Artwork by Nici Bueckert 2013
Click here to read the story in order Sinner Series
Kara fled through the trees back to their camp. Branches from pines and firs ripped at her face and cloak as she raced past as if trying to claw their way into her skin, but she didn’t care. The nightmare had returned. Tears blurred her vision as she stumbled on. She tripped over something and fell hard to her hands and knees. She cried out as a sharp pain pierced her right hand. She rolled onto her back clutching her injured hand. Even through her tears she managed to see well enough to pull free the rather large thorn that had pierced her flesh. Tossing it aside, she noticed the exposed root jutting out of the earth. She wiped the tears from her eyes with her sleeve. Her nerves felt raw and exposed just like the root that had tripped her. She forced herself to sit till her ragged breathing returned to normal and the pounding in her head subsided.
Get it together, Kara, she thought. Think on the task before you. It sounded like something her uncle might have said once, before… no, she would not allow herself to go down that path. But her mind took her where she did not wish to go anyways. She curled up right there on the forest floor, cradling her injured hand, as wave after wave of sobs wracked her body.
In time, her grief relented, and from the deep recesses of her mind, a song sprung unbidden. The song swept through Kara like a gentle breeze of soothing melodies.
Sinner found Kara sitting on a trunk of an old, toppled cedar, its greenery long since dried and browned. She stared straight ahead without acknowledging his presence. He knew she was aware of him. She was rubbing the palm of her right hand, although Sinner could see nothing wrong with it.
Sinner looked down at his feet. He could not meet her gaze after what he had done. “I understand if you want to go. What I said was cruel. You deserve better. I am sorry.” There. He had said it. She would undoubtedly leave him now. It was as much as he deserved; but, oh, how he had hoped she would be able to forgive him.
“Where are the orbs?” she said quietly.
“Gone. But they tug at me even now. As much as I hope to be done with them, I can’t say that for certain. I just can’t. Their grip is…powerful.”
“I know,” came the soft reply. “I watched them destroy my uncle.”
Sinner raised his eyes. Kara was standing before him, her beautiful green eyes gazing up at him. “I…I don’t know what to say.”
She touched her finger to his lips. “ Don’t say anything…just listen. I choose to think of my uncle the way he was before the orbs ensnared him. Seeing you with them…I just…I don’t want it to happen again. Uncle Jared returned one day, about two years ago, from checking his traps deep in the mountains. He brought the orbs with him. He never told me where he got them, even though I pestered him to no end. At first, they seemed harmless enough, even beneficial. Uncle Jared had a renewed sense of energy after using them. He said they made him feel like a young man again. I was glad for him. But then, as time passed, he became more and more attached to the orbs—even obsessed. He disappeared into the mountains for weeks on end, always returning with more of the orbs. He changed so thoroughly that I didn’t know him anymore.” Kara turned away from Sinner. “He hit me, Sinner. The day before the village burned. He felt so terrible, he sent me away from him. It was the last time I ever saw him.”
Sinner placed his hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry.”
Kara spun back to Sinner so suddenly that he was taken aback. There was fire in her eyes. “Don’t be sorry, Sinner. Uncle Jared was sorry, too. It’s not enough. You have to reject the orbs. You have to fight the Shadow.”
“I will fight, Kara. As The Light is with me, I will fight.”
To be continued…
© Peter Wiebe 2013