ELEVENA Chapter by Maddox
They walked for a while in silence before Richelle started in on a seemingly pointless conversation with Jake. Their voices faded to the back of his mind. Shoved to the front of his consciousness was what happened with Jake in the book aisle. What had he been doing? He didn’t even know. He felt like he owed her something for being such a jerk, knowing subconsciously that he didn’t. Jake had understood when he told her the story about Cameron, saying that she probably would have done the same thing. Slowly darkness began to descend upon the group. Adrian stopped looked around.
“Okay we should stop and set up camp. Otherwise we will be caught in the dark.” Nodding, the two followed his lead and dropped their bags on the ground. “Okay before you get anything out. I grabbed something that seemed like a really good idea.” Kneeling down he hastily unzipped his duffel and pulled out the three plastic bags. “Hammocks.”
“That is actually really ingenious,” smiled Jake. She reached out and grabbed one of plastic containers her handed her. Waiting, he watched her pull the package open and drag the hammock out. “Here hold this,” she said and handed Adrian one end of the hammock. Securing the tight knot on the end, she chose a tree and, with ease, shimmied up and wrapped her legs around a thick branch.
“Okay hand it up.” Following her command, Adrian reached up and handed her the thick ropes. Keeping an eye on the level off the ground, she tied a tight knot around the branch making sure to keep it close to the trunk of the tree. Both ends secure, she jumped from her spot and landed hard on her feet, her hands shooting out to break her fall as her knees gave out. Lunging forward to help, he was waved away. “It’s fine. I’m okay.” She sputtered. Shakily, she stood back up and looked around. Brother and sister were giving her worried looks.
“Really I’m fine. Maybe not the most graceful move in the book but I am definitely okay. I’ve always had weak knees,” she admitted.
“Well you’re staying out of the trees for now. I can get mine and Richelle’s hammocks up. You should have put your blankets up while you were up there. Oh well, I can get it,” he mused, mostly talking to himself. Grabbing Jake’s thick heavy blankets, he handed them to her and scrambled back up the tree. Together they worked to get all three hammocks up with blankets and everything while Richelle collected two large piles of sticks and twigs.
Finished with the hammocks, Adrian pulled out four more blankets. He set out the thick comforters on the ground, folded up thick as to not let the winter snow through. Setting out one on either side of the medium pile of sticks. Prepared, Jake pulled out one of the large boxes of thick wooden matches and kneeled down next to the sticks. Adrian walked a ways away and dug down in the snow, pulling out handfuls of leaves. When he returned, Jake already a small fire started. Gently sliding the leaves in underneath the main flame, making it grow.
Adrian sat down on one of the blankets across the fire from Richelle. Finishing her work with the fire, Jake scuttled backwards and planted herself down next to him. Pulling his thin jacket around himself tighter, they all watched the flames. When it started to die down, Richelle would eagerly jump up and toss in more sticks.
“So Jake when are we having our Christmas?” asked Richelle.
“I don’t know. Sometime this week for sure,” she said, smiling at Richelle’s eager face.
“You always did like Christmas didn’t you Aura?” smiled Adrian. Richelle beamed back at him.
“Aura?” asked Jake, catching Adrian’s nickname for his sister.
“Short for Aureliana. It’s my first name. I hate it though so I go by my middle name. Richelle,” said Richelle. “Aureliana Richelle Brien.”
“That’s pretty. I like it,” smiled Jake.
“What about you?” asked Richelle. “Why Jake?”
“Strangely enough it’s from a fairy tale. Well a writer of fairy tales. Jacob Grimm. One of the Grimm brothers. My mom loved their stories when she was younger so she wanted to name one of her children after them. Since I was a girl Wilhelm was sort of out of the question. My name is actually Jacob Rowan Sacrifyce but ever since I was 6, it has just been Jake.” She smiled.
“What about Rowan?” asked Adrian, now curious.
“Oh. Well in the autumn a few months before I was born, my mom saw a Rowan tree and said it was the most beautiful sight in the world. All the leaves had turned red and orange. I guess it could have been any tree but I like Rowan so I guess it’s good that it wasn’t a sassafras tree.”
“What about Sacrifyce?” asked Richelle. “That’s a strange last name.”
“Well I don’t know the real reason but the story is that many years ago my several times great grandma on my dad’s side was a medicine woman. People in the town she lived in loved her. That is, until a new mayor came into the town and started an insane witch hunt. Afraid of persecution the town’s people immediately singled out my great grandma. She was sacrificed before the town. And so the last name Sacrifyce was taken by her 16 year old son, in memory of his mother,” she paused. “That’s the story. I honestly don’t know why. You want to know the strange part?” They nodded. “When she died, so the story goes, her son vowed that knowledge of her being publicly sacrificed would live on and that there will always be a male in the Sacrifyce line. So far it is true. My older brother is still alive in the Ohio Sanctuary. Odd right?” Seeing the spooked looks on Adrian and Richelle’s faces, Jake burst out laughing. “It’s just a story.”
“Yeah, okay. Well I’m heading up,” said Richelle. Giving them a small smile, she stood up and climbed the tree and launched herself into her hammock. Creaking eerily, they waited a few seconds but everything seemed to be safe. Silence followed until they could hear Richelle’s breathing slow and soon she was fast asleep.
“Cold?” asked Adrian when he felt Jake shivering next to him. Not waiting for a reply, he reached over and pulled the extra blanket off his bag. Wrapping it around their shoulders, he pulled in his side trying to trap in any warmth. He could feel how cold she was as she shrugged in closer. Sighing, he lifted his arm wrapping it around her, pulling her in closer. Jake pulled the blanket in tight, finally getting some warmth.
“Why are you out here,” whispered Adrian.
“Because your dang car ran out of gas,” she joked. Raising his eyes to the newly darkened sky he waited for an actual response. “Okay. When I was back in Colorado, I had a friend. When the virus broke out he left to drive a few towns over and bring his elderly grandma to the Sanctuary,” she took a shaky breath. “He never came back. People around me kept saying ‘I’m so sorry Jake.’ I couldn’t stand all the pity and sadness there with every person that died. So I left.” A violent shudder helped emphasize the end of her story. Jake’s head rested gently against his chest, both of them huddled in front of the slowly dying fire.
They sat in silence for a while. Needing to change, Adrian stood up. Pulling clothes out of his bag he motioned for Jake to go first. He waited with his back against a tree as Jake changed clothes. When she finished she tapped him on the shoulder. He waited until she crawled up the tree and huddled under her heavy blankets. Stepping closer to the fire, he stripped off his old clothes, smeared on a new layer of deodorant, and pulled on a new pair of clothes. Shaking the feeling that he was being watched, he pulled the long sleeve shirt down over his head and pulled on a black sweatshirt. Scrambling up the same tree as Jake, he slid into the hammock next to her. The thick blankets provided some protection against the biting cold.
© 2012 Maddox
Added on January 4, 2012
Last Updated on January 4, 2012
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AboutWriting is one of the most important things in my life. It's a release. The way I think can't easily be explained to most people. I think in pictures, stories, and patterns. Writing stories is a way t.. more..