Day 28! Only twoooooo more days to go!
I was so looking forward to November to begin, now I can’t wait for it to end. 😀
Today’s writing was spent in tears, as expected; I’m such a sooky-lala. Same thing for tomorrow I predict. Tomorrow’s chapter will be the ~last chapter~. If I don’t reach 50,000 tomorrow, which is likely that I won’t, I plan to go through my document and flesh out a few itsy bitsy bits, add random dialogue, etc and just wing it to 50k. Those little writings won’t be posted.
The 30th will be dedicated to my boring self-babbles (‘sif you haven’t read enough of those), notes that I’ve written, things I’ll do to actually make this a story worthy of being a story, etc… and for having a few celebratory drinks! For, even though this has been overly convoluted and needs extensive revision and refinement. I will have finished.
Anyway. At the moment I’m just grateful that I didn’t give myself a headache with all these tears. Look! I can write through tears and blurry eyes! Lyria will be thrilled… (It’s not so much her death that gets me, but writing Cael’s heartbreak afterwards. Gut-wrenching.)
Today’s wordcount was: 2166
Overall wordcount is: 46568
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His hands swept through her air and his heart thumped loud against her ear… she focused on that steady beat, that soothing, calming, heartbeat. Then, all went silent. No singing, no shrieking, no heartbeat… she shuffled back and opened her eyes. Draven was transparent again, his mouth opening and closing as though he were speaking, but this time she couldn’t hear him. She reached out, but couldn’t touch him. His eyes widened with equal measures of shock, horror, and despair. ‘Katéa’, he mouthed. The glowing sphere expanded over all, encompassing all in her sight, and then there was nothing
—only blinding light.
“Hey!” An unknown voice shouted. “Didn’t we check over here already?”
“Yeah, she wasn’t there before.”
The impossibly harsh light shone into her eyes, penetrating behind her closed lids, and she scrunched her face, groaning as the hellish glare tried to burn into her. What the hell was happening? So many unfamiliar voices.
“Yep, that’s her alright. Search is over, folks.”
“She’s alive; that’s a relief. Sick of finding idiots from the city dead and devoured.”
“Or those fuckwit foreigners who think they can just waltz on in and go walkabout.”
That one wasn’t unfamiliar; that sounded like one of Sarah’s bogan friends. Laughter rose up all around her. Heavy steps crunched twigs and fallen leaves. She wrenched open her eyes, daring to meet whatever the fuck that bright light was —whoever the fuck these people were— and groaned again, covering her eyes with her hand. Twisted, gnarled branches dangled above her, beside her, all around her. Was she back in the scrub? Had all of this been some fucked up dream? Leather and lace brushed against her brow and she snapped her eyes open once more, now immune to the intensity of the light shining directly at her.
Draven’s gift, the bond circlet, was looped over her middle finger and tied about her wrist, the once red gem now a dull umber. She moved her hand, allowing the light to shine over the gem, and her heart skipped a beat as the gleam revealed hidden nuances within the stone, of yellows and browns just as a tiger’s eye gem. Her stomach lurched and a tear rolled down her cheek. It was real. It was not a dream. And now she was back in this fucked up world where she no longer belonged. Why —how? The sphere in Serenithyl’s chamber shone bright and white. With its black void removed, it looked just as… a Min Min Light. It was one of those both blessed and damned orbs. The fucking thing had sent her back!
She slowly sat upright, wincing as a sudden ache tightened around her head, and groaned again as arms wrapped themselves about her and held her.
“I’ve been so worried —it’s been a whole day! What the hell were you doing out here? Didn’t you listen to the retreat leaders? That’s a stupid question. Of course you didn’t. You never listen. Always have to run off and-”
“Shut up, Sarah,” she mumbled, climbing to her feet and rubbing at the ache in her temple.
“I can handle myself!”
Katéa pushed Sarah away, an onslaught of tears blinding her. The twisted trees and their gnarled branches leered at her and taunted her. A light flickered through the trees. Was it one of the Lights —out where everyone could see? A man with a torch stepped out of the scrub, followed by another. Nope. Just hippies with torches. She needed to find the lights again,… she needed to go back!
That look in Draven’s eyes, the anguish that had spread over his face… she buried her head into her hands, heavy sobs taking control of her. Did she just vanish before his eyes? Pain ripped through her chest and she doubled over as nausea swept over her, her stomach twisting and contorting as her heart tried to drown itself. Was she still pregnant? That was a stupid question; of course she was! Oh, God. What was she going to do now? This was not her world any longer. She would not raise a child here in this messed up reality. He was destined to be a Master. He needed to learn those magical mage-blooded ways… he needed to dance in the long grass and be friends with the pixies. He needed his father, and the village needed him! This world was not suitable.
“Katéa? What’s wrong?”
They would all think she was crazy. Min Min Lights, curative dragons, golden-arsed pixies, human-hating elves, giant birds and beasts. All of these unfamiliar people, circling her, staring at her, not even offering her water or anything —is that how they dealt with survivors? Unless… they were expecting to find nothing at all, or maybe they thought they’d find a corpse. They were not prepared for this outcome. She shook her head, struggling to breathe through her despair. Neither was she.
“I-I need a drink…” she choked out through her sobs.
“Always thinking of wine. Even at a time like this.” Sarah shook her head and thrust a canteen at her. “Have some water.”
Bitch. Water was all she wanted. She took a sip of the warm, tasteless liquid and almost coughed it back up, barely able to swallow through her gut whorling and writhing as it made its way up her throat akin to a bodily grieving cyclone of despair. No —she would not grieve! She would be back. She laid a hand to her stomach. They would both be back. Somehow.
“The Min Min Lights… where did they go? I-I…”
“The Min Min Lights?” Sarah cocked an eyebrow. “We need to get you back to the retreat; you clearly need a good rest. The medic can look you over. Perhaps a bath, also,” she sniffed.
“You’re one to talk, you fuckin’ hippie.”
“There’s the Katéa I know. Come, back to base. I’m so surprised we didn’t find you sooner; we’re barely a few hundred metres out. Oh! You’re not wearing any shoes…” Sarah smirked, clearly amused by the missing stilettos, “Can you walk?”
A few hundred metres? That’s how far they were from the retreat? That was impossible. Tears welled once more. She had been a world away, saving the people from giant beasts and angry elves alongside the love of her life, the father of her unborn child… and now she was a few hundred metres out from a fucking hippie retreat, in a world she had accepted as forever lost. A brand new future had awaited her. She glanced down at the wristband, its gemstone a reminder of Draven’s anguished eyes, and her heart twisted. What was he thinking right now? She had not abandoned him. This was the most fucked up scenario —this was not supposed to happen!
“Of course I can fucking walk, I’m not an invalid.”
“Wow, so touchy. Take a chill pill.”
Katéa rubbed at the tears rolling down her cheeks and scrunched her face hoping to stop any more from falling. It was okay; it would be easy as. She would wait until they all went to sleep and come back out. The Lights would be there and she would follow them again, and they would lead her back. There was no point chucking a hissy fit. It would all work out. That was if she could give them the slip; Sarah would probably be watching her like a hawk… she already was; furrowing her brow and casting side-long glances, wondering what had happened to her normally dainty friend.
The small square-shaped buildings lay ahead, looking bland and boring beneath the moonlight. Colourless. That’s what it was. Everything was so colourless after the vibrancy of the other world. Sure, it was night time, but the entire environment and that which was placed within it was distinctly sepia. The scraggly grass was sepia, the dusty decorative stones were sepia, the wooden planks… she wanted the colours back. She clenched her fists.
“The medic’s office is this way.”
Katéa sighed, “I don’t need a medic. I’m fine. Look. No bumps, no scrapes, just a motherfuckin’ headache. I’ll be better in the morning.” She forced a smile through her aching tear-stained cheeks. It was the last thing she wanted to do right now, but anything to get these people to leave her alone. “If I don’t wake up, well, I’m just a dumbfuck city chick, aren’t I? You can tell me that you told me so when I wake up drooling in hospital.”
“You’re not acting yourself, Kitty Kat,” Sarah’s eyes were wide with worry. “And where’s your phone?”
“The fireplace ate it.”
“Katéa —you’re delusional!”
Tears spilled over the precipice and she wiped them away before they could further antagonise her aching head. She was as far from delusional as could possibly be. Delusional. That was insulting. The life she had lived before coming across the Min Min Lights was the most delusional of lives, and she would have nothing to do with it ever again. She needed Draven. She needed to listen to his heartbeat, to feel his arms around her, to know that she was safe, that everything would be okay, to know that he was okay… that was not delusion! It was the only thing that mattered any more.
Katéa turned away from Sarah and headed to the small building behind the main building. “Beds were this way, right? See you in the morning.”
Voices mumbled behind her, Sarah and the rest of the hippies talking about her behind her back. They were irrelevant. What was the time, anyway? Hopefully they would all go to bed and she could sneak out with no-one noticing. They could think whatever they wanted to think; she no longer cared. By morning, she would be gone.
The bed was as wood beneath her back; the bed she shared with Draven was so much comfier. How did people sleep on these thin mattresses? Right, hippie retreat. Pain is all in the mind, man. Pain leads to inner healing, man. Her heart stabbed into her and she threw the pillow over her face, weeping into the harsh, starched cloth. Would those idiots out there just please go to bed already?
Minutes passed —hours. Time lingered as an eternity as she waited for footsteps to pass the room, as the door creaked open and three other people joined her in this one. She felt Sarah’s eyes on her for the longest time until the damned hippie finally crawled into her own bed. Soft snores at last rose up and she took a breath. It was time. Fuck this place.
She crawled up from the bed and sneaked to the door, her feet silent upon the floorboards. Creak, squealed the hinges. Shut the fuck up, she glared at it, pausing as she waited to see if anyone was disturbed. No-one moved. Good. A small stab of guilt as she glanced over at Sarah’s sleeping body, curled around the pillow as she hugged it close to her. Sorry, old friend.
Fuck; she was being such a bitch —maybe she should leave a note or something. Right, more proof of her delusions. ‘Hi, Sarah. I went back out looking for the Lights. They took me to another world, another place, and I fell in love, and I’m pregnant, and I need to get back to my new life. I love you, bye.’ If the Lights weren’t out there, they’d put her in a fucking loony bin! She swallowed. The lights had to be out there.
Gently closing the door behind her, she hurried to where sepia scrub bordered sepia grass, and waited.
The scraggly bush and gnarled limbs wavered in the breeze. A tiny spider spun its web from limb to limb, creating a masterpiece suitable to house at least fifty of the little buggers. No orbs came to illuminate its silk.
She touched at the leather and lace that bound her wrist, hoping that by her touch alone the gemstone would brighten to its former red glory and summon the Lights back to her. Surely they could feel her, hear her thoughts, know how desperate she was… oh, God. Please. Just come back; take her back.
“I freed one of you bastards from the clutches of an evil elf and its bird! For fuck sake,” she muttered beneath her breath. “Please…”
An orange glow danced upon the horizon, but it was not one of her blessed Min Min Lights. It was the sun; morning was coming, and she was still here. Her heart sank into her stomach as the morning unleashed this horrid day upon her, drowning her hopes, killing every one of her dreams with each of its glimmering rays.
A hand fell onto her shoulder —Draven? She whipped around and met Sarah’s soft gaze.
“What are you doing out here?”
Of course it wasn’t Draven. Why would he be here when he was there, probably wondering what the hell had happened to her. Those anguished eyes… unable to control herself, Katéa grabbed Sarah and cried against her friend’s chest, her heaves throwing her heart against her ribcage with every sob and breath.
This was all so fucked.