Guardians chapter 2

Chapter Two – Madam Hausisse’s hut


            Dezzie did not sleep well that night. She constantly fell in and out of sleep, every now and again hearing someone ask who was on next watch – what ever that meant – or some one having a quick chat. So by the morning she felt as if she had not slept a wink. She forced opened her tired eyes, peering around tiredly. Mingan was asleep next to her, leant against the wall of the van, his head turned to the side and his arms crossed. Elu was awake, sat opposite Honaw and talking with him. For a moment, she could not find Chayton, until she realised the engine was grumbling with life, and she saw him in the drivers seat. Once again they where on the move.

            Miserably, she lay still, staring at the cushion that lay under her head.

“Morning, Dezba.” Came a voice, and she looked up to see Chayton glancing at her through the mirror. She glared at him, but everyone was aware of her wakefulness. Moodily she sat up and pulled her knees to her chest.

“Did you sleep well?” Elu asked, shifting over to her side and smiling brightly at her. Dezzie paused before looking up at her.

“No.” She said, “I am truly exhausted.” Elu’s smile fell and she sighed.

“Ask a stupid question, I suppose. I didn’t expect you to sleep that well.” She sighed.

“How long will we be driving for?” Dezba asked softly. Honaw smiled, coming over too, and glanced at his watch.

“The trip should take a couple of hours.” He said, “Knowing Chayton’s driving though, an hour and an half.” Honaw paused, glancing at Mingan and grinning. He grabbed a pillow of the floor and threw it at the sleeping boy, causing him to grunt and jerk awake. Mingan sat upright, rubbing his eyes, before glaring at Honaw who had looked innocently away.

“You git!” he cried, diving across the space in-between them and tackling him to the ground. With a bark of laughter, the two rolled around, absorbed in the dance of their play fighting. They tugged at each other’s hair, lightly thumped each other, and bit, before collapsing on one of the mattresses and bursting into laughter.

“They’re always like this.” Elu sighed, rolling her brown eyes.

            Mingan propped himself up on his elbows, grinning at her.

“You act like it annoys you, but I can see the laughter in your eyes!” he grinned. She scowled at him, hitting him with a pillow, but she was trying to control her smile. Mingan laughed, then smiled Dezba.

“Morning Dezzie.” He grinned. She could not help but smile back and give a soft ‘morning’ in exchange. He beamed at her and shifted beside her, giving her hand a gentle, comforting squeeze. Elu paused, looking thoughtful at Dezba, before grabbing one of the backpacks on the pile and pulling it over. This one was black, apart from the rainbow coloured stars that were dotted all over it. She smiled brightly at her, hope in her eyes.

“Dezzie?” she asked, “Can I do your hair?” She looked at her with pleading eyes. Dezba frowned lightly, before sighing and shrugging.

“Sure thing...” She muttered softly. Elu smiled delighted. She sat playing with her hair for a while before sighing.

“I love your hair!” she declared happily, “it’s beautiful!” Elu’s compliment was not expected by Dezba, and she found herself turning to a glowing shade of red as she touched her short, brown bob which contained white and golden highlights. To be honest, she had never really gotten a proper compliment since she had been declared insane. She always felt plain now; invisible. In embarrassment, she looked down at her knees.

“Chin up, kid,” Mingan said suddenly, lifting her face up with a finger “those daemons consider having your head bowed as a sign of weakness. Could get you killed if you’re not careful.” He smiled slightly, but Dezba found herself clenching her jaw. It was that word again. Daemons.

“I don’t believe in things such as daemons.” She said stubbornly. The smile on Mingan’s face fell.

“You will.” Chayton’s voice came.

            The rest of the journey then was awkward. Elu carried on applying makeup on Dezba, but nobody spoke. Then suddenly, the road grew rougher, and the light started to dim down. Finally, Chayton pulled to a stop, got out of the drivers’ seat, and slid open the van door. Elu smiled over at him, quickly shoving her makeup and hair products into her backpack before slinging it over her shoulder. She met Chayton and the door and he smiled slightly at her, taking hold of her by the waist and lifting her gracefully down onto the floor. Dezba watched curiously, as she grinned at him, but then turned and skipped away, leaving Chayton staring after her. Honaw laughed and leapt down lightly from the van, thumping Chayton playfully on the shoulder before the two walked off in the direction Elu had gone. Mingan jumped down too, then paused and smiled over at Dezba who had hesitated and stayed where she was. Funnily enough, at first she wanted nothing more than to be out of that wretched van; now she could, she felt weary of leaving it.

“Come on, Dezzie.” Mingan smiled, holding out his hand to her. She paused, biting her lip, before sighing. After all, how could these few hours get any worse? She crept forwards and took his hand, allowing him to help her slid from the van.

            She stopped, looking around at her surroundings. They had come to a stop in a lush, green forest; bees danced swiftly amongst the flowers, birds sang beautifully up in the tree tops. Creatures clicked, and chirped, and purred; creating the naturally beautiful music of the wood. Right ahead of them, looking lone and old, slouch a crumbling old hut, which Elu, Chayton and Honaw disappeared into. Next to it, like a mournful, dying animal, a circle of stones sat. In the centre of the stones the earth was charred and black from the remains of the bonfire’s site.

“Come on.” Mingan smiled, tugging her forwards, his hand still gripping hers gently, “You can have a better look around later. Madam Hausisse will want to meet you.”

            A wave of fear and shyness overwhelmed Dezba, and she found herself meekly gripping tightly onto Mingan’s arm as he led her inside. There was a complete transformation of the inside compared to the outside. It was beautifully decorated, with squishy couches and pretty pictures that hung gracefully on the wall. The kitchen was attached to the living room; both had pretty lime green paint on their walls. Honaw and Chayton both were sprawled on the couches, whilst Elu disappeared into the next room with calls of ‘Madam Hausisse’. Dezba held tightly onto Mingan, glancing up at him. He smiled down at her, chuckling lightly.

“It’s ok,” he beamed, “no ones going to hurt you. You’re going to be fine.” Even through his kind, soothing words, Dezba couldn’t help being nervous and found herself gripping tighter onto his arm. Then, Elu returned, followed by a withered old lady.

            Madam Hausisse looked about a thousand years old; her deep set wrinkles caressed the tanned folds of skin, creating the illusion that she had been carved out of split wood. Her blue eyes looked as if they had seen ten million things in her long life, and finally her wild grey hair stood up in a way that made her looks as if she had been electrocuted. In her gnarled hand, she gripped a cane, but by the way she walked it was clear she did not need it; the handle was carved in the shape of a falcon. Her beady eyes peered at Dezba, who shyly let her eyes trail to the floor.

“You, boy!” she snapped in her husky, well used voice to Mingan, “This girl looks exhausted! Elu said you looked after her!” Mingan jumped slightly at her bark then gave a weak grin.

“Sorry, but she didn’t sleep well.” He said apologetically. Madam Hausisse glared at him, then suddenly swung her wooden cane around, striking his kneecaps and causing him to yelp. Dezba squeaked slightly in fear.

“I said I was sorry!” he hissed.

            However, Madam Hausisse turned towards her, the lopsided mouth of hers twisted into what Dezba guessed was a toothless smile.

“Dezba, my child,” she beamed, taking her face in her hands, “it is a pleasure to finally meet you! How is that grandfather of yours?” she asked, kissing her on both cheeks. Dezba found herself frowning in confusion. Honaw saw and grinned at her.

“Madam Hausisse favourites girls;” he laughed, “She gives all the lads a hard time, spoils the girls.”

            The old woman’s beady eyes darted across Dezba’s face, before shooting Chayton a dark look.

“This poor girl looks terrified!” she snapped, “What did you do to make her this weary?” Chayton hesitated, his eyes darting over to Dezzie, then back at his grandmother.

“Uh, yhea, about that,” he said slowly, “when we found her she was being hunted by a really nasty Shadower. We, well, had to get to her fast, so we just had to… grab her and go…”

            Slap! Madam Hausisse’s came down, striking against his shin. He cried out and clutched his leg; a flicker of a smile spread across Dezba’s lips.

“Brainless oaf!” she snapped. Elu laughed lightly, before walking over and taking hold of Dezba’s shoulders, guiding her to the couch and sitting her down. She made sure to sit in between Dezba and Chayton too.

“So, Dezzie, do you want to hear the rest of the explanation of why we need you now or later?” she smiled, flashing her perfectly white teeth. Dezba did not think for long, and decided that now was the best time. After all, the sooner she got this over with, the sooner she could go home.

“Now.” She declared, “Please, just get it over with. After all, what more can there be?”

“Well, it’s a bit strange, the next part.” Honaw smirked. Mingan smiled and sat beside Dezba, brushing his hand against hers lightly.

“Do you remember yesterday we told you about how we descended from animals?” he asked softly. Dezba frowned slightly but nodded.

“The different guardians are shown which tribes they protected from the totem poles carved by the Native Americans. People say they have meanings, which they do, but they also symbolise the tribe’s guardians. Due to the fact that we come from animals, it gave our people stronger senses. Smell. Touch. Taste. Hear. And mostly, sight. That’s why we can see these Daemons. Also, each of our families descended from a different animal; so we were called guardian of that animal. For instance, my family comes from the wolf; so, I’m known as a Guardian of the Wolf.” He paused for a moment, before nudging her slightly with a smile, “Got all that, Dez?” he asked. She was frowning at him, but nodded slowly.

“I think so.” She replied quietly. Of course she thought it was just a load of rubbish.  He smiled.

“We don’t exactly know who you are at the moment, but we have a good guess. Sometimes, we don’t know if both parents are guardians, so we have to go through a test to be able to finally tell. It’s completely harmless, I assure you! I had to go through it twice coz these idiots screwed the first one up.” He laughed lightly at the memory. Dezba frowned slightly.

“I don’t want a test!” she complained looking towards Chayton, “I want to go home! You said if I didn’t want to stay I didn’t have to!”

            Chayton flinched looking at his grandmother who looked positively murderous.

“You said what?” she snapped. He scowled slightly, turning his gaze to the floor.

“It was the only way I could get her to shut up.” He muttered, “She didn’t stop complaining.” The room went quiet, whilst everyone looked at Chayton in surprise and slight horror.

“Chay, you promised her, man.” Honaw shot. Chayton shot him an annoyed look.

“You fool!” snapped Madam Hausisse, “I told her to go and pick her up, tell her what she needed to know, and bring her here, not kidnap her and hold her against her will!”

“I tried to!” he retorted, “But everything went wrong! She wouldn’t listen! She wouldn’t believe us! It was the only way I could think of to make her cooperate!”

“You shouldn’t mess with her like that!” snapped Elu, “It’s cruel!” Chayton turned his head towards her, annoyance in his eyes.

“Cruel?” he growled, “We’re in a war, Elu! We need all the help we can get!” He turned his dark brown eyes to Dezba, glaring at her, “It’s either fight or die.”

            Meanwhile, Dezba sat silently on the couch, looking at the floor. At first, her eyes where filled with horror and troubled dismay; but slowly, they grew angry and fierce, until furious flames flashed in her eyes. Her head shot up and she glared at him, springing to her feet.

“You told me I could go home!” she spat; her fists clenched so hard her knuckles where white. Chayton stepped back in surprise at how furious she looked, the anger in his eyes flashing slightly in caution.

“I lied.” He shot, but then regretted it as soon as he said it. Honestly, he had never seen someone so angry towards him. He had faced many daemons in his lifetime, but he had never fought another guardian. No one before ever have a reason to do so, and everyone was slightly scared of him anyway.  She stormed towards him, her fists balled.

“Um, Dezzie, I don’t think that’s such a good idea…” Honaw said softly. She ignored him then shoved Chayton hard, so he staggered back and hit the wall behind him. Surprise was in his eyes. No one had treated him like this before – they had treated him with respect; he was the leader. Suddenly, she shoved him again, this time harder.

You’re such a fat-headed jerk!” she snarled, looking lethal. She pulled back her fist and swung it around, aiming for his jaw. At the last moment, Chayton caught it. Gritting her teeth, Dezba swiped her other fist around, which he caught also.

“Good try, kid.” He smirked, “but I’ve been fighting a lot longer than you have, and I think I know how to defend myself.”

            Dezba glared at him, then suddenly brought her knee up and kicked him in the groin. Bingo! He yelped in pain, his face turning red and shocked, and dropped to his knees with a groan. Dezba pulled her arm back to punch him, but then someone grabbed her around the waist and lifted her off her feet, pulling her out of range.

“LET ME GO!” she screamed, struggling and kicking out, trying to achieve her freedom, “LET ME GO! I’M GOING TO KILL THAT INVALID SCUM! LET ME GO!”

            “Sorry, kid.” came Honaw’s voice from over her shoulder. Chayton looked up and glared murderously at Dezba, massaging his tender parts still.

“Honaw,” came the voice of Mingan, which had been silent since they had found out that she could not return home, “Get her out of here for a while. Try and calm her down.” Everyone looked at him now. Mingan, for the first time since Dezba had met him, looked angry. Worse than angry, he looked fuming. Honaw paused for a moment, before turning and carrying Dezba – who still struggled – out of the door Madam Hausisse had appeared from. He set her down on her feet; as soon as he did she burst into tears, sliding down the wall and hugging her knees to her chest. Honaw sighed and knelt beside her, glancing up only when the shouting started in the room they had just left.

“Oh, hell, I’m so sorry about this, Dezzie.” He muttered, looking sympathetically at her. She buried her face in her hands and sobbed, feeling pathetic and weak. Honestly, she was scared. First about Chayton, as soon as he was able to walk after her well aimed blow to his balls, and after his argument with Mingan was over, he was going to kill her. Secondly, the people who surrounded her were obviously insane. She refused to believe their ridiculous theories, and planned to leave as soon as possible. But the only way she could currently think of leaving was to fight. She could barely stand up for herself in school, never mind against four dangerous children, and an old lady that fed their fantasies. Both conclusions resulted in her ending up in a funeral home.  Suddenly, the shouts died down, and with a bang, the door swung open and bashed against the wall beside it. Dezba jumped in surprise, looking up, expecting to see Chayton, but instead Mingan stormed across the room, shaking with fury, and sat down beside Dezba, pulling her into a tight hug. She turned her face and buried it into his chest, still crying and shaking. Mingan stroked her hair, much like her father did when she was scared, making soft, soothing sounds in her ear.

“H-he’s going to m-murder m-me!” she stuttered, clinging onto his shirt. He shushed her, stroking her hair in a comforting manner.

“Don’t worry, Dez,” he murmured, “no matter what happens I’m going to look after you. I swear on the Great Spirits, I won’t let anything harm you. Not any Daemon, not Chayton, not anything.” He held her close to him, rocking her slightly, letting her soak his shirt with her salty tears. Honaw still knelt beside them, silent, unsure what to say to make her feel better.

            After a while, she started to calm down; but Mingan still held her and Dezba still clung onto him. He looked down at her and lifted her chin so she was looking at him.

“Are you alright?” he asked softly. She swallowed and shook her head, looking back down.

“Are you hungry?” Honaw asked, “You haven’t eaten anything yet, and you’ve been with us for hours.”  Dezba hesitated. She was hungry, starving actually, but she did not feel like eating. Mingan smiled softly at her, before standing up and pulling her with him. She did not smile back at him; she just sighed and looked glumly down at the floor.

“C’mon,” he smiled, “I’ll fix you something to eat. Toast alright for you?”

            Dezba sat at the kitchen table not long after, nibbling at the crust. Mingan sat opposite her, smiling gently towards her as she ate, whilst Honaw stood, leaning against the work surface. Her mind was working over time. She did not wish to remain here, nor did she want to stay where Chayton could get to her. Like a cadged animal, she was considering all her methods of escape. She knew she could not fight her way out, and it would be foolish to merely try. She had thought about just walking out when no one was paying any attention to her, but Mingan, Elu or Honaw was always with her, keeping a close eye on her. By the look of it, they knew she would try some form of escape. It was uncanny how none of them said anything. They just stood there, smiling brightly at her; as if they were trying to gain her trust, but just making her feel even more tense.

            Still trying to think of ways to escape, she decided to play along with their unusual fantasies. Mainly, she just wanted them to stop staring at her like that.

“Before, when we arrived, Chayton said I was being stalked by something.” She said softly, glancing at the two boys. Honaw nodded, his smile finally faltering slightly.

“Yeah, you were. It was a daemon called a Shadower; nasty buggers. It takes the form of a shadow, then it sneaks up on its prey unnoticed, and rips their heart out of their chest.” He said calmly. Dezba raised her eyebrows.

“And this was stalking me because…?”

“Well, you’re a guardian.” Mingan smiled, “Daemons seem… attracted to us; all they really want is to rip our spleen out of our gut.”

            “No need to sugar coat it…” she muttered, rolling her eyes lightly. He laughed, before shooting her a weak grin.

“That was sugar coated, kid.” He sighed. Dezba blinked, before looking down.

“Hey, Dezzie.” said a voice, and she looked up, seeing Elu stood at the door, grinning lightly at her. Once more, she was face with the uncanny smiling.

“How’s Chayton?” Dezba asked softly, shifting slightly in her chair. The others had made sure not to let them come across each others paths since Dezba had lashed out at him. Elu hesitated, biting her lip; her smile suddenly reappeared once again.

“He’s fine!” she chirruped, but there was worry in her eyes still, “Uh, Madam Hausisse told me to show you our room, then get you to sleep.”

“I’m not tired.” Dezba lied. Mingan raised his eyebrows, looking slightly amused.

“Dez, you haven’t stopped yawning. You look exhausted. Go get some rest.” He smirked, trying to reason with her. She tried to protest, but the others were having none of it; in the end she let Elu lead her away to the bedroom they were to share whilst they stayed there. It had a cool temperature, with lime green walls, and a small amount of light filtering through the blinds. It smelt of summer; the tangy scent of grass and flowers. It was petite, with two single beds leaning against the walls. On one bed sat Elu’s starry bag.

“Yours is that one.” She smiled, nodding empty one. Dez glanced at her, before looking down. As she climbed into her bed, exhaustion overwhelmed her, and she was asleep in seconds.

            Hours later, she woke again. It was dark, and she could see the silhouette of Elu sleeping silently in her bed. She rolled over with a sigh, her eyes meeting the window. An idea sprang to mind and she grinned. This was her opportunity to escape. Everyone would be asleep now, so she should be able to get at least to civilisation by the time they woke. Silently, she slid out of bed, glanced back at Elu, before slowly prising open the window and sliding out.

            She began to run.

The End

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