| Cariza: Last Full Moon
The sky is totally blanked by darkness as I look out of my window. I can see the moon. A full moon tonight? This definitely going to happen tonight. Right now it's eleven 'o' clock . It's almost time. I'm in my room checking my bag for the fourth time. Like the first, second, and third time I looked everything is still here.
I pace over to my bed and sit for a moment to gather my thoughts. This isn't gonna be just another mission with Tyronte leading everybody against Augma Inc like before. It's not a mission at all… well at least not officially. I think if I had to describe it to another I’d say, it's more of a personal vendetta. A very serious one. I'm to answer a challenge from Xyn with no help from my companions at all. I don't even plan to tell them I’m leaving tonight. I'm not trying to prove anything by fighting alone, that would be more of Ken's style if he even cared what anybody else thought of him. It's just plain tradition for the leader of two peoples to meet in a one on one battle to avoid losing precious lives. And besides that fact, I have my mother’s pride to think about. My mother used to defeat her enemies in battle without shady tactics and without any help.
Aside from trying to stop the ultra-nationalist and the five omega-level super soldiers from causing the annihilation of every resisting country, my teenage companions and I have our own share of personal concerns. We all had normal lives before they were stripped away from us. Most of us had families. I remember when Chris went out on his own to find his mother and sister. And even Tyronte eventually admitted that he wanted to learn what had happened to his family. He put our whole mission on hold and we followed him from America to Africa, but the only member of his family we could find was his sister Tamari. Not long ago I broke away from the group while we were trying to track down those five legendary Super Soldiers created by the Augma Corporation. Bennchrise, Geronti, Malachi, Keneus, and Darsha, are the most dangerous beings on the face of the planet, all of them are omega level soldiers. This means that they can cause as much or even more destruction than Nuclear weaponry. Xyn is not quite as strong as them but she too is treated like an omega and is extremely dangerous. And Xyn is one leading leading the rival Tribe against my people.
After I left in Washington, Tyronte and the others tracked me down here and decided to help me save my people before we continue our mission. But tonight is the night. I will either enjoy a glorious victory and end the war between the Salletoe and the Lunair, or a defeat and most likely, an honorable, but dishonorable slow and painful death. Xyn and her people have no respect for the ways of other Tribes. And then Xyn would seek to finish destroying my people; but if it comes to that, I know I can count on my companions to protect my people and finish off Xyn.
"If I lose tonight, she'll probably saw my head off." I mumble to myself. "But if I win…"
All my supplies are ready inside my duffle bag. Bow, arrows, quiver, ax, the special spear that Penny made me, my twin knives, hair pins, face paint, and last but not least, my new costume. Well actually my old one. A fighting outfit made like my mother’s. I laugh to myself a little. Living among my people I have always kept the old ways, but after leaving the tribe and spending time in the modern world with Tyronte and the others; somehow the thought of using bows and arrows in this day and age just feels silly. I head to the window with my duffle bag and drop it to the ground below two stories.
"I'll be the first of us to kill an omega-level super soldier," I say. Hell I might even be considered omega. "Then we'll only have to worry about Bennchrise, Geronti, Malachi, Keneus… and Darsha.”
Darn… The big five are still left. This fight will be nothing compared to those…but still, this will be some good morale for a change at least. Plus, it will mean that all our new training was a success and the five omega soldiers aren't invincible.
I know its much easier to say for Xyn than Malachi or Keneus. And its seems certainly impossible to say for Darsha, the most powerful and the scariest of the five. Darsha will be the ultimate challenge for us to face. I shake off the horrific thought of fighting that mad man. He speaks like he’s a God or a spirit. But he is not a God, so there has to be a way to kill him. Maybe.
Now, there's something I want to do before I go. Although a voice in my head says I'm asking for trouble. Angelina already hates my guts. I still want to see everyone again just once, just in case I don’t return alive.
I take an aimless path through the house until I end up at the Den. Tyronte is the only one there, sitting on the couch looking at the map he and the others used to find the valley. It’s a small Geofront in Tennessee. Not many people in the U.S. know about it and even less know about my people, the Salletoe, we are a secret tribe. Ancient and illusive.
The radio is on, and it sound like its talking about the devastation Bennchrise caused in Australia. Tyronte still hasn't noticed me yet. I close the slide-door closed and lock it. When I come around the couch he gives me two separate glances. A double take, like Chris says. Ok, I want to smile this time.
"Hey Cariza." Tyronte says. "Uh, so Kalyn got you to wear those jeans after all huh?"
I crack a smile. Darn, I forgot to change out of these foolish looking jeans Kalyn made me try on. They cling to me like bandages do, much too tight. He smirks back at me and suddenly, I remember that he has a handsome smirk. I don’t want to make a mistake with my words and let him know what I’m planning so I just take a spot on the couch and look down at the map he’s looking at.
At first he doesn’t say anything. The radio had been a news report of the devastation Bennchrise had caused in Australia but it seems to had stopped. I shake a little when I remember what had happened in Austria. Chris, Kalyn, Jamal, Will, and myself, plus a small peacekeeping force were all that stood between that giant super soldier Bennchrise and the small country's most populated city. Chris was left in charge of the defense while Tyronte, Penny, Angelina, and Ken went to retrieve a some kind of weapon that could supposedly sap Bennchrise's incredible power. A lot of people died that day but it would have been a whole lot worse if Tyronte and the others hadn't made it back in time. It’s a good thing too because I know I almost made a grave mistake that day. I remember losing my self-control in the heat of battle and almost shooting Chris with my photon beams out of pure rage. We were already frustrated because we thought that we would be more than a match for Bennchrise even if Tyronte and the others didn’t make it back in time. Because our power had recently been increased, we were confident. Too confident. We had never before seen the true extent of Bennchrise’s strength before and even with our increased power, we were no match.
Once Chris realized we had to wait on the supposed weapon, he sent five soldiers who had courage enough to stay and help us defend their city to stall Bennchrise. I snapped because I didn’t believe that was the only option he had. I tried to shoot Chris with solar energy so concentrated that if Kalyn hadn't taken him to the ground, it would have instantly incinerated the flesh off of his reinforced bones.
I remember shouting at him, "You're the dumbest leader I've ever seen! You coward! How pathetic are you?" I don’t think Chris could ever compare to Tyronte or Penny when it came to leadership, but he did do everything possible that day to save lives. Later, I finally admitted that and apologized to him. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if Tyronte left Penny in charge like he usually would have done. Penny probably wouldn't have sent those soldiers to die, she would have gone in their place.
I wanted to talk to Tyronte but now that I have the opportunity, I don't know what I want to say anymore or how I want to say it. At times like these I feel so depressed. It seems like every time I get something figured out, the situation gets more complicated, whether it because of Augma, or the others, or...
"What’s wrong?" Tyronte asked.
I turn to him to say something at first but when my mouth moves no words come out. It's because I don't know what to say. I turn away and fold my arms.
This seems to be an annoying problem... A very foolish, and annoying problem for me to have. But, it is a problem... Darn it. I'm folding my arms again...
Tyronte doesn't seem know what to say either. I think he thinks it's easy to express himself to me with me because I'm strange to him and literal. He even says I’m fun to be around. That's because he thinks I'm like Kalyn and Chris. Always smiling and laughing and acting on impulse. I’ll admit, I have enjoyed traveling around and spending time with the others. It’s even been fun and I’ve even started calling them my friends. But right now I just don’t see that in myself. This is too serious right now.
My home is in danger. I got homesick sometimes. I'm sure he noticed that a lot of times. Whenever I wanted to talk to him I've always had problems expressing myself. Lady Madre once told me that I wear the mask of a smile over my real feelings and that will make me vulnerable. When she said that I thought that she said that just because my people told stories at bond fires. Now though, I think she’s a wise woman. Ken is like me I guess, except he doesn't smile or show emotions. It's not like he can't, he just doesn't. Angelina likes that about him. She said she though he was a bad ass. I still don’t understand if that’s supposed to be a compliment to him or an insult.
Tyronte has always tried to make it easy for everybody to communicate. I think Penny has been through more than anyone. Savage training under the Augma corporation as well as some U.S. secret military branch, torture training sessions, and daily neural wipes, she doesn’t know much about her past. All she knew about herself since the day Tyronte broke her out of the lab after the kidnapping was her name. She never spoke much, she used to be as quiet as Ken but now she and Tyronte have gotten close, she's changed a lot. She still speaks less that natural I think but she talks to us more. I respect her, maybe I even look up to her I guess. She always did remind me of my mother, except that she didn’t talk much.
Whenever Penny found it hard to express herself though, Tyronte could tell how she felt when he looked her in the eyes. He doesn’t realize that that my people think of that type communication as and ancient and mystical gift. I wonder if he might try that with me. I certainly don’t know how to communicate with my eyes.
"Cariza?" Tyronte says suddenly.
"What is it?" I ask letting frustration seep into my tone. When I look at him he is staring right at me.
It’s that gaze again. What is he thinking right now? He’s so strange at times. After a moment, I realize what he’s doing but I’m…its hard to look away. I’ve see him do this with Penny many times. He’s very good at it. It’s as if he can see thoughts through eyes. He can communicate with his eyes too. He and Penny do that a lot when they are alone. You can’t fully understand what they talk about because they only speak about half of their conversations verbally to each other. The other part is a series of glances and glares. I never told him or Penny, but I thought it looked so strange when they did that. He makes me uneasy just by looking at me like that. Yes I admitt, it even makes me...nervous. Oh no! I’ve almost lost track of what I'm supposed to be doing.
I come back to my senses and turn away before it is too late. What if he can tell that I’m leaving? Darn, I should have been more careful!
I don't know what it is about him that makes me so… proud. Maybe it's his eyes that give me confidence and courage. Just being around him makes me feel stronger. It's almost the same with Ken. They’re both so strong. I don't think I've ever felt this way about anyone other than my mother. This is different though… I.….. He’s doing it again! I need to turn away from him… but… it’s like I looking at a something I can’t take my eyes off of...this is madness!
Wait…… could this be some new kind of ability he’s learned? What should I do?
“Cariza?’ Tyronte says sounding unsure of himself.
Tyronte leans in a little closer, studying my eyes. He must know what he’s doing! I have to distract him! I make a decision quick. I lean over to him and kiss him. He doesn't even have time to flinch.
Tyronte pulls away from me quickly.
“Hey!” He says scooting away from me. It worked. “Cariza? What the heck are trying to do!”
“You were trying to steal my thoughts!” I accuse.
“What?” He exclaims. “What are you talking about?”
‘That thing you like to do when you’re watching people’s eyes!” I tell him. “That’s what I am talking about!”
“What?” He says as if he’s confused. “What the… Cariza that’s just a type of communication, it’s not like I can read your mind!”
“Then that communication of yours has more of an influence on people than you may think!” I say without backing down. Now Tyronte is looking at me as if I’m speaking my native tongue.
“…Still, Cariza.’ He says with a sudden calmness on himself. “That was foul. You should have just said something. What if somebody saw that?”
Wrong? And what does he mean when he says FOUL? Am I disgusting him or... Oh no! Penny...
"I...I…I-I’m sorry…please forgive me..." I can not belive what I have just done. He’s right, I should have just closed my eyes or said something. That was extremely dishonorable. "I-I-I'm sorry, I don't... I don't know what possessed me to do that. Please forgive me."
"It's, uh, it's ok Cariza." Tyronte says as he turns away in shock. That was… "It's ok, that didn't just happen..."
"Ty?" I say. "You are different from most boys your own age. You are brave, strong, smart, and honorable. You would have made a great warrior, and an even greater chief back home with my tribe. My grand father would have liked you very much."
I stop talking because I realize I’m not thinking of what I’m saying anymore. If anyone from my tribe heard how I was speaking now I would definitely shame my parents.
"Cariza...That can't happen again, ok?" Tyronte says to me.
“I agree." I say. "…...do….…do you love Penny?"
Tyronte just gazes at me as if I had no right to ask.
"...I don’t." I admit.
I put my hand over my mouth, not believing what just came out. He didn’t say it, but I still responded to his….his eyes…
Tyronte looks surprised, but he doesn't say anything back. I don’t believe even he knows what to say at a time like this. Without a word, he gets up, unlocked the door, and walks out without looking back once.
I sit there awhile not doing anything but just starring at the pictures on the wall of my mother. Angelina had called me a female dog before, now I think she has a reason to. I leave my seat and head for head for the door. I don’t believe how that went. I feel different now, like there's a presence near by or like someone is here but I can’t see them…. Nonsense…. I think I could use something to drink. I get up and head for the kitchen.
Kalyn and Penny are in there like usual. They’re drinking hot chocolate and laughing and having fun. It’s a rare thing to hear Penny laugh. She’s usually withdrawn and unsociable. Much like Ken, but not the same. Ken keeps to himself because he seems to dislike everyone. That’s the way he wants to be seen at least I think. But somehow I think he is embarrassed to actually admit to liking us. Penny just isn't used to communicating with people her own age. But these days she and Tyronte are close and Kalyn seems to bring out the best in everybody. What a joy giver. They get quiet as I come in. Too quiet. Suddenly I feel fear. Do they know?
"Dang girl, what's wrong with you?" Kalyn asks.
"What?" I ask timidly waiting for Penny to levitate a knife or something metallic and send it flying through her heart. Was that question directed at me? What has Tyronte told them?
"You were spacing out. You must be dizzy." Penny says. Penny doesn't seem mad at all. As a matter of fact, she’s smiling at me. I felt a little nervous I smile back. Why do I suddenly feel like a backstabbing slut? Angelina’s words are sticking to me… Penny is still smiling so I smile back again. Kalyn looks impressed at my new look.
“Hah gotcha! How does it feel?" Kalyn says all of a sudden. I tense up again because Kalyn isn't all smiles anymore. My heart starts to skip beats because Penny isn't smiling anymore either.
"W-w-what?" I feel like a mouse in front of two hungry cats. Kalyn winces.
"What? What do you mean what? The JEANS girl that’s what!"
…Is that all? I sigh.
"Oh, they feel a little too small, but thanks Kalyn, I…appreciate them."
"You'll get used to it! Girl you really need to loosen up!" Kalyn laughs. I smile alittle. How does a girl loosen up, with such small jeans on? I noticed that Penny has a worried look on her face.
"I are you ok?" Penny asks.
"Yes, I'm fine." I say. I stand foolishly for a minuet staring at them not knowing what to say till finally I faked a yawn and say,
"Um thanks for the jeans. I'm going to bed."
Then I turn around and was halfway out the door when Penny calls out, "Cariza."
"Huh? What?" I ask turning around.
"…Are you sure you're okay?" Penny asks.
"Uh y-yeah... I'm just tired. I'll see you later..."
Last time I said I was alright I wasn't. I left everyone. Tyronte and Chris spent days looking for a map to Moon Valley. We Salletoe are a very elusive group of people. Nobody knows much about us I try not to talk about my people much. Or our rival tribe, the Lunaire. I can’t imagine what would happen if those crazy Augma university professors who are so obsessed with our legends actually found our Geofront.
I decide to stop by the living room before I leave. I want to look at some of my family things. When I get there though, my whole mood is destroyed by the world of modern entertainment. Jamal and Chris are in here playing they’re video games.
“I though I told you two not to bring that stuff in here.” I scold from the doorway.
I'm not that surprised they don’t even notice me the way their faces were glued to the screen of that video game they rave about.
“I told you not to bring that...that… thing in here.” I say raising my voice. “This is my family room.”
“Yeah um, about that,” Chris says as if to bring up the very point. “While we were waitin on Ty to let us go woop Xyn’s butt, we got bored.”
“But I told you I didn’t want that thing in my family room!” I repeat.
“Uhh, that thing is called TV.” Chris corrects me.
“Yeah.” Jamal adds promptly. “Besides, we family ain’t we?”
Typical. You tell either of them not to do something and as soon as they get the opportunity they do it anyway. Both of them are so stubborn they won’t even cooperate in battle but you bring this…this... thing, into the picture they’ll work together to defend it! It’s like its go them under some kind of spell or something!
“I want it gone by morning.” I declare. “This is my family’s house and I expect you to respect it, boredom or no boredom.”
“Cool.” Chris says while acknowledging me for the first time. “In the morning we ghost we gone we out. Right Jamal?”
“That’s what’s up.” Jamal says.
I make a face.
“…Oh, when somebody say they ghost,” Chris explains. “That just means they gone, or they gonna go somewhere.”
They’re ghost? I don’t understand half of what they say most of the time. They talk strange, ever since the day I met them. “It’s slang. You’ll catch on later.” Jamal had said to me. But I’ve known them for more than a year and I still haven’t caught up. They just keep coming up with different things every day it seems.
“…So where does that mean you’re going to take that thing?” I ask pointing at they’re TV.
“Um, who’s room did you say we was stayin in?” He asks.
“The one you are using is my father’s room.” I say. “Its that what you mean to ask?”
Jamal starts to snicker as if I just made a joke.
“Oh that’s who’s room we in?” Chris says.
“I guess we’ll just take it up to yo daddy room then!” Jamal says.
They both start to laugh, but I just don’t understand what’s so funny. My daddy? These two are laughing at me together? I think there must be something magical about this TV. Chris and Jamal just seem to be brainwashed with happiness when they sit in front of it. They even find the time to stop fighting each other to just sit and stare at it. Maybe this TV isn’t such a bad thing…for them. I prefer to make my own happiness. But I guess they should use it whenever they need to. Just not in my family room.
“Fine,” I say. “Take it to my father’s room in the morning.”
Little do they know, I don’t plan for us to be here another night. After I defeat Xyn tonight, I’ll tell Tyronte and there won’t be anymore reason to stay here. We can get back to our search for the five omega super soldiers.
"Cool. But hey, Cariza," Chris says while he’s taping buttons. "I knew Kalyn was gonna get you to wear those jeans!"
Not the jeans thing again! Chris and Jamal both look at me in a different way now.
"You think she go potential?" Jamal asks Chris while still looking at me.
“…Yes SIIIRR…” He says. “Now all she gotta do is leave them loincloths alone.”
“Loin cloths?” I repeat.
“He tryin to say you be dressin like Tarzan.” Jamal says and then laughs.
I saw a picture of that savage once. It was a naked man living in the jungle with gorillas.
“We don’t dress like that!” I exclaim. “We are not saveges!”
“Oh no, not this again,” Chris says shaking his head. “Look I was just joking, I ain’t mean it.”
“His bad.” Jamal says.
“Yeah. My bad.” Chris says. “Hey! Why don’t you come over here and join us?”
“Good Idea!” Jamal says like he’s excited.
“Look we saved you a seat.” Chris says patting his hand on the empty spot between them. “You come sit right here and have some fun with us.”
“Yeah,” Jamal smiles. “Come over here and chill wit us.”
Humph. How primitive do they think I am? I don’t need to sit in front of that thing to be at peace.
“No thank you” I say folding my arms.
“Ahh! Come on! ” Jamal complains. “He was just joking!”
“Yeah come on Cariza, ” Chris says. “Don’t be like that, come sit down.
“Hmm…I don’t think so.”
“Ahh!” They complain in unison.
“Good night you two.” I tell them and then I’m gone.
I can still hear them complaining on my way to the front of the house. I haven’t seen everybody I wanted to see. But I don't have the nerve to talk to Angelina and there's no telling where Ken is. Nobody trys to keep up with him anymore.
Temari and Claudia are on my mind now. Tyronte and Chris's little sisters had to stay with Lady Madre and Valmont for the meeting with the President in Texas. I may never see them again.
I quietly sneak out the front door. This is it. I can't be soft now. I have to be like my mother. A warrior.
The night air is so cool and refreshing. I gaze up at the bright full Moon, it reminds me of the old days.
"Full Moon." I whisper to myself. Suddenly…I feel…yes…now I feel it. That huge sense of aloneness that's too obvious to be true. I'm not alone. I already know who's watching me from behind. But I choose to just ignore the presence as the wind blows my hair from in front of my face. But after some moments I realize that I’m the one who is being ignored and I get annoyed.
“Ken, you know I hate it when you do that. It's weird." I say.
I turn around finally. Just as I thought. When I turn around, I see Ken sitting on the edge of the wood hanging over the front door. He’s sitting there as if he'd been there the whole time. At first he doesn’t say anything but after a moment he talks.
“You know, you wouldn't have to wait for Xyn to kill you if Penny found out about what you did in the den a while ago." Ken says.
Son of a-!
What a way of first words! He doesn't beat around the bush when it came to things that aren’t any of his business. I know he doesn't care enough to tattle on me, but the fact of the matter is, Ken knows too much for his own good. He just doesn't care enough to let everybody else know that. And I guess in all honesty, there’s nobody strong enough to tell him otherwise either.
"I was just saying goodbye to everyone." I say.
"You never said goodbye to Angelina." He says.
"Shut up!" I shout. "And just so we're clear, I don't want the others to know where I'm going tonight. And you don't have to interfere either so don't follow me. I have to do this on my own."
"As you wish. I had no intention of interfering anyway. Just hear this though, little miss Warrior girl; If you go to meet Xyn tonight, you won't be coming back here alive. You’re a little stronger than you used to be, but you just can’t win. You don't have the speed like Kalyn and Angelina. You don't have the raw strength like Chris. And you don't have the experience like Penny or Tyronte. To win with shear power, your energy output would have to be near Jamal’s level. But that doesn’t even matter because you can't even use your power at night! Let alone heal when you get injured. You're gonna get killed outright. She will be swift, ruthless, and she is not gonna show you mercy. You’d do better to walk away from this fight."
The words are cold like north wind. I expect to hear doubts like that, especially coming from Ken. But why does he have to be that way? I’ve only ever known one person to be like him. A lone warrior from my village named Heitem. He was very strong, and never lost. But he was arrogant, and fool hearted. He was banished years ago. Now Ken is no fool, and he may be intelligent, but…
I never knew Ken honestly didn't think I could beat Xyn one on one. In my tribe, fellow warriors never told you your chances of wining when you left; they would wish you well and send their blessings.
I decide to ignore him. I don’t say anything as I pull my hair back and tie it with my headband. After I put on the war paint I pick up my bag and head off into the woods. I believe I will win.
Almost a fifteen minuets into the fight and it's already looking grim. Xyn is everything I thought she would be at full strength. Xyn is fast, strong, smart, dirty, and God almighty she's fast! I’m much slower. I’m not as strong as her either. And I have instincts but she has advanced intelligence. My body is telling me to quit. Foolish, it seeks less pain, but that’s actually death. What is a body without the mind anyway? I try to stay focused. Anytime I'm not focused I make a mistake. Even when I am focused, I make a mistake. You only have to make one mistake to get killed be Xyn. You don't even have tomake a mistake!
"Now where did she go?" I whisper to myself. She disappears from time to time to throw me off. I'm a little glad this time because I need to catch my breath. I'm a fighter but I'm not really the speedy type like Kalyn, Angelina, or Ken.
I don’t think I look too good. Xyn has had some opportunities to kill me but she has decided to draw this out. The result is that I have cuts everywhere but none are fatal. Nothing is too serious but I can't take punishment like this all night. Especially since I can’t heal.
I'm standing in a small clearing in the woods with nothing but moonlight to help me see. It's not smart to stay here. Xyn could attack me from any area covered by the dark trees.
I squeeze my twin knives and make a run for the woods. It's all I can do for now. She'll have to follow me if she wants my head that badly. The woods here are thick I'm dodging bushes and trees until I come out into a big clearing, a huge meadow with a huge tree standing tall in the center.
"Perfect." I say to myself as I run towards the tree. I get to it in no time then I scale up about thirty feet or so and I pick a nice wide branch to stand on. Now I pull out my bow and bolts automatically. This is getting a bit easier now, I’m used to this. This is like a comfort zone. Now I’m set. I pull back the string and wait for Xyn to appear chasing after me out of the tree line. This is my chance.
I'm waiting, but there’s no sign of Xyn. After a few moments I turn to a different direction to check for her. Nothing.Where is she? What could she be doing? Before I know it I'm looking in a different direction every split second. After a few moments of common sense I realize I'm being foolish. A warrior can’t lose control. That must be what she wants me to do. To lose control. To lose focus.
As soon as I put this together, I see her. She finally appears running out of the tree line. She’s running like the wind across the clearing headed right toward me! I aim aim carefully and shoot the arrow. A miss. She's closing in quickly. I string three at once and I let them fly. One of the arrows barely scratched her skin. By the time I grab another bolt I lose track of her down by the tree trunk. Damn, I have keep my eye's on her! She's probably half way up the tree by now!
The air gets still behind me. I turn but I'm not quick enough. Xyn slashes at my chest with a slant knife, and it’s a near miss. I back away but she catches me under my eye with the knife. Just a scratch!
I put a little distance between us on the branch. I'm completely disgusted as Xyn pauses to lick a drop of my blood off the tip of her blade. Abomination. She looks at me and smiles. She’s already declaring victory. I raise my bow but she rushes me and head butts me in the stomach and we both fall from the branch. I do what I can to match her blows in mid air.
I let go of my bow and I pull my knives out from behind my back. Xyn slashes my hand with her knife and I drop mine. I'm trying to set my feet for the fall but Xyn is trying to stab me in mid air. I boldly grab hold her wrist with one hand, and I punch her with the other. She lets the knife go but she's just as lethal without it, trying to kill me with her bare hands. We fall for what feels like forever. Two enemies fighting till one can’t fight anymore. These battles often have a voiding affect on the warriors. I feel like I'm falling towards a pit of dark void.
Those words. I can't stop thinking about them. The words Penny said to me because I humiliated Cariza for flirting with Ken. I can't stop thinking about the words I said to her. I yelled at her. I even called her a slut…well something worse than that also. But now I feel like the slut. I mean what was wrong with me? Cariza didn’t mean it. I doubt she even knows how to flirt. So I guess I was just jealous then. I'm already feeling bad but now I'm losing sleep because of it. I've been laying here forever trying to fall asleep.
"I can't take it anymore!" I grunt as I hop out of bed.
I leave my room and head strait for Cariza's room on the second floor. I knock on the door as soon as I get there.
"Cariza." I go. "It's me. It's Angelina." No answer. I knock again.
"I don't want to start anything, I just want to…" I pause. Am I really going to say it? “Apologize.”
I wait a moment, but there’s still no answer.
"Come on Cariza, I feel bad!" I groaned. I’m not lying either. But Cariza still doesn’t answer. What could she be doing in there? I try and keep my newfound patience in tact.
"I just wanna talk," I go. "Come out of there, I know you’re not asleep!"
All that and she still has the nerve to ignore me? Ok, patience, shoot nobody can say I didn’t try.
"Cariza!" I shout. "What are you doing? I'm coming in!"
I turn the knob but it's locked. A locked knob. Now that’s just funny enough to calm me down some.
"Now really," I say. "You'll have to do better than that."
I look around for a piece of paper. I spot a notebook on the shelf so I open it and rip out a sheet of paper. My particular power basically lets me manipulate paper molecules by touching the paper. In England, I learned how to pick locks with paper. All I do this time is make a paper ice pick and stick it in the side of the door and it’s open in no time. I barged right into the room. Maybe Cariza will be anger at me. Maybe we’ll end up fighting and I’ll get to smack her around a bit. Yeah, I’d like to knock some sense into the poor girl. Let her know that nobody bothers Ken except me.
I've never seen her room before. It’s filled with all kinds of Indian stuff like headdresses, bows, arrows, axes, and rawhides. It um…actually isn’t a totally horribly decorated room. So it looks like the girl has a little bit of taste. There’s a picture with two Indian women in it although one of the women looked like she was Asian, and a little girl that was obviously Cariza, holding both of their hands. One of the women was obviously Cariza's dead mother, and I don't know who there other one is…. Wait…
I move closer to the picture. I …I think… I’m shocked…Yeah that’s how to describe it. This other woman holding Cariza’s hand is my…my…….it’s my mother.
I can’t help but to stare at the picture.
“C-…Cariza?” I call out almost absent-minded.
I come out of my trance and geo back to my search. The room is nice but Cariza was nowhere in sight. The room's only window is open.
"Don't tell me I did all that talking and she isn't even here..." I whisper to myself. “Bloo-”
I stop myself. I was about to say bloody hell again. Chris and Jamal will never leave me alone I don’t stop saying it. I went to England and came back with an accent. Now I’m trying to let it go, or if I can’t, I at least want to stop saying bloody hell so much. It’s not like my life depends on it anymore.
Darn it. Oh well. I close the door back and lock it. I guess I'll have to wait till she gets back. I’ll apologize if I still feel like it, but then I want to ask her about that picture. My mother and her mother? Did they know each other? Could they have been…friends? Oh where do the conspiracies end? First Augma, and the super soldiers, and Valmont. Now our parents might know each other? God this is like one huge puzzle! Makes me sleepy just thinking about it. I go back to my room, hop in bed, and wait for the next ride to dreamland. Since there's nothing I can do about the fact that she's gone I do feel a little better.
That thing my friend Kinuu said to me back in England crosses my mind as I lay still. She told me a lot before I decided to escape back to the states, but she kept stressing reliable friends. I crack a smile. It’s just funny in retrospect. I mean, there we were, two trained assassins, in the mist of killing politicians and military big shots and she kept talking about friendship. I said to her one time, “Would jyou shut up already? If you’re that worried about me being alone when I go back, why don’t you just come with me?”
I realize how good it actually feels to have people on my side in this. I can sleep with both eyes closed now. There’s security with the others around. I can't go up against Augma by myself. Tyronte, Penny, Chris, Kalyn, Jamal, Ken, and Cariza too even though we don't get along sometimes….well actually we never did mix well. And when Ken showed a spark of interest in her, it only got worse.
When she gets back, I think I'm gonna do something special for her. I think I'll make her a ring. Yeah. She'd like that a lot. She did say she liked mine after all. I can make her one with a 'C' on it. Yeah... I'll get Penny to help me with it... Cariza's gonna be so happy...But first...I'll sleep...
Darkness filters out of my eyes and my head. I can see again. I'm laying on my back staring at the moon. So I survived the fall but is Xyn still around? I'm trying to sit up and that’s when I notice it. The Pain. Everything is hurting me, but especially my left shoulder. I glanced over at it. There was about seven inches of knife blade sticking out of it. It's one of my twin knives. I can feel the butt of the other one sticking me in the back. I’ve fallen and landed on my own knives.
I strain myself to slowly sit up. Xyn is nowhere in sight. I know she isn't gone. She's just hiding. She's notorious for playing games with her enemies.
I reach behind my back to try and pull the knife out. I'm so sore and stiff all over it’s hard to reach it. I'm throbbing with pain but I succeed in getting my hand on the handle of the knife. But the courage I need to pull it all the way out has been chased away by pain. I try anyways, but I just don’t pulling hard enough and I almost get knocked senseless from the pain. By the time I give up my face is all sweaty.
I slowly get to my feet and look in all directions. I don't see Xyn anywhere. I reach down and pull my other knife out of the ground and I start my painful run to the woods. I can feel my blood seeping out of both sides of my shoulder when I run.
I still don't see Xyn but as I'm running I notice the tree branches shaking a little above me as I run. I'm just running without a sense of direction but I think I still end up right where she wants me to be because I spot my bow and a few of my arrows laying in the middle of a small clear spot where I can see the moon.
I don't hesitate though, I pick the weapons up as soon as I get to them. I thought I was going to die of pain while running, but now it feels like I’m going to die while strapping on the quiver. A twig brakes and hits the ground behind me. I turn, string a bolt and aim high. As I let the arrow fly, Xyn drops down from the tree out of the path of the arrow. As I'm aiming again, she rushes towards me. I get about two missed shots off then she whip kicks the bow out of my hands. Now she’s too close! If it weren’t for my womb…
I pull my knife and swing a swift slash at her neck but she easily avoids it. She comes at me with a dagger hidden away in her hair. This is going to end up on the ground… I lean back to evade her. She slashes at my chest but only gets the strap of my quiver. I stop my fall, then I counter with my knife. I leave a tiny red line across her cheek with my knife. That was luck, she had been expecting me to fall. I decide to get bold and make a stupid move.
As she leans back to avoid another slash, I lunge forward after her, I should be able to pin her to the ground even though I’m hurt. It’s not wise, but I’m running out of ideas and steadily growing weaker.
She’s falling, just a little more, smash! She kicks me under the left eye so hard the vision in it turns red with blood. Before I can even feel the pain of it, she kicks me in the shin and the chest and knocks my breath out of me. I put my arms up to protect me. Darn, that was stupid! She expected that the pain I was in would make me do something stupid like that! I heave and brace for another blow but it never comes. No! I try to turn around but I can't move fast enough.
Before I can react she takes my legs right out from under me and I land on my front hard. Where’s my knife? I’ve dropped it somewhere. I'm in so much pain from the knife in my back, I’m tempted to just lie here and die. But I press against the ground as hard as I can and she’s laying on my back trying to hold me down with her weight as she’s trys to reach for my knife so she can finish me. I give the effort all I have. Suddenly she starts pulling and jerking on the knife in my shoulder.
God this pain is… I scream and shout till my throat hurts. I find myself hoping it doesn’t come out.
Xyn jerks it free and I twist and turn her on her back with the power of pain. I’ve taken her by surprise. I'm on top of her now and I try to take the knife back but suddenly she snaps, "Your mother can't save you now! You're dead little Salletoe!"
It's a distraction. I stay focused and I keep my mouth shut. But I realize I'm too hurt now to take the knife away from her. I have to give up. I punch her as hard as I can in the face and I get up and run as fast and hard as I can.
One… two… I drop to the ground like a rock as I see my knife thrown into a tree directly in front of me. Good, I get back up and start running again. I'm not going anywhere in particular, I'm just running really hard, following a stream trying to figure out a plan because I'm not fast enough to escape. Suddenly I realize just how stupid it is to be following a stream while running away from Xyn. Xyn's power is supposed to stop liquid molecules. Or in other words, freeze them.
I break away from it but as a long Ice sickle flies past me two inches away from my head, I know that I can't do much in this situation.
I come to a dead end on a big hill with a tree and a water fall. I stop in front of the tree and turned to face her. As soon as I do four sickles fly past me and hit the tree outlining my figure. A couple seconds later I notice that each spike has hit me just close enough to cut my skin wit out me feeling them.
Xyn has the biggest smile on her face like she has already won. So much confidence. This was a complete mismatch. How could I have been so foolish to think I could take on this omega level super warrior? Did I really believe that I could physically out fight her with just regular weapons? Ken was right, I’m just not fast enough. And with out my solar powers, this was just a game to her. She didn’t even use her power. She was fighting on my level. I watch her confidently drop the other Ice sickles she had made as if she were going to fight me with her fist. She’s just so confident….would I be? A Salletoe warrior never underestimates the enemy. Why? Because even a weak enemy can use your overconfidence against you…that’s it! There has to be some way to use her confidence against her.
Xyn keeps a black bar strapped to the black of her waist. It resembles the one Angelina wears sometimes. Something she got from her training in a ninja warrior’s camp. Xyn takes it out and reveals it's hidden blade. I recognize the blade. No, I mean I’ve never seen it before but somehow I know it’s the same blade that my people said she used to kill my mother. Xyn is just that dishonorable. My skin craws at the sound of it being unsheathed. The sound makes my hair stiffen. Now I'm… shaking.
I'm so tired and worn down by the long fight, I can't figure out what's making me shake. Is the cold air, or does it just feel cold because of all the blood I've lost? Could it be the pain? Could that be it? My whole body aches but my shoulder is the worst. It hasn't felt much better since Xyn snatched the blade out.
Or is it fear? Knowing that with the sun in the other side of the world I cant heal. Or that because I just up and left, my friends weren’t coming to save me. The fact that I might only be a few seconds away from death. I does scare me.
Xyn. She is an incredible fighter. She's smart, like Tyronte. She's fast, like Kalyn or Angelina. She's strong, like Chris or Penny. And she put out a lot of energy like Jamal. Plus, when it comes to fighting, she doesn't let emotion stop her. She's hard like Ken.
Those eyes of hers. They were green, just like Angelina's. But Xyn's were evil. I wonder. Am I really afraid? Is that why I'm shaking? Am I afraid of Xyn? And the promise of death she holds in her hands? God... The sky is turning...