Tumbling in the water of the winding river I found myself being claimed by a darkness that curled around me and tried to drag me further down into the water. I struggled though. Tried to fight for air and reach the surface but I couldn't.
My limbs were too heavy and my eyes had closed a few seconds ago. I was sinking. Being thrown around like a rag doll. Nothing was catching me. I was lost.... floating.... sinking......
Then a light shone through. A memory of Ceilie.
"What is that?" she had asked me pointing at a shiny object within the rushing water of the thinning river. I had stopped in my movement towards the lake that fed the river it's water and glanced back.
"Celie, don't touch it"
Even having told her not to she hadn't listened. She reached for the shiny object with an untrembling hand so brave. "Ow!" she had then cried out and I had rush over quickly to take my dear sister into my arms.
"I told you, Celie" I had scolded her taking a bandage from my pouch and winding it round her hand.
Celie peered up at me sniffling. "Big brother always protect me"
"And I always will"
Always will... I had promised Celie I would protect her. I couldn't give up now. Not when my sister was somewhere out there needing me. Needing her big brother to protect her. She had mother and her father but I had always been her protector. Always had she needed me.
At night when horrors plagued her then during the day when she fell out with her friends. I was her watcher. Her guard.
My sister Celie needed me. I had to be around with bandages for when she got a cut or scrape.
My eyes flashed open and I found my eyes looking up at the face of Ren. He relaxed with a sigh pushing a hand back through his wet hair. He was muddy all over.
"I thought you had drown" he laughed looking at me worried as I still laid there. "Riele, you okay?"
"I'm fine" I said sitting up and seeing myself also wet with dirt scattering over my skin. "Where are we? Further south?"
"I think so" Ren said splashing water on his face to rid it of the dirt. He turned his eyes to me and forced a smile. "Some ride huh?"
"What happened to those kids?"
"Smarter than us. They didn't even tumble down the cliff"
I looked down at my feet. "How could this thing have gotten to them? They're... They're just kids"
Ren put a hand on my shoulder causing me to look at him. "These people aren't in their right mind, Riele. They don't pick and chose anymore. They're just.... hungry it would seem"
I slipped of into thought and found my heart sinking at the prospect of my mother and sister being alive in all this chaos. I struggled to get to my feet. "Come on" I said and turned to leave which is when I came face to face with two complete strangers. Two complete living strangers. "Uh, hi?"