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Reuel's Writing > Chapter 2

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message 1: by Reuel (last edited Jul 16, 2016 04:31PM) (new)

Reuel | 23 comments What I wouldn’t give for air conditioning. Even a fan would be nice. I was dressed for the brisk chill of fall. That meant strategic layers of clothing, all of which I have peeled down to the bare essentials, and it’s only noon. The sun is directly above me, so I’m assuming that it’s noon, but time has never mattered before in dreams so I guess it shouldn’t matter now. What does matter is that without a fan, I’m desperate for even a decent piece of shade.
As I’ve been following the edge of the cliff around the lake there has only been grass and claws for at least a good two hours. There are no trees in sight. On the edge of the horizon there are rock cliffs. They seem to be tilted to the side, pointing up diagonally, with sharp jagged points. The diagonal direction pointed outwards, almost making me feel like I am in a bowl. They more resemble what a child between a cliff and a mountain would look like.
Doesn’t a mountain have cliffs? Well whatever, my family isn’t the most outdoorsy kind of people. So what if I’ve never seen a mountain before, or a cliff for that matter? That would account for this weird construction my mind decided to imagine for a dream. The tan rock looks smooth from this distance. It is probably impossible to climb. Good thing I don’t have to. I turn my attention back to the lake. I’ve never seen one of these either. Once, I saw a pond on my trip to the country but that doesn’t compare to the span of this. The water is a dark, navy blue that shimmers in the sunlight. With the tall gothic structure in the background and this lake sparkling in front of it, it’s beautiful. Extremely beautiful in fact. Everything here seems to be extreme. The claws are so tall, the grass so green, the heat so intense. All of it is extreme, even the cleanliness of the air. All of it, so new.
My train of thought ends when my eyes spot something familiar. I rush over to a copse of trees that offer a heavenly cool patch of shade. They look like sycamore trees, three large ones. I gladly collapse against one as I let my pack fall to the ground. Traveling for so long under the sun has really sapped my energy. Carefully removing items, I unload my pack, searching for a bottle of water I stuffed near the bottom. I had filled it before I left home, along with snatching some plastic bottles of water. I sigh as the cold of the liquid rushes through me. The refreshing feeling lingers within me for a good minute as I drop my head back against the tree trunk. Gazing out over the water I let my mind wander, catching on the waves, twinkling in the light, not really thinking about much of anything as I allow myself to just rest. My wandering gaze lifts up to the sky, still pale. There’s no rifts, or outlines of clouds in it. Just smooth, white space. For a moment I wonder whether it really is overcast, or if maybe that’s just how it is. This place is obviously not normal, is it possible for the sky to not be blue?
My pondering is interrupted by a deep noise. It’s a rumbling sound that seems to be at a distance, but is definitely getting louder. I spring up from the ground and peer around the tree. Far off, at least a few miles away, I can see what look like clouds of dirt or something making its way down the cliffs, fast. There’s three of them. As they near the base I start to make out small dots in the clouds, they almost look like…figures. That realizations snaps me out of my gawking position and pulls me into action. Quickly scanning the area I realize that besides the claws the entire land is flat. My focus flashes back to the figures. That’s definitely what they are, the clouds of dust have left them now that they are off of the cliffs, and they’re heading straight for the trees. For me.
I feel the bile rising in my throat as fear slicks down my back in the form of sweat and flips my mind into hyper drive. I look around one last time to where I can run to. The figures are moving too fast for me to run, and there isn’t even anywhere to run to. There’s no place to go. Unless I’m already there. My panicked mind scans the trees in front of me. I’ve never climbed before but I hear adrenalin is a great teacher. I target the lowest branch, which is still a foot above my reach. Taking in a deep breath I jump, reaching up for it. The tips of my fingers grasp the branch but I crash back down. I glance around the tree, they’re getting closer. Again and again I keep trying to reach the branch. There’s nowhere left to go, this is my only chance. I don’t bother looking anymore because the thunder of their approach is deafening. In it I can hear mixed shouts. The only thing that is protecting me from their view is this tree, but as soon as they come around I’ll be in plain sight. The thought of them finding me presses a turbo button on my adrenaline because I feel it when my legs push off the ground that this is it. My hands finally grasp the branch in a death grip. My body doesn’t consult my brain as my legs seem to automatically swing myself onto the branch. Now that I’m in the tree I’m climbing faster than I ever knew I could. The ground is becoming farther and farther away as the shouts become louder and louder. Clinging to the main branch, near the top of the tree I finally stop only because I can’t go any higher. The leaves are thick enough that I’m at least partially hidden. Hopefully, they won’t feel the need to look up.
My rampant thoughts are put to a stop as they finally come into view. The best way to describe it is like an old “Cowboys and Indians” show. Everyone is on these horse-like creatures. At first they look like horses, but they’re too big, like a horse on steroids. They have what looks like a small, thin bump thing on their heads. What is that? It’s like a bump but it clearly has a point on the end. It couldn’t be a horn, right? What am I doing dreaming of unicorns? But these aren’t the dainty, white majestic unicorns from Disney. That one I’m sure is black but I swear it also has red high lights or something. It reminds me of how dried blood is both black and red at the same time. Whatever it is, it makes me huddle up closer to the tree, fear heightening in my body. My thoughts are finally torn away from the animals as the people atop them start to speak. There’s one man being surrounded by two others, cornered on the edge of the cliff. The one guy being cornered has no shirt. Instead his torso is covered in blood, dried mostly, although I think some of the wounds are still bleeding. The cuts, although shallow, are all over his body. What did he do to deserve that? Obviously he must have pissed off the wrong person because that many wounds took time. Regardless of where he came from, by the way he was crouched on his horse creature it was obvious he wasn’t going back.
“There’s no place left to run,” gruff voice is on the horse to my left. He looks to be a bit older, maybe early 50’s but his stern face reminded me of a cop who doesn’t want to retire. Unlike his barely clad prey, he was wearing a metallic blue tunic. Light seems to ripple across it like water, giving the shirt an almost green iridescent sheen. His partner to the right had a similar one done in bronze that burnished red. He was a lot younger. Both had their backs to me, but I could see their profiles slightly. This guy was young, maybe early twenties. His blonde hair was short, but a bit long on the ends. Like the old guy on the left, his face was just as stern. Maybe they were related.
“Come back now and we won’t have to go for your family after your execution.” His voice was so kind that it was as if he was offering someone a ride home rather than threatening to kill their family. How could someone so casually do that? His face even cracked into a pleasant smile that twisted my stomach into tighter knots. The cornered man was in no shape to take on two guys. I was guessing the swords at their sides were not for decoration. The option to go peacefully was definitely for their benefit.
“Why take me back alive if you’re going to kill me anyway?” To his credit, the strain evident in his face and body never altered his voice. The shirtless man sat up straight, staring his adversaries down even as he was bleeding to death. Is this what they consider courage or stupidity?
“Prince Dax would prefer to take your head off personally. You should consider it a great honor,” Blondie actually sounds like his words should be an honor, as if being beheaded held some sort of prestige. Men like him always sickened me. A pretty face with a forked tongue creates a twisted combination. I didn’t want to find out how pretzel-like his psyche was. From the look on shirtless guy’s face, he already had. It is obvious that the strain of his injuries is wearing down on him. Already his face is pale as he continues to bleed. He wouldn’t be able to hold out much longer. These guys wouldn’t have to fight him, they’d just have to wait him out, and they knew it.
“Come back with us and we can offer you medical attention at the camp. Living one more day is better than dying right now,” Gruff voice at least has a convincing argument. Or, it would be convincing to a dead man. But shirtless guy seems to be weighing his options. He glances behind at the drop below. Even though the cliff had been descending since I was walking, it is still at least a 20 foot drop into the lake. If the fall doesn’t kill him, there was no guarantee that there aren’t any rocks below the dark surface. But as he looks back to the two men in front of him I can see the mental calculation going on in his head. Apparently the men can too because Blondie scoffs, his pleasant smile being replaced by a smirk.
“Don’t even think about it, not even a healthy man could survive a fall like that.”
Somewhere during this conversation I had been shifting my body until I was perched on a branch near the edge of the tree. I don’t realize it as I slip my bag off my back and now hold it in front of me. I know I have to help somehow, I can’t just let a man die, not right in front of me. Even if this is a dream, I’m pretty sure that would scar me for life. No, I have to do something, anything, but these guys have swords that I know aren’t props. They definitely know how to use them, if I’m not careful I could end up in more pieces than I started as. What happens to a person who dies in their dream? I hope to god that Inception is wrong about the whole permanent death theory otherwise that would make my plan really, really stupid. Now I just need the right opportunity.
Shirtless guy only grinned at Blondie’s comment, infuriating him. “Survival is not what I had in mind.”
That’s my cue.

message 2: by Reuel (new)

Reuel | 23 comments Updated!

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