Chapter Two- Grey
I finally make it to the patch of cacti that marks the entrance to our camp. Somehow, I have managed to hold onto the hyena I killed earlier. At least we will have some food tonight. We always get much more food on the days that Finch hunts, as he is the best hunter anyone could wish for. I slide the dead beast through a secret break in the cacti that is just big enough to crawl through. I go through the small crawl space as soon as I see the carcass moved. As soon as my head emerges from the hole, Grey rushes over to help me up, smiling down at me, looking almost shy. He is so cute when he does that.
"How was the hunt?" He asks as I am brushing myself off. I don't want to tell Grey about the person I saw watching me. It would only worry him and he would probably try to track this mysterious person down.
"Slow." I reply looking down at the ground, hoping Grey will not see the blank expression I always wear when I am lying to him. "Got bored after a few hours and decided to just bring this back. Probably would be all I would be able to get anyway."
Grey suddenly grabs my shoulder to make me face him. "Are you sure you're ok? I don't like you going out alone. Next time you go to hunt, i'm coming with you." Greys voice is almost stern as he tells me this. He worries about me to much. I look up into his deep brown eyes and am momentarily stunned. Did Grey always look this handsome? I feel something strange stir inside me and look away from Grey to regain my normal thoughts.
"Grey, please don't, really i'm fine." I give him a fake smile, but he must think i'm playing him for a fool as he drops the conversation. Grey walks off to find Finch so he can prepare our small meal.
I remember my first night with Grey so clearly. It was not hard to see that night because of the thousands of stars in the sky, and the full moon hanging in the sky shining down on the world. We were feasting on roasted wolf and sipping water from handmade wooden cups. Well, Grey and Finch were sipping water, I was gulping it down as quickly as I could manage and, even though I had been hungry for so long, eating even little amounts of food began a series of stabbing pains in my stomach. I knew though, as long as these two were around, I would be ok. As soon as we had finished our meal, Finch had walked off a bit of a distance, mumbling something about keeping watch. Just as soon as Finch had left, Grey began to attack me with a series of questions. It seemed that everything he asked me, I didn't know the answer to. Where did I come from? Did I have any family? Was I from a tribe? He had asked me how old I was, and I had guessed fourteen as I liked this age. The sun was rising in the sky, and I had not had any sleep. In fact, I had felt alert and vigilant. Apparantly Grey was not tired either as he kept up his questionaire until long past sunrise.
In return for my few answers to his questions, I learned that Grey was nearly sixteen, and had been wandering the desert for three years.
"So where did you come from?" I had asked him. It was about time I had asked him something to as I did not like being questioned about myself. I don't know why, but I had felt stupid about my small amount of knowledge on my own life.
"You wouldn't be able to listen to my story. I must admit, its a bit of a mover." Grey said, pulling a smile with one side of his mouth. Somehow the expression made me think of a puppy.
"Try me." I said, sliding over the sand to be closer to him. This had the desired effect as his breathing seemed to speed up as he realised how relaxed I was around him.
"After three years I forgot how girls can make you feel." He had said. Just as I was begining to ponder over this statement Grey began talking again. "I was once in one of the biggest tribes in the land. We lived in huts that were the size of sheds. Sand was heated and mixed with various plants and water to make a cement like mixture. Our huts were shaped like hills except there were rises on top that acted as chimneys to let out the smoke that came from our cooking fires. Everyone kept to themselves and didn't talk to anyone who didn't live in their hut. The Tribehead did not like us communicating. The Tribehead lived in a lived in a house at the top of the village on top of a hill. In all tribes, was a leader called the Tribehead. The Tribehead would pick some girls from the age of three who would be destined to serve him in just three years time. The Tribeheads wife and children were not allowed to leave the house because of an incident that happened before, in the same tribe, where one women killed the Tribeheads wife in the hope that the Tribehead would pick her as a new wife. She was pubically executed. Once a week, the spokesman of the tribe would tell tales of the old world. Marvellous stories of massive buildings and many houses clustered together which were even bigger then the Tribeheads. The spokesman was also responsible for teaching young children. Up until the age of nine, every child had to attend a daily lesson that was actually just devoted to teaching about the old land. Once a child reached nine, they had to attend special classes. These classes taught children how to perform one type of task. The tasks were doctors, foragers, hunters, builders and blacksmiths. If you could not perform one of these tasks, you were destined for basic home life or shopkeeping." Grey had then turned to me and he seemed to see how intently I was listening to a tribes daily life, as he seemed to smile at the thought of having such a good audience. He stared at the dying flames of the fire before continuing. "All kids had to try each task for a month. At the end of that month, their were tests in each task which would determine which task you did. After it was decided which task you were best at, everyone was split up and put into groups that performed these tasks. Seeing as there was nearly no training involved in the lessons, what task you got depended on your natural skills and build. I had a certain skill for finding edible plants. I just seemed to know what plants could be used for food or healing. So, when we had a class on foraging, it was evident this was my task. I could climb up any tree without breaking a branch. When we had our test on foraging, one part of it was selecting an edible berry out of three. Two were poisonous and one was edible. I knew in seconds which was the edible one. Another part of the test involved me searching for plants that could be used to treat a stab wound. It was just a recognisation test really. Of course, I got the task of foraging and joined the group. We went out of the walls of the tribe except sundays. That was when the spokesman told tales of the old land. It was mandatory to go."
"What happened if you didn't go?" I asked
"You would not be allowed to buy anything from stores, not even food. You would be left to fend for yourself for two weeks. And that would include all members of your hut." The look on Greys face showed he knew a lot about this.
"Tribes must have taken their tales very seriously." I said.
"I think it was more out of respect for the old world and its occupants." Grey replied.
"So why did you leave?" I asked.
"Getting there. One day a sandstorm started. It was particularly bad. It stopped travel through the desert as it was so hard to see and navigate the sands. And, also, getting back to the tribe was another big problem. On the third day of the sandstorm, early in the morning, I awoke to shouting outside. Everyone had went out to see what it was, and in the middle of the road that wound through the tribe, was an old man, not from the tribe, running in circles, waving his arms above his head and speaking in a strange, unintelligable tongue. The Tribehead came out to see what was happening and saw the man. Now trust me, this guy looked like no kind of threat. He was wearing rags, had a long tangled beard and moustache and was about as tall as me back then. But the Tribehead ordered the man to be killed without waiting for any explanations." Grey was looking out over the sandy hills, the fire illuminating his eyes which were filled with a burning anger. "I couldn't stand to live among people who knew nothing but murder! So that night I left. Luckily the sandstorm had calmed a bit. I randomly wandered the desert, with a strange force deciding my course. I survived off of water from cacti and ate fruit. Luckily I ran into no wild animals. Foolishly I hadn't thought of taking anything to defend myself with. I kept an eye out for anyone wandering the desert, like the man that entered my tribe, but found no one. After a while I missed the company of other people. Loneliness engulfed me like a wave. I needed to see someone, even if it was only one other person. But I knew I could not go back to my tribe, as I would be killed as a traitor, and I couldn't enter another tribe as I knew I would be killed on the spot. I had been on my own for weeks and I began to feel as if I was the only person left in the world. Then one day as dusk was falling and I was up a tree harvesting fruit, I saw smoke rising up in the distance that could only have been lit by a lone person. I set out for it immediatly, no longer caring about rest or food. It was like some force was pulling me towards people, and I couldn't break away from it, even if I wanted to. Days passed, and I felt as if I was going in circles. The only thought I seemed to form was, surely I should have found someone by now? One day I just collapsed. I wasn't tired or dehydrated, but I was just convinced that I was the only person left in the world. That somehow the small handful of people left had died and I was the only person left in the whole universe. I no longer had the will to go on and just sat on the sand. After a few hours, just as the sun began to sink in the sky, I heard soft footfalls approaching me quickly from behind, but did not dare look for fear it was another of the deserts mind tricks. Suddenly, I felt a strange prescence behind me, which was strange as I couldn't before feel people behind me. I turned and was met by a sword right at my face, only inches away. I looked up and saw that a trembling hand was holding the sword. I looked at the face of the first person I had seen in months. I saw Finch staring at me, anger and fear having a battle on his face. "Who are you and where did you come from?" He had asked me. I could hear the tremble in his voice. " "My names Grey and I come from a tribe." I had answered. His sword moved closer to my face. "But I left." I had finished. Finch pulled his sword away from my face a bit, unsure of what to make of me. "Look, I can help you. See, I don't have any weapons, what could I do to you?" I had quickly said before he changed his mind and decided to kill me. After that, Finch and me traded knowledge, and by the end of the night, decided to stay together. Finch taught me to hunt and I taught him to forage. We soon became great partners." Grey had then looked at me as if waiting for an answer or something.
"You've sure been through a lot." I replied, wondering if I should have said anything more.
Grey quickly returned with Finch. When Finch saw my kill, he made a face.
"And how much meat did you expect me to get off that?" Finch asks me
"I'm sorry. I'll be sure to complain to the manager of the store about this one." I answered and Grey and Finch burst out laughing. You know things are bad when my jokes are funny.
"Come on, lets get this thing over to camp." Says Grey, as if trying to be responsible. Grey and Finch started to head off and I began to follow them, my pace quickened, as I tried to keep up with them. My gaze wandered upwards and far off in the distance, at a point where I can just barely make them out, I see a person standing on top off a high hill, and i'm probably wrong but it looks like they are staring right at me.