Friday, March 19, 2010

Chapter 12 The Edge of the World

I open my eyes again and take in the sight. "Whoa."

I suck in a breath, all the odd and stinky smells invading my nostrils. The mass of water before me moves as if it were alive and reaching for us. It goes for so far there is a line of gray-ish murky water that meets with with blue of the sky. A strong wind sweeps in off the water like its sending its feelers out for us, directing the water that rolls onto the sand before us.

My breath leaves me for a moment as my body tried to decide whether to flee or collapse."That," I say, "Is a lot of water."

Brandon smiles at me. "Welcome to the Edge of the World."

Brandon, Maria, and me stand there in awe. It's probably nothing they haven't seen before, yet they still seem respectful of it and in just as much awe as I am. I've never seen something like this before, and I don't have a word for it. The sand at my feet, semi large granules, is almost white, and it seeps into my shoes uncomfortably. In the Neutral territory, there are fences up to stop us from getting too close. Here too, as we broke through the forest near the village, we stumbled upon an old stone fence, the remnants which can be seen on the hill. At some point, someone must have knocked the fence down to get access to this place.

It almost feels wrong to sit so near the edge, taunting the gods to come and find us.

Brandon catches my thought. "That old story." When I glance at him, he rolls his eyes. It reminds me of the way Mom rolled her eyes when I first told her the story and asked if it was really true.

"What story?" Maria asks.

Brandon and I look at each other; he looks as surprised as I do. I clear my throat. "The two brothers who destroyed the world are under the water sleeping. You don't want to wake them up, because if they know we're here, they'll fight over us too."

Maria doesn't roll her eyes like Brandon did at just the thought. "I've never heard that story." She says it quietly, solemnly.

"They say that sometimes in their sleep, they turn over, and that's when the ground quakes."

The three of us fall back into quiet listening to the ancient whispers of the water and the wind. I lift a hand to shove my hair out of my face and touch my cheek. It's cold and a little bit gummy with whatever is coming off of water. Almost on instinct, I lick my lips and taste salt. It's a weird sensation to realize that I'm covered in it like it's crystallizing over my skin and hair as we stand here before the water.

Beside me, Brandon moves quickly. He looks over at the rocks in the distance before he tells us sternly, "Stay here."

Something about it surprises me and almost seems un-Brandon-like to me. He tells us to stay like he's giving us a command that he expects us to just obey, and I can only watch him walk off towards the rocks with intent, taking large steps through the sand.

Maria watches him for a moment the same as I do before she looks back at me, a hand raising into the air as her eyes glitter almost mischievously. "You going to take that? I'm not. C'mon. There's something interesting over there."

She turns quickly and trots off after Brandon. I chase after her, only one second behind, but with a widening gap between the two of us.

I'm so intent on running after her running after Brandon, my shoes sinking into the sand so that more sand granules crush my toes, that I don't notice until we stop just past the boulder that we've moved much closer to the water. For a moment, I'm so caught up by how clear the water is as it rolls over the sand that I don't look up until I hear Maria swear.

"Shit; what is it?"

I turn and see four pair of eyes on us. Brandon looks slightly annoyed, though not surprised. Jimmy glances up at me, a much more serious look on his face than he had this morning when he was teasing Brandon over breakfast. I catch Angel's eyes right away, their strange blue so bright the movement is almost exaggerated when they move back down to the thing at his feet that's half buried in the sand.

There is a last pair of eyes that I don't recognize. They are bright green and they fall right on me. For a moment, I find I can't look away. There is something about this stranger that is different from the others. We both seem to size each other up in the instant we stand staring at one another. Something about the both of us seems out of place in comparison with the people around us. He glances away, back down towards the ground and as my eyes follow his, I catch a glimpse of the rest of his body. He stands there without a shirt, a large tiger tattoo covers his chest.

On the ground at Jimmy's feet is a wooden thing that's half covered in sand. That's the thing that seems to have Brandon and Jimmy both looking rather serious as they contemplate it.

"They're crossing the water," Jimmy says, his deep voice somehow carrying well despite the loud wind roughly brushing against us.

Maria says with no hesitation, "That's impossible."

Angel shifts uncomfortably, and it makes me notice that they pretty much all do, except for the one I don't know with the green eyes. No one is comfortable with the idea that whoever made this is able to cross the water. I glance out again at the edge and it makes me dizzy. Someone is crossing that?

"Who?" I ask, turning back to look at them.

"Lost Landers," Brandon says quietly. "From the Lost Territory. They've been appearing in town from time to time, and we thought there might be a breech in the territory line."

The only thing I know about the Lost Territory is that they are worse than the Wildlanders in every way. What more would we have needed to know? A normal Neutral wouldn't ever have to meet a Lost Lander. Of course, a normal Neutral wouldn't have a father who'd been an Experiment.

Maria smirks. "Please. Lost Landers somehow figured out how to travel on water? I don't think they're smart enough for that."

I raise my head up from looking at the contraption on the sand and look at Maria. There's a bit of vehemence in her voice that seems to come out of no where. I glance around at the others to see if anyone else noticed how odd that seemed. Brandon and Jimmy don't seem to notice. They appear to be quietly contemplating the problem. Angel has a slight twitch in the corner of his mouth that he doesn't really try to hide, and the green eyed man smiles tightly, a closed lipped smile that leaves his eyes looking as if they could cut something.

Jimmy says, "We'll have to have someone on guard here for now." Brandon stands with his arms over his chest as if in support and agreement. It's a small gesture between the two of them, and I'm not sure how I should feel about it.

Maria nods. "Right; I'll go first then." I glance at her, a little surprised that she would volunteer to just sit here and watch the water.

To Brandon, I hear Jimmy say, "Would you go tell Henri?"

I see Brandon pause for a moment, his brows drawing down a bit. Even I freeze uncomfortably when I realize that the "Henri" he's so casually referring to is our dad, and that if Brandon has to go talk to him, then I'd probably have to go too.

A third voice breaks in quickly. "I'll talk to Mr. Smith," Angel says as he starts walking towards me before Jimmy can command him otherwise. When he's near me I catch his wink, and when he walks past, his arm lightly brushes against mine.

Once Angel is past, Brandon is there, his hands gently directing me to turn around as he says his "see you soon" to Jimmy.

Next Chapter -->

No profile this time. Instead, if you're curious, I have a tour of the village here.


  1. Hmmm...the plot thickens! I can't wait to hear more about the Lost Landers. I wonder if this will change whatever Henri's plans were (he was going to travel somewhere with Paula, right?). I loved your description of the reactions of the various warriors--it really brings out the differences in their personalities. It also shows Paula something of the way they work when they aren't trying to be careful of her, though they are probably still being guarded...

    Is the newcomer Mike? He looks something like him, but I went back to Mike and Maria's profile and he lacks the tattoos and his facial hair and hairstyle are different...the strange kinship that Paula feels with him is very interesting, of course. I can't believe you only have two more chapters slated to go before this story is finished...

  2. It did sound like Henri was going to actually go somewhere with Paula, didn't it? But no, he is just going to take her to get her out of Brandon's way. He's near-by, but he's been giving them space for now.

    Nope, not Mike, though that is a good guess. Michael also has green eyes, but not this bright. His are a bit closer to hazel.

    Someone actually looks at the chapter listing? Haha, that's awesome. But it is a little misleading. :}

  3. I loved all the imagery in this chapter - it almost felt like I was there!

    This chapter has me wondering what's up with Maria. First she indicated she didn't believe the Lost Landers could cross the water and then she's the first to volunteer to guard the boat? Suspicious, Maria!

    Have we seen this newcomer before? He's intriguing, given his and Paula's reactions to each other.

  4. Thank you, Carla. That means a lot to hear you say that.

    Haha, actually, I'm glad you pointed that out. There's a reason for her strange behavior.

    You might have, but we haven't. What? Sometimes I don't even know myself. XD

  5. I love the idea that the edge of the world is the ocean. Very much like ancient cultures would've believed...

    And I have to agree, Maria acted somewhat suspect. She seems to know more than she is letting on.

    Great stuff, once again ;)

  6. Always wondered when we'd learn more about the wider world... very exciting stuff, can't wait to discover more about the Lost Landers.

  7. that sideways shot of the water made me feel like I was toppling over into it - wonderful WONDERFUL shot!

    I love the myth; I love the odd reaction to seeing a boat - a wooden thing - and the way they describe it - traveling on water. It's almost as if floating in a boat was something miraculous. I'm guessing it's a lot more than that.

    The boy with the tiger tat is hot LOL! Who's Paula looking back at in the last shot?

  8. I love the mythology of the two brothers that you wove into this chapter and the way you utilised that particular object into the core of the story.

    The Lost Landers sound interesting. If they're worse, I'm curious as to what Paula defines as worse because where she is right now seems pretty bad.

    Maybe this is where Paula will go with Henri. Somehow, I really doubt being with him will be a bundle of laughs!

  9. Thanks, Poida. I have to admit that idea came about from where I live. I'm very close to the Pacific Highway 1 here in California, and when you drive down it, you're faced with lots of cliffs and ocean, so we call that the Edge of the World. It always feels like it.

    Thanks, Rad. I do intend on getting to that in some fashion.

    SB, thank you. Miraculous is a very good word for it. Paula certainly can't imagine it. She definitely has no concept for it!

    And, lol! I am really glad to hear you approve. Definitely if someone knows hot guys/sim guys, you'd be one of them.

    Paula's just looking at Brandon in that last shot. I just really liked her pose in that shot. :P

    Carnaxa, thank you. Funny, I thought of you when I was doing the pictures for this chapter and re-working the mention of the myth, lol.

    Worse is probably something Paula can't imagine or define-- most likely because she doesn't want to!

  10. So this is the Fringe? A fitting name for this particular place since the ocean can really feel like the fringe or as you pointed out, the edge of the world. I love how the myth of the two brothers comes into play here and I also have my curiosity piqued at Maria's willingness to take first watch. I wonder if her premonitions have become more powerful and she is protecting someone or if she has some other motive. Either way her behavior seems very different from the girl we saw in the last two pieces.

    I feel for Paula here. The ocean can be very humbling and frightening in its power. add a myth to the mix and it can be very scary. I am looking forward to learning about the Lost Landers and the new guy is very intriguing!

  11. Maria's behavior IS very different from what we saw in the last two pieces at that moment when she volunteers to take the first watch. For very good reason. I haven't completely explored her motivation for it, but I simply assumed that she's standing with the big boys here, and she's not one to sit back and be left in the dust.

    The ocean is a powerful thing. Don't you feel so small when you go to the beach and stand there in front of it? Growing up around here, you learn to respect the ocean from the time you're little. We've got a crazy trench and dangerous undertows. One simple thing like deciding to take a swim can end so badly.

  12. Hmmm, brothers that *destroyed* the world. As a mythology they hold onto, I wonder if this means they believe they're living in a sort of second world? Does this refer to the time before the experiments? It wasn't so long ago, was it? Like 20/30-something years?

    I'm also very taken by the way they view things, the ocean = the edge of the world, the boat = a wooden traveling device. I know there are differences in some areas since the experiments, but it makes me wonder about how they lived before the experiments even. Were these things always so mysterious?

    I love the water shots! Great capture of the immensity of it!

    Can't wait for more! :)

  13. Ooh, all good questions which should be answered slightly unexpectedly. Hopefully, lol. It's been about 30 years since the revolution. So how long they've been doing the experiments is unknown right now.

    That's a good question. How long does it take to forget these things? I'd imagine if their parents knew, they might have an inkling at least.

    Thanks, Laura.

  14. I love the descriptive writing in this Lunar, the sand, the water. And the angles of the shots really add to the narrative.

    Tiger tat boy is mysterious, he didn't speak at all, is he able? Is this yet another of Mr. Smith's sons I wonder? I am no doubt off base, but his presence has me all excited, LOL! Oh yeah, hot too.
    I love how all your updates open up such speculation and questions.
    Edge of the World indeed. Love the imagery.
    Oh, looking forward to your comment on Crime Story, you didn't forget did you? *sniff* I so look forward to them! LOL! Cheers~

  15. Heck no I didn't forget Crime Story! I just need time to read it and then comment. Tonight is definitely the night. (Last night would've been the night but I got distracted with this. :D (Feel free to add to that entry!)

    Awww... thank you very much!

    Hehe, maybe we'll see him again? You're another one I take to know hot, so awesome, lol. I didn't really do too much to his face from what I remember, but I had to work to make those tats especially for him. (They're actually a few other tats all put together because the tattoos aren't layerable.)

  16. What an exciting chapter!

    I thought the way Brandon picked up the presence of the others was awesome and I loved Maria for disobeying his command.

    I'm with Laura in that it is surprising they do not know what an ocean is or a boat. Especially, Paula sinc she grew up in a civilized world with schools, text books, TV and presumably libraries dating from before the revolution.
    I mean if scientists in this world had enough knowledge to experiment on people, they surely had a fine understanding of the world as well as the technology to explore it.

    I love the way you describe Paula's sensations in this chapter.

    And the Lost Landers sound very intriguing! Especially, because our 'warriors' seem worried. :)

  17. lol, I thought you'd like Maria! Or at least I'd hoped.

    Oh! *squeak* You know, while writing this, I saw all those contradictions too. I think they're very important, so I'm glad you're noticing them!

    There is the end of the world/creation myth that ties into this too. Do they really believe that? Paula says that even where she came from, they had up fences. Here too there is the remnants of a fence that the Neutrals had up but with the breakdown in what little society there was here, the fence was also broken down too so they could visit the beach which Paula has no word for.

    I am definitely going to have some fun exploring this over time!

    And lol, they should be! You'll find out more later.

    Also, thank you very much.