“Awoooooo…” A long, lonely howl pierced the stillness of the inky black night. Out of the dark line of trees slipped a huge, shaggy gray figure. Its eyes seemed to glow menacingly in the eerie half-light of the forest clearing. The beast lifted its massive head and issued forth a menacing growl. From across the clearing there was a slight rustling in the bushes. The massive creature took a firm stance on the ground. Out from the dense underbrush crept two more gigantic beasts. One, smaller of the two, was a dappled brown color. Across its face were black lines that resembled spectacles. The larger one stepped forward past the small one and bowed its ink black head respectfully to the first beast. The grey one returned the gesture majestically. Then in a voice like thunder he rumbled, “Brother Nightseeker, how goes the Hunt?”
The one called Nightseeker shifted from paw to paw nervously, “Well, Um… Mister Greydawn, sir… Duskrunner and I are… umm… you see…” He whined in a wheezy voice. His sunken eyes darted from tree to tree as if he expected a response from them. They finally settled on the great, glowing eyes in front of him.
“Enough.” Greydawn thumped the ground in front of him so hard that it shook. “Finish the Hunt before I finish YOU!!” His eyes had seemed yellow at first, but now were streaked with red and seemed orange.
Needing no second urgings from the vicious Greydawn, Nightseeker and Duskrunner ran with their tails between their legs, and disappeared into the forest.
My eyes opened to the song of the waves rushing around me. Whatever I had been dreaming of, I was gone and couldn’t hurt me. I went to stretch and a sudden pain in my side caused me to flinch and take in my surroundings. The first thing my eyes saw the held with a iron grip I could not look away. The sky above me was a clear brilliant blue like the waves of a heavenly ocean. Wisps of clouds danced high above me. Slowly I sat up and listened to the sound of the ocean. I laughed at myself, always falling asleep. I must have fallen asleep on the deck of the Marybelle, our ship. Any moment, Pop and Skip would come over and we would laugh at my inability to keep my eyes open. A nagging thought began to creep in. I brushed it away like an annoying little boy, like Skip. It kept coming back, so I let it be thought. Waves, not beautiful, but dark and menacing. A voice calling weakly ‘Baki, help… too…deep…’ My own arms too weak to help them. And finally, me, half dead on a plank of wood, watching my life sink to the bottom of the sea.
My eyes snapped open as a sharp pain stabbed into my left hand. Surprised, I looked down. I had been gripping my seat until my knuckles were white. I was sitting on a piece of wood that had been covered in paint. Horrified, I shifted until I could make out the words, though the robin’s egg blue was unmistakable. My eyes filled with tears as I read the plank. It read, The Marybelle.
I don’t know how long I sat there, dazed, until the need for food brought me out of my self induced freeze. Slowly I stood, letting the blood return to my protesting limbs. My eyes scanned the desolate beach. Nothing. For the first time in my life, I felt truly alone.
The need for food kept the enormity of the realization to a minimum as I knew I needed food more than pity. But, how could a 13-year-old girl survive on her own? A stray thought threatened to tell me I couldn’t, but I didn’t listen, I’d had enough of mood killing thoughts for one day.
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