starless part twenty
This is a collaborative work with three other wonderful writers... Slarty O'brian, emichael, and Motown2Chitown. I am quite privileged to be involved with such work... This is my installment submitted for your enjoyment. Thankyou for reading....
Sally yawned loudly as she finished changing the baby. It had been a long night. Most babies this age would sleep through the night, but this one still woke up about every four to six hours The little one was very fussy. When Sally finally placed him on her knees belly down, he seemed to settle in a quiet sleep. What was it? Collick. As she laid him down in her laundry basket, she grabbed one of her mom's books... and read up on it. As the sun rose, she held him close while making some strawcose tea. Sipping on it, she went outside to sit on the stoop to enjoy the change of color in the grey sky from the sun.
"i hope your mother got recharged, little one. I am going to help you and her get on with life, kay?" she bounced the boy a little on her knee.
A big toothless grin with dark brown eyes stared at her making Sally feel like the most important person in the world.
"Now that is the magic we need around here, little one. I recommend your smile as a remedy for any illness."
Sally took another sip of tea. As she looked up, she stopped in mid-thought. James? She laid her tea down, gathering the baby up closer and walked to the gate that led out to the main street. A man, tall and thin, walked towards her staring striaght ahead.
"James? Is that you?" She called.
The man kept walking as if not hearing. She got closer, adjusting the baby to be held by one arm, then reached out and grabbed the man in question by the shoulder as he passed. "I say, James? Are you alright?"
The man stopped and looked down at her hand and then his face rose slowly to stare into the blue eyes of this girl who was waylaying him.
"Excuse me?" He inquired.
Sally immediately dropped her hand to cradle the baby closer. "I am terribly sorry. You really look like someone I know."
The man's expression did not change yet Sally felt like he was inspecting her inside and out.
"Er, You must be new to these parts, sir. It is considered very impolite to stare."
The man blinked and then forced himself to look away from the blond girl.
"I beg your pardon. I just was taken aback by such a young girl with a baby."
Sally took a step back. "I...Oh... this is not my child. I am only taking care of it for awhile. The mother needed to get some work done."
"Ah, I see. And what would make you qualifed to baby sit?"
Sally narrowed her eyes at that. "I think an introduction would be in order. I am the Guilds master healer, Miss Sally." She nodded her head in his direction wishing she had never left her front porch.
"Miss Sally...." The man muttered to himself as if trying to imprint the name on his memory. He turned away and started to his journey again.
"Er, And your name, sir?" Sally wondered just where did this man hail from being so rude.
"I don't remember giving one."
"You really must be new here. What brings you to Rockbridge, if I may be so bold to ask?" Sally took note of the clothes that were simple. Plaid flannel shirt and jeans, the boots made to navigate thru the grey much that had invaded their town this winter.
The man looked down at the ground, as if considering this interaction.
"Nice meeting you. I have to go see...someone."
Sally blinked, and he was gone.
"Now that was wierd." She said outloud to the baby... readjusting the boy a little higher and closer as she pondered on the fact that the man might have resembled James, but he looked more like someone else she had met, he almost looked like.... Naw... that would be impossible. How could the spitting image of Jame's father, who had died over three years ago, be walking around Rockbridge. She shuddered at a feeling of coldness that entered into her heart and walked back to her porch to finish the last dregs of her now cold tea.
"Master Recycler, I would like to give you these."
"Um, Nice. Really nice. These will come in handy..." The man mutterd to himself as he looked up into the face of Charity. He caught his breath. Young Charles' widow.... He swallowed hard as he removed the bags from her clutched hands, realizing the amount of courage it had taken her to bring these, noting the resistance of not wanting to let go, he smiled at the woman.
"It is a gracious service to the colony, Miss. Your Charles will be remembered because of your donation. Your courage to give this to us is recognized, as is your reluctance, showing us just how much he was valued and loved."
Charity looked up into the older man's face. It held no guile, nor was he being cruel. He acknowledged her for her effort. She bowed and let go of the bags. Turning she felt a part of her was being left behind...but forced herself to take a step, then another and soon found herself standing in front of the little medical clinic that also served as the house for the master healer. She entered through the gate just as she felt strangely not alone anymore... Squaring her shoulders and attempting to keep herself from running away, she stood in front of the door knowing that today would bring new challenges, and she must be strong. Once one was a widow here at Rockbridge, choices were few and far between. There would be no second marriage. There would be no apprenticeships offered. The expectations for the widows meant that they could teach, become care takers to orphans, or work as housekeepers to aid others in their work... none of which ever appealed to Charity.... She raised her hand and started to knock on the door as if her very life depended up on it.
Thomas stared down at the map of the terrain they were attemting to cross. Little was known of this section of the mountains. He had already lost two phantses, and one man. Closing his eye, remembering the earth history. The writing of the net page was plain and simple. Germany invaded Russia. Russia simply allowed the winter to take its toll on the Germans who had come in the summer time with summer uniforms ill prepared to face such cruel challenges of the harsh cold. He swallowed hard, as his men were encamped in this small canyon for shelter and needed rest. Any other time he would be worried about ambush, but that was earth history... not here. He rolled the map and returned it to his back pack as he laid down on the make shift bed.
I will allow myself to indulge... just this once... As he closed his eyes, remembering the redheaded girl that waited for him at Paradise Mound. The moment he had saved her from the well, she had him. Hook, line and sinker.... Jane.... I pray all is well with you. Please be patient and wait for me. as he closed his eyes.
"Who are you?"
Sounds of shots rang thru the camp as Thomas startled out of his deep sleep, jumped up and ran out with his weapon raised. Poised to fire, he saw his men were ....gone... as was the Phantses....
He cried out for them, just as everything went black.
Deep within a dark cavern, shadows of shadows flitted across the dark dank walls. It was time... the planet itself had been bleeding long enough.... Finally, it just was time became the collective conclusion amongst the shadows.....
To be continued.....