Shadowfall

It's the year 2013 and Mother Nature has decided that she is tired of the humans mistreating her Earth. She takes all the polution and bad energy and throws it back at the humans. Some humans are not able to take the energy and they die. Some become... different. They change into something else. Some gain powers. Some become dark. Many people take out on their own, but other survivors ban together. A small group of survivors ban together in an attempt to fix the Earth. Can they fix this Hell they have been brought into...?

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12. Chapter Eleven: Misunderstood

I stood there still fuming as my sister and Damien disappeared. I felt so powerful. I knew the voice of a Mother had shone through, and I was terrified. I didn’t want to be the net Mother. I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t handle it. I may have been the better with the work, but if I was put under the pressure I would falter. I couldn’t do it, not alone. Not to mention how broken and bruised I felt. Vaann was going to make the bond. But I couldn’t let him. Not knowing where all of this would go in the end. I couldn’t trap him in my future. He deserved better than me. He deserved someone strong.

                Someone like Lina.

                But what hurt worse is that they all left me here. Riley and Marissa had split up again, leaving Vaann, Lyllina and Dark. And they were leaving. Lina didn’t look like she wanted to but then again she also didn’t want to go against Vaann. And he just didn’t care. I stared, trying to keep the tears from my eyes as I lost it all. Lost my friends and family.

                Vaann was staring at me as if I was a disease. Like I didn’t belong. “If we see her again, kill her without a thought.” And with that, he turned and walked south. Lina gave me an apologetic smiles before turning to follow after him. Dark just stared emotionlessly over his shoulder at me as he walked.

                I felt my legs give out under me as they took my heart with them. I sat there staring down at my hands as the tears ran down my face. I was alone again. I heard someone walk over and sit down and my first thought was Marissa. I felt the tears sting in the back of my throat as I looked over hopefully, only to find Anisa.

                “I-I told you to leave.” I said wiping the tears away. “You ruined everything!”

                “Hey, calm down. I’m here to be affectionate!” She protested.

                I laughed in disgust. “Yeah, right.”

                “I am! I’m your sister, I have to be… So, tell me all about your problems.” She said in a singsong voice.

                “No, I hate you.” I responded quickly. Why didn’t she just get the hint? With some of my memories gone, I get the feeling that I didn’t hate her. That we’d been so close before. But even if that were true, I couldn’t do that now. I just couldn’t…

                “Harsh…” She sighed, flipping her hair over her shoulder.

                “Hear her out, Kate.” A voice said from behind me. I turned to see Zack leaning against a tree, looking so much like his brother, I wanted to scream. “And if there’s a fight, well, I still owe you for clawing me out of the air.”

                “Oh my god, they’re following me. I must be insane! He was right!” I said in agony.

                “You’re not insane!” Anisa told me with a giggle, but her smirk told me otherwise.

                “Not at all, I just want to get back at Vaann.” Zack said rolling his eyes.

                I brought my knees to my chest with a frown. “Well, do you see him here?”

                “Aw, honey.” Anisa said scooting toward me to wrap a hand around my shoulder nurturingly. It only made me feel uncomfortable. “Boys suck.”

                “You’re a terrible sister,” I said pushing away from her. “Go away!”

                “I’m only here to help you, honey.” She said dropping her arm but still staying close.

                “No, you don’t. You just want me to join you, and I won’t.” I corrected her.

                “I just want to beat the hell out of something!” Zack cut in to break the silence that followed.

                I pointed quickly at Anisa, not hiding the smile that crept onto my face. “Feel free. And don’t hold back, either.”

                “What! Meanie sister!” Anisa squealed.

                “I tried and ended up getting my hand stuck in a tree for an hour.” Zack informed me with a light pout.

                “Damn,” I said looking away. I tried to avoid his eyes. They were too much like Vaann’s.

                Anisa giggled. “Could you talk to me now? Maybe Zacky can help.” She said gesturing him over. Zack began to walk closer, his hands folded behind his back.

                “Stop,” I growled. I heard Zack’s feet come to a halt.

                “Stop what?” Anisa asked.

                “Stop acting like you care!”

                “But I do! If I didn’t, would I be here trying to comfort your damn heart-break?” Anisa snapped back angrily. I sighed, shaking my head and looked back up at her in wait. Might as well just get it over with. “Okay, so you’re having boy problems, right?”

                “What? If you’re talking about Damien, you can just smack yourself now!” I said cringing.

                “Nope, not him!” She said in another singsong tone.

                Zack grinned down at me, “Vaann?”

                I looked down feeling the blush rise in my cheeks. “N-no, of course n-not!” I smacked myself internally for the sudden fluster that overtook me.

                Anisa clapped her hands giggling. “Oh, goodie! Blue Eyes! Good job, Zacky!”

                Zack bowed a bit to her, showing respect. Ew. “If he cared, would you be sitting here with us?” Zack asked suddenly. “My brother’s just a jackass. Get over him.” He said looking down at me. His face held an expression that said I-care-but-I’m-not-going-to-show-it.

                “I was never-and I know he is and-!”

                “Boys are selfish,” Anisa held up her hand while I was talking to silence my blabbing.

                “Okay, two things. One, I’m not selfish! Two, if you never and you know-why are you talking like that? If you never liked him, you wouldn’t lose your cool.” Zack said, raising his eyebrows.

                “Shut up!” I said my cheeks heating up even more. “I don’t!”

                “She does!” Anisa said clapping more.

                “No!”

                “She likes him!”

                “Lalala, I can’t hear you!” I said covering my ears childishly.

                “Just forget him.” Zack said watching us.

                I sighed letting my hands drop. “I can’t.” I admitted.

                “Cause she likes him!” Anisa giggled. I just looked down quietly.

                “Do it, it’s for your own good. He’s annoying, god dammit.” Zack snapped suddenly.

                I growled and pushed off the ground, standing with my hands on my hips, ignoring my sister as I stared dead on at Zack. “I already know what you’re trying to do, so just stop. I’m not going back to the Mother. I already know he doesn’t like me that way, that I’m annoying to him and he just wants my information. But my friends are back there! Lina, Rissa, and Riley!”

                “You will betray your family for three people that are going to die?” He challenged. Then he thought for a second and added, “Lina? The girl he chooses over you?”

                “Those people are my family and he can choose whoever he wants.” I said keeping my voice strong, though I was breaking apart inside. “If he’s happy then so be it! But that doesn’t mean I’m letting go of my friends!”

                He got up close, his toes up against mine. Even though he was clearly younger, he towered over me easily. “If he sees you, he will assume you’re working for the Mother and shoot you on sight. Figure out the smarter option before acting.” He turned his back walking off toward the forest. He stopped mid-stride to turn back to us. He winked in my direction, causing me to blush and growl at the same time. “Ladies,” he said as he walked off into the forest, leaving me alone with my sister.

                Ah, hell…

 

I was walking off, thinking of my options. I’d slept hoping Anisa would leave. With no luck, of course. She was there greeting me happily as if none of this had even happened. Sometimes, I wish that I could trust her. But I couldn’t…

                “Could you please stop following me?” I begged.

                “Uh, no!” She said with a smile.

                “I don’t like you, leave me alone!” I said for the billionth time.

                I felt a warm hand wrap around mine and pull me around to walk away. “Come on, Kate.” I looked up to see Zack smiling at me.

                Anisa giggled, skipping beside us. “Yay!”

                “Hey!” I said pulling my hand away as I blushed and crossed my arms stubbornly. “I have to find my friends!”

                “Well, you’re going in the wrong direction, smart one…” He said impatiently.

                I just mumbled to myself looking away. Anisa laughed again. “Silly sister.” Then she skipped ahead of us, spinning herself in a small circle. “I see why you don’t want to come home. Having freedom is nice.”

                “That’s not why, but okay.” I said smiling a bit as I watched her.

                “Why do you hate Damien so much?” Anisa wondered.

                “Because.”

                “Because isn’t an answer!”

                “Because he thinks he owns me like-like some new car or something!” I said throwing my hands up in exasperation.

                “Well, at least you’re something of value,” she said with a shrug.

                “Shut up,” I said rolling my eyes.

                “She’s right,” Zack cut in.            

`               “I’m always right.” She sighed with a smile.

                “Is there any reason you two are following me?” I growled.

                “You almost got lost once, wouldn’t you like,” he held out his hand in front of me. I studied it for a second as it slowly began to morph into a compass. “A navigator?” He asked with a wry smile.

                “You are so much like your brother,” I said with a light laugh. “It’s actually kind of weird…”

                “And I’m like you!” Anisa smiled.

                I elbowed her lightly, but not enough to actually hurt her. “No, you’re not.”

                “That’s an insult, honey.” Zack said looking down at me with a frown.

                “How? And stop calling me honey. I’m older than you.”

                “So, age is but a number, honey. People need to stop judging us by it. Plus, he’s a jackass to everyone but those he likes.”

                “That’s how I am too if you haven’t noticed, sweetie.” I said adding a sneer on the last part.

                “You don’t like me?” Anisa asked baffled. I just sighed and shook my head.

                “Ah, tough love, honey. Or would you rather me call you sie hundin?”

                I looked up at him confused. “What the hell does that mean?”

                “Feminine version of hund… Dog.” He said meeting my eyes. “Get it, honey?”

                “You’re calling me a dog?” I asked furrowing my eyebrows in confusion.

                Anisa sighed and leaned over to whisper in my ear. “Kate, he’s calling you a female dog. Or, in other words, a bitch.”

                “You’re calling me a bitch?!” I shouted at him.

                “Uh oh.” Anisa giggled.

                He smiled down at me then, making my breath catch in my throat. “I prefer honey, don’t you?”

                “I prefer neither!”

                “Do I get a nickname?” Anisa said raising her hand.

                Zack looked over at her. “Who are you, anyway?” His voice had left all shred of softness he used with me, turning it into a voice so filled with venom that my skin crawled.

                “I’m her sister! Can’t you see it?” She said pulling me closer.

                “I’ve said it once and I will keep saying it. I. Hate. You.”

                “My brother called you…Blue ghost and Casper, right? I believe he called you hundin under his breath, too.”

                I shoved Anisa away as she dropped her jaw. “Well, you people!” She said crossing her arms with a loud hmph!

                Zack’s eyes and voice turned soft again as he looked down at me. “If we meet them and they attack… I’ll help you.”

                “Why would you help me?” I asked in shock. “Last time I saw you, I tried to kill you.” I saw Anisa watching us quietly. That shocked me a bit too.

                “Well, that wasn’t your fault. That was just one big problem on my part. I could have handled it differently and maybe Amy wouldn’t be dead… Vaann… he would have saved her. She was a vision seer just like you. Only hers were unchangeable. We tried to change them… but that’s a good thing! She saw the world green! And us rebuilding our village! With other survivors, but one thing wasn’t there…”

                “What?” I asked curiously.

                “Vaann,” he said. His words echoed in my head for a minute and my heart almost stopped.

                “W-well, maybe he was somewhere else!” I said shaking my head in an attempt to clear my thoughts.

                “I highly doubt he would leave the rebuilding of his home to others… and we saw Lyllina… at his grave. He most likely gave his life to make sure those he cared about could see the world he loved.”

                I felt like I was going to break down into tears, but pushed them away. “I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess… I had many visions of his death, but they kept changing. They always keep changing…”

                He looked like he didn’t hear me. “That’s how he is. Regards everyone else above himself.”

                I sighed and looked down. “What’s going to happen to the Mother when this ends?”

                “I don’t know. Amy didn’t see that before she died. If she was still here, this may all be over right now.”

                I saw Anisa jump and her eyes widened. “Whoa! Speaking of the Mother! See ya!” And with that, she disappeared. I let a sigh of relief leave my lips.

                I looked up at Zack sadly. “I’m really sorry about your sister. Not mine though. I’m happy mine is finally gone.”

                He looked down and smiled at me with sad eyes. “It’s fine…”

                I felt the need to wrap my arms around him and comfort him, but kept myself in place. Instead, I just pat his shoulder. “It’s okay to miss people. To be sad.”

                “I said it’s fine.” He said in a hard voice.

                I looked down. “Alright…sorry. Just thought I could help.” I said shrugging lightly.

                He just smiled down at me before pulling me to a stop. “You don’t need to do this, you know. He could shoot you.”

                “It’s a chance I have to take. They’re all my family. I hate to admit it, but even Vaann is part of that family. They’re all a big part of my life. Each one holds an essential piece. I need to know they make it passed my Mother.” I said staring up at him, speaking straight from my heart. I turned away and began walking again, staring down at the ground.

                “I hope you’re right about the vision, Kate. It would be a great loss.”

                “Oh, yeah…. We can’t let anyone die.” I said frowning down at her hands. “They probably all hate me now.” I let my hair fall in my face so he couldn’t see my tears finally spilling over.

                “I don’t know, Vaann might act all bad, but he cares about his friends more than anyone else. He was sent out on a mission once with a friend from a neighboring village because a huge bear became crazed. He lost his friend because he saved him. Vaann still blames himself for being weak. That’s why he made it so he never missed again.”

                “Well, that’s good. Not about his friend dying,” I added quickly. “I mean, about him learning to be better for his sake.”

                Zack nodded and then added. “Moral of the story, he will forgive you.”

                I smiled a bit. “Good… So, why are you helping me anyway? I thought you said your brother was a jackass…”

                “He is, but we share a goal now.”

                “Does that mean you’re going to use my brain too?” I said crossing my arms as I looked up at him, then quickly down to glower at the ground.

                “Like I said,” he said ignoring my question. “He acts all badass, but he doesn’t mean a lot of it. He values you as a person. And justice.”

                “I was asking about you, not him.”

                “He’s close.” Zack said snapping his head up and away from my gaze. His hands turned into shields as he paused for a second. “Stay behind me.”

                I hesitantly backed up behind him. “What if you get hurt?”

                He smiled at me over his shoulder. “Then I get hurt. I’m not as vital a part in this journey as you are.”

                I shook my head. “You’re important too!” I pushed his hands, or shields, down looking into his eyes. “Leave it. If they shoot me, they shoot me. We’ll find out if they really trust and care.” I sighed and turned back to walk again.

                “Here goes nothing,” Zack said as the shields turned back into hands and took my hand in his. We both stepped carefully into the clearing.

                “You guys aren’t going to hurt Kate are you?” I heard Rissa say.

                “She’s not one of us anymore!” Vaann said looking over to Rissa. His eyes came to Zack and me as he aimed at us. “Why, Zack? Taking hand-me-downs?”

                “Calm down, Vaann. It’s just a misunderstanding. Shoot her and then it can be a fight.” Zack said squeezing my hand.

                “How do you know that? What if you didn’t understand her correctly?” Rissa said more to herself then Vaann. Then she looked over at me and smiled. She ran toward me and tackled me in a hug. I dropped Zack’s hand, feeling the tears roll down my face again. “Kate!”

                “Rissa!” I almost sobbed.

                “Look who’s all mature all of a sudden, traitor!” Vaann shouted. I looked over Rissa’s shoulder watching them carefully. I would jump between them if Vaann shot at Zack. I wouldn’t let Zack die. I owed him my life… “Why did you bring her to us?”

                “Because she needs you and you all need her. It was a misunderstanding. She is not on our side. She belongs with you.” Zack said standing his ground.

                “Why are you in trouble? It was a misunderstanding, right?” Rissa asked looking at me. My eyes didn’t leave Vaann’s as he aimed at me.

                “Yes, it was a misunderstanding.” I spoke slowly and carefully, speaking each word individually.

                Vaann sighed and lowered his bow with a smile. “Get over here, Blondie. We missed you.”

                I smiled and laughed through my tears, running over to hug Lina and Riley. I pulled away and looked over at Vaann who rolled his eyes and held his arms open. I ran over and hugged him tight. “I missed you guys too.” I whispered. He hugged me back for a second before loosening his arms and we both stepped back.

                “As for you, Zack…” Vaann said taking his eyes from me to glare at his brother.

                I jumped in front of Vaann putting my hands on his chest to push him. “No! Don’t hurt him!”

                Zack turned away with a sad smile. “I know, and I don’t expect to travel with you. I cost us our sister.”

                “I wouldn’t shoot him, Kate.” He said looking down at me and then at my hands and back to my face. “But he’s still not with us. Even if he did bring you back.”

                I dropped my arms and stepped away, walking back to Zack. “If he isn’t traveling with us, then neither am I. I’m sorry.”

                “He helped Kate. Doesn’t that earn him some trust?” Rissa asked in his defense.

                I felt Zack’s hands push me lightly back toward Vaann and the others. I looked back at him with a question mark face. “They need you,” he said shaking his head. He pulled up his sleeve to reveal a tattoo design that I recognized easily. A dark shadowed circle, obviously meant to be the earth, sat just between his elbow and wrist. Black vines swirled up from encircling his wrist, small leaves sprouting occasionally, to wrap around the earth and swirl up at the top to expand outward in a way that was welcoming. It was the tattoo that allied you with the Mother. “I’ve chosen my path.”

                “But… you said…” I frowned and looked back toward Vaann and my friends.

                “He’s right, Kate. They will kill him if he’s with us.”

                Zack put his hands on my shoulder, making me look into his eyes. “And I meant it all, one day; maybe I will be with you all.”

                I frowned more, my cheek bones actually starting to hurt. “Don’t go. They’ll kill me too. There’s no difference. And I’ve chosen my path.” I smiled back at my friends and then back at him. “Things change, remember? People can change.”

                “I still have my own goals to fulfill. And to do that, I must be on their side.” He turned to start to walk away but stopped and turned to look at me with a smile. Then he looked to his brother and his smile disappeared. “Vaann, quit being a jackass to her.”

                “Shut up, you stupid….kid!” Vaann said confused.

                I slapped Vaann’s shoulder. “He’s not a kid!” Then I turned to watch Zack leave.

                I felt Rissa wrap her arms around me and turned to hug her back tightly with a laugh. “Thanks for not killing me, guys.”

                “I would never let them kill you, Kate.” Rissa said laughing along.

                Vaann rustled my hair. “Yeah yeah, we can’t kill our vision girl, happy family, let’s go.” He said as he placed his arrow back and hung his bow over his shoulder. I followed after him sadly.

                “I’m sure we will run into Zack again, Kate.” Rissa smiled at me sensing my sadness.

                “Heh, yeah…” I said looking down.

                “Yeah,” Zack agreed.

                “He misses you, ya know. Even if you are a jackass.” I said looking over at Vaann.

                “I know.” He said simply.

                “So, why did you let him go? You guys both want the same thing. Why not work together to gain it? Two minds are better than one.”

                “I would have let him stay, actually. I never told him to leave. He did it out of his own will.”

                “You should have talked him into staying. Used your brotherly charm or whatever you want to call it.” I said staring up at him.

                Vaann stopped as we reached the side of the forest, his eyes widening. “Whoa…”

                I turned my attention to what was standing before us. We were standing at the edge of a depression, a small town sitting beneath us. It was ruined and deserted, rubble and all. The sky was dark as usual, though it was getting closer to evening when the sun would still be high in the sky. I looked around more, trying to figure out whether we should go around or straight through. I looked to Vaann as he studied the roadways that lead out of it on all four sides. It registered in my mind as something that used to be called a highway.

                “Whoa is right.” I said staring back out.

                “Hey, Lina… no more jumping in trees….” Vaann said quietly, but still loud enough for her to hear. She nodded in reply as we watched him jump over the edge and slide down the side of the depression.

                “Is there any other way in? Cause I’m not doing that.” I said pointing down at my skirt.

                He chuckled darkly. “You can look, just don’t get lost.”

                “Anyone want to join me?” I asked.

                “I will,” Riley said coming to my side.

                “Me too.” Marissa said joining us.

                “Be careful!” I called to Vaann and Lina as I led them away.

                “You too!” Vaann called back.

                I sighed as we walked for a good ten minutes around the perimeter of the depression. “This is so dumb. He should have talked him into staying.” I peeked over the edge before moving on.

                I saw Riley and Rissa share a small look. “Yeah, he should have. But I’m sure we will see him again sooner or later.” Rissa sighed too.

                “Agreed.” Riley said. I looked at her curiously. She was being quieter and less Riley than usual.

                I smiled a bit to myself. “I hope so.” I looked down again after a while to see some rocks along the side of the depression, almost resembling some steps. “Aha! Called it!” I jumped down onto the rock and stopped throwing my hands out to catch my balance. I swayed for a second before becoming still. I smiled to myself. I didn’t wait to see if they followed me. I knew they would. I looked down as I reached the bottom. “Hmm…” Rissa stopped behind me and looked around curiously.

                “Crap,” I said placing my hands on my hips as I looked around. “He said not to get lost.”

                “I don’t think we are lost. Are we?” Rissa asked nervously.

                “Oh no…” Riley sighed.

                “I have no idea where we are, so if that isn’t lost then…. What are we?” I asked with a laugh as I started to walk the perimeter back toward where we had started. Stick to that and we would end up where Vaann had slid down.

                “On an adventure?” Riley asked with a light laugh as she took my hand and followed next to me.

                “I hope so.” I said bringing my hands to my head. Maybe I could make myself have a vision. When it didn’t work, I dropped my arms. “Ugh.”

                “You alright?” Marissa asked concerned.

                “Yeah, I was hoping I could make myself have a vision but it didn’t work. Guess we have to do it the old fashioned way.” I took a deep breath to yell but stopped myself. “Or maybe not. I don’t want to attract any attention.”

                “Well, let’s retrace our steps back.” She turned to start walking back and stopped. “Um…hmm…”

                “Yeah, we’re screwed and I’m an idiot!” I laughed.

                We looked up to see a bright orange-ish red arrow flying up into the air. It had obviously come from Vaann.

                “Whoa, what’s that?” Riley and Rissa said in unison.

                “Well, by my guess, I think we need to be in a that way direction.” I said pointing at the burning arrow.

                “Probably.” Marissa said walking in the direction. Riley and I caught up and walked beside her.

                “This is a mess…” I sighed.

                “Yeah, it is…” Riley sighed too.

                We walked and walked as fast as we could in the direction Vaann had shot the arrow in.

              

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