Ristle woke up again, lying on top of his blankets, the sky above him dark. He must have fallen asleep! He had meant to be packing!!! It had been late afternoon when he had been sitting around the table, what time was it now? Evening? Ristle got up, crossing to the closet. He pulled out more clothes then there had been in there when he had first looked yesterday morning.
There were five pairs of leggings and two pairs of tights, all in different colors and thicknesses, there was a brown jumpsuit like farmers wore, and two waistcoats, one poison red, and the other pale blue. There were seven tunics, two of which had a tiny VS symbols on the breast pockets. There were also fur-trimmed boots, two pairs of birchbark shoes, and a small bag of provisions, namely, breafminner bacon, calligoaf jerky, dried fruit, blackbread and water, inside of a larger bag, which Ristle shoved everything into. He also shoved in all his bedclothes and a bar of soap.
Meanwhile, Tiger had packed all of his things, and was holding his two bags to his chest, angry tears stinging in his eyes. Ristle probably liked Elidia much more than he liked him, and, after all, Ristle probably thought that they were much too young for love. But Tiger had known, known since he had first seen Ristle, that he was the one.
There had been other boys. There had been ‘ones’ before, but this time, Tiger had been sure of it. Ristle was going to be his. But now, he thought, staring at two bluebirds flying overhead, he had blown it. Completely and utterly, just by kissing Ristle too early. Much too early.
There was a knock on the door, and Tiger wiped his face, straightening up as he did so.
“Come in.” he said dully.
“Hey, Tige! It’s me, Helia!” a voice called.
“I said, ‘Come in!’” Tiger shouted back, annoyed.
The doorknob turned and Helia entered.
“Ey, kid, you should probably get down there, we’re eating before we leave. Sorry if your sleeping pattern’s out of whack. So’s most people’s.”
“Okay,” Tiger said, getting up. “I’m coming, ‘kay?”
“Heh, ‘kay. What, do you have to smooch a picture of Ristle first, or something?” Helia sniggered.
“No,” Tiger answered. “Wh- Where did you get that idea?”
“I’ve got eyes and a brain, dummy.” she said, closing the door.
Tiger waited a few seconds, then followed her.
It was dark as all of the new questers put their larger bags into a big cart, slung the smaller bags over their shoulders, and climbed up, into the cart.
“Try to get some sleep.” Elidia whispered to Ristle as he sat next to her. The cart was bare, wooden, and open-air, with two bicycles attached to its front. It was peaceful, in the cold, night breeze, to lay back and watch the stars, but Ristle was tense and restless. At first, it was too cold, and he shivered underneath the wide, tent-like sky. Then, he was restless, and, no matter how he twitched and tossed and turned, it was impossible to be comfortable. Finally, the doubt started.
Have you ever noticed how doubt gets to you at night, or else when you are tired? Ever noticed how you think differently when you lack sleep? Ristle felt that way right then.
Who even were these people? Where were they taking him? What would they do to him? And why? Could the vision stones be fake, could this all be a joke?
Shut up, he thought to himself, stop being stupid and go to sleep.
And finally, he did, listening to Tiger and Helia endlessly pedal into the deep, unknown night.
It was three in the morning when Tiger shook Ristle awake, though Ristle didn’t know it.
“Tiger?” Ristle wondered if there had been some sort of an attack. “What is it?”
“Nothing, don’t worry,” said Tiger quietly, “Except I’m super tired. Move over, get out there and take over my bicycle.”
“Okay.” Ristle yawned, stretched, sat up. He took a sip of water, then smacked his lips, getting carefully out of the immobile cart. Tiger pulled himself in, then curled up into a ball. Ristle could see his turquoise hair through the darkness. He made his way to the front of the cart.
Helia was waiting for him. She was sitting, one foot down on the ground, on her own bicycle.
“Hey, Ristle?” she shouted. For a second, her eyes caught the moonlight and appeared to glow red and green. then the second was over, and Ristle blinked.
“Yeah, ‘sme.” he said softly, climbing onto his bicycle.
“Good then, let’s get moving!” She pedaled very fast, but Ristle caught up, and wind whistled in their ears.
“So,” Ristle shouted over the blur of noise. “how come you didn’t take a break??!”
Heh. I have nearly 100 pages done, but earlier my hands were shaking while I wrote… I figure I got overheated from wearing my sweater all day and asthma from running while wearing it. Yeah… meh. I’m okay, now.