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A Chapter by W.V. Bard
"

Pacha starts her journey.

"

Dawn awoke her.  The sun’s harsh glare through the clouds wheedled through her sleep and alerted her to wakefulness. 

                Before opening her eyes, Pacha cast about with her other senses.  She smelled the burned ashes of a fire, tasted the thick morning layer on her tongue, heard the familiar sounds of her home.  For that one beautiful moment between sleep and wakefulness, the clucking of chickens and sounds of banging pots and pans, of lumber hitting stone walls, of people bartering and hollering good mornings at one another brought back the comfort of home, and she truly believed she was there.  But the unfamiliar fur on which she lay betrayed the truth, and the aches and pains from the night before paid reminder to her most unfortunate fate which led her to this foreign placard on which she lay.

                She groaned and rolled over, loathe to move for the pounding in her head and the aches all over her body.  Her stomach, where she had essentially been punched repeatedly, hurt the most.  Her shoulders were second on that list, right where the Processors’ fingers had dug through her shawls and bruised her flesh. 

                A shadow fell across her eyelids, and she peered up cautiously.  A Processor stood over her �" the burley one, wearing a grim expression.  He handed her a bowl of porridge and sat down next to her, cross-legged, as soon as she leaned up on her elbows. 

                She briefly considered throwing the steaming stuff at him and bolting for the door, and only just refrained from doing so.  She knew Processors as non-violent and particularly patient, and for her to act like a frightened wildcat in their company only endangered her grace with the gods.   Besides, she knew nothing of where she was nor of how long she had been out.   And who had carried her and wrapped her in furs? 

                For a moment her heart sank with guilt as she looked at the silent, burley man before her.  Uncloaked, he looked less like a wraith and more like a human being.  She had attacked him or one of them (they all looked the same, really), despite the many lectures in which the village priest stressed the privilege of being taken, and screamed like a little baby when they drug her from her home.    She had humiliated herself, defiled her “divine escorts,” as the priest referred to them, and they had done nothing but choose her, as was their job.

                So she sat up fully and grabbed the bowl from her captor’s hands and stared at him in silence �" too ashamed or scared to ask the millions of questions bubbling up inside of her, and too proud to grub like the hungry animal she felt like. 

                Not breaking eye contact, she raised the spoon to her mouth and took a tiny sip.  The Processor  simply stood and moved to the table in the corner, where an old man sat shaking.  The old man’s spindly fingers grasped the lentil and poured the porridge from the large ceramic bowl into the Processor’s cup.  He avoided looking anywhere but at the bowl, then at the cup, then back to the table.  And there his gaze stayed, for fear or for his senility Pacha, could not guess.

                The other Processors were busily hanging their borrowed furs on the stone walls to clear the floor of its pallets and insulate the house from the icy air trying to sneak its way through the cracks in the walls.

                Pacha wrapped her blanket around her, careful not to spill her breakfast on the dirt floor of the hut.  She shivered as the cold winds rushed in through the opened door-flap and moved closer to what used to be the fire, out of habit.  Seeing this, Burly Processor moved to clear the ashes and signaled at the scrawnier one.  Soon logs were stacked and a roaring fire lit up the circular abode. 

                She hated them but appreciated the warmth.  But it drew to it the Processors like moths, and soon all occupants of the home minus its owner (who still shivered in the corner by his lonesome), sat around the fire with freshly scooped bowls of porridge in their hands.

                She started on her own cold porridge in silence by the fire.  Only the sounds of her wooden spoon clunking against the ceramic bowl filled the air, surpassed in volume only by the heavy crackling of the heat surging in front of them.  It struck her suddenly that eight eyes were bored into the top of her head, bent as it was over her bowl.  She looked up slowly to meet the gaze of all the three Processors in the house and even the old man in the corner, who stared back at her with furrowed brows.  None of her cloaked captors had so much as touched their spoons.  Instead, they each dipped their heads and shoulders toward her in a subjugated gesture. 

                Pacha sat there, awkwardly immobilized by confusion, for an inappropriate stretch of time.   Her spoon was frozen in her mouth, her eyes wide and chin tucked, while the fire crackled on between her and the bowed Processors.    She glanced at the old man in the corner, who simply nodded at her.  She jerked her head down back at him as a sign of respect, and suddenly all motion was restored and her captors were eating as quickly and rudely as she had been.

                She sat and stared at them for a while, but when no one offered an explanation, she cautiously took to eating once more.

                It came to be that the old man was not as quiet as he first seemed.  With porridge filling his belly, boldness filled his mouth and formed his tongue.  He began talking to the group, timidly at first, probing with questions, and then, when met with only silence, he began simply talking at the group, no responses required. 

                Pacha learned much useless information from his tirade.  She mostly enjoyed the break from silence.  But she did learn that she currently sat in the Fourth Farmland... one farmland from home.  Too far to run back but not far enough as to be in a completely foreign district. 

                Pacha looked at the guard directly across from her, slurping down his porridge rather fastidiously, and noted his hunched shoulders.   She glanced at his hands, then peered into his face.  “Did you carry me all the way here?” she asked. 

                The man looked at her with piercing brown eyes, lined with years of squinting through the white glare of the sun on these snowy mountain peaks.  After a long moment he shook his head and nodded in the direction of the two younger Processors. 

                The eldest stood and sauntered to the old man at the table.  In front of him he placed his dirty used bowl and without further ado turned back to Pacha and the two Processors before her and walked out, passing the fourth Processor on his way in.

                The fourth carried a bucket of water low to the ground, with a sponge tool sticking out of it, and plopped it in front of them all.

                To say that Pacha enjoyed the bath would be a gross understatement.  She absolutely reveled in the water, cold as it was, washing an unnatural amount of dirt and grime off of her person.  When or where she got that dirty she didn’t know �" perhaps when she fainted she had rolled around in the mud a bit like a spastic.

She soaked all that out of her hair and soaked out every pore on her body but could not for the life of her wash away the feelings of betrayal and misery that she felt from the other night.  The stickiest of all was the fear, and scrub as she might she could not get it off her or get it to soak out of her.



© 2012 W.V. Bard


Author's Note

W.V. Bard
Is this engaging at all?

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Featured Review

I'm super curious about what Cleora actually looks like. I know she looks different but different how? Also can she not escape because of some kind of magic? I was a little confused by that. I really like how this chapter left off though. Makes me want to continue reading!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

W.V. Bard

8 Years Ago

I think I'll put a description of her in the first chapter. Or is the curiosity a good thing...? M.. read more



Reviews

I, too, was confused about their strange actions while she was eating. I thought perhaps she had broken some sort of protocol.

And did she bath alone or did she not undress?

Otherwise, I like it. It's a nice little reprieve from the drama of the night before.

Posted 8 Years Ago


Good chapter but I was confused at several points, like why everyone stared at her when she began eating? Also the way it is written I can't tell at all if she bathed herself or the processors did with everyone in the room. Finally in the earlier chapters I was under the impression a boy was also being chosen but don't know now where that went.

Posted 8 Years Ago


Yes, I agree BeTheUnicorn. I want to know what she looks like. And what makes her so different. How come she cannot escape.
I do enjoy the ending, although, I must say I was expecting some sort of twist like that to come up. Good job though.


This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago


I'm super curious about what Cleora actually looks like. I know she looks different but different how? Also can she not escape because of some kind of magic? I was a little confused by that. I really like how this chapter left off though. Makes me want to continue reading!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

W.V. Bard

8 Years Ago

I think I'll put a description of her in the first chapter. Or is the curiosity a good thing...? M.. read more
It came to be that the old man was not as quiet as he first seemed. With porridge filling his belly, boldness filled his mouth and formed his tongue. He began talking to the group, timidly at first, probing with questions, and then, when met with only silence, he began simply talking at the group, no responses required.

I liked this paragraph a lot for some reason; I would change the last part to: he began simply talking to the group without requiring a response; just making it a little cleaner. Something like that anyways. I think it's picking up well. I can picture her surroundings well and you left off at an exciting point. It's engaging enough, but there is a lack of action I think; it got a little boring. I don't know how you could spice it up though...anyways, I think that generally, you have a good story here.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago


W.V. Bard

8 Years Ago

Yeah I know right, I feel like I need to spice it up with action but I really can't for the life of .. read more

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Added on November 7, 2012
Last Updated on November 16, 2012
Tags: journey, hutt, abode, house, village, farm, district, adventure


Author

W.V. Bard
W.V. Bard

Seattle, WA



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A seasoned writer looking for fellow writers in order to connect, motivate and be motivated, inspire and be inspired, critique and be critiqued. more..

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