Divided We Fall

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

Chapter 15 (v.1) - Chapter Fifteen

Submitted: September 21, 2019

Reads: 20

Comments: 2

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Submitted: September 21, 2019

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Emilia ran over. “What?”

Erik gestured to their food supply, or what was left of it. Tiny bits of chewed roots and bones. Emilia gasped. “What happened?”

“Damn badgers,” Erik muttered. 

Raquelle walked over, sensing the commotion. She looked at the pile of eaten food and her eyes flared. Erik could see the way her mouth moved, the words that waited on the edge of her tongue. She clenched her teeth. Erik gave a little huff, for a lot of reasons. First of all, there were snowflakes outside, and they had no food. And fifteen days after the fight, Raquelle hadn’t said a word. Just followed, over rocks and hills and against crushing winds. Erik could tell when she was tired, or in pain, but she didn’t let any of that stop her. She acted like a rock, but Erik knew she wasn’t all that tough. He remembered what she said about walls, and he knew she was hiding behind hers. 

Emilia fell to her knees, swiping at the pile, though it was obvious it was all gone. “What are we going to do?” She whispered, tears beading in her eyes. Erik sat next to her and pulled her close. 

“We’ll figure something out. We always do.” 

Raquelle locked eyes with Erik for a brief second before walking out of the cave, into the snow, her hair fluttering in the wind. He watched her as she went. “I gotta go for a minute, Emy,” he murmured. She nodded. 

“Hey. You.” Erik struggled to keep up with Raquelle, surprised a person as short as her could walk so fast in the snow. 

She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. 

“You know you can’t ignore me forever.” Erik studied her face, for any response. She did something that was almost like a smirk, but much smaller and went away as quickly as it appeared. “Is this your way of walking out? I had a suspicion you were only staying for food and directions, but now that that’s kind of went to crap, maybe you’re leaving.” 

Raquelle turned away from him. “I’m not going to leave you alone until you say something,” he said, turning with her. This time she definitely smirked as she focused on a rock ahead and bolted like lightning, the snow billowing up with every step. Erik followed anyway, using her footsteps and trying to see through her snow cloud. 

She stopped at the rock and sat on top of it. Erik swung himself up beside her. Just as she tried to move again, he caught her arm and found her little scabbard. He pulled out her sword and jumped down. “Until you talk to me, this is mine.” Her eyes flared as she lunged after him, reaching for her baby. Erik held it just above her level. Raquelle jumped, trying to reach it. After about twenty tries, she gave up. “Give it back,” she growled. “I’m talking. You said when I talked I could get it back.” 

“Keep talking, maybe you will.”

“It’s not yours to take.” 

“I know.” 

“It’s not my fault your girlfriend’s a psycho.” 

Erik’s eyes narrowed a little at, ‘psycho.’ “She’s no more a psycho than you are a brat,” he said, tapping her weapon against her head.

“Well that just means she’s super-psycho.” Raquelle smiled wryly. “I’m the biggest brat I know.” 

Erik rolled his eyes and looked back to the sword. “Wonder how much this cost.” He shifted his eyes back to her. “You were lucky to get something like this for free.”

Raquelle stared at it. “Give it back or I’ll make you regret it.”

Erik studied her, considering. He knew she wasn’t going to hurt him. Besides, she didn’t have any weapons left. “How?”
She rolled her eyes. “So stupid,” she muttered. “Here’s how.” She flung herself at him, forcing him face first into the snow. “Take that, jerk.” Erik’s face burned from the snow, and his heart raced from the adrenaline. Raquelle kicked his side hard and flipped him, settling on top of him. Erik started struggling. Raquelle grabbed his arm and started to twist. “Give it back or I’ll twist harder.” Erik’s face was already getting pale, and he didn’t even know that was possible. He flung the sword at her and watched as she picked it up and placed a delicate kiss on the blade before sliding it back in its sheath. Erik flinched as she smoothed his curls out of his face and slid her hand down his cheek. “You owe me an apology.” 

“I owe you.” 

“Yes. You owe me.” 

“For what?” He watched as hurt flushed her eyes, which she blinked away and replaced with her blank, rock look. 

She hesitated to answer, looking down. 

“For wishing me dead when all I did was tell you the truth.” She rolled off of him. “But let’s face it. Your love will always come before me. That’s the way it should be, whether she’s a liar or not.” Raquelle stood up. Erik continued to lay in the snow. She nudged his head with the side of her boot. “Thanks again for saving my life and keeping me alive. Even if you wished you wouldn’t have.” Erik watched as a single tear slid down her face. “I hate that we must end this way, Erik. Good luck getting Lola. I hope you find enough food to last the rest of the way. But who am I kidding? That’s damn near impossible now.” She looked around. “That’s alright. This is a fitting place for a girl like me to die.” She turned around and started to walk. Erik struggled to get up. 

“What are you doing?”

She turned back. “Walking into the woods. What does it look like I’m doing?”

“If you leave now you’ll die. The snow is coming. You know that.” 

She tilted her head and walked back to him. “You’re right. I do know that. Guess that means I should finish my bucket list.” She pulled him close and kissed him once, short and soft. “Good bye, Erik. See you in heaven, if all that stuff’s real.” And she walked away. Erik just stared. She couldn’t leave. She’d freeze to death. It was after she disappeared behind the trees Erik heard footsteps behind him. He turned to see Emilia. She looked up at him. “What happened?”

“She’s gone.” Erik couldn’t believe he was saying the words. “She said goodbye, kissed me, and left.” 

Emilia stiffened. “She kissed you?” 

“I never saw it coming. I said she would die if she left now, and she agreed and said she should finish her bucket list, and she kissed me.”

“And you kissed back?”
Erik looked at Emilia. He could see sheer fury in her eyes. “No, of course not. Like I said, I never saw it coming.”

“But you let it happen.”
“It wasn’t longer than two seconds! By the time I realized what was happening it was already over and she was walking into the woods.” 

Emilia sild closer. “Then if she dies, it’s her own fault. She never had to do any of the things she did, and I’m not feeling sorry for her. Come on. Let’s go back. She’s gone.”

Erik felt her tug on his arm. He looked one last second before giving in to her pull and turning around. Raquelle was gone. Really gone. He shook it off and kept walking. 

Emilia wasn’t sure what she should say to Erik. He had grown distant since Raquelle left. Truth be told, even Emilia Msed her a little. She tried to shake it off and focus on the ground ahead. 

She lost her balance for a second on a rock and started to fall. Erik caught her and jerked her back up, but she noticed it wasn’t with his usual gentle touch. This was more rough and jerky. She looked at him. Erik was staring straight ahead, his eyes the exact description of grief. He looked like his dog just died, Emilia thought, studying him. “Hey.” He turned to look at her, but his expression remained the same. “Are you okay?” She smoothed his hair. 

Erik opened his mouth but didn’t say anything for a moment. “I’m fine.” 

Well, that was officially the worst lie Emilia had ever heard, but she said nothing. 

“Here it is,” Erik muttered, looking at the river that appeared in front of him. “I knew it was coming up. The River Mary. Known for its extreme depths.” 

“How deep?” Emilia looked from him to the river. 

“At its deepest, twenty feet. Here, probably no more than ten.”
“Are you sure it’s frozen?”
He glanced at her. “Frozen enough. We don’t have a choice. It could take weeks to freeze.”

That wasn’t very reassuring, Emilia thought, as she placed a delicate foot on the ice. But what was she going to do? 

Erik stepped beside her. Emilia tried not to think about the water underneath as she stepped, ever so carefully, across the ice. Erik looked even less sure than she was, as he swept the snow off the ice ahead of him, staring into the dark water. 

Emilia stepped onto the other side and let out her breath that she didn’t realize she had been holding. It was okay. They’d made it. Then she heard a crack like one of the bombs she had heard the day the Leokes invaded Terya. The canons were massive, booming a hundred times louder than the loudest burst of thunder.

She whipped around and locked eyes with Erik. They reached for each other just as the ice split, swallowing Erik into its murky graveyard.

Emilia screamed, over and over again, tears pouring down her cheeks. If she’d known how to swim she would have jumped in with him, but she didn’t, and she knew that within a matter of seconds the cold would paralyze her and she’d sink, down far below. She didn’t know what to do, and the thought of Erik slowly being paralyzed and drowning helplessly, staring up through the water at the sky was too much for her to take. The only way to block it out was to scream, over and over again, at the top of her lungs. 

Then, through her tears, she saw a dark figure. She wiped her eyes and looked. Raquelle stared at her, silent and eerie like a ghost. “What happened?” Her voice was like a rock. 

“Erik fell in,” Emilia whimpered, and before the last words were out of her mouth, Raquelle had already disappeared beneath the ice. Emilia screamed again. What did she have to do that for? Now she pictured both of them. A moment later, Raquelle’s head appeared above the water. “Get over here!” she screamed, struggling to stay above. Emilia slid across the firm ice the best she could. Raquelle emerged again, just barely holding Erik up. “Take him,” she whispered. “I can’t hold much longer.” Emilia grabbed him and dragged him over to where she was. Raquelle gave a limp attempt to get on the ice, paddling like a puppy. Emilia held out her hand. Raquelle stared at it, starting to sink again, before lunging with a last surge of energy, taking Emilia’s hand. Emilia dragged her to shore. “You’re going to be okay. You both are. I’m not going to let you die.” 

“I can walk,” Raquelle whispered. 

Emilia pressed her lips together. She knew walking was the last thing the girl should be doing, but she knew she couldn’t drag both of them on her own either. “Good,” she said. “Just do your best. It’s okay.” She had to find a cave. They walked a little way before they found a rocky spot with a little cave-like crevice. It wasn’t perfect, but it was that or freeze to death. Raquelle collapsed in a corner, shaking violently. Erik wasn’t doing anything, his breath fainter than a whisper. 

Emilia had a vast knowledge of survival skills though, and she was determined to keep them both alive. She knew the first step was to make heat. She reached into her pockets for her scrap of steel and piece of flint. She said a silent prayer as she worked, hoping it would light. “Come on,” she muttered. If she couldn’t get a fire, they were dead for sure. 

With a surge of panic, she rubbed harder, closing her eyes. “Please, please, please,” she whispered. She looked up. This must be punishment for what she did. This was God making sure she paid an equal price. Two for two. Tears pricked her eyes as she tried even harder. 

A spark the size of a piece of dust fell onto her tinder, dry grass she had collected before the snow. She gently blew on it, making sure she wasn’t blowing it out. “There you go,” she said, as a tiny flame rose. “Go on. Get bigger.” She coaxed her little flame until it got big enough to manage itself. 

She knew it would need more to burn on. She ripped a long strip of petticoat and fed her flames. Now, for the next part. She started with Raquelle, gently peeling off her clothes, stripping her to her small clothes. She did the same with Erik and covered them each with one of her petticoats. She curled up in a corner and watched her fire. It was all she could do now. Her eyes slowly fluttered closed, even though she strained to keep them open. She drifted off into a cold, miserable sleep.

 


© Copyright 2019 Rachel Stone. All rights reserved.

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