Monday, 31 December 2012

Fool's Paradise: Chapter4


The sun is high and the humidity is sweltering. Our campsite consists of a towering pile of driftwood, stacked for a fire, and the pile of sandy luggages in the sand where we slept. Angus claims we should be on the open beach where hovercrafts and satellites can see us. 

 A fire isn't lit but Angus claims he'll figure it out for us. We're all too tired from lugging around driftwood and luggages across the beach to argue all of his claims. A breeze sweeps in from the sea and I sigh when it reaches me. Looking up the beach at the trees, I envy their shade. 

Why am I sitting here when I could be in the shade? Will I really survive with this group?

I regard the group. We're all drooped in the sand, laying on our blankets. Angus is laying with us, complaining of hunger. "Hey, you," he kicks out to someone laying by his feet. A head pops up to acknowledge him. "Go to the jet and get something for us to eat."

More heads pop up from their blankets and the same horrified stare on the boy's face is reflected. 

"I can't," he says and he turns to all the other heads, seeking help. 

Angus glares and throws a fistful of sand into the boy's gaping mouth. "You will go into the jet  and you will bring back food for the group."

The boy immediately scrambles to his feet, spitting out the sand as he runs to the jet. No one joins him and we watch him inch closer to the collapsed metal and squawking seagulls. 

I turn away from the retreating figure and stand up, irked by the smirk on Angus's face as he watches the boy trip in the sand. "I'm going to go pee," I announce, heading up the beach. No one stops me and I'm glad. The repressing atmosphere that Angus has created is destructive and this heat is only making it worse.

Instant relief accompanies the cool shade of the trees and I take a moment to regard the slight red tinge of my skin. I lean back on a tree trunk and slide down to sit on the roots. Holding my stomach when it clenches, I tilt my head up and wonder if we'll be able to survive until rescue arrives.

A flash of blonde hair and white shirt catch my eye from between the trunks of the trees and without realizing it, I'm on my feet and walking towards it. I don't have the time to berate myself for following my curiosity because I become momentarily stunned by his appearance.

The rays of the sun that peek from between the palm trees highlight his features, especially his blonde hair, casting a halo around his face. His face is tipped up to the sky, hands by his sides as he stares up at the treetops. His lean, tall figure resembles the tree trunks and I find myself approving the slope of his nose and chin as I study his profile.

"What are you looking at?" I ask softly, and as if I had just broken the illusion, he jumps back. I recognize the fear dancing in his eyes and I instantly apologize. "I'm sorry, I'm not going to hurt you, I swear. I'm just curious as to what you're looking at. I'm not going to hurt you."

I prop up my hands by my face, open palmed to show I don't have anything to throw at him. He still looks visibly frightened, but recognition flits across his eyes.

"I'm picking a tree," he whispers, and I'm surprised by the baritone of his voice. "To climb."

I tilt my head up to regard the trees. "They're really tall and don't have any low branches to climb from," I say and from the corner of my eye I see him tilt his head up as well.

"The Demon!"

We both turn just as a girl picks up a rock and throws it at the boy, impacting his arm. He doesn't move, stone-faced as she picks up another rock.

"Get away from her, you Demon!" she shrieks. "Get away!"

"Calm down! I'm okay!" I yell back at her, but her arm winds back and she lobs the rock in his direction. I call for her to calm down again and dive to intercept the rock. The rock hits the back of my ribs as I grab hold of the boy. Another rock hits me in the back before voices yell for her to stop.

A boy comes running, having heard the yelling and tackles the girl down, wrestling the rock out of her hands and telling her to stop. In quick succession, more people come to see what is happening and they tow away the hysterical girl.

Angus finally joins the commotion and comes towards me, and I realize I'm still protecting the boy. The boy doesn't say a word and just watches as I retract myself from him.

"Are you alright?" Angus asks, holding me by the shoulders. I nod that I'm fine but he wraps an arm around my shoulders and leads me away from the trees before I can say anything. I turn in his grasp, ignoring his concern for my well-being and find that the boy is gone. "The boy," I start, but Angus interrupts me.

"That weirdo didn't hurt you, did he?" The venom in his voice stuns me. "If he did, I'll make sure he'll pay." I can only shake my head, and when I do, he relaxes and smiles. "Good. I can't have any of my girls hurt by that lunatic." Suddenly the hand rubbing my shoulder feels heavy and his smile looks slimy.


Happy New Year!!!


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