Author's Note: I don't quite have the energy to type as long a chapter as I would like, so this installment is fairly short. Barely the 1000 words, I believe I usually post. lol. Enjoy. I tried to put a touch of mystery in to make up for it. On a happy note, NaNoWriMo starts this weekend. WOOT!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Author's Note: I don't quite have the energy to type as long a chapter as I would like, so this installment is fairly short. Barely the 1000 words, I believe I usually post. lol. Enjoy. I tried to put a touch of mystery in to make up for it. On a happy note, NaNoWriMo starts this weekend. WOOT!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Author's Ramblings: Would you like to celebrate my 100th post? LOL. I'm happy to share it with you. I almost skipped Eira and DP's tale again this week, but couldn't quite forgive myself for it, so I sat and wrote out another chapter of their adventures, hence, the lateness of this post. My apologies! Eira is learning quickly, but is still adjusting to the curveballs being hurled her way. She has learned from the last time though, to be quiet early on in meditations. ^_^ I've got a good twist coming up, as long as I stay on track, as I plan on participating in National Novel Writing Month in November(if you're interested in learning more about this phenomenal event, check it out at www.nanowrimo.org) . Have a great weekend and happy writing!
By the time the Dark Phoenix had announced the end of a torturous half-hour, Eira was dying to be on her feet again. She immediately sprang upwards the moment his lips finished the words.
“Finally!” Eira rolled her neck, then her shoulders, bending to touch her toes. “Ugh. I feel like a rock.”
“That is not the proper way to end your meditations.”
His serious tone sliced through her new happy bubble. “There’s a proper way to end sitting still and quiet for hours?”
“You were meditating for exactly one minute past half an hour.” He sighed. “And yes, there is a way, but I do not have the patience to explain it at this precise moment. Sit over there, somewhere and amuse yourself until I am through.”
“Through with what?”
“My half of meditations.” He tilted his head. “I don’t want to hear you.”
“What am I supposed to do?”
“Nothing, I hope.” He said, sarcastically. “Short of interrupting me and anything involving excessive noise or movement that would fall under the category of deliberate distraction-amuse yourself-particularly since you will not have a free hour tonight.”
“Oh. Right.” Eira started towards the tree where her pack lay next to his. “Wait a minute, why am I having any free time at all then? I mean, like, I’m curious…sort of. And I don’t do anything but sleep in the afternoon, why should it matter-”
He cleared his throat, both eyes still closed. “Climb a tree or something. Rest your feet. Sit down and think. I need this time, Eira…and I need you to acknowledge what it means for me….please?”
The please on the end was an addition Eira hadn’t been expecting. She hesitated. “Okay…um-”
“There’s a wooden puzzle in my pack, solve it.” He interrupted, stiffly. “Don’t ask me anything about it, don’t talk or mutter to yourself, just solve it.”
The thought was intriguing enough and Eira headed for his pack. To her surprise, it was virtually empty, with nothing but a pair of socks and the wooden puzzle to the left of them. She turned to ask the question on the tip of her tongue and bit it back.
His head had tilted forward until his chin was touching his chest and his entire body seemed to have lost all strength to it, simply, limp as he sat. Eira snatched up the puzzle and retreated to the space farthest away from him, plopping down comfortably on the ground, she began to examine the wooden square.
It was quite some time later before she heard footsteps and by the time she’d torn her gaze away from the cryptic square of wood, the Dark Phoenix was standing over her, offering a hand up. “Ready?”
“Yeah…I think. I couldn’t solve this…I don’t know what the puzzle is.” She placed it in his outstretched hand.
“That wasn’t one.” He tucked it inside her over-tunic pocket, and caught hold of her arm, helping her up. “I commend you on the ability to remain silent when you are thoroughly absorbed in another activity. I do appreciate it when you follow orders and that was quite excellently…followed.” His mouth twitched. “And we’ve spent too much time here already, at least to be on schedule for now. We need to be moving, so come along.”
Eira readily grabbed her bag, hurrying after him. “So wait a moment, it wasn’t really a puzzle? That was the puzzle? That it wasn’t a puzzle?”
“That wasn’t a puzzle to begin with.”
“Then why did you tell me it was!”
“Why did you take my opinion of an inanimate object and base your assumptions off of a single sentence with no fact to it?”
“How do you know I was or wasn’t telling you the truth?”
“You weren’t?” Eira frowned. “Or you were?”
“A little of both.” His mouth twitched. “I did not lie, if that is what you are getting at.”
“You didn’t lie, but you couldn’t tell me the puzzle was fake?”
“It isn’t.” He reached into his pack and brought out the lumpy sock. “The pieces are in here.”
“Pieces?” Eira blinked. “Wait a minute…there was more than one?”
“I made them all available to you when I directed you to them.” He scooped out the handful and extended the cluster of wooden shapes toward her.
It took both hands to accept the ‘gift’ and Eira could only stare at them for a moment before she realized he was waiting on her. “Oh. Oops. Just a moment.” She trickled the puzzle pieces carefully into the pocket and hurried to catch up to where he held the branches aside for her to pass through.
“Solve it later.” He advised. “Watch where you’re walking for now.”
“Speaking of which…where exactly am I walking?”
“On a pathway.”
“Well, duh, I already know that, I mean like, where am I?” She blinked. “I mean, where are we?”
“Any particular reason you wish to know?”
“There has to be a reason?”
“I want to know?”
“You are asking me or telling me?”
“I don’t know. Pick one.”
“I just said I didn’t know.”
“Then excuse me for thinking that you truly do not need to know, so I am overlooking that particular question.”
“Too many particulars.” Eira muttered.
“I didn’t say anything.”
“For your sake, I will not ask you to repeat it.” He countered. “We need to be moving faster.” He hesitated and the glance thrown over his shoulder was aimed at her feet.
Eira instinctively curled her toes within the precious boots. She was not giving up on this one. “My feet are fine!” Her grip on the pack tightened.
He frowned. “Come here.” Eira inched forward. He spun his finger for her to turn around. She hesitated. “Eira.”
There was a loud sigh as Eira slowly rotated, biting her tongue to keep from blurting anything out loud. He reached over her shoulder and took the pack, and within a few minutes had it securely fastened to her back. He gave the straps an extra tug as he circled back around. “When I said faster, I meant it. Try and keep up for a few minutes, while I decide on a suitable means of transport.”
“Suitable means of what?” Eira scrambled after him as he took off again, at his usual brisk pace. “How fast are we talking about?”
“Faster than you’re going, that’s for sure.”
His voice was rather faint and Eira looked upwards to see him standing quite a ways away. “Hey! How’d you get there?”
“By walking.” He shifted impatiently as she caught up. “And I can already tell this is not going to work. Give me your hand.”
“Why?” But even as she asked, Eira was already extending it. She had begun to resign herself to the fact that arguing or questioning was merely a delay to whatever outcome he already had in mind.
“Take a deep breath.” He instructed, grasping her hand firmly in his. “When do you breathe, try not to think about it and take small, short breaths out of the side of your mouth. There will be several types of strain, the least of which is physical.” His eyes narrowed. “It is called speed-traveling and one of these days I shall explain it fully to you.” His free hand moved to this throat and touched a silver charm dangling from a jade cord.
The symbol was familiar, but Eira couldn’t quite remember what it stood for. A tiny tingling feeling traveled up her arm and in the following seconds, she understood-briefly-why he’d asked her to take small breaths.
It had to be the symbol for speed. No sooner had he finished speaking, when a powerful surge of energy rippled through him and then to her, there was a strong pull and then everything was blurring.
Eira was vaguely aware that they were quite nearly flying, as the scenery blurred into solid walls of green, gray and then blue at some point. Time was an entirely different thing, because as before, when he had taken control of her feet, it had all merged into a giant blank block of nothingness.
When her stomach began to growl, the blurring slowed and then he threw a question over his shoulder. “Lunchtime?”
Answering was virtually impossible, for the moment she opened her mouth, all the air was snatched from her lungs. In the moment where she thought she would die, everything stopped.
Dying was almost easier.
Eira slammed full-force into strong arms and something else which cushioned the fall. There was a polite cough and then she found herself lying on the ground, staring up into the midday sky.
“Breathe, slowly.” He instructed. “I am beginning to wonder what exactly they taught you at the basic training.”
“Nothing about this.” She gasped. It hurt to think. It hurt worse to breathe.
“So I see.” He tapped her forehead. Another tingle of energy ran through her. “You’ll be fine. The first time is usually the worst.”
He almost laughed, there was an apologetic look on his face. “I suppose I should apologize again, I sometimes forget a few things…I was not aware that you hadn’t traveled by speed before.”
“I haven’t traveled by anything before.” The ache and burn in her throat was easing, slightly, though ever so slowly.
“You’ve traveled by transport and the old-fashioned way.” He chuckled aloud, this time. “Feeling better yet?”
“Yeah.” She winced. “Can I sit up?”
“You will probably feel better if you stay there for a few more minutes. I will give you that.”
“I’ll take it.”
“Good. Your second meditations will begin when those few minutes are up.”
“In a few minutes.”
“You can eat when you’re through.”
“I’m really hungry!”
“It will take time for your lunch to cook.” He countered. “I am trying to put together a suitable routine for your training, humor me. Meditations will help the time go more quickly.”
“More slowly, you mean.” She muttered. "I don't need a routine."
“I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that one either.” He said, cheerfully. “and I know you’re doing quite well now. Up.”
He extended a hand, tapping her leg with his boot. “Now is fine.”
“Only five minutes this time, right?”
“Good girl.” He slung his pack to the ground, beside hers. It had mysteriously come undone and was now resting neatly at the base of a tree.
A quick glance around revealed that they had stopped at another one of the circular green groves and ripe fruit hung plentifully from the limbs of several trees. Eira closed her eyes for a moment, thinking. She wasn’t sure if more fruit would satisfy her stomach.
“Something the matter?”
“More fruit?” She asked, plaintively.
He chuckled. “No. I would not ask you to live on fruit while enduring such a physically taxing journey.”
“Meditations first.” He was calm, as he removed his cape and folded it, setting it on top of the pack. “Now, what must we do first?”
“I am, I am….um, right. Focus. A center! We need a center.”
“Oh.” Eira bit back a smile, she stared upwards into the sky, moving about until she decided on a center in the clearing. “Center up there…and center in myself?”
“Quick study.” He congratulated. “Shift a bit to your left.”
“Why? I’m in the middle?”
“When you share a center, as in, more than one, the center must be…centered, between all parties.”
“Oh. I guess that makes sense.” Eira shuffled over a few steps, then squinted back up at the ceiling. “Right here?”
“There is good.” He settled down, cross-legged, sitting opposite of you. “Begin.”
Eira bit back the retort, settling down. Lunch would be quicker in coming if meditations did not take any longer than absolutely necessary.
© Sara Harricharan
Friday, October 16, 2009
Author's Note: Eira and DP's story is taking a break this week. Mainly because I actually have a life in terms of schoolwork that must be completed and handed in tomorrow. Thankfully, it is done, but as host, I cannot shirk my duties and make you wonderful writers and readers wait for me to post McLinky, so this is a rerun. Short and sweet, but from an abstract writer perspective-I think. Enjoy! And have a great weekend!
I'm sitting by the window again. Wondering when the pain will end. I feel as if I'm trapped again, thanks to your forgotten pen.
My hands can't move to write the words. To empty my head of this ancient urge. I want so badly to be free of this, but somehow, I'm still stitting here.
Hands are useless if you can't feed yourself. If you can't eat, you die. Unless there are hands to feed you.
I would give almost anything for my hands. To have them working again, to be rid of the pain, the agony, this sheer torture.
Do you remember what my hands could do? They were slim and soft. I could write, paint or draw. I was your little artist.
You loved to see me at work, cramped up in the tiny office, taking my mind to a home away from home. You said I inspired you.
When I felt stuck, I reached for chapstick. The cherry one that you'd always buy for me. I was inspired just thinking of you. From your crooked smile to the gold pocketwatch. To think that you would remember the little things kept me going. It felt good to feel loved.
And popcicles. My most precious memories surround the afternoons where a popcicle made the world all right again. Not the drippy ones on the stick, the ones that you could turn up. You know I loved you.
I loved curling irons. Even though it made a mess of my hair. I never trusted anyone but you to cut it. You knew it too. I never thought I'd marry my hairdresser. How did you talk me into it? Your hands were so gentle, so right. You knew how to twist the frizziness into something pretty.
What happened to us that you can't bear to look me in the eyes? That I can't stand to see you go. That we spend more nights apart than together.
I know I've changed. I don't pretend otherwise. I can't help feeling the way I do. You tell me I'm not a hinderance, how am I supposed to believe you? When I hear what you don't mean to say.
It is hard to get up and go to work every morning. I know. I did it. For seventeen years. Go ahead, twist me up.
Slaving away at a corporate giant wasn't the life I wanted. We needed the money. I needed you. When the stove exploded, I knew your hands wouldn't be the same again. I promised they'd get better. Like the chapstick we had in common, since our first date. Each tube held more love than the one before. You don't buy it for me anymore. It's barely a dollar down at the drugstore. The same one you should go to for milk. They have it cheaper than the grocery store.
It is hard to keep the house clean, entertain guests and throw your own birthday party. I know. I did it. For seventeen years. Go ahead, twist me up.
I would spend weeks looking for the perfect outfit. Weeks where I could only spare a half hour at a time. Once I'd found the best bargain, I'd let you do my hair. You used to buy new hair clips-from that boutique near the courthouse. It's been two years since the last set.
It is hard to ignore a perfect sunset. I know. I've been watching them escape me these past two years. Go ahead, darling. Twist me up.
Your footsteps are coming down the apartment hall. You're tired. I can hear it in your sigh.
I would run and open the door for you, but the wheelchair gets stuck in the entry way. I wish I could hug you, kiss you and hold you. Wish you happy nineteenth anniversary.
If only my hands could move.
Your shadow tempts me from the doorway. For once, your face looks happy. I want to ask what happened, but my lips are sworn to silence.
"Happy Anniversary." You say, kneeling in front of my wheelchair. "I had the strangest thing...happen. I couldn't stop thinking of you." You clasp my hands in yours. "I started to think and...I know we've drifted apart. It's not your fault. We both changed. But at the same time. We couldn't be there for each other. I want to change that. Will you let me?"
I blink back tears that fall anyway. Your scarred hands brush them aside. You set your sweatshirt on my lap. You've tied it into a bundle.
Patient hands undo the knot and your tokens of love adorn my lap. A tube of cherry chapstick, a pair of beaded barrettes, a box of orange popcicles and a receipt.
My eyes ask the question I can't think of. "It's a voice recorder." You say, ripping open the box of popcicles. "You still have your voice, some feeling in your feet and plenty of attitude." You wink.
"There will be a switch to activate it-with your feet. You can record anything you want and I've worked it out, so that my niece-Carolyn? You remember her? She's going to college and needs a place to stay. She'll be happy to keep you company. I know it's hard to sit here all day by yourself, with only the nurse to check in every few hours."
"My voice sounds awful." I choke out, waiting as you clear my lap and reach to take me in your arms. "Where are we going?"
"To the balcony." You say, tucking the popcicles between my hands. "To watch the sunset. We haven't given ourselves a chance, love. Your voice, it is part of the beauty of your spirit. You mustn't neglect it because you cannot express it like before."
It can't be easy for you to tell me this. I know. I've lived with our silence for two years. The evening sun is dancing on my cheeks. I feel your warmth and draw my strength from it. Go ahead, twist me up, I am replacing this bitterness...with hope.
Copyright S. Harricharan
Friday, October 9, 2009
Author's Ramblings: A bit late this week, I almost thought I would skip it, but the post was so fun, I had to finish it and post. In this chapter, we get to see Eira learning to meditate. Very fun to write and of course, plenty of the ususal Eira and DP drama. Read and review! Have a great weekend. ^_^
Eira woke to a persistent shaking of her shoulder. “What?” The word came out more accusingly than anything else.
“Morning.” The Dark Phoenix was standing a few feet away, shaking droplets of water from his head. “Time to wake up.”
“Noooo.” The whine was pathetic, but Eira couldn’t force her brain to begin functioning straightaway. “It can’t be morning.” She squinted into the darkness. She could see the Dark Phoenix clearly, but everything else remained a darken, hazy blur. “S’not morning.”
“Morning creeps up quietly and softly whispers in one’s ear, it does not announce itself with harsh light and a trumpet orchestra.” There was a pause. “I could summon an orchestra for you.” There was the slightest hint of humor in his voice. “If you would like.”
Eira glared at him. “No, I would not.” She achingly rolled upwards, stretching to touch her toes. “Owww. It’s freezing!”
“Really?” He dropped a new pack beside her. “I hadn’t noticed. This is yours.”
The new bag was mysteriously identical to the very one he’d been toting since they’d started. Eira examined it suspiciously, poking it with her foot before touching the flap. “What’d you do with my bag?”
“Folded, inside, bottom left.” He rummaged through his own pack and extracted something. “This one holds more things and you needed the space.”
“I needed the space?” Eira tugged the bag into her lap, surprised to find it lighter to carry than it looked.
“You will need the space.” He amended. “Though I am glad to see you are doing better this morning. Meditations will start in a moment.”
Her head snapped up. “What? No, here? Now?”
“Yes, here, yes now. Am I missing something?”
“I don’t know! I might be!” Her past frustrations resurfaced. “I don’t think I’m in any condition to be going around…meditating!”
“Um-hmmm.” He grunted.
“I-I need breakfast and…a…a shower!” She nodded. “Yes, I need food and I need a shower. I feel all icky. I have to have a shower before I do anything today…and I need to eat something! My stomach can handle it, I’m sure!”
“You didn’t need those yesterday.” He coughed. “and I am more inclined to think that your stomach would be happier without anything in it.”
“That was yesterday! Today is today!” Eira scowled. “I didn’t feel like it yesterday!”
“And you feel like it today?” He asked, matter-of-factly.
He shrugged. “Suit yourself. There’s an extra change of clothes in your pack and whatever else you should need. You have fifteen minutes.” He shifted to his feet and began a series of stretches. “The river is twelve steps outside of this circle-be careful, I’ll whistle when your time is up.”
A happy exclamation followed as she rooted through the contents. “Oh fluffy!” Her arms laden with her new treasures, Eira headed for the rough path she’d seen him take before.
He straightened and threw something. “Catch.”
Eira ducked. The tiny bubble of black energy spun around her feet and then her head. She cautiously leaned away from it, then looked back to him. “What?”
“It’s a privacy orb…and in case you haven’t noticed, it’s a bit dark out there.” He nodded towards it. “It’ll wrap you in a bubble, offering invisibility and it will light your way.”
“Invisibility.” Eira swallowed. “Right…thanks.”
“Twelve steps.” He repeated, meaningfully. “Fifteen minutes.”
“I’m going, I’m going. Yeesh.” Eira flipped her messy braid over one shoulder and tromped through the bushes. She remembered, belatedly, to count to twelve, which resulted in backtracking and counting.
The dull flecks of light from the orb did little in terms of her surroundings, but Eira discovered that her eyes had begun to adjust. Setting her pack down, towel and fresh clothes neatly squished on top of it, Eira squinted at the ground. She reached out with her fingers, cautiously patting the grass. “No river.” She muttered. “Great.” Listening for the sound of running water did little more than confuse her. The jungle-land had grown eerily silent. Eira tried to shrug the feeling away, but couldn’t shake the eyes that seemed to be on her. “It’s in my head.” She told the orb. “All in my head, right?”
She backtracked again and counted, the results the same. She counted backwards from the twelve to the bush and her brain muddled at once. “Lovely.” Counting on her fingers, Eira took the steps and then stopped, waiting. “Twelve.” She muffled a scream of frustration. “Thirteen!” Boldly sticking one foot out, Eira was completely unprepared for when the foot did not touch solid ground, but went much deeper in.
There was a muffled yelp and nothing more as Eira toppled off the bank and into the water. She surfaced, flailing about, gasping for air as the chilly waters seeped into her clothes and into every pore of her skin, stripping away all warmth.
It took a moment to grab hold of the bank and then Eira hauled herself out of the water, dripping and shivering. “Twelve steps?” She repeated, disgusted. Her teeth began to chatter and she hugged her arms to herself. The orb spun wildly about her head and then suddenly smacked into her chest, and expanded, morphing into a thin, faint, black-gold sheath of energy that covered her from head to toe, effectively blocking out the wind.
Eira sniffled, then inched over to her pack and began to untangle the clothes and fluffy towel. She wrapped it around her shoulders and waited for the whistle. Her mind was free to wander and it did, bringing a host of bad memories and adding to her already wretched mood.
A few haunting bird trills touched her ears as the time passed and her mind continued to wander, as warmth gradually crept back to her body and her fingers began to work at the buttons. When she was no longer shivering and comfortably dressed in dry clothes, she wrapped the wet items in the towel and tucked it under her arm. It was slightly comforting to note that her surroundings were brightening somewhat.
“Eira!” His voice was annoyed and slightly muffled.
“Fifteen minutes have been up for the past fifteen minutes.”
“Oh.” Eira scrambled to her feet and hurried back to the clearing. “I was waiting for your whistle.”
“I whistled. Three times.” He frowned. “Didn’t you hear me?”
“I didn’t hear anything.” Eira dumped her armful a few feet from his pack. “I just heard some birds, weird birds and then nothing. Do you have any idea how quiet it is around here?”
He cleared his throat.
Eira turned, the customary word on the tip of her tongue when she caught sight of his expression and crossed arms. Her face flamed. “Oh. You were the weird birds…?” His head gave the tiniest of nods. The blush grew fiercer. “I-I wasn’t quite expecting that, I mean…” She bit her lip. “Um, you can have your light orb thingy back…”
He arms uncrossed and he extended a hand, beckoning. Eira looked at it in puzzlement until the soft slurping sound reached her ears and she took an involuntary step backwards. The chill immediately returned as the energy left her and settled into a spinning ball in his hand.
“Nice to see you again.” He said, sarcastic.
Eira blinked. “I was invisible?” The blush stayed. “Oh. Sorry.”
“You did not know and therefore you are excused.” His frown stayed. “Next time, simply recall it. It is for your own safety and privacy-it will be one of the first personal energies I shall teach you to summon.” He squished the ball and it evaporated. “Did you fall?”
“I did not!”
Eira opened her mouth and then shut it, she wasn’t ready to answer that question unprepared. “I didn’t fall….I just…sort of…stepped in.”
“And stepped in the deep end?”
“I don’t see what business it is of yours!”
“If you almost drown or believe you are almost drowning due to irresponsibility and a lack of following instructions, or you merely fell in, I need to know the difference. It helps.”
“Helps what?” Eira demanded.
“When you…stepped…in, your energies all screamed at me all at the same time.” He sighed loudly. “I was attempting to mark it with a difference, if you were all right, the next time I feel that sort of surge, I shall stay put.”
“Oh.” She swallowed. “I guess that makes…sense. Sort of. What if I was really…drowning?”
“If you were really drowning, I would like to think that I would have been aware of the fact and prevented it.” He sniffed. “Though I do believe if one is merely stepping into a river, drowning shouldn’t be on their list of worries-actually, I do believe they should be wondering if their feet will touch the ground.”
“It’s that deep?”
“No, Eira, it is incredibly shallow. Are you cold?”
"I cannot believe you just asked me why I asked whether you were cold." There was another sigh. “This is the most ridiculous, pointless conversation I’ve had at this hour in the morning.”
“How is it pointless?”
“I told you to work on that.”
“Work on what?”
“On saying ‘what’ every single-”
“What’s the problem with it? You can’t just order me not to say something and then expect me to remember it!”
“I cannnot?” There was a hint of humor in his voice. “Nicely put, I commend you on your extraordinary ability to contradict yourself.”
“I did not!” Eira blinked. “Did I?”
“You just did it again.” This time he did chuckle. “Over this way, apprentice.”
“What way?” Eira turned, following his slowly brightening figure. “I can hardly see you-”
“Whenever you need to meditate, it is a good idea to find a center.”
“A center of what?”
“In your head, Eira.” His voice was patient. “And your surroundings.”
“My surroundings?” Eira trotted after him. “How can you tell when you’re in the middle of wherever?”
“Do you think you are in the middle?”
“In the middle of what?”
“Of here-Eira, exactly where you’re standing.”
“I don’t know.”
“Think about it.”
“Did is past tense, think again, think now.”
“Then answer my question, are you in the center?”
“That’s not the question.”
“You asked me if I thought I was in the middle, not if I was in the center.”
“It roughly translates into the same thing.”
“It does not!”
“By whose definition?” He countered. “Focus, Eira, now is not the time for distractions.”
“I’m not making the distractions-”
“Shh!” He caught her elbow and propelled her forward. “March!”
“I don’t wanna march!”
“And stop right here.” He steadied her, then pressed down on her shoulders. “Sit. Stay.”
That, Eira was perfectly fine with doing. She settled comfortably on the ground, rolling her shoulders back. “Is this the middle?”
“It is the center.” He corrected. “And don’t sprawl on the ground, sit.”
Eira rolled her eyes, but obediently shifted into a cross-legged position.
“You’d best kneel.” He murmured, settling into a cross-legged position across from her, hands resting lightly on his knees. “You aren’t used to sitting still like that for very long and it will tire your legs.”
“I don’t think it-”
“Kneel, then sit back on your heels, you will be glad you did tonight.”
With a sigh, Eira shifted again and then drummed her fingers across her knees, wrinkling her nose. “Now what?”
“Now, you meditate.”
“I mean, how?”
“If you would give me, but a half-second, I would be more than happy to keep explaining.”
“You’re also searching for an inner center.” He continued. “When you begin meditations of any sort, make sure you have a general goal or a center in mind. A goal can be the outcome you desire after the session is complete and a center can mean clearing your mind or balancing your powers. In this instance, for your first official meditation, I am asking that you center yourself. In the next session, we’ll work on balancing your powers.”
“Your enthusiasm is encouraging.” He said, dryly. “Now, since this is your first time and it can be rather intense once you settle into a routine, I am going to start you on a base of five minutes, starting now. For every interruption between or in those five minutes, even you even utter one syllable, I will add one minute to your time.”
“A whole minute?”
“How will I know when my time is up?”
“That’s not fair!”
“I didn’t know it started right away!”
“I can’t believe-”
“Twelve minutes, Eira, focus please.”
“I don’t know how to focus!” Eira exploded. “I don’t have a single clue what I’m supposed to be doing except for sitting on the ground, and staring into space! And I don’t care how many minutes you add for that!”
“Thirteen minutes.” He said, calmly.
“How. Do. I. Focus!”
“Fourteen minutes. You focus by trying.”
“By trying what?”
“Fifteen minutes. Any way that you like, each individual has a unique method of meditation, you will find your own.”
“I don’t even know where to begin!”
“Sixteen minutes. Try by taking a deep breath, Eira. Breathe in, breathe out. Count it.”
“I don’t have to close my eyes or anything weird like that?”
“Seventeen minutes. No, you do not have to do anything…weird. Closing your eyes helps sometimes though.”
“Are you adding minutes to your own meditation too?”
“Eighteen minutes. No. I work with a base of an hour and upward. If you do not start on yours, however, I will be extremely tempted in extracting your cooperation in another way. If you wish for specifics, then close your eyes and count how many breaths you can take before I call your time.”
“Nineteen minutes. Yes, Eira?”
“If both of our eyes are closed, couldn’t we get ambushed?” Her closed eyes now flew open wide. A slight shiver ran down her shoulders.
“We’re close to the very middle of nowhere.” The patience had left his voice. “I doubt there is anything to worry about, but as I mentioned before, if you do not wish to close your eyes, you do not have to.” He sighed. "As to how we could possibly be ambushed, it would be a disgrace to my reputation if I would allow such a dispicable event to occur beneath my very nose."
“You forgot twenty minutes.”
“Okay, already. I’m being quiet.”
“You’re going to run out of minutes.”
“Ha! Twenty-five. I win.”
“Twenty-five. What exactly do you win?”
“I am not falling for that.”
“You tricked me!”
“Twenty-seven. I do believe you are the one still talking.”
“That doesn’t mean you have to answer!”
“Twenty-eight. It would be rather rude of me not to.”
“Ha. Yeah right! How can you meditate while you’re so busy counting how many minutes I’m talking for!”
“Twenty-nine. I like numbers, Eira. They fit very neatly in my head, and I am not counting the minutes you are talking for, I am counting the interruptions during your meditation period.”
“I hate numbers.”
“Thirty.” One eye opened and he frowned. “Meditation is an extremely important skill. I cannot show or tell you how to do it, you must learn it on your own. I can be quite general-as I already have. Now please, try!Apprentice, do not make me silence you.”
A strangled squeak came from Eira’s corner and finally she let out a frustrated sigh, mouthing the word she couldn’t keep back.
His eye closed again and he mouthed back “thirty-one”
© Sara Harricharan
Friday, October 2, 2009
Author's Ramblings: Wow! I'm actually posting this before midnight and even before the afternoon is really alive. Lots of happy fuzzys for me. lol. I'm excited about this week's post, just a tad little bit, I couldn't resist making an entire episode out of Eira's little "fall" last week and hopefully, this will be an enjoyable post. I've got plenty of possibilities for next week and almost a solid idea for next week. (Though I am open to suggestions, since this is a literal write-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-on-fridays-only kind of story.) Have a great weekend and thanks for reading! I love every comment-it makes writing this worth it. ^_^
The temperature did not improve.
Eira continued in the lead, guided by occasional pokes to one shoulder or the other to prompt which fork in the path to take. There was no conversation within fifteen minutes, and both soon lapsed into a neutral sort of silence.
The rumbling of her stomach was quieted by a piece of jerky from her bag, a treat which she gnawed while navigating the strange pathways. It was as if they had been cut with a box-like blade that carved out a single passageway through the host of greenery.
Her thoughts continued to wander, a vain attempt to ignore his last question. Leeching. What she knew of the subject was not what she truly cared to, the very mention of the world had yanked a wealth of memories to the surface. Memories she would have rather stayed buried in her subconscious, were now floating freely through her mind. Slivers of darkness shifted to the front and Eira closed her eyes to push it away and hoped she wouldn’t stumble.
The momentary lack of sight did not cause any additional awkwardness on her behalf, by the time her eyes had opened, another layer of weariness had been added to her shoulders. Her head began to throb and she stubbornly tugged out another piece of jerky and wrenched the stick in half, cramming it into her mouth. She did not want to think of that now, not of the things that had driven her to choose her current lot in life at present.
Another shudder passed through her and it was one she could not suppress. The inward groan was preparation for the question Eira was sure would follow.
It was only a half-second late. “Cold?”
Her feet were numb, but Eira chose to ignore it. “No.”
There was another gap of silence, the sounds of her feet on the ground and his nearly silent steps behind her. The passage of time either slowed to flew, which one, Eira did not know, she was not keeping track of it. The images in her head continued their torment and when his hand touched her shoulder, she jumped.
“What!” The exclamation was hurled out as she whirled around to glare at him, caught up in her own personal prison.
He blinked, surprised, taking a step backwards. “I said, the grove is up to your left.”
“Oh.” A lump caught in her throat and she choked it back. “Right.” She turned back towards the path, but he brushed past her, taking the lead.
“Right through here.” He stuck an arm through the wall of prickly greenery and held it to the side. “In. Quick.”
Eira ducked through the underbrush and found herself standing in a clearing similar to where she’d spent the night. She moved forward until she stood in the very center and then began to take in the lush surroundings.
It was quite an improvement from the first clearing. Brilliantly colored plants lined every rounded corner and fat fruits hung from overhead branches. The sound of running water was heard and Eira cocked her head, tracing the sound.
“It’s straight ahead.” The Dark Phoenix stepped through, and the bushes sprang back into place. “The stream.” He crossed the clearing and parted another handful of skinny, flexible trees. The shiny blue-purple stalks gleamed in the daylight as he retrieved a knife and methodically cut a path through them. “Don’t eat anything green, but everything else is edible.” He tossed the newly cut stalks to form a rough pile. “Don’t eat the yellow ones raw, we’ll roast those.” He continued his work. “And save the seeds from anything purple-they have special essences inside, that will be useful later.”
Eira stared after him for a moment, her mind struggling to wrap around his instructions and then refusing to comprehend them at all. She turned to the nearest tree and selected a glossy red specimen. Polishing it on her sleeve, she took a large bite.
Thankfully, it was ripe and that mouthful was immediately followed by another. Eira was more than content to stuff her mouth and silence her mind. It helped. Her stomach soon settled and she happily continued munching away, stowing a few select specimens in her bag for a later snack time.
The Dark Phoenix returned just as she was licking her fingers. He carried a small brown pouch and an armful of purple sticks. “Full, yet?” He stared upwards, moving until satisfied he was standing directly in the center of the little hideaway. “Save some room for the yellow ones, you’ll like them.”
Eira sniffled, wiping her mouth on the shoulder of her sleeve and then, for the familiarity if offered, sucked her fingertips. There was still a touch of tart nectar and it brought happier times to the surface of her mind. She didn’t say anything, but watched as he built a fire, starting it with a fine powder from the fat brown pouch. Her curiosity stirred, but she wasn’t in the mood to satisfy it.
Another shudder moved through her and she inched closer to the fire. It didn’t take long before the heat reached her and Eira moved forward enough to sit a few feet away from the warmth. Her fingers were frozen and her feet hurt. The pain in her head had grown dull. Her eyelids drooped and a quiet burp escaped.
His gaze flickered upwards, skittering over her before returning to his project. His trusty knife rendered the stalks to a neat little fuel pile which he placed just within her reach. Rolling to his feet, he headed for the bushes with the perfectly round yellow fruits.
He returned with an armful and stacked it neatly in a pyramid, settling down cross-legged across from her. His eyes rested on her as he began to peel and halve the fruit.
Eira diligently kept her gaze fixed on the tips of her boots, drawing her knees up to her chest, wrapping her arms around them. She worked on clearing the fog in her head, succeeding only in keeping the painful aches just within her limits. It was harder this time around than she remembered. The throbbing in her head grew increasingly worse as the memories struggling to be accepted fought their course in her head.
The sound of sizzling caused her to jump and Eira relaxed a fraction as she discovered the source to be a black disc of energy. It was a smooth, rippling oval, and several fruit halves were arranged on the surface as it hovered directly above the flickering flames.
For a moment, their eyes met and Eira immediately twisted away. The piercing intensity of his golden-gray eyes was too much to handle. Her mind began the usual methods of closing itself off, she had no telepathic powers to speak of, but her mind had learned enough to keep to itself. She was still fighting the mental battle when a slice of speared fruit was offered on a stick. Her lips moved, saying. “Thank you.” And she blew softly on the steaming chunk to cool it.
Her stomach began to churn as she polished off the first chunk and accepted a second piece. The uncomfortable sensation began to build within as she continued to eat. The fruit was surprisingly tasty and easy to chew. It slid down her throat, feeding the craving for warmth in her body.
The next few minutes happened so quickly, Eira did not have time to react. Her body simply responded and her energies buckled and tangled within to a dangerous point which she could no longer control.
And then they exploded.
A choked sound escaped as her stomach heaved, then promptly expelled the contents on the ground, a mere inch from her hand. Her stomach continued to heave, even as she automatically gathered her energies and fisted one hand as she’d done before. Touching it to the side of her neck, it took the remaining bit of energy and focus to tap the fist and release the healing.
The result was not what she was expecting.
A loud slurping sound echoed in the clearing as the golden blue-green orb of energy was literally pulled out of her throat and flung into the open. The exact thought that chose to present itself was the fact that maybe this is what it felt like to die. Another squeak escaped and Eira was vaguely aware of someone calling her name. This was not supposed to happen this way.
The hiccups and the shakes began almost at once and her stomach continued to regurgitate whatever invisible contents remained within. Her throat burned, a foul taste on her tongue as the finishing touch became the fiery fingers trying to pry into her head.
Cool hands touched her shoulder and then gently lifted her away from the mess on the ground. The tiny prickles in her head subsided, as a thread of dark energy somehow slipped in and Eira clung to it with the last fragments of her consciousness. She was laid on something soft and a phrase murmured over her head, ending with “please.” Darkness swirled upwards in a thousand different ways and Eira gave in without another struggle.
There was not much else she remembered, though time had passed considerably when the hands were shaking her awake. The air had grown even cooler and there was no natural light filtering through the trees. The face studying her was mildly concerned.
She tried to answer, but her empty stomach and aching throat overpowered the half-hearted effort. Her lips parted with some difficulty and something was dribbled into the corner of her mouth. The sweet liquid moved easily down her throat, soothing the rawness and adding a sense of comfort.
“Before I scold you,” His voice was slightly irritated. “Would you mind telling me exactly how you were carless enough to ingest Pithiean poison?”
They were the very last words Eira cared to hear, but it explained enough for her brain to stop chasing answers around in her head. “Poison?” She asked, weakly.
An eyebrow arched, pointedly. “There’s signature traces in your stomach and your hands, though I already checked this area and there isn’t any for a few miles radius. You were in front of me for practically the entire day, I don’t recall any sudden urges to scrape poisoned sap off a tree and eat it.” He sighed. “I also specifically asked you not to use your powers and yet you went ahead and did! You could have killed yourself!”
Eira glared at him with as much feeling as she could muster. There was still too much fear wrapped around the thought of death that she didn't think she could handle that part of his rant just yet. “I had to do that and I didn’t eat any poisoned anything on purpose!”
“I gathered as much.” He snapped, rising to his feet. “We’ll have to stay here for the night, you’re in no condition to travel.”
“I-in a tree?” Everything else seemed to pale in comparison as Eira backtracked to the night before. “I don’t think I can-”
“You’re not sleeping in a tree, either. You’re in no condition for that, though I’ll bring you something to drink in a moment, it should almost be done brewing. I couldn’t put your healing energy back in while you were asleep, because this time around, I intend to knit it with your lifeforce. Expelling it the way you did, or rather, rejecting it as your powers did, is not a very good start at all, it is going to be much more difficult this time around.”
“Aren’t you even going to ask how I’m doing?” Eira felt her temper working up.
He appeared at her side, steaming cup in hand. “How are you doing?”
Eira sniffled. “Fine.”
“I thought so, you need to drink this-sit up…slowly.”
It took a few minutes to sit up on her own and then to drink the desired broth. It was filling to some degree, with a salty flavor that she craved-an opposite to her fruity surroundings. “I was poisoned?”
“You must have touched something.” He frowned. “How, I’m sure if I actually think about it, I will find a suitable answer, but for the moment, I think it would be wiser to focus on your healing rather than the cause.”
“I already know the cause, therefore all I need is a custom cure.” He nodded towards the cup in her hand. “and that should do the trick.” The frown deepened. “However, for using your powers unauthorized and most definitely without my permission, consider all your extra hours of free time this week, non-existent. You’ve used them up for the time you were sleeping and until you can be trusted to spend a day without using your energy in any way, your hour will be mine.”
“That’s not fair!”
“I do not recall saying I would be fair.”
“That doesn’t mean you can’t be!”
“Exactly how is this unfair?”
“It’s…it’s…it just is!”
“I gave you one rule, only and you broke it without a second thought.” He took the empty cup from her. “Every action earns itself a reward or consequence, in this case, I specifically requested that you refrain from using your powers in any way-”
“I was choking!”
“I would hardly call vomiting, choking when one is-”
“What if I was choking? I couldn’t help that! I couldn’t help any of it-how can there be a problem? It’s not like I deliberately decided I’m just going to go and oooh, I wanna break a rule, so I’m going to just let my head explode so I can give you a chance to yell at me?
“I was not aware that I was…yelling.” His voice dropped even lower from the bored tone. “Are you finished yet?”
“No! I’m not! How can you just-how can this-even for a healing?”
“Especially for a healing-and do not interrupt me like that again when I am in the middle of making a point.”
“Excuse me for missing the point!”
“Your body rejected a custom crafted healing graft.” Something flashed in his gray eyes. “I have seen that happen a handful of times-and it only happens when the individual has been careless enough to use their own healings instead of trusting the orb to work for them. The results are never good.”
“So I should have just let myself-”
“You should have trusted me.” His voice was even. “and in the little snap of time we have known each other, you should have already been aware of my limits, as you did test them before and correctly guessed through logical methods that I would not allow under these circumstances to-”
“Blind trust isn’t my strong point! I don’t even know what you can do! I don’t even see how you could have helped me-how am I supposed to trust someone I don’t know! Stop trying to blame this on me! It’s not my fault! I didn’t just go and get myself poisoned for the fun of it!”
“I am not accusing you of anything, nor trying to place the blame. Things like this do happen whether it be a lousy set of circumstance or merely ignorance.”
“Ignorance? Oh joy. Now there’s a big word.” Eira couldn’t keep her temper in check. “You’re just all Mr. high and mighty aren’t you? I could’ve been killed! I know what Pithiean poison is and I know what it does-I reacted because I had to and I don’t see how-”
“We are not going to argue this point. I only woke you because you needed to drink this, the best thing to do right now, would be to go back to sleep. I will wake you in the morning-you need to sleep this off.”
“Right. Great, just go ahead and change the subject and leave this as if it is nothing more than just…and since when can anyone just sleep off a poisoning in a night?” Eira scoffed. “Maybe I’ll just fall asleep and not get around to the waking up part. I doubt you would care!”
“Tell me,” He asked, lightly. “That you aren’t feeling better already? You will be fine by tomorrow morning. And your head is filled with a everything nonsensical at present-empty it. When you do, I am sure your thoughts will clear and perhaps my point will be clearer.”
Eira opened her mouth, then shut it. True, a lot of the horrible, awful feelings from earlier were now absent and whatever had been in the broth he’d given her seemed to be working its magic. Her lip curled halfway to a pout and she settled down, turning her back to him. “Still not fair.” She mumbled.
“I shall reset your healing energy tomorrow.” He rummaged through something, creating a curious set of sounds, which ended with the sound of running water. He was washing her cup. “Good night, Eira.”
Eira made a face in the dark. So incredibly unfair!
© Sara Harricharan