….a novel in process…

the book im working on….

I never intended to stay. This place, like every other devastated place, was to pass beneath my feet and be washed from my skin by day break.
With my face hard, eyes forward, aware of the heat, aware of the stench of death, of the sounds structures make when burning to the ground and collapsing amongst my preconceived expectations, I walked. I did not stop to look right or to look left. Experience had not dulled my senses but rather given me the ability to produce a response with less aggravated effort. A prefabricated reaction requires no actual feelings.

Dune had seen them, not I. He must have been frozen by his astonishment. Unable to understand why those eyes were meeting his amongst the rising smoke. We had been traveling together for near a year and never had we seen anything living besides one another. He fell from my side and I became aware of something new, something inside my conscious I had not known before.
Loss.
I turned for him, I turned to find him, I turned as not to loose him; and when I turned I lost myself. Before my hair could settle against my shoulders, I knew it was too late. The narrow ridge I walked in life had just escaped from beneath my feet.

“Dune, come.”
He did not turn his face. I took one step toward him in a direction I considered to be more like suicide than actual movement. 
“Dune….” I growled in my tone, “…..come here.”
He turned his face to mine, his expression becoming pensive. Tilting his head gently I watched his eyes investigate my features, checking mine against theirs no doubt. We’d seen a thousand faces like these, why was he stopping now, risking both our lives?

He barked a single tone. A tone that id have understood if Garr’s army took sound from my world, fore I would have seen the ripples in the air between us or seen that question is his eyes, asking my how I could leave my own behind?

“The are not mine!” I roared. My chest heaved up and down. My eyes watered no doubt from standing in this valley of smoke. We should be walking, we should be leaving. I clenched my fist and turned my heel, threatening to leave him, to leave my only friend. Dune did not move. Instead he lay down amongst the ruins and turned back to what it was he saw.
I turned my face as he had. I looked. A dozen faces. Eyes wide open. Soft human expressions. Their bodies propped against a smoldering building. Pale skin smudged with black. No blood. All dead. My mind locked and I could not look away from the last pale face.
Dune barked, and those big sad blue eyes that had fixed my gaze, on that tiny round face, shut so hard with fear that they knocked me to my knees. The very last limp, naked, dirty body was a tiny girl, perhaps five years in age, with golden curls salt licked to her cheeks, and she was very much alive.
She was not mine. Her eyes, that is why Dune believed it. She could not have the black blood that ran in my veins. I closed my eyes. My daughter, she would be nearly five. I shook my head as though to say out loud in a very silent way, that Dune could not see my eyes in this being. He felt for her, the same way he felt dragging me from Lewic river, and if I could have felt it, I would have said its name. But love, love is something I only understood as what had been taken from me. An emptiness that had no name.

The tiny hand rested on my wrist, trying to pull my hands away from my face. My mind still trying to understand how, why, she was left alive. Tregos are merciless demons, they do not make mistakes. They do not leave life in their wake. The small hand was joined my Dunes warm muzzle, pushing at my finger tips as I dug them into my face. Garr must have stopped the Trego, he was the only one with power enough to do so. But why?

Bait! She was being used as bait! And Dune and I were playing right into his plan!

Copyright @Cassidy Millar 2010-2014

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