Reads: 243


19th June 114P.R.


Kirk is hot, but nowhere near as hot as this. I have gathered the rest of the clothing off the dead, helped the others set up a cover to sit under and managed to get a clear idea of our situation.

There are 15 of us, stuck in a desert. We have enough food and water being rationed to last us 2, maybe 3 days. We have no way to send for rescue but waiting by the train is our best chance. We have 2 people with serious injuries and everyone has some raw skin from the freak sandstorm. Mine is on the side of my face.

My hydration's low and I'm refusing water, the others are more important than me. If anyone's going to die it should be me as it would bring an end to this devil's power. I'm trying to ignore the curse as it only brings pain now, it has always only brought pain.

My hip is better. It aches but doesn't feel like it's about to shatter or explode anymore. Megan's leg has something stuck in it but Matt has bandaged it so it lowers the risk of infection, he also treated Ffion, who's left arm was severed at the elbow in the crash.

Overall there's no sign of danger, everyone's doing alright, shaken, but alright. How long before we all try and kill each other is the question now.


I put down my bouler and let out a sigh. I tilt my head upwards, my defect doesn't make my stomach lurch now. Everyone is chattering softly, some mourning, others trying to shake off what happened.

I search the landscape, almost everything is sand. Wait. There.




It was coming fast. Right for us. I stand up, trying to find out what it is. I don't know but it's speeding up, coming like the wind to engulf us. I start to move uneasily.

“Hey!” I hear Emily exclaim as I accidentally bump into her,

Something's coming, it's coming fast and I think it's dangerous.

“What?” Emily laughs a little at this not understanding.

Trust me, it's coming. We need to go.

“How do you know?” Emily's voice has become stern and serious.

Run. I repeat, run!

“What's going on?” I hear Megan ask behind me.

RUN! I urge Emily as I whip around, grab Megan by the hand and start to run. I bash into people knocking them out the way, sending out yells.

“We need to get out of here. Come on run!” I hear Emily shout from behind. As the stampede of feet comes flooding to my ears, I hear another thing. Growling, low growling. I've heard it at Kirk zoo but I can't think of what it is. Not now. Megan starts slowing, her leg is pulling her back and I slow with her. People pass us, I put my arm out trying to find Matt,

“Kai?” It wasn't Matt's voice but it was defiantly a male voice, “we need to go” the stranger tugged at my arm. It was Christian, I moved his arm so that it touched Megan, who was now kneeling on the floor.

“My leg,” Megan whimpers. I can hear the growling getting louder, please not now, not now. Megan was hauled out of my grasp as Christian balanced her onto his shoulder.

“Come on!” I grab his hand as it stretches out to me. We run on, desperate. The amount of bare feet roaring across the ground must have triggered a mini sandstorm as I can feel my face being scratched at and torn. We race through the desert, our hearts beating at our chests. Half an hour drags by and we start to slow, are we safe?

I realise I can't hear growling, I turn and my disorder makes me smile. Sand. Glorious sand. Nothing but sand. Not even a broken train. When I turn back everyone is seated on the ground, safe. I fall down onto the sand a little harder than I had meant to. I close off, back into my mind,


What were those things?


They were fast.

They were big.

Their growling you would hear from the big cats at the zoo.

But there aren't any big cats in the desert. Are there?

Tigers? No.

Leopards? No.

Cheetahs? No.

Jaguars? No.

Lions? No. Yes. No.

Then it came to me,


Cougars. A slight smile of relief crosses my lips as I tune back into the world around me.


“Get your hands off me!” I jolt my head upwards.

“Or what?” Once more my curse makes me want to hurl as Will hits Nicole in the face.

“Oi!” I swallow as Will lunges forward and Edwin lunges as well. This is welcomed by Lydia's and Nicole's screams,

“How much more!” Will cries back as he attacks the girls, “How much more water are you going to waste?! When will you realise there are others apart from you?!”

“When you stop beating us up!” The girls reply loudly. Thumps and crashes followed as they battle in the sand. I stand up and with the help of Edwin, Megan, Emily and Matt we manage to pull them apart.

“Stop it!” cries Megan, “we need to store water. Ok?”

“What about food?” I hear Izzy comment, “I'm hungry.”

“Only when we're desperate otherwise it'll only make us more thirsty” Megan commands.

“What about those. Things that chased us away” Theo adds. “Where are they?”

Where do think? I want to spit in his face.

“It doesn't matter, when they come after us again. Which I have no doubt they will do. We're gonna be an easy target. And fighting amongst ourselves proves that.”

“Well then what do we do, smart-arse?” Adam's sarcastic voice I would recognise anywhere.

“Travel in the same direction we were running in.” Emily cuts in.

“But that's stupid.” Adam replies.

“Ok then, which way is Kirk?” Emily’s comment finally made everyone shut up. I went over to Emily and touched her hand.

“Kai?” Emily asked me.

To your left. That's the direction we were running in. Emily called out.

“This way, follow me.” She turned and made sure to walk loudly in the direction I had said.

“How do you know?” I hear Kier call from behind her.

“I don't.”

“Then how do you have any idea about the direction?” Gwen asks.

“Talk to Kai.” Emily’s final comment drifted across the crowd and slowly vanished. None did, they just set off after Emily. But I heard snippets of conversations as people started walking past me,

“What's she got? Like a 5th sense or something?”

“Yeah and the way she drifts around it really...”

“Creeps me out.”

“Anyway how come she's so sure of herself?”

“How can she possibly know something like that?”

“Maby she's possessed but the devil!”

“Maby she is the devil!” I shake my head. Don't listen. Don't listen. I am not the devil! I am NOT the devil!

Everyone slowly passes me and Megan is at the back still limping a little. I make my way over to Matt, who is helping Ffion stand up,

Her dressing's coming off, I tap to Matt, then I take off my top and hand it to him, we can't handle losing another friend. Matt takes off the old bloodied material and ties my top onto Ffion's stump,

“Matt?” Ffion asks trembling slightly. She is still weak from the blood loss.

“Don't worry, I'm just changing the material.” I hear her smile.

“So you're shirtless now?” she giggles a bit reaching a hand out towards him.

“Unfortunately not.” My fault picks out the disappointment on her face as her hand rests back against her chest. Then I hear Matt smile, “But Kai is.” Ffion stops like a clockwork figure that needs more oil.

“Thank you, Kai.” she said softly. I turn away and join Megan supporting her leg. Now Ffion is suspecting me. Well done Kai. Well done you.


“They're suspicious of you, you know” Megan perks up.

I know, I'm not exactly making it better. Once again I hear Megan smile. Then she becomes serious,

“Look, me, Matt and Emily don't know how you do certain things.”

What things? I have been careful not to ever let anyone now about my curse and yet,

“The way you can find us in a crowded playground when we're not making any noise. The way you walk down the street. The way you talk and are so sure about Kirk clicking and ticking like a clockwork city. The way you are immersed in thoughts all the time, even when you are at your busiest. The way you write your diary. The way you walk, breathe and just go about being you.”

No reply.

“Look, we take you for who you are. All this might be because you have no voice and that's perfectly understandable but we are suspicious too Kai. You're not normal but we'll stick to you no matter what.” I step away from her. Don't you patronise me. I know that there's something wrong with me. I know. You don't understand. You can never understand. I want to scream at her. I want to beat her until she is bleeding. I want to tear at her face and her hair. I want to rip and claw and mangle her. I want to show her what the devil can do.

Submitted: May 31, 2015

© Copyright 2022 SE Howie. All rights reserved.


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