The Fall of Us

©Molly Looby CampNaNoWriMo '14 !

Enter the world of Tye. The Fall has devastated much of the world as we know it but Tye knows nothing else. He and his best friend Eeli are ready to leave their home as soon as they reach thirteen years so that they can be off on their own and be who they want to be and do what they want to do. At last.

Tye and Eeli could never have imagined how dangerous the real world was going to be.

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17. 17

While Eeli’s in the bedroom gittin dressed back into her combats an vest top, I stand in front of the mirror in one of Jax’s old teeshirts an my own combat trowsers. I stare back at myself like I did back at Nat’s what musta bin over a week ago now. I was sure my reflection was gonna change between leavin boyhood an becomin a man but I guess I ain’t got there yet. All that’s different is the fadin purple mark around my eye where Roman punched me however many days ago that was. The bruise is the only thing left that shows that we even met them. Well that I suppose an the fact we lost all our stuff.

Eeli takes my arm when she appears behind me an drags me out the front door where Jax is waytin, wearin a hat wiff a big rim.

“What’s wiff the hat?” Eeli asks.

“Don’t want the sun on my face.” He turns round an he’s got dark plastic balancin on his ears an nose.

“What’s that?” I ask.

“These?” He takes the plastic off an blinks in the sun. “Sun glasses.” He hands it to me an I turn it around in my hands. “They keep me from skwintin.”

“Why do you keep talkin like there’s two of em?” Eeli takes the glasses from me an puts em on her own face.

“It’s like trowsers. They’re plural. I dunno why English is what it is.”

I dunno what a plural is but before I can ask Eeli shrieks.

“Oh my God! Tye, try this!” She thrusts the glasses onto my face an everyfin gits dim but I can still see just fine.

“Whoa.” I take em off an put em back on again. “Where do you git these fings?”

“I pick em up on my travells.” Jax is smilin, shakin his head. “I ain’t never seen two people git so excited over a pair of glasses before.”

We set off down a dusty path an it don’t take long before more paths join on an make this one bigger.

“Here we are.” Jax points strate ahead. “See them bushes, that’s the town centre.”

As we git closer, the buildins seem to rise up from the ground an tower over us. I ain’t never seen this many buildins all in a row before. I dint know little villages like this survived The Fall but I guess it makes sense. The cities were destroyed but who’d bother comin out to the country an destroyin little places like this?

There’re different signs above some of the buildins, I guess advertisin shops inside. One has a picture of a spanner drawn on so I guess that means tools inside, another has a teeshirt nailed to a plank of wood above the door that musta meant clothes. Eeli giggles an prods me in the side, pointin at a huge picture of an apple.

I larf too an take her hand. “When we go visit Nat sometime, we gotta tell Apple about this.”

“It can’t just be apples in there. It’s gotta be food, other food. I still don’t want to look at another apple.”

We continue down the street an people watch us, some stoppin mid sentence to stare.

“Why’re they lookin at us?” I look to Jax who is starin strate ahead an powerin forward.

“They ain’t lookin at you, Tye.”

I scan the street again an every eye is on us.

“I fink they are.”

The shops an buildins thin out a bit an we come to a barn wiff cow hide nailed above the door. Jax nocks before pushin open the door. The smell is all over my body at once an Eeli clamps her hand over her mowf. The door at the other end is wide open an I can see the cows grazin in a huge field. There’s hay an little stalls in here that must be fer em to sleep on. There’s a small desk at the front of the barn wiff a shiny silver bell on top. I want nuffin but to press the button an have the sound ring around the room.

“Luce!” Jax calls out to the empty barn. “Luce, you in here?”

A woman pops her head up from around one of the back stalls, holdin a shovel. Her brown hair is tied up high on her head an her mowf is covered wiff a colourful piece of cloth. She comes out from behind the stall, settin the shovel down. She can’t be much talleren me. As she walks towards us she wipes her hands on her apron an pulls the cloth down to reveal a brite smile. She’s the youngest lookin adult I ever seen.

“Hey, stranger. I was wunderin how long till you’d be back.”

“I need some milk. My guests seem to have guzzled it all.”

“I see. An who do we have here?”

“Luce, this is Eeli Star an Tye Wunders.”

“Pleased to meet you.” She gives us each a nod. “What you two doin in Croftford? Finkin of settlin here? If you ask me it’s the perfect distance from Fordon to stay out of all the political nonsense but to still reap the benefits, eh, Jax?”

“You got that rite.”

Eeli shakes her head. “We’re just passin thru. We’re goin to Camrose to find Wren Song.”

Luce screws up her mowf fer a moment. “Wren Song. I’ve heard that name before.”

“She’s a song riter.” Eeli can’t help the grin creepin up her face. “We’re gonna find her an I’m gonna be her new singin star.”

“That’s rite!” She snaps her fingers. “I knew I knew that. Ain’t she movin on again soon? People like that don’t like to sit still.”

“Yeah.” Eeli nods. “But we still got time. We’re off on our way tomorrow.”

“I couldn’t live like that, movin around all the time. I like keepin myself in one place I know well. I’m sure you two would’a fit in just fine. Shame yer not stayin here tho, Jax needs the company.”

Jax huffs. “I’m fine, Luce, really.”

“So what about you, Tye?” Luce is lookin rite at me an I feel a little hot in my face. “Are you a singin star too?”

Eeli snorts a larf. “He wishes.”

I shake my head, fast. “No, no. I ain’t desided yet. I’m just helpin Eeli is all. I’m tryin to figure it out.” I wayte fer her to say somefink about how I should know what I want to do an that I can’t wunder along wiff Eeli all the time an I’ll have to find somefink my own but she don’t.

“I ain’t desided neither.”

“Whaddya mean?”

“Well believe it or not, my dream ain’t cows. That was my dad’s dream an when he died two years back I couldn’t just leave the cows to starve. I fort I’d keep it goin till I set up on my own but I’m still here.”

“We’d be lost wiffout you.” Jax says.

“Oh, you.” Luce larfs an my heart swells at that noise. She ain’t half beautiful. “You two picked the rite man to stay wiff, no matter what people say round here he’s the best man I ever met. He helped me out in my time’a need an I’m still grateful.”

Jax chuckles. “Does that mean I git my milk fer free?”

“You wish. I’ll go an git some fer ya. One moment.”

I can’t help but watch her as she walks away an Eeli punches me on the arm, hard.

“Ow!” I rub where she punched me, tryin to git the feelin back. “What was that fer?”

“Stop droolin. We don’t like it.”

“Whatta you talkin about?”

She rolls her eyes. “Never mind.”

I can hear Jax larfin under his breath an my face goes all hot again.

“An you.” Eeli points at Jax. “What did she mean about what people say round here. What do they say? You ain’t said nuffink about this before.”

“It’s nuffin, Eeli Star, people gossip. Especially in towns like Croftford.”

Eeli puts her hands on her hips. “I dunno.”

“Trust me, if you two were here any longer they’d gossip about you too. Ain’t that rite, Luce?”

Luce returns wiff a plastic jug wiff a blue screw on lid. “People are awful.” She nods. “But they don’t mean no harm. Most’a the time.” She hands Jax the jug.

“What do I owe you?”

“I need a few fings fixin, that’s all.”

“I ain’t Jax Nail anymore, Luce.”

“Come on, yer betteren Asher.”

“Ain’t that the truth.”

Luce hooks Jax arm an leads him thru a side door an up a path. Her cottage is on top of a tiny hill an it has all the flowers that Apple’s had but her’s are more wild an less colourful. The front door’s made of old wood that don’t look like it’ll last another winter.

“You two make yerselves at home.” Luce says as she leads Jax into another room.

I follow Eeli into the kitchen where she leans up against the sink to look out the window. “It’s pretty here isn’t it?”

“Beautiful.” I agree. “I’m gonna live in a town like this.”

She nods. “But I won’t.”

“You’ll do one better. You’ll live in all the towns like this an everyone’ll know yer name.”

“But what about you?”

“Maybe I’m like Jax an I won’t be just one fing.”

“Maybe.” She stares outta the window. “Tye,” she sighs. “Can I tell you somefin?”

“Always, Eeli.” I put my hand on top’a hers an she gives me a tiny smile.

“I ain’t so sure about this.”

“Whaddya mean?”

“My dream. I ain’t sure it’s rite.”

I shake my head. “Yer Eeli Star, you was born to sing. I know it. We’ve always known it. What’s makin you worry?”

“I ain’t worried. I do want that but . . .” She opens her mowf an shuts it again. “I also want this.” She motioned out the window. “I want to live like these people do. They’ve got proper homes an friends who can help em out.”

“I’ll be there wiff you, you won’t have to worry about that.”

“But fer how long, Tye?”

“Fer as long as you need me.”

“No.” She looks at me. “No you won’t cause I’ll always want you there but you’ll find somefink else.”

“I ain’t never found anyfink more important than you. Yer my best friend.”

“But you will find someone or somefink.” She takes a deep breath an turns back to the window. “Who am I kiddin? It’ll be a someone.”

“What makes you say that?”

“Yer all about people, Tye. As soon as you find a beautiful lady you’ll be gone from me.”

“That’s not true. I wouldn’t abandon you, Ee.”

“But I know you will.”

I take my hand offa hers, my heart startin to beat a rithum somefin fierce. “How can you say that? I wouldn’t do that to you. We’ve bin friends since we can remember. We ain’t hardly left each other’s sides. What makes you fink that’s gonna change? Cause it ain’t.”

“Tye.” She spins around so her back is facin the window now. “I ain’t tryin to be rude, I’m tryin to explain to you.”

“If you don’t want me to be a part’a yer dream you only have to say so.”

“No, no.” She steps forward but I step away from her. “I’m not saying that, I’m saying that you’ll find somefin better.”

“Betteren you? You’ve bin good enuff fer me my whole life. That’s not about to change.”

“It is, Tye.” She tucks some hair behind her ear. I ain’t seen her do that since we was ten years. “It’s changin already. We’re growin up an we’re growin apart.”

“No.” I shake my head, feelin tears risin up inside’a me. “You just don’t want me to go wiff you but you want it to be about me an not about you.”

“Tye.” She puts her hand to her heart. “I would never do that.”

“I ain’t so sure. I know you’ve always wanted yer dream more than anyfin. More than me.”

“That ain’t true.” In a moment she’s silent an I wish her voice was too loud all at once.

The kitchen seems to swallow us up an I hear Luce’s larfter comin thru the ceilin. We both look up before findin each other’s eyes.

“Tye, I ain’t tryin to hurt you. I’m tellin you yer gonna git a better offer somewhere along the line. If you travel wiff me you’ll find a girl in one of the towns like this an you’ll stay wiff her.”

All I can do is shake my head.

“If you really fink about it, that’s yer dream ain’t it? To have yer own family?”

I hold my breath to stop tears springin to my eyes.

“You deserve that. Cause yer the best person on this earf an I want you to be happy.”

“But I’ll never abandon you if you don’t want me to.”

“That’s the problem, ain’t it? Yer stuck wiff me.”

“I ain’t stuck wiff you, I want to be here.”

“Fer now.”

“Eeli.” I walk towards her. “It’s alrite you sayin these fings but it mite not happen like that. You ever stop an fink that maybe travellin wiff you is what I want to do?”

“But it won’t be forever.”

I sigh an take her hand. “I ain’t lettin you go. An anyway, where the hell has this all come from. Everyfin was fine.”

She nods. “Everyfin was fine till . . .” She presses her lips together.

“Till?”

“Till I saw you lookin at her an I realised I was kiddin myself.”

“What’re you talkin about?”

“Luce. You couldn’t take yer eyes off her.”

“So? She’s beautiful. I like lookin at her.” The hot in my cheeks is back.

“Essackly. One day you’ll fall in love, Tye. An that scares me.”

I pull her in close an wrap my arms around her. The storm in my heart calms as I feel her familiar shape press up against me. Her arms are around my neck an she’s clingin me like I’m gonna disappear.

“That’s true.” I speak quiet an soft in her ear. “But don’t go worryin yerself about that, stoopid.”

She sniffs.

“Fer that to be a problem, someone would have to love me back.”

I can see out the window from here an I understand all at once why Jax couldn’t look away cause now I can see somefink precious an good all of my own.

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