It wasn't so unusual these days for her to wake up screaming, on those rare times that she did indeed sleep. Especially now, since Sunshine's dreams had started to come in the daylight hours. Now... now she didn't have to go to sleep to see the accursed woman's face. Not only had she decided to make an appearance during her presentation last week, now she was showing up during lectures, mealtimes, anytime Rachael would really rather not have to deal with her.
Sunshine's thoughts - memories, really - were so strange and chaotic. It was like... like... like watching a Quentin Tarentino film in her mind, only without all the cussing. Everything jumped around from place to place and from time to time. The woman's thoughts were disjointed, not set in any one particular time or place, and it was driving Rachael mad.
"Doesn't the woman have the decency to stay dead?" she demanded aloud of her empty apartment, slamming her fist down on the table beside her empty breakfast plate, making her fork and knife skitter across the table and fall to the floor. "Damn," she cursed, bending over to pick up the errant silverware. As she sat up, another vision hit her.
"Njiki! Hurry up!" Sunshine yelled over her shoulder. Rain poured down on their shoulders, splattering in fat droplets, soaking into their clothes, their hair, making them both miserably wet. Not to mention she was sure she could feel her stomach gnawing on her backbone. She had given her last bit of bread this morning to her brother. Njiki was smaller, weaker, so therefore he needed the food more. She was stronger, older, so she could handle it better.
"Njika," he called back to her. "I'm tired. Can't we rest for a little while?"
She turned, looking back at him. He really was little more than a baby, almost four years old. Rain looked miserable as he stood behind her, being drenched by his namesake. If she had to compare him to anything, she thought he looked like either a small wet dog or a large drowned rat. She stepped up to him, kneeling in the mud before him to look him in the eyes. "Njiki, sweetie, I know you're tired, but we have to get back to my temple before the sun comes back up. We're not safe here in the daytime, you know that."
Rain sniffled and wiped at his eyes. "But I'm tired, and the temple is still forever and ever and ever away." He flopped down to sit heavily in the mud, apparently ignoring the squishing sound the sudden movement made. "I don't want to walk anymore! I'm hungry! I want Mother and Father! I don't want to go live at any stupid temple! I want to go home!" Tirade completed, he crossed his arms over his chest and pouted, lower lip poking out and trembling slightly.
She sighed, staring at him in silence. They were running behind as it was and could ill-afford to have to deal with a tantrum delaying them. "Njiki, you're going to have to stand up and walk. It's only a few more miles to the temple, but I can't carry you. You're too big." She paused, changing tactics. "But you're acting like a baby."
"Mother said I was still a baby!" he countered. "She said I was still her baby!"
"Njiki..." she began when a new voice interrupted her.
"Excuse me?" She glanced over her shoulder to see a young man, probably a few years older than herself, mid-to-late teens at the oldest. His hair could be any color in this downpour, but bright green eyes shone like a cat's from beneath the wet strands clinging to his face. "I heard him yelling and..." He trailed off, apparently fully looking at her finally. "You're a priestess!"
She sighed. She never really liked this reaction. And njiki was starting to sniffle louder, indicating they weren't paying nearly enough attention to him for his liking. "Yes, I am."
He looked past them to the hill, as if he could see through it to the building that rested on the other side. "From the temple?"
"Yes," she repeated. She started to pull herself up and floundered in the slippery mud. "That's where we're trying to get back to now. If Rain will ever - "
As if on cue, the most ear-shattering shriek filled the air. Both she and the young man jumped, whirling to find the threat, only to look down at Rain to find him the source. He had tipped his head back and let out one loud cry to get her attention. "Not walking anymore!" he declared.
She sighed and moved towards him again. The man lifted him first, hefting him over one shoulder in a way that made Rain let out a very undignified squeak, bringing a smile to her lips. "I suppose I could help you with this scamp a little while, my lady priestess."
She felt the faintest flush touch her cheeks. "My name is -"
The man held up his free hand, the one not keeping Rain from squirming off his shoulder. "It's forbidden for a commoner to know the name of Her priestess, you know." Absentmindedly, he tugged Rain back into a more comfortable position on his shoulder. "We wouldn't want to start breaking any laws now, would we?"
She sighed. It was the truth, but still... "It's a stupid rule." She tugged the hood of her robe up over her already soaked hair. "If you don't mind carrying him, then let's be on our way."
Rachael shook her head as her thoughts began to become her own again. She cursed as she realized she held both pieces of her silverware in a deathgrip and the blade of the knife had cut into her palm. Not to mention all the blood has rushed to her head as she dangled helplessly in Sunshine's memory.
Slowly, she sat up, carefully unpeeling her fingers from around the utensils. "So..." she thought aloud as she made her way into the bathroom to take care of the wound. "Another character reveals himself."
This man with the green eyes... She had the strangest feeling he was going to be very important. For Sunshine and Rain, as well as herself.
11 May 2004
So, another chapter of Say Nothing. The kitties seemed to enjoy it when I read it to them, and they're usually a pretty tough audience. Anyway, I should quit scribbling on this and get back to work on the novel and finishing up Gods and Other Creatures.