A being lost in time and mind. Will she find answers, or always live in mystery?
|Deep within a dark musky cavern, there was movement on the ground as loose leaves, rocks and dirt were being disturbed from underneath causing several small nocturnal creatures to scurry away in fright. This continued to reveal a large stone slab to be slightly lifted and slid over diagonally.
Time seemed to pass slowly as it seemed nothing else was happening. Then the sound of deep breathing that gradually became steadier and quieter, followed by rustling of fabric.
She arose into the dark of the cavern, taking a moment to adjust her eyesight. Not needing any light due to her natural eyesight, she sighed deeply and rose from her place of slumber. Weaker at first, gaining more strength as she went.
She walked over to a secluded edge of the cavern and began to remove a layer of litter and stones, to reveal another smaller stone slab.
Removing the slab revealed what appeared to be nothing but sand. She removed a large amount of the sand. This in turn revealed a large clay barrel full of some sort of oily substance.
She reached into this barrel removing a slick leathery bundle bound with a cord. Carefully undoing the bundle she removed some garments which she tested and then proceeded to dress into. Feeling a bit better she then closed up the barrel and headed towards the exit of the cavern passing through a narrow passageway to a smaller cavern towards the entrance. Light filtered in letting her know that it was early morning. Cautiously she entered into this light taking in all she could hear and see of her surroundings. Once she was satisfied that all was clear she exited and headed for the nearest cluster of trees.
The first thing to do now was to find food. Time to hunt. Sleeping for so long required her to feed very soon.She stood there looked around, listened and sniffed the air. Taking a moment to adjust and get a real sense of her surroundings. It felt good to be in this seamlessly ageless forest again. She felt grateful that 'they' had not come this far and destroyed this part of the world. Yet...
A sudden pause in her musings. She smelt it first, then heard it. There, a flash of brown moving between trees. A deer. Food.
She proceeded to follow the deer and waited quietly behind a tree as the deer stopped and checked it's surroundings before it started to feed. With the need to feed She moved quickly, keeping upwind she tackled it from behind grabbing it around the neck. She slit it’s throat with her nails just as swiftly. She apologised to the deer. Then continued to prepare the deer. She was very human in appearance, nothing seemed out of the ordinary except if you were to see her feed. She drank some of it's blood, then cut off pieces of meat for herself until she felt sated.
While she was feeding however another hunter came out of the shadows. A wolf. It came due to the scent of the kill but it froze when it saw her. It stood staring, uncertain and nervous. She looked up and looked straight into it's eyes, knowing others wouldn't be far. She wasn't scared. Just respectful. This was their forest. She just slept for years in it. She spoke softly to the wolf and left the deer to it. The wolf still looked wary but did not approach until She was well away from it.
With a satisfied nod she walked away back toward the cave. Her exit was followed by a chorus of howls as this wolf called it's pack. "Well it was good to see a wolf. They're still here. Though that one was more timid than I'd expect... I wonder if the food is scarce?" She pondered this as well as many other things. she was soon distracted by her tasks of cleaning up herself and sorting out her cave.
" Time to get things sorted. Tidy up my 'home' a bit... I hope I'll find a better place soon. Would be nice for a change."
Days went on where She continued to make things more comfortable, and building up her strength and food reserves. Even going over skills that She had learnt over the many years. Including archery. Mostly aiming at non living targets. Yes she was efficient in hunting without any weapon, though sometimes this was cleaner and didn't seem so, 'primal'. It also made it easier to fit in with 'them'. She had also found it useful to know about many methods of healing, and preparing food suitable to 'their' pallet, as well adjusting her 'tastes' to fit in. Meat for her was essential, though various plants, roots and fungi made it on the menu as well. Her first meal, of the deer was just part of the necessary way She had to do things. It always seemed to be what her body craved the most after her 'hibernation'
She was making preparations, being cautious as usual whenever she awoke from such long slumbers. She would go the following dusk towards where she last saw a human settlement. While staying in the shadows, she would see what the humans wear and how they seemed to interact socially. Then she would see about getting the appropriate attire and try to blend in. One purpose for all this was partially because of her curiosity of the race that she was shunned from decades ago.
She had no real purpose any more that she knew of. An outcast of an extreme degree. Though she did want to know answers to who she really was.
It may have been decades already, but she still had not found any answers. It was starting to seem like that no answers existed after so long. Would any remember her? Possibly. Though they may be confused or think she was a descendant. She still looked like she was in her mid 20's... the same as 40 years ago and the time before that. The long sleep had happened four times before... so that meant She was actually 184. The timing of her long sleep seemed to be ingrained in her. A natural process? Will it always be the same? She was getting dreary of this but was determined to find answers.
Something else to do was to choose her name for when she did encounter them. She thought that long ago she should use a different name every time to reduce any confusion. That was a pain every time. But what to choose. The whole process was as though she was starting her life all over again. Yet skipping a whole childhood and teenage years. Sometimes she had to think of a back story, a fake history. Most of the time she could leave it as a mystery and pretend it was too painful and seem unwilling to share it. It worked, at times. Then there were always suspicious people. She did her best to avoid these frustrating people. Hopefully this time might be different and she might not need to hide any more. It seemed so wishful. The chances of finding answers was slim too.
Well enough pondering ifs and maybes, time to actually do something and see how things go. Wondering will not solve things. Jessica... There a name. It would suffice for now. It had been so long, couldn't remember her real name any more. So making them helped. Unfortunately these names yet opened up yet again, the seemingly ageless question, "Who and what am I?". With a sombre mind 'Jessica' sighed, and decided to settle down for the night. Her last thought being, that she might need plenty of rest before tomorrow, let alone having her wits and senses as keen as she could obtain. Ironic, needing plenty of rest after being in hibernation for so long.
As the sun was setting, her keen senses seemed to heighten and awaken her. Jessica for a fleeting moment awoke a little unsure where or who she was, but clarity soon took over. Jessica arose, checked herself, tidied her hair and then placed a light and simple black hooded cloak over her shoulders. She stepped out just in time to witness the last of the suns rays to wink out at the horizon, leaving behind remarkable colours in the sky. To be replaced by the gradually brightening stars. The moon was a little late to rise tonight. With a contented sigh after admiring the beauty of the sky briefly, she resigned to continue on with her plans with renewed determination.
Off She went wandering walking through the forest keeping alert constantly watching and listening for anything that could be in the forest.
At first it would seem very quiet and lonely. Not much sign of life to the average person. But Jessica wasn't average. Apart from the last few birds singing their dusk songs before settling for the night, there were scuttles of small forest creatures running off hiding. Then the subtle changes as the nocturnal creatures emerged from their homes. Jessica spotted a cautious dog fox emerge from it's den to start hunting, various little rodents scuttled about cautiously. The occasional hoot of an owl with their silent flights. There was plenty of life here. Not to mention the many mini beasts lurking and scuttling about. The occasional nervous shuffle of larger herbivores such as deer, hiding in tall grasses and amongst the trees... where were the wolves? She couldn't see many signs of them at all. Mostly old scents. It seemed odd.
This prompted her to change direction and go to the area where the deer was the first night. Lots of thoughts crossed her mind. She only saw one wolf and in her state she didn't notice signs of others... didn't smell or hear them. Not nearby at least. There was the howling... When she thought back to it the wolf she met didn't get many responses. With that foreboding thought she hurried on.
When she got the the place where she was sure she killed the deer, Jessica slowed to check for smells, tracks and any other signs of wolves. Hoping to find something, even if it was only the lone one. She found some tracks including where it looked like something had been dragged. Parts of the deer carcass where scattered about. Mostly bones, with signs of smaller animals such as crows, ravens and foxes having their turns at the carcass. Not many signs of larger predators. Just the brief glimpses of what appeared to be only one wolf. The tracks seemed clumsy somehow. It was though it was in a hurry, desperate even to drag away the meagre portion of carcass that it chose. The more she followed the tracks and other markings, the more she started to worry and feel that something wasn't right.
In some ways this search had come as a distraction from her usual quest and trail of thought, which in a sense may of been a good thing if it wasn't for her concerns. The native inhabitants, the animals were a big part of her home, the forest. They gave her a sense of reality and in a way a kind of peace to have them about. The only thing she had left with any familiarity, in between her long sleeps. Unfortunately the balance of things appeared to have shifted, making her feel very uneasy. The top of the food chain, what was going on? So it seemed very important to find out what was upsetting this balance and if she could put everything right again.