Once the ship disappeared from sight, Michael took a breath, sighing. He closed his eyes and made another attempt at contact. "Rachel?" No answer. Only when the circle of events that happened stopped, Michael only began to acknowledge the battlefied around him, littered with gore and lifeless husks of once living beings. It gave him a slight shudder, looking at the death that lingered around. He decided it would be best if he didn't stay too long. With that thought in mind, Michael made a calm and steady stride towards his horse, but stopped short. He scratched his head in disappointment, before he sighed.
His eyes scanned the field for a live horse that had not been suffocated by the cobwebs, or killed in the long battle. Fortunately, there was one horse who seemed to be standing by itself, completely dumbfounded, as if it had not noticed the war at all. Michael didn't complain, it provided a way for him to get back to Waknuk fast enough. "It beats walking."
He walked towards the horse slowly, as to not frighten it, so he could easily tame it and have it ride him to Waknuk. It didn't take much, he easily calmed the horse, and was able to get on it's back. With a quick whip of the leash, Michael was able to rear the horse and head towards the direction of Waknuk. The gallop of the hooves on the ground was the only sound that went into Michael's ears for the next eighteen hours. It wasn't soon before Michael began to feel a strong feeling of fatigue wash over him. Bringing the horse to a stop, he found a comfortable-looking patch of grass to lay down on.
"Michael? Are you there?" The sudden image in his mind woke Michael up, and it was immediately followed up by the flashing of light that sparked on Michael's eyes from the treeline, as he moved to get up. The shapes popped into Michael's mind again. "Michael? Are you there?"
Michael rubbed his eyes with his left hand, using his right to hold himself up. He took a slight yawn before he could rearrange his thoughts. Then he finally responded. "Yeah, I'm here. I'm almost there, Rachel." He reassured her, and he could tell she was still feeling sad. He wanted to get there fast, just so he could comfort her. "Please wait a little longer." He looked at the horse, who stood there, ready to move on command from it's rider.
Rachel answer quickly. "Okay." She didn't respond after that, for the longest time, until Michael was able to arrive back in Waknuk. When he arrived into Waknuk, he tried to contact Rachel again. She answered quickly and he asked her to meet him outside Waknuk in ten hours. She agreed, and didn't choose to question why they didn't leave now. With that, Michael stopped by his house, and braced himself for the barrage of questions from his mom.
He walked up along the path to the door, unlocking it with his keys, and walking inside. The time was approximately eight in the morning, but no one was up yet. It was only his mom and him who lived there, with his dad having died when Michael was but a child. The door creaked slightly as Michael eased his way in, closing the door quietly and walking into the kitchen. It wasn't until when Michael had reached the kitchen, that the house was completely empty. No sign of his mother. He didn't complain, though, he was not in the mood to deal with questions at all. He took items from the kitchen, about two and a half loafs of bread, with a six inch thick block of cheese, and a large mutton, about two feet long and six inches thick, into one bag. Walking into his room, he put the bag down, and lay on his bed. Despite it being morning, he fell asleep easily.
He woke up, and it was still fairly light outside. He opened the door and peaked around the house. No sign of life as of yet. He wondered where his mom was, but it was better if she thought he died in the battle. He got dressed quickly, bringing a sack of food. It seemed heavier for some reason, as if more had been put in it. He didn't bother to look, though. He simply grabbed his quiver of arrows, slinging it on his back, coupled with his bow, a map and compass, a canteen, and a hunting dagger was on his waist, as he made his way out of his house.
He tried to contact Rachel, who responded quickly. "I'm heading to the outskirts in the woods to the southwest. I'll meet you there." With that, she cut off, and Michael made his way out of his house, and towards his horse. He tied the bag to the horse, and rode towards Rachel. Once he reached her, the smiled at each other, and began to ride down. Rachel had a worred look on her face as we strode, and Michael made an attempt to comfort her.
"What's wrong? Why are you making such a saddened face?" Michael asked, a slight sense of worry was showing.
"I don't know... I'm just worried, and I can't stop thinking about the others. Mark, Sally, and Katherine."
Michael closed his eyes for a moment, as if initiating some sort of deep thought. Then he opened his eyes a moment later, as if nodding to himself that whatever he was going to say now would be for the best. "Katherine and Sally, there's nothing we can do for them. Probability is that they're both dead now, most likely killed by the inspector. As for Mark... He may have suffered an accident, similar to Walter's case." He spoke, though he had made a mistake in having no consideration for Rachel's feelings. He felt horrible for saying such morbid things, but they both knew it was probably true.
Instead of brooding on such sad thoughts, Michael already had a plan thought out, though it did include doing some horrible things. He looked at Rachel. "I remember seeing a boat parked at Rigo on my way back. It seemed ready to sail, and it was only tied to the pier by a low quality rope. We could easily cut it and hijack the boat. From then we'll sail towards Sealand, and hopefully we would reach Petra after a fair bit. I've brought a map and a compass." Rachel nodded, content with the plan as they both galloped off.
Everything went according to plan. They found no opposition as they easily edged the boat out and sailed down after raising the sail. The boat was Ketch sailboat, thought seemed to be custom made by whoever owned it. There was a singular sail, and a cabin for the boat which only has one bed and a trunk. It was rather small, and seemed to be a boat mostly fit for traveling by oneself, but it'd do for their journey.
Michael stood staring at the horizon, his map open as he navigated. Rachel was in the cabin, and checked through all their provisions. Michael took a breath, and already marked a route to go through. He adjusted the sail so they would be heading to the south. He walked inside the cabin and talked with Rachel.
"We'll be sailing down to Lark after a while, for fresh water and supplies, if necessary. Let's decide who's on first watch tonight." Michael looked at Rachel. He decided he would volunteer anyways.
"I'll do it." Rachel spoke. "You need to rest, Michael, especially after the ordeal at the Fringes. You must be tired." Rachel said, and without letting Michael get a word, she exited the cabin and stood out. Michael sighed to himself, but did not resist. He really did need the rest.
When he woke, light shone through the cabin window. It seemed as though it was well into the night. He exited the cabin and managed to see Rachel adjusting the sail. He walked up to help her, picking up the map and facing it accordingly. "You get some sleep now." Rachel nodded and handed him the map and compass, a yawn escaping her as she walked into the cabin.
It wasn't until four days of this continuious cycle that they arrived past the Straits of Newf, and docked at Lark. Michael tied down the boat, using the rope they had cut earlier. Thank goodness it was long. Rachel and him got off, and they sighed. "Let's go find the general store. Maybe we can ask for directions." Micheal walked into the town first, and Rachel followed quickly behind.
As they walked, they found a little girl rumbling through the bushes. Michael walked towards her. "Excuse me? Do you kn-" Michael was cut short as the girl turned around and ran away. He scratched his head, confused, but sighed.
As they continued to walk, passerbys ignored them or gave them dirty looks, and one man in particular yelled at them to go away. Rachel tugged on Michael's sleeve. "We should leave as soon as possible... I don't like this place." Michael nodded to Rachel, reassuring her with a pat on the shoulder, and continued.
It didn't take long for them to find a flowing fountain, and Michael refilled his canteen. Rachel did the same, and it was easy for them to find the general store from then on. They entered hesitantly.
The door opened and make the sound of chimes from the roof top, and a happy, comforting voice spoke. "Hello! Welcome? How can I help you?" A hearty middle-aged man came from behind the counter. He seemed nothing like the others who lived in Lark, he had a huge smile, and seemed more tan. He had a grizzled beard and muscular, hairy arms. We were slightly dazed from the initial impression we got from the other towns people, and the man spoke once more. "What's the matter lad? Cat got your tongues?" He chuckled slightly.
Michael began to compose himself and cleared his throat. "Sorry. We were just amazed to see such a lively individual as opposed to the others..." Rachel remained quiet.
"Oh, them? Haha! They're just shy of new comers. Lark is a pretty secluded place and seldom has visitors, you see." The man began to explain the nature of the town, about the residents being very cautious of visitors and such. "But they're good people on the inside." He finished, and nodded to the two. "So, what brings you here?"
Michael looked at him, then to Rachel. Rachel nodded, and he returned his attention back to the man. "We're travelling to a far away place. Past the Black Coasts, to a place called Sealand." He answered the man, with the utmost confidence.
The man gave Michael a questionable stare, but he knew that something about Michael tells him that this was very serious, and that he did know what he was doing. The man took a breath, and nodded to Michael. "Travelling such a far place at your age... Listen, boy, this is a dangerous journey. It's best you turn back now, and go back to your parents."
Michael looked down on the ground at the thought, then looked back at the man. He opened his mouth, but no sound. He clenched his fist and grinded his teeth, then spoke again, calmly. "We can't." The man seemed suprised, then confused. He scratched his head, but then he seemed to have decided something.
He turned around, then, dropped a large bag of bread, meat, and other provisions. "You'll need this. I wish you the best of luck on your journey." The man said. His face was serious now, not so joyful, but he gave Michael's a thumbs up. Michael looked at the man, and he smiled for a moment, but quickly fixed himself. He nodded to the man, and attempted to lift the bag. Even it made him stagger a bit before he was able to carry it whole. Rachel waved good bye to the man as they made their way back to the ship. There was enough food to last them weeks. They were definetly fortunate.
They began to go back on the boat, and untied the knot, beginning to sail once more. Rachel sorted out everything in the cabin, as Michael took hold of the boat once more. The sailed for a long time, unable to keep track of time while they had. They had been fortunate up to know, though, and they hoped their good fortune would last.
Perhaps four days of sailing passed by, before they began to notice large stalks of corn, taller then small trees, and Michael reached for his map. "Seems like we've left Labrador, and are entering the Badlands now." He spoke to himself. Rachel was most likely still sleeping. It was awfully boring by himself.
About an hour passed by before Rachel awoke. She opened the cabin door, and yawned a bit. She took in her surroundings, and calmed herself before she paniced. "Badlands?" Michael nodded. She sighed. Crows flew overhead making a fuss, and Michael concentrated on directing them. They started to enter a narrow bay, and Michael remained calm. He needed to go with absolute precision. The walls were narrowing down now, as if they were closing in.
It took a bit, but they managed to get through as the hill lowered down. Then they entered an open area on the seaboard, with no islands in sight at all. No signs of land. Michael took out his map, and they seemed to be off the border. They drifted on the sea for a long time, maybe a week, before large waves began to crash against their ship. They didn't rock much, but they struggled to keep the ship in balance. The tides began to die down, but then a large one carried them for a distance. It wasn't long before a crash was heard, then a scraping sound, and everything began to black out.
Michael's eyes opened slowly for a moment, but he couldn't take anything in yet. Everything was fuzzy, but he felt like he was being shaken. Then, his mind snapped, and he became sharp and alert. The sudden burst caused Rachel to be scared and back off, but she regained herself. "W-What happened?" Michael was breathing heavily.
"We crashed." Rachel pointed towards the wrecked boat on shore. However, the boat was not in pieces, though it did have a large hole through the middle. Their luck may have ran out, or it may have been a slight blessing. They could still retrieve their provisions.
As they got everything they needed from the shipwreck, Michael looked at his map, completely lost. He looked at his compass, and headed to where it showed southeast was. "This way, Rachel." She nodded and followed. It lead them into a jungle, the trees all seemed rather normal, but they kept hearing sounds as they made their way through.
As the went through the jungle, cutting down branches in their way, it was only a mattter of time before they encountered something. A growling was heard as they made their way into the heart of the forest. "What is that?" Rachel shrieked lightly, pulling out her bow. Michael dropped the supplies lightly, looking around.
Then, out suddenly, came a furry beast with sharp teeth, pouncing from higher ground on the cliff onto Michael. He reacted in time, swinging his arms up and clutching at the neck of the beast. It's drool gazed onto Michael's face, as Rachel strung an arrow on her bow, and shot at it. It hit the beast in it's rear, causing it to howl and back off. Reacting quickly, Michael reared back and pushed the beast off with force from his foot. The beast retreated, getting back on it's feet, ready to pounce once more. Michael pulled out his dagger, prepared to manuever it.
The beast made no attempt to decide of a plan, leaving itself to it's primal instincts, and dashed forward at Michael, who's eyes analyzed it. He acted quickly, dropping down as the beast pounced, having it go right over him as he plunged the dagger into the beast's underside, and yanked it through it's body. A whimper escaped the lips as the beast's body flailed and landed on it's back, to the ground.
Michael gasped for breath, and Rachel did too, scared for her life. She dropped her bow and ran to hug Michael. Michael did the same, careful not to stab her with the dagger. "Oh, Michael!" She cried on his shoulder.
"I'm fine, Rachel. I won't leave you alone again." He said, caressing her back to help her take in her tears. She nodded to him, and composed herself. Quickly they were on the move again, being as cautious as ever. They made their way through the jungle, but night fall came very soon. They found an open space, and started a fire.
Rachel kept first watch, and Michael went to sleep. After about six hours, Michael woke up, and Rachel slept. It was peaceful this night, but lonely. He began to clean off some of the creature's blood from himself. By morning Michael had food cooked, and they ate quickly, in hopes not to encounter another one of those beasts.
They were already on the move, and they didn't encounter anything else for a while. They were getting lucky now, as they made their way through, but their supplies were getting light. They may run out soon. There were too many worries on his mind. They kept their regular track, it was as monotonous as the ship ride, but they were used to it. It actually flew by fast, but the jungle scenery seemed to be repetetive. Then they were able to find themselves out of provisions already. It must've been a long time they'd had travelled. That's when they noticed something swinging in the trees.
Michael looked up, and noticed something. Monkeys? No. They looked more fierce, and larger. One landed behind them and walked on all fours, and only then did they notice the distinguishing features. It had ravenous teeth, and seemed extremely fierce and frenzied. It made insane sounds, and slammed the ground. The vibrations gave Michael goosebumps. It seemed stronger then it's shape, and the thing stood still. Movement stopped for a moment before Michael's foot slid on the ground. "Rachel, run!" He threw the bag of what was left at the beast, and it slammed it into it, causing it to bounce back.
As Rachel and Michael began running, and the beasts also began to swing from trees after them. It didn't take long for the one that landed on the ground to be sprinting after, with two more behind it. Michael and Rachel ran with all their strength, evading tree branches and sliding through treelines that slowed the beasts momentarily. Suddenly, the broke through the jungle, into an open space along a beach, with a small path way to a distant island.
Michael began to sprint for his life, but Rachel tripped, and he slid on the ground. His mind bursted and his thought shapes seemed to burst out without any control, an instinct, as he turned and slammed into the beast who pounced for her, slamming him back, and helping Rachel up. He continued to run but the rest of the creatures were chasing after quickly, around eight in total. Then, from the distance, three people in bright white suits travelled along the water at an incredible speed, in strange bright, worm-shaped vehicles.
When they arrived, the worms hopped onto shore and seemed to sprout legs, walking towards the beasts. The people in white suits had these huge weapons, a canister on the back connected to them, and pulled a trigger. Cobwebs shot from it and stuck to the beasts, catching them all. One made it through and pounced for Michael, but one of the white suit men ran forward, slamming the weapon against it's face, and it backed off. The ones not caught by the cobwebs ran off too.
Michael was in awe, and he looked up at the people, taking a breath. The man in the center lifted his helmet with the others following, and Michael was amazed.
The man smiled. "You could've contacted us if you were so close, Michael. We only heard your cry for help just now." David held his hand out.
Michael let a tear run down his cheek as he grabbed onto his hand, and allowed him to be hoisted up. He looked over and Rachel was crying while hugging Rosalind.
The third person that was there was the Sealander woman, and she spoke when everything was calm once more. "You came sooner then I expected, Michael." She smiled. "Now then, shall we go?"
Katherine, Sally, and Mark will slowly become forgotten in their memories, and they would never learn of their fate...
Or perhaps not.