Tiny feet raced past the trees and ground, crushing dirt and bugs under them. Clinched fist punched in the air faster than the little girls breathing. Her green dress pressed against her sweaty skin and her red hair stuck to her rosy cheeks. She ran throughout the forest, never hesitating for a moment to jump over bushes and let tree branches smack harshly against her face causing it to sting. She had to keep running, but why?
The thought popped into her mind and, for the first time in a while, she stopped completely and looked behind her. As her breathing slowed she realized that there was nothing behind her. Why was she running, then, this whole time? Running as if her life depended on it. Why?
"Jack!" The women yelled down the street toward a figure walking away. "Jack, you forgot your bag!" The man turned slowly around, his expression inattentive at first and then he gave a small smile. He walked back to the prim house and took the bag from the older lady holding it out towards him.
"Thanks, mom," he said, sliding the strap onto his shoulder.
"If you're going to run away," she said, unconsciously placing a strand of his blonde hair behind his ear, as she always did when he would leave for school as a kid, "At least take a bit of food with you."
"I have money, mom," Jack retorted, "I have a plan..."
"To wonder the states, looking for somewhere you can call home, I know," she said with a frown, and a sad sigh. "You're old enough to do as you please, and I won't stop you, but I'll at least make sure you don't die within the first few days." Jack was prepared to fight back with a snarly response like he always did, but instead he reached out and gave her a hug.
"Tell pop I said bye, okay," he said into her hair that always smelled of chestnut.
"You said it to him last night," she said and they pulled away with reluctance. "Come back whenever you want, we'll be waiting."
"I know you will," Jack said before turning around as quick as he could so she wouldn't see him start to redden in dolor. He walked quickly, not wanting to miss the 10:27 bus to Pennsylvania from Maryland. As he walked down the streets he passed others who waved and honked their horns at him. One in particular, that he would always remember, was the young Mary Lewis who followed him with her pink tricycle as he walked toward his first destination.
"Where are you going, Jack," she sang.
"I'm going..." he murmured, "on an adventure."
"Can I come?" she asked, excitedly.
"I'd love you to, but I'm afraid this will be too dangerous for such a young girl to embark on," he said, giving her his best smile, "maybe another time, when you're older."
She continued to follow him until they reached the bus station where he gave her a pat on the head before going onto the bus just in time before its' doors closed, engine ran and it pulled away from his old home town, from his mom, his friends, his school; he said goodbye to it all.
"Goodbye, Amber," he muttered, looking straight ahead at his next destination.
After traveling for five hours the bus stopped at a rest stop for a one hour break. Jack got off and found a spotted under a tree near a lightly wooded woods. He placed his jacket on the lightly dew ground and sat against the tree, letting his legs long legs stretch out in front of him. He reached in his backpack and pulled out a foil wrapped sandwich that his mom had packed him along with crackers and a soda. He took a bite and, for the first time since he woke up, began to relax a bit. He looked up at the leaves that fluttered in the wind, only letting the tinniest bits of sunshine fall on his face. I've done it
, he thought, I've gotten away from it, just like I always planned.
"But it wasn't your plan, it was ours," an all too familiar voice said, making Jack jump from away from the tree and look frantically around himself. But there was no one there, he was all alone. Just a voice in my head,
he thought, squeezing his eyes closed and leaning, once again, against the tall tree. He looked up and tried to calm himself down, opening his eyes to look back at the flowing leaves, but instead was greeted with huge, green eyes and vibrant red hair. He almost yelled but it got caught in his throat, so instead he stared, wide-eyed, at the the girl hanging above whose red hair tickled his chin.
"Hello," she said with a smile, revealing clean, straight teeth.
"Hi," Jack said back with a bit a wariness in his voice.
"Sorry to interrupt your relaxed mood, but I was wondering if you could spare a cracker or two?" she asked. Without a word Jack handed her his bag of crackers and she looked at them with hope. "The whole thing, for me?" she exclaimed. Jack just nodded, still in a bit of shock. "Thank you, sir." In one swift move she fell from the tree and squatted beside Jack, balancing the the soles of her boots. "My name is Crie, by the way."
"Cry?" Jack said, quite confused.
"Yeah, C-R-I-E," she spelled out and popped a cracker into her mouth.
"No offense, but that's a strange name," Jack said as he watched her eat.
"I've been told," she smiled, "but I like it. It's different."
"Yeah it is," he said and thought so are you.
He watched Crie eat the crackers with a peaceful expression on her face.She couldn't be any older than Jack who was 23. She was wearing a long, light green shirt and gray leggings.Covering her long feet were black boots that were well worn.
"What's your name," she asked abruptly.
"Jack," he answered.
"Jack," she said, nodding her head, "you must be a cool guy."
"What makes you think that?" he asked.
"Jack is a cool name," she said in a matter-a-fact tone that made him smirk.
"I guess I was pretty popular back home. What about you?"
"What about me?"
"Are you a cool girl?" he asked
"I wouldn't know," she frowned "I'm what you would call a wanderer. I never stayed around a group of people long enough to know if I'm 'cool'" Her face took on a new expression, like the question had frustrated her. Jack didn't like the expression on her, though he didn't know why, so he said,
"I just started wandering myself. Why not tag along with me and I can tell you whether or not you're cool." She looked at him with a surprised look, like he had just asked her marry him, and then she smiled.
"Sure, why not," she said. "Where are you heading?"
"North," he said.
"Just north?" she asked.
"Yeah, just north," he answered.
"Sounds fun," she smiled, popping another cracker into her mouth before stretching out her small hand to shake his huge one.
Once Crie bought her ticket they both sat next to each other as they waited for the bus to load and move on. As they waited Jack noticed something he had seen before. On Crie's right arm, from shoulder to her elbow, was a thin wrapping of gauze that was tied tight around her arm.
"What happened?" he asked, pointing at it.
"Oh, just an embarrassing birth mark," she said nonchalantly.
"Wow, that's a pretty big birth mark," he said, "maybe I can see it one day."
"Maybe," she said looking straight ahead. Jack thought he saw her frown just a bit, but if she did it was only for a moment.
There was a sudden jump in the normally queit, dark cabin that woke Jay with a start. She lifted her pale face and squinted her black eyes down on the ground where two teenage boys sat next to the upturned table that they slept under. They both sat straight up, facing the own window in the cabin that was broken, letting in the smell of the forest that surrounded them. She yawned and said,
"What is it, Kin and Jin?" At the sound of their names being said they turned and looked at the slim, lengthy woman who laid, stretch on the dirt covered couch.
"The reptile is closing in," they said in perfect unison as their noses twitched vigorously with every sniff. At the sound of this the hulking figure that sat huched over in the corner let out a groan of contempt.
"Ah," the woman said, sitting up and stretching her arms behind her back, "I was beginning to think she was never going to come." She stood and folding down, touching her toes and stretching her back and legs. "Well, you know the drill. The client said that this should be an easy mission, apparently the girl isn't a violent. But just in case it doesn't go as planned then you know what to do," she turned and nodded at the young girl who was hanging by her knees from the top of the door, "Lilinette."
"Aye, Jay," she nodded back.
"I'm hungry!" Crie cried as she and Jack sat on the moving bus. They had been on there for three hours and this was the first time Crie had said anything other than 'that's nice' when she saw anything outside the window. They hadn't talked much, about anything besides what they passed as they drove on.
"I'm all out of snacks," Jack murmured, "but I think we're about to stop for gas, so we'll get what we can from the next rest stop." Crie muttered complaints under her breath, but didn't say anything more. He sighed and looked out the bus window, beginning to wonder if this was a good idea. This wasn't his plan, taking this random girl along with him on this trip that was suppose to clear his mind. Was he really making the right choice? He hardly even knew her.
"We will now be taking a 2 hour break at this rest stop," the bus driver said as they pulled up to a gas station with a food court behind it, surrounded by thick woods. Jack got goose bumps as he walked out of the bus and looked into the woods. He felt as though something was peering at him from the shadows of the tree. He turned to Crie who had stopped behind him, staring at forest with an expression that was a mix of fear and sadness.
"Hey, Crie," Jack said, touching her arm gently. "Are you okay?"
"Huh," she said, snapping out of her trance and looking at him as if she had never seen him before. "Oh, it's just you."
"What's wrong?" he asked. She shook her head, staring back at the woods. "Well, there's food in there, let's go."
"This was a bad idea," she said suddenly.
"What do mean?" he asked, surprised.
"Thanks for the offer, but I think I'll travel on my own from here," she said without looking at him and turning and walking down the empty road. "Sorry." Jack stared after her, not knowing what to do or say. Perhaps it was best she did leave, he thought, it does solve the problem. Yet as he thought this he began to walk after her. He couldn't explain why he needed to follow her. Maybe it was because he didn't want to travel alone, or he just wanted to travel with her.
Maybe it was because he didn't like the way the trees rustled on the windless day.
Looking down on the fiery haired creature Jay felt a wave of unbearable excitment that made her feathers twitch. Her was her chance to snatch her up like an owl on a mouse. But just as those mutts had said, she was being accompained my a man, although is seemed she was tryng to speperate from him. To late, Jay thought.
"Just go away," Cry pleaded over her shoulder as she walked down the road, looking warily around herself like a mouse in an open feild.
'"What are you so scared of?" Jack demanded, striding closer to her.
"I'm not scared!" she insisted angrily.
"Yeah, well you sure seem that way," he scoffed, but then almost feel backward when she suddenly turned and stared him straight on with furious, green eyes.
Perfect, Jay thought, stretching her shining, black wings in preparation of flight. Stay like that...
"I. Am. Not. Scared!" The look in her eyes, anger mixed with a voilatial passion, made Jack want to kneel in forgivness and run away with yellow stained pants. Buts instead he stared back in her burning, green eyes and asked,
"Then what are you doing if you're not stumbling away in fear?"
Stay right there...
"I was trying to protect you," she answered in a trembling voice.
"Protect me?" Jack pertruted, shocked. "From who?"
And prepare to meet your...
"From..." Cry started.
What happened next was like clockwork. Time had stopped, or at least slowed down by 95%. Jack, not fully understanded what Cry said, looked at her with utter confusion. And then he was suddenly aware of a prescence that was edging closer and closer towards him. A prescence filled with the intintion to kill. Before he turn his head something pushed at his chest, flying him away, and then there was only fire. He covered his face with his arms, but felt no heat edging nearr him. And then there was a blood-currdling cry of agony. Cry, he thought, and looked between his arms.
But it was not Cry who was screaming out the last of her life with all that she had. No, he wasn't even sure if she was human, or a "she". It seemed like woman from forehaed o chin, but the rest is the body of a raven, times ten its normal size. And it was slowly turning into something unrecognizable as the fire ate away at its' body, with a hurger that would never end. And standing only a few feet away, watching with unfazed eyes was a girl named Cry.
That's what almost everyone said to the girl named Crie.
Texte: Lauren Williams
Bildmaterialien: Emmy Wahlback
Tag der Veröffentlichung: 07.02.2013
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