PETRICHOR

(This is the rough draft version) This will be a story of a girl named Rivka who lives in a village called Ginseng Fréamh, where all the inhabitants, aside from those born within it's walls, appear randomly at the gates with no memory of having been brought there, leading the citizens to dub their new home the Lost Village. Outside this village are beasts and creatures of unimaginable power and unknown purpose. Rivka is the youngest to have ever appeared in the city and has the power to influence organic and earthly matter with her emotions leaving her to be stoic and unfeeling in order to control herself. With her world constantly changing from attacks by sentient beasts, the deaths of those around her, and the loss of her only friend, she finds it harder to find peace with her environment as well as herself.

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4. From Afar

"Ivan?" I whispered as I sat straight up in my bed, I was in a cold sweat. Something didn't feel right, hugging myself I surveyed my surroundings.

Nothing at the window, no sign of exit or entry, at least not after Ivan's little nightly crusade to keep me company. Ivan had ran away from home, feeling ignored and lacking in attention by me once again. While it was still dark and I couldn't really see much beyond my small space, I could tell that Ivan had left. His spot was still warm, yet he was nowhere. 

"Ivan where did you go?" I whispered to myself more than to him. 

Alone in my bed I suddenly felt extremely vulnerable, as if there was some overbearing weight on my head, an oncoming wave of distraught. I climbed down from the loft above my parent's bed. Seeing that they were sound asleep, I crept across our tiny home into the area where my Dah butchered and sold his meatsAll was silent and pitch black, even the pigs to the side of the house were quietly fantasizing of a gluttonous sow in their blissful domestic dreams. A few squees every once in a while would sound, yet the quietness in the house was unnerving.

A mass of something wet and raw hung behind a half wall, most likely an unfinished pig with its blood draining on to the floor. This was unlike my Dah. Dah always finished his work before night, he also did it outside. I groped at the counter for a candle and a match, my hands surprisingly shook out of nervousness, as if they had a mind of their own and knew something I, (and my parents), didn't. Never could I have guessed that lighting a candle in the dark would be so difficult but finally there was light, faint but there.

With this new light I turned to observe the hanging pig, Dah was going to be in trouble no doubt. I admit that I didn't really want, or need, to look at that pig. But I was compelled. I suppose humans are always drawn to the sight of violence. Strangely though,I almost as if a force commanded that I really must observe all the gruesome details. Being a seven year-old of a family in which our main trade was butchering pigs we had lovingly raised from infant to adult, one would think I might have been prepared for what I was seeing, that the image was that much less terrifying.

Almost dropping my candle, I realized nothing could have prepare me. At the very moment that I realized what was hanging on that hook I knew I must have been dreaming, that I was asleep next to Ivan at this very moment, tossing and turning with a resting, scrunched look of distress and horror. Fortuitously, the bulking yet small mass of a human figure faced away from me of which I shrunk away from this, terrified of who it might be.

I tried to make my body realize this was a dream but there was no waking up, despite knowing that this must be a dream, I was cornered here with this hideous thing Covering my eyes, there was hope that maybe I would wake up that this would soon be over, the hope came from the idea that the tighter I closed my eyes, the more likely I could escape this nightmare.

I was alone in this horror.

I whirled around at the soothing and calm, male voice,"Don't worry. All is well."

A looming figure had been standing behind me for an immeasurable amount of time being that it felt like an eternity since I had seen the mutilated being on the hook. There was no knowing how long this man had been standing there, but he had been watching me. Still compelled by some unknown force to look at what should not be seen I raised the candle to view this stranger.

He was tall, there was horns, fangs, giant feathered wings of solid black and dark blue colors. His skin was darker than the room was before I lit the candle, yet his bright blue eyes could be seen reflecting indefinitely. It was a fomorian, one of high status as well, one could tell by his wings and intelligible speaking. This was more terrifying then the corpse I just witnessed because a fomorian was the likely culprit to garnished the poor soul in front of me.

"H-h-how could-d you!?" I questioned as if a fomorian would understand my pain, a human being's pain. As if this creature could reason why it would be wrong to kill. I hadn't realized it until it was already too late, but I had stammered and backed up into the corpse causing it to fall, revealing its agonized face. A ripping of flesh from the hook and loud splatter of blood rang in the silence between me and the terrifying beast. I tripped over on to my back, the now faced up corpse directly in front of me.

It was young Ivan, wide-eyed and terrified, although all life had gone out.

I finally screamed, making some kind of actual human reaction to an image so terrifying. Falling to my knees I clung to him, I could feel the crawling vines wrap around him, wrapping around me despite us being inside my family's cottage. Blood stained my arms and nightgown and I could smell death. Death was surprisingly warm and musty, thick and sad. It was void of everything. The creature only looked down at me, he stood there beaming as if there was some prize in murdering an innocent young boy

"All is well Rivka. It is hard to wait but we shall soon be together, and you must wait. You must wait." I realized he wasn't beaming at the boy, he was beaming at me. The fomorian turned to casually walk away, his black, lion-like tail quietly swaying back and forth. Confused I looked down at Ivan, his look of horror and agony, replaced by a dead, infectious crooked grin. One of my favorite of his faces. 

Then I woke up, the last few images and thoughts disappearing from my mind.. . . I shot up in bed, but this time I was in reality. Gazing to my right, Ivan was sound asleep, the fur blankets kicked away from past sleeping tumbles and the moonlight lightly kissing his face.

As childish as this may seem, I started to cry. Try as I might to be my usual mature self, to be a statue, to be as indifferent as possible, I cried. Tears filled my eyes to the brim, overflowing onto my cheeks and into my gaping, shocked mouth. Whatever I had dreamed, it tore at my heart. I quietly pulled all the blankets back on us, shivering I snuggled next to my best friend, my only fried. I could hear the trees groaning outside and the pigs crying.

Thankfully, I wasn't powerful enough to manipulate an entire tree, but if this keeps up I will be. Despite the fact that whatever happened in my dream caused uncontrollable sadness, I could not recall the events within it. I felt like some kind of mental block was there, keeping me from accessing it, dwelling or questioning the thoughts that may really mean something to me. Suppose I couldn't complain and that I was most certainly better off. Emotional turmoil and meaningful dreams are not the best for keeping my abilities in the dark, the world becomes risky and frightening leading me to spiral into less control.

Closing my eyes, I tried to drift back to sleep but my mind was reeling. There were no actual thoughts to ponder on, I was too awake to nod off. I lay there in the blackness with Ivan, wondering what could have brought on such a bout of sadness and pain, the kind of pain that can last for an eternity. Luckily for me, the pain subsided along with the fading blurry, incoherent images and terror of my nightmare. Trying to move along from the strangeness of it all, I rolled over to gaze out the window looking for how far the moon had crossed the sky. It was yellow and crescent shaped tonight, just above the treeline about to set.

"I suppose I should be off now..."

I whirled around to see Ivan rubbing his eyes, drowsiness was like a mist on his face that he could not break through. I stared at him in the dark wondering again why I was so sad, he gazed back still sleepy and a bit confused. If we didn't return to the castle soon, one of the servants will be sent out to find him and we would be in trouble, again.

Quietly, we crept around on my lofted bed, the only sounds that could be heard was the creaking of the straw mattress as we opened the window. I went first, slowly stepping over the ledge and onto the thatch roof. I could see the pig pen from here, their wings twitched in their sleep. I had to keep as silent as possible, waking these domestics up so close to their morning feeding time will cause a ruckus of shrill and delighted squealing. 

Ivan followed me, without a word I could feel that we were both uneasy and the night felt unsettling. We got close to the edge of the roof, sliding along. This was the most difficult part of getting in and out of the cottage in secret. 

Ivan went first this time, stretching his leg down trying to reach with his foot the closest fence post adjacent to the house. Once he had touched the tip he let go of the roof's edge balancing on the post he jumped once more to the solid ground. I followed suit.

We trotted down the main road that cut straight through Harvester's Square, not many folks liked to come out at night because they were scared of the darkness, only a few military men and a couple of suspicious-looking characters hung about by taverns and unsavory buildings filled with scantily-clad women. 

Ivan and I were quick, no one paid any mind to us, they were too busy with their nightlife to care about two wandering children in the dark. There were plenty of orphans in the streets, no one was suspicious of who we were, where we were going and why we roamed the streets so late at night.

The lake reflected the light of the moon making the total darkness not as all consuming. Making our way past the docs a short man with a long stick was extinguishing lights. Something about this felt calming, the thought of daylight coming soon made the uneasiness between us less bothersome.

A sharp and piercing ringing violated my ears forcing me to jump and knock Ivan over. The bells at the church shook violently and loudly alerting the village of something. Something was coming. Something familiar and terrifying. Instinct told me to run.

"Ivan, quick!" I grabbed his hand as the military on the streets started to yell commands, people scatter and the candles glowed in hands and windows. Ivan sat on the ground his hand in mine, dazed by the noise and the sudden movement.

Tugging on his arm, I commanded "Get up now we have to go back to Mamma and Dah!"

As quickly and as sudden as the ringing in our ears, Ivan was tugging on me forcing me his way. We were turned back around towards the castle once again, Ivan dragging me along. I could hear yelling in the distance.

"Ivan, I need to go back....what is happening? I need to." I knew what was happening, I knew the terror and the danger our village was in but questioning everything and my desire to be with my parents felt sensible. Ivan had control. He just kept looking forward and never looked back.

Ivan pulled me into the castle gardens, I tried to pull away. I tried so hard. Mamma and Dah needed me, I don't know what I could possibly do but they needed me there. They were asleep in their beds, maybe awake, but disoriented for sure. They could hide, Dah could fight but how lucky could they be? They have survived two occurrences, can they survive another?

I managed to slip my hand away, sweaty from the fear that gripped me. Brambles sprouted between me and Ivan.

I watched him. Ivan was furious.

"Come here. Now." His voice steady and calm yet through clenched teeth.

I glanced behind me through the large arches, through those arches I could see people running, shadows chasing, smoke rising from multiple homes. 

"Ivan, I am scared." He motioned for me to come.

Frowning with urgency he came close to the brambles. "Your parents would want you to be safe. I will keep you safe."

He looked around nervously, servants were rushing about, some with weapons, some were calling out for help. No one noticed us, the world was spiraling, we were paused in time, our own universe between us.

"Rivka....please," Ivan push through the brambles, pearls of blood appeared on his bare legs, his nightwear tore on the thorns. "I need you to come with me, where it is safe."

I held myself tightly, I needed to calm down. The brambles spread, they poked me, I could feel a swelling of fear in me, they dug deeper in my arms and legs. I sat there on my knees frozen.

There was a hand on my shoulder.

"Let's go."

Ivan carried me out of the brambles, I shook all over and I was ashamed of my fear. I couldn't do anything reasonable, my parents needed me, but they also needed me safe. I was frozen with fear and indecision.

The fomorians were attacking, and we were going to hide.

 

 

 

 

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