this first chapter is introducing the characters a little bit getting to know how their life is from the past and the present.. and it also introduces how this long journey got started. this story is going to be about two young teens who live in a small collony who know nothing of the outside world and have never gone farther then a couple miles outside their boundrys. but what they discover in the outside world, is what will twist this story around. a strong relationship forms between the two
Ridean is my name. And 16 years is how long I've been lost, confused, tormented by my past. What has happened to my family, to the beings that have gave birth to me in a struggling colony, a cold world. A rugged yet comfortable terrain. Home to me. I was 1 when this burning memory happened, the one I never seem to get out of my mind. The one I have had sleepless nights over suffering and lost drowning in, an ongoing nightmare of their deaths. May 12th, it was my birthday when my mom rose I've been told was her name was covering my eyes with her cold and firm hands while I await for something my father has made to celebrate my birth with. Once I felt her fingers remove and the heat from my young eyelids release. I am taken by surprise when I see the most interesting thing to me up to this point.
; It was a scrap piece of wood with an r carved into the middle of it; and it was dangling right in front of my eyes on a string. My mother smiled along with my smile not quit knowing what it is though, she holds it over my head and as I feel it embrace my neck I look up and see her face pale and white as the snow now falling on us. Her eyes looking off to the left. My father leaning down to grab his spear as I get tossed to the ground I barely see in full view the cougar leap on top of her sinking its teeth into the broad side of her shoulder, I feel a hand on my back and lift me up into the air and try to cover my eyes but it was too late, I have seen the cougar tear open her throat and I have heard her shriek of pain. The snow changes from its graceful white to a rich red. I remember crying not comprehending what has exactly happened when the crowed of men come in throwing a spear into its gut when it makes its final exit grabbing my father by the thigh dragging him off as fast as it arrived. Holding out my hands to something I have not yet felt was gone in sadness, in numbness. My hands eventually fall down empty.
The last memory I have of that day is is the forward and bumpy motion and the mud being slung up in my face. Scary how vivid, how much I remember this as a young child at the age of 1, maybe it's because I've had that same nightmare evrynight since its happened, sometimes I feel like it's not even real... always waking up to reality without them there. But yet I also really hope it is true... just seeing my dad get dragged away and not totally demolished gives some sort of comfort, some sort of hope he's still alive out there trying to get back. Now I live my life everyday with just that little hope and a silly token hanging from my neck it's never actually been taken off except for when the string breaks after a year or two from the sudden dry to wet climate changes. It's like a birth mark I don't even notice anymore, it's been long enough now to figure he's never coming back. Time to let go.
I've been thinking about letting this token go for quite some time now. Just never actually done it until now, until this moment. I stand up after leaning against this tree for about an hour. ; Grabbing a leaf off of it and checking to make sure it's sturdy enough to hold the token up but light enough for it to float across the river. Setting it on the strongly flowing water before I let it go is hard, but even after I take it off my neck it feels like a weight so desperately needing to get off. And I like it. I kiss it one last time and push it down stream as a gentle goodbye comes out of my mouth... I don't know what for, maybe it's to all hope of a family, or maybe it's just a piece of my childhood that has no meaning anymore.
walking back to the tree I grab my bow throw it over my shoulder along with a sheath of arrows over the other And am about to grab my knife when a strong loud shriek echoes the canyon I'm in. as I look back I see the shadow of a bird in flight slowly get bigger as it advances over the water and swoops its talons down only to retrieve my token. Getting it with ease it soars up and away out of reach. "NO!" I yell. The sensation of something so greatly cared for pierces my body into my feet now running toward the hawk eager to get it back. "Come back!" I get out before I have to jump to the other side of the river. Pulling out an arrow and stringing it to my bow while I try to get into range; it's about twenty feet out and 15 feet above me when I finally release the arrow getting block by the thick vegetation of a tree in the way. "Dam it" I murmur to myself. The hawk soars higher almost out of range now. I quickly stumble over a rock in the ground and even quicker about to release my next arrow when BAM! A light so bright fills my eyes and a pain so dense fills my head before everything's black and I'm out.
When I finally come to everything is still black but I lift my head in discomfort and confusion. Am I dead? Have I had the same fate as my parents? Been attacked by a cougar or something worse?
"No no no head down, blind fold on Dean' I hear in a hoarse and comforting, familiar voice. I recognize it as soon as I hear the simple girly tone in it.
"Ember?" I ask. ‘Yes, it's me, stay down and relax it's the least I can do.
"What's over my eyes and why?"
‘My head band, the sun is still too bright for you to open your eyes so soon you have been out for 4 hours.' "4 hours" what happened? It was like I ran into a - ‘a skull? She finishes with a little giggle... ya sorry about that, wasn't paying attention.
I feel her hand on my back helping me up, and after a few minutes she unties the headband releasing it from my eyes, and I squint as the sun strongly and badly trys to get in. I manage to get them open enough to see her brilliant radiating bronze skin, matching with her deep golden brown eyes. Her hair in a long braid wrapped around her shoulder and down to the top of her chest. "Hey ember" I counter glancing around lazily seeing my bow and arrows propped up against a tree and then in the next tree over an arrow with a blue tip on the head sticking out. I point at it with weakness in my arm, "yours? I ask. ‘
Yes' I look at it and then back at her. "So uhh... what exactly happened?"
‘Ha uhh, long story'
"I got time" I say glancing at the sun straight above us.
"Well you see I was going hunting for me and my family when the deer I was tracking ran to fast for me I stopped, and when I caught my breath and stood up I saw you walking towards the river. I wondered what you were doing so I ducked behind a tree to watch as you knelt down, kissed something and then pushed it off into the rapids. I started to walk away when I realized that you were walking back towards me then I heard the hawks shriek followed by you yelling at it. When I turned around I saw the hawk with whatever you pushed out there and you chasing it with your bow out. So I to took off after it hoping I could help. When I got in firing range I let go, but... sort of ran into you before it could get anywhere.
She smiled sadly and then said sorry. I gazed at her for a moment starring into her eyes. she folded her arms WHAT?! She complained. "were you spying on my ember?" asking in a seductive manner. ‘Ha don't flatter yourself dean'
"C'mon I know you have liked me ever since I can remember" she shrugs. "And why do you call me dean? My name is ridean."
"Well no offence or anything but ridean is a little weird, and hard to remember so I just call you dean. Is that ok? I don't want to offend you."
‘No, its fine. I was just wondering'
I lean down to get my bow and throw it over my shoulder once again along with my arrows, getting up forgetting my recent injury I stumble over in dizziness only to be caught by ember; I look up at her this time noticing a big red bump forming on her head just above the temple. I stand straight up and raise my hand up to the injury. "Is this what happened when we-
‘Yes' she said shying away.
"Well are you ok"
‘Yes, just a hell of a headache'
"Sorry wasn't paying attention" I say jokingly and walking away with a smartass smirk on my face.
"C'mon we should be getting back. It's almost nightfall." I emplie walking over to the tree with her blue tipped arrow sticking out. "So why blue? Your favorite color?"
‘Yes that to, but it's mostly because I kept getting them mixed up with sirons arrows when we would hunt together'. Everything goes silent for a moment except for the slight sounds of the drops of rain now drizzling down on us when I remember what has happened to her mate siron; I become aware of a sobbing ember.
Siron was just one of the other guys to her before she found out her arranged marriage has been set for her and him. Ember hated the idea of an arranged marriage, having to spend every day for the rest of her life with someone you barley know at the time. Someone you probably have nothing in common with. She had a lot of guys lined up waiting to be her mate, and I dare say me also. Her sure beauty was hard to pass by.
But she never expected the weeks before her marriage to actually fall in love with him. She spent every day with him, hunting, working, playing games, laughing... her life seemed set and she was happy until one day when they were suppose to go out hunting together but ember came down with a cold and a heavy cough. But her family still needed the meat so siron decided to go out alone and promised to be back soon. I sat and watched myself kiss him goodbye before he left disappearing into the woods. Every minute that went by felt like an hour to me, I can't imagine what it must have felt like to her. Eventually the sun had to fall taking the light with it, by then the troop of men were already out looking for him. When they came back without him that's when her life suddenly turned from beyond happy to hopelessly depressed, I don't think she slept for two weeks after because she was up every night crying. We all felt for her in the colony, knowing what it's like to lose a loved one. Most likely succumbed by the wildlife like my parents. It's been a few months since this has happened, and we knew he is long gone.
I pull the arrow out of the tree and walk over to sit next to her and put the arrow in her sheath. "Ember?"
She looks up at me, drops of rain and tears running down her cheek. I kneel down in front of her and look her straight in the eye
"It's going to be ok... wherever he is I'm sure you are still with him in his heart and always will be. He was a good guy, and will always be remembered". Her desperate eyes tear into mine and I get the sensation that I have gotten through to her.
‘Thank you ridean. It means a lot'.
I smile at her and help her up and we begin our journey back to camp.
Upon arrival back at camp I give her one last hug goodnight and lead her into her tent, which happens to be right next to mine.
"Back already are ya" I hear my uncle ask.
"I didn't go too far uncle, just went down to the river edges". I'm not quite sure if he really is my uncle but I'm really holding onto that story. He was the one that carried me away the day my parents were killed, He has raised me ever since.
"Where's your token rideen?" Shocked I quickly grab some more wood for the fire stalling hoping he forgets he asked.
"Uhh... well... Finally giving in. a hawk took it, it was in my hand when-"
‘A hawk just swooped down and took it out of your hand?' he asks with a non believing smirk on his face. "Well either way it doesn't matter because it's not going to have it for long.'
"Rideen what do you mean?"
‘I'm going to go after it is what I mean. I think I know where its nest is, I'll bring it back for dinner'.
"NO! You are not going out alone, especially after sun down." There's a Deep anger and care I can see in his eyes as he has his fist wrapped around my shirt. "Ok I won't "I agree for now.
The night goes by as it normally would. I set the fire, check our crops, eat, bath in the nearby river and then off to bed. My uncle being older means an earlier bed time which is good for me tonight because ive been going back and forth in my head about leaving anyway. Out to the hawks nest to get my token
Back. "Then I'll kill it and bring it back for breakfast." Uncle can't be mad at me then especially when I'm back safe before he can even wake up. Quietly I put my boots on, grab my bow n arrows and a knife. Equipped and ready I try not to wake my uncle sliding out of the tent into the dense air. As I'm searching the grounds making sure no one can see me leaving I only notice ember curved up by the fire asleep. And with one step the snap of a branch wakes her as I look up to be starring into her deeply tired eyes. "Sorry ember go back to sleep" She puts her head back down and I walk away pulling my hood over my head.
I only get halfway through the forest before I'm lost I've never been out into the night before. Its dark and the only source of light I have is the moon which is cowering behind the clouds. But I come up to a familiar rock, the rock where I come to sharpen my arrows about a mile out from camp. I decide to sit and drink some water while I wait for some light when my heart skips a beat from the movement behind me. The adrenalin kicks in instantly as my arrow is pointed straight in a frightened embers face. I search her and find a knife in her hand and a wild turkey hanging from a latch on her pants still squirming around. I Stab my arrow into the neck of the turkey sure to end its suffering.
"Ember what are you doing out this late and alone!?"
‘Me? What are YOU doing out this late and alone dean?'
"Go back, before the whole tribe comes after you"
‘no I want to go wherever your going, I can't fall asleep so I just grabbed my gear and decided to foll...-‘
"Spy on me again" I interrupt."
‘No... why? Would you miss me if I didn't?' she says seductively when her hand caresses my chest.
Strangely I think I would miss her spying on me. Even before she fell in love with siron I liked her... a lot. And now that siron is gone I think I have a pretty good chance seeing how she has been growing closer to me so much lately since the disappearance. At least that's what I'm hoping.
"Alright you can come with me, if you promise one thing"
"You cook that turkey because I'm damn starving" .