Cats in the Cradle - Chapter ThreeWarm sunlight coming in through the window hit my eyes as I blinked awake and turned onto my side to avoid going blind. Any hopes that my age reduction were all just a dream we dashed when I scratched my head and found that my brown hair was still incredibly long and messy.Cats in the Cradle - Chapter Three by Crazylittleloon
“Paska!” I whined as I sat up, rubbing my eyes and blinking in the morning light. At least going back to the body of my four-year-old self meant that my farsightedness hadn't taken hold yet, so I wouldn't need to worry about my glasses being too big for my face. It also meant that I most likely wouldn't have to deal with any migraines that I frequently got.
Stretching and yawning again, I looked around my bedroom. It had been my bedroom since we first moved to Stockholm in the late sixteenth century...speaking of which, I hadn't dreamt about when I first woke up in the middle of what used to be a lake near Hämeenlinna since then, either.
Throwing the dark quilt off of myself, I slid off of th
Cats in the Cradle - Chapter two“This is humiliating!”Cats in the Cradle - Chapter two by Crazylittleloon
“Honey, it's not that ba-”
“Don't look at me!” I wailed, covering my face with my hands. Just this morning I had loaded my little brothers into the backseat of my car and drove all the way from Stockholm to Copenhagen, and now I was sitting on the couch at my uncles' house stuck in the body of my four-year-old self while everyone remained clueless on what to do.
In the immediate aftermath of my sudden age reduction there was phone call to Romania asking if he had any idea on what to do (and of course, he didn't answer) while I attempted to kick Arthur in the knees, Mathias coming in and grabbing me before I could actually do any actual damage. Nobody knew what to do, and Arthur didn't even know how he cast the spell. Two hours of me screaming at the top of my lungs and frantic searching, my parents arrived, assessed the situation, and now I'm sitting on the couch, a fuming total of three feet in height.
“Well, until we ca
Chibi Uusimaa Diaries
Cats in the Cradle - a fanfiction
From Alta to Oslo
The Old Hospital
Time is a Tricky Thing
Cats in the Cradle - a fanfiction
Knitting and Crochet
The early morning light cast shadows along the tents as the little red wagon creaked along behind me. Lys was on my right, wearing one of the two gas masks my boss gave me upon my return to work, 'just in case' and pulling Olivia's wagon along. Katja wore the third and hobbled along behind us, helped by Olivia while my mother carried Michael.
It was finally the day. Today, Lys, Olivia, and I were leaving for Oslo.
The wagon was loaded down with supplies and covered with a large tarp to keep them from falling out, and each of us three had a backpack carrying more supplies. Hooked onto my belt was my knife, which still had a small bloodstain from Monday on it, a small Geiger counter that I carried with me while I was at work, and a small, loaded handgun that had belonged to my father. Lys and Olivia each had a rifle, while Lys had a knife and Olivia a handgun.
"Now you three be careful." My mother said, her voice shaking; she wasn't taking this very well, but she put on a brave face because she knew that it could save Katja's life. "I want all of you returning home in at least one piece."
"We'll try mom, we'll try." I answered, translating what she had said to Lys so she could respond as well. As I did, I got a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach; what if we didn't return? How would our mother know if we were dead or not? Would she go on forever not knowing and be trapped worrying about us for the rest of her life, or would she eventually be like Tove and metaphorically bury us? The reality of the situation didn't just hit me, it came up and punched me in the eye.
"If you...can't make it...I will understand...if you run." Katja wheezed, coughing when she finished speaking.
"We're not going to run, Katja. At least I won't." I said in a very serious tone, hiking my rifle higher onto my back. "I'll get you that medication, or die trying."
"What if it isn't there? Then what?" Micheal piped up. I nearly snapped around to wring his little throat.
"It is there." I snapped, though the possibility that it wasn't even real took root in my mind. What would I do if it turned out to be a hoax...?
"Stop antagonizing your sister, Micheal." My mother warned, glaring at an unknown point that was straight ahead of us.
"Thanks mom." I mumbled, again hiking the rifle higher onto my back; I really needed to adjust that strap...
"If you need to come home at any time, we will all understand!" My mother pleaded as if she were almost trying to convince me to not go.
"We'll be fine, Mrs. Brannigan-Floyd." Olivia promised quietly as we rounded the corner and arrived at the gate. Spejder was standing in front of it with his horse and cart, speaking with a younger Camp Supervisor that would let us out.
"Mornin'!" Spejder called, turning to look at us and wave. "You guys ready?"
"As we'll ever be." I deadpanned, running a hand over my gas mask's visor to clear away some of the dust.
"You 'ave your maps?"
"I got it right here!" Olivia quipped, patting her jacket pocket with her free hand.
"Good." He said, helping me lift my wagon into his cart. "We should be in Alta by late tonight. It isn't a long journey, but it's a very tough one since we gotta to make sure we're goin' in the right direction first. And then there's a bunch o' Emberi to deal with."
"I will enjoy it." I said darkly, pulling a cartridge of bullets out of the pouch I had around my hip and shoving them into my rifle. Katja leaned on my mother's free side so Olivia could load her wagon and large backpack into Spejder's cart, and Lys checked to make sure her own rifle was loaded. My mother would certainly be wringing her hands right now if it weren't for Micheal at Katja.
"Are we ready?" Olivia finally asked, making the reality of this whole thing deck me in the nose. With my hands shaking, I translated to Lys, who signed that she was, indeed, ready.
"All of you...be safe." My mother said quietly, setting Micheal down on the ground and making sure Katja was settled before coming over to hug Lys, Olivia, and I. I almost asked her what she would do if we didn't come back, but I figured that something like that was probably better left unsaid. Maybe not knowing would be better than knowing.
"I'll miss you guys," Micheal said quietly, finally admitting that under his harsh exterior he really did care. I was almost ready to break down as I went over to Katja to hug her goodbye.
"Hang in there until I get back, sis." I whispered in her ear as she weakly hugged me back. As I was about to pull away so that Lys could hug her, she pressed a pair of her knitting needles in my hands.
"They can...help you...if you get attacked..." She wheezed, making eye contact with me through her visor.
"How will they help me if I'm attacked?" I asked, curious.
"They're...sharpened...if you're attacked...and can't get away...or win...then use them...and go for...the eyes...much cleaner strike...also use them...for...locks..."
"...thank you, Katja..." I whispered, hugging her again. This time, her returning hug was much stronger. I broke away as some tears started to roll down my cheeks.
"I love you." She said quietly, not wheezing between her words for the first time in her life.
"I love you, too."
I couldn't deal with this anymore. With one final look into her eyes, seeing the tears that were rolling down her face as well as the ones that were rolling down mine, I slowly turned around and climbed into the cart, biting my lower lip to keep from breaking down.
I didn't look back as Olivia and Lys joined me in the cart.
I didn't look back as Spejder climbed into the front.
I didn't look back as the young Camp Supervisor opened the gate to let us out.
I didn't look back as we started to move forwards, heading off to an uncertain future.
I didn't look back to the camp as it started to roll away, for if I did, then I wouldn't be able to keep the hold on my lower lip any longer. Clutching on to the knitting needles with one hand, I slowly let my free hand slip into the pocket that contained the little bottle of cyanide pills.
The sun climbed higher and higher into the sky as the hours of travel slipped by in silence, save for the creaking of the cart. The back of my neck burned slightly from the radiation, which I covered with a faded pink scarf that Katja had made for me several years ago.
"'Ow's everyone doin'?" Spejder asked in yet another of his attempts to start a conversation.
"I'm fine." Olivia said, looking around as the dusty, rocky environment slowly passed by. "I don't think I've ever gone this far south of the encampment before!"
"We haven't." I muttered, folding my arms across my chest as we went over a bump in the ground. "How do you know we're going the right way, Spejder?"
"The smell." He said. "This is where your Camp Supervisors bury your dead in the mass graves."
My stomach felt as though it had fallen out of my ribcage and was spiraling to my feet. This is where my father, Lukas, Harper, and Rosalynn are...
"It takes a ridiculously strong stomach or no sense of smell to be around 'ere."
"Well, none of us have a sense of smell, so we'll be fine." I answered, leaning back a little bit and poking my fingers under my gas mask to wipe some sweat away.
"Good." Spejder said darkly, snapping the reins again. "Be very alert, alright? This place usually 'as whole tribes o' Emberi. If they aren't tryin' to kill each other, they'll come after us."
"Is...is it possible to go around this place?" Olivia asked in a squeak.
"No, if we do then we'll get off track and get lost." He answered, again snapping the reins as his eyebrows began to knit themselves together. "We just gotta keep 'eading south until we 'it E45. There'll be a sign."
My heart started to pound as I slowly signed to Lys to be on the lookout for Emberi. She nodded and kept her head and eyes moving, while I relied on my hearing for detection. Olivia somehow wormed her way underneath the cloth that was covering out food and water, trembling.
Every little sound that wasn't the creaking of the cart caused me to jump. The sun was now directly over us, causing me to feel very warm and sweaty under my plastic coat. If it weren't for the threat of an Emberi attack, I probably would have let my eyes close.
A loud, distinctive scream from the throat made me snap my head around and Spejder grind to a halt. I squinted my right eye in an attempt to make out the little red dots moving around on the horizon, eventually forcing Olivia out from under the cloth so she could look for me.
"Do you see them?" I hissed, prodding Lys so that she would know what was going on. Olivia stiffly nodded her head, shrinking down so that she laying on the bottom of the wagon.
"Should we try to outrun them?" She squeaked, hugging her rifle against her chest.
"No point in tryin'." Spejder muttered, loading up his gun and hopping out of the cart. "We're just gettin' into their territory, the number o' them will only increase, and we'll eventually get overrun. It's better to just blast 'em while we can."
Even the angry red splotches on Olivia's face went pale as Spejder mounted the end of the gun on his shoulder and squinted his eye through the scope.
"Get ready. Once I shoot they'll be all over us." He warned. I quickly signed this information to Lys, who laid on her stomach with the barrel of her rifle poking over the edge of the cart. Olivia took a similar position, only her hands were shaking violently and rattling the gun.
"Spejder, I...I'm a really bad shot...I'm blind in my left eye..." I stuttered, nervous at the idea of long range shooting. I had only really ever shot an Emberi at either very close range or point blank, and very rarely did I ever engage in actual sniping. If I did attempt to snipe, I was usually extremely far off.
"I don't even have a right eye anymore, Amber. What you need is a scope and your 'earing." He said, lowering his gun so he could plunge his hand into his pocket. Pulling out a small scope, he turned and tossed it to me. I nearly missed catching it, then jammed it onto my gun and peered through it. My vision in my right eye instantly improved, causing me to nearly drop my rifle as I stood myself between Olivia and Lys. I head read about this kind of glass thing that would correct vision, but I never saw something like that happen before...
Composing myself and giving my head a quick shake, I raised my rifle up once again and squinted through the scope.
Oh God, they were a terrible sight. Their skin was deep red, scaly, and cracked as they lumbered forwards, swinging their clubs and spears as they spoke about something in their strange language. In all there were twelve of them, one dragging a dead body behind them. My stomach again dropped to my feet as I realized it was the body of one of my coworkers, Dalia Sewick, only twenty-two years old.
"Get ready..." Spejder said quietly, cocking the gun. I held my breath, fighting to keep my hands from shaking as the Emberi dragged Dalia across the ground and roared with laughter.
I had heard many gunshots in my life, but I always jumped. I watched through my scope as Spejder's gun cracked, the bullet speeding through the air and striking one of the smaller ones right between the eyes.
One down, eleven to go.
The remaining Emberi let out extremely loud, bloodcurdling screams of rage as they began to charge forwards, the Emberi that dragged Dalia along grabbing onto the body of its shot comrade before running after the others. Somehow, Spejder's horse didn't get spooked...
Taking aim as best as I could at one of the leaders of the pack, I squeezed the trigger multiple times. The kickback from the rifle nearly threw me off of my feet and crashing to the ground as I watched the three bullets I fired bury themselves into the chest of the Emberi. He let out a howl of pain, collapsing onto the ground while one of his friends ran to his aid. Despite her shaking hands, Olivia managed to land a strike on that one directly in the side of the head, his brains and blood spewing everywhere as he pitched face-first onto his friend's bleeding chest.
"Nice one!" I yelled, attempting to aim for the leader. He managed to dodge the shot, but the one behind him got hit directly in the eye. Damn, Spejder was right, the scope really did help! If only I could get something like it to keep over my right eye for long periods of time!
The remaining Emberi were beginning to close in on us as we shot five, six, seven, eight more of them, the leader still somehow dodging the bullets and letting the others behind him get shot, when I heard a yell coming from my left.
Turning on my heel, I looked through the scope to see fifteen more Emberi running at us to join the fight.
"INCOMING!" I yelled to the others, firing wildly at the oncoming group. Of the five shots I fired, three hit their intended targets and brought them down, while the remaining started to run to join the other group. I turned to my right to see another eleven running to the group, yelling and swinging their clubs and spears. The four of us stopped trying to aim and ended up just firing wildly in the hopes that our targets would get hit. More and more Emberi dropped to the ground like bugs hitting a particularly bad spot of radiation, when the leader threw a spear aimed for my head.
In the midst of my adrenaline haze, I managed to duck just in time so that instead of striking me in the head the spear sailed right over me, going straight through another Emberi's stomach and pinning him to the ground as his guts began to spill out.
The survivors of the initial shooting were dangerously close now as I jumped out of the cart, throwing my rifle up over my shoulders so that it was resting against my back and ripping my knife out of its place on my belt. Spejder discarded his shotgun in favor of a handgun, firing at a much closer range while I swung my arm around and drove my knife right into the throat of an Emberi that was about to club me in the face. Her blood felt warm against my hand as I pulled the knife out and kicked her over, stepping on her chest as I jumped to land a strike against the next challenger, an older male with a rather threatening-looking spear.
Blood and guts rained everywhere around me as I cut my way through the battle, bullets whizzing over my head and delivering the final blow to many of my victims as I stabbed them in the throat or chest. It would take one hell of a washing to get my clothes clean after this bloodbath!
"WATCH OUT!" Spejder yelled, causing me to snap around and narrowly avoid getting clubbed in the back of the head. Lunging at him with my knife, the Emberi managed to dodge the attack and attempt another swing at me. I felt the large wooden club ruffle my hair as I barely managed to duck, again going for the throat. He jumped away, swinging violently and wildly at my head. Twisting and turning out of the way, I threw my knife into his lower left leg and delivered a snap kick to his lower right. A rough, scaly hand suddenly grabbed my short hair, but it soon jerked away as I heard a gunshot and felt a warm splatter of blood and brains against the back of my head.
Ears ringing and heart pounding so hard I was sure it was going to crack more of my ribs and possible break the one that was already cracked, I pulled my handgun out of its holster as the Emberi I had just been fighting struggled to get back to his feet. I was nearly knocked over as he swung out the leg I had kicked, and in a split second I had leaned very far over, slammed the barrel of the handgun between his eyes, and pulled the trigger. His face partially exploded all over me as I shot him at point-blank range, the blood splatter covering my visor and getting all over my hair and into my scarf.
With all of the Emberi finally dead around us and my ears ringing painfully, the adrenaline flow finally started to slow and I became aware of the muscle pain and my cracked rib once again. Breathing heavily, I dropped my handgun and wiped my visor with the back of my hand. The rubber of my glove squeaked as it slide across the clear plastic of the visor, smearing the blood and restoring some degree of clarity. Shaking my hand off and once again rubbing my visor, I kept doing this until I had a somewhat decent field of vision once again.
The landscape was now pretty disturbing, with dead bodies laying all over the place and the dirt and dust stained red. Putting my handgun back into its holster and pulling the knife out of the dead Emberi's leg, I knelt down next to him to survey the damage and search for the bullet. I always hated this part, but it was necessary.
"Everyone okay?" Spejder called out as I drove my knife into the Emberi's skull to gouge the bullet out.
"Th-there's a lot of blood everywhere..." Olivia said, her voice shaking. Everything sounded like I was underwater as my ears recovered from the onslaught of extremely loud noises.
"I'm good!" I answered, finally digging the bullet out of the brain and pinching it between two of my fingers.
"What do you think you're doin', Amber?!" Spejder cried as I went to gouge the bullet out of another body.
"Getting my bullets back! We do this back home so that we don't run out!" I yelled back, using my knife to cut the chest open and shoving my hand in. The squishy warmth made my stomach churn as blood began to trickle out and run next to my knees as I knelt over the body, plunging my other hand in to assist in digging around.
"You must be crazy to do that!" He wailed, walking over to me.
"You must be crazy to not!" I answered, finally finding the bullet somewhere in the heart and pulling it out. "I have a bullet that I've used sixteen times. Lys wears it as a necklace."
"Sounds more like an 'uge waste o' time to me." Spejder said, shaking his head. I gave an irritated sigh and moved on to the next body...
...which was somehow still alive and managed to reach out and attempt to grab my throat. I instinctively sprang to my feet and started stomping on its face like it was some sort of gigantic spider. It gave several loud yells from the back of its throat before it finally fell unconscious, its crooked teeth now even more crooked and bleeding.
"It also ensures that they're really dead." I panted, dropping to my knees and slicing its gut open.
"I'll give you that..." Spejder murmured, standing behind me and looking out on the landscape around me. "It looks like they got a hold o' someone."
"Yeah..." I sighed, half of my arm rooting around for the bullet. "Dalia Sewick. I worked with her."
I remained silent, successfully finding the bullet.
"Would you feel better if we buried 'er in the graves?"
"...yeah, I guess..." I said after a few minutes, slicing open another body before I remember that this one had been killed by getting stabbed, not shot. Spejder set his rifle next to me and went off to collect Dalia's body.
"Make sure to grab everything she has on her, we could use it!" I yelled after him, picking his gun up and scrambling to my feet.
"That's Dalia?" Olivia asked, coming up behind me. She carried a small pile of bullets that she successfully managed to recover in her hands, her entire front coated in blood.
"Yup." I murmured quietly, adding my bullets to her small pile. "We're going to bury her in the graves."
"...oh God, we're going to have a dead body in the back with us?!"
"As far as I'm concerned it's just Dalia, not a dead body." I said, staring straight ahead at nothing in particular. "While we're waiting we might as well collect their stuff. We could use it."
"...yeah, okay." Olivia answered, pouring the recovered bullets into a pouch hooked around her waist. I pulled the strap on Spejder's gun over my head and let it rest on my back with my own, then ripped a spear out of an Emberi's arms. Olivia did the same with the dead body laying next to her, putting her foot on its face and shoving so that she could get some extra force to pull the spear out. After a little while, we went back to the cart with arms full of spears, clubs, and a rather long knife.
"Where's Spejder?" Lys shouted, her ears still not recovered from the shooting. I dumped the spears and clubs onto our pile of weapons, then straightened up.
'Grabbing Dalia Sewick's body. We're going to bury her.' I signed, dampening a cloth so that I could get some of the now-drying blood off of my gas mask, boots, and coat.
"Oh! I see!"
'Stop shouting, I can hear you just fine now!' I signed angrily once my gas mask was cleared again.
"We're really going to need a wash once we get to Alta..." Olivia pointed out, surveying herself. I tossed her the cloth so that she could get a start at scrubbing the blood off.
"Could one o' you toss me a sheet, please?" Spejder asked when he arrived back at the cart, Dalia's dead body cradled in his arms. I pulled a folded, dark brown sheet out from under the cloth covering our food and water and jumped out of the cart so that I could lay it out on the ground for him.
"Any idea how she died? She doesn't look like she got mauled." Olivia asked, pointing out that Dalia, indeed, looked quite peaceful if it weren't for the fact that her dull brown eyes were partially open.
"See that foam dripping out o' the corner o' 'er mouth?" Spejder said after he laid her in the middle of the sheet. There was a little bit of foam slipping out, but other than that everything looked completely normal. "That's cyanide poisoning."
"She was probably overwhelmed by the Emberi, so she commit suicide so that they wouldn't make 'er suffer. They also wouldn't be able to eat 'er because o' the cyanide, because it would render 'er flesh toxic. It would kill the Emberi if they ate 'er."
"Dalia wasn't scheduled to work today, though." I pointed out, my eyes widening. If she wasn't scheduled to work today but she still ended up out here and dead from cyanide poisoning...did that mean that she left the encampment to commit suicide like my father had three years ago...?
Going numb, I folded the sheet over her corpse until only her head was still exposed. Taking one last look into her eyes, I used my thumb and index finger to slide her eyelids shut. Two bloody prints from my glove remained behind as I pulled the top of the sheet down over her face, tucking the corners into the folds so that it wouldn't open. Eyes still wide, I climbed back into the cart and leaned into a corner, blinking very, very slowly as Spejder loaded her body into the cart without saying anything. After a few minutes, we began to roll forward once more, the creaking of the cart sounding extremely far away as I touched the small bottle of cyanide pills that was in my pocket once again.
|I'd like to try to get a premium membership on here, and I'd also like having some spare points to have to donate to others. |
1-10 : I'll give you a llama badge!
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30-40 : I'll do a black and white drawing of an animal fo your choice!
40-50 : I'll feature your artwork in my journal AND do a drawing for you!
50+ : I'll feature your artwork in my journal, give you a llama, and you can pick from the drawing options from above!
If you're just giving me points out of the good of your heart, then please don't be afraid to let me know!
Thank you for reading this!