“The wind has a thousand eyes. The heart has but one.” ~ Zen
Ch 2 … Locomotive Breath
Oh. My. God. I am so unbelievably uncomfortable, Mya screamed in her mind. Why the hell isn’t Dryst here? What the hell is happening here? Where the hell are we going? Who the hell is this foul-smelling beast that’s clutching his gnarly, hairy arm around my waist and digging his splintered dirt-filled nails into my ribs? Mya had half a mind to laugh, despite the fact that the sandstorm wailed deep within her ears and whipped pin-size daggers deep into her flesh. Though she flopped about like a ragdoll from the sheer speed of their chase-to-somewhere and though she repeatedly found her body crashing against the creature’s chestband — a chestband that was heavily threaded with sheathed (thankfully) daggers — Mya risked twisting her head slightly. She peered gingerly over and around her abductor’s shoulder in an effort to absorb any information she could about how they were travelling. Her thoughts bounced just as hard as her breathing did: were they riding on the wind, exactly? (It appeared that they were.) And how exactly does something like that work, she wondered but her wondering was met with the full void of silence.
“This cannot be happening,” Mya half muttered, half laughed to herself. The last she remembered, she had cut her hand on that scrap metal in that plush tropical desert where day and night merged and where she and Dryst had been standing. And Dryst had asked about hearing things. She thought it was an odd thing to ask at the time, but even more odd is that now she realized that maybe she could hear something then…if only she hadn’t been so preoccupied by a piece of metal. But now without Dryst, now she couldn’t hear anything at all, except for the piercingly sharp whining of the wind. God, she thought with some anxiety, the last she remembered, she and Dryst were talking about the cuts on her fingertips. (Where exactly IS he, her mind complained rather loudly now.) And now, now without Dryst she was being hauled around – and nearly mauled – like a bag of twigs by some snarling creature that looked like Keith Richards in relief but on steriods and wearing a mohawk, and who, instead of staggering like a drunk, punched through the air like locomotive breath.
I must have cut myself more deeply than I realized, she thought. This is shock. This is from rapid blood loss, she convinced herself. She lifted one of her hands into her line of sight and anticipated seeing a river of blood flowing from it, twisting its ruby liquid sickly around her wrist and forearm. But nothing. No cut. No wound. No blood. No scar. Instead, only a tingling, nagging sensation in the places where the metal had penetrated her flesh, where the pinkish mounded tiny scars had momentarily appeared before they had disappeared with Dryst’s thought.
The beast’s armor banged shrilly together. The sudden thundering of their flight and the alarmingly noisy clanging of the creature’s piled-on weaponry reverberated through her thoughts and jarred her mind back to her current situation. Their surging pace fatigued Mya greatly even though she wasn’t the one who was exerting any kind of physical energy. In fact, she felt limp. In the ruckus of their frenetic run, the back of Mya’s hand randomly slapped against the creature’s shoulder. The large, darkish shadow of a figure growled just as largely and darkishly – but far from randomly – in her direction. Where she happened to be inside his clutches she didn’t know because he seemed to be swallowing her whole. This should have greatly frightened her, but to her surprise, it didn’t. Neither did his ominous growl…at least, not entirely. She pushed back the nervous tension that suddenly ran through her and tried to concentrate. She thought she had heard something, had sensed something within that growl. Could it be that this brutish, large creature wasn’t a he? Could it be…he was, in fact, a she? Could it?
Mya couldn’t help but obsess over this, and just as immediately as she had started to gnaw away at this question, she began to chastise herself. There I go, she thought (ironically enough)…overthinking. And in entirely the wrong moment. I should be panicking. Where is my panick, she panicked. Good god, woman…a sense of decorum, please! Panick is the appropriate garment to put on for all to see right at this moment in the very unlikely case that anyone other than the wind was watching right now. But who would have imagined a smelly warrior kidnapping me in the middle of a tropical desert in broad day and dusk light, she asked herself rhetorically. Anything is possible! “So, panick, dude!” she bit the words out from between her teeth, desparately urging her mind to bolt out from underneathe this mental flight-avoidance that seemed to have seized her and into some kind of committed primal-fighting state. And besides…if anyone was watching, they would have to notice me, she told herself emphatically. Dig deep, she chided herself, for that sheer, unadorned, screaming, glaring and blaring, flaxen and waxen, out and out freakin panick!
But no. For a lithe being, she was sometimes incredibly rigid. (Part of her mind rapidly searched for where she had heard that before…where she had sensed that before … but the search soon gave way to the puzzle pieces that were teasing out a picture in the rest of her mind.) In this moment, Mya refused to listen to herself and would have none of her own goading…no matter how much she tried to ignite her own ire by calling herself names, least of them “dude.” No. The point wasn’t a million eyes paying heed to her. The point was one pair. Curiosity had gripped her too much for any other focus to work. A nagging certainty yanked at her even more harshly than the smelly creature who crushed her waist within his grasp. Mya burned to know. She gripped her neck muscles to steady her head against the wild jerking that kept jolting through her body. She gripped her mind to seize calm in the face of the thunderous rampage that had transformed the tropical desert into a gigantic blinding sandstorm…and more urgently, that was nearly threatening to overtake and smother her being were it not for her mind’s inability to process what was happening. No, instead, she dared to control her body and to turn her gaze evenly and directly onto the rancorous being whose physical energy screamed ill intent without uttering a single word. She steadied her mind and nervously shoved a breath down into her lungs, forcing her chest muscles to open, and waited for her eyes to fall gradually upon the creature’s face. And that was when Mya shuddered. That was when Mya discovered her panick: real and genuine and insurmontably huge and deafeningly loud. When Mya’s eyes landed squarely onto the center of the creature’s eyes, that was when she saw…
Dryst yelled with an intensity that pierced the distance between them and that knitted their senses woven indisputably into one. Dryst yelled with a ferocity through time and space and circumstances. His voice swung at matter and air and clobbered it into submission. He would have none of this obstacle, none of this circumstance, none of this tearing viciously away. He yelled her name loud and deep into the void of silence. So loud and deep until she saw his words inside the core of her bones. Until she was forced to gasp from the breath of life that his call of her name pumped back into her essence despite the physical distance and crazed happenings. And gasp she did…long and repeatedly but out of shock and into whatever lay ahead as she stared down into the creature’s face. Deep, deep into the face of eyes she had known for a lifetime. Stared down them like a deer staring transfixed into the headlights of an oncoming train.
And then Locomotive Breath grunted…a deeply heated grunt as if resolving to outdistance himself and his prey from Dryst’s reach. Mya trembled then. In all of a nanosecond, she felt his great thighs dip down; the knee bend low; the ankle flex hard; the feet thrust violently off of the sandstorm, unleashing a cataclysm on the planet below. In all of that moment, Locomotive Breath was irrefutably male, his muscles chorded and twisted unimaginably deep to gather then unleash enough power to send the creature and Mya hurtling straight up into the air. A rush of sand-filled oxygen battered her lungs. Mya rapidly felt dizzy and muzzle-headed. She choked and sputtered as a solid wall of air thrust her torso back hard onto Locomotive Breath’s insisting arm…an arm that seemed to refuse to release her from its clutches. The sky rained angry sand pellets over them, stinging in her eyes and scraping against her face, creating an overwhelming multitude of tiny pulsing, piercing white jabbing lights in her mind until she could tolerate it no more and blacked out completely holding desparately to one thought.
When she came to, the air was calm.
The sky glistened gently with stars. All around the horizon, the night was draped in a velvety black. There was no punishing sandstorm, no whipping thrashing winds. The cacophony of nature splintering into pieces around her had stopped. The ground cradled her aching body, somehow more gently than Locomotive Breath…what else could Mya call him? Or her? He had punched his way into this world like a freight train flying down the tracks. He had seized her and taken her someplace…someplace above the planet, someplace below the heavens. Someplace to idle. For some reason.
But now, he had released her, and he stood quietly in front of her. He studied her as she lay on the ground. With some effort, Mya slowly focused her senses onto his looming image. What the hell had happened, she asked repeatedly, almost with some annoyance, in her mind. She looked down at her body and took a calculated inventory. This helped her breathing. And it also helped her to know that everything was intact. No breaks. No bruises. Just a whirlwind of confusion and — bravely, she looked up very suddenly and with confidence at Locomotive — just such surprising familiarity, she whispered.
“You…know me,” Locomotive said in a voice that startled…because that voice didn’t belong to a broad-chested, powerfully weathered and tested, seething warrior.
Mya blinked. More than once. In fact, several times. And rapidly. Because that voice…that voice…Mya could have sworn that that voice…could it? Oh could it be? Could it belong…
National Novel Writing Month: Chapter 2 of 30 (fingers crossed!); Chapter 2 total wordcount: 1700 words (not including this notation, or the youtube widget code thingie). Total total count: 3500.