Inktober 2022: Week 3

Oya everyone!

This one is a day late, apologies, I got sick. But I’m better now!

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Day 12: Forget

“Why do her eyes look like that?”

I stared at the people in front of me. Then down at my hands. Then back up at them. 

The boy in front of me, he leaned down, kneeling to get on my level. Brown hair, brown eyes, freckles, he looked worried, he looked sad. I didn’t want him to look sad, so I looked back down, but he gently put his hand under my chin and held my face up.

“Do you know your name?” He asked quietly. 

I thought for a moment. I didn’t. I didn’t really know anything. It was an odd feeling. I could tell there had been things there before. But they had been ripped out, and there was a gaping hole where everything should be. So I shook my head.

The boy let out a long breath. The smaller boy behind him ran his hands through his pale hair. 

“Again?” He sounded sad too. I tried to look down again but the hand under my chin wouldn’t let my head move, the first boy was still looking at my eyes. “Why does this keep happening?”

“I don’t know. But we know how to deal with it, mostly. Hey.” He tilted his head, getting my attention again. “Hey. I know you’re probably terrified, but everything is going to be okay. You’re safe. Your name is Aislinn.”

Aislinn. Something seemed to almost slot into place in the ragged edges of nothing. I nodded. “Aislinn. Okay.”

“And I’m Mick.”

“Mick.”

“And that’s Kayden.”

The littler boy waved awkwardly. I repeated the name, tried to smile at him. Mick let go of my face and I immediately looked back at my hands on the floor. One of them was shiny and metallic. I looked at their hands. All of them were normal. 

“Do you remember anything?”

“No.” I didn’t look back up. 

“So before you woke up just now, it’s just . . . nothing?”

I nodded. 

He sighed again and rubbed his eyes. “Okay. That’s alright. We’ll figure it out. We will. Figure it out.”

He held my hand, the normal one, and our hands fit together. I knew this. My thumb rubbed over his skin and the pattern was natural as breathing. 

“You’re gonna be okay, Aislie. You never forget for long.”

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Day 13: Kind

Cantrip snuggled deeper into the soft cushions. It was so warm. Something thick and fuzzy weighed down on her. She was content.

Except for the odd itchiness at her side. She frowned, eyes still closed, and adjusted her position, trying to make it stop.

In doing so the blanket slides away from where it was covering her head and bright sunlight hits her eyes. She flinched, trying to hide back under the blankets, and letting out a little angry noise.

It was quiet for a moment. Then . . .

“Are you awake?”

She did not know that voice. Cantrip shot up, shoving off the warm blanket, zeroing in on the source of the voice. 

There was a girl sitting on the floor. A floor that Cantrip also did not recognize. She was in a room she didn’t recognize, where was she?!

Back to the girl, the girl had spoken. “I’m, uh. I’m sorry. You’re hurt.”

Yeah that would explain the itchiness. Cantrip carefully moved so that her feet were under her, able to spring up at any moment. She very quickly looked down at her side. It was bandaged. 

“Do you remember what happened? You’ve been asleep for almost a day.” The girl had a cat in her lap. It was a cute cat, very fluffy. 

“Yes, I remember everything.” That was a lie, Cantrip had no idea how she’d gotten hurt or how she got here or really anything concrete about the past couple days. 

“Oh? That’s good.” The girl tucked the cat’s head under her chin. “Usually when a powered person gets attacked by Boreas, it’s a lot more than if they were normal.”

Cantrip’s eyes narrowed. “Boreas? No, I couldn’t have lost a fight to that guy. That guy’s . . .” She realized her slip. “He’s lame.”

The girl nodded. “Does your side feel okay? I had to do stitches. I’ve done them before, though, they’ll hold, and the wound is clean. Do you have accelerated healing?”

Cantrip slowly shook her head, staring at this girl. Stitches? The thought made her want to gag. She could never do stitches on somebody else. “Uh. Who are you?”

She sat up straighter. “Oh! Yeah, sorry. I’m Gracie. I’m, uh, not a hero or anything. You’re in my apartment. I was pretty sure you wouldn’t want to get taken to a hospital, and there was a lot going on back at the mall, and . . . and yeah. I’m a nursing student so I knew what to do anyway.”

Cantrip’s eyes narrowed even further. “You. You know I’m a villain, right?”

Gracie nodded. “Yeah.”

“So. Why am I in your apartment?”

“Because you’re still a person.” Gracie shrugged. “You would have maybe died if no one took care of you.”

“Oh.”

“I figure,” Gracie rocked back and forth a little, scratching under the cat’s chin. “That if somebody needs help. I help ‘em. Don’t think there would be as many . . . well, things like what happened yesterday. If people were a little more kind to each other in general. I dunno.” She shrugged again, looking up. “You aren’t going to like, blow my house up, though, right?”

“No. No, of course not. I don’t do that.”

Gracie let out a breath. “Good, okay, I wasn’t sure. Your phone is on the coffee table there, you can call somebody to come get you.”

“Thanks.” Cantrip reached for the phone. “For, y’know, all of it. Would have sucked to die to Boreas.”

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Day 14: Empty

Hallways.

Short, unforgiving gray carpet.

Walls, off-white. 

Fluorescent lights. They flicker. Every few seconds.

Doors. Thick and metal. All closed. Through the little windows, nothing but darkness.

It is almost cold. 

Silent. Silent but for the humming of the lights. Is the humming real? Or is it the noise that only exists because there is no noise?

It goes on, and on.

There is no movement in the darkness behind the doors. No echo of footsteps in the hallways that don’t end. No figures that appear around corners. 

But there could be.

This place is empty.

And you should not be here.

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Day 15: Armadillo

“Grandma, why are there so many ravines?” The small child gestured to the wide chasm they walked next to. 

“Ah. Those are from the armadillos.”

“The what?”

The grandmother nodded, keeping a hold on the child’s hand and watching where the small feet stumbled along the path. “Armadillos. Ancient, giant beasts. Long ago this land was filled with them. They were armored with bone and hunted the great insects that used to threaten crops and spread diseases. The armadillo could roll into a ball for protection against its enemies. It was in this way that they created the chasms, by rolling along their paths for hundreds of years.”

The child looked out over the ravines. “Wow. Did the people ever ride them?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because the armadillos would simply roll and squish them.”

The child frowned. “Oh.”

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Day 16: Fowl

“Yes, Clementine. You are looking lovely today.” I bowed my head to the goose strutting in front of me. 

Clementine honked and flapped her wings at me. She bobbed her head up and down. The other geese ran out to the pond. They screamed at each other. Clementine settled next to me, though. She preened and grumbled quietly as the soft breeze swept over us. 

Saracen, her mate, sauntered over to nibble at my hair. I didn’t move. If I pulled away he would startle and scream in my ear. Very loud, Saracen was. Eventually he finished with his daily obnoxious task and waddled around to sit next to Clementine. 

“Enjoy your day, sir.” I leaned back and closed my eyes. Just sitting in the sun.

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Day 17: Salty

Blindingly white, the lightning illuminated everything with stark monochrome brilliance. Caleb couldn’t see anything but purple haziness as the resulting crash of thunder rattled in his ribs. Around him the men shouted. Orders from the captain and the mate, relaying them through the deafening noise of the storm.

Caleb couldn’t hear any of it. Everything was too loud. Water was everywhere and freezing cold; sleeting down from the sky, crashing up over the deck. It ran into his eyes and tugged at his ankles. His clothes were heavy and cold and crusted with salt. 

The rope clutched in his numb fingers was much the same, and he was giving everything he had just to keep his grip on it. It threatened to pull him off his feet as the howling wind punched at the sails. He had to keep holding, keep it steady, until the sail was raised. 

“Caleb!”

He heard his name screamed above the storm. Caleb strained against the water whipping into his face, trying to see where Sam was. Sam never wanted him above deck in the storms, Sam would yell at the men later for not getting him to safety. The men had needed him, though, the men still needed him.

Caleb’s stomach dropped as the rope yanked hard enough to pull him off his feet, nearly pull his arms out of their sockets. There was a moment of falling. He inhaled, trying to gain enough air to shout for Sam.

He hit the water and everything was cold and pain and salt and darkness.

When next he knew anything, all was quiet. 

He was lying on his back. The ground under him was firm and unmoving. He could hear the ocean, but she was quiet and calm. Waves lapping up on a beach. 

Cold. He was so cold.

Too deep of a breath in and he was coughing, water scraping up out of his lungs. He rolled over on his side to heave it out. It hurt. 

“Oh, oh no.” A warm hand pressed against his back. It rubbed circles to soothe the hacking coughs. “You’re okay, you’re alright.”

Eventually he was able to breathe again, and he opened his salt-crusted eyes. 

Moonlight illuminated the figure in front of him perfectly. A girl probably around his age. Her dark hair fell in smooth waves to almost touch the rocky beach as she knelt. A soft white coat draped around her shoulders that seemed to reflect back the light just the same as her big, dark eyes.

“Hello there,” she crooned. “You’re alright. Only a little drowned. You’ll be right as rain in a little bit.”

Caleb coughed a few more times until he could rasp out, “Who are you?”

“My name is Mara. What is yours?” Her accent was unlike anything he’d heard before. It was as if she was unused to speaking. Clumsy in the most graceful of ways. 

“Caleb. Where’s Sam?” He tried to sit up. 

“You are the only one who was in the water. I did not find any other humans.” Her soft hands pressed gently against his shoulders. “Do not move yet. You are wounded, and the sea did not do you any favors.”

“I need to find Sam,” he pleaded. He met her eyes. “Please, you have to help me find him. I’m all he’s got.”

“He will find you,” Mara assured him. “We will make sure you get back to your pod.”

“Are . . . are you a selkie?” 

Mara nodded. “There are many of us here.  We will keep you safe until your Sam comes for you.” She brushed at his hair. Salt and sand tumbled out onto the ground. “But before that, I will take care of your wounds. Come with me, Caleb.”

Caleb got to his feet with her help and followed her further inland on the dark, quiet island. 

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I didn’t quite finish, but you’ll get day 18 onwards next week! I hope you enjoyed, these ones were fun to work on. See you next week!

~Ace

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