Part 1: Greatest fighter on the planet
I can’t decide if I should risk my life to save an idiot, or just let them die. Even from this distance I can see at least three reasons she won’t last the night.
First reason– no sun cloak. It’s obvious she doesn’t know there are two suns here. If you think one sun is hot, try living on a planet where the largest pool of water is two miles underground; which brings me to my second reason– dehydration.
The stumbling of her heavy steps are a dead give-away. Who doesn’t carry at least one waterskin when trekking across a barren desert? You don’t even need to have a sun to know how important water is.
But, the third and probably the quickest reason she’s going to die is because she just passed out on a Night Raider trail.
Okay, that may not be the most obvious reason, I’ll give her that, but it’s surely the deadliest.
I glanced at the blend of purple and red horizon where the second, orange, half-circle was disappearing behind the distant sand hills, and then back at the girl on the ground. It won’t be long until it gets dark.
My hand feels for my last full waterskin tied around my waist beneath my rough sun cloak. It’ll be a few days until I can refill it again.
I spun around and walked back into my tiny cave where a small piece of meat was cooking on hot stones. I forced myself to sit in front of it, but it’s no use. A moment later I got back up and made my way down the rocky mountain.
I’ll be back before the meat is done. I have to be.
A few rocks fell underneath the haste of my boots, but nothing my experienced grip couldn’t handle. The second sun had almost disappeared by the time I reached the girl. Her strange outfit was a space-traveling giveaway. What I wasn’t prepared for, was how young she appeared. She couldn’t be much younger than me, but it was hard to tell, especially since I don’t even know how old I am.
“Hey, girl. Wake up.” I said as I took out my last waterskin and trickled a little water on her patchy dry face.
She blinked and moaned slightly before feeling the liquid on her face, then her brown eyes lit up. I held out my waterskin and she snagged it from my hand and chugged it down.
I watched, slightly horrified as my precious water sloshed down the sides of her mouth and dripped to the parched sand.
“Thank you! Thank you! Thank You!” she gasped between breaths after emptying the waterskin. “I seriously thought I was gonna die out here, in the middle of nowhere!”
Wow, she recovered quickly.
“No problem,” I said as I quickly glanced around. I could no longer see the outline of the distant hills. “You should get moving from here. It’s not safe on this trail at night.”
“Oh, yeah? Do you know how I can get to the city of Sola?” she asked.
“It’s about a day’s travel towards the Sapping Sands,” I pointed out towards where the suns set just minutes before.
“Okay, thanks again!” she said as she wobbled to her feet.
I grabbed underneath her arm to help her up and then she handed me the waterskin.
“Keep it,” I said. “And you’ll need this.”
I took off my sun cloak and held it open for her to put it on.
She held up a dirty hand, “I can’t take your clothes.”
“Trust me, you’ll need it if you’re trying to walk to Sola.” I enticed her by holding my cloak up again.
She twisted a cheek in thought before finally giving in. “I can’t thank you enough,” she said putting her arms through the sleeves.
I felt a sudden urgency to return to the safety of my cave.
“B’careful on ‘ur way there,” my words mashed together as I swiftly turned to leave.
“Wait, what’s your name?” I heard her call out.
I pretended not to hear her as I ran back to the foot of my mountain. I held my breath but every crunch under my boots made me cringe. It was now completely dark out and I stopped at every sound to make sure I wasn’t being followed. There was no telling where the Night Raiders were, I only heard them at night when the screams told me they found another wanderers camp.
I’ve learned over the years that they target groups of people, and lately their numbers have grown. Because of this, I remain alone.
Snap! A twig breaks, but not by my doing.
I freeze mid-step. My lungs are still, but my chest is pounding. A wave of heat flushed through my body and I felt the sweat beads pooling together around my face. I stood there, afraid to move, ready to bolt at the next sound, but it never comes.
It had to be a lizard, or maybe a stray scavy I finally convince myself. Even after I tell myself it was nothing, I stood there a moment longer just to be sure.
Finally, I took a deep breath and continued to the base of the mountain. I can barely see the outline of the jagged rocks, but I’ve pretty much memorized the path that leads to my cave.
I reached a hand up to the first rock hold and placed my foot on the second.
They came out of nowhere.
I didn’t have time to think. All I knew was that I was being tackled to the ground. By the time I tried to resist, four of them had me pinned to the ground.
They worked quickly in silence and moments later my hands were bound in front of me as I was being tugged along, away from my mountain.
It was a moonless night. From what I could tell, my four capturers all had a similar shape. They all wore the creepy Night Raider night masks with goggles that made their eyes look like an eye-popping bug.
I stumbled along, blind in the dark.
I need a plan.
Hide? Yeah— that’ll work well with their night masks.
Fight? Oh yeah— I’m captured.
Their foot crunching stopped at the same time and suddenly it was quiet. I tried to look around but it was pointless.
One of them spoke in a metallic low voice, “Who are you?”
Then a soft thud and a pained grunt.
I heard the bodies around me shifting and felt the rope in front of me jiggle. Then another grunt, and another, their bodies slumped to the ground.
Right in front of me, I heard the last of the Night Raiders fall.
My body tensed, eyes straining to catch a glimpse of whatever was happening.
Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.
Footsteps pinpointed me in the darkness.
I held my breath, backing up slowly and tripping over a body behind me. I could see… a shadow in front of me, the outline of a hooded sun cloak.
They stopped when I fell.
My hand brushed over cold metal. It was a night mask. My fingers felt for the latches to unhook the mask and I quickly pressed it to my face.
The difference in scenery was night and day. Literally. The Night Raider had his mask settings to high noon and I was now staring clearly at the cloaked figure in front of me.
They were smaller than I expected. In fact, could it be… they answered my question by taking off their cloak. To my shock, I came face to face with a girl, a beautiful girl, with light gray eyes who looked only a few years older than me.
In one fluid motion she gracefully held a finger to her lips motioning me to stay quiet, but the mere presence of such a stunning girl on this desolate planet already had me speechless.
She put a hand to her hip, removed a waterskin and tossed it to me. I glanced at it before turning back to her when she made a drinking motion.
I could’ve easily inhaled the entire thing, but I forced myself to stop when it was half empty.
My eyes wandered back to the girl. Her short, dark brown hair was pulled back into a small ponytail and she wore a sleeveless shirt with long, tight pants and high boots. Around her waist was a utility belt with many pouches, along with a knife strapped on her right side.
I knew she wasn’t from Sola; her clothes were too clean and a different style than what girls wear here. In fact, I watched her take something out of one of her pouches and press it in her ear and when she spoke, it was in an alien language.
I wasn’t too surprised, in the big cities there were often people and aliens from distant planets, although I never knew why they would want to come to a dried-up, useless planet like Sola.
I couldn’t understand a word she was saying but her actions and tone of voice gave the impression she was arguing with an invisible person.
Suddenly there was a pause and she began to speak in a normal tone. All I could do was watch in confusion, my wrists still bound together holding the half-empty pouch of water. When she finished talking she turned back to face me.
I don’t know why I wasn’t afraid of her. Yeah, she was probably older than me, even a little taller than me and the way she carried herself gave off a sort of… badass presence, but all of that just mesmerized me even more. I couldn’t stop staring at her gray eyes as she walked towards me.
She stopped about a foot away and said something to me in her language. I didn’t know what to do or say so I just stared like an idiot back at her. Then she pointed to something behind me and I turned around to look. That’s when I felt something strike the back of my head and my eyes became too heavy to keep open.
© Copyright 2016 Anon Amous. All rights reserved.
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