So North they headed. 

They trudged forward steadily over the increasingly rocky terrain. Every ten minutes or so, Glen checked the bearings on his small metal compass. There was no path to be seen, but he was sure they were going in the right direction. 

Late afternoon faded, and turned to dusk. When the stars came out, they made camp near a large gorse path. The rocky ground was uncomfortable, but if tired enough, one can sleep in anywhere. 

Thinking this over, Shira decided that she was not, in fact, tired enough. Pebbles were digging into her back, and the lack of a pillow was all too obvious to her. Glen was already asleep under his blankets. 

"What do you think Alabaster will be like?" she whispered, to see if he would wake. Glen slept on. 

After several minutes of trying to get comfortable, Shira drifted off to sleep. 

The morning dawned damp  and cold. Shira was as stiff as could be, and the meager rations for breakfast did nothing to lift her grey mood. However, she was careful not to complain. She didn't want Glen to think she couldn't take this, and Glen had made no such comments on the rainy weather or the uncomfortableness of the rocks.

"How far do you think we have to go?" Shira asked as they shouldered their packs and set off. It was 8:00. 

"We covered about three miles yesterday," Glen calculated. "We can probably get to Alabaster around, oh, one thirty-ish if we don't take many breaks, or the hills don't get steeper."

As they hiked, the ground got less rocky. The looming grey boulders of before gave way to small, round pebbles of a clear, white hue. Pebbles crunched under their feet as they wallked. 

Glen's calculations were correct. It was twelve thirty, when, standing on the top of a high hill, for the land rolled underneath them like frozen waves, that they saw, over the crests of several hills, the city of Alabaster. 

They reached the city an hour later. Shira huffed and puffed as they went down the last descent, which led them to the city's doors. The walls of the city gleamed a shimmering white, looking a bit like porclain. Shira and Glen stared in awe at the glistening city. 

As they stepped through the opened gates, there was an abnormal silence. They had expected a bustling city. But no. There was not a single person in the streets, and the windows of all the houses were shuttered. 

Glen cautiously led the way into the ostensibly deserted city. A fountain in a square burbled slowly, choking every so often on the water. Glen noticed something gleaming  at the bottom of it.

"Glen!" Shira said. "Look!" She pointed down an alley, towards the brown cloaked figure running hastily away from them.

The End

1 comment about this story Feed