~~The next day I wake up a little stiff and achy. I feel hungry but not for food, for sunlight. I’ve never gone this long without it and it feels like I’m drying out.
Dana warned me that we’re digging crops up today so I’m to be prepared for a hard day’s work. I scramble round on the bedside table to find the hair band that Erin gave me and then pull my long hair back into a lose bun. “Good morning sunshine” I ignore Roebai’s taunt and concentrate on stuffing my feet into my boots. “Aww come on, I thought we’d agreed that you’re not giving me the silent treatment.” I sigh then look up at him.
“Good morning Mr Annoying” I reply then pull tightly at the laces on my boots.
“Tut tut, is that the best you can come up with?” He taunts and I’m about to snap back at him but I slam my mouth shut and take a deep breath. “Why don’t you just disappear? You seem to be good at that” I say through gritted teeth then I stand up and shrug my jacket on.
“You know what, I think I’ll help you out today princess seeing as though your delicate hands may not be able to handle a spade.” Robai announces ignoring my previous comment. This hits a nerve and I let out a growl of annoyance then shove past him and stomp out of the sleeping hall.
Outside the courtyard is full of people eating breakfast and I quickly walk past them to the meeting point Dana pointed out last night. A truck lies in waiting there and I hoist myself into it. The driver gives me a nod then goes back to smoking his cigarette. Roebai has caught up with me though and jumps onto the truck easily. “Hey, I didn’t mean that, I’m sure you can handle a spade” He says as he slumps into the seat opposite me then puts his hands up when I shoot him my best death stare.
“Just stop talking” I say to him but I know it’s a mistake immediately after I’ve said it, I’ve just given him more ammunition. “I was only trying to help you” He says innocently then he leans forward so that there’s only a few centimetres between us and I can feel his breath on my face. His black eyes hold mine and I feel my muscles freeze but the moment is snapped quickly because he sniggers “You make a great damsel in distress”
I roll my eyes “And you’re what? The troll?” I say raising my eyebrows at him “You certainly look like one.”
He tips his head back and lets out a deep throaty laugh, “of course not Princess, I’m your knight in shining armour,” he says then he stops laughing and gives me a deep intense stare.
“Well sorry but this princess doesn’t need saving” I tell him crossing my arms over my chest ignoring how heavy his eyes feel on me
He raises his eyebrows at me “So how are you going to escape by yourself then?” he says mockingly.
“I’ve heard I’m quite good at slapping trolls,” I say and smile at his surprised face.Ding ding, round two to Annalise, I think to myself. He really isn’t as good as he thinks he is at this.
Dana enters the truck then which puts a stop to any come back that Roebai may have come up with. She shuffles over to sit next to me but she’s staring nervously at Roebai, I just roll my eyes. Roebai on the other hand has shaken away his surprise and flashes Dana a dazzling grin “Well, are you going to introduce me to your pretty friend?” Roebai says cocking his eyebrow up and stretching his well-toned arm across the back of the trucks seats. Dana looks down at me and I can see that she’s seems to be a little star struck by Roebai and I just frown at her then sigh “Roebai this is Dana, she helped me out yesterday” Dana gives him a shy smile and I just shake my head, she’s obviously changed her mind about Roebai being a player, either that or she doesn’t care. “Hi” She says then seems to mentally shake herself because she sits up a little straighter and stops looking dazed. “I didn’t know you were in this group” She says her voice sounding stronger.
“I’ve been in this group for a while I just haven’t been turning up to do the work” Roebai replies looking bored. He then turns his piercing stare back to me. “I’d thought I’d join you today so I could watch Anna here fail at digging potatoes up” He says and Dana laughs. This makes anger flare up inside me, now he’s embarrassing me in front of the only friend I seem to have made.
The truck quickly fills up with people as they finish breakfast and after a few minutes of avoiding looking at Roebai the truck lurches forward and we’re finally moving. Roebai is staring at the floor now deep in thought seeming to have had enough of making fun of me. I turn to Dana and she smiles at me and I feel relieve that she hasn’t decide to dump me because Roebai made fun of me.
The journey doesn’t last long and we’re soon jumping out of the truck and lining up outside a shed full of spades. Dana gets on for me and we wonder up to the top of the field that we’re standing in. The crops are all fully grown and most of them look ripe and ready to eat. This is due to the advanced chemical spray that was invented a few years ago that makes crops grow much quicker than they used too.
Dana shows me the best way to get my spade under the potatoes we’re digging up and I’m soon doing it by myself. It’s hard work and my hands are blistering already so after about an hour I’m struggling. Dana gives me an encouraging smile but it doesn’t stop me from feeling useless.
I’m trying to dig what must be my 100th potato when Roebai wonders over looking at me smugly and holding his spade across his shoulders. “Go away” I say but he ignores me and looks at my crate of potatoes, we have to fill them before we can go home. Mine isn’t even a quarter of the way to being full so I don’t think I’ll be going back to the camp tonight. “Oh dear princess, looks like you’re struggling” He says and I just push harder at the potato I’m trying, and failing, to dig up.
“If you want I could help you” He offers but I just scowl at him, there’s no way I’m going to let him help me out, I’d never hear the end of it.
“Don’t you have your own crate to fill?” Dana says and I look at hers which is doing much better than mine.
“I’m finished” Roebai says and gestures towards the guards who’re loading his crate into the truck.
“What? How?” Dana exclaims looking from him to the full crate.
Roebai lets out a cocky laugh “I must be superman” He says then turns to me.
“So do you want some help or not princess?” He asks and he blinks his cold black eyes at me. I purse my lips then the stubborn part of me takes over the logical part of me. “In your dreams” I scoff at him then he shrugs, “Suit yourself.” Then he strolls back down the hill and out of sight.
I look at Dana who’s shaking her head “Why’d you turn him down?” She asks and I just shrug.
“What happened to staying away from him because he’s just playing games with me?” I ask and she sighs “I can’t pretend to know what is going on in that boys head, no one does. He’s always so secretive so I have no idea what to think of his behaviour now.” She admits then goes back to digging potatoes. I look down the hill and can see that Roebai has settled under a tree on the edge of the field, looking quite satisfied with himself. I let out a huff of annoyance then continue my digging.
It’s about 5:00 and Dana finished her digging about an hour ago. We had a short break for lunch but I didn’t eat anything, deciding to try to catch up while everybody else was busy messing around. It didn’t help much though because I still took about 5 minutes to dig up each potato. Dana offered to help when she was finished but I could tell that she didn’t want to “its fine, I’ll see you tomorrow,” I said then she smiled at me and wished me good luck. She went back to camp along with most of the others in the group about half an hour ago. It’s only me and a couple of others left and they’re almost done. I on the other hand have only half filled my crate.
Why am I here again? I ask myself. The idea of finding my father’s killer here sounds stupid now, I should have gone home when I had the chance. And do what? Marry someone my mother see’s suitable then live my life in the shadow of a number I didn’t choose. At least people treat me like a person and not a glass vase here, even it means I have to take a few insults.
I sigh and push my spade into the soil what would my mother think if she saw what I was doing. She’s probably pull her well know ‘I’m better than you’ face then tell me that I’m a disgrace to the family. I’ve never been close to my mother, my dad was always the one who I’d turn to with problems and he always spoilt me a little too much as a kid. Now he’s gone and I have nothing left to go to in that life apart from Gater who will understand why I’m doing this. I wonder if they’ve sent out a search team yet. I bet they won’t even think of looking here. This makes me smile, at least if I decide to go home it will be on my own terms and nobody else’s.
“Want some help?” I hear a deep husky voice shout from the bottom of the hill then I watch as Roebai appears in front of me. I roll my eyes but don’t protest when he pushes his spade into the ground and starts digging.
We dig in silence and with Roebai’s help the crate is filled quickly. When I put the last potato on the pile I lean against my spade and breathe a deep sigh of relief. “Thanks” I mumble to Roebai and we slowly push the crate down the hill and onto the truck. “See I’m not such a troll” He says then winks at me. I laugh and collapse onto the bench inside the truck. “We’ll see.”