Divided We Fall

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 13 (v.1) - Chapter Thirteen

Submitted: September 19, 2019

Reads: 16

Comments: 2

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Submitted: September 19, 2019

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Emilia plunged her bare hand into the snow. It stung against her skin, and she squeezed harder. It ran down in cold rivers. She licked it and shivered. 

Erik sat against the wall, eyes closed. They weren’t going anywhere until the snow stopped, and it didn’t look like that was happening anytime soon. Emilia watched him, her heart aching for his loss. She could only imagine how painful it must be to know that someone you love is going through unimaginable horrors, and you can do nothing to help. 

Raquelle was sewing a hole in her skirt. She looked down at the fabric, fingering it. Her eyes sparked with some amazing idea, and she threw the skirt aside.

Emilia looked out at the blowing wind. Three days, constant snow. Three days, and even with their rationing, little food remained. No one wanted to discuss food, so each day they ate less and less, lying that they weren’t hungry, even though they could each eat three times the food they had total. 

No one questioned whoever faked satisfaction, even though they all knew it was a lie. Instead, they divided the uneaten portion and cherished the extra bite of food. 

Emilia craved warm bread with butter, fresh cheese, and delicate tarts with icing. Big, juicy steak, seasoned with the finest herbs and spices. Her mouth watered, and her stomach growled. She had skipped breakfast that morning. 

She curled into a ball like she had seen Raquelle do and fell asleep. 

When she awoke, it was to the smell of roasted meat. She jerked her head up and looked around. Raquelle pushed the wing of a grouse into her hand. “I found food,” the little girl said. 

Emilia took a small bite. “You went out by yourself?”

“It was that or starve. Oh, and next time one of you is doing it. We’re just going to have to take turns.”

Emilia nodded and took another bite of bird. “This is good.”

Raquelle shrugged. “It’s not cake, but it’s edible.” 

Emilia thought of rich, fluffy cake, drenched in icing. She took another bite, hoping to curb her cravings. 

Erik swallowed and looked at Raquelle. “You could have gotten lost.”

“Or starved.”
Erik sighed and took another bite. “Well, thank you, even though I don’t agree with your decision.”

“Good, because next time you get to do it. Unless the snow stops.” The all looked at the raging storm in unison. 

Erik finished his piece. “I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen.”

Emilia looked at him. “Be positive.”

“Being positive gets you disappointed. If you always expect the worst case scenario, you’ll always be prepared.”
“So you’re imagining slowly freezing to death, feet from the city gates.”

They turned to Raquelle, who shrugged. “What? That’s the worst case scenario.”

Erik gave her a little shove. “But that’s not going to happen.”

“Are you God?”

“No.”

“Then how do you know?” She looked into his enchanting eyes, seeing into his soul. Emilia watched as something flickered in Erik’s eyes and he glanced down.

“I know because I won’t let even the end of the world keep me from Lola.” His eyes were hard with determination. “And I will kill the people who keep her hostage. Including Riker.”

Emilia and Raquelle shared a glance. They both knew better than to argue. 

Even with the snow as thick as it was, Emilia could tell it was near night. “We should get some rest,” she said, breaking the silence. “If we want to keep traveling.”

Raquelle nodded and curled up. After a minute, Erik did as well. 

Emilia watched them until she was certain they were sleeping. Then she got up, her footsteps silent. She walked outside, in the raging wind so loud you couldn’t hear yourself if you screamed. So that’s what she did. Not screaMs of anger or grief, but screaMs of release. Of letting go. 

She screamed until she couldn’t feel her fingers and her hair was thick with snow, and then she went back inside to sleep. 


 

The snow didn’t stop, like Erik predicted, and they ended up relying on the food schedule. Emilia knew she could get more meat than Erik and Raquelle put together, but she couldn’t bring herself to cut it, to feel its warmth and blood. So she found plants that grew in the snow, berries that flourished in it. It always took longer, but in her opinion, it was worth it.

It was Raquelle’s turn again, and Emilia could tell Erik still wasn’t pleased with it. “That kid’s gonna kill herself some day,” he muttered. 

Emilia tried to comfort him. “She’s smart. She knows what she’s doing.”

“She’s also quite daring.”

“Yes, but she’s been that way for years. She’s a natural.”

“In a blizzard. Those can make anyone mess up.”

Emilia put her hand on his, savoring the warmth. “Do you know what she’d do if we didn’t let her go? She would be pretty mad, Erik. She deserves to be treated like an equal, even if we’re not okay with it.”

“Even if it might kill herself.”

Emilia sighed. “Erik, why do I have a feeling you feel responsible for Raquelle’s life? You’re not, you know. Yes, you saved her, and yes, that’s wonderful, but just because you saved her once doesn’t mean your responsible for her forever.”

“I will always feel responsible for her. And you. Always.” He pulled her closer. 

“Erik, she’ll be okay. I promise.”

Erik turned to her and sighed. “I know.” He cupped her face gently and smiled a little. “You really are the best, Emy. I know everyone says that to the people they love, but it’s true.” He kissed her, and that was enough to set off the sparks. 

Before long, Raquelle had faded from both their minds, and all they thought about was each other. When they parted, Emilia saw her some of the buttons on her dress had come undone. Her sleeve slid down, revealing her shoulder. 

Instantly, the panic came back. 

 Jeffrey ripped her dress, and yanked it off. He slammed her down, forcing himself on top of her…

Emilia forced the memory away, but the fear lingered. Then she stopped. Erik was, more or less, cradling her delicate frame. His touch was gentle. He had never forced her into anything, and Emilia trusted he never would. She looked into his eyes and relaxed. He will not hurt me. 

His hand slid softly down her arm. Emilia looked at it, then at him. And she slid off more. 


 

Raquelle had slain three birds. She smirked a little at the pile. Stupid, stupid grouse. Why would you come out in a blizzard?

She gathered her kill and started back. Through the snow, she could just barely see the sky, and she knew she had been gone a long time. Longer than usual. She walked faster. Erik was probably worried. She couldn’t help but feel a little guilty for adding so much extra stress to his life. 

After a bit, she reached the cave. When she entered it, she dropped her kill. Her eyes widened. And her face burned like it never had before. 

They were both dressed, at least, but it wasn’t hard to find out what had happened. It was clear from the way their clothes looked, how their hair was messed up, and the clear expressions on their faces. 

They didn’t expect me back this early. Raquelle didn’t know what to do. Act like nothing happened? Turn around and run? She slowly sank to the ground, not able to look either one in the eye. “I got three this time,” she said, gesturing to the birds. “They should last a while.”

Emilia swallowed and inched away from Erik. “Yeah. Great! That’s wonderful.”

Raquelle glanced at Erik and they locked eyes for a moment. How could you? She glared. What were you thinking? 

Erik quickly looked away. 


 

The snow stopped around midnight. Erik and Emilia were sleeping (though, thankfully, far away from each other) but Raquelle was awake. 

She watched the storm calm and stop, leaving massive hills of soft, fluffy cold that she would have loved to play with, had she been younger. 

She stood up and walked to Erik’s pile. He had three pairs of pants. She took one and began to sew, altering them to her size. She tore her skirt into strips and added a few to the flames that were starting to smolder. 

Raquelle pulled her boots on and stepped outside. 

There were things she was feeling that she had sworn never to feel again. Betrayal, was one. But the one that bothered her was the stronger one: hurt. She hated hurt. She had vowed never to let anyone hurt her feelings again, one day when she was younger. She would never be that weak. 

 Raquelle carried her books, proud she finally had some. Now she could learn just like the other kids. She walked through the street, head held high. It was rare when orphans could learn. She pretended she was a town girl, and smiled. She felt like a town girl. A girl her age skipped past, holding a book of her own. “Hi,” she said as she passed. 

Raquelle beamed, feeling light as air. The girl would never have guessed she just said high to an orphan. But her happiness soon disappeared when another kid blocked her path. A kid who knew who she was. 

Bren looked at her books and smirked. “So the orphan got tired of being stupid.” He slapped the books out of her hands. “Well, guess what, orphan? You always will be. No amount of books will change that. It’s time you accept who you are and act like it.”

Raquelle picked up the books and slapped him. 

The kid had picked her up and flung her into the pig pen, books and all. He traced her face with the tip of his sword. The silver glistened in the sun, and Raquelle suddenly didn’t care about the pigs or the books. She wanted that sword. 

That night, she climbed into his bedroom window and stole it, right out of its fancy case. 

A month later, Bren’s family had moved because his father wanted to farm. 

He never found out who took his sword. 

Raquelle realized she would need to make a place for Ripper in her pants. She needed that sword. It was her family, and the only one she would ever need, as far as she was concerned. 

Raquelle looked up at the stars and cursed them. It didn’t seem right that the stars could still gleam and the sun could still shine and the northern lights could still dance across the sky, when there was so much evil in the world. Raquelle let out a sigh of relief when a cloud covered the moon, making everything darker. 

Raquelle loved the dark. 

It was warm.

It was safe. 

It was her friend. 

 



© Copyright 2019 Rachel Stone. All rights reserved.

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