Welcome back! I’ve been ill and couldn’t make it in time, yesterday. I am sorry! Luckily, as I had actually been planning for some personal activities for the weekend, I had already prepared most of this episode and the picture. (Here’s to you, Nat! 🙂 ) So I thought, I could still make it in time. But as it turned out, I felt unable to concentrate long enough to upload this episode. Again, I am sorry.
Today, I am slowly recovering, and so–here we are 🙂
If you are new to my story, please consider starting with Chapter 1 🙂
Worlds Rising: Rebellion
Chapter 9, Part 1
Wolfing down her share of the meal, Abbida watched Lian nibble on something that reminded her of one of those yukky fat-bars the kitchen sometimes dished out when fresh greens and meat were hard to come by. Like after a long and heavy rain season. Not for the life of her could she imagine how Lian preferred that stuff over real food! Was she afraid Rona might try and poison her? And maybe rightfully so.
Rona had won back some of her usual bossy attitude. Over dinner the two of them got into an argument of sorts, as to who would keep watch overnight. While Rona insisted on assigning everyone, Lian wouldn’t have any of it. There could be no doubt–she trusted none of them. Which, come to think of it, made the fact that she had obviously trusted Ashok that much more intriguing.
How could they even have met? How did they become close enough for her to respect a villager like this? How was that even possible? Maybe she had fallen for his mysteriously dark eyes? That must be it. Abbida sighed.
In the end, Rona and Lian settled their dispute on teams of two–with Lian being part of each. How she was planning on staying up this whole time, Abbida couldn’t imagine. A bit later, she noticed Lian taking some sort of flask from out of one of her many pockets. After that, the woman seemed wide awake, restless even.
That night, sleep eluded Abbida, too. Somber thoughts kept whirring in her mind. Ever since the men had returned she’d felt as if she was waking from a life-long daze. All this time–how could she have been so complacent? Why had she never tried to find out more about the village’s history? Like, where the founders had come from, and when? What about all the old machines and equipment? Who built them? With materials none of them were able to make in the first place. Half the time they couldn’t find out how it worked!
For all she knew, nobody had ever tried to leave the village, much less build a new one. And yet, there existed at least one more. There could be many of them! How had the Conquerors found them? And on the other hand–why had nobody ever tried to trace and rescue the men? They hadn’t even discussed it! Like they never did.
Where did all those taboos come from? Why were they obeyed so strictly? The more she thought about it, the more it bothered her, that nobody ever asked any questions.
At least, now Abbida had an idea, what it was they were looking for in the wreck. A heavy metal box with ‘controls’ and a ‘holographic display’–whatever that might be. After all this time without an energy supply, it should be out, anyway. Could they even get it to work? Could Lian? Her people possessed technologies one could only dream of in the village.
A notion flashed through her mind, but when she tried to grasp it, it eluded her. Something to do with what she’d just been pondering. Yet, the more she tried to remember, the hazier the image. Maybe she had been on the brink of sleep and only dreamed it. Now, she was awake again. Restless, she tossed and turned, but couldn’t find a comfortable posture. She was still hungry.
Troubled and overtired at once, she listened to the nocturnal sounds of the jungle. Now, that the piercing cries and the chittering of daytime had ceased, there was a constant rustling and chirring going on instead. A low hoot from a night bird, followed by a sudden scurrying in the underbrush close by startled her. Her heart pounded. Her mind was painting vivid pictures now, of the struggles over life and death out there in the dark. Forget about sleep!
Rather than spending the night in the tent, she’d have preferred staying by the fire–close to Cole and Tarek. But Rona had insisted for Abbida to stay inside with her. As if Abbida needed a chaperone! She’d long since given up on any advances on Cole. He wasn’t interested. Tonight he had volunteered to take second shift of guard, from midnight to dawn. Those hours tended to be awfully long. Maybe he needed the time to think.
Abbida understood that all too well. Back home, she loved sneaking out at night, just to clear her head. She’d sit on the steps of their hut, marvelling at the stars and the moon, wondering how things connected. Life, the village, the skies.
Was everybody doing all right? Would her roommates worry about her? She missed them. Missed the nightly banter, the laughter, the whispered conversations before sleep. Who dated who, and if there might ever be a party again. Here, nobody was interested in girls’ talk.
Again she tossed and turned, sweating and feeling trapped. Tiny rocks were poking her back, no matter what. Giving up, she struggled free from her blanket and sneaked out on all fours, so as not to wake Rona, the stars forbid!
In the fresh air, she stretched and yawned. Rolling her shoulders, she let her gaze wander. Next to the fireplace, their spare clothing hung on a makeshift rack to dry. The fire had almost died down, though. How come nobody was there to tend to it? Where was Cole? Shouldn’t he be keeping watch? Was he out on a round?
Straining her ears she listened into the night, but other than the rustling of leaves, the gurgling of the nearby creek, and other sounds of nature there was nothing. Fine, alright, a good watch wouldn’t make any noise. But this was creepy!
Abbida groped her way towards the fire place, hissing, “Cole? Where are you?” No answer.
What about Tarek or Lian? Shouldn’t at least one of them be keeping the fire safe? The tiny hairs on the back of her neck stood on end and Abbida wrapped her arms around herself. Three people on watch–and none of them in sight?
~ to be continued! ~
Thank you for reading!
Next episode should be up on time:) I post updates around the 10th, 20th and 30th of the month. So, please do come back!
To not miss any updates, please be sure to push the follow-button! Thank you ❤