second excerpt of Kai’s Journey
“Bring your sword, you will need it.” The leader said just before leaving the room.
The men all turned as one and left me alone again. Not sure what to do next I walked towards the door only to be met by Clover. She stood there smiling at me and turned to lead me to where I could clean up. When I was cleaned and ready to face the judges she led me to the entrance of the cave.
The council leaders were all there. Again the head Counselor spoke to me,
“Let us begin, What is your name?” he asked in a matter of fact tone.
“Kai, My name is Kai Allen Drake.” As I said that I noticed a man standing next to the leader jotting down everything that was being said.
I looked at him curiously for a second before turning my attention back to the leader.
“Alright Kai, why don’t we start with something easy, where are you from?” I thought a minute before answering. How do you answer that when you don’t really know.
” Do you mean before or after the Zombies?” I asked him.
“Before.” he said to me.
That part was easier . “I grew up in Kentown, Iowa. It was a small town that, for a kid, is the perfect place to grow up. ”
“After the Zombies I was and have been everywhere. Moving from town to town and place to place. Never stopping more than a week in any one place.”
The leader looked as if he were about to say something when he paused. Suddenly he turned his head as if listening to a sound that only he seemed to hear. As if on cue everyone turned their head to a sound that I could not hear.
” What the,,,” Finally my ears heard the unmistakable sound of the Zombie’s song. At least that is what I called it. The sound of them moaning and shuffling their feet never changed. It was the same no matter where I went. The sound was almost beautiful if not for the dead, human flesh craving monsters bent on total destruction. Suddenly everyone seemed to be moving at once.
Quickly I drew my sword ready to fight. Everyone raced to protect the leader. I joined in to form a circle that could not be penetrated as long as no one faltered. Suddenly it happened. everyone was fighting the best that they new how, when I noticed that all the zombies were coming towards me, trying their best to get at me and not really even bothering with anyone else. That is when it happened. The back half of the circle broke off to try and take the leader inside the caves when the zombies stumbled forward and surrounded him. The leader fought furiously with a dagger and a short sword. Without thinking I ran to protect him from the awful things I know that can happen once you have been bitten.
I swung my sword quickly slicing my way through to where the leader was. We stood back to back slaying as many as we could watching the others trying to fight their way through the circle of zombies that now surrounded us.
Suddenly she was there. She had a torch in each hand and was using them to move the zombies away. The one thing that zombies have a healthy fear or respect for, is fire. It comes from the deep fear that all humans have. The fire gave the rest of the council a chance to push them away from their leader. Suddenly the leader and I found ourselves inside the caves. When the zombies were finally driven away .
We came back out to help clean up. Tired and exhausted we cleaned up the area so they wouldn’t be able to find their way back to us by using the smell of the dead and rotting bodies. Finally when everyone was back inside the caves and the door was shut the leader turned to me and said,
“We will finish your testing some other day. Right now we will bathe, eat and rest.”
“Thank you,” I said to him. Glad to for the rest.
Clover lead me to the baths. I had never seen a place like this ever. Not noticing it the first time. She led me to a giant open room full of hot spring pools. The aroma was heady with the smell of minerals and earth. The crystalline ceiling gave off a pale light that allowed you to see the room easily enough but soft enough to throw shadow in the right places too. Clover said,
“I will bring a towel for you and some soap so you can clean yourself. I will take away your dirty clothes and leave clean in their place.” “Thank you,” I said as I stepped behind a rock shelf that was indented into the wall so I could take my clothes off and laid them on it and quickly stepped into the pool nearest to it. Clover had discreetly turned her back to give me privacy.
When I slipped into the water it was, by far, the best feeling I had ever had. the minerals seemed to have a healing quality about them because it made my tired muscles relax and start feeling so much better. I instantly relaxed. The water felt so good and warm that I had to fight to stay awake long enough to bathe myself. Soon, Clover was back with my clothes, Again she turned to give my privacy as I climbed rather reluctantly out of the water to dress.
Clover handed him a towel without turning.
“Thank you.” I said to her.
I dried off and put on the clothes that were provided. I asked her where I might get some food. “Follow me,” she said.
Clover turned and led the way back out of the bathing caverns. We wound our way down further into the caverns. Tunnels led off this way and that. Soon I knew I was lost. We finally reached a room that was filled with tables and chairs. It wasn’t as large as I might have thought. It was about the size of a medium sized diner. “We eat in shifts to give the cook a break. Some of us prefer to eat in our rooms at times too.” Clover said when I looked about inquiringly.
We walked up to a table close to a set of doors that seemed to lead possibly into the kitchen where some amazing smells were coming from. Suddenly my stomach growled, loudly. Clover smiled as she too heard my stomach. Clover laughed softly as she said, “This way” and she walked through the doors. To my surprise we walked into the kitchen to see a rather large man who was the chef. “What can I fix for you folks today?” he asked. Clover smiled warmly at the man. “Hi Boris, the regular for me and,,,, ” she let it hang as she turned to me expectantly. I looked around the kitchen hoping to see a menu or something that I might recognize that would give me a clue what the smell was that filled the kitchen.
“What are you cooking?” I asked. Boris laughed, his stomach shaking a deep, hearty laugh. “That, my friend, is a secret,, Why don’t I dish you up some and you be the judge.” Warily I agreed. We went back out to the table and took a seat. Clover was still smiling when we were seated. “What?” I asked. “You will see, but you won’t be disappointed.” she said. Soon he was coming back through the door with both hands loaded with trays of food. the first plate he set in front of Clover. Chicken Caesar Salad. “Out of all the scoundrels here you are the only one who eats this much rabbit food.” he growled fondly. Then he took a plate that was covered with a lid. He set it in front of me. he lifted the lid with a flourish and said.. ” Your dinner Sir. ” “Zombie soup!”
I was afraid to look. Slowly I looked down at my plate. There on my plate was spaghetti and meat balls. The smell was heavenly. The first bite was even better. With a glitter in her eye, she spoke, “Boris here, loves to do that to the new ones.” she smiled fondly at him. “Yes and it never gets old!” he laughed as he turned and went back into his kitchen. It didn’t take me long to finish up my plate. I cautiously looked over at the other plate that was still covered on the table not far from me. I finally reached over and lifted the lid. Under there was two desert plates. One held a pie and the other looked grossly enough like a brain. Clover reached for the brain looking thing. “He always fixes me my favorite. Peach pudding. The pie I assumed was for me. I took a bite. It tasted of a flavor mix I hadn’t had before. It was a peach apple pie. I could taste the peaches in it and the apples. It was the most amazing pie I had ever had the pleasure of eating.
Finally when I felt near bursting at the seams we got up to wander back to our rooms. “Don’t we pay for our meals?” I asked her as we left the kitchen. “No, we don’t pay for anything amongst ourselves. If someone needs something we go to the person who makes it and asks. In Boris’s case, He wanted to cook for us so he uses that area to be his diner so to speak. If he needs anything he comes to us.”
Soon we reached my room and I entered expecting to see the same sparse room I had left this morning. Now there was a cot and a chair here. The cot looked like heaven considering that last night I had slept on the floor. I walked over to the cot looking at it wondering where it came from. I turned to ask Clover but she had already gone. I stripped down to my britches and fell right to sleep. I was expecting a nice restful sleep. But this was different from the last dream.
I was sitting next to Clover in a tower with no roof. We were looking up at the night sky and there was no moon. We were looking at the stars shining brightly when she said something. I looked at her. What did she say? “The stars are shining brightly tonight. We should be able to see the meteor shower well, don‘t you think?” she asked me again. “Yes we should be able to see it very well.” I said. As we waited for it to start I said off handedly, “Were you born as a werewolf or were you turned?” She jumped a little and asked, “How did you know, and how long have you known?” I looked at the stars a moment longer before I answered.
“It was little things here and there. The first day I went into your room and saw that your hair was the same color as the dogs. The tail that I had seen on you that day. Just random little things that had happened that I had put together. ” She looked at me and said. “Oh is that all. Well as for being bitten, no. I was born this way. Those few who are born like this have soul mates. The ones they bite are their soul mate and live together. Not like physically connected but mentally. You would always know where the other is at all times. They can speak to you mentally. If you think it. They will hear it.” she paused looking up at the sky. “Oh look, it’s started.” she said off handedly. And so it had.
It was beautiful. As the last one came from the other way it looked as if it was going to hit us both. Then it started to streak towards them. “I don’t like the looks of this.” I said warily to Clover. “Let’s go” Clover said getting up. “Lets get back to camp.” Clover said. We started down the stairs. I tried desperately to keep up. When I finally got to the bottom of the stairs Clover was gone. I looked up to see where the meteor was. It looked like it would hit any minute. I bolted toward the camp.
The blast hit and I woke up in a cold sweat. I looked around the room to see Clover sitting in the chair. She asked softly. “Are you alright? You seemed to be having a nightmare.” Clover watched me with concern in her eyes. “Yeah, I’m fine. I could use another bath though.” I said with a half smile. ” I was headed to the baths myself when I stopped by to check on you. Clover said. “Oh, o.k. Is there some where I can get a clean pair of clothes?” I Said. “Follow me to get a bathrobe until your clothes are clean and dry,” said Clover. “Thank you for your kindness.” I Said. “It was my pleasure. Shall we go now or did you want to talk a little more.” “I would really like to take a bath now please. Is there a more private bath for me to use?” I said wanting to take a bit more time and relax after that disturbing dream I had had.
They walked down one corridor after another. Turning past the baths he had used previously to go around to what seemed to be the back side of the baths. Here they came to a room that was smaller than the other and the lighting was lower too. “Shall we?” Clover asked him starting to take off her soft slippers that most seemed to wear in the caves. “We? You mean the both of us together?” I asked a little worried. I was worried she might see my scars. “Don’t worry, it is dark enough in there that you will feel as if you are alone. Are you worried you will see me naked?” she said smiling at him. With his face beat red and down cast, He turned his back while she undressed and slipped into the warm inviting water. “O.k. its your turn.” Clover said.
Quickly I slipped out of my still damp clothes and slipped into the water. I leaned back listening to the sounds in the room. The sound of water gently lapping at the sides of the pool was very soothing.
The minerals in the water seeped into every pore of my body. I could feel myself relax. I chuckled softly as I heard, who I assumed was Boris, walking through the hallway outside. He was going over his menu for the day talking out loud. “Probably doesn’t even realize he is doing it.” I said to Clover. “What?” Clover asked. “Boris going over his menu for tomorrow in his head and he is talking out loud.” Clover laughed softly and the sound was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. Almost like the twitter of birds in the spring time.
Finally when I felt sufficiently cleaned, I climbed out of the pool. I turned when I heard Clover suddenly did a sudden sharp intake of breath. “Are you alright?” I asked. “Your back, what happened?” Clover asked. I felt her fingers trace the scars on my back. I hadn’t even heard her move across to where I was. I couldn’t see anything and yet she had seen the scars on my back. “How did you see them? It is so dark I can’t see. How is it you can?” I asked turning towards her to clasp her hands in mine. I saw that her eyes were glowing softly. “I can see very well in the dark.” Clover turned to get her robe. “We need to go. I need to get you back to the council.” She said, a little embarrassed. “They need to finish the questioning.”