Silence As of FF_1436899_

Disclaimer: I don't own From Far Away (to My Heart), Hikawa Kyoko does, but I did think up a way to explain Izark's ability to sense other people and monsters. Well, besides Noriko and seriously evil spirits.

Anyway, this scene takes place the night after Izark leaves Noriko at Gaya's house.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Silence

It's so quiet.

Izark lay stretched out under a wagon, one hand behind his head, which rested against his bag. There was no need for him to find an inn; the night was a spring one, and warm. Besides, it would take more than a cool breeze and a little dew to hurt him.

He'd spent most nights like this since he had left home.

That is, before the last three months.

The young man shifted, trying to get comfortable. He'd have to get used to sleeping on the ground again. Recently he had made every effort to find a room whenever he entered a town.

Or rather, whenever they entered a town.

Izark shifted, settled himself, and shifted again. He had been fidgeting for a good half an hour before he finally gave up, resigned to sleeplessness. He would have to re-accustom himself by degrees, starting with mildly uneven ground and working his way back up to wheel ruts. True, they had settled for haylofts at least a dozen times, and they had done a good deal of camping in the mountains, but these were not facts that supported the explanation the young man had invented and so had no business in his mind at present.

It's so quiet.

The evening before had seemed silent, as well. Spent on one of Gaya's soft spare beds, with good clean sheets and warm blankets and the window open just a crack so that cool fresh air slid into the room. So comfortable, yet he had tossed and turned for the better part of two hours.

During that time- he would not, could not admit it, but- during that time, he had begun to wonder whether she fared as poorly as he did. Without even realizing it he had opened his senses; feeling with superhuman sensitivity for the tiniest vibration in the atmosphere.

And he had heard- or rather felt- her.

She had been there, just paces away through the wall. The space around her was warmed to the temperature of her body, which he knew to be just slightly cooler than his. The wall absorbed most of that heat before it could reach him, and there was not a trace of the special, alien-world smell that still wafted –now ever so faintly- from her skin, or of the sound of her heart, usually muffled by blankets but now completely blocked by wooden beams and plaster. He could, however, hear her waking breaths, shallow and fast compared to those of sleep. There had been sadness in the harsh way the air passed her lips. That quality slowly faded as the rhythm gradually slowed, and he knew she slept.

He must have drifted off not long after that.

It's so quiet. And yet he could hear the light spring breeze wending through the streets. Somewhere a shutter creaked back and forth, back and forth. It was too early in the season for insects, but already a few muffled chirrups could be heard, even this far into the city. The wagon was filled with hay. Damp, musty hay, if the strong odor of fermenting grasses was any indication. The stable in front of which the wagon was parked radiated warmth from the many drowsy horses kept within. They too, had a pungent scent.

Small comfort to Izark, who twisted restlessly again, stubbornly cursing the hard ground as the cause of his insomnia.

Presently the chiming for the fifth period of dark could be heard, and the young man jerked upright in frustration- Damned bell- ,only narrowly avoiding cracking his head on the wagon's axle.

Snatching up his bag, Izark scrambled out from under the wooden vehicle, slung his belongings over his shoulder, then set off at a stiff trot. There was no point in sitting around and waiting for morning when he could be putting as much space as possible between himself and the Awakening. Or so he told himself.

Sleep was overrated, anyway. Restless sleep was worse than wakefulness. Why hadn't it occurred to him before? Such a slumber would only come with the nightmares.

They had been different lately. Less of his mother. Less of fire, and shadows. More of wide brown eyes, made wider still by terror and pain. More of a special foreign scent mixing with the sour smell of fear, or the smell of blood, or both. More of shrill, petrified sobbing, of a heart-beat and then nothing, of a familiar warmth suddenly extinguished.

On and on he ran, filling the darkness with his echoing steps.

On and on, down empty streets, striving to outrun his fate.

And the silence.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Well? Please R&R, especially if you, dear reader, should find errors of any kind. Muchas gracias.