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The Journey of Me, Zanna Deen. Chapter Two
We had to eventually go our separate ways. Work, hunting to live, gathering, the usual. Eric and I got to the house laughing as usual. I had let go of hand a while ago. I didn't like to way he would laugh and look at me. It made me uncomfortable.
"So, kids, how'd it go?" asked Joe as we walked in.
"S'okay." answered Eric.
"Sure," I mumbled.
They just laughed. I hadn't had breakfast yet, so I sat down at the table and Heidi brought over a plate with some eggs and bacon. The walk in the woods and argument with Eric made me hungry enough to forget the too sweet smell. It was really good. As I chewed, Eric mumbled something like, "not yet". I glared at him suspiciously. What are they keeping from me?
"Hey, I've got to go to work. I'll see you tonight." said Joe.
"Yeah, me too. All day work and all night. Such a pain. I hate this kingdom. especially the king!" Heidi says.
"Heidi!" he scolds her. "You know how much trouble we could get in if anyone heard you and reported you to the king! Punishable even by death!"
"I'd like to see him try something like that." she challenges.
"Hey. Don't get into a fight. You'll be working all day together anyways.", I interrupt quickly.
"Right" scoffs Joe.
"Well, you'd better be off if you don't want to be punished too badly." I say.
"You're right. Come on, Heidi. Let's go. Have a good day, you two. Keep out of trouble." He looks pointedly at me.
"Sure, whatever." I reply.
"Goodbye, Eric. Zanna." says Heidi. "See you soon, and don't tell anyone about our conversation about the, er, king."
"Okay, Heidi. Anything for you." says Eric. She was always his favorite.
They leave and quietly shut the door behind them. Oh, great, I think to myself. A whole day with Eric and I'm positive that's just going to work out just perfectly. "C'mon, Eric. I think they're low on berries and meat. We could help them, ya know, with them helping me." I say.
"Sure. I'd love to." replies Eric.
I hurry up the stairs grabbing my basket that was with me when our house was burned. We walk out the door moving towards the berry patch on the western side of the forest.
"Hey, there are going to be some fireworks tonight and I was wondering if you would, ya know, like to go with me?" Eric asks.
"I guess. I need to fix them dinner before I leave, though." I warn him.
"Oh. Of course. I would never think to leave them without supper."
I sighed, "It might take me a while," trying to get out of this with everything I've got.
"Don't worry. I'll wait."
"Of course you would." I tease him.
"That's why I'm here." He plays along.
We reach the berry patch and see that we came at a good time. There were a couple of bushes that were still overflowing with berries. "I'll get this one, and you can pick that one, okay?" I asked Eric. He didn't reply for a moment and I look at him, wondering why he didn't answer. His face was turned up to the sky. "What is it?" I asked, alarmed.
"It's...it's." He stammers. Weakly, he lifts up his arm, pointing to whatever he is looking at. I look up to and see it. Again. "It's a Creature of the Sky", he whispers, looking at me. Of course.
"We need to hide, Eric. Get away from here, from the open." I instruct. "Eric! Come on!" I had to tug on his sleeve before he even looked at me. His expression was dazed and some what fearful; which is good. We ran into the woods, staying away from open patches and meadows.
"Zanna. I thought those were just myths, just pictures in books. Why is it here?" I ignored his questions, looking down. "Zanna!" He yells and yanks on my arm. "What's wrong? Why are you ignoring me?"
"I don't know why it's here, Eric. I didn't even know that they existed as much as you did." I tell him. "But wait." I say, confused and finally looking up at him. "Didn't you see it yesterday? When my house was burning?"
"What are you talking about?" he asks. Clearly he's just as confused. "I didn't see anything, other wise I'd be outside faster. Seeing where you were."
"You mean..." I look back up to the sky, something gathering in the back of my head. "I couldn't have made it up. It was too real." I mumbled to myself.
"Zanna, what are you talking about? That you couldn't have made what up? What was too real?" He grabs my shoulders, shaking me and looking me in my eyes.
"The Creature of the Sky!" I exclaim in whispers.
"What?" he whispers back.
"Yes. I saw one the other day. I didn't get it then how no one came out when my house was burning. And now my parents are dead because of that thing, I think." I'm crying now. What a stupid thing to do.
"Don't cry, Zay. I'm sorry if my words upsetted you. I didn't mean anything from them. Please, forgive me." He apologizes.
"It's okay, it's just a stupid reaction."
"Yeah, right. Let's get back to the house. We've spent to long outside already." he says nervously.
"Okay," I agree.
Slower this time we head back to the house. Before we break out of the trees, we check the sky. Silly thing to do, but better safe than sorry. The sky is clear so we hurry to the front door. We rush in and I set the basket, empty, on the table. "Oh man," I complane, "we forgot the berries. We went out for one thing and ended up doing everything else but that."
"Don't worry. We can go out again later."
"I also need to hunt for something. A rabbit or squirrel." I say, talking mostly to myself now. "I could check my snares for something..." I trail off, thinking.
"Right. And when you do that, I'll go pick some berries." he adds enthusiastically.
"Sure" I say.
"When do you want to go?" he asks me.
"What? Oh, um, soon, I guess."
We end up going back before dusk and splitting up. He's going to pick berries and I walk into the woods with my trusty bow and arrows. The forest doesn't seem to hold the same thrill it use to hold for me, anymore. Just the thought of running into that Dragon again scares off anything that I use to like here away. This really sucks since the forest seems to be my only personal escape.
My now sensitive ears from all the years in here pick up the chatter of a squirrel somewhere close in the trees. If I wait and be still, it's sure to come down. I find a big rock and settle down to wait for something exciting to happen.
I am almost fourteen, I think to myself. It wouldn't hurt if I did have a boyfriend. But it's just that people take things like this so seriously, and I don't like being judged. This would make Eric happy, though, but aren't we happy enough? Well, at least I am.... Why am I even thinking about this? It's not like I'm being forced into this, but it does seem that someone is forced to do this and why oh why am I even considering this?!
I see movement, great. Something to get my mind off of this stuff. I ready my arrow and take aim. This game quite big so that's good, more stew. I see it's chest and shoot. Sigh, I like meat but hate how you have to kill it. At least this is an elderly rabbit, I can hardly stand the sight of a small rabbit in my hands.
I make my way to what I think is towards the berry bushes. Just up ahead I see his head bobbing up and down as he bends to pick some berries. A noise interrupts my thoughts and as I look up to see what it was, a huge dark shape covers the sun so everything went in shadow. The purple flash of color gives it away almost instantly. Suddenly the shadow passed and I look forward in panic. I start to run.
"ERIC!" I scream. "Eric! Run!"
I see him look at me in confusion, "What?" He yells back.
"Run! Eric, please, run!" I plead.
Alarm shines in his eyes and his head shoots to the sky, searching. Then a thundering sound echos off the trees. He searches the sky frantically, looking for whatever the sound came from.
"Run, Eric!" I plead again.
He takes a step towards me but a huge massive shape lands behind him, shaking the ground causing him to loose his footing and fall. The Dragon roars a ear splitting roar that makes goosebumps rise on my arms. As it lands on all four, a shape falls from its side and blurs to stand in front of Eric.
It reaches into it's cloak to pulls out an object. Its an dagger.
"No!" I wail.
The creature snaps up his head and looks at me with its bright violet eyes and, does something that looks like a smile, as it raises the dagger that would end my best friends' life.