(I love Saturdays… I really do. Mostly because I can sleep in late and watch movies and not feel like I’m procrastinating… XD )
Before you read the next part of MH, please take this poll. It may determine the future.
Just kidding. It won’t change anything except a tiny part of this insignificant blog.
(But it will change the future.)
I hope you answered honestly. Because I don’t like when people say stuff just because they think the other person wanted them to say that stuff.
Boo on you if you did that.
If you’re new, catch up, please, before continuing. If you don’t… well, your loss.
And if you just want to reread… that’s fine too.
And here ya go. Enjoy!
The door slowly squeaks shut, and Meq steps back, his head still whole and uninjured. I relax a little at the unconcerned expression on his face, but my muscles still stay taught and ready for action. The floorboards creak as the ‘Sniffleborg’ walks to the door, heaving it open again.
Instead of a hideous and disfigured monster, I’m confronted with a normal (though oversized) man, his face weathered and creased and crowned with a halo of white hair. The only remarkable feature in his face is the large nose, the nostrils of which are twitching, and the shape of an eye tattooed on his forehead. Besides this, he seems very uninteresting, and I can’t see a bit of metal on any part of exposed skin.
“Daren, I thought I told you to be back yesterday.” Instead of a whispery voice, it is deep and full.
“Sorry, sir, but the gang of Clawers was deeper than I thought, and they’ve upgraded their tracking skills.”
“Hm, do better next time.” The man turns away from Daren and then turns toward Meq, his wrinkles deepening into something resembling a frown. “And what do you want?”
Meq bowed low, his hair nearly brushing the porch. “Oh, great Sniffleborg, I humbly come before you to report that I have brought in the one whom you seek, this insignificant speck that everyone calls Daren,”
(Daren snorts from behind me.)
“And since I have performed the task which you have so graciously given to me, I ask-“
“Alright! When will you learn to shut up and stop calling me Sniffleborg?! You have no sense of respect.”
Meq grins, then points in my direction, dropping his pose.
The man turns to me and studies me, his eyes moving up and down, taking in my backpack still hanging from my shoulders, the tattered jacket, ripped jeans, and worn boots. I squirm a bit uncomfortably when his eyes come to my face.
Daren steps forward and speaks up, “I found her getting chased by Clawers. She’s like you.”
Everything he says is suggestive of something bigger. The man’s eyes leave my face and he makes eye contact with Daren for a brief instant, something passing between them.
Turning back to me, the man says, “My name is Weatherby. Welcome to the Peer camp.”
“Thanks,” is all I can think to say.
He doesn’t reply, but turns his back and walks into the building, his muscular figure disappearing within. Meq follows, and I wait for Daren to tell me what’s going on. Instead, he extends a hand, obviously expecting me to proceed into the building before him. I scowl. I don’t like having anyone walking behind me where I can’t see them.
We have a silent staring contest until Meq sticks his head out and yells at us to get a move on. Mounting the porch steps, I walk into the building as a wave of sweat, smoke, and wood-smells rolls over me. The loud murmurs die as I step through the doorway, faces turning to stare at me as I stop at the threshold.
A worn bar is erected against the far wall, and a thick layer of dust coats its surface. Men and a few woman are seated at old wooden tables that are scattered haphazardly around the room, a few people leaning back on stools. All of them sport some kind of metal that is clean and shining and displayed proudly for all to see.
Feeling even more uncomfortable, I slowly walk over to where Meq and his companion have seated themselves, at a more remote table in the corner, a wall jutting out that nearly conceals it from view. I pull out a chair and slide into it, leaning forward.
“Why are they all staring at me?” I whisper.
Weatherby shook his head. “They aren’t used to seeing kinds like you. Not many are.”
I furrow my brows. Kinds like me? What’s that supposed to mean? Daren sits into a chair next to me and folds his gloved hands on the table. They all turn and look at me expectantly. I glance back and forth between the three of them.
“Um, why are you looking at me like that?” I ask, feeling my nerves beginning to jangle. I don’t like these people, and I don’t like this place. Something odd is going on.
“You mean you don’t have any questions you want to ask us?” Meq asks, his voice filled with disbelief.
“Uh, yeah I got questions. Like who are you guys? Why are these people here? Why did you bring me here? What’s going on, and when can I go home?!” My voice steadily rises louder until my puzzlement breaks out in the form of indignation. I can feel even more people turning to look at us, their gazes boring into the back of my head.
“Calm down.” Weatherby says dangerously, even his tattooed eye seems threatening.
“Don’t tell me to calm down,” I start to mutter, when Daren kicks me hard in the shins, effectively stopping the flow of words as I suck in a breath and glare at him, my hand gripping the new bruise.
“First of all, we are Peers, just like you. Secondly,” Weatherby pauses and I quickly jump in.
“But you’re not a Peer.” I say, pointing at him.
He gazes at me strangely. “Now what makes you say that?” he asks.
“I don’t see any metal.” I being to reply when it dawns on me. “So… you’re like me, then?”
“Well, that remains to be seen. Because, to be perfectly honest, none of us really know what you are at the moment. Or where you’ve hidden your secret.”
“What do you mean, ‘my secret’?” I ask, avoiding his piercing eyes and tracing a grain of wood on the table.
“Where is your metal?” Daren asks bluntly, obviously tired of beating around the bush.
I look up and stare around at all of them. “And why should I tell you?”
“Because you can’t leave until you do… for all we know, you could be a Human from the OtherSide. In that case, we’ll have to kill you.”
Staring at Weatherby, I realize that his dire words are serious. They would kill me if they had to; they would kill me to keep their people safe.
“Fine. But show me yours first.” I say impertinently. Weatherby shrugs and nods to Meq who leans back in his chair, swings a leg up onto the table, and pulls off his boot revealing a fully functional metal foot. Turning to Daren, I wait for him to show me his metal. My guide slowly slips off his gloves, one finger at a time, and then holds up two shiny hands, the cold metal reflecting shards of light onto the table. My mouth tightens and I turn to Weatherby, staring at him, daring him to refuse to show me his metal.
Instead, he leans forward, “Press my tattoo.”
I recoil a little. “Why?”
“Just do it.”
Swallowing I reach forward and place my two fingers onto the eye. In the space of a second, Weatherby jumps up and grabs my throat, throwing me against the wall as Daren jumps to his feet and Meq yawns.
“Don’t ever expect me to show you my metal. Don’t ever think you have that privilege. The only reason you’re alive is because some part of you is foreign and doesn’t belong to you.” This was all whispered intensely, Weatherby’s face leaning close to mine and his shockingly white hair bobbing with every word.
I gasp, trying to draw air into my lungs, and clawing at the immovable hands wrapped around my throat. Pulling back my leg, I knee him in the stomach as hard as I can. Those fingers don’t loosen even a little bit.
“That’s enough, Weatherby. That’s enough.” Daren’s calm voice is speaking somewhere beyond the haze that is clouding my vision and I feel my mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water.
Abruptly the pressure on my windpipe relaxes and I collapse to the floor, gulping in the air and coughing simultaneously. Dead silence reigns over the room, and I know every single person was watching the little tableau.
Nobody helps me up and I clamber to my feet, swaying as the blood rushes to my head. Weatherby draws back and sits down, his face looking as expressionless as ever. I stare at him, not even knowing what had prompted the attack.
“I guess I should apologize for Mr. Sniffleborg here. He tends to get a little excited every now and then.” Meq says, his merry voice breaking the silence.
I can’t believe that he’s shrugging it off so lightly. I open my mouth to say so, but Daren quickly speaks up, “Tell us where your metal is, Nova, and I promise you that Weatherby won’t touch you again.” My guide turns and glares at Weatherby, who is still staring stonily at me. I swallow and just place a hand over my heart.
“What, did he really scare you that much?” Meq asks, looking at me in disbelief. “I thought you were tougher than that.”
Daren is, however, watching me closely. “No. That’s where it is, isn’t it?”
I nod, still keeping a close watch on Weatherby, and swallowing the anger. I realize that if I make one wrong move, there are far too many people for me to fight and get out alive. And I don’t know my way back to my home. With this in mind, I carefully pull out my chair and sit down abruptly, keeping my eyes fixed on my new nemesis.
Tell me what you think in the comments!