I spring up from bed, drenched in sweat like I just ran 4k. My dream replays in my mind like a movie on repeat.
“What was that? I was really hoping for a good dream today.”
I peel off my old blanket and head to the kitchen, just outside the bedroom.
“Morning Doc.” I greet Dr. Howard but as usual, he doesn’t reply.
“You know some people would find it very rude when you don’t reply their greetings every day.” I pull open the cabinet doors to find a can of baked beans and a single packet of noodles.
“Doc you didn’t tell me we were out of food. What am I going to eat now?” I sigh and leave to get dressed. I pull on my usual hunting attire, which definitely needs to be washed.
“You’re definitely not getting anything I catch.” I slam the small picture frame on the two-person table and step outside.
The sun is already so high in the sky you would think it was 2pm, it’s just 8 in the morning. Grabbing my bow and only 2 arrows from the wooden trunk in front of the house, I start my journey into the thick forest, mentally scolding myself for still talking to a picture frame.
“I really wish I met Howard in that house when I got here, everything about the place tells me that he was most likely a crazy person. When I found the place while walking through the woods a few years back, it was empty, I thought the owner would be back by nightfall so I stuffed my bag with all the food I could and waited. But nobody came.” I recall the first time I found the shed.
The tiny house looks like it was definitely made for just one person. Every room is the size of a small bathroom. There’s only three rooms – a bedroom, a kitchen and a tiny library. There’s no bathroom so I bathe and wash in the nearby river. Cooking works by starting a fire outside for every meal, which is definitely not easy but I have no choice. I’ve gotten used to the place in the past 3 years, only leaving the woods when I’m out of food and tired of having meat for every meal.
“The only downside of this life is that I’m alone, hence me talking to a picture like a crazy person. The only time I see people is when I leave the woods and head into the city and that happens about twice every 3 months. And it’s not like I talk to anyone when I’m there, they don’t even know me.” I continue my monologue.
“I always wonder what happened to him.” All ‘Doc’ left behind was the picture of himself that I talk to all the time and a ton of books on things he’d learnt and even stories he’d written. I owe a lot of what I now know to those books.
I pause for a second, hearing rustling a few metres to my right. Taking a crouching position, I slowly move towards the sound. Behind a bush are two huge rabbits, I could’ve sworn they were hares if not for their tiny ears.
I fix an arrow on the bow and aim ahead. The arrow whizzes through the air and brushes past the first rabbit but stabs the second one through its side. The first one is bleeding out and tries hopping away but it’s already getting weak from losing blood so it doesn’t get far.
“Nice one Onda.” I high-five myself before walking over to my catch.
Using the arrow stuck in the second one to raise it, I pierce my blades through the first one’s side, finally ending its life. As I raise it from the ground, blood drips down the blades standing between my knuckles and flows down my arm, drenching my sleeve. I run home but make a few stops to pick berries, fruits and a few mushrooms, hopefully picking the non-poisonous ones.
“I’m home.” I announce as I burst though the small door, “Like I have someone waiting for me.”
I start by cleaning myself up and take care of my game. First scraping off as much fur as I can – which is the hardest part – and then cutting it up.
“I can’t believe I caught two in one hunt. When was the last time that happened? Must be my lucky day.” I rinse off the blood on the cut up pieces of meat and start a small fire.
I check on my small garden behind the house and water my cherry tomatoes and bell peppers, they’re almost ready to be picked. After deciding on boiling the meat for breakfast, I relax on a pile of fallen leaves and munch on my freshly picked berries. About half an hour later, the meat becomes tender enough to eat; it’s still a bit hard and slightly uncooked but I’m starting to get too hungry so I dig in anyways.
Breakfast goes by in a blur.
“Ok let’s get some work done.” Pulling out an axe from the same trunk I took my bow and arrows from this morning, I start with the trees closest to the house. Chopping them down one after the other, carefully avoiding the house. I cut them up to make firewood. Then I move on to widdling some arrows, my supply is running low – only 5 left. The hours go by quickly as I occupy myself.
After exercising for a few hours and tiring myself out, I decide on getting some reading done. I pick up one of Dr. Howard’s books and open it to the bookmarked page. It’s a fictional story, and it’s quite interesting.
The day quickly goes by as I flip through the pages, getting excited for the characters as I dive deeper into the book; I’ve been saving this particular book for when I’m extremely bored and it’s definitely saving me now. I doze off for a second but quickly wake myself up.
But something is very off.
As I shake myself awake, I can’t see the room around me, it’s all dark. I could have sworn I was just in the kitchen enjoying a book a second ago but now everything around me is pitch black. I look down and can’t even see my own arms and legs.
“Did I forget to open my eyes?” I close my eyes tightly, feeling very stupid, and shake myself. Maybe I’m still sleeping and I’m having a dream.
As I open my eyes once again, I’m back in the room. That was quite odd.
I look outside and the sky is already getting dark, I light one of the last remaining candles and place it on the table. My stomach grumbles, reminding me that it’s time for dinner. Putting on a jacket and heading out into the cold night, I take the last pack of noodles with me. Thankfully the rest of the rabbit meat is still good to eat. Giving them a quick rinse before tossing them into the pot, I patiently wait for the meat to soften before plating it, still remembering the indigestion I got from breakfast. When the meat is ready, I put the noodles on next.
Putting everything on a plate, I take the food back inside with my mouth already watering. I continue the book I’m reading while simultaneously scarfing down the food. In less than 10 minutes I’m done with the meal. As I stand to clean up, the room goes black once again.
“Ok I’m sure I’m not forgetting to open my eyes right now. What is going on?” I turn around trying to understand what’s happening. A shadowy figure zooms past me, then I hear a distant voice.
“I told you to leave. Run, Onda. Run!” Mom? The voice seems to move further away with every passing second.
“Run! And trust no one.” Those are the last words I hear before returning to reality.
“Well I think I get the message now. Doc it’s time for me to go.”
I don’t know how long I’ve been walking for but I can feel my legs start to give out. My silvery hair falls out of the messy bun it’s in and I sloppily put it back.I left the house as soon as I got the second message from my mother. I packed as lightly as I could, only filling my bag pack with the essentials.The sun is high up in the sky once again. I check my watch and it’s actually 2pm. I’ve spent a night on the road so that means I’ve been walking for well over a day, only stopping 3 times – to sleep, for a bathroom break and to eat the last of my food.I left my old town a few miles back and now all I can see is empty, green land. The only people I’ve seen in the past few hours are bikers. A few have asked me if I needed a ride but I declined every time.“Don’t trust anyone.” I repeat to herself for the umpteenth time.I struggle to lift my feet as they start to feel heavy but
I’m awake but my eyes feel too heavy to open. I’m lying down on something soft, definitely not where I passed out. Everywhere is silent for a few minutes before a girl speaks up. “She’s breathing but she isn’t waking up. Should I just dump water on her?” Sounds like the waitress from the diner. “Probably. I don’t know. Why’re you asking me?” A guy answers. “I’ll do it.” I hear someone leave the room and come back in a few seconds. The lady whispers a countdown from 3 as I try to open my eyes. As the countdown ends, I’m drenched in cold water, waking me up completely. I jump up from the couch, my blades already out. I’m already in a fighting stance, surveying the room. “Where am I?” The first question I ask. The other three people in the room stare at my hands in amazement. They look at me, and then each other before settling their eyes back on the sight in front of them. “I guess we were right.” The lady says. I glare a
“Joey and I need to get back to the diner but we’ll be back in a few hours. West is here so don’t worry about being alone.” Being alone is the last of my worries. “Do I really have to be alone with him? Can’t I just go with you?” I whine. I haven’t really talked to him much but from the looks of it, he definitely doesn’t like me. “No you need to rest and I can tell you’re not used to the smell of alcohol, you looked like you were about to puke when you walked in there. And don’t worry about West, he may seem a little tough but he’s harmless. A little grumpy but nothing to worry about. We’ll be back soon.” Thea puts on her apron and leaves the room, shutting the door behind her. After a few minutes, I hear the front door slam shut and a car engine roars to life. As soon as the car sounds far enough, I get up from the bed and leave the room as quietly as I can. I tiptoe downstairs, looking out for West but he’s nowhere in sight. Deciding on taking a quick tour
“Rise and shine. Breakfast is ready.” Thea softly shakes the bed. I yawn widely and stretch on the soft bed for a few seconds before sitting up. That felt nice. Odd, but nice. “Wow. I don’t remember the last time I slept in a bed this soft and comfy. I could get used to this.” I climb out of bed and follow Thea downstairs. The smell of fresh toast fills the air and Thea and I double our speed. “Morning Thea. Morning Onda.” Joey greets while West just grunts. Everyone takes their seats and starts eating as Joey serves orange juice into everyone’s cup. “So do you guys always cook or how does it work?” I ask, referring to Joey and West. “We rotate it week by week. The boys cook for a week then I cook for the next week. Today’s Saturday so my week starts tomorrow. And since you’re here, you get to help. I finally have a kitchen assistant.” Thea says excitedly. We finish breakfast quickly. Thea and I remain at the table while the bo
Thea slams the front door and stomps around the living room, letting off steam as best as she can. West and I follow, with shopping bags in both hands. Joey emerges from the kitchen with a towel in his hand. “Hey guys.” Joey’s smile slowly fades as he senses something is off. “What happened?” He asks cautiously. Thea turns to him, still fuming, “I’ll tell you what happened. It’s those disrespectful brats, those little punks who believe that they’re better than us but they don’t know I could snap them in half without breaking a sweat if I wanted to.” I stand awkwardly by the door with the bags still in my hand while West drops on the couch like he’s completely used to the situation. I don’t know what to do. Do I just leave the room? “Derek and his friends?” Joey asks. “Derek and his friends.” West nods. “They want to threaten me! Me? Bad choice.” Thea finally storms off. “Let’s get you unpacked.” Joey helps me with some
Sunday morning.I toss from side to side as Thea shakes the bed. It’s too early for whatever this is about.“I’m trying to sleep.”“And I’m trying to wake you up. Wake up!” Thea yells in my ear, making me jump.“What? It’s”, I turn to check the clock, “5:30 in the morning. Even the sun hasn’t woken up yet, why should I?”“Because it’s time for our morning run.” A voice replies. Thea and I turn to the door to find it open with West leaning on the doorframe.“West please tell Joey that she is finally awake and will be done in 5.”Thea points to me as I quietly pulls the covers back over my head, “You! Stand up and get dressed. Meet me downstairs in 3.” She walks to the door and stops to glare at me.“And don’t make me come back here.” With that she leaves, leaving me slightly frightene
I'm lying on something even softer than before. I'm going to open my eyes at the count of three and I better not see Darius again. One. "Onda, wake up." Two. "Is she awake yet?" Three. "Does it look like she's awake?" My eyes slowly flutter open to find the boys gathered around me and Thea pacing around the room, running her hands through her bright red hair. “Oh thank goodness you’re awake.” Joey says letting out a relieved sigh. Thea snaps her head in my direction and rushes to the couch. “Oh gosh. You’re okay. What happened? Are you alright?” She kneels in front of the couch. “I think so.” I try sitting up, using my hands to support me but I land back on the couch. “Or maybe not. Why do I feel like I was dropped from the top of a building?” “Because Joey tripped while he was carr
The boys are up front, with West driving and Joey in the passenger seat. Thea and I are in the back going over the dos and don’ts. “So we’re going to go to the office first to get some stuff like your timetable and locker information.” Thea preps me while adjusting my clothes here and there. For some reason she’s more nervous than I am and I’m supposed to be the newbie here. “Thea will you please calm down, I can feel your legs shaking through the chair.” “I don’t know why I’m on edge honestly. I feel like a mother who’s sending her kid off for the first day of preschool.” “First of all, we’ve known each other for less than a week.” I comment. “It feels like a year to me.” Thea mumbles. “And second of all, you don’t have to worry. I’ll be fine. You said as long as I don’t use my powers and avoid problems then I’ll be okay.” “It’s the avoid problems part that isn’t as easy as you think.” Joey says. “If you would all stop