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


8. Part II - The Arrival


I could feel the helicopter landing, my palms sweating, my neck itched and my lungs tight. The door was drawn open, a strident voice spoke

“Keep your blindfold on. Please.” He insisted. Being a hunter my ears where defiantly my best tool, but I wasn’t to sure about the other girls. Never the less. I was carefully escorted out of the helicopter and not to long after I heard the rear of the engine and the wind catching between the propellers as the helicopter departed the scene.


We waited in the cold stormy weather for what seemed like ages. When we realised we where alone, I removed my blind fold, allowing my eyes to adjust to the gloomy light, I looked around the area was green in front of us was a glass wall, it looked unrealistic, around us was a circle in the dirt, we had all been positioned, I was at the front, Hope next to be and Cloven by her side. On the floor in front of me was attached to a long piece of metal, was an envelope with precise handwriting etched on the front, some of the other girls where removing there blindfold. Nobody dared talk, in case we where being watched. The metal was curled around the letter. Being careful not to touch the edge I received the letter and began to read allowed, my voice projecting to all the girls:


“Dear Hartmondy Girls,


You have arrived at the Battle of Rose. You will be fighting the Canterany School For Young Men you must fight. You have been provided with running water and animals hidden in the forestry. The fight will continue until one of them surrender and they must stop fighting and receive the item that is hidden on the battle field today. Following the hidden clues you will be able to find or if so protect the element of which is being fought for. Lives will be lost, hearts destroyed but the team with the element at the end of the fight will be claimed winners. On you guest you will find weapons and items to your use. Good luck. We are sorry for destruction. When the flesh of your fingers touches the metal ring you will be opposed against the boys to fight for survival. But may I warn you, there numbers are big and the strategies clever do not be fooled.”


The letter wasn’t sighed by anyone, there where frightened gasps. I looked at my army of girls and smiled to myself

“Touch it, Lilac.” Cloven whispered. I nodded and turned to the girls. Bows where raised, knifes at hand, eyes steadied and pierced the arrival of our enemies. Drawing my bow from my shoulder, I placed an arrow on the string. Gently, I touched the cold sharp metal ring. The letter in my hand burst into flames, the shield of glass shattered making a deafening sound, the ring around us burst into flickering hot flames, leaving small parting at the back, in front of us the same scene was happening. The glass that lay on the floor disintegrated. I felt the hot flickering flames around me, I raised my arrow higher, breathing deeply, the flames didn’t stop flickering no matter how hard it was raining now, and my hair was begging to become damp, sticking to my face. I knew I was leading from the moment I entered Mrs Rowland’s office for the first time, but this made it official,

“Fire!” I yelled, I could her pull of the bows as a fleet of arrows glided through the windy air striking some of the boys, some of the girls began to depart as the bullets from the boys hit us. Keeping my feet still, I knew about a quarter of my girls had gone to prepare for the day ahead. But I wasn’t going to stop until I was done. Hope took her guard beside me, and nodded as I yelled again. Another hundred arrows shot through the air, more girls departed. I heard the shriek from Gracea, her friend Janey looked back to see her sprawled on the floor a bullet through her fragile chest, blood spilling over. I heard Jayne gasp and depart. I heard Harmony’s voice ring

“She’s dead.” My fingers hesitated before I pulled the fifth arrow out of my bag,

“We have to go. We are outnumbered.” Hope whispered to me. I nodded, the boys where departing. I knew as I fired my fifth arrow that a quarter of the girls where safe and the rest where dead.  My stomach tossed as I followed Hope into the small gathering of trees followed by Harmony and Cloven. We didn’t stop running, Hope leading the way we parted. There wasn’t a soul in neither sight, nor anywhere to set up a camp. So we kept running, no stopping. I could hear the girls panting, I realised they weren’t as used to running as I. I realised we would have to stop and set up a base. I turned around to see Harmony bent over, with an arrow through her arm. She had let out a strangled yelp; I heard Hope gasp and was at her side instantly.

“We need to set up camp.” Cloven whispered, I nodded and turned to Hope who was busy nursing Harmony. But there was no cover, I sighed and turned to Cloven

“Let me run the perimeter, I’ll be back soon. Nurse her wound and I’ll find a place to camp.” I explained, so leaving my bag with Cloven as I was carrying the first aid kit and sprinted off in the opposite direction. I didn’t realise how long I had been gone before I noticed a ditch, it was wide, but undercover and hidden by the trees. There was no water in it and it was about eight meters wide and ten meters long. I smiled to myself and sprinted back. It was only a fifteen minute walk. They all thought it was perfect, relived Hope helped me set up our tent. It was small and would only protect one of us, which we decided would be Harmony along with all of our belongings. Grabbing my bedcovers from the school and a small sleeping bag, I picked a small gap beneath the undergrowth and tucked my knees up and rolled onto my right, my most comfortable side. Shutting my eyes I buried my head on my knees and wrapped my bed sheet around my shoulders.


I was woken up by Hope speaking in hushed tones to me. Careful not to raise our voices to much. I nodded and climbed out of my warm little hole in the bed of leaves and grass. I could see they were deliberating whether to start a fire. I decided we wouldn’t, Harmony was asleep in the little tent, our belongings packed behind her. Cloven was curled up besides the gathering of different wood and twigs, which I assume she had collected for a fire. I looked at her frail cold body, Hope turned to me. I nodded and smiled

“You can light a fire, I stand on guard.” I said, Hope sighed with relief to go to receive the rucksack from Gracea’s bag. As I climbed up the ditch and set myself down on a small stump, I thought of Gracea, Hope was determined to hide her body, so she carried her into the woods, so she was peaceful. I turned into my bag and pulled out of my satchel ‘wind in the willows’. I turned the pages of the book, it smelt of rose petals. The pages where still stiff, I waited there for over an hour. Looking back into the ditch bellow me I saw that Hope was curled in her sleeping bag near the crackling fire. I thought of waking her, and then I felt harsh. She needed to rest; I climbed down the ditch and peeked into Harmony’s tent. She was resting, I smiled and checked her wounds, they where sore and bloody, I was tempted to clean them but I decided I would offer when she awoke and then climbed back out onto the ditch. Resting my head on the uncomfortable bark on the tree so I wouldn’t fall asleep, right now my bed back in school seemed more promising.


Dawn came soon enough, the birds woke me with there chirpy singing. I huffed and scrabbled down the side of the ditch, Harmony looked weak and ill, her arm was red and blotchy, her cut was still bleeding through the dirty white bandage, I had to look away.

“Can she travel?” I asked Cloven who was cooking some of the mushrooms over the fire. She shook her head and passed four small ones to me and half a roll. I nodded slightly disappointed and climbed the side of the ditch and sat down on my stump and nibbled at my roll and mushrooms. Cloven had cooked them well, but it didn’t fill me. Taking a small sip of my water, I turned back and looked at Hope who was still nursing Harmony. She had dark circles under her eyes; I turned to Cloven and passed her my bow

“Here. Take the watch.” I said, she nodded and scrambled up the side and sat down on the same stump I had. I turned to Hope

“Rest.” I whispered she nodded and didn’t argue; grabbing her sheet and sleeping bag and curled up in the corner where I had been last night. Harmony was sat on what looked like a stool made out of grass. I looked t her bandages, Hope hadn’t changed them. Grabbing the small first aid kit, I placed it on my lap. Grabbing a small cup and filled it with water, then soaking her bandages into it, I watched her wince, as I inspected it. There was a medicine in Hope’s first aid kit. I took it, painkillers. I nodded and grabbed Harmony’s flask and passed them to her. She nodded and gulped two of them down. Nodding I wrapped the two soaked bandages around her arm and then nodded

“Stay here, okay?” I said quickly. Jumping up I rushed to the tent. It looked squashed; I pulled her sleeping bag out into the daylight. It was chilly but there was a nice sun, re-arranging her bed covers I nodded

“Sleep here. Rest.” I said, she nodded and obliged curling up in her blankets she sighed in relief.


Settling down on my blankets I began to think. What if Harmony didn’t make it? Then we would have lost two girls in two days. I shuddered at the though. I knew Harmony and Gracea had been friends. I wondered how hard it must have been for her, but nothing came. After a couple of hours, I decided I should cook something for us, as Cloven had gone of to pick so berries and was on watch. So rummaging through the bag I found a small amount of cheese and loads of brown bread. Pulling out one piece, I placed it over the dying fire and spread the cheese out so it melted. It looked nice; I had put on three pieces. Grabbing a little tin tray, I placed them out and woke Hope, she looked loads better. The circles where gone. She smiled and nibbled on her cheese and bread. I offered some to Harmony and she took it gleefully. I smiled and nibbled on my still warm bread, it was delightful.


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