I never thought my life would turn out this way. Running for my life, fighting to find my next meal. From the beginning to the end, I still can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I had stayed. I had planned a different life for me, nice and legal. But life always seams to have other ideas.
I was awakened with a boom. Smoke was everywhere, above the mess of frantic children someone was shouting
“WHO THE HECK MESSED UP THE EXPLOSIVES AGAIN!”
“Not again,” I mumbled drowsily forcing myself to crawl out of my sleeping bag.
“Where’s Shadow?” someone yelled. I looked around hoping that Shadow was going to take care of the mess.
“Of Course not,” I growl. Shadow is the leader of the Night Clan. He’s about sixteen and helped build the Night Clan. Our first leader was Valerie, shadow’s sister, died a few years back. I grabbed a chair and climbed on top of it wobbling a little.
“Everyone calm down,” I announced with as much authority as I could manage at what I assumed horribly early in the morning. Kids stopped moving around and stared at me. One kid even stopped crying. Score.
“I know you’re all scared bu-” I had began to say but a kid cut me off.
“I’m not scared” a little kid with freckles said. I kept my cool and ignored him.
“But now is not the time to become frantic and chaotic. Now is the time to stick together and survive.” I said, trying to say something strong, powerful, and positive in just a few words.
“I agree Phoenix,” Shadow said while he leaned on the doorway entrance his black hair messily arranged but he still looked handsome. He walked casually to the chair I was on. He nodded for me to get off it. I stepped down and hoped he would top off my speech with something positive. I knew Shadows best skill wasn’t public speaking.
“Hello everyone, I’m sorry about that mishap. Will everyone calm down and I will try not to let this happen again.” Shadow smiled and got down from the chair.
Not bad, I thought but he could have been more supportive, I muse.
“I need to talk to you,” he said as he passed me and nodded at the entrance. Great, this must be good. I moved behind him and walked through the entrance. We live in basically a bunch of underground tunnels were still building we had to leave our old home which was in Terence. We make a sharp turn I get a nose full of smoke, I cant help but cough. Shadow smiles and says
“ It’s really smoky down here” Really? You wouldn’t say. I began to notice black on the walls .
“ How big was this explosion? ”
Shadow says nothing as we make another turn. Sapphire walks up to us silently followed by Rivers. She’s one of Shadows right hand people.
“ Hey,” Sapphire says looking tired.
“ Hey,” I respond back searching for the point of this meaningless chatter. Why cant she just get to the point? We’re friends after all.
“ We had a problem with the explosives,” she says finally after an awkward silence .
“ I noticed,” she and Shadow exchange looks.
“We were wondering if you could do us a favor and calm down the kids upstairs, “ Sapphire says uneasy then adds, “because you’re a really good speaker and all.”
“ Sure…. “ I say . “You mean the kids I just talked to right?”
“That would be awesome,” Ryan says coming out of nowhere, enthusiastically doing a power walk over to us. He’s big in construction. Also being hated in the morning. “And after, would you go scavenging for nails?”
JUST GREAT! Scavenging at around Freak early. Definitely not on my top 10 list of things to do. It’s actually kind of sad how many things I do that are on that list. Well if I actually had a list.
Sapphire seeing my face quickly added, “You’re really doing us a big favor, because we really need nails.”
“ Sure, I’ll do it.” I answer unhappily.
“Thanks,” Ryan says and turns around and walks away.
“ It’s really nice that your doing this. I know it’s really early. But your like our best scavenger,” Sapphire says nodding and the same time her ponytail bouncing up and down at every syllable. I smile not because I’m happy but because of the ponytail looks so funny.
“Thanks Phen,” Shadow says sincerely.
“No problem,” and with that I turned around and head toward the other Night members I just left. Rivers walked next to me, her white blonde hair swirled behind her.
“Oh by the way, how’s construction going?” I asked not looking back as I walked forward.
“Pretty good” Shadow yells back to me. I hope construction won’t take long I think. Even though my rooms been assigned to me its still not furnished yet. Most kids don’t even have their own rooms made yet, I only have mine because I’m the best head scavenger besides, I’m pretty used to sleeping in the same room with other people.
“Have fun” Rivers whispers barley hearable her crystal blue eyes looking at me.
“ O, I will” I say as she turns down another tunnel. She had such a weird way of showing concern. It takes barley any time to reach the room I slept in. Everyone’s still pretty much up, waiting for someone to tell them what happed. I stroll across the room and jump on the chair.
“ Everythings fine, the explosion will hopefully not happen again. Now everyone relax and get some sleep” Kids nod and get back into there sleeping bags, some of the older brothers and sisters tuck the younger kids back into bed before sliping to there beds as well.
“ Phoenix, will you tuck me in” says Victoria I nod and move over to her. I crouch and pull her covers up.
“ I miss my Mum” she whispers
“ I know” Victoria is one of those kids with no brothers and sisters to take care of her, I found her on the street about a year back with only a teddy bear and a letter that her mom had written her before she died. So ever since then I’ve been taking care of her or at least till she turns seven. Seven is the age she gets apprenticed, she chooses what she wants to be here, and the next 3 years she spends training. She’s currently five, with no clan name. I’m 14, female and a scavenger, debatably one of the most dangerous jobs in the Clan. As scavenger I’m constantly running for my life from guards who are out to get me, you always have to be on guard, and your always having to find items that we cant make or grow which means you really have to be creative on getting these items. All the kids that are here parents have either died or they were abandoned. Over the years, I’ve found about 15 kids and brought them back here where they can have a better life. In reality the kids that we don’t find die from starvation or become thieves .The guards thinks all the gangs are together. When in reality we are as different as night and day. There are four other gangs all run by adults other then Fire (original),is the most dangerous. They are manipulative and always, always carry Val explosives around with them which is really annoying when your in a fight with them. We are the Night Clan we always carry around darts. Most of them will knock anyone out for about two hours depending on their size .
“ What do you want to be Victoria?” She doesn’t even hesitate when she says
“Seamstress” I nod, seamstresses make clothes for the Clan but they have very little adventure in there lives, not that I’m judging of course.
“ Good choice” I say smiling “ Now go to bed, never know what’s going to happen tomorrow ” she smiles at me, but doesn’t close her eyes.
“Goodnight Victoria” I say. . I silently get up. It’s what I’m known for, my silent walk. I move to my bag and attach my belt which carries my sheath with my sword in it along with a little bag with tools in it attached to the belt, a whip, comes in handy, a bit of Val it’s explosive, some medical stuff, a bunch of darts, small empty pouch for coins or nails in this case, and I put on my gloves, and steel tipped boots. I then swing my black cloak on and finally put my bow and bag on my back with my sack. I move out of the room and up to the floor beneath the surface. It’s a nice room, it has a fireplace in one corner and a couch in the other along with a long list of items we need, two Night guards always stand next to the entryway.
“Up already Phoenix “ says Griffin handing me a list of what we need. He appears even more serious as his movement makes the firelight shadows dance under his eyes, making the dark spots look almost depressing to me. I vaguely wonder if I look nearly as bad, probably worse.
“Seems longer than usual “ I say studying it, Griffin nods, the scar above his right eyebrow becoming more visible.
“You know Kinsley, hasn’t come back yet “
“How long?” I demand, maybe it’s not too late,
“A day now” Griffin says grimly.
I looked down and say, “Has anyone told Kelsey?” Kelsey is or was Kinsey’s sister, she‘s the second in command chief. Sadly you need food to be a chief, which were somewhat lacking.
“No,” Griffin mumbles while rubbing his face. This is not a good day for me; up at 2:00 in the morning, find out another person disappeared again, now we’re down to seven scavengers not good, not good at all. Seven people to find items and food for about 60.
“ I assume you want me to tell Kelsey,” I say unhappily.
“It would be helpful but lets discuss this later” Griffin says, then points at the list
“ Better get going.” Griffin unlocks the door. I walk through the door and climb up the built in ladder. Once I reach the end of the ladder, I reach up and unlatch the top of the cap. I slowly climb out even at 2:00 my senses are completely alert, any drowsiness that I had earlier was gone. I move out of the hole slowly and carefully. I have to make sure guards don’t see me or it could put the entire Clan in jeopardy. Once I know that the coast is completely clear, I move toward the door. We live in the outer circle because there once was a massive battle and Cambridge’s outer wall fell so all the people on the outer circle moved into the inner circle which is where the castle is, anyway people never moved back, so bandits and thieves started taking up residents. So over time the problem got so bad the Royals put a guy in charge of getting rid of us. That’s how Captain Robbie came to be, the only problem is the guy is completely insane. So you always have to be carful on the streets in case he put up some kind of whacko booby trap.
I open the door and walked out into fresh late fall air. I stick to the shadows as I move just in case any gaurds are around even though there normally aren’t any around this time. Very few people are around except theives and gang members so you don’t really want to run into anyone. I carefully navigate my way around the buildings never touching anything and never making a sound, I’m severle blocks away from the clan when I reach a building where I can climb up onto it’s roof, all the building’s in the outer circle have metal roofs and the metal sheets side by side on the roofs, are pounded down with nails. I pull myself up on the roof, the metal sheets are uneven and hard to walk on, but I’ve had enough experience to walk on them with ease. Now I have a clear view of everything inside the inner wall I see smoke rise out of chimneys and lamplit streets where guards patrol. Compared to the outter wall the inner wall is a safe haven very few gang members dare set foot in the inner wall because it’s controlled by the inner guard captain [ not an insane psycho]. I take a few deep breaths before I continue my search, I move easily from roof to roof. When I reach the wall of the inner wall, I crouch down on the slated roof, and watch for guards, the inner wall is constantly patrolled, so it makes it hard not to be seen. After about ten minutes, of no guards and no smell of them, all gaurds have to where a type of oil. I swing myself down in one fluid movement, neatly land on a box full of trash and with a singal leap I’m on the ground. A smile tugs on my lips the perfect place for a quick getaway I think, a long bar is right under the roof perfect for a whip to rap around. I open the trash bin, first checking to see if anyones in it, no one. Then I begin digging, over the years I’ve gotten over all the disgusting stuff in trash, now when I find a soggy, maggot infested huck of meat I don’t gag because I’m discussed but because of the smell. I feel toward the bottom, Bingo my hand closes over a few coins. I smile and hank them out.
“ Get him, don’t let her escape” someone shouts to far away to mean me, I don’t even turn around to check who it is before my hand’s untied the whip, I whisk it up and veer it so that it wraps around the bar. In a split second I’ve hanked myself up and bolted toward the other side of the roof and crouched down. Only then do I look over and what I saw I didn’t like. A single girl running at top speed through the streets, arrows dive around her as she runs. I know what her goal is, if she can make it out of the street she’s be home free. She’s just passed the trash bin when a arrow makes it’s mark. It hits her sholder, she trys to keep runing, but theres no way she’ll make it to the end now. The guards are gaining on her, one guards only about 30 paces away from her now. I’m gussing she’s one of those desperate people who stole something because she doesn’t look like a gangster just juging by her only wearing an old dress with no visable weapons on her. She’s now hopplessly trying to run to the end of the street, there no longger shooting arrows at her, but both her and her attackers know she’s a goner. I sigh debating wheather I should help this girl I‘ve never met. Sometimes I feel I’m an idiot.
“Crazy or not” I mutter, yanking my bow out and nock a arrow to it the closest person is about 20 feet aways I take aim for the thy and fire the arrow it meets the target. I know immediately that these aren’t gangsters when my metal tiped arrow barly sinks in. These are guards wearing armor, probably the only reason the girls not dead yet I realize. I jerk another arrow out, this one has nock out powder on it if even toches the skin the person will be out for awile. I take aim for beneath the soldier pad one of the few places in a gaurds amor where there not proteted well other then the face or neck but that’s to dangerous to aim for normally and especially in the dark. I line my aim up perfectly and fire. It hits my mark but the guard keeps running.
“ What do you have to do to keep a person alive around here” I growl beneath my breath. I get another arrow ready and take course for the other guard there looks to be about six of them, there much farther behind the first guard, he’s about 30 feet away. I take a deep breath and launch the next sleep arrow torward the guard the second clostest guard at about the time I hit my mark the first guard falls. I reapeat the process for the two other gaurds, by this time the girl is struggling to take steps even in the dim light I see the red running down her dress. Blood loss will take her life in minutes if I don’t get to her.
“ Goodness” I say using it like a swear word. I know the girl dosent have much time left, just juding by her clopsing on the ground. So I do the desperate thing and throw the explosives at the guards. When the explosives hit the ground flames go everywhere along with the guards closest to it. Nice Phen, real nice, they’ll really take it easy on you, when you finally get arrested I think bitterly to myself. In a single swinging leap down I’m on the cobblestone street running toward the girl. She’s in the middle of the street bleeding to death, once I reach her I croch down her eyes are closed, I bend down and pull her to her feet and begin dragging her as efficiently as possible. We’re almost to the end of the street when one of the guards shouts at the top of there lungs
“ I’M GOING TO KILL THEM” ouch…. How’s that for guard like. I about 20 feet away from home free when I relize weren’t not going to make it, I couldn’t climb up on a roof with her, she’s to heavy to lift and the guards will be over the distraction in seconds. The cork screws in my head begin to spin, I dragged the girl to the side and hank out my medical stuff and begin to tie some cloth around her soldier to stop the blood flow. Then when I get it as tight as possible, I take out my sword and go to meet my attackers head on.
There’s a reason, I’m the best scavenger, besides my obvious good looks and great communication skills with the guards. I’m great with weapons, particularly the sword and arrow, and not bad with exploisves. Plus I’m great medical wize, and I happen to have exlent balance which comes in handy on the roofs and in fights with guards. As I walk toward the guards head on, I could tell just by there looks they didn’t know what they were up against. I breathe a deep breath and take a few more steps, now we’re only feet aways from each other. The first guard lunges at me with far more verosity than balance and brains I pull back and use my sword’s side to whack him on his helm hard enough to knock him unconscious. The second guard is smarter than the first goes into a defensive position. While the third stands on the other side of me. The third guard takes a fake lunge at me, I catch on to his movements and spin around and kick him hard in the chest he falls back with an grunt. Right about at that time, the second guard swings his sword up to take my head off. I doge it by throwing myself on the ground, the guard takes advatage of my fall and trys to chop me in half.
“So not cool” I muttered as I whisked my sword up and and bashed him in the ribs hard, any person not wearing armor would be severally wounded. Luckliy for the guard it cracked his ribs, judging by the way he dropped his sword. I roll over and and boot him right in the chest. I get up and jog over to the girl knowing that the guard reinofments will be here in minuties because of the explosion. I bend down and pick her up in my arms and wobble into the maze of streets.
Once I’m at least few streets away, I manage to set her down on the side of one. I then bent down and take her bandage off then I get out my powder, and rub it on her wound. She fliches as I put it on, and then she slowly opeans her eyes. Well that’s a good sign I think looking at her. The powder I just put on begins to harden to stop the blood flow. She looks down at her wound, then back at me.
“Thankyou” she says simply. I smile and say the obvious reply
“Your welcome” I then dig through my pack till I find my little container filled with herbs and mixed with water and use my sword to open it.
“ Drink this” I say handing it to her, “it’s herbs mixed together to boost the immue system and keep away infection.” she hesitates for a moment then reaches out and guzzles the whole thing in one silp.
“Do you have any food?” I wish, I’m tempted to respond.
“no” instead I say flatly.
“ So what did you steal from the guards” I say going down to the scolding part. I’ve done so many times.
“ I didn’t steal anything “ she says smiling deviously I sigh , it’s not a good sign when someone smiles when you ask them about stealing.
“ So what did your friend steal” I say clamly trying to renact a parent.
“ All the guards food suplies for the winter, and their weapons” I nearly fall over,
“ Are you insane, because you obviously have a death wish” I hiss at her “ the guard will hunt you all down. One by one and kill you all, not to mentain make life a pain in the butt for the rest of us”
“ It’s not fair the way they treat us and they deserved it” she bites back at me. I sigh again and rub my tempeles completely vexed.
“ Listen, it doesn’t matter if they deserved it or not, life’s never going to be fair and stealing from a guard fecility isn’t going to make it fair. The only thing it’s going to do is have a bunch of guards out to kill you.” I say honestly.
“ They killed Taban “ she says with fire in her eyes “ they deserved to pay” now I understand, I understand why she would go to such lengths of making herself the bait just to get revenge on the guards, I completely understand. She’s one of those people who will go to any length to avenge the people she loved. I sigh for the third time
“ What was your relationship with Taban?” pain flashes through her eyes “ he was my older brother” meories of a burning farmhouse filled my mind. I forced them out and tried to focus on what to say next, I debate on saying revenge dosnt help, don’t go after it. But then again what would I know about that, considering I a spent years trying to track down someone to kill, and still didn’t find them and still am trying. Well I could say it’s not productive I think to myself. I suddenly relize I haven’t said anything and a minite gone by. So I panic and say
“ Revenge isn’t very productive“ which only earns me a confused look from the girl.
“ Listen revenge dosent lead to a good future, just try to move on with your life” I say but struggle with the last part.
“ The guards deverve to pay and they will” she says firmly not even phazed by the speech I just gave her. I’m about to say more when something makes a sound behind me. I spin around yanking out my sword to see one lone person in the street sword in hand and blood running down the side of his face, he looks about my age maybe a little younger.
“ You hurt her, and I’ll kill you” he says dead serious . I’m not surprised at all. I quickly debate how I’m going to approach this guy then I say as non aggressively as I can
“ I’m not going to hurt her” he stares at me still unwilling to lower his sword or back down. Tension swirls around us, niether one of us willing to lower are blade. Suddenly the girl focuses on the boy’s face
“ Adrian!” she squeals beyond happy. He sneaks a look at her, breaking the tension between us, his eyes widen as they see the blood then, before I even have a chance to explain, he attacks. He barly misses taking my head off when he swings his sword up. He then cruves his sword around to hit my sholder which would have worked for any normal person but sadly for him not me. I whip back and try to kick his head, much faster than I expected he ducks and swings his leg underneath me to hit my only leg on the ground.
“ Wait, Adrian, she’s not, wait, don’t she’s helping!” He’s not listening, his leg is just about to knock me to the ground when I thrust myself up off the ground both legs in the air and whack him in the head with my foot. Unfortunately gravity begins to betray me, instead of graceful landing next to him we cloidile falling he hit’s the ground with a painful thud and I land on top of him. Recovering his wits, he hits me in the stomach, and pulls a knife to my throat. I hit the knife out of his hand and bring my knee up and kick him off me he lands on the ground a few feet away from me.
“Adrian wait, don’t, she’s helping me!” the girl shrieks. He picks himself up rubbing the spot where I kicked him and glaring at me.
“ I don’t know what your definition is of help is, but if you’re the one who hurt her, we’ll see how long you last,” he says angrily. I am tempted to retort “since you’ve been doing so well”, but I hold my tongue.
“ She saved me from the guards” the girl tells him while using the wall to push her to her feet. Grimacing in pain, she sits back down in defeat.
“Who the are you?” the boy demands completely down to earth, staring me directly in the eye. For a moment I’m tempted to say Phoenix, just to intimate him. But instead I say with the same down to earthiness
“Does it really matter” he raises his eyebrows,
“Only a thief would say that” he pauses for a moment “ or a person with many enemies, let alone not a person you want to have an acquaintance with” his eyes narrow “ or one who goes around saving little girls. So tell me Miss. Ominous why save her ” he leans toward threatening .
“ Because it was the right thing to do” I say smoothly. Silence follows immediately, he stares at me. Not for a second do I let my guard down, finally he says
“My name is Adrian, and this is my friend Mara and I am afraid we are in your debt” he says. I choose my words carefully
“You are not exactly in my debt, but I hope that if I am need of help one day. You will help me.” I say this with a completely clam voice.
“ Perhaps” Adrian says skeptically. I hear shouts of the guards afar, Adrian and I both turn
“Do you need help getting her away?” I ask
“I’ll take my chances alone” he responds.
“Till we meet again” I say grinning at my own melodramatic ways, and disappear into the night.