Chapter 1: Meadow/Recognition

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Writing and Reviewing!

Reads: 294

Carissa Kuronas sat silently in the meadow. She wore a loose button-up shirt and a long skirt. She watched the sun slowly disappear behind some clouds. Her gray eyes followed its outline amongst them. There were a few horses grazing, they paid Carissa no mind. She started to run a brush through her dark hair. Her thin arms were covered in scars of varying sizes, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia when she saw them. She finished with her hair and set the brush down in the grass. She let her hair fall loose on her back. Soon, it would be tangled again. Some time passed before Cameron Moriantes joined her. The sun had returned from behind the clouds. The horses had found shade under a large tree further away. Carissa hadn’t moved.


“How long have you been out here?” Cameron placed a large straw hat on Carissa’s head, forcing it as far as it would go. Carissa frowned, the edge of the hat obscuring her view. Cameron was a year younger than Carissa. He had bright brown eyes and short black hair. He wore an old T-shirt and worn-out jeans. He was a thin man but he’d built up some muscle over a few years of fieldwork. Carissa adjusted the hat as Cameron sat down beside her. He rambled on about some of his friends acting up and how childish they can be. Carissa listened but was distracted by the clouds. “Zaura thinks she can just boss anyone around but some people don’t appreciate that you know?” Carissa felt obliged to reply.


“You don’t seem to mind.” She said dryly. She hardly recognized her voice. How long had it been since she’d spoken? Cameron chuckled.


“Yeah, of course, I tolerate her. She’s practically family.” Carissa nodded. Ever since she’d arrived in this town, Cameron had always been kind to her. Flora. It was a small town, a few miles outside of Edenia. Carissa had spent the last few years of her life here. “Did you want to get something to eat?” Cameron spoke again. Carissa met his eyes, they seemed to glimmer in the sunlight. “You can’t stay out here forever.” She nodded.


“My legs are asleep.”


“You want me to carry you?”


“Don’t.” Cameron laughed again, standing up. Carissa struggled onto her feet, to Cameron’s amusement. The two of them headed to the edge of the meadow. Cameron left the gate unlatched. Carissa scolded him as they started their trek back into town. The meadow was half a mile south of Flora. They walked in the middle of a dirt road. It was barren of any vehicles. Carissa noticed Cameron watching her as they walked. They arrived in Flora in twenty minutes. The town was never busy. The population couldn’t be more than five hundred. Zoey’s was just on the edge of town. It was a small sandwich shop. A young boy named Radish was sitting on a bench outside of the shop. Cameron greeted him as he opened the door. Radish smiled at the two of them. Carissa avoided eye contact. Cameron held the door open for Carissa and followed her in. The shop was busier than normal. Many of the tables were taken. A group of people had gathered around a table by the wall. Cameron and Carissa found a table close to a window. Radish was just outside of it.


“I was thinking I’d try something new today,” Cameron tapped the table. Carissa nodded. She reached into her pocket, it was empty. She checked her other pocket, finding only her knife. She’d forgotten her brush in the meadow.


“Hey, you two!” Jackson walked over to the table. He was a shorter man, a bit on the chubby side. He wore a dirty apron and a beanie. He and Cameron chatted for a few minutes. Carissa remained silent as she panicked. 


“What about you?” Jackson asked. Both of them were looking at Carissa. Carissa shrugged, looking down.


“Whatever he got, I guess.”


“Right,” Jackson smiled. Carissa didn’t do the same. Jackson left, returning to the kitchen in the back.


“You sure you want that?” Cameron asked. “I thought you didn’t like spicy foods.” Carissa made a disgruntled sound. The group of people started singing. The two of them looked over. Apparently, it was someone’s birthday.


“Cameron,” Carissa met Cameron’s eyes. “Can I ask you something?”


“Y-yeah of course.” Cameron was put off by Carissa’s tone.


“Cameron!” Jade Norros’ voice rang out from the crowd. “Get over here!”


“What?” Cameron yelled. “I’m busy!” Carissa glanced at the crowd. Jade was sitting on someone’s shoulders. She was a young girl, her brother and Cameron all lived together in the past.


“It's my birthday!” Jade waved her arms. The crowd cheered as she did. “You have to cut my cake!” Cameron got up and walked over to the crowd. Carissa watched as they gathered around him. She looked out the window. The sky had cleared up. She noticed a helicopter, flying across the sky. She wondered if it was military. With a stiff breath, she reached for her hair, reminding herself that she’d forgotten her brush. She held her arm to her mouth and bit hard into her skin. It took a moment for her to draw blood. She winced and bit down harder. The brush clattered on the table. Carissa let go of her arm and smiled. She glanced at the bloody toothmarks in her arm and sighed dismissively. She picked up the brush and started to run it through her hair. Cameron returned in a few minutes. The crowd had migrated out onto the street. He noticed her arm immediately.


“What did you do?”  He reached across the table, taking Carissa’s hand and inspecting her arm.


“I forgot my brush, I brought it here.” Cameron sat back with a defeated look. Carissa knew that look. He didn’t have anything to say. Carissa’s ability disturbed Cameron, but he’d never admit it. By harming herself, Carissa could perform “tasks.” The level of the task Carissa could perform was dependent on the amount of pain she felt. As far as she knew she was the only one in town with an ability. Jackson returned with two plates. Neither Cameron or Carissa had spoken.


“Here you two go,” Jackson said with a big smile. He placed the plates on the table. They were chicken sandwiches. Carissa could tell the chicken was heavily seasoned. She glanced at it then up at Cameron.


“Thanks, man.” Cameron  Jackson nodded and walked away.


“You can eat mine too.” Carissa slid her plate across the table.


“You should order something else,” Cameron suggested. Carissa shook her head, noticing the helicopter again. Cameron watched Carissa for a moment before biting into his sandwich. Carissa watched the helicopter fly in circles above the town.


“Hey,” Carissa spoke up. Cameron looked up from his half-eaten sandwich. “Look at that.” Cameron looked out the window. Several people outside had noticed it as well. The helicopter was spiraling.


“Oh shit.” Cameron stood up. A few other people looked over.


“I wonder what’s happening?” Carissa leaned over, getting a better look. Cameron got up and ran outside. A few other people ran out after him.


“Evacuate that building!” Cameron yelled. “It's going to crash!” Carissa watched silently as they ran towards a building down the street. She stood up as the people in the shop slowly headed outside. She was one of the last few people to get outside. The Helicopter was floating just above a building down the street. People were shouting at it.


“Go south. South!”


“You can’t come down! You’re going to crash!” Carissa gazed up at the helicopter. She could hardly make out its pilot.


“How do I land?” Someone screamed from the helicopter. “I don’t know how!” Carissa noticed Cameron standing in the back of the crowd. She walked over to him. The helicopter swerved, spinning further down the street. A scream rang out from inside. The crowd followed far behind. Cameron started to move but Carissa got ahold of his arm.


“You should stay away from it. When it goes down, you don’t want to be nearby.” Cameron jumped.


“Oh. It's you.” Carissa nodded, turning her gaze to the helicopter.


“The pilot seems amateurish. I can't help but wonder what the situation is.” Cameron nodded. The helicopter made a turn and was headed back up the street.


“Carissa. Could you…” Cameron wouldn’t finish his sentence. He couldn’t. That’s the kind of person he was. Carissa couldn’t help but admire that aspect of him. The helicopter passed over their heads. She pulled a small knife out of her pocket. Cameron winced. Carissa dug the knife into the bite mark on her arm, following the helicopter with her eyes. She immediately knew it wasn’t enough for the task she had in mind. She couldn’t just pluck the helicopter out o the air with a knife wound. She twisted the knife, changing the task. The helicopter spiraled down into the dirt road leading out of town. The crowd came to a stop around Cameron and Carissa. Carissa had her hand on someone’s head. It was a woman. The woman seemed to be younger than Carissa, she was wearing a blue dress. Her blonde hair was put up in a braid. Carissa stared at the woman’s face, put off. She let go of her hair, the woman collapsed to the ground.


“It’s the pilot,” Carissa said. Cameron looked down at the woman. Carissa wondered if she’d accidentally killed the woman as she pulled her out of the helicopter. She pulled the knife out of her arm, blood starting to flow out.


“Hey. ” Cameron procured a towel as people started to chatter around them. He tied it tightly around Carissa’s arm. A few people got closer to the woman, inspecting her.


“Is she alive?” Carissa asked.


“Someone get a doctor!”  A man called out. “I don’t think she’s breathing!”


“Someone should check the helicopter! Maybe there were more people!” The crowd started to scatter. Someone carried the woman off. A few people headed down the street towards the crash scene.


“Come on.” Cameron took Carissa’s hand. “Let's get you back home.” Carissa shook her head.


“I want to see if she’s alive.” The pilot was taken to the clinic on the northside of town. It was a small building. By the time Cameron and Carissa arrived, she was already being examined. They joined the group of people in the waiting room. Most of the chairs were taken but they found a pair of seats by the reception window. Carissa recognized a few of the other people, they chattered amongst themselves Cameron spoke up.


“Who carried her here?” He asked. It was a man named Erik who replied. He was an older man. He had dark hair, starting to show signs of gray. He wore a suit and a tie.


“I did. Why?”


“Was she breathing?”


“I couldn’t tell. I wasn’t paying much attention.” Cameron didn’t say anything else. The reception door opened soon after. Reynold Stone was there. Wearing blue scrubs. He was around Erik’s age. A few people stood up as he walked into the waiting room.


“What happened?” Someone asked.


“Is she alive?”


“Who is she?” Reynold pulled a pair of glasses out of his pocket and put them on.


“She’s alive.”


“What was she doing flying a helicopter?”  Reynold ignored the question. Erik got up and walked over to him. They whispered to each other for a moment.


“I understand.” Erik stepped past Reynold, opening the door and walking in. Carissa stood up and approached Reynold as the people started chatting again. His dark eyes met hers.


“What is it, Kuronas?”


“Did you see her face?” Carissa asked.


“Yes.” Reynold’s face seemed to darken.


“I can't help but feel like I’ve seen her before.” Carissa glanced past Reynold at the door. “Would you mind if I saw her again.”


“Another time.” Reynold noticed Carissa’s arm. “I see you used your ability.”


“I brought down the helicopter,” Carissa explained. She stared at Reynold for a moment. “I suppose I’ll go.” Carissa turned and walked out of the clinic, Cameron followed after her.


“You want to go home?” Cameron asked. “Or is there somewhere else you had in mind?” Carissa walked out onto the sidewalk and stopped.


“I’m still hungry.”

Submitted: May 04, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Matthew Hair. All rights reserved.


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