Crafting The Wind

"I heard the voices, muttering and whispering, then one spoke out, as if the leader, and the others fell silent. I looked, but unseeingly, into the darkness. I held my sword out in front of me, but unsure of the protection in would give, and if I even needed protection..."
May is a fifteen year old girl, living her life in River Fie Region. Her life couldn't be rated as terrible, but it doesn't sit high on the scale as fantastic, and things aren't easy - her Father dead, two younger sisters and a mother falling ill but refuses to admit it. Matters grow worse when a new Governor is elected, and not of the choice of herself. And what of the strange voices and seven bue finger prints? Has May entered a fairy-story or a war zone or is she stepping into an adventure?
~For the Sony Young Movellist Of The Year Competition~
© 2013 by Beth Morrow all rights reserved


2. Chapter 2


The marble rolls further along the crack in the floor, the only noise in the cold silence of the room. I watch as it crawls steadily along the straight course in the ancient wood. Taking in a deep breath, I turn back to the deadly sheet of paper before me, seeing it's mocking grin. The noise of pencils scratching answers fly across the room, bouncing in reply as they hit the walls.

My own hand shakes, sending vibrations along the paper, the questions blurring before my face. I start to sweat, repeating the questions over and over until they become one meaningless puddle.

Panicking, I look up, trying to calm my nerves. The teacher stands at the front of the room, his eyes scanning each row, apparently making sure we're not copying, which is impossible, considering our desks are about five feet apart. I feel like a prisoner, trying to answer these questions, and the guard my own determined Mother, hoping I will get high marks.


The bell rings, the sound resounding through the building. I drop the pencil, my hand in so much relief that I may stop tormenting myself going over my answers again and again.

Rushing out of the room, along with the swarms of other students, I try to find Ritumas in the whole mess, looking for his tall figure. Confused that I can't see him, I guess he must have gotten out of one of the Test rooms further down the corridor.

I step out into the cold air, brisk and icy, the fingers of winter already making their prints. Looking round I continue to search for Ritumas, expecting to see my friend at any moment, and I do. He makes his way towards me, shoving against the other kids, who all carry with them in the same moment a sense of relief, but also worry over the next test happening in two hours.

"May," Ritumas says, my name bouncing off the crowd, as he eventually joins me in the war to try to avoid colliding with the steady stream of people.

"Do you think we should head home?" I ask, and am answered by an instant "Yes."


The air is peppered with tension as we drift further from the River Fie Academy and come closer to Smoke Park; a name that fits the forever blackened, smoking swings and slides. In packs, as young kids, about five of us would sneak out here at midnight, scaring ourselves silly with ghost stories. I would leave, expecting frozen fingers to reach out and take me back into the blackening smoke, strangling me into an underworld.

Nothing of the sort had ever happened, but the place still gives me shivers, and Ritumas knows that it does.

My heart jumps slightly, my mind playing images, wishing I had taken a different route home with Ritumas. We walk through the park, sunlight altogether disappearing as the black smoke slowly engulfs us. I reach out, looking for Ritumas's hand, but can't find it, and start fumbling around, but not wanting to cry out and seem scared.

A scream attacks the very air, joined by my own as Ritumas's cold fingers grab my shoulders. Jumping away from him, I feel immediately angry and embarrassed. He laughs, but his face looks deathly and his friendly laughter echoes.

"Lets go," I say, glaring at Ritumas and ignoring his sniggering as we trudge out of Smoke Park.

I make a mental note never to come here again.


"So how was the first day of the test?" Mum asks me as her knife slices through vegetables.

"Fine." I say, the same answer I have given for every question she has asked since I first walked through the door. I look out of the window, pressing my nose against it and breathing, quickly steaming it up. As the steam fades so does the sun, until only it's faint rays can be seen over the top of the tall apartments.

About an hour then I can go and hunt, my heart leaps with the excitement as I think of it. I think, it's somehow one of the ways I 'escape'.

"Dinner!" yells Mum, her voice crashing into my thoughts. I turn from the window to help her dish out the stew.

Lelo comes bouncing through, talking non-stop about something, which I have learnt to tune out. Her body comes and knocks against my knees. I look down to see my three year old sister, looking up at me, wearing her slightly tatty green dress.

"Talk to you in a minute," I say, before asking her to sit down.

I spoon the stew out onto four plates, laying a jug of watery orange juice out after placing four clay mugs on the table, each of them left waiting to contain the liquid.

We all sit, Lelo on her knees in her chair, and Mum facing me. But the seat to my right is empty, steam rising from the plate.

I sigh, before yelling "Tella!"

My other younger sister comes through, banging the door as she does so and mumbling about how she heard us the first time, before plonking herself down in the creaky, wooden chair beside me. Lelo rolls her eyes, then giggles at her attitude before picking up a fork and stabbing a piece of the soft meat. We all copy her, lifting our bent, worn forks off of the stained table cloth.

Silence consumes the table as we eat, all that can be heard is the faint clatter of forks stabbing meat and the sound of the clock ticking rhythmically in the background. I stare at it's face, the glass cracked in the corner from the time Tella and I had a fight, slamming the door so hard the clock fell to the floor, cracking along the edge. Now the number nine can't be seen from the splintered glass.

At the time it seemed rather ironic, Tella was nine. That was four years ago, and now she continuously reminds me that she'll be a teenager soon.

I watch my family eating, Lelo grabbing her fork in her fist and Tella, slightly moodily, stabbing the meat but playing with it before she actual tastes it. And my Mother, looking worn out, red bags under her eyes and more wrinkles leaving lines across her once younger face. I feel a pang of slight worry that I can't give them everything they need. I somehow feel it's my responsibility.

I always have.

And watching my Mother slip away, falling into the trap this place holds, I feel panic rising in my chest. Ritumas too is deepening into gloom, although he swears he's not, I can see it in his eyes. The grey lines, like my Mother's grey hair, are criss crossing his vision.

And I will do everything in my power to stop them.



A huge bang erupts around me, and a smile spreads across my face. The two birds fall like cannonballs, dashing to the ground, any flutter of life has exited their body. I quietly head for where I guess they fell, but this is the one part I struggle with. I envy those hunters with dogs, but there is only one man in the whole of this Region with a dog. And, surprise, surprise, it's the butcher. The jolly, round butcher with five sons. I can't complain much, their dog is growing old. Like almost everyone, the golden retriever has accumulated grey hairs, except his all gather in bundles around his nose.

After searching for the two birds – two birds – and finding them to no avail, I can't help but throw curses into the midnight air. The sun is gone, the wind is howling and the scene is set for a horror movie... and I killed two birds with one stone. Or one bullet. I couldn't have hoped for a better shot, and now I can't even find the feathered beasts.

I sink to the ground in frustration, chucking my gun to the forest floor, where it lies in a bed of wizened leaves.

A strange sound fills the air, an unbelievable howl. I look up, disbelieving of what I heard. Again the sound hits me hard in the face, and I quickly grab my gun, scuttling to my feet. With luck, I could have a feast laid for tomorrow.

I turn and run in the direction of the sound, the wind blowing me backwards. I try to be as silent as possible, freezing when, for a third time, the howl cracks the eerie silence of the forest.

I hardly stop to think as I head for this beast, wolf howls are as rare as can be imagined. The last time I heard one was on a hunt with my Father, but we only saw a flash of grey and the beast was gone. Hunters believe that wolves bring with them trouble, adventure and the walk to your dreams.

Half believe wolves are the death of all good, but I know their howls bring shivers of excitement down my spine. Just finding them is an adventure.

I can hear breathing now, likely the wolf. I bite my lip and poke my head round the scratchy bark. Illuminated by the half moon, a creature lies on the ground. I gasp by his elegance, spread-eagled out beside a thorny bush. He looks up, eyes blazing. I take in a deep breath, expecting him to move, to fight, to attack. But nothing. He groans, then rolls over and a deep sigh sees to echo from his body.

How can I have the heart to kill this creature? I stare at him for so long, hardly twitching.

A shot tips me backwards and I look up from my place on the ground, to see a person leaning over the now dead wolf. The bullet lies implanted in the back of the beasts neck.

The man stares at the dead creature, almost admiring his handiwork.

“Do you have a knife?”

I freeze in horror. Is this man talking to me? The questions throbs in my head until I think I must have imagined him speaking.

“I asked if you had a knife,” this time it's not a question, but a statement. He turns to look at me, a hood over his head, just covering his eyes. His nose points out from beneath the long shadow his navy-blue hood casts and I see something glint – a nose piercing. His mouth is wide-set and I can see another piercing popping up beneath his bottom lip.

I haven't answered his question, I feel so uncomfortable sitting on the ground, rain water seeping up through my trousers. I gather myself to my feet, wanting to regain some strong composure.

“Are you going to give me a knife or not?”

I look at him, feeling a bit shaken.

“Why'd you want a knife?” I ask, trying to keep my voice steady.

“To skin the wolf,” he says, and I can just feel him rolling his eyes. I feel a bit embarrassed but straighten up, drawing together a sentence.

“That wolf is mine, I was gonna shoot him,” I say, feeling as if the wolf was mine.

“You were gonna shoot him, huh? Why'd you stand there for so long. You know, if you hesitate, you've missed your chance – hunter's rules.”

“Well you obviously were waiting too, you said you were watching me,” my retort hits him back.

I hear him grunt, and he leans over the beast, collecting it's limp limbs and stuffing it into a huge sack. He starts heading towards me, his huge figure towers above me. I stare up at him, his strangely cold breath hitting my face and the smell of fish mingled with it. I still can't see his eyes, and it scares me more than his towering figure, I don't even feel that threatened.

“Come with me,” his words are almost whispered.

“Come with you?”


His now resounds through the treetops and I shiver at the cold, simple, word.

“Why?” I ask, everything piling on top of me, feelings and emotions threatening to steal my very breath.

“If you come I'll explain.”

I can go with him. I can't. He could be a kidnapper, some freak, some slave dealer. His piercings could be warnings. But then Ritumas has piercings, and he's no kidnapper – a thief maybe, but not a kidnapper.

I can't go with him.

Scared are you?” he laughs lightly, interrupting my thoughts.

No,” I spit back.

Then come.”

I can't go with him. I really can't.

But why can't I?

He'll kill you. Why'd he even want you?

Maybe he'd seen my hunting. Maybe he wanted my help. Maybe there's some rebellion against the Government, and he'd heard me speaking badly against them.

But he might kill me.

I take in a deep breath, and turn to him, staring at his nose with the glimmering bull-like ring.

“I'm coming,” I say.


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