Finding Gratitude, Part 18

Darkling

            There were others. Freaks, monsters, abominations to sight and mind.

Other people like her!

Lana flew up to the sky. Past the tall buildings of stone and wood. Yesterday she had tried to hide in fear. She had to hide, had to run at any sight of anyone who could see her too. Anyone who wasn’t Mel or Sela was going to hate her, hurt her, maybe even kill her.

But no! That was wrong. The Reza were there. They knew about her. They cared. She wasn’t just alone anymore. She could do anything!

She shrieked to the sky. A high-pitched call, filled with joy that left her ears ringing. If anyone walking around far below her had heard, they would have screamed in pain. But they didn’t. Lana didn’t even care if they had. She was alive!

Lana perched on a building, and started to think. Mel and Sela needed to be found. It had been over a day since she had seen them. They must be worried sick, running around looking for her. To leave them in the dark, that wasn’t very nice.

But where would they have gone?

Lana pouted. This was not easy. The heroines had never been in such a situation. They stuck together, and to smaller cities. To be trapped in Gratitude, being lost in all this noise and clutter. Where was she even supposed to start looking?

Hmmm…not for Sela. Sela followed her own ideas, or that sword’s. The duelist could be anywhere, doing anything. Lana suspected she was fighting, or maybe sleeping. But anywhere she was going to be, it would be dangerous.

Mel, then. She would be making justice. Mel was always making justice. Look for a place that needed saving, and Mel would be trying to break in.

Lana looked around. Where would danger be in Gratitude? Everywhere, yes. But specifically? In the slums, or maybe closer to the Reza?

Or that giant spire that was shrouded in darkness. Surrounded by rubble, and begging to be explored. That would probably work.

The girl dove off the building. Her wings caught an updraft, sending her twirling back into the sky. She smiled, and basked in the sun for a moment. This was the life.

The wind filled her ears. She could hear nothing. Not even the arrow that pierced her wing.

Lana cried out. The wooden shaft tore through her left wing. Suddenly useless, she plummeted. In vain she scrambled with her right, trying to remain airborne. The movement only succeeded in causing her to tumble to and fro in the air.

She changed tactics. Lana opened her wings, and screamed again at the renewed pain. She struggled to remain stable, and managed to maintain a shaky glide. Straight into a building.

Ignore the pain, she thought, or the spinning in your head. It was too far to fall and survive. Either hold or die.

Lana struck out with her claws. She dug into the stone, and held fast. Even with her left wing hanging loose at her side, she could hold on.

Until the second arrow pierced her leg.

This was too much. Lana lost her grip, and dropped. As she lost consciousness, she wondered how death would be like. And if Mel and Sela would even find her body.

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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