Always for her

She moved slowly, like her muscles wouldn’t work quickly enough. She wiped a strand of red hair out of her brown vacant eyes, she looked like she was falling and struggling to focus. I wrapped her hands around mine, ruined and cut. Her hands where slow and unmoving as she watched up into my watery eyes. My stomach’s tossing; I look into her eyes as she smiles uncharacteristically,
“I’m sorry, Lilac.” She whispered croakily in small quick gasps, her voice stuttering and her eyes attempting to smile, her cracked lips began to bleed. I nodded,
“No, Hope. Stay still.” I say worriedly, propping her head up with ripped bloody jacket, pushing her shoulder down slightly but firmly. She nodded hesitantly; the bloody gorge in her stomach stopped her chest from moving in and out. I don’t want to cry, I am strong. I was strong. But seeing her dying face in my ruined arms, made my heart collapse. She was the closest thing I had to hope, and now she was dead. Her name, Hope. I knew once she smiled

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13. Gracea

 

That night I lay with Lloyd, his head resting on the small pillowcase, mine propped beside him and curled up next to him careful not to hurt him. He still hadn’t woken. But fortuitously he breathed, I could listen to his breathing, it was a soothing sound allowing me to sleep.

 

Hope had attended to Cloven fixing her but we decided we wouldn’t let her strike again, we couldn’t trust her. So I created a raft. It sounded like a silly idea, but Hope had given her some medication that would knock her out for a couple of hours. So placing her on the small wooden raft and packing her rucksack with a flask of water and some food and a fresh pair of clothes we tied her to the raft and pushed her away. The river did the rest carrying her onwards.

 

“You saved me.” Lloyd alleged as we sat on the edge of the river bank, we couldn’t move onwards with out Hope’s permission as she was mothering the pack.

“No. I almost ended your life, Lloyd. Hope saved you.” I said expressionless. I felt exasperated and relived that he was alive, but yet I was exasperated that he was trying to thank me and not Hope.

“Hope saved me because she’s smart, medical smart or book smart. Not your kind of smart.” He whispered, I looked at him bewildered

“What do you mean?” I asked shaking my head, looking across the shallow water, and tried to prevent myself from looking into his beautiful eyes

“I mean your just smart with survival.” He explained, skimming a small wiry rock across the trickling water, I hesitated and then watched the rock sink. That was its life, skipping across the top of the water and then being swallowed by the currents.

“Survival?” I said uselessly, my voice felt tired and clung to my throat as I spoke.

“Yes. You have been caught and threatened twice.” He said watching me, but I looked away purposely I looked at him annoyed

“Yeah, so?” I demanded

“So, you can do it. We can win this. All we need to do is discover the item.” He whispered. I nodded and bit my lip. That was all we needed to, but the schools would never accept the fact that we combined teams. I sighed and shook my head

“We’ll find out.” I promised and then stood up and brushed the grass and sand off of me and headed back to our camp.

 

We remained there for a few days unsuspected. It was quite relaxing truthfully, but I didn’t dare admit it. Lloyd was annoyed because Hope wouldn’t let him climb any trees, I personally agreed and volunteered to take a shift. Until I realised my tree climbing skills weren’t amazing. Propping myself as high as I dare, I pulled my arrow out and took guard worriedly about falling and crushing every bone in my body. But I was okay, I kept guard all night allowing Hope to sleep.

 

The morning was a decisive one, I changed into my overalls and my jacket pulling on my stiff leather boots which were luckily begging to soften up. Packing away all our belongings, I collected all our clothes from there place beside the fire and then checked they where clean and dry before packing them. We rummaged through the remainder of things that Cloven had unpacked and we had forgotten. It turned out she had a spare sleeping bag, which she kept hidden behind some bushes, which amused us slightly, a few saucepans and a packet of matches. Packing everything away we started on our journey.

 

I supposed if I had to pick a good thing about this fight was the scenary. It was beautiful. Luckily there was variety of different hiding places, high trees with sturdy branches, underground caves, ditches, mountains and many more confusing hiding places. We decided we would stop in the middle of an over grown forest. I placed my rucksack down and inhaled the warm stuffy air. It was confusing, because there was a slight damp feeling about it but yet I was warm. So I set up my sleeping bag (we now had one each) and brushed my hair and cleaned my hands and then went straight to bed. My dreams where mixed and confusing, I saw flashes of light and then laughter. I had confusing chatter and then whispers, but none of it made sense, every now and then my name would prop up, someone would whisper something about me but I could never make out what it was. The last two words rang in my head ‘Get Her’. The sound of cracking twigs is what woke me, the wind swept around us, playing with our resting bodies, making our hair move, I stretched and lay down on my warm sleeping bag my head buried under the warm cover when the noise came again. It was a whistle, my whistle. I stirred slightly, it didn’t take me long until I was wide awake and pulling on my boots quickly and quietly. Grabbing my arrow that was rested beside my pillow and I turned to the woods. I considered waking Lloyd, but the whistle came again, and I shut of my thoughts and turned in the direction in which the wind had carried to the small humming noise. It came again, I darted off in the direction of the whistle as soon as I left the clearing I regretted this. Knowing I would be falling into a trap, but to my surpise nothing. But I remained there, turning back slightly, when I noticed a figure behind the tree. I hesitated and then raised my bow.

“Don’t.” she whispered, I could only see her hands clutching the bark in scarce fear. I nodded but didn’t lower my postion, “I don’t want to hurt you.” She replied, I hesitated wondering whether I should believe her. she didn’t say anything for a minute or two so I lowered my bow. I didn’t see who it was, until she pulled herself from behind the tree. Gracea. I gasped, coughing

“You thought I was dead.” She said softly but I understood the hurt in her voice. Unable to make my lips move I simply nodded. She smiled, but the happiness had gone “Well I’m not. I was cut, bruised, the bullet hit me, I knew I was dead. But someone had given me medicine and healed me, my wound was fixed. I know how crazy it sounds, I was sure to die. I prayed they would stay with me, but they left as soon as my eyes opened.” She whispered, her eyes where filled with unknown tears, I had never seen a girl look so strong and so distraught. My first instinct was to ask her more questions, but I could see she was in no right state. So I hugged her, burying my nose into her deep mossy hair. She smelt of the earth, but something wasn’t right about her, her skin was to pale, her eyes to bright. I saw the bullet hit her, and yet she lived. Her pulse was gone the instant, yet her she was in my arms. I could feel her heartbeat against me as I hugged her. Slowly I drew away and smiled at her, my lips turned up.

“You’re okay.” I whispered weakly. She nodded and turned to me

“I need somewhere to rest. Do you have safe place?” she asked, I nodded and then smiled

“You need something to eat as well and you need to clean up.” I said, she smiled gratefully and grasped my hand worriedly. I took her back to our small camp. Hope was up, she had her back to me

“Catch anything good?” she asked, chopping up the remainders of the herbs, her back still to me. I smiled and grabbed Gracea’s hand

“Yeah, actually the most amazing thing you could hope for.” I said, she smiled and turned around and then went pale. Chocking on her small flask of water, she dropped it making a loud ‘bang’. A gasping sound erupted from her lips as she tore across the sleeping bags to Gracea and wrapped her safely in her comforting arms, weeping she smiled at Gracea. A fat tear rolled down her pale cheek

“How?” she whispered, cupping her face in her ruined hands.

“I’ll explain. But, Hope, she needs water and food a new set of clothes.” I ordered, Hope nodded.

“I heard a spring around here somewhere. Lloyd said last night he may try and find it, then we can all wash. I am cooking some old bread and herbs, maybe we can have a bit of rabbit since you’re here, Gracea.” She said smiling happily to herself and then she hesitated

“Your wounds and cuts. I can clean them, just take a seat and I’ll be ready.” She explained, she smiled reassuringly at me. I knew Hope was dying to now how Gracea had survived but she was so lovely that it didn’t matter to her. Not right now, any way. 

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