Chapter Nine- Drained Away
I wait where I am for a while, allowing Finch some time to return, before I head back to camp. He could have at least come back. What was the point of us leaving camp at all? All I gained was a fight with Finch, and as I set off, I am fully aware that I might be alone for a while. At least until Grey decides to come back. I know Grey will come back, he just needs time, but if I have truly annoyed Finch, I probably wouldn't see him again.
I'm walking through the sandy dunes, the dark sky falling like a black curtain, when animals finally begin to make a reappearnce. Birds are soaring through the sky, fast and low. A huge rat nearly runs over my feet as it searches for food before the night truly comes. About ten wolves are approaching from in front of me, running fast. Oh no not this again. The creatures are growling and these wolves look well fed, their bellies fat from a recent meal, I can smell their breaths, which reak of raw meat and that horrible smell of their hot breath, even though they are still a good length away from me. Well I'm better cared for this time to, true I am hungry but not starving, and I am strong and armed. I pull out my knife, I won't even consider the sword, ready for them. If I run, they will catch me, and I'll just be that much easier to take down. I have more chance living if I try to fight. I throw the knife I am holding at one of the wolves, which falls to the ground as I catch it in the neck, and quickly pull another one out of my belt. I throw another one at the oncoming pack and just barely catch the side of a wolf, making it even more agitated. The pack is nearly on me and I am throwing my knives at a furious pace, but only one hits an oncoming wolf in it's stomach, causing it to fall to the ground. I reach for another knife, the remainder of the pack only metres away from me, and feel my heart sink as I realise it is my last one. I better make it count. I throw it at the wolf closest to me and am satisfied when I see it fall to the ground. The wolf that was just after the one I just took down suddenly pounces at me, not even allowing me time to draw the sword, and knocks me to the ground, its teeth bared only inches from my face. Its claws dig into the side of my stomach and I cry out in pain as the wolf keeps pushing its claws deeper into me. I am saying a silent goodbye in my head to Grey and Finch when I suddenly feel the wolf thrown off of me and see it fly across the sand a good hundred yards. I sit up, which causes me to scream with the pain coming from my side, and look around to see who saved me from that beast. I can't see anyone. The only living thing near me is the remaining wolves, which have momentarily frozen in fear, but already two are slowly starting to edge towards me again. I double over with the pain in my stomach, my head spinning wildly causing the world to tilt over on itself, and put a hand at my wound, which is glistening red with blood when I pull it away.
"Gilia!" I hear my name called but it's neither Grey or Finch. It's that guy with his silky smooth voice. Wait how does he know my name? I wish I could find out. Solve that little mystery before I die. I suddenly get a weird feeling, as if my energy is being very quickly drained away. Just as the sensation of being drained has stopped, I see a ball of dark, crackling light race across my vision and head towards the wolves. The dark light hits the ground where the wolves are and explodes in a dome of pure darkness with strange golden flickerings here and there. Looking at it sends a chill down my spine, it is impossible to see into but I can hear the yowling of the wolves trapped inside it. I feel the effort it is now taking me to keep my eyes open and feel my head pounding and my side feels as if someone is twisting a knife in me. The dark dome of energy finally ebbs and I see the wolves lying dead on the ground. What was that? I can't keep my eyes open anymore but I still have a hold on my conciousness. I lay balled up in the sand and listen to the silence. So peaceful, no sounds of anything trying to kill me. Then I feel someone touching my arm with a feather-light touch, as if I might break. I let out a low moan as this persons touch seems to be sending adrenaline through my veins, but then I let out a cry that catches in the back of my throat as they lightly try to examine my wound. I hear a sigh and feel myself being lifted off of the ground and am now in someones arms. I think that the jostling about knocked all that was left out of me and I slip into unconsciousness.
I wake up back in our little house in camp. I am bundled up in many layours of furs and whenever I attempt to move,stabbing pains in my side crash over me that nearly knock me out. My hand goes down to where my wound is and I feel that it has been bandaged. I pull myself up into a sitting position, which causes excrutiating pain, and look around to see who brought me back. I look down and almost laugh as I see that beautiful wolf blanket has been put over me. I lightly stroke the soft blanket. I must admit, I hate wolves with a passion but this weird blanket is actually just a piece of art. I look over at the far wall to see the sword propped up against it, at least I was able to hold onto that, I want to give that back to Grey when he comes back. But lying on the floor on top of a simple fur blanket, are all my knives, lined up perfectly straight snd they all appear to have been cleaned. This is just confusing me way to much now so I choose to ignore it, to forget about the miracle of someone bringing me back alive and trying to heal me, but that's not the kind of thing that I forget easily. I get up and feel my side scream at me in pain. As I walk outside into the quickly falling dusk, my head begins to spin and I am violently sick as soon as I get outside. My throat is on fire so I go back inside, get one of my knives, and hack at the exterior of one of the cacti surrounding the camp, yearning for the sweet liquid inside. I am sipping on surprisingly cool water, which I caught in a cup as it came out of the cactus, when I begin to think about food which causes my stomach to turn just with the thought. I feel so dirty that it is uncomfortable but I don't want to risk bathing in the stream because of my wound. So instead I huddle up in between the fur covers and go back to sleep.
I wake up to the smell of food, which makes me gag. Finch must be back then. I look out the doorway and see that night has fallen and try to work out whether I have been asleep for a few hours, or if I have been asleep for a full day. I hear Finch get up and approach so I pretend to be asleep. I don't feel like talking reallly.
"Do you want any food?" Finch asks, without even checking to see if I'm asleep.
"No." I say. Silence follows for about a minute.
"You may want to check this out." Finch says. What could be so important that I have to get up. I grudgingly get to my feet, which sends a painful shooting sensation through my side, and follow Finch outside. I am surprised when I see him crawl through the cacti and leave the camp, but I just crawl through as well. When I pull myself up from the ground I see that Finch is on top of the small hill. I join him on the hilltop.
"What's wrong?" I ask. Finch just points down the hill and into the distance. I look to where Finch is pointing and notice the smoke that is rising up from a fire that appears small from this distance. I squint and make out the shape of a person, who looks hazy from the light of the fire, and get a faint sensation of the adrenaline I felt when I was attacked by the wolves.
"It's not Grey is it?" I ask Finch.
"No. If it was Grey I don't think he would be able to stop himself from coming back." Finch replies.
"Who do you think it is then?" Finch doesn't answer my question.
"What should we do?" I ask instead. Finch just looks at me.
"What can we do?" Finch says, answering my question with another question. I hate it when people do that.
"I don't know, attack them? It's two against one so we would probably win." I say.
"You're injured and I can't kill someone." Finch replies.
"Why not? You're great at fighting!" I say.
"That's not what I mean, I mean I couldn't live with myself if I killed someone innocent." Ugh, Finch and his morals really annoy me.
"What if it's someone from a tribe who wouldn't hesitate to kill us?" I question.
"Why would they attack us if it really is two against one?" Finch says.
"Well what if they run into Grey. He's unarmed!" I say.
"How would they even know about Grey? They might know about us but if they do they probably think that we're the only people around."
"So what if they attack us in the middle of the night?" I retort.
"Then we'll set up a watch. I'll take the first watch, you go back to camp and get some sleep." Finch says, eager for me to leave. I follow Finch's advice and head back to camp, leaving him at the top of the hill, and as soon as I am back through the cacti, even though I have been sleeping non-stop, I crawl in between the fur covers a re-enter the twilight zone that is my dreamless sleep.
I wake up feeling well rested and get up and realise that my side has stopped hurting and is now just feeling numb. Upon this discovery I decide to take a dip in the stream. I go outside and feel the heat of the morning quickly hit me. I walk down to the stream and quickly strip off and get in, but I leave the bandage on as I am not to sure if I should uncover my injury. I wash my clothes, get out of the stream and redress into the wet clothes, knowing they will be quickly dried by the sun. I feel so refreshed and happy now that I have had a wash. I go back to the centre of camp and only now realise that Finch still isn't back. I feel bad for making him keep watch last night when he mustn't have had much sleep anyway. He must be asleep on top of the hill. I quickly get a drink then leave the camp to search for Finch so I can take over the post of look out from him and, as bad as I feel for even thinking it, so he can quickly make a meal. When I reach the hilltop I am surpised to see that Finch is not there. Panic suddenly floods through me and I look down the hill to where the dull fire is, which has been made useless with the coming of the dawn, and realise the stranger that was down there is gone as well. I am really scared that this stranger has attacked Finch, and before I know what I am doing, I find that I am running down the hill to the dying fire. When I get there the first thing I notice is the sword lying next to the fire, which is about the only thing around, and feel a small bit of relief. At least this person isn't armed. I look down at the sword and realise it is a very strange weapon. The metal of the sword is the same colour as a pitch black night. Weird. I pick up the sword, curious, and am surpised when I discover that holding this sword feels as if I just have a grip on the air, it is that light. Holding the sword sends a strange tingling sensation down my arm, and looking at it reminds me of the ball of energy that went past me when I was attacked by the pack of wolves. I hear footsteps behind me, which causes my blood to freeze, and I drop the sword and turn around and feel relief flood through me when I realise that it is Finch.
"Gilia what are you DOING? Are you CRAZY?" Finch hisses angrily at me in a whisper.
"Where were you?" I say cautiously, not wanting to anger him more.
"I was on top of the hill." Finch replies, his voice still angry.
"No you weren't. I was up there looking for you and I couldn't find you." I reply.
"Yes I was, you just weren't looking hard enough!" Finch says.
"Finch, you weren't, the hills not that big that I wouldn't be able to see you if you were up there!"
"Come on Gilia, we're going back to camp!" Finch says as he grabs hold of my wrist and tows me back, I try to pull away but Finch has an iron grip on me. As we reach the top of the hill I twist around and see the person back at there camp and, even from this distance, I know they are staring at me, their gaze going deeper then just looking at me and I feel a shiver go down my spine as I twist back around, breaking this persons stare from my eyes.