Contents 5: The Fury (unfinished prose)

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Contents 5: The Fury (unfinished prose)

Post by heinzs » Tue Mar 02, 2004 4:58 pm

Part 1: The Rising

The young girl looked up from the battered textbook she was studying to her mother. Black hair fell in tangles down her back and wrinkles streamed across her face as she finished skinning the rabbits from the snares.

"Mom, what's a 'grocery store'?"

"Grocery stores were places where people used to buy things like food and cooking utensils. They were on practically every street corner in the cities."

"Wow, that would be kinda nice to have huh?"

"Yes dearie, they were very convenient. I think convenience was the downfall of the human race though."

"Why?"

The mother glanced towards her daughter with a sad smile. "We all got used to having everything so readily available to us that when the wars came and everyone had to run from the cities, most just couldn't fend for themselves. They didn't know how."

The girl sat thoughtfully for a moment and brushed back a wisp of blonde hair that keeps falling in her face. The woman continued cutting up the rabbits.

"Why was there a war mom?"

The woman straightened from her task and pressed her hands against her spine, feeling the satisfying creak of bones popping back into place. She looked at the girl and smiled sadly. "Blindness mostly. Most people couldn't see that we are all alike. Political agendas and religious seperations. The need for revenge against past wrongs done by the fathers and their fathers' fathers and their fathers' fathers' fathers back to the beginning of time. People never learned how to love each other. Hate and ignorance were just easier to act on than love I think. So, yes, mostly blindness. Now go back to your studies. You don't want to end up ignorant and blind like the world used to be do you?"

"Yes mother!" She lowered her head to study the text book again.

The woman finished with the conies and wrapped the pieces carefully in the hide and set them to the side. "I'm going down to the creek for some more water." she said. "Keep reading. We'll have a little quiz when I get back."

"Ok mom."

There is so much the girl doesn't understand. So much to learn. She can't really fathom the changes that have gone on in her world. She was only two years old when it all started and her mother hid them both away in the mountains. That had been ten years ago. There had been other people with them at times, but they had either gone on to other places or had been killed by the wandering bands of 'waywards' as her mother called them. She and her mother had moved around several times, inhabiting different caves and grottoes in the mountains, always avoiding places of previous habitation.

The war was still being waged, her mother had said, but now it was scattered. Mostly it was people who were once of one nationality fighting one another for survival. The cities had been the first things to suffer. Nerve gasses and deadly disease weapons unleashed on a grand scale. Millions of people had died in the first six months. Most countries were now reduced to massive graveyards without tombstones, bodies strewn about, decaying where they had fallen. No one was left to do the burials.

A sudden gunshot broke through her thoughts. Maybe her mother had shot a deer. That would be a nice change from rabbit. The shot didn't sound like her mother's rifle though. She knew that sound intimately. She got up and went to the opening to peer out down the rocky cliff face that was their home. Nothing. She knew better than to call out to her mother. She went back inside and opened her mother's storage chest. Picking up the pistol, she made sure the clip was fully loaded and went back to the opening. Still no sign of her mother so she sat herself in a small patch of shadow near the over hang to watch and wait.

After an hour she knew something was dreadfully wrong. Steeling up her nerve she climbed down to the floor of their little valley and quietly made her way to the creek. Being careful to remain hidden, she looked out on the scene. Her mother's body lay, half naked, trails of blood running down her sides, eyes wide staring at the blue sky.

Impulse prompted her to run to her mother, but training kept her in the brush, watching, listening, waiting. There was no sound but for the wind soughing in the pine trees. Slowly, silently she approached the body lying on the ground studying the ground for the tracks of those who had done this. She found them, followed them off down the valley for a few hundred yards. There had been three. One was somewhat crippled, the print of the left foot somewhat curved in from that of the right. She looked down the valley. Nothing was moving. They had moved on then, but she would find them, oh yes! She would find them!

She returned to her mother's body, closed the staring eyes and covered the naked flesh as best she could. "I have to go now mom. I have to. I know you always said that revenge is wrong and that's what started this whole thing. I can't help it. I can't let them live after this. Forgive me if you can. I love you mom."

Once again she began following the trail of the men. Their valley opened up onto a larger valley some miles to the east of their cave. Here the tracks turned north. Silently she followed. About a mile and a half further north she heard them for the first time. Talking and laughing, breaking branches for the fire she could smell already burning. They were making camp then. Good. She crept closer. She was well hidden from them now, but could watch them. She waited, pistol in hand, for the right moment to unleash her fury.



Part 2: Unleashed

From her vantage point, which was 30 yards away and about 12 feet higher than their camp, she could see their movements very clearly as they settled in for the night. She paid particular attention to where they placed their weapons. A plan had formed within her mind as she lay hid watching. Not a very good one, maybe, but a plan. Studying the area between them, she picked out the route she would take. Now all there was to do was wait.

The moon rose in the sky in its late summer glory, 3 days past the full. Still she watched and waited. The fire died down to coals and the snores of the men were loud in the stillness. As the moon dipped down towards the far side of the canyon she began to move. Slowly, silently she crept closer to the camp. Two men were on the near side of the fire, which had died down to smoldering embers, and a third on the far side. He would be the problem, she thought. He was a large man and seemed to be the one in charge. Well, she told herself, first things first.

Moving with care she gathered up the weapons of the first two men, a pair of old revolvers and a Winchester 30-30. Moving to the other man, she reached for the spot where she had seen him place his gun. It was gone! “Just one more thing to worry about.” she thought, and took the weapons she had gathered out beyond the campsite and hid them among some boulders. Coming back, she tucked her pistol into her waistband, loosened a coil of rope she had seen on one of the packs and cut it into lengths she could use.

The first went around the ankles of the nearest man, carefully and painfully slowly. Then she repeated the process on the second man. As she was starting to rise from that task she heard a pistol cocking and a low chuckle. She was already moving, so instead of stopping or continuing as she had begun, she let herself drop to her left, away from the bound men. Her right hand found the pistol as she rolled, drew and fired at the looming bulk just as he fired at her. Hot pain flashed through her left shoulder and she fired again. There was another shot from the man, but it hit the ground several feet in front of her. A low moan and a grunt as heavy weight hit ground told her at least one of her bullets had done it’s job.

Rising, she glanced towards the other two. They were sitting up and trying to untie their ankles.

“I would lie back down and be still if I were you. If you want to continue breathing that is.”

They looked at her, then at the gun she held on them.

“What if we don’t, huh? What if we just jump your scrawny ass and … “

“Then you will join your friend in hell sooner that you would otherwise. Lay down and turn over on your stomachs.”

Both men lay back down and rolled over. She approached the nearest of them, the one with the crippled leg, cautiously, still pointing the gun at a spot between them.

“Put your hands behind you.”

Placing the pistol on the ground near to hand, she took another length of rope and tied the man’s wrists. Then she took another length and secured it to the rope around his ankles, keeping an eye on the other man while she worked.

“Don’t try to move.” She told him. “If you did, I think I can shoot you before you get to me, ok?”

“Fuck you ya little bitch!”

Smiling to herself she stretched the piece of rope from the crippled man’s ankles, wrapped a loop around the knotted rope on his wrists. Pulling the rope until his legs were bent back so that his feet were almost touching his hands, she tied the other end around his neck with a slipknot. Then she did the same for the other man. When she was done she told them to roll onto their sides facing each other.

“Now, if you try to get free, the rope will tighten around your necks, do you understand? It will tighten and tighten until it can’t tighten any further, you understand?”

Not waiting for nor caring about an answer from them she moved to the fire and added more wood. The dead man lay off to the side, and she began to pull him laboriously so that he lay between the two bound men. Taking her belt knife, she cut his throat, then made a slit from his groin to his neck.

The crippled man cried out “Jesus Christ! What the hell are you doing?”

“Preparing a feast.” She looked at the man. “No, not for me or for you. There are animals in the mountains. I’ve lived among them ever since I can remember. Mountain lions, bears, wolves. They become hungry. You see? I hate to see animals go hungry. But this way, they will smell the blood and entrails of your friend there” she pointed to the body between them “and they will eat. Yes, and if you are very still, perhaps they only will eat your friend. Who knows?”

She walked back to where she had hidden their weapons and gathered them up, along with the dead man’s pistol. She picked up their packs and stuffed the pistols into one of them, then shouldered into the heaviest of the three packs. She slung the rifle across her shoulder and picked up the other two packs. She would go through them once she returned to the cave, and after she had buried her mother. Tomorrow would be a day of grieving. After that …

“It’s time to move on.” She thought to herself as she walked back down the canyon heading for home.
Last edited by heinzs on Mon Jul 12, 2004 3:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by The Ravyn » Wed Mar 03, 2004 11:02 pm

Fury 3 - Desperate Straits

Summer found her traveling south through what was once known as the Collegiate range (according to the maps in her vest pocket). It had been three years since her mother was killed. She still had occasional nightmares about that. During that winter she was completely alone and very frightened. The following spring she had met up with a man who seemed nice enough at the time. It wasn’t long, though, before she discovered his real intent. Enduring his lusts in exchange for survival seemed small cost, but eventually it was he who paid the ultimate price. Killing seemed to come so easy now. It was almost second nature. She thought of these things as she worked her way along the old highway east of Mt. Princeton. She and her mother had spent a winter up on the lower slopes near a hot spring. Perhaps it would be a good place to return to. Hefting her pack, she turned aside and worked her way up the small valley towards the spring.

She wanted a good, safe place to pass the winter. It was probably best to try and find other people to winter with as well, she would be giving birth around December by her calculations. She wasn’t at all sure she could make it by herself under those circumstances. The springs were abandoned when she finally reached them. At first glance things didn’t seem to have changed much here since she and her mother had wintered in the old dilapidated lodge. The roof had collapsed at the rear of the building, but most of it was still intact. She closed off the exposed portion as well as she could and picked a room for herself.

The next two months were fairly uneventful. She hunted, cured meat, gathered herbs and roots. Winter would be harsh in the mountains and food scarce. In October, a week after the first snowfall, she was out tracking a deer on the eastern slopes. It was getting harder and harder for her to maneuver her growing body around the timberland. This would likely be her last chance to get fresh meat. The deer was just down the slope from her, maybe a hundred yards away. She inched closer carefully, little by little. When she felt she was close enough, she stepped one foot up onto a fallen tree trunk to help steady the rifle, took careful aim, squeezed the trigger. The deer jumped, ran a few paces, stumbled, dropped to the ground and lay still.

Thrilled with her skill, and the prospect of fresh meat, she jumped onto the fallen tree to make her way down to her kill. The log shifted, turned, and she found herself tumbling down the slope until her left leg caught in a crevice between two small boulders. The pain was horrible, nauseating. That was nothing compared to the fear that followed. Her leg was obviously broken. She pulled it from between the rocks, screaming as the agony shot up her leg. Looking at it, the gravity of her situation became dreadfully clear. Her jeans were soaked with blood from just below the left knee. She cut the pants leg with her belt knife and winced at the sight of her leg. She took off her pack, opened it, and began to rummage around inside. She pulled out several rawhide strips and laid them on the rock beside her. She rummaged around her for some good sized sticks, braced them on either side of her damaged leg, and holding her breath against the pain, bound the rawhide around the sticks, pulling them as tight as she could stand to. Between gasping sobs, she lashed one after another around her leg and the splints. Then she lay back to catch her breath and think over her situation.

There was no way she could get to the deer and bring it back to the springs. It would be a miracle if she could get back herself. Lying back and looking at the grey October sky, she wondered how far away she was, and how long it would take to get home. She emptied the shells from her rifle and used it to get to her feet. Then, using the rifle as a crutch, she began hobbling back northwest towards the lodge. That night, still about a mile from home, she spent the night beneath a shallow overhang. Towards morning the snow began to fall, and by daylight there was 3 inches on the ground. Shivering uncontrollably, she lurched to her feet, gathered up her rifle-crutch, and started off.

By mid-afternoon she had reached the lodge. The snow had been steady all morning, tapering off slightly around noon, but now it was coming down harder than ever. There was already 6 or 7 inches on the ground. The interior of the lodge was an icebox. She eased herself down near the fireplace in her room and worked on building a fire. Her hands were trembling terribly and she had the devil’s own time of getting a flame to catch, but after a while, she succeeded. It was growing dark outside, and she was completely exhausted. Her leg needed attention badly, but she just wanted to rest, a few minutes, then she would tend her wounds. Just a few minutes….. just a few ……

She awoke the next day around mid morning shivering violently. The fire had burned itself out hours before. She wrapped herself in her bedroll hoping to get warm enough to ease the chills. After fifteen minutes or so she felt confident enough to try to make another fire. It took several tries to get the kindling to light: her hands shook so badly that the matches went out long before they came close to the shaved wood. Finally she had a small blaze going. Huddling in front of it, she wondered if this might not be the end of the road for her. Her stock of firewood was pretty low and she would have to go out and try to collect more somehow.

After dozing again for a while, she mustered up enough strength to hobble out, fill a pot with snow, and set it on the fire. She untied the rawhide lacings around her makeshift splint and spread the cut leg of her jeans, wincing at the pain and stifling sobs. The flesh around the wound was an angry red. Rummaging in her pack she took out a large pouch. She set that beside her and began to pull several smaller pouches and vials from it. Finding the ones she wanted, she poured a small amount of oil into a small bowl and added a small measured amount of dried St. John's Wort and mixed them together. She set this mixture aside, carefully removed the pot of now hot water from the fire and began washing the wound. When she was finished, she spread the St. John's Wort mixture over it and bound it up with torn strips of cloth. Then she re-splinted the leg. Lying back, exhausted, she gazed into the fire and thought of what the future might hold in store now.
take my hand if you don't know where you're goin' ... i'll understand .... i've lost the way myself ...
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Post by heinzs » Wed Mar 03, 2004 11:08 pm

Cool. I was wondering if there was more.

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Post by The Ravyn » Wed Mar 03, 2004 11:11 pm

there is one more unfinished segment ... i may finish it and post ... at some point
take my hand if you don't know where you're goin' ... i'll understand .... i've lost the way myself ...
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Post by The Ravyn » Fri Mar 05, 2004 11:57 pm

Fury – 4 Maggie

A week passed in a fog of alternating pain and numbness. The food she had gathered for winter was dwindling far too rapidly. That didn’t seem to matter after the fifth day, when she found she had no appetite at all. Nausea became overwhelming at times and the reek of vomit was all pervading. The fire had gone out and not been rekindled. She seemed to be consumed by her own inner fire as the fever rose and her body tried to fight off the poisons coming from her shattered left leg.

The delirium lasted four days and nights. She awoke believing she was still dreaming because a woman was bending over her, cooling her forehead with a damp cloth. The fire was warm and there was an aroma of broth warming at the hearth.

“You gave us quite a scare when we found you here day before yesterday” the woman said as she poured broth into a small wooden bowl. “Rafael wasn’t at all convinced you would survive the night.”

She brought the bowl over to the makeshift bed.

“Fever’s down. You’ll be right as rain soon. I’m Maggie. We come up this way every other year or so, Rafael and me and Trina and all. Lucky for you!”

Maggie began spooning broth down into her, uttering soothing words when she gagged and coughed on occasion. When the bowl was empty she set it aside.

“You all alone here? No man to look out for ya? No one to help deliver you of the child an’ all? My Lord, but that ain’t right. Well, you have us now. Everything’ll be just fine. What’s your name honey? I can’t very well call you ‘hey you’ now can I?”

“My name’s Francine, but ever since I can remember my mom called me her Little Fury. I guess I have a bit of a temper” she smiled weakly at Maggie. “Thank you for looking after me. When the fire died, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I did too.”

“Now, now! None of that kind of talk. You’ll live and have plenty of time to reflect on the past” Maggie looked away for a moment, then looked back at Fury. “Rafe had to take off the bad leg. Just as well you were out of it, like. Best it’s gone now, it was workin’ on to killin’ ya if the cold didn’t get you first.”

“What … what do you mean ‘took it off’?” Fury tried to sit up but weakness and nausea prevented her from getting much further than halfway before she slipped back down.

“Amputated, it was gone bad, black with the gangrene. It’s a hard thing, I know, but when your own body tries to kill ya, there isn’t much else to be done, child.”

Fury closed her eyes and considered the implications. A cripple in this world doesn’t get far in life. The world was going back to the wild ways and those who couldn’t cope died young. Maggie stroked a hand across her forehead and wiped the tears that were tracing their paths down her cheeks.

“Aw, now. It ain’t as bad as all that. You got me an’ Rafe and Trina and the kids to look out for ya now. We ain’t the kind of folk who abandon those in need.” Maggie rose to her feet, gathering up the empty bowl. “You rest a bit. I’ll come back in a while to check on you. Rafe’s out huntin’ so we may have a nice bit of fresh venison for supper.”

Smiling, she left the room. Fury had just enough time to wonder what Maggie had put in the broth before she slipped into unconsciousness.
take my hand if you don't know where you're goin' ... i'll understand .... i've lost the way myself ...
j. kaye

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Post by The Ravyn » Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:31 am

this segment isn't finished yet ... and at this point i'm not at all certain it ever will be ... so i decided to post it 'as is'
take my hand if you don't know where you're goin' ... i'll understand .... i've lost the way myself ...
j. kaye

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Post by heinzs » Sat Mar 20, 2004 11:41 pm

Well, it's always possible to publish an "unfinished" work... many have done so in the past. Perhaps you may yet be moved to complete it.

:cheers:
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Post by heinzs » Sun Mar 21, 2004 12:37 am

logged
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Post by Berlie » Mon Mar 29, 2004 8:21 am

* added to book
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