Forever Young

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  • Published: 22 Dec 2015
  • Updated: 27 Jul 2016
  • Status: Complete
Darla is most definitely not a human.

She's one of the Ashki, an immortal race who have lived alongside humans from the very beginning. But friendships don't survive that long, and her contacts with her fellow Ashkine people are practically non existent, humans just tiny little pieces in the jigsaw of time. And an old enemy is back, proposing changes to the way their society has run and developed, and destroying the Ashki in the process.

Now Darla must gather her friends together to save themselves and their souls. But after so many millennia, is time finally running out for the Ashki?


4. Temporary Fix

Kaden's cheeks glowed red. His eyes flashed with fire, ash he struggled against Keda, who was pushing him down, pinning him on the ground like it was a cork board. I stood behind Keda, analysing her movements. She was staying mostly in the same position, keeping herself tense, tight, so that she wouldn't be pushed off. I needed to change that.


There were sticks littered on the ground beside me, and I picked a couple of them up. A knife, I was sure, was still in my pocket where I always kept it - for emergencies, of course - and I knew how to draw her attention. Birds. More specifically, a bird's nest.


Quickly, I gathered the twigs, and sharpened one stick to as much of a point as I could managed, before sticking it in between the basket like form I'd created. Kaden looked like he was struggling now, his body not fighting so much. He was either going to snap and kill her, or he was going to let her keep him. I couldn't let that happen, even after what had happened.


"I need answers," I told myself quietly, as I placed the nest of the flat of my knife and flicked it upwards, at just the rightangle.


Keda screamed, flapping at her face as soon as she felt the first stick hit her. The sharpened stick, as I'd hoped, struck her right in the neck, which she reached for immediately. She jumpedto her feet, leaving Kaden, and batted at her hair, trying to scrape of this twigs and find thetip of the stick.


The point was (and I apologise profusely for the pun), it wasn't there. I'd chosen such a small stickthat the tip was almost no different to the point, and she could notfind it. As she kept fussing over herself, her attention was torn away from us, and I held Kaden in my arms.


"Can you run?" I whispered, keeping one eye of Keda.


"Yes," he said sharply, and pushed to his feet. "Thanks."


"Come on then. I'll show you where we're going. Lara and Adrien are nearby, we're all together. They're probabaly wondering where I am, so we'll have to be fast." Keda was still searching for the stick to pull out from where it was burning her neck. I knew she'd give up soon though. "Come on."


I took Kaden's hand, and started running. The pair of us leapt over tree roots and confused rabbits, growing closer and closer to the light. We burst out of the forest, the su suddenly glaring at us, low in the sky and shining like a thousand eyes of gold. 


I spied the tent where Lara and Adrien were sitting in the distance, the campfire still licking the cliff's edge.  "They're over there," I told Kaden, who nodded.


"Cool. Can we just walk now. My foot hurts."


"Sure, if you want to be left behin d here on your own."


He rolled his eyes, but followed my sprint back to our friends, both of whom looked up at the same moment to see us. Their eyes widened.


"Holy crap!" Adrien shouted. "Kaden! We were worried about you, what the hell happened did you get lost or were we not there? see, Lara, I told you we should have waited for him, oh my goodness you're fucking alive!" His eyes shone. "You go, bro!"


Kaden was staring at him, like he couldn't believe what his eyes were seeing. "Did your  hair mutate or something?" His shockied expression made me almost laugh, though Adrien decided to settle for an irritated scowl.


"No. I dyed it."


"It's cool. You got any spare. I'd like my hair like that, it'd be class."


Adrien grinned, and reached  into his bag, pulling out three cans of something that looked vaguely like the colour of his hair, but just a lot brighter. he threw one at Kaden. "You just spray it on. I've got one that I a ctually used to permanently do it, but this gives it extra colour. It'll work for a while, hopefully." Kaden laughed, and sprayed the voluminous gas around his head, specks of bright blue landing in his floppy brown hair.


"Thanks," he said, even though it didn't look anything like Adrien's hair. It was just a green mess.


"No problem, mate. Good to see you again."


"You too. you want to go inside?"


"Yeah, sure?"


And just like that, everything they used to be was back to normal. "Their stars of their bromance shine brighter than Kaden's teeth," Lara laughed. "And as for you, where did you go? I mean, I'm pleased to see you and everything, and Kaden, but you shouldn't just run off when you're upset with someone. Quite frankly, it's more than a little immature."


"Oh, thanks for that fantastic compliment, Lara."


"I'm just saying, Darla." Lara laughed a little, puffily and shaking her head. "We are your friends, and even though we haven't all been together for a while, it doesn't mean we aren't all still close." I rolled my eyes. "And stop pitying yourself. We don't have time to be worried about ourselves when Keda's hunting us down, especially you."


I considered for a moment the idea of telling Lara what had happened in the woods, but let go of my flirtations with the truth. Lara probably wouldn't appreciate it - she'd just get all in a flap and before we knew it we'd all be packed up and headed to the middle of bloody Alaska. Which would really, really suck.


"Okay. Fine, that's fine. I won't have a moment of upset even when loads of people are trying to kill me and I've just re-met the three people who betrayed me and am being hunted by my own oldest friend. But that's fine. I'll be constantly happy and excited to meet my world endingly awful fate. No problem."


"Darla, stop being so-"


"Lara!" I snapped, clenching my fists as I took a step closer to her. "Don't. Talke. To. Me." Confusion crossed her face, but she took a step away, faking an awkward smile. "Please."


"Sorry." Her head sank down to face  the ground. "By the way, Adrien and I have to go somewhere soon - to see if we can find any more friends, get them to join us. Safety in numbers and everything. You should stay with Kaden; he needs help, and I know he won't admit it with Adrien and I here." I could hear the mischievous smile in her voice. "We're leaving in an hour. Come inside."


The tent's canvas cast a sort of eerie green glow over everything, illuminating our faces in emerald light. I clambered over Kaden's splayed legs, and sat down next to him, while Adrien and Lara sat crouched in a deep conversation.


"You feeling better?" I asked him, receiving a nod in answer.


"I'm a bit tired," he admitted, "but I'll be okay. You know Adrien and Lara are going looking for some of the others, yes?"


"Yeah, she told me."


"Cool. Do you think they might actually find anybody?"


I shrugged nonchalantly. "I quite doubt it, to be honest."


"I've always admired your optimism, Darla," Kaden laughs, and I can feel him inching closer to me. "It never fails to cheer me up."


"Stop patronising me, Kaden," I sighed, though I didn't really mean to say it in such a tone. "We both know it won't do you any good."


"Shut up." He inched closer to me again, and I felt myself begin to tense. We hadn't been this close in nearly a century. "By the way, Lara is staring at us like she knows everything there is to know about the world. Again." I looked towards where Kaden was also looking. Lara was indeed staring at us, but the second she saw us she sat up straight and smiled daintily, waving. Adrien rolled his eyes.


"To be fair, she does know quite a fair lot."


"Not enough, though." His eyes seem to do that melting thing, like chocolate, and I frown. This is the second time today that this has happened, and I can't help the gut feeling that soon his eyes might melt too far and do just as chocolate always does when you try to melt it too far - turn bitter. "She doesn't know what happened to me. None of you do."


I narrow my eyes, and feel that rock in my stomach. It's like Sysiphus, rolling that rock to the top of that hill, feeling like you've conquered the world, and then it comes falling back down like your life spiralling down into the embers of hell. "What did happen to you? You just ... left. We didn't know what had happened to you - we didn't know what to think could have happened. You just disappeared."


Lara and Adrien had disappeared off somewhere, probably to find 'friends'. It was just the two of us, alone in the little tent where we had just enough room to move. "I don't want to talk about it, Darla. It's in the past now, it doesn't matter. You just need to know, that I didn't want to leave you two. Especially not you."


He moved his hand over to mine suddenly, but I pulled my hand from his, heart jumping. "Please don't touch me, Kaden," I breathed, shaking slightly. "I mean, not anything against you, of course. I just, don't want to. That sounds mean doesn't it? I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to offend you. I'm crap at this social stuff nowadays, I must apologise."


"Don't apologise, small one," he laughs. "I think we all are pretty rubbish with dealing with this type of stuff."


"Call me small one again and I'll punch you in the face." I hissed, remembering his old nickname for me.


"Sorry, small one." I punched him in the face. "You weren't supposed to actually punch me!" Kaden whined. "And it's not like I wasn't just stating a simple fact, either. You are smaller than me."


"Only because you're a giant freak, Kaden."


"I'm only six feet, Darla! There are loads of people taller than me."


"You're still tall."


"At least I'm not small like some people."


"Again, six bloody feet!"


He poked his tongue out at me, and I poked mine out at him, before I let a stupid giggle slip out from behind the mask of my lips. "The fire's dying down outside," I said. "We  should probably feed it again."


"I can't be bothered."


"Well, that's a bit dumb of you isn't it? We'll freeze if it isn't warm enough."


"That's a bit dumb of the fire, isn't it?"


I hit his arm. "You actual idiot, that's not even funny." Even though I hated it, I had to crack a smile at the pouting look on his face. It was too funny to just ignore, and his eyes were too bright to forget. "It's not! Stop laughing!"


Kaden rolled his tongue around his mouth, fire leaping over his eyes like a phoenix in a cloak. His 'blue' flecked hair flopped over his right eye like a pirate's eye patch. He got to his feet, and offered his hand to me. 2Want to go feed the fire?"


"Sure." I slapped my hand into his.

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