Hey everyone! Here’s part 14….
Whatever I Draw
by Eliza May
They walked for the whole day, stopping periodically for five-minute breaks. Jason led them expertly through the winding streets of the almost empty city, down wide boulevards, and through narrow back alleys. They appeared to be going nowhere in particular–except for that they were heading deeper into the city, not away from it as they had been going before Jason came. The buildings all looked the same: tall gray structures, matching the color of the sky.
After the initial discourse with Jason, there was little conversation, though everyone had questions. Kirk was puzzled and unsure, Stefania was shocked that her brother knew Jason, Luger was deep in a brooding silence, and Tullier was seething. Jason was unchanged since the morning, still bearing a cold, untalkative countenance.
As the sun sank behind the buildings, Jason slowed his brisk pace. “Let’s find a place to sleep.”
“Are there any hotels in the area?” Kirk asked.
Jason, with an exaggerated movement, turned to him. “Look around,” he said. “Do you really want to stay in a hotel here, in the Dying City? That’s if there are even any that are still open and habitable. Also, if we register in any building, they will have no problem tracking us. No, tonight we sleep under the stars. Or, rather, under the smog.” He turned down a narrow alley, surveyed it briefly, and then, satisfied, sat on the ground with his back up against the adjacent building. He smirked at his companions. “Come on in and take a seat. It’s comfortable… or at least it could be worse.”
Luger silently entered the alley and sat down beside Jason. After a moment’s hesitation, Stefania and Kirk followed. Tullier remained standing outside the alley, studying Jason with an iron countenance, his jaw set and his eyes cold and hard.
Jason looked up at Tullier with a matched expression. “What’s wrong?” he asked in a steely voice. “Is the ground not soft enough for you?”
Tullier inhaled deeply, glaring at Jason. Finally, he stepped just inside the alley and sat down on the wall opposite his companions. His eyes never left Jason, and the younger boy, likewise, watched Tullier. For two boys who had never before met, it was surprising how much each hated the other.
As night settled in, Stefania leaned up against her brother’s shoulder and dozed off. Luger, too closed his eyes. Kirk, though he tried to stay awake like the younger boys, found himself nodding off, until at last he succumbed to sleep. Tullier and Jason remained awake, studying each other.
At last, Jason spoke. “You should get some sleep. We’ll be leaving the city tomorrow, and traveling through some rough terrain.”
“You’re younger; you’ll need it more.”
Jason exhaled sharply. “Actually, I just look younger. I’m sixteen, same as you. And,” he added, smirking, “you’re softer than I am.”
Tullier bristled. “Hah! I’ve been living on my own in the city for years, always on the run. I know hardship like you have no idea.”
“Oh really? You think you know hardship? Since I was six years old, I’ve been in brutal trainin-” Jason clamped his mouth shut and dropped his eyes for a moment.
Tullier smiled with satisfaction. “Ah, you’ve been in training. I was wondering how you became who you are. Tell me, was the brutal training you received inside a building with heat and electricity? Did you have a bed and a meal every day? Maybe even some friends and people who you could trust?”
As Tullier spoke, Jason grew angrier and angrier. “Actually, no. My bed and meals were strictly regulated, and I was worked like a slave.” He hesitated, and then added, bitterly, “And I’ve never had a person whom I could totally trust.” After that, he fell silent and would speak no more, which was fine with Tullier.
The two stayed awake until the sun lightened the sky, glaring at each other while deep in their own gloomy thoughts.
Hmm…. I would say they really don’t like each other very much…. 😛 Comment and tell me what you think!