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The Luminary

Chapters:   « Previous 1 ... 8 9 10

Chapter 10

They spent several days within the shelter. Wolf had had a few cans of beans, but between five people, they didn't last very long. They had also run out of water after three days, so between hunger, dehydration, and discomfort, everyone was itching to get out.

"Wolf, we should open the hatch." Fox said as he sat crisscrossed on Wolf's cot,"I feel a lot better now and that's the only reason we waited so long, isn't it? So that I could heal?"

"That was only part of the reason." Wolf replied,"Do you not remember the blizzard that trapped us down here in the first place?"

"Well yeah, obviously I remember it. But we've survived worse before." Fox said with a nonchalant shrug.

The ointment that Wolf had applied to Fox's bruises every few hours seemed to have worked miracles. Already they began to fade and Fox said they didn't hurt at all anymore. By the way he winced whenever he strained himself however, everyone knew that he was lying.

There was still no sign of Arian, and Lu hadn't been the same since she discovered he was missing. "The only reason he was out here in the first place is because of me." she said continuously,"If we had gone back when he wanted to we wouldn't be in this mess."

Mat tried to block her out the best he could. If they had gone back, they wouldn't have been able to rescue Mat or Fox. He knew that Lu knew that. The fact that Lu preferred Arian's company over his upset him, but the fact that she was so open about it made him resent her.

"I still think we should open the hatch." Fox restated,"There's really no reason we're still down here."

"I second that." Cuser spoke up,"It's getting a bit cramped in here and everybody's getting irritable. I don't like it."

Taking a look around the room, Wolf could see the sense in Cuser's words. Lu sat silently in the corner, hugging her knees to her chest as she stared at the wall. Mat sat with his back against the opposite wall, fumbling a small rock around, shooting an occasional glare in Lu's direction. Whenever Lu said anything, he would spring to his feet and fire some rude remark. It didn't surprise him when Lu stopped talking altogether.

Nodding his head, Wolf approached the cot where Fox remained seated. Grasping the boy by the shoulder, he shoved him off of the bed. "Ow- I mean, Hrm, that didn't hurt at all." he grasped his arm tightly, grimacing as he walked away.

"Not in pain... Yeah right." Wolf scoffed quietly, an amused gleam in his eye. He lifted the mattress up enough to see the bed frame, revealing a wooden ladder.

"What the- that was there this entire time?" Fox asked, shocked at the discovery,"We could've left ages ago."

"There's a reason I didn't tell anyone." Wolf replied, leaning the ladder up against the wall. "Somebody come hold this for me."

Cuser, who was the closest to him, stood up and grabbed both of it's legs. Slowly, Wolf ascended the ladder and reached up to push open to hatch.

"It must be covered in snow." he muttered to himself, pushing it up several times for it to only fall back once again. "Hold it steady, Cuser." he called down, before taking yet another step up to stand on the very last bar. Placing his hands flat on the door, he threw himself upwards with all his might, sending the hatch flying open.

Sunlight beamed into the shelter, piercing the eyes of everyone within it. They held up their hands to block it, shielding themselves from it's bright rays.

"So this is what it feels like to be born." Fox said with a cheeky grin, looking to Mat for his reaction. Mat gave his buddy an equally goofy grin, though it took him a little while to make the connection.

Wolf reached out of the hatch, got a good hold of the snow covered ground outside, and heaved himself out. Fox had been right, they definitely had survived through worse. He stood up, brushing the snow off of his pants. "Come on guys, it's safe. We should get going."

"We should try to find food." Fox said after joining Wolf above ground only seconds later. He had rushed to the ladder as soon as Wolf spoke, and had slithered up as quickly as possible.

"Hey!" Cuser exclaimed as Fox's spastic behavior nearly knocked the ladder out of his hands,"You two need to be more careful." he told Mat and Lu, the two remaining in the ground.

"I can-" Lu began, but was once again interrupted by the grudge holding Mat,"I can go."

Mat was at the ladder before anybody could say anything else, and not a word was spoken as he ascended.

"You can go ahead, Cuser. I'll steady it for you." Lu said, grabbing the leg that Cuser did not have in his grasp.

"Thanks Lu. To be honest, I was a little scared of climbing out without support." he admitted.

Soon, everyone was out of the shelter and staring into the woods surrounding them. Wolf slammed the hatch shut and shoveled handfuls of snow on top of it. No one in his tribe knew it existed, besides Fox of course, and he planned on keeping it that way.

Mat grabbed his stomach as a loud and painful sounding rumble filled the air. He looked up at Wolf, "I hope you're a good hunter."

"Of course I am. How do you think I got this pelt?" he patted the wolf pelt that had been sewed to his coat,"Fox and I can go, while the rest of you stay here. Lu, I would invite you along, but I'd feel much better leaving if I knew there was something to protect you." he said, nodding his head to the bow slung over her shoulder.

Lu nodded her head understandingly, reaching back to grab her weapon,"Look for Arian while you're out."

"Don't worry, I was already planning on doing that." Wolf said with a reassuring smile and nod, before setting out with Fox by his side.

Lu stared after them until they disappeared in the trees. Cuser and Mat had taken seats in the snow, each leaning back on a tree. Mat had picked up a handful of snow and was taking small nibbles out of it.

"Did you make sure it wasn't yellow?" Cuser said with a teasing grin.

"Yeah, don't worry." Mat replied,"I've been eating snow since I was two. I'm pretty much an expert at this point."

Lu took a seat a bit away from her two comrades, not wanting to be distracted by their conversation. She knew she needed to stay alert and ready for anything.

An hour or two ticked by, and nothing had stirred. Not a bird had fluttered by, no deer had mistakenly wandered into their presence. Everything was still.

"This is kind of creepy..." Lu muttered to herself.

Snap.

Lu jerked her head to the right where she heard a twig break.

A low, menacing growl sounded from a patch of dense brush. The girl shot to her feet, gripping the bow in her left hand and drawing an arrow from the quiver slung over her back with the right. She nocked the arrow, but kept it pointed at the ground.

And she waited.

She could hear her heart beat increasing as the seconds ticked on, the hair on her neck standing on end as the growl continued threateningly. Slowly, one paw after another, a wolf-like creature stepped into the light. Lu had only heard stories about such creatures, so she couldn't be sure that that is what this beast was.

White foam oozed out of it's mouth, leaving a trail behind it as it strolled towards her. Lu raised her bow, drew it back, but before she could make a clean shot, the wolf turned and ran off in another direction. With a relieved sigh, the girl lowered her bow once again.

But then she remembered. Cuser and Mat.

Lu followed the wolf without hesitation, her feet barely touching the ground as she pelted after it, and she arrived just in time. The wolf was circling the frightened pair as they clung onto each other for comfort.

"Lu, help us!" Mat cried out after seeing her emerge from the trees, his desperate eyes fixated on her. All grudges were forgotten in that moment as his only hope for survival lie with her.

Quickly, she raised her bow once again, resuming the correct stance as she did so. The wolf however, refused to cooperate this time. He wouldn't hold still, and if she missed, the arrow could hit one of her friends.

She drew the string back, closing one eye to assist her aim and enhance the chance of her accuracy. Suddenly, the wolf stopped. It pawed the ground, a menacing snarl escaping his throat, before it pounced.

Thud.

An arrow thundered into it's head, and mid-pounce, the wolf fell to the ground. A whimper or two escaped it's throat as it thrashed on the ground, but not a minute later, it's breathing slowed and eventually stopped for good.

"That... Was awesome!" Mat exclaimed, squatting beside the deceased wolf and prodding it with a stick he'd picked up.

"That thing almost killed us!" Cuser said angrily,"How in the world is that awesome? You know what, never mind. I don't know why I even asked." he stormed away, his arms crossed as he tried to come to terms with what had just happened.

Putting her foot on the wolf's head, Lu grabbed the arrow she'd shot and tugged it out. After shaking what she could of the wolf's blood off, she returned it to her quiver.

"Whoa! What happened?" A familiar voice sounded from the trees, before Fox emerged from the darkness surrounding the group.

"Lu killed a wolf all by herself!" Mat said, beeming about his friend's accomplishments as if they were his own.

"Um... Sorry to break it to you, but that's not a wolf. That's a coyote- they're much smaller than wolves are. Nice job though." Fox said, squatting beside Mat,"I guess we'll have to call you coyote now." he joked, casting a teasing grin Lu's way.

"Yeah, I guess so." Lu replied with a smile,"Where's Wolf?"

"Skinning the pair of rabbits we caught." he added,"Wolf thought it best you guys didn't see that."

"Aw, poor rabbits." Mat frowned,"Why did you guys have to get rabbits?"

"Because they were the only things dumb enough to be out and about so soon after a blizzard. Only things besides this guy." Wolf appeared after Fox finished speaking. In each of his hands was the rabbit meat.

"Did this thing attack you?" he asked, placing the rabbits in the snow before joining Fox beside the coyote's body.

"Yes, it did." Lu answered.

"That is strange... Coyotes are timid creatures. It is not in their nature to attack humans."

"I think it might've been sick..." Lu explained,"There was white stuff coming out of it's mouth."

"Yeah, it was really gross." Mat piped in.

"That explains it." Wolf stood back up, wiping the snow off of his pants,"It had rabies. We will not be eating coyote tonight. We will burn the body to keep it from spreading to any other animals."

"It didn't bite any of you did it? Or even scratch you?" Fox asked worriedly.

"No, we're all okay." Lu replied with a reassuring nod.

Fox and Wolf exchanged a relieved glance, before departing from the group once again. Wolf had told them to look for sticks to fuel the fire, but to not stray far away from the coyote. The last thing they wanted was more infected animals.

Soon they had a fire going, but were careful to not build it to be too big. They didn't want to risk their tribe seeing the smoke and finding them that way. First they roasted the rabbit meat, and as soon as they were done, they tossed the coyote in.

"We will leave at first light." Wolf told the group as they devoured their dinner hungrily,"We will need to travel swiftly, as well. Your people will not wait for your return forever."

"Sounds good to me. The sooner we get back to everyone else, the better." Cuser said, wiping his mouth with his arm.

"What about Arian?" Lu had been waiting for the right time to ask, and there seemed like no better time than now.

Wolf and Fox looked at each other, exchanging weird nods and blinks as if speaking in their own, silent language. Finally, Wolf stood up, turning his attention to Lu. "Walk with me." he said, offering his hand to Lu.

Lu gazed up at him anxiously, before grabbing Wolf's hand and allowing him to guide her to her feet. As they disappeared into the woods together, Fox could be heard saying,"Hey guys, watch this..."

Wolf stopped once they were out of hearing range, and turned to face the girl behind him.

"Lu, I thought it best I told you this alone." He began,"We found your friend. But, something else did first. He was barely recognizable by the time we found him. I was able to salvage this." he had reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring- the ring that Arian had been wearing.

Tears streamed down Lu's face as Wolf handed her the item. She clasped it close to her chest, visibly shaking as she wept increasingly.

"I am very sorry." Wolf said sympathetically, sad to see the usually chipper girl so distraught,"If there is anything I can do to help..." He reached out and placed his hand on her shoulder,"Let me know. I am here for you."

Lu nodded her head slowly,"Thank you." she spluttered, wiping her eyes and cheeks as she tried to contain the tears that flowed so heavily.

"If you're ready, we should head back. I don't want you out here alone."

Once again, Lu nodded her head and followed Wolf back to the group, much slower this time, lagging some distance behind him.

They returned to find Fox covered from head to toe in snow and entangled in what looked like vines, with Cuser and Mat laughing at him hysterically.

"I'm not going to ask what happened." Wolf said with a sigh, before settling down beside the fire.

Lu joined him, fumbling to ring around as she gazed into the flickering flames. Things had not panned out the way she had thought they would or hoped they would. What was she going to tell the group? And Bear? How was she going to react? Arian was the only person that could tolerate her. These and many other questions buzzed around her head, all while grieving the loss of a close friend.
Chapters:   « Previous 1 ... 8 9 10


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This book has 4 comments. Post your own now!

ilovereading123 said...
Apr. 5, 2016 at 8:27 am
please update soon! i want to read more! its really good
 
laurenlovebug replied...
Apr. 5, 2016 at 7:52 pm
I'll add more as soon as I can lol XD
 
Writergirl009 said...
Apr. 2, 2016 at 3:57 pm
Sounds interesting! You obviously are quite a talented writer!
 
laurenlovebug replied...
Apr. 4, 2016 at 8:46 pm
Thank you! That means a lot! :)
 

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