I’m having so much fun with the Rule of Three, posting, and reading others work: I’m truly grateful to Damyanti and the other hosts for encouraging us to do this. Over 60 writers are all writing this month in weekly installments about the shared world of Renaissance, from different perspectives, genres, and with a variety of characters. My story involves Sen, her ailing father, and the increasing intrusion by strangers.
Sen paused while looking for berries for her homemade remedy. There was a smell in the air. Not like the musky floor of the Culdees, nor the sharp tang of the trees; not the stench of manure or rotting carcass. She crouched low, ready to spring away. A rustle, a snap: someone who had no idea how to walk in the forest. Sen felt the flint edge of her rooting tool. The foliage drying up, she hadn’t used it yet. Never to hurt someone else — maybe to scare off a wolf if they were mistakenly in the same area. Anything bigger, the best recourse was to run as fast as she could on all fours.
She wiped her palms on the green beast leather her father had made for her from his last skill. The days when he was still strong enough to go out with the rest of the hunters; the days when there were still beasts to hunt. Move fast, she told herself, her father’s words resonating in her head, sending a hum through her veins.
She ran, jumping over gnarled roots, hands first, in leaps powered by her seasoned haunches. The wind in her hair, erasing the sound of that voice, a voice she hadn’t heard since her childhood, a voice that belonged to a dead women. Sen came up on a tree, intending to climb into its branches when she heard it again.
“Sen. Don’t be afraid.”
She whirled again, the texture of the bark against her palms, to face the ghost. Instead of a ghost, she saw a tall one, brown haired, large eyes, staring at her. They were alone in the clearing.
The tall one nodded, coming forward, almost gliding across the forest floor, upright on her two feet. Sen clenched her teeth and the tree.
“But you’re dead.”
Her throat constricted before she could say more.
The tall one shook her head.
“Soon you will be though, my baby, if you stay here on this planet.”
The accent made her sound as if she had several berries in her mouth while she was talking.
“We will fight you,” she said, letting go of the tree’s support to clutch the rooting tool in a fist.
The tall one drew even closer. Sen’s eyes darted around the clearing but they were alone. The flint of the tool felt fragile in her hands.
“Not by us,” a woman who looked amazingly like her memories of her mother said. “From the heat. The sun draws ever closer.”
Then they weren’t alone; the tall one Sen had seen a few weeks ago entered with a few other tall ones, all men. Sen felt her chest heave. There was no way she could attack all of them with just one not even weapon.
“Let’s go Alysia,” one of them motioned. “She’s not worth it. Look she barely stands up.”
Sen felt her spine, which had been curled downward, prepared to crouch and propel her away, stiffen, though she didn’t understand what he said.
“She’s my daughter,” the woman said. “I’m not leaving without her. She’s the missing link.”
Intent on the creatures in front of her, Sen never noticed the one creeping up behind her. Without the dense foliage to hamper him, the tall one slid across the forest floor, around the tree, and threw the bag over her head.
In Sen’s ongoing search to take care of her father, and keep curiosity about the tall ones at bay, we get another 559 words. This week watch as she discovers a long held secret.