I rubbed my blistered hand gingerly. I'd been so caught up in the adrenlin rush of escaping that I hadn't even noticed the injury until last night. Looking back I realized it was from grabbing the doll by its enflamed apron--but it was nothing compared to getting shot down with an arrow.
Dropping my hand I looked out at the peach horizon as the sunrise began to spread her gentle fingers across the cold earth to warm it and spread what comfort she could, and my eyes began to droop. I shook away the weariness and got to my feet to pace. If I fell asleep and we were caught then...well, I wasn't exactly sure what would happen then but judging by my singed palm it wouldn't be anything pleasant.
"Where are we?"
I jumped at Katrina's sudden voice, half-believing it to be that of an intruder's.
"What are we going to do?" her voice trembled, tugging at both my heart strings and courage beams.
"How's your shoulder?" I asked, unable to answer her question.
"Better," she forced a smile, "Thank you. I can take watch now if you'd like."
My entire being ached for me to accept but it seemed the early sun rays had now crept up on the rest of the party and they began to rub the sleep from their eyes.
"No, I'll be fine. It looks like its time to get going anyways."
She studied me carefully, "You know, it's okay to fullfill your own needs every once in awhile."
It caught me off gaurd. I guess I never realized how much I shoved my own problems aside in order to make room for those of others. But the days of going hungry and nights of releasing witheld tears were proof.
"I know," I smiled sheepishly, "but right now I think the greater need is to get as far away from this place as possible. I can sleep tonight."
"Wake-up, Pretty-Boy," a gruff voice snarled. I groaned and rolled on my side, in the mood for just about anything but dealing with my tent mates, as you might call them.
"Suit yourself," came a more whiney voice, "More breakfast for us."
Breakfast. I wasn't sure the mess they passed out was even worthy of the word. But then, it was that sort of attitude that won me my little nickname. It seemed the faces I made at the gruesome smells and my reluctance to even lay in what I was sure was a bed-bug's thriving nest were more obvious than I thought they would be. I wasn't used to this lifestyle and those who were took every chance to remind me.
I waited until I was sure they had left to finally open my eyes. Yellowish light shone throught he canvas tent, reflecting off the mix of snoring men and scattered luggage. This was home for now and I'd best learn to accept it.
Yawning, I climbed out of bed and stepped over everyone and thing to leave the tent. But I wasn't going to breakfast, at least not until I built up the appetite. No, I was going to something more invigorating and refreshing--a good, long walk.
When I returned, my head much clearer than before, I could hear the sound of someone calling out names--mail! My heart sored at the thought of something from home.
I joined the excited throng as the man continued to shout out names.
"Elliot!" I watched impatiently as a young man took his letter and stopped the man to mutter something in his ear before he could continue, "Harrison! McBurts!" and on and on until, with dread, I saw him close his bag. My head dropped as he shouted some farewell or other before leaving.
I should've expected it I guess. My parents were always so busy with the business and I hadn't been out that long. Perhaps next time.