Checkmate Ch.5 Forest Lies

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I wake up to the faint sound of rustling leaves. Again Nena is no longer with me but I choose to keep my cool this time. Just as I go to get up an apple drops into my lap from above. I look up into the tree and there is Nena sitting, eating an apple with a smile on her face.

N-"Hungry sleepy head?” She swings her legs back and forth excitedly.

R-"Good morning to you to and yes actually but I do have one question?" I look up at her in subtle concern for her safety.

N-"Mmm Hmm." She says playfully, her curiosity peaked by what I may ask next

R-"This isn’t an apple tree?” I say knowing full well she knows this also but really trying to figure out where she went to get the apple.

N-"Oh of course it’s not silly. I got those from another tree.” She knows what im asking but teasingly dances around the subject. I cringe slightly as she jumps down from the tree.

R-"Oh did you now? And exactly how far did you travel away from me to get this apple?” I raise my eyebrow at her playfully.
She sits down next to me and gives me a nudge.

N-"Not the point.” She giggles as she doesn’t think I should worry so much about her. “You just need food, now eat.” She says very sternly in such a way that I can never seem to argue with.

R-"Ok". I look first to her and then the apple. “Fine." I act reluctant to eat the apple not wanting to show how right she was as I was very hungry. I slowly bite into it as the delicious juice satisfies my parched mouth.

N-"Oh and I made you something.” She smiles shyly and holds out her hand.

R-"Oh really?” I look art her hand a little confused wondering what it could possibly be that she made out here in the woods. I stretch out my hand and place it under hers. She opens her hand and it drops into mine as I close my palm. I bring my hand close to me and open my hand to reveal a carved heart on a string.

R-"But how did you...?"I look at her in awe trying to figure out how or where she got this and why she was giving it to me.

N-"I made it from tree bark and carved it on a sharp rock. I had the string with me already." She looks at me and her joyful smile slowly starts to fade.” You don’t like it do you? I'm sorry I know it was a stupid idea. Were in a war why the heck would you want a dumb necklace.” Her head drops down in silent disappointment.

I put my hand under her chin and lift her head. I move close to her and tenderly kiss her lips. "Hey now look at me." She lifts her eyes to peer into mine and I almost forget what im about to say as I get lost in her eyes.

R-"I love you." Those three simple words seem to be the key to her heart. It unlocks the light in her eyes that always seem to get brighter every time I look at her." Anything you have, had or will ever give me I will love just as much and this is no exception." I put the loop over my head. "I will treasure this heart as much as I do my own and make sure that no harm ever comes to it."

N-" I thought that maybe now even when I'm not with you. You'll still have a piece of me around." She looks at me with eyes welling with tears of overcome sadness and growing satisfaction.

R-"And now I always will." I hold the wooden heart in my hand and she can feel the contentedness in my voice. My heart slowly melts as I look into those eyes that the sun couldn’t rival in magnificence. I want to move, to get on with the mission, but im breathless. I try to force myself to get upright but every muscle in my body is telling me to stay here and never let her go. It feels like everything is at peace but I know were not. If we truly want to be this way forever we must defeat the Black king and that means moving from this position as much as I hate too. “So you ready to go?"

N-"No, not at all." She says as she snuggles into me more and closes her eyes as if to show sees asleep.

R-"Aww I know you don’t want to leave but we can’t stay here forever." As much as I hate to listen to my own words right now I know we have no choice.

N-"But why not?" She asks already knowing the answer but just stalling for more time to stay here. She puts her arms around me and tries to get me to give in even though she knows as much as I do that we need to get moving.

R-" Because we need to get moving." I give her an explanation that isn’t needed. Somewhat to humor her and also trying to give us more time here as well. I can’t resist her warm embrace. How I’m ever going to get up now is going to take a miracle.

N-"Aww are you sure?” She wraps around me tighter and I almost forget what im trying to convince her of.

R-"Yes and don’t make me get the crow bar over here or maybe a crane might work better." We both laugh at the thought of being pried apart.

N-"Ok... I guess we can go." She says in mock sadness.

R-"And yet you still have not let go of me." I tease her as she won’t let go of my sides. "Ok I didn’t want to have to resort to this." I reach around her and start to poke at her sides. She begins to giggle a little. I tickle her sides more and more. She gets overcome with laughter and has no choice but to let go to get away.

N-"Hey that’s not fair." Still laughing she tries to scold me for my actions. Though she loves my playful nature she is mad that she can’t resist it.

R-"Im sorry but I had no other choice.” I laugh at my make believe apology. I stand up and hold out my hand. "Come on we better get going before they decide to come looking for us." She takes my hand and I help her to her feet.

With her hand cradling mine we walk along into the forest. The brush gets heavy and more abundant as we go. The air becomes thicker and more humid as the trees slowly grow closer together. The sunlight begins to fade in the darkness of the forest floor. We hear the leaves crackle and snap beneath our feet where we walk. I feel her hand grab mine more snugly with each sound we hear coming from beyond the shrubs. I grab hers securely to show her everything was alright even though I myself am a little frightened. The wind howls as it runs through the trees and hurdles over each branch creating an atmosphere of fear. The forest feels alive all around us.

N-"Redwan I don’t like this. Something feels wrong here." An air of dread marks her words as they pass from her trembling lips.

R-"Don’t worry Nena just stay close to me and everything is going to be fine. We’ll be out soon." I don’t know how far this forest goes or honestly how much distance we've already traveled but I need to reassure her.

N-"Ok I will." She pulls in tight to me and I can feel the beat of her heart. It sooths mine down to a slower pace and my calm returns. All of a sudden I hear a noise and my heart drops again. I stop in my tracks and Nena runs into me.” Why did you stop?" I can tell from her voice she knows something’s wrong.

R-"Shh were not alone out here." The air grows stale and I hear a faint rustle in the leaves above us. "Look out!" I push Nena away from me and a knight drops from the trees and his sword slices right between us. I shudder at the thought of what would have been the outcome had I not pushed us away.

The knight doesn’t say a word but turns to Nena with his sword. I jump up, grab a branch and wrap my legs around his neck. I twist my lower body and send him spinning into a tree. I drop down and walk towards Nena.

R-"Nena you need to hide ok. Don’t come out till this is over." I tell her as I glance over at the knight who is slowly getting to his feet.

N-"But..." There is a worry in her voice that is stronger than any I have heard before. But we have no time for goodbyes. I urge her back into some shrubs and she goes. Knowing I need to get back to the knight.

R-"Alright let’s do this." I look back around and the knight is no longer next to the tree. I walk over slowly and look all around me but can’t find him. A sense of urgency comes over my body and I know I need to find him before he finds me. Fear seizes my body and my movement becomes slow.” Come out come out wherever you are." I try and hide the distress in my voice with mock confidence.

BK-"You scared little king?" He knows he has me now and uses his confidence to toy with me. I can hear him but I can’t locate the origin of his voice. It seems to be coming from all around me. "So tell me, how does it feel to know your about to die and cant do anything to stop it?"

R-"I don’t know why don’t you tell me?" I won’t allow him to feed himself on my fear. I stop moving and stand up straight waiting for him to strike.

BK-"I'll have you know I’ve already killed your queen. Killing you will just be putting you out of your misery now." He chuckles at his comment that he knows will cripple me and he's right. I drop to my knees and clutch my chest.

R-"How...but how she was...?" There’s astonishment in my voice at the situation. How could he have gotten to her? My face grows hot and my heart feels as though it’s exploding out of my chest. I fall onto my hands and know my death isn’t far behind. "No...No she’s not dead." My voice rises with each word.

BK-"Oh really? Tell that to her blood on the end of my sword." All of a sudden I feel something cold on my hand. I turn my head to see it’s covered in red liquid. Blood is dripping down from the trees above me. He must be telling the truth. My world collapses in around me.

R-"No! Noo! NOOOOO!!" I lift my head and scream into the air in anger. I can almost see my voice as it radiates from my mouth. The waves are so strong they echo around the forest. The trees shake and the ground rumbles as I shout at the world. The Black knight falls from the tree and lands breathless on the forest floor. I get up and make my way over to him. I grab his sword and snap it in my hands.

BK-"Please... please don’t hurt me." His voice trembles as he slowly tries to crawl away from me.

R-"You’re all the same. Cowards!" My shouting pushes him backward into a tree. "Cant take the consequences for your answers. You need to stand up and face what you've got coming. So how does it feel to know you’re about to die and cant do anything about it." My voice echoes his words in an intimidating manner. I stand over him feeling as though I could crush him with just a word. My chest grows heavy and he cringes back with each breath.

BK-"Wait I didn’t really kill your queen. That blood was my own I was just using it to break you down." The terror in his voice can’t cover up the truth in his words as he shows me the cut on his hand.

R-"Why ....why would you do something like that?" I feel my heart start to slow and I drop to my knees. "How could youuu!" I yell at him and shove my palm into his chest. It sends him flying back through that tree and a couple behind it. I don’t even look to see if he's still alive. There’s a rush as my power and strength seem to leave me suddenly. My eyes begin to grow dark and I feel steady hands on my shoulders catch me before I fall to the ground.

I wake up but can’t see anything as the light seems to have faded away. It appears to be night and there’s a cold wind blowing through the forest. I feel a soft hand running ever so delicately through my hair. I look up to see Nena's face above mine softly smiling as she looks into my eyes. My head is lying gently on her lap with one of her hands lying on my chest holding my hand. I wonder if this is just a dream.

N-"How are you doing?” Her voice feels as though it could heel the worst of any pain I could feel. My eyes light up to know she is alright but I can hardly speak the words I would like to say. So I just answer her question.

R-"Much better now thank you." I say with compassion in my voice as I look up at her and smile.

N-"Im glad now you need your rest so go back to sleep. I'll see you in the morning." I want to protest but have no energy to resist her. She leans down and kisses my forehead. I feel as though she is there forever as I drift off into the night.





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