Sunday, 15 May 2011
#SampleSunday – 15th May 2011
Something from The Key To The Grave. Concussion can be a nasty thing.
Looking at the confusion around me, I tried to think of a reason to move and couldn't think of a single one. It was cool here and something solid supported my back and pressed gently against my right arm. I had to concentrate to keep my head from wobbling on a neck that seemed too weak and brittle to hold it up. I found that turning my head slowly from left to right seemed to help. It was a gesture of denial but I couldn't remember what it was that I was saying no to. Something. A slow and constant no, no, no, as my head throbbed with an all consuming pain.
Several figures in a confused cluster moved across my field of vision, blurred twins twisting and struggling in the centre of a blurred group of men who dragged someone who kicked and screamed and begged. I tracked their movements without interest as my head tracked to the right, then lost awareness of them as I began to turn it slowly the other way. The slow shaking of my head merged with the shrieking hysteria of the voice that danced around the stone square, accompanied by weeping and wailing and gasps that susurrated through me like a blustery wind in a forest. The pale undersides of green leaves danced before my eyes and waves crashed on a rocky beach somewhere far away.
Someone was kneeling in front of me, knees planted either side of one of my long legs. I looked at how they stretched out in front of me. Bare toes of the one foot I could see twitching far away.
“I don't blame you,” the figure was saying. “Anything would have been better than this. Death would have been better. We were betrayed. It wasn't your fault. We fought but they were amongst us, inside the compound.” He was crying. I watched the tears track down his face, like drops of condensation. He must be cold then, I thought. The cold pulls water out of the air. How did I know that? I reached out unsteadily and dragged a finger over his face. Not what I'd intended. It didn't matter. “Patron? Can you hear me?”
A face loomed in my vision, filling the world, making me grunt in fright.
“Can you help us? You have magic, patron.” The voice hissed like the wind in the leaves and a hand spun crazily past the face, touching my forehead. “Is there anything you can do? They are going to turn us all into zombies,” the voice broke. “Do you understand?”
I heard a sob. I wondered if it was me. No one answered. The hand went away. My head wobbled. My neck felt too weak and thin to take the weight of my head. I slowly turned it to the left and then slowly back to the right. There were people. Lots of people moving. The light was bright. It hurt my eyes, Maybe I should close them. No, I thought, no, no.
I wanted to move.
Something was stabbing into my head and making it hurt. I was cold. Sitting in a puddle. I wondered if I was all right. Maybe I needed help. If I moved, maybe I could find someone to help me. Meran was always there to help me get back home.
My hands were in my lap. My legs stretched out in front of me. My feet were bare. I watched my toes twitching. The light was too bright. I'd have to move. My hands were in my lap. Id have to move them. Slowly I dragged one heavy arm away from my body and set it on the ground by my side. There was something tight against my left side, holding me up. It was a barrel. I wouldn't be able to go that way. I'd moved the wrong arm. I moved it back. My arm would be more comfortable in my lap. It seemed to take a long time.
I watched the movement around me, there were people. Lots of people. Most were still. Those close by. There were many others. Some of them were shiny. Armor, I thought The shiny ones were wearing armor. I wished they would take it off; it was too bright in the sunlight. The sun was overhead and it beat down on my skull rhythmically, hurting, making me feel sick. I tried to think of a reason to move and couldn't think of a one. Where would I go? Why would I go there? Maybe I could get out of the light. I tried to move but my arms were weak and it seemed entirely too much effort. Something solid supported my back and pressed gently against my right arm. I'd have to give up that support if I moved.
A shiny group of men stepped out of the crowd that stood all around, seemingly very far away. I could tell they were upset. It was the wild cries, the sobbing, the stifled screams. Those closer to me were moving but not going anywhere. I wondered why they didn't just go if they wanted to go. The shiny figures closed in and dragged one man away. They dragged him as he twisted to break free. For a while they stopped and beat him. Then they dragged him away. I wondered why he didn't just walk.
I closed my eyes slowly. It was hard. My throat was dry. I wanted something to drink. The thought of beer made my belly lurch and I gagged, once, a painful choking cough that brought nothing into my mouth.
The light faded abruptly and I opened my eyes. A black robed figure stood there, looking down on me and a voice rang though my head. “Your woman is asking after you,” the voice said. “I said I would see and tell her of your condition. It isn't good, cityman. I will tell her. If she cooperates then maybe I will have someone do something to help you live. But no, no of course I will not. I will say that but I will lie to her. She is just one of the sheep, after all. We have great deal of experience with reluctant sheep, cityman; they bleat and mill and scheme and plot and plan and it is all the mindless bleating of sheep in the end; among them we have sheepdogs who watch and listen and herd them as needed and one way or another they are used to further our ends.”
I looked at him. Wondering who he was and trying to make sense of what he was saying. I could hear a babe crying, its primitive distress uncomforted.
“She may want to see you, I suppose. She is a stubborn one. Arrogant as all of you are. But she is mine now. Ishal Laharek will be upset. He will have to bargain with me.”
The babe was crying and crying and wouldn't be comforted. The dark figure before me sighed and turned to look over his shoulder at two figures hazy behind him. “Kill that noise.” He turned back as one of them moved purposefully away from us. “Don't fret. Not you. I hear you are useless but I have decided to let death decide your fate. If you live to see the dawn we will take you with us. If not, I will call you back and let the barbarian Dannat have you, as Ishal promised him.”
The babe went suddenly silent.
We looked at each other for a while. I couldn't decide why I was looking at him; didn't know why he was looking at me. After a moment he nodded. “Yes, I think I can describe you to her well enough to suit my purpose. Blood matted hair down to your eyes, sitting in your own filth like the animal you are. Doubtless she would be impressed if she saw you herself. Maybe I will treat her.”
Abruptly he was gone.
I closed my eyes against the light and tried. I tried to remember what sounds I should use to ask for something to quench my thirst. It raged. “Water,” I remembered, but then couldn't think what I wanted it for.