Ibex

United States

Christian
as in Presbyterian Church in America
Female
Writer
Novelist
Poet!
Reader
Ambivert or something
Band nerd + Drum Major
Planet Earth nerd
etc, etc
Joined September 10, 2019

Message to Readers

Here's part 3!

Awakening--Part 3

May 31, 2020

FREE WRITING

1
Chapter 4
There is the morning when the hyenas wake her with their cries, only to be silenced, the morning when she knows something is not the same. She cannot see, but she senses another presence. The hyenas erupt in angry growls as someone enters Adder’s lair.

She coughs out a whisper of warning to the newcomer, “Adder… He’ll… He'll kill you… He’s already killed a man today. You need to get out of here.”

And yet he continues towards her. The hyenas scatter at his footsteps, claws scraping erratically on the stone floor. She becomes aware of someone kneeling by her side, removing her chains, placing his hands over her blind eyes. And then, as if he has lifted a blindfold from her face and cast it away, her vision returns.

"I've defeated Adder," he says to her. "You're free from him now. You don’t have to listen to him anymore. It’s time for you to come home, to where you belong."

Home. She doesn't have a home, she tells him. She left her home behind long ago, when she became a criminal. They will never welcome her back into the city; they know what she is. There is no place for her now.

But he shakes his head and tells her otherwise. She says he doesn't know her, but he merely smiles at her. And unlike Adder, whose smiles leave her chilled to the bone, his smile leaves her brimming with warmth deep within her empty soul. She feels alive again.

No one has ever treated her like this, not ever, especially not while she lived under Adder’s reign. She is mystified; how can he say she is free and has a home when he sees her like this, like one of the rats?

He offers her his hand, and she takes it.

Chapter 5
She wears one of her old, black thieving outfits, complete with Adder’s sign, the twisted serpent, embroidered on her right sleeve. He has asked her to wear the sign, so any passerby will know she is stealing not for herself but for him. She carries nothing in her satchel but a handkerchief for wrapping the ruby when the time comes. Her sword, newly sharpened, hangs ready at her side. She never brings much on these journeys, since there are usually several food sources along the way.

Adder takes the time to see her to the edge of the city, point her in the right direction, give her a few last words of encouragement. Mostly, he thinks to himself how easy it was to convince her. Well done, he thinks to himself, well done.

She struggles, though. Even though she has already agreed to steal the ruby for him, she can't stop  herself from wondering if she should abandon this crazy quest and go home. She is happy, selling fabric in her little shop, even if it doesn’t pay as much as she might like. Hasn't she left this life of thieving behind her? Did her rescuer not say she was free?

“Adder, I don’t know about this…”

He glares at her, “Is this because you feel some hint of loyalty to your so-called rescuer? Do you think he really cares about you?”

She nods, and he just shakes his head and sighs at her ignorance, “He’s just a man who happened upon you and decided it was worth his time to let you go. But really, his actions change nothing. You are still the same criminal you were before, no matter what he says you are. He doesn’t care enough about you to pay your rent. You need the money. Are you doing this, or not?”

“Sir, why did you ask me? There are other thieves, better thieves…”

“You’re the only one who has ever infiltrated a cave for me. You’re the only one I know can do it. Now make your choice.”

She tells him she will steal the ruby. The money, she reminds herself, the money.

The field stretches out before her, the edge of the wilderness. In a few miles, it will dip into the valley, and then it will be a straight path to the cave, where the ruby lies waiting. It can't be that hard, she tells herself. In a few days, she'll be home again, and she'll have money to pay her rent. She’ll never have to speak to Adder again.

"You know the way?" Adder asks her.

She tells him that of course she knows the way; she has traveled all around the city and surrounding countryside for him in the past.

"Good," he replies. "I'll be on my way, then. The hyenas will make sure you stay on the right path. Good luck!"

He vanishes in a cloud of smoke and black sparks, a product of his black magic, leaving her alone with the hyenas and the wilderness. She looks out across the field and murmurs, "I guess there's only one way to go: forward."

And with that, she takes her first step away from the city and into the field, the hyenas following close behind her.

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