Chapter 1 - Fate

Chapter 1 - Fate

A Chapter by jawillford
"

Only chapter I would say is 100% complete. I believe it is the best it can be.

"

Balance Of Powers - Chapter 1


It was the day everything changed. I wouldn’t be alone anymore. I trekked down a line of rubble, which is what the outer cities called a road. I watched my every step and avoided all of the overgrown brush and cracks in the road. The road’s painted lines had long but faded, only apparent in my memories at the time. I wiped the back of my dirt-covered hand across my sweaty forehead and brushed my hair to the side. It had been over a year since I last had my hair cut.

The day grew short as the sunset in the distance behind me. I rubbed my eyes, yawned, and gazed at the now darkened sky. A glare shone in the corner of my eyes. My pulse increased, and adrenaline rushed through me, as I clung to the trees on the side of the road. As I crept forwards, a small clearing appeared between some trees. I heard the faint sounds of people talking, and decided to take a look.

I became alert and my muscles tensed, preparing for a fight. This happened to me almost every time I had been near other people. I had been on my own for years and became cautious. Thieves and murderers were known to stalk the outskirts, and I had been stolen from many times.

As I peeked around a rather large oak tree, I looked back and forth across the clearing. I didn’t notice any armed or uniformed people. They were covered head to toe in tattered clothing and dirt, surrounded by tents; which had rips and holes the size of windows, and were covered in dirt. A large pot centered above a large fire and a girl served the people a taste I knew too well. There was a wooden booth the size of an outhouse with a large man inside of it a few feet from the group. While everyone else talked and laughed, he sat alone and counted coins into a pouch. He had a large muscular upper body and his face was tough and dirtied. He had a long beard that had been wound into a braid. He was the closest thing to a threat at the camp.

“A refugee camp...”

The sky grew even darker, and the stars began to shine down on the land. I decided that I should try to stay at the camp for the night. As I approached, the owner noticed me and tucked away his pouch of coins. I kept myself ready for anything but tried to keep my face relaxed as well. As I got closer, the owner's eyes moved up and down my person. His previous look changed, his face now smiling vibrantly. He talked to me in a calm and upbeat tone.

“What can I do for you ‘friend’?”, said the man with a smirk on his face.

“I need a place to stay for the night.” I said, my voice was low and unaffected by his attempted farce.

“All you have to do is help out with a little work every day and you can stay as long as you’d like. Our little ‘family’ here would love... ”

I interrupted the man. “Sorry. I don’t need a ‘family’. like I said, I just need a place to sleep for the night ‘Friend’.”

His face wrinkled and he frowned as the man’s true colors showed. His gaze averted down towards a club. I followed his eyes. The “club” was no more than an old baseball bat with bent hammered in nails. Yet another disappointing part of this camp. There was nothing he could do with a weapon like that. His continued disgruntled expression made it clear he wanted nothing else to do with me. With a long and drawn out sigh, the man brought out a metal bowl that was dented top to bottom. It looked more like a turtle’s shell than an eating utensil.

“Fine. Just pay me and take this and grab something to eat like everyone else. Sleep wherever there’s an open spot.” the man declared.

I reached into my front pocket and then flipped a shiny gold coin into the air. This caused it to spin multiple times a second and the man’s eyes followed it. The coin hit the table, and the man scooped it up, stumbling with his fingers to put it into his large sack of coins. I grabbed the “bowl”, turned around and thanked the man.

I didn’t bother to observe the other people at the camp. There were too many people to check, and the person I had been looking for wouldn’t have been somewhere like this. I looked around at the empty spaces in the dark away from the fire and then looked back at the people’s smiling faces as they radiated warmth to the others. I noticed the girl who was pouring the “soup” for the refugees looked in my direction, and I averted my eyes.

“I guess I brought attention to myself...”

I decided it was best to avoid the food and find a secluded spot to myself. I didn’t want to deal with any more people. I was worried more about the risks than the warmth of the fire. I walked over to an empty spot and cleared away the nearby brush so I could lay down. I dropped my pack, and listened to the many large thud sounds. I thought through the supplies I had left and debated what all I could afford to use. I had two loaves of bread that were more like rocks at that point, some boiled river water, and some rusty survival gear. After the long day I had, I decided to drink some water. I had no idea when I would reach the next town by foot, so I saved the food for the next day. I guzzled down the water and decided to lay down. After rolling back in forth trying to find less bumpy ground, I finally drifted to sleep. Every time I slept I relived the same day of my life in my dreams. That night was no different. The memories played through my head in black and white, like an old horror movie.

The front door screeched on the wood flooring as I peeked my eyes around to see a magnum pointed at my forehead. I slowly backed away and asked what was going on, only to meet the reply of the man’s trigger of his gun, being pulled. I reacted just in time, swung my leg towards his own, causing him to lose balance and to fire at the ceiling. I jumped back as sharp debris from the ceiling rained onto the man and caused him to lose consciousness. The man’s head was bleeding and had multiple bruises all over his body. I was certain the man wouldn’t be able to move for a while and I dashed to the kitchen to check on my family. I arrived at the sight of two more men, this time with guns pointed at my mother and brothers’ heads.

I charged at the men enraged like a mother bear trying to protect its cubs; however, the laws of reality slowed me down. I was right outside of their reach, when time slowed to almost a stop, almost as if I was swimming in quicksand. I watched as the triggers started to move. Tears poured from my eyes one at a time, running down my face. The definition of a look of despair. The guns fired, the bullets made their way into the heads of my family, and I was unable to save them. My mother and brother were murdered right before my eyes.

A strange feeling spread through my body as a dark light surrounded my body. At that moment, my vision went red, and I lost all control of myself. I attacked the men, moving faster than humanly possible. My first strike struck his head and left a crater in his skull. I felt the bones as they broke against my fist, and as blood poured out onto it from every crevice in the man’s head. The last soldier corrupted from fear could do nothing but accept his fate and let out a scream of terror.

I heard footsteps next to me, and I pulled out a knife from behind my back. I pointed it angrily in the direction of the sounds. A small thud and splash sounded as a bowl of soup hit the ground. The girl from the fire was there. The girl was clearly scared, her hand over her face as she stood still, shakily.

I put my knife away and apologized as best I could, but the girl was still shaking. I decided it was best to explain what had happened, after what had happened. Even though my heart still hurt from the pain of the memories, I reluctantly told her about my family. I left out most of the ending, to spare her the gruesome details.

“I... I’m.. so sorry.” she cried out. “I saw you turn away from the fire, and just wanted to bring you some food…”

“It’s really okay, I’m not the emotional type.” I said with a chuckle. “I didn’t mean to scare you. Let’s talk about something more pleasant.” I felt a little better as she wiped away her tears and smiled back at me. We talked about the camp and things like the weather. The tension almost disappeared, and the mood turned from sad to happy as we talked.

“I really should be getting some sleep.” she said. “I am starting work soon in Peoria soon. You should come visit sometime..” She got up and walked away waving with a smile.

“I guess I should get some sleep too…”

My fake smile faded away as I laid down. With the pain of the memories fading from my heart, I drifted to sleep in my thin, tattered sleeping bag. The painful memories returned in my sleep as they usually did. However, this time, something different happened. A warm bright light surrounded me, and the dark memories disappeared. I tried to reach into the light, but awoke when an enormous weight slammed down on top of me.

With little to no breath in my lungs, I was winded. With all the strength I could muster, I hurled the weight off of me. I looked up to see a man with my bag over his shoulder, while I gasped for air. As I stood up, I was very lightheaded. I tried my best to stay focused and observed the man for weapons. He was aged, had thin clothing, and had no weapons in sight. When I caught my breath, I swiped the worn strap off the man's shoulder and set it on the ground next to me.

A punch made its way towards my face; however, I easily moved out of the way. I watched as the man stumbled and wobbled all over. He couldn’t even stand for long, let alone have threatened me. I relaxed and watched the man as he crashed to the ground in a drunken outrage.

“Why does all this stuff keep happening to me!”

Out of nowhere, I felt an immense blast of wind explode against my back. I spun my body around only to be blinded by a vibrant green light emanating from cracks in the ground. I jumped back as far as I could from this strange light, while I rubbed my eyes. I kept retreating until my back crashed against a tree, which caused, even more, pain and dulled my senses even further. When my vision returned, it was almost too late. A punch appeared right before my eyes, and I had almost no time to react.

“AHHH! How on earth could he move so fast!”

With no time to try and figure out what the light was, I did my best and reacted to the situation. My head moved out of the path of the man’s fist just in time, as I rolled to the side, and scraped my skin against the brush-covered ground. After the loud crash of the man’s fist against the tree rang through my ears, an explosion of splinters and shards of bark flew past my eyes. A large splinter of wood pierced straight through the side of my forearm. Pain seared through my brain, and I screamed inside my head. I held my arm with the other,  as blood seeped from the wound. My vision blurred slowly, only able to see a faint shadow of a man holding me. He shouted something inaudible to me at this point, as my consciousness faded away.





© 2017 jawillford



Author's Note

jawillford
Even though I believe it to be complete, if you have any ideas or opinions on this chapter please let me know!

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Added on October 23, 2017
Last Updated on October 27, 2017


Author

jawillford
jawillford

Chillicothe, IL



About
I am currently working on a novel/light novel titled "The Balance Of Powers". It is a Sci-fi/Fantasy story I have thought about for the past 6 years. I have started streaming myself while I write i.. more..

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A Chapter by jawillford