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Wandering Dark

by Waters Dragonfriend 4 months ago in Young Adult
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Runaway

Wandering Dark
Photo by Almos Bechtold on Unsplash

You’d think in a town the size of this one girl would be able to disappear easily – or at least quickly.

I need to be more careful, spells where any pleb can stumble across….Damn, missed my alley, why do all self-appointed hunters have to be so fit! On any other day, I could outpace him. But today was not any other day and I just had to wear my heavy boots to mark the occasion. Need air…. I’ll hide here for a few moments, catch my breath. No one will think to look for a witch underneath temple stairs. Wonder if they’d let me invoke the right to Sanctuary…

“Where is she? Don’t let her get away.” He had a slimy sort of voice, higher than most men's, it seemed designed to make the hairs on your arms stand up. But who was he talking to?

“Don’t worry pet, she hasn’t gone too far. I can still smell the fear on her. You - Look inside the church, we’ll keep going” at least 3 then. And if the slimy voice scared me her smooth silk words had me frozen to the spot not daring to breathe. I hoped smelling my fear was just a figure of speech.

By the time I remembered how to breathe, light footsteps could just be heard coming back down the steps, no more than three feet from my poorly chosen hiding spot. don’t turn around, please don’t let me make a sound, I should have found somewhere darker, I should have been better prepared, should never have cast that dumb spe……what? Those eyes… having empty lungs saved me from screaming.… no one has eyes like that like there was no iris, no colour, but that light….

“Goddess of a thousand moons, Goddess of a thousand names, Send him a sign, Draw them away”

Breathing shallow and silent the mumbled spell may be the wrong move, but how else can I get past them…

“Over here, I heard her!”

No, not here, please goddess!

“After her!”

Thank you, Goddess! I hope they’re gone, MOVE!

The temple stairs led up to a set of big wooden doors, off to one side I could just make out the bottom of the fire escape. The climb was not as difficult as the running, rooftops had become my preferred place these last few months, I could see everyone coming and was easily gone long before they reached me. Rooftop City is a very different playground than the street below.

I could see home just a block away, in my terror, I’d missed the turn by 1 street.

Keeping low over the rooftops I made it home easily enough. I don’t think anyone followed me but I’ve never been able to shake the feeling of eyes on my back, not since I moved to this godforsaken city.

Nice spell, you could sure use some poetry classes. It got the job done though. Berating myself had become second nature lately, another change I didn’t like.

What do they say; the first sign of lunacy is talking to yourself. I must be a complete nut job. Living alone was decidedly not good for my conversation skills. Checking one last time for witnesses I pushed away from the broken boards that were my front (and back) door and crawled through, wincing as my hair caught yet again on the shards hanging down.

“Home sweet home, what I wouldn’t give for a hot cup of coffee, or cold, or anything".

I want to light a fire, but if I light another one in here I’ll either be thrown out or killed. Bed without dinner again, I will not cry, I will not! The hot tears that flowed were the most warmth I’d felt in what seemed a lifetime.

*

It was the rustling that woke her, the sound of the rats feasting. “It’s a pity she hasn’t had any real sleep in a long while, it showed, still she’s almost beautiful” He rubbed at the hair on his chin, after weeks of constant watching he was nothing to look at either. “Too much more of this and I’ll look like an animal” he chuckled wryly “Enough, I’ve been tracking her for too long to lose her now, appearances be damned, it's today.”

*

“Ugh, man do I need a shower, or a razor, anything so I don’t look like a hairy dog” stretching before getting out of bed was the only normal thing I had left.

Getting a job was a priority but with jobs for mangy bums on the scarce side, stealing and praying remained the order of the day. First, though O pried up the floorboard under the blankets on the floor. I keep a stash of loose coins, a comb and a broken piece of mirrored glass hidden there.

“If one must be hairy, one can at least be free of knots” Inching nearer to the small window I tried to detangle my too-far-gone hair “if I don’t get some conditioner soon I’ll have to shave it all off” I made a face in the mirror and sighed, wondering if I might be able to fall into a fountain without anyone seeing.

Giving up the mirror and comb as a waste of effort I replaced them in the hole next to my other prized possessions; a Grimoire and a good (ish) set of clothes.

I carefully counted out most of the coins, too hungry to care that I was leaving myself dangerously short, before wrapping my hair in a scarf, grabbing my knapsack and moving out into the light of day.

People in the streets don’t see a homeless girl; they hide their delicate senses from the tragedy that was all around them in this city. Women look horrified and men are simply indifferent. I try to hide from view as much as possible, embarrassed for them and outright disgusted at myself. I know I am dirty. My face is grimy and I stink. My clothes are putrid.

I have no choice, no options left.

I failed at finding a job and I would not claim subsistence, there was no telling what might happen if I do. No, remaining off the grid was the best thing possible, even if it means my current lifestyle was the entirity of what I can aspire to. Its better than the alternative.

“I hope no one sees this…” pretending to fall into a fountain is harder than it looks. Knowing from previous experience that this one was deep enough to completely submerge in, I quickly scrubbed my face and arms before coming up for air.

“Y’know you could always find a shelter; that would be better than polluting public places like this” The words were cruel but the stranger's eyes were warm. He looked so ordinary. Blue jeans, sweater. A kind smile that made me almost hope he was the answer to my prayers.

“Oh, I, um, sorry” I feel the blood rush to my face and tried to run from the fountain. Being chest-deep in water all I succeeded in doing was falling over. Talk about adding insult to injury.

“It's ok, here give me your hand” the stranger reached to pull me out when he froze, whispering urgently “you must leave here! now, go!” Following his advice he grabbed my bag and took off, knocking me back into the fountain.

Thats the moment I felt my spirit break. I gave up right then, sinking to the ground and crying. I'm not sure I would ahve ever moved again if I hadn't heard the sound of that greasy high-pitched voice “that’s her, get her!”

Not again. With nowhere to hide and too waterlogged to run far in any case I did the next best thing and ran toward the most crowded place I could think of, the boutique district. The hunters were yelling, screaming curses, at me, at each other and at people in the street.

These guys are nuts, what do they want with me? All I did was cast one lousy spell that didn’t even work! But I know. I read the newspapers I steal for warmth. People in this city do not approve of the Dark Ones.

It was nearing midday as I fled into a particularly up-market street. Unfortunately, my plan to blend with the crowd failed. Spectacularly. People jumped back as I came near, leaving a perfect trail to follow. I think I heard people urging the hunters on.

Pounding into a small alleyway I let out a wordless scream when I smacked into a tan sweater, “YOU! Of all the lousy bastards to run into it had to be YOU! That’s mine”, I lunged for the knapsack the stranger had stolen earlier.

“And now it’s mine. Your devil won’t save you now” Two hunters had followed me into the alley, while the woman remained a few paces behind, waiting.

“Don’t listen to them, you can still fight and you will be saved but you have to believe it” The stranger was talking softly, his eyes had gone cold as he watched the men approach.

"Huh?" was the only thought I had time for when the world spun and I was slammed into a wall. The taller man had me pinned and the stranger just stood there.

“This isn’t anything to do with you, beat it” slime voice turned his back to the stranger, the woman was combing her hair as if this was an everyday event for her.

“My money’s on the girl” the stranger smiled and stepped back.

I struggled, it was a futile gesture but I really tried. I couldn’t get any air into my lungs, and I felt myself getting weaker by the second. My vision started going dark and spots floated in front of me before the woman finally spoke up.

“I want her awake you idiot, let her go” The ground moved up to meet me as the air came flooding back. I felt every atom of air and drop of blood surging through my body before I collapsed, convulsing, to my knees.

Young Adult

About the author

Waters Dragonfriend

An adventurous woman, teacher and writer. I have a broad range of life experiences and a desire to connect. I'm passionate about telling stories about people. I'm currently working on a psychological thriller/horror. So many ideas!

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insight

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

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Comments (1)

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  • Waters Dragonfriend (Author)4 months ago

    This is something I wrote a while ago. Its only the first part of the chapter. I will edit the rest soon and get it up as well

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