Stopping by the Woods
Part 4 of Flash Fiction Challenge
Peter MacDonald -Part 1
Poor Dick - Part 2, plus part 1 A thorough link chain of this and other 4 part stories. Check out his site!
Casondra Brewster Part 3, plus part 1 and 2
"Cease!" said a third woman while she pounded her fist on the wall. The pendent on her necklace shone brighter than the other two pendants. "We shall not leave this place without retrieving the chimera. Verdandi, bring the chalice, your sister and this man are in need of its strength."
The spinning stopped and the chair returned to its original form.
"Yes, Urdir, but Skuld injured and this man spoke of the woods through poetry, and-"
"Go, my sister, haste is needed." said Urdir and she went to the women I rescued. She cradled her in her arms and a tear ran down her face. "My dear, Skuld, you should not ridden the chimera. would destroythe dyr without your aid. You cannot be near when the beast's thirst for blood is enraged."
Verdandi returned with a gold and gem encrusted stemmed chalice and knelt beside Skuld.
"Drink and your strength will be returned," she said.
"Take but a sip; the man will need the rest to capture the chimera for us," said Urdir.
"," started Verdandi.
"We cannot leave on this land. this man did speak with poetry, he is the keeper of this woods and must stay. You is not our place to change the destiny of man, but to help man achieve . Give the rest of Thor's mead to him."
" is my place to give to him," said Skuld and she stood, taking the chalice, and walked to me.
"Drink," she said and took one of my hands in hers and placed on the cup. I peered into her eyes and the depth of the blue, I , never ending. Her touch soft, and as I drank, the warmth spread through my body and a surge of strength touched every cell.
I drank every drop of the sweet liquid, this bit of poetry came to my mind and I recited to the women:
One by one he subdued his father's trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one left
For him to conquer. He learned all
"He will subdue the chimera," said Urdir when I stopped.
The rest of poem came to mind and my means as to capture the beast. A howl outside announcing the beast near and calling me out to my destiny.
"Veroandi and I will assist you, but Skuld must stay in the sanctuary," said Urdir.
"The beast is mine to command," said Skuld.
" yours to command, but now hungry for you and is seeking you. The chimera will not recognize your command until its blood thirst is subdued. Give this man your pendent and the beast will hunt him. He will tame and we will remove its form from this forest."
Skuld removed her necklace. I stood to receive the gift, bending my head, so she reach for now, I stood a foot taller than her. My height so when I first entered the sanctuary. The breadth of my shoulders now seemed to fill .
"I am grateful you rescued me and now my sorrowful duty is to send you out to complete my task."
After she placed the necklace and glowing pendant around my neck, she cupped my face with her hands and brought my forehead to hers. "May your strength and knowledge of the forest guide you."
My head swam with her touch. I said in return keeping my forehead on hers;
like to get away from earth awhile
And come back to and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth's the right place for love:
I don't where likely to go better.
like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
would be good both going and coming back.
One do worse than be a swinger of birches.
the words, "swinger of birches," left my mouth I time to tame the chimera. I pulled away from the lovely Skuld and went to the door now appeared in front of me.
"You will need this," said Verdandi and handed me an ax.
" you will need this," said Urdir as she handed me a skein of rope.
to a stand of birches, I went to work chopping down twenty trees with ease. The young birches formed through bending with my hands and lashing with the rope into a cage the size of boulder taller and broader than me.
With my back to a tangle of dense wall of pines trees and Verdandi and Urdir to the right of me, I waited at one end of the cage.
A roar echoed through the forest. The ground shook. My feet planted , I held an length of rope in one hand and the ax in other.
The chimera at the cage opening. I hoped my design would work and would like a tunnel leading straight to its target, me.
"I'm here, beastie," I said and the pedant's glow intensified.
The chimera leapt into the cage. I dropped the lid covered the entrance. He pushed his lion head through the opening in front of me and snorted as I took the end of the rope connected to lid and looped around his muzzle. snorted spraying me with snot.
Urdir said a bit too as if she what the outcome would be all along, "Well done and thank you."
"Please give this back to Skuld," I started to take the necklace off.
Urdir stopped my motion with a smile full of knowledge and said, "Skuld will be back to retrieve ."
The Poetry is from Robert Frost's Birches - use link to read complete poem.
Here is the Part III of flash-fiction-challenge-the-four-part-story-part-three
Part I is here -lash-fiction-challenge-the-four-part-story-part-one
Part II is here flash-fiction-challenge-part-II
Part III Who is James Appleton?
"This way, James," I grabbed his hand and started to march us up the hill.
"You must have a great view." He matched my urgent pace. A giggle escaped me thinking about the view of his bod, I was about to have.
"It's not bad considering the tiny size of the place."
"Is there a back entrance?"
"Yeah, I have a nice garden with a porch." I wondered why he asked questions about my house. Perhaps, he was a nervous as I was.
One block away from my front stoop, he stopped and pulled out his cell phone. He looked at me and held up a finger in the just a minute gesture and walked across the street. Even though he was in workout clothes, I pictured him in a dark suit with an earbud and wire. Perhaps, it was the way he scanned the area. He put away the phone and jogged back to me.
"All set," he smiled grabbed my hand and kissed my neck like we were long time lovers going home.
"Quickly," came a command as I fumbled with the keys and the front door. The door opened and he patted my butt as we entered.
"Would you like some water or juice," I asked as I headed toward the kitchen not sure how a daytime trist should start. He didn't answer and I turned to see him shutting the shades and pulling the curtains on the front windows.
"I usually don't do that until-" he had put his finger up to his mouth and shushed me. I crossed my arms not feeling the romance of his actions. He started to go around the house checking doors and windows and pulling curtains.
I followed every move and when we were in the living room again, he came up to me and put his hands on my face and kissed me passionately. I caressed the muscles along his back. His hands left my face and embraced me, pulling me closer while moving his kisses down along my neck making every part of my body tingle with desire.
"Should we move to the bedroom?" I asked.
"No," was his quick reply while pulling me down to the floor in the middle of the living room. The hard pine wood floor cooled my back.(*I have not put a filter on my blog, so at this point, it is up to your imagination.)
He pulled back, leaned on one arm, and looked at me with his sly smile. One finger trailed along my face, over my collar bone. "I've been thinking about you living in this neighborhood-"
"What, you haven't, did you know, How?"
"Shhh, Kerel, my job brought me to the area and, well today was the second time I saw you," he explained while tracing my curves. I grabbed his hand stopping him.
"What is your job?"
"I can't go into details." he leaned in and started to kiss me again.
I pulled away because I couldn't let go of a nagging gut perception that something was not right about him. It was the same feeling I had about him twenty years ago. I figured it was the guilty of having a one night stand that turned into several nights that was nagging at me.
"James, were you really a dive master or was there another reason you were there?"
"Yeah, I thought you suspected something back then." He layed on his back staring at the ceiling and the view of his chest and stomach muscles were well defined for a forty year old. "I was in the same business I'm in now. And, well, I confess that I have tried to find you over the years. You were off the grid for awhile. My job and your moving around, well,-"
A blush crossed my face, because I couldn't believe he had thought of me throught the years too. But, before I could cuddle up to him and get him to move to the bedroom, there was knock at the door.
"Shit," said James while grabbing his clothes and whispering to me, "get dressed." He was dressed before I could comprehend what was going on. The knock on the door became more insistent. Robert moved toward the kitchen but he didn't stand but crawled.
"Follow what I do," he said moving behind the counter.I scurried after him grabbing my clothes. The banging on the door continued. I pulled on my
shirt when I heard a gunshot. James grabbed my hand and pulled me to the back door.
I wrote the second 1000 word section to flash-fiction-challenge-the-four-part-story-part-two: enjoy!
link to flash-fiction-challenge-unlocking-godhood-part-one
*note - The author of part one has background information on his web site that it interesting and gives and insight has to how this story might go.
The seven eyed face floated in her mind and she an inclining of seeing the eyes before. the chair's wheels, she pushed herself out of the bushes and on the sidewalk wraps around the back of her house to cement patio. The motion of pushing the chair along with her feet brought back childhood memories. She scooted to the patio and when she was in the middle, she kicked off with one foot and spun. Pushed and spun, pushed and spun; again and again until the world was a blur. She drew up her other foot and leaned into the spin to keep going.
The memory of playground fun flooded her mind.
"Come on, Sophia," said Tom. "You're the best at pushing. You make go the fastest."
"I'm getting off is she spins . the spinny-thing-of-death when she does ," said Susie.
"Okay," said Sophia.
Susie jumps off, but two other boys jump on when they see Sophia spit in her hands and grasp the bar. Sophia pulls the bar towards her stomach and back out and sets her feet.
"Ready!" She runs in the worn circle path circle.
"Faster, Faster," the boys yelled. Her speed increased with each turn. She ran around four times as she counted each time she the tall pine tree pass in her vision. On the sixth turn, a figure stood before the pine tree. Seven eyes glowed.
She catches her right foot behind the heel of her left and stumbled. The figure stepped forward like a mom's reaction knowing her kid is about to be injured and will need her. Sophia caught her fall and jumped on the roundabout. The pine tree spun into her view and the seven eyed figure was gone.
Sophia stopped the desk chair, her dad's chair, from spinning and stared at the house. Her life been a breeze up to 10 months ago when her dad died. Sophia grew up being good at academics, sports ( running), and puzzles. She obtained what she desired with ease.
The only failure in her life the end of the 8 year relationship with her highschool/college boyfriend. His reason for ending he couldn't handle not being better than her in at least one thing. The disappointment from this healed as he still her friend. Nothing changed except the once a week sleepover at his apartment and the fact he happy with a new petite girl friend who giggled.
She found the change a mere bump in her life. Another hiccup when she broke her arm and the basketball team devastated she wouldn't be playing for the big tournament in three weeks. , to the doctors surprise, the bone healed and she back to her normal active self after two weeks.
She missed her dad and the ache in her heart from his daily absence didn't lessen though friends told her would. Beth told her the best way to get over the loss would be to sell the house. The house she grew up in with her dad wouldn't be put up for sell if she help .
She stared at the house which now a smashed window and a burned out electrical system from the surge of power shot through the puzzle.
"Okay," she said out loud. "Time to stop daydreaming about seven eyed monsters and asses the damage."
She walked through the broken window half thinking the monster would be waiting to explain everything to her. To tell her, the puzzle a way to find intelligent humans to recruit for their secret spy organization.
The logical part of her thought how I let my ego get in the way of seeing a prank- an ultimate internet troll gotcha-an elaborate puzzle game-set up to bomb the lucky solvers dwelling. I wonder if my phone survived another thought to crossed her mind while eyes scanned the wreckage and took in the incomprehensible sight before her.
"Damn," she said as she kneeled before the seven puzzle pieces floating around a glowing gold orb. , with one finger, she touched and pushed the closest puzzle piece. bounced in space but found its same hovering spot.
With a small hesitation of a child taking an un-asked for cookie, she touched the orb.
Images of her as childhood danced around the floating puzzle pieces. One of her pushing the roundabout. Another of her breaking her arm and a seven eyed figure in the back ground. In fact, all the images showed where she seen, for a brief second, a tall figure in the background of her life. Once she comprehended the link between the images, they disappeared.
She touched the orb again and the color changed to blue and a faint sound of bass notes started to make a repeating pattern.
Her phone buzzed. She scanned the ground. she spotted , a name flashed but she couldn't read .
The bass hum from the orb grew louder. She grabbed her phone, tapped accept, and said, "Hello?"
"Is you who summoned a hag?" said a woman twirling a parasol above her head to young man with curly shoulder length black hair.
"Yes, thank you for..."
"Skip all the pleasantries. The purse better be heavy with coin for this country left the primal stage."
"May I your name, my lady?"
"Name? My Lady? I'm a hag and my name is not your business."
" Miss, you don't appear to be a hag. Your youth and dress is of a young courtier."
"Yes, yes, yes. I am a sight to behold. Flattery is nothing to me and as I said skip the pleasantries. What of my talents do you want?"
"We need to distract the queen and the prince married off to someone who will fill the treasury."
"What I learned of this primitive burgh is the queen would be distracted by wealth and perhaps, with filled coiffures, she will come out of reveling in the past."
"She built a railroad."
" a ridiculous thing is; not connecting to any other countries. Bah." She held out her hand to receive the purse. She weighed and poured out a bit of coin into her hand.
"Mmm, you paid me to do the deed, but you'll pay me another equal amount when the deed is accomplished. Do you agree?"
"Yes." She stepped away from the man and stared at the castle visible through the trees. On the crook of her arm a large bag. She dumped the coins in and walked back to the man. "I a way to accomplish what you ask. Meet me here tomorrow but at dusk. This country's sun is harsh to my skin."
", these woods thieves."
"Do you think a hag is concerned with the treachery of men?"
"No, I ..."
"You think of me as a lady with female sensibilities. Are you not from the country of Batablar? Women are not considered frail and in need of man's protection."
"Yes, I am but how-"
"Your accent. Tomorrow at dusk and bring me some fine castle ale too. This country makes my throat dry."
"What of your talents will you use? We want discretion." He said with slight panic realizing if he or his cohorts connected to the hag in would be bad for all involved.
"Do not worry your head of my deads. Be gone." He turned and scurried toward the castle as a drop of rain hit him on his nose.
"Wake her!" I hear and I am conscience, but keep my eyes shut frightened by what I will see when I them. I was on a skyscraper roof with blood gushing from my nose and then black spots formed my eyes. That was it.
A sharp prick stings my elbow and cool liquid goes into my vein. I jolt upright and my eyes pop without me wanting to do so.
"Hello, demon and , please," said the man next to me holding a needle. I . On the other side of the bed, stands a woman in a white lab coat with crossing her chest. are folded her and she taps a pen on her arm.
"Time for Jack, Dr. Falbrit?" asked the tall well built bald man to her right.
"Of course, ," she said.
comes closer with a clear box, a spider the size of the palm of my hand peers out of it. Its neon green back is metal but the hairs on are real. I am not getting what is happening as my mind, in vain, tries to understand the passage from the roof to seeing people in lab coats.
Mult opens the lid to . "Meal, Jack," he said as if were a dog and he had commanded him to sit. takes slow steps and rest on the edges of the .
It leapt . I again. is rigid though I want to do something to get off me. starts to flow out of my .
" ! Don't let her move," commands Doctor Falbrit.
sits staring at me with its eight eyes. I continue to screaming.
" up, demon," said the man who still had a needle in his hand. "I'm stopping your bloody ."
I mid clamp my mouth and swallow .
"First, I'll cauterize the vein which keeps popping and with a nifty , it will be healed permanently. Don't . You wouldn't want me to get your eye instead." was still standing .
"Why can't I ?"I asked as he retrieve a later cauterizing tool out of a panel in .
"The first woke you and paralysed your muscles from the neck down. No worries. Its not permanent."
"Stop chatting with the demon and get on with it. Jack needs to get to its job," said the Doctor.
He moved quickly and stopped the bleeding with which I had experienced before in hopes of stopping my constant nose bleeds. I didn't see that after he pulled out a three inched needled syringe from . My focus watched and I wondered at its purpose.
"This procedure will pinch and sting..." said the man.
"Oh, for God's sake. She's a demon who cares if she hurts her or not," said doctor Falbrit.
I muffled a scream, my only defense at the moment, when came towards . Yes, I definitely didn't want him missing and sticking me in the eye. pricked my skin at the tip which I felt but then nothing. the time it took for him to push the fine up along was one of the longest moments I have ever experienced.
He turned his face away from the doctor and whispered to me as he work. "This will alter and strengthen the vessel in your .It works on your human and will prevent the nervous blood release your demon cause."
Once reached he pulled it out slowly while pushing down the syringe releasing along . was cool and my eyes water for the sensation.
"This is the only procedure you'll have without pain," said .
was free from my face, said, "Jack, do it."
went into action. It's skin was black, hairy, and real but the mechanical parts . The two front legs move which . One lengthened toward while the other placed its tip above my heart. The man who fixed and he mouthed, "Don't ."
It took every fiber not to , but I didn't. A pinching prick was at and on my chest when touched the two spots. The doctor's face seemed with the joy a child has when they received a and get to play with it. Her was me.
Captain Hank Myer
With made up to rescue the demon girl, I assessed the situation as my airship force training had taught me. There were three against me and the girl who didn't know me and I was dressed as one of the men who would have attacked her if she hadn't passed out from a bloody nose. She might be terrified by me and not understand that I am rescuing her. In my jacket breast , a stun gun, barely charged, sat because Rock and Cross issued it to me. My pants held a pen. Brut force was my only real .
A echoes, a breath, and another and another.
Desperate for some type of besides my hands, I searched . seemed small and delicate. Silence fell on . It was harder to handle than the screams. What have they done to her? Is she bleeding again? Her face flashed across and though he had only been with her for minutes her intense eyes would never leave his . Her strength and beauty was seared into his soul.
He found a heavy metal foot long canister. It would do and would serve the purpose of taking out the brute that held . The Brut being his biggest concern.
He runs to the cell and stops to listen. Silence and a shuffling of feet are the only sounds. With his hand on the door knob, he turns it and is thankful it isn't locked. He burst in ready for the fight.
his first target as he enters, he hits the brute's head with . The metal twang is satisfying as the hulking man slumps to the ground. He hopes the other two are as easy. , he grasps the handle and backhand swings it across the woman's head but doesn't make impact as she sidesteps the blow. He catches sight of with its neon front leg at girl's neck which distracts him.
The woman at him with a scalpel. He ducks away and back swinging across her head. With another twanging sound, she is knocked out.
The small guy is behind the bed and his hands go up with a plea for him to , "Jack won't now. I shouldn't let you take her because..."
The thug started to moan and her rescuer didn't want to deal with him again. He drops , pulls his pen knife, and snaps it open. its blade, he flicks from under its belly and up. flies off but leaves two neon legs still attached to the girl; one on her neck and the other at her chest.
girl grimaces as he does this, but she doesn't move. She answers his question before he can form the thought.
"They drug me, I'm paralyzed. Please, get me out of here."
this sentence is out of her mouth, he reaches under her and around her shoulders and lifted her off the bed. She was remarkable light for her six foot two inch frame. sticking out of her would be dealt with once they were safe.
He headed for the stair well and bounded down three flights of stairs in .
She said breaking the , "I can feel the needles from ."
He stopped and a tear escaped her eye and rolled down her cheek. His movements were causing .
"What can I do?" he asked.
"I don't know but the paralysing drug is wearing off."
"Yeah, maybe I can walk in a moment and you won't have me."
"Your light, I mean, I thought you would be hard , but its like you're a bird."
"You never been around a half breed befor?"
before she could explain that the side of her created an aether effect on the human cells and made her six foot two inch frame buoyant instead of weight in his arms, a stairwell door opened and shuts. He scooped her up again and continued down the stairs. He would get her to safety before they dealt with , her paralysis, leg needles, and learning about her demon blood.
terrible minds flash fiction A Forbidden Tryst, A Lost Comic Book, A Spider
A demon girl, a bloody demon girl, a bloody beautiful demon girl laying at my feet unconscious and I, along with the five other black suited men surrounded her, am supposed to take her for scientific experiments.
Last year, the Rock and Cross Science group hired me. My recruitment consisted of a man approaching me after the graduation ceremony from the skyship academy and telling me my first year wage and benefits. If I had known a portion of my job would be to man handle poor unfortunate half demon/half human creatures, I would have settled for working my way up in another company with a skyship fleet or entered Skyship Force. Most of my peers entered Skyship Force.
"I'll keep the rag to her nose so she doesn't bleed to death while someone else carries her," I said, taking charge and wanting to be the one handling her head as the others might not be gentle. I cradled her head with one hand and held the already soaked with blood rag to her nose. I couldn't tell that she was part demon by looking at her delicate face and fiery red hair.
The set of pure defiance in her jaw she gave us when she descended the ladder from the pirate skyship she'd been kicked off and betrayed by danced in my mind. If she hadn't passed out, she would have fought us.
The sight of blood streaming from her nose when she leveled her head to face us wrenched at my heart. Her manner spoke of everything I lost by taking this overpaid private pilot and henchman job. Damn, I wish the money wasn't so good. I thought about quitting daily until I fly to a foreign land and sleep in a top notch hotel then I tell myself I will quite next week.
The other men were like drones. They rarely spoke and didn't interact with me. The other two times I did this duty, the demons were boys in their early twenties. Rock and Cross paid large sums of money to skyship pirate captains for half breeds demons. Since the first boy, I researched into the medical and scientific divisions of Rock and Cross but of course everything out for the public was all about how they helped the everyday person. I couldn't find anything that even intrigued me.
We descended the stairs and fortunately the holding cells were on the top floor and down the hall from the labs. If I had to carry her further, the tugging at my heart would be hard to ignore. I'd run away with her and protect her from these scientists. With the company looking so glossy to the public, the nature of the experiment couldn't be good.
The boys, after I place them in their cells, haunted me when I flew. Flying skyships had been pure joy from the moment I took command of the wheel on my father's ship. Now, the exhilaration of flying Rock and Cross's top of the line ships came with regret and guilt. The joy left me with the stares of hatred from the boys bored into me.
The girl demon was to be placed in cell number six. Once she lay on the bed, the other men left, but I still held the rag to her nose. I was about to check to see if the bleeding stopped when her eyes opened and her head lifted. The rag fell to the ground.
"Hi," I said.
"My comic book. Where. I lost it?" she said and then her head flopped to the side. She passed out again.
The bleeding had stopped and I should leave but couldn't. Her vulnerability of being unconscious, her determined stance when she momentarily face six men, and my attraction to her kept me from leaving.
From the stories, I was feed about demons, I assumed they were hideous dangerous creatures. The three demons I put into cells didn't appear different from me and she was beautiful. I grabbed a wad of toilet and wetted it from the fixtures in the room, and cleaned her face of the blood.
Her red lips stood out from her creamy complexion. The temptation to touch my lips to hers became a desire. I bent my face towards hers.
"Miss," I said an inch away from touching her lips with mine. At the moment my lips grazed hers, footsteps started to coming down the hall. I stood and two men and one woman entered the room.
"You should be gone," said the woman with a stern I-dare-you-to-defy-me glare.
"She's unconscious and her nose was bleeding," I spit out as an explanation though I don't think they wanted one.
"Leave, now," commanded the woman. The bald man behind the woman had a clear box held between his hands. I looked at it as I passed by it. A black and neon green spider the size of a lens in my airship goggles scurried. I walked out.
My hand reached out to turn the knob and head down the hall to the elevators. I was scheduled to fly Rock and Cross Skyship One to Belarus in one hours. One hour gave me enough time to pack a bag and get to the ship. Pulling my hand back, I turned and stared at the lab's machines. The demon girl would not be left in the hands of the Rock and Cross scientists.
Flash Fiction for terrible minds flash-fiction-challenge-who-the-f***-is-my-dd-character
Meticulous tie fling Ranger from the now dry swamp who suffers from nosebleeds
You wouldn't know it from my current location of standing on the sidewalk looking up at skyscrapers, but I am from the dry swamp land. The swamp was long gone years before I existed, but a fossil of a sea creature I found in the desert waste lands is always in my pocket. My hand clasped the shape and touch the spiral curve moving my finger along its bumps. Wherever I wander, this bit of my home is in my pocket.
"You can't stand here. Everyone can see that you are a tie fling," says a small creature at my left shoulder.
"What do you mean? Because I'm not in a suit? There are..."
"Your height! Don't you see that you are a least a half a head taller than everyone around you? And, your stillness. No normal human is still, at least not in the city. Follow me before you attract danger." His nose twitched with every syllable. By his stature and twitching, I guessed he is a mole halfling who, I was once told, rarely come out in the day and prefer the city sewers.
"I won't go with you. If you are so observant, you'd know I am a sky pirate ranger waiting to join my ship." I sniff at the beginnings of another nosebleed. Whenever I am the least bit agitated, I get one and this creature is agitating.
"A girl, a girl ranger on a sky ship. Never heard of such a thing," he walked around me looking at every inch of my 6 foot 8 inch frame. I was taller than the human men around me and my meticulously tailored ranger uniform didn't fit the dress on the city streets. I was standing out while standing still.
"You are already catching the eye of everyone who passes. You know, in the city of Vusilla, creatures are not allowed on the streets between 8 and 7."
"If that is the case, what are you doing here, near me," I pulled out my hanky and placed it under my nose. In a pinched nasal tone, I continued. "You are attracting way more attention by circling me. Stop it."
"Come, you must come with me."
"No," I hissed wishing the ladder would drop and I would be rid of this creature. I tilted my head to let the blood drain down my throat instead of into my now soaked hanky. "Come on, its 11, where's the ladder."
The ladder appeared as the mole halfling yanked on my coat. I shoved him with the hand not pinching the bridge of my nose and with the same hand grabbed the ladder. The ship's bow was peaking through the cloud bank towards the top of the skyscrapers. I placed the one bloodless corner of my hanky in my mouth hoping that this placement would catch the blood before it hit my clean shirt and started to climb. The sky ship also rose taking me further from the ground and the mole, and the world of men.
"You can not leave," shouted the mole halfling. He jumped and grabbed the last rung of the ladder. The tug and jolt of the ladder told me he clasped a rung. Shaking the ladder, I hoped he would drop.
The blood would gush if I tilted my head down, so I kept my head up trying not to be covered with blood, again. The mole climbed below me as he puffed a breath with each rung he ascended. When I reached the bow of the ship, Rasnalph was waiting with a clean wad of cloth.
I grabbed the cloth as I swung on the ship. On board, I spit out the bloody hanky and put the fresh one to my nose. The mole halfling hoisted himself on my ship.
"Where's the captain?" I asked Rasnalph, but before he answered, the captain was greeting the mole halfling.
"Glad you're aboard, Bissbort," said the captain while shaking the mole halfling's hand. I stop myself from asking the questions crossing my mind when Bissbort looked at me. He gave a barely perceptible no shake of his head and implored me with his eyes not say a thing about what had happened on the ground.
Yaldit was at his post watching the ground through the brass telescope, "The land of men is oblivious to what's really going on as usually. Well, at least the men in the city are. We almost tangled with men picking up Samige in the farmland."
"Good to have you back on board, Areanne. Who's the shorty?" asked Rasnalph.
The captain announced, "This is new crew member is Bissbort and he will be directing our mission to and through the land of fog. His commands are my commands."
Bissbort hooked his thumb through his faded green vest, puffed out his chest, and announced, "The mission is of utmost importance and this crew was specifically chosen for this task. That is... except for Areanne." He pointed his stubby finger at me. "You will get back on the ladder and descend. We are hovering over the building of Rock and Cross for your immediate departure."
I stood staring at Bissbort not believing what I was hearing. Rasnalph, my friend of 9 years, shoved me towards the ladder. Without a word, I climb back on the ladder, descended, and kept my head tilted back.
A group of six men in black suits surrounded me when I jumped to the ground. My mind was blank. The rag Rasnalph had handed me was soak through with blood the moment I leveled my head and held it to my nose.
"This way," was the last sound in my ears before blackness over took my vision, and I slumped to the ground.