The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Aresan Clan pt 112

Anika and Mill could just barely hear the sound of their footfalls, the sound of dirt crushed and scraped beneath their feet, and grass flattened and stray pieces of wheat stalk cracked. Holding hands while Mill led the way, they both looked more at their feet than the destination in front of them. Every step was placed deliberately, each time placing their foot in what appeared to be the quietest bits of ground they could reach.

By these means, they gradually slipped down the rows of Hassock’s pastures. On the shore of the lake, they tread silently over rocks for many paces. When they turned towards the forest, Mill squeezed Anika’s hand harder for extra support. In the woods, silence became extremely difficult. The forest floor was cluttered with underbrush and dried twigs littered the ground beneath. If their leg wasn’t shaking the leaves of some small bush, their foot was stepping upon and snapping some small twig. They kept moving forward, slower now, but undaunted, occasionally raising their eyes to look at their destination in the distance.

While in this posture it was that they caught sight of the Creature in the moonlight. She calmly strode through the forest in front of them. Mill and Anika both froze immediately, and gradually receded behind a tree as the animal passed by without noticing them. Despite that the sight deeply terrified them, a profound smile spread across their faces and they looked at each other with jubilation.

“We’ll make it,” Mill silently mouthed to Anika and she nodded in agreement. They turned their faces forward and began again their gruelingly slow progress.

Samuel begins to learn to write [522]
Samuel’s day always began with breakfast. Eldeba would always bring it into his room upon a tray, his shaky hands holding it as he set it down before the boy, partially unmasking him so that he might eat. It was the first day since he’d arrived seven days ago that Samuel wasn’t to be subjected to some test or experiment by Apamix, Taney and Sidd. Eldeba was thankful for this, since he was having a sense that this barrage of tests had started to suck the vibrancy out of the young boy. Samuel didn’t have quite that bottomless ebullience as he’d had when he first arrived. Then again maybe it was food. Or maybe he was lonely.

Across the stone floor, many drawings had been made with charcoal. Eldeba had salvaged a bit of charcoal from a fire and showed the boy how to draw with it, a difficult task, since he couldn’t properly let the boy see. But apparently the boy had picked it up and relished it. It was clear to Eldeba that Samuel had been fully removing his blindfolds when no one was around. He dutifully but them back on before anyone might see him without them in order to create the illusion that he always wore them, probably because he feared punishment should he be found out. The drawings made it evident that Samuel was doing this, but Eldeba was completely unconcerned. He had yet to see any evidence that the boy was as dangerous as everyone thought.

He inspected the childish attempts at drawing people, mountains, trees and so on. But what most interested him was something he saw almost hidden in the corner of the room, as if Samuel was trying to keep it secret. Letters were unmistakably inscribed there: “Herein is recorded the history of Richard Bale, great…” There it ended. Eldeba looked at the wall, where a whole shelf of bound books had been stowed. The books weren’t there for Samuel’s benefit. They’d been stored there since long before Samuel had occupied this room. When Eldeba looked at the bottom shelf, he found a chronicle of the life of Richard Bale, and, a few pages in, the first line of text ran just as the words written on the floor. The calligraphy of the book was quite advanced, and Samuel had clearly tried to copy it exactly, instead of using a simpler and easier model. It went without saying that Samuel’s letters were much sloppier, some even barely legible, but there, without any schooling, he’d copied the text.

“Did you write this?” Eldeba asked. The boy didn’t seem to notice that he was speaking. In fact, he never seemed to hear anything at all, and Eldeba only spoke to him, really out of habit, the way a person speaks to an animal or to a plant. Eldeba had noticed this after only a few days of taking care of the boy, and yet he suspected he was the only person who’d realized it so far.

<-- Go to Part 111         Go to Part 113 -->

You can see what's been written so far collected here.

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