|I hated it. I never could trust anyone. I never could have friends. I never could have fun. I couldn't have feelings. I couldn't express myself. I couldn't control myself. I didn't understand. I still don't know exactly how it all works. I have to help, I can't sit around anymore, I've seen to much, I'm too different. I have to help.
* * *
« Rowan?!?! GET UP! ROWEN!!!! » Someone pushed me. Half awake i opened my eyes and saw Ryan , still wet from the walk over.
« What? » I said barely audible.
« The king is coming! Come on! » Ryan practically yells in my ear.
« WHAT?!?! The King is coming? When? » I asked waking up immediately.
« YES, he's in the valley. We have to hide come on. We can still make it to the woods in time. CALM DOWN! Your blinding, you know!» I took a deep breath and jumped out of bed and pull on my pants, I looked around but couldn't see my sweater. I heard Ryan scrambling around in the kitchen. I opened the loose floor board and grabbed the two backpacks and ran outside. I glanced at the horizon and could see the kings purple flags in the entrance. I've always hated it, the only way in was between two giants cliffs, or over the mountains. We lived in a bowl. Ryan was already there holding a bag, of dried meat and fruit, and two kitchen knives. He saw me and took his pack. He handed me a knife and i stuck it in my belt. Every time I've done this it always feels as if I'm running from the truth, from who I am. We ran toward the woods on the far edge of town.
« We're too late! » Ryan whispered as we slowed down to go through town. The King was riding thorough the market, we could see the top of the soldiers heads above the crowd. This didn't seem to be a normal visit.
« Rowan! Ryan! What are you to doing here? Come on, go watch. » We turned around to see Mr. Walker. The big stubborn man in charge of our house.
« NO! I mean, we saw him last time. It's okay. » Ryan said quickly « We'll stay her.» I prayed he wouldn't notice our knives; or my arms.
« Nonsense! » Mr. Walker said and he pushed both of us into the crowd.
« Mr. Walker Please!!! » Ryan yells we're completely ignored.
« Here you guys sit up there! » Mr. Walker lifted me up onto a cart, Ryan followed quickly after. I gave him the are you stupid or something? look, and pulled him down to where I was sitting just as the king starts to pass. Ryan's eyes were glued on the king, the king stops. I hit him hard on the arm.
Ryan looked at me and realised he was being stupid. He got that omigod what have i done? look he always seems to get. The king slowly looked around. When he saw our carte he stopped and raised his hand. Everyone fell silent, I could of sworn there was a look of great victory on his face.
« I come for the ones who yield the mark. » he said, as if he asked for water. He slowly moved his right arm into my view and i say his mark. I had heard rumours of his mark, dark, deathly, disgusting. It was dark green, almost black. It looked like his entire arm was covered in tar. Disgusting was right. There was a faint glow to his, as there was to all, but his glow was indescribable. It was as if it glowed black, yet was green. It looked as if his arms had a faint black mist all around it.
« if you don't give them to me, I'll be forced to take them. » he said, his glow getting stronger. He may be able to hide his feelings in his voice, but the mark tells all. The mayor ran up the street, the outer-guards part.
« Well... Yes..Well your majesty. »he says with a deep bow. « I am greatly sorry to tell you this but.. yet.. it is my duty and.. well... »
« OUT WITH IT! » The king says with a surge of his mark.
« We have no one of the marked. » The mayor says trembling at the mere sound of the king.
« Yes you do. » The king says calmly. « You have three » I and Ryan looked at each other, three? « Do you know any of the marked can feel another marked in a room if their shields are down? In town even, such as this one. And did you know if a marked one, looked at another even if his shields were up, he would know. I have to say, one of your marked ones was being stupid.»
« Yes, your majesty. That is a well known fact. We all... uh.. know it.. your majesty. »
« So why do you refuse me your marked owns. I know where they are, I give you a chance now. Give or be gone. »
« If you tell us who they are... we.. uh ..will ... gladly give them over. » The mayor looks at the crowd, the king just looks annoyed.
« Fine. Guards, they're in the carte and they know who they are! » The king motions to a group of guards on his right and they start to encircle the carte.
« RUN! » yells Ryan. We both jump up and run as fast as we can thorough the crowd. I see faces I have known forever look at me as if I'm a street rat. I knew this day was coming but I wish I didn't have to be today. As i ran i saw someone jump out of the crowd, a girl. She ran with us. I stopped paying attention to what was happening around us and looked straight a head, the woods. No magic works in the woods. Just the trees. We hit the woods at a run and everything went dark. The trees are so dense in the woods that no sun comes in. No magic works so no glow of our marks. No light. This stinks.
« OW! » I heard Ryan stumble and fall. « I'm good. I'm good. Hurry up. » The strange girl was still following us. Awhile later we reached our spot, we cleared a small area between a bunch of trees and made a shelter and a outhouse area and stuff. We've spent a week here at most. Every time the king or anyone with the mark came into town, we had to disappear, and here was safest. Luckily it wasn't very often that someone came into town with this little notice.
As we enter I uncover the fire pit and start piling moss in, Ryan climbed up a tree and moved a branch a small bit for a bit of light. He jumps down and we turn and face the strange girl, still standing in the shadows.
« Come out! » Ryan asked with a commanding voice. Slowly the girls steps into the light. Her long blond hair falling in soft curls around her face so we can't see. She's wearing a blue dress and her neckline is unusually high. Only one person would wear this dress.
« Acantha? »I whispered daring to hope it wasn't her. She raised her head. It was.
« wha... ho.. no.. I can't be » I can't accept this it goes against everything i know.
« Hi. Guess my secrets out, huh? » I can't believe she joking about this.
« You knew?!? » I said turning on Ryan.
« I guessed. Didn't you notice the buzzy feeling get stronger when she came around? » He asked as if I where stupide.
« Well yes but... I didn't think... »
« Well I am, and since I ran too, everyone else knows too. » I look at her in disbelief. She looks at me as if this is totally normal. I mean, it's not like she just told me she's one of the few humans, and the first women ever, to have the mark.
« Do you mind? » She asks as she pulls at her dress, then gets up and takes a small inconspicuous bag of her bag and goes into the shelter. I look at Ryan.
« Well we thought you would react this way so.... » He goes and sits down next to the small fire I started. I follow him, how could i have missed this, I felt so stupid.
All the signs are there, I guess I refused to believe them.
Suddenly Ryan through his shirt at me.
« I forgot earlier» he says with a shrug, as I pulled mine off and gave it to him. His shirt was long sleeved and covers the small decorated band that starts below my elbow and winds up around my bicep then cross my back shoulder blade then finally across my chest and stomach to fade into my waist. Seems to blend into my skin. Ryan's is on his upper bicep and can easily cover it with a t-shirt.
Acantha came out of the shelter, dressed as a boy. With pants and a high necked long sleeve on.
« So let's see your mark? » Ryan asks « I wanna make sure you really are one of us.
« fine » She says and turns up her nose. She pulls up her sleeve and Ryan gasps.
« What? » She ask obviously annoyed.
« How far does this go? » Ryan says gaping at her arm. I can't see it so I get up and walk over.
« Up around my arm then across my front into my waist. » She says, uncaring. I finally get a clear view of her arm. It's the same mark as me. I stare at her.
« What? » she says, getting kind of scared. I slowly reach for my shirt.
« Does your mark look like this? » I asked slowly taking off my shirt. She stared at me as I droped it.
« Identical. » Silence follows that. I don't know why, but I knew our markings are where special.