Author's note: Please take a look! i wrote this for all audiences and i plan to add action sequences but it is... Show full author's note »
Chapter 6: Awake October 4th 1942I stumbled along the cobblestone street in the dark. I could only see a few feet ahead of me in the early morning light. As my tired feet dragged themselves, one after the other, I finally could make out the military base in the distance.
“Wait up Eleanor!” Jackson panted. His voice was thick and slurred from lack of sleep, and I could plainly tell that we were all pretty much exhausted. I could now clearly see the sun, despite my droopy eyelids. It was bright, vivid, and a little blurry, but otherwise beautiful. It was probably the one thing that was keeping me awake.
I had pulled off my gloves a few hours ago. I was sure that it was now about 3 or 4a.m. I was not happy about this little fact, and neither were my heavy limbs. I eyed Eleanor with envy. She was skipping and twirling around in circles, enjoying the early morning sun, not looking tired at all. What is with this girl? Doesn’t she ever sleep?! I thought to myself through shallow, short pants making their way out of my mouth.
She glared at me, as if she had heard what I had just said to myself…in my head. What? I thought, still looking at her.
“Nothing, just that I don’t need as much sleep as you two slugs, and that I thought you were supposed to be the fastest in the family.” A friendly smirk played on her lips as I watched her turn around again, and walk towards the base.
“Whaa?” Jackson inquired. “I have absolutely NO idea what you two are talking about, but right now, I really couldn’t care less. Can we pleeeaase just focus on some sleep? I really can’t focus right now… I feel like I’m…about to…collapse.” Jackson yawned and with that, he passed out in the middle of the dirt path, sprawled out on top of some blackberry bushes.
“Ouch,” Eleanor cringed. “There are a whole bunch of thorns sticking into his arm.” I surveyed Jackson’s arm, and sure enough, there were a handful of thorns sticking into his arm. They clearly weren’t stuck in his arm very deep, otherwise he would have probably woken up.
“I don’t know very many people who can do that…” Eleanor faltered. She didn’t have much of choice, what with Jackson’s absurdly loud snoring, but she managed to squeeze in the last few words of her sentence.
“Do what?” I asked her, blinking one droopy eye after the other. I hadn’t heard much of the conversation, but I had heard snippets of it, so I did my best to tune back into what she was saying.
“Why, sleep on top of a blackberry bush with thorns of course! Look! There are several stuck in his cheek right now!” She burst out laughing and then fell over as well, but lucky Eleanor fell on a patch of soft, damp grass, and closed her eyes, drifting off into a pleasant slumber with a smile still plastered across her face.
“Heh,” I panted as I glanced up at the sky, and straight at the sun’s hot rays. “I guess they really were more tired than I was.” I let my eyes close, and fell to my knees. “I win…” I whispered under my breath as I felt myself falling forward, deeper and deeper into unconsciousness until…
Smack! I awoke with a start. I shot straight up and thrust my upper body off the ground. I woke up on my back, which was now throbbing as if it had been dragged over rough stones all night. Somehow, I had made my way onto my back, under the shade of a peach tree, and had removed my bag from my shoulder and my knife from my pocket…without knowing it…while I was asleep.
I surveyed Jackson, snoring away on his backside with several large red splotches, dotting his arm and cheek. And snapped my gaze to Eleanor, munching away on a peach and sitting on a nearby white, wooden picket fence. Behind her I could see some cows grazing on a large, lush green meadow, and in front of her, I saw the dirt road we had apparently come down. On the dirt path, I could see two long lines that had been cleared away a bit, as if something…or someone more specifically, had dragged something down it. Those dirt trails look awfully suspicious, as if somebody- but something interrupted my thoughts.
“Relax,” Eleanor said through a mouthful of peach. “I dragged you both here in the middle of the night, so you wouldn’t have to walk all this way. Aren’t you grateful?”
“Ummm…I guess, but how did you-” I inquired, giving Eleanor an extremely quizzical look.
“I just dragged you both on your backs while you were both passed out in the middle of the road. I figured it would make for an awfully unsuccessful rescue mission if you were both run over by a military automobile,” She explained.
“Ughnn..” Jackson moaned, still asleep.
I looked at him and his small puncture wounds. I poked at his cheek, spotted one remaining thorn, and pulled it out.
“Ow!” Jackson yelped, now clearly awake. “What the-”
“Eleanor apparently dragged us both here in our sleep.” I informed him. He nodded slightly and then stopped, massaging his neck. “How did you do it Eleanor?” I asked, turning to her.
“Well, you were easy. You were no heavier than the bag you were carrying.”
I blushed, I had always been strong, but extremely light no matter how much I ate, which wasn’t much considering how lacking in funds our family was.
“Jackson,” she said, glaring at him, “on the other hand was downright impossible. After I got you here, I had to go back for him, and he really liked the spot he was lying, right on top of a huge pointy rock. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time, so I kept trying to drag you along until I heard a small rip.”
He glared back at her, but more with curiosity that fury.
“Sorry about your shirt.” Eleanor said through another bite of her peach, still atop the white picket fence.
Jackson tried to pull his shirt around to the front and inspect what damage was done. There was a big gap in the back of his shirt.
“Oh yeah,” Eleanor told him. “Don’t try to get up to fast, you had a nasty cut from the rock you collapsed on.” This time Jackson glared at her with fury, and felt at his backside. Sure enough, as he turned, there was a big cut across his upper back. “It was me, I promise!” Eleanor replied defensively, holding her perfectly manicured hands up. “When you collapsed, your weight probably brought you down hard on that rock, I’m surprised you didn’t wake up as soon as you hit it, but I guess you must have been really tired.”
Jackson muttered something unintelligible under his breath. I sighed and tried to get up, but my back hurt too.
“It probably had something to do with the fact that you were dragged on your backside, over rocks and bumps on a dirt road for a good three hours. You know, you really should thank me. Maybe giving me some of the bread you have in your pack would even your debt to me a bit.” She smiled pleadingly yet sweetly and batted her eyelashes a bit.
I sighed again. I couldn’t help it. Everything about Eleanor was perfect. She had long, dark brown, almost black hair, that fell in big waves down her back and flowed neatly over her shoulders, only an inch or so below her chest. She had her piercing, yet strikingly beautiful eyes that only added to her beauty and didn’t make her a freak like it did me. She had the same build I did, more feline, though not as muscular as me, it worked for her and made her appear more delicate than she actually was. She had pale skin, no freckles, full pink lips even without makeup, and long thick eyelashes, making it impossible to resist her when batted.
I reached for my purse sitting beside me. I was sitting up now, cross legged, but my back was still a bit sore. I had gotten used to Eleanor’s apparent mindreading, as I could read hers, on occasion, when she allowed me to do so. It appeared that she could block me whenever she pleased, but I was merely an open book for her to read whenever she felt like it.
I lifted the flap of the purse and pulled out the small lunch I had wrapped up. I hoped it was still good, and not squashed to smithereens by the overnight trip that took place while I was sleeping.
I untied the small sack and inspected the contents. Everything looked fine. The soft, salty cheese still looked as delectable as ever and the roll looked like it would make a perfect meal. I saw Jackson eyeing the bread with hungry eyes, still rubbing his neck. And Eleanor was watching every movement my hands made, as if it was imperative for her to memorize all of my actions.
In the end, I split the food between the three of us. Not being able to bare Jackson’s hungry gaze as Eleanor was about to scarf her portion down, I gave in and split everything into thirds. It all made for a good meal, and seeing that no one else had thought to bring food, or money, I was quite pleased with myself for thinking ahead. We each had some water too. Luckily we had all brought our own canteens that were quickly emptied. I’m not sure what would have happened if we all had to share one. We had all developed an extreme thirst, but the sun was shining awfully bright, coming down in patched through the peach tree’s leaves, splattering us all with sunshine.
We would get Ian back tonight, I knew it. If we didn’t get him tonight, before the new troops were shipped out to a different station, we would have a chance to bring him home with us. I was sure of it.