Wind Walkers: Into The Darkness

Wind Walkers: Into The Darkness

A Chapter by J.A. Marquez

Having chosen Gomez over her tribe, Bethany is left behind with him, bloody and unconcious. When she wakes she must face the deadly reality of night on the surface of the earth.

Flames rose up around Bethany in every direction. She was trapped in an unknown place, burning from the immense heat. Desperately she gasped for air, but the thick smoke was suffocating. She turned this way and that until she came to a long sheet of reflective glass. In it's surface she saw herself, bloody and broken. Her clothes were tattered with ugly brown stains where the deep cuts were. What had happened to her?

Panicked she turned to run away but the ring of fire kept her in. She started to cry, convinced that she had died and was sent to Hell for her poor behavior. Then the ground began to shake and a booming voice called out to her.


She stumbled backward. Was God speaking to her?

"Bethany, wake up."

No, it was Gomez. She shook her head violently, trying to force her eyes open.

"Bethany, we have to move."

He sounded so distant.

"The blood hunters are coming. Wake up!"

Her body began to shake and then levatate above the ground. Again she tried to wake herself, kicking and screaming. At last her eyes flew open and the orange glow was replaced with darkness.

Gomez was carrying her, his own limbs sturggling to move forward. She wanted to get down and walk on her own, but all of her strength was gone.

"The cabins." She groaned.

"What cabins?" His voice could not disguise his fear.

"Cabins." She tried again.

Gomez moved with a stumbling gait, his bad leg slowing him.

"Lock us in." Another muffled groan came out of her.

Her idea seemed to get through and Gomez swiftly changed direction. Bethany looked behind them. At the tree line a blood hunter was watching. Suddenly the whipping seemed like a petty inconvenience. Sheer horror flooded her and she struggled to remain conscious.

By sheer luck they reached the porch of one of the cabins. Gomez slowly hobbled up the dilapidated stairs and through the door. He kicked it shut and pressed his back against the solid wood. Supporting her back on his injured thigh, he reached behind him and secured the dead bolt that long ago had been intended to keep out wild animals. Bethany hoped it would be as effective against the blood hunters.

The inside of the cabin had a single room with one window looking out over the lake. There was a fireplace where ash remained from a fire. Against one wall was a metal bed frame with no matress, but a large quilt draped over the rails. Gomez limped to the bed and placed Bethany on the floor. She watched as he retrieved the blanket and then returned to her. His body was as mutilated as hers, with red gashes seeping through his clothes. She winced just looking at it.

Gomez dropped the blanket and started to search the cabinets. It was rare that supplies were left behimd anywhere, so it was a long shot. Amazingly a sole bottle of vodka remained. It wasn't ideal, but it would do to clean their wounds. He lowered himself to the floor next to Bethany and started to rip at his shirt. A long strip came off which he saturated with the noxious fluid.

"Don't panic." He said softly and then with gentle hands began to peel Bethany's shirt away.

Heat pulsed over her body as he uncovered her. It was humiliating and yet he did not make it worse than it had to be. Each movement was delicate and calculated, wiping away the blood and leaving her more intimate regions untouched. When she was clean he draped the blanket over her and started on his own gashes.

Bethany was overwhelmed with emotions. She did not fight her tears, but let them flow freely, cleansing her soul. Her father had abandoned her. It was a bitter fact that she had to accept. She was no longer a wind walker, but an outcast - an exile - and yet she felt strangely free.

Gomez finished dabbing at himself and tossed away the filthied rags that had previously been his shirt. He leaned against the wall with only his legs covered by the quilt. For the first time Bethany was alone with him.

"Where did you get those scars?" She asked.

His jaw tightened.

"Let's just say I'm no stranger to the whip." He said in a soft baratone.

"I'm sorry." Bethany felt compelled to apologize.

His nerves relaxed and he looked down on her with a softened gaze.

"This isn't your fault."

"No, it is." She insisted. "I should have let you be. I let my curiosity get the best of me and now look at us."

He pushed her hair back from her eyes and rested his hand on her cheek. Rapid beats of her heart made her feel light like air.

"You've done nothing wrong."

Previously Bethany had thought Gomez to be very young, perhaps her own age, but now she saw a man who was weathered by his own experience of life.

"How old was your brother?" She asked.

"He was around your age, just seventeen. By order of birth I would have taken over my father's rank as chief, but I wasn't of pure blood like my brother. My mother was a wanderer that my father had encountered. He kept her around until I was born and then had her killed. When his wife became pregnant five years later he hoped it would be a girl so that I would succeed him."

"He killed your mother?" Bethany felt sickness rising up.

"He never loved her. She was a trophy. When my brother was born my father knew there was only one way for me to take power."

"So he asked you to murder him?"

"On his seventeenth birthday my dad came to me and said that I had to kill his son or leave. So I left."

Bethany was mortified. She had thought that her own father had behaved cruelly, but to kill your flesh and blood was inhuman.

"How long ago was this?" She asked, amazed that he had managed to survive on his own.

"Oh, I don't know. Several years now I'm sure. I've been wandering since then. To be honest it's not as bad as the tribe leaders would have us think. The blood hunters are a real threat, but if you have a secure shelter each night they won't get to you. The bigger danger is hunger. I've gone days at a time without a meal because the woods have been picked bare."

"You must know the open land well."

A flash of amusement crossed his otherwise sober features.

"The great nations are vast. I've come many miles, but only covered a short distance. My tribe was settled in the west on the white coast."

Bethany's eyes brightened. The white coast was a distant landscape that could not decide what sort of habitat it wished to be. She had heard many stories of nomads passing through beaches and forests and deserts all without leaving the white coast lands.

"Is it as beautiful as they say?" She wondered dreamily.

"Far more beautiful in fact. We can go there now that the cold season is done. The passes will be clear."

The word "we" was strange to Bethany. She had just met this man and now she was bound to him. Leaving would be certain death. The irony of it was bitter when she thought about how desperately she had tried to escape being dependent on Caleb.

"I will take care of you as long as you need me. I'm not going to force you to stay." He reassured her.

She took comfort in his willingness to grant her freedom. Never had she been at her own disposal, to do as she pleased when it suited her. Even when her father had not been bearing down on her Lydia was.

The thought of her friend brought back some of the sadness. Her body throbbed as she tried to keep it together. Never had she experienced such pain. Mutilated inside and out ahe closed her eyes and tried to drift back into unconciousness. It was more than she could bear. A stifled sob was followed by searing pain and then more crying until she was a wet and pulpy heap on the cold floor. Gomez did not touch her, but shushed soothingly into the darkness.

Outside the cabin, blood hunters stalked in the open land, waiting for someone to wander out. Bethany shivered uncontrollably. Sleep would be the only escape from the nightmare that had so suddenly become her reality. After a time the shivering ceased and the steady whisper of Gomez's voice soothed her to sleep.

A few hours later she woke with a start. There was banging all around the cabin. Gomez was no longer seated by her side, but was poised at the door. Wide eyed, Bethany tried to stand. The resulting pain was as bad as the severe lashings. She bit back a yelp, knowing that any noise from within the cabin would drive the blood hunters wild. Gomez spun around to see where the noise had come from. He held a finger to his lips. After a minute the banging stopped.

Bethany held her breath as if that was the thing drawing the blood hunters in. When it had been quiet a while Gomez came back to her.

"They'll keep coming back until sunrise. They can smell us."

Bethany released her breath and the inhaled through her nose. A pungent stink filled her nostrils. Blood and sweat and urine wafted around the room. It was nauseating to her, but to a blood hunter it was irresistable.

"Will they get in?"

"I don't think so. They aren't the most coordinated of beings. Stay quiet, though and try to sleep. I will protect you."

It was sweet, but Bethany knew that if the blood hunters got past the door no amount of protection could save them. It was a wonder they weren't already dead.

"We just have to make it to morning."

She was beginning to think he was reassuring himself more than her. With all of her strength she pressed her hands to the floor and sat up. The burning momentarily pulled her into blackness.

"Hey, you need to rest." Said Gomez.

She breathed and allowed the wave to pass. The pain was constant, but if she distracted herself she could push through.

"I can't sleep knowing they're out there."

"They've always been out there. You've just been safe above them until now."

Bethany tucked the blanket tight under her arms so that she was covered and pulled her knees to her chest. Her back seared as the cool night air passed over.

"Why did you do that?" Gomez asked her. "Why throw yourself in the way of a whip?"

Honestly she could not think of an answer that didn't sound completely insane. Her father had insisted it was a tenderness for Gomez and in some way she supposed it was. She was not infatuated with him as Caleb and Jonah believed, but he stirred her. It was like a magnetic pull that she could not resist.

"You didn't deserve to be punished for my mistake." She decided.

"A guy like Caleb doesn't need a reason to whip someone." Gomez observed.

"But if I'd stayed away from you he wouldn't have thought-" She stopped, embarrassed.

"Staying away wouldn't have helped." He insisted.

"Why not?" Bethany was deeply confused.

"He could feel something bigger and more powerful than himself. That sort of threat doesn't go undealt with."

It was not coming together for her.

"I don't understand."

Gomez grinned through clenched teeth and shook his head.

"Nevermind, it's not important right now."

He very slowly moved closer to her and helped her to lay back down. His hand was surprisingly warm against her side.

"How can I make you sleep?" He asked her.

She thought for a moment and then told him.

"My father used to sing to me when I was restless."

"I'm a terrible singer." Gomez warned.

He didn't wait for her to answer, but started softly humming an antiquated tune. His voice was deep and gravely and he kept the melody well. Bethany closed her eyes again. She breathed in slow calculated breaths so that her heart slowed. Despite all of the terror outside and even within, she felt at peace.

© 2015 J.A. Marquez

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Added on April 7, 2015
Last Updated on April 9, 2015
Tags: dystopia, fiction, adventure, coming of age


J.A. Marquez
J.A. Marquez

South Lake Tahoe, CA

If you want to know who I am, read my stories. Many are works in progress, and many are just a few sentences, but each one is a piece of my soul. more..

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