Sunday, April 13, 2014

Prompt: One foot in front of the other

Jerrel heard the bells ring and twisted in his saddle. “Kembie,” he called, seeing his sister slouched over to the side in her saddle. “Kembie! Wake up! We have to keep going!”

Kembie jerked and straightened, stretching her arms and legs straight out to her sides. She looked up at the cloudy sky and sighed. “I’m sorry, Jerrel. Thanks. Good idea with the bells,” she replied softly.

They hadn’t seen anything crossing the dunes since they started their journey four days ago, but they both knew the dangers. Well, some of them. Kembie looked straight ahead and cast her senses wide open. She saw Jerrel’s silver glow, pulsing around him. The dim rust-colored glow of the two bechembets they rode. Nothing else. Not so much as a gold flash of a night scrim on the sand, or a flitkol catching kelsits in the air above them.

She relaxed, and her night vision returned to normal, Jerrel and the bechembets no more than dark shadows moving over the endless black sand. If they really weren’t being followed, they might make it to Paton-lau in two more nights. If they made it to the city, they only had to evade the entire city guard in order to reach safety. Home. Father.

Kembie reached into the saddle basket behind her for a flask of water and a bag of travelers’ food, the hard bread and sausage she had lived on for far too long. She’d given Jerrel her last citrule when she’d peeled it and saw him drooling. He’d caught her pass neatly and eaten it in three bites.

The bechembets were the only beasts capable of making the desert journey. They followed the ley lines back and forth between Segh-bew and Paton-lau, needing no guidance nor food nor water on the way. They plodded single-file across the dunes from sundown to sunrise, then curled into living boulders to sleep through the day. Kembie and Jerrel could rest in their shade if they stayed very still under the burning sun.

Four days gone. Mother was four days gone. Surely Segh-bew was in mourning and flitkols had been sent bearing messages to Paton-lau. But what lies had the messages told? They could trust no one until they reached the safety of their father’s palace and spoke with him in person.

Tears felt hot on Kembie’s cheeks as she held up memories of their mother like holograms she could turn under a light…

Dogs in House

Time writing
~40 minutes

April word count

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