Not my battered face, nor my broken ribs, or bloody feet or how naked I felt under the hot night could compare to the cold I felt. My legs shook under my weight and rock after rock, and root after root seemed to hold me down from getting to my freedom. Who knew even the earth could be cruel.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
The rustling behind me grew along with my heart beat.
"There she is! Get her!!"
No... Please just let go.
A rush of gratitude hit me as the cool river banks slushed between my toes. Ignorant to the depth and blind to the strength if the current I submerged myself into the waters with hopes of them loosing me. I felt my body being pulled down stream with the current, struggling to keep my head above water. I soon forgot which way was up and the feeling of blood to my limbs lessened. The voices were muffled above the surface of the water, along with my thoughts.
The breeze of cool air and the beam of hot sun awoke me. A familiar and steady beat of water rocked against my legs. I knew by now never to move or open your eyes until you knew as much about yourself and your surrounds as possible. I took in small breaths, and I could smell the sharp, burning smell of gasoline, and hear the water and machinery cranking close by.
Oil factory? No people around? Do I get up... No just open your eyes.
I bright white light ripped across my vision, momentarily blinded. My eyes adjusted, I was enveloped in a large field of lifeless golden grass I saw the factory fences across the field with smoke from pillars dancing into the clouds. Alone. In a field. I went to lift my body pain shot through my head and spine and legs, my vision blurred as I saw my bear skin caked with blood and dirt. Bruises flowered across my skin, I couldn't see but I could feel my crackled lips splitting and bleeding each time I attempted to move my mouth. I tried to breath but my throat only croaked out air until I felt my lungs buckle under the forced attempt to breathe. I stood, slowly and surely assessing each wounds across my body. I fingered my hair now black with dirt and plastered to my back with blood and mud. I walked. With each step I reopened a wound on my foot. I blocked out as much as the pain as I could and went through a mental list of what I needed. Clothes, water, shelter. That sounds good.
"Hey! You! What in the hell are you doing out here?" A man's voice called out behind me. My body automatically dropped to my hands and knees. I glanced up, my heart nearly ripping through my naked chest, he was closing the distance between us slowly approaching a hunting rifle clack against his back, the necks of to geese in his large fist. His brown hair was freckled with gray and his eyes glistened with warmth as he stepped towards me as if I was a wounded animal. He was to feet away now reaching his hand out, then he pulled back. I realized I had shrunk into myself a little at his outstretched hand.
"You need some clothing miss, and a hospital."
My eyes darted around me when he began to remove his hunting jacket and drape it across my body.
"Can ya stand?"
"Can ya speak English?" He raised a bushy eyebrow, I noticed he had a mole at the bottom corner of his eye.
I paused, then nodded.
"Can I take ya some place safe? Do ya have a home? Someplace warm?"
I stood to my full height clutching the edges of the jacket. Only stoping at 5'3", I saw this man was big and I didn't want to oppose him and he was offering me help. I nodded and took a step forward but collapsed onto my knees, his hands grabbed me; I didn't hear his voice yelling out but I saw his mouth moving as my vision blurred, then blackness surrounded me.
My head was ringing, my body immobile, I let consciousness come to me gracefully. I was lying in a bed, a warm one, and I was clothed I smelled cedar and rain. I took a few deep breaths of the clean air, I listened closely to my surroundings. Pots clattered and every few minuets I heard light footsteps on the floor just outside the door, next I heard breathing, that wasn't my own, within the room. My eyes were still closed, yet my senses were fully open. The end of the bed shifted on the pressure of a person. The felt the bedding continue to move as their body moved farther up the bed. I held my breathe and I felt them stop moving inches above my face and breathing on my cheek. Then the body moved, their footsteps leaped across the room, the door opened. A decibel loud enough to travel across the room, they spoke "sorry." The door quietly shut behind them.
I finally opened my eyes after what seemed like an eternity. I lifted my body off the bed there were gauze wrapped around my chest, I lifted the sheets and saw my leg was bandaged. Someone had mended my wounds. I grinned to myself, at the blissful numbness, then pain had all subsided... For now.
The door swung open and a woman with bright brown eyes and a face heavily freckled. She carried a tray with a bowl filled with hot contents and with a cup of what looked like prescription meds.
"Look who's up!" She sat the tray on the nightstand, and plopped herself on the bed, "the colors come back to your skin! Your not throwing up like before that's better!" Her smile was blinding and and her voice was riddled with the sound of the care of a mother.
I stared at her blankly, I didn't know her face but a knew her voice.
"Oh! I'm sorry you can call me Cally."
I nodded. She stood and took a towel from the drawer, she left the room for a momenta bad came back with the rag wet, and slightly steaming. She sat back on the bed. "Here sweetie, I'm gonna ask a few things about you and then I'll place the warm wash cloth on your head"
I nodded, slowly.
"Ok great, your throat probably hurts so these questions will only be yes or no" she smiled.
I nodded in response lying on the bed with the towel warming my head.
"Do you have a name?"
I paused, and shook my head. Wait... What had they called me?...Kai... For my blue eyes and black hair... Like the ocean and midnight... My best selling points.
I nodded my head, contradicting my initial response.
"So you do have a name? Will you write it?"
I nodded. "K-Kai" I croaked, the words slipping through my dry mouth.
"Kai? That's a pretty name!"
I grunted not wanted to strain my vocals.
"How about some tea then? Your sounding awfully raspy" brought the cup on the table to my lips, nearly forcing the peppermint contents down my throat. I dipped my head finishing what was left. My breath grew less labored.
"Thanks" I whispered.
"Not a problem, if it's in my power to help someone then I will." Grinning widely she removed the washcloth, "how about a bath then to warm your bones, dress yourself, then head on down the first set of steps to your left for some lunch. Most of my boys are out at school so we've got the house a little bit to ourselves aside from my oldest, he don't talk much, be he's a sweetie when you gets to know him. You've been out for nearly a week best to get you moving." She spoke with great gestures of her wrinkled hands, when she walked about the room still talking I noticed she was a proud woman, with a powerful opinion and even stronger tongue. Before I knew she stomped to the threshold of the door smiling brightly, "I've always wanted a girl." With a hand on her chest she left the room closing the door with a heavy handed thud.
The shower was numbing and the clothes laid out on the bed, grey sweat pants and a hoodie were warm and smelled of citrus. I stood before the mirror, in the baggy clothes that shrunk my already frail body. I brushed through my hair, haphazardly, the inky strands falling into my dark blues eyes. I lifted my shirt revealing my wet bandages I began peeling them off, the skin below cleaned and stitched and mended together, like a doll torn apart by the household dog and meagerly stitched back into one. I dragged my fingers across the seam of one that lead from my lower left hip bone to my rib cage. Then another up across my back, as my fingers trailed the tracks passing scars freckled like stars across my body.
"Should I look like this?" I muttered to myself.
I ripped the hoodie back over my body covering the prints, and leaving the now cramped bathroom. My hand gripped the doorknob leading into the hallway but I felt myself hesitate. Ignoring my feeling of unease I creaked it open, the door screaming as loud as my nervousness. My head was down glaring into the floor when I shut it back behind me. Glancing down the hall I saw about 7 sets of doors including my own. One however was slightly cracked open allowing a breath of light peek inside. I looked down the left side of the hallway noticing the stairs leading to the lower level. I permitted my curiosity to take the best of my when timed creaks came from the room. The closer I got the louder the sound and soon pitched moaning was accompanying it. I knew what that was and much too well, yet it didn't stop me from letting an eye peek through. A man his torso chiseled and god like plowed his member into that of a woman gripped by the throws of ecstasy. His head shot up catching my eyes, I gasped, he never slowed his motions as he smiled, a devil's smile. I blinked backing away from the threshold. I knew that smile.