However, it wasn’t as serious as one was. You still remembering talking and you remember things, you just can’t place them with pictures or names. One girl was shot so bad she had to learn to walk again. Brianna…”
     I didn’t mean to be rude, but I could tell she was starting to go on a long story-telling, maybe even on purpose.
     Evergreen sighed. “Honey, that’s the problem. We don’t know why.”

     To be continued...
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