Chapter 6: Flameheart
Faint ribbons of sunlight filtered through the cracks in the "ceiling", enough to make me get up from my comfortable pile of rocks and debris. My skin was scratched up and there were a few pebbles stuck in my hair, but I was okay. Dragomir had been on watch duty last night and he was still sitting near the entrance to our little hut made out of fallen buildings and lamp posts. Svetlana was already up and walking over to check on Rose, who still had a bloody bandage tied around her leg.
After Raphael had shot accidently shot her (and because we were all scared because we had no idea what was happening) we had kicked him out and left him to his own devices. Standing up I looked around our new home and took inventory: we had no food, no water, no weapons, and the only clothes we had were the ones we were wearing. Rose's bandage was really just a couple of dirty paper towels we'd found buried under a shaft of metal a few yards away from our little campsite.
My stomach rumbled loudly enough for Svetlana to look over at me and raise an eyebrow, as if expecting me to say something. "What? I'm hungry," The other girl just shrugged and went back to what she was doing. It was still a little musty in our small enclosure; mist seemed to swirl around everywhere making one of us cough now and then.
"Anyone feel like going down to Saper's?" I tried again. If it came to a point where all four of us were hungry and we couldn't get out, then what? Someone would have to get food soon before something else causes a building to fall across the only small gap that's large enough for us to squeeze through.
Dragomir finally got up, stretching as he did. "I'll go," he said, "If anyone tries to stop me," he made a motion with his middle finger across his neck. He dragged one of the bigger rocks over to the gap in the "roof", stood up on it, and hoisted himself out. As soon as he was gone, Rose let out a long, loud sigh.
"God," she started rubbing her leg, "If we ever get out of here, I am going to killRaphael. Look what he did to my leg!" Her voice came out whiney and high pitched. Svetlana rolled her eyes, picked up a rock, and threw it at her. The rock connected with the side of her head, making it lull to one side. I looked over and saw Rose leaning to the right, her eyes closed, mouth slightly open.
I looked over at Svetlana, who just shrugged, "She'll get up eventually," I nodded and the two of just stared down at her in silence. Finally Svetlana broke the silence, motioning toward the wall that I'd been leaning against that night, "Sit down, Flameheart,"
Unsure where this was going, I sat down cautiously, hoping Svetlana wouldn't try to knock me out too. I tensed up a little as she sat down next to me, resting her chin on her hand. "I know we've had our differences," she looked over at me, trying to make eye contact. I tried not to, but couldn't really avoid looking in her general direction. "But it does look like we're stuck down here. For now, I mean," she added, "Maybe we should…try to get along. There's nothing we should be fighting about anyway," Svetlana glanced up at the gap in the roof as she said this.
I nodded slowly, not sure where this was going. "Okay," I turned to her, expecting her to burst out laughing at any second. But she just stared at me, dead serious. She reached one hand over and grabbed my pony tail holding it for a while.
"You have really nice hair. It's pretty," I looked at her with a somewhat blank expression, not sure if I should yank my hair away and risk becoming her enemy again, or just let her finger it for a while.
"Um, thanks?" Svetlana let go of my hair and turned her body so that it was facing me a little bit more.
"And your eyes," she continued, "They're such a deep green. And your skin is so smooth!" she was running a hand along my arm now, staring down at it in awe.
"Okay, I'm sorry, but what are you doing?" I was officially creeped out now. Svetlana had never talked to me like this, never complimented me, never even wanted to touch me unless we were in a fight.
She looked up at me, confused, "I'm complimenting you," she moved forward a little more, "That's okay, right?" I nodded, starting to sweat nervously a little. Before she could say anything else there was a clang from outside, followed by a string of curse words, as Dragomir fell back in. Svetlana immediately stood up, as if everything that had just happened hadn't happened at all. "What the hell are you doing back so soon? And why don't you have any food?"
Dragomir ran both hands through his hair, clearly exasperated, "I never got out,"
"What do you mean 'you never got out'? Never got out of where?" Svetlana was walking over to him now, under the gap, trying to look up through it.
"I mean I never got out onto the street. There's too much wreckage up above!" He pointed up as he was saying this, his voice slowly rising. "But I did find some planks of wood. Would you mind getting those down?" Svetlana rolled her eyes. I just continued to sit there, my mind still trying to process what had happened earlier. "But hey," Dragomir continued, "If you think you can make it out of here, by all means, go ahead!"
Svetlana laughed a little, a sort of mocking laugh as she looked back up at the gap and then back at me, "Come on, Flameheart, let's go,"
"What?" I stood up, still not entirely paying attention, "Why am I going anywhere?"with you? I added silently.
"We're going to find a way out of all this wreckage so we can get something to eat. Dragomir failed," she looked over at him, "as always, so I- we- have to take care of it," Before I could object she starting hoisting herself up and out of our little campsite. I looked back at the sulking Dragomir and unconscious Rose and figured I had no choice. Or at least, nothing better to do, even if I wasn't really sure what we were doing.
As soon as I got out of the whole I noticed two things: One, the pieces of wood Dragomir had mentioned earlier, hanging around near the gap and Two: Why Dragomir had said he couldn't get out. None of us had really been outside our room after the Occurrence (what we were now calling all the screaming and crashing we'd heard earlier) and therefore, hadn't been able to see the damage that was done. At the time of the Occurrence the four of us (plus Raphael at the time) had been in the basement of Morcucorp's main building, going over our latest assignments and, apparently, our latest failures. As soon as we'd heard the Occurrence we'd all ran up to the first floor. That was when the building next to ours fell over at such an angle that it brushed the Morcubuilding just enough so that the other floors would come crumbling down.
We had ran started running down to the basement to take cover there, but the ground above the stairwell broke, sending tons of rocks and debris down, blocking our path. Now we were stuck somewhere between the stairs and the main door of the building, with virtually no way out. I shoved the pieces of wood down the gap before getting up to join Svetlana, who was attempting to push a boulder out of the way, trying to make a path. "I can tell you right now, I don't think that's gonna work," I walked over to her while saying this, crossing my arms.
She groaned as she gave the boulder another shove, "Then help me!" I walked over to her side and tried pushing the rock the other way. It started to budge a little, which gave both of us hope. Svetlana suddenly stopped, looking up and narrowing her eyes in concentration, "Do you smell smoke?" I stopped and sniffed the air, but shook my head. I could smell a faint trace of something burning, but it was probably nothing.
Brushing it off as I had, Svetlana knelt back down and we began to push at the rock again. With one more final push, we managed to move it about four feet away from us. With its sudden movement came a shower of rocks, big and small. One of them hit Svetlana on the side of the head, similar to the way she had hit Rose earlier, and went down just like the rocks. I dragged her out from under the shower so that she wouldn't get flattened by any more of them. I stood up straight again when the smell of smoke became even more apparent.
I turned towards the hole, deciding to tell Dragomir, when I realized that the smoke was actually coming out of the hole itself. Holding my breath and squinting my eyes, I wiggled down the gap and landed near a blast of heat. I opened my eyes wide and had to choke back a scream. Dragomir had lit a fire with some of the larger pieces of wood and above the fire, something was hanging on some of the smaller branches of wood. What was above the fire was Rose, dripping blood from her arm socket, which was now missing the arm. The arm was now partly in Dragomir's mouth, a few bites taken out of it, blood dripping down his chin. I covered my mouth my hands to keep from throwing up, while Dragomir slowly set down the arm and whipped the blood off his face.
He stood up and starting walking toward me. I picked up one of the nearby sticks and swung it in front of me, trying to keep him at bay, "Stay back! Stay away!" I was verging on tears now, trying to ignore the smell of burning flesh, the sight of Rose roasting on the spit, her arm lying on the ground, all bloody and bitten. I was backed up against the wall now, with Dragomir looking at me with an unreadable expression. He reached his arms out in a welcoming gesture and I shrieked a little, gripping to stick tighter.
He shook his head, "Flameheart, I'm not going to hurt you," I looked over at Rose, whose sightless, terrified eyes were now staring at me, her mouth wide open, revealing that the tongue had been cut out. Dragomir glanced over at where I was staring, "Rose was weak, she was dying. I did her a favor. And besides, we were all going to starve anyway." He said this as if it were the most natural thing.
"Oh God, oh God," I was crying now, the tears blurring my vision, making my limbs feel week. It was only when I felt a hand close around my wrist that I screamed and yanked it away, making a run for the opening in the ceiling. On my way I tripped and fell into the fire, burning my exposed stomach and part of my hand. I rolled away from it, screaming even more, staring down at my charred skin, still glowing, the pink flesh beginning to expose itself. I looked up at Dragomir in terror, unable to cry any more, just taking shallow breaths as he looked down at me, trying to suppress the look that came into his eyes at the smell of burning flesh for my sake.
Unable to even crawl properly, I screamed again and kicked at him, my feet connecting with nothing. I tried moving away to a dark corner, dragging myself along with my one good arm, using the stick I had dropped when I fell. I lay down in the corner, my stomach in too much pain to curl up, my burnt arm spread out against the floor. I glanced over at Dragomir, who had gotten back to eating his arm. I blacked out.
I woke up in the middle of the night. The fire had been put out, Svetlana had not returned, Dragomir was sleeping peacefully near the burnt wood, and Rose was…
The pain came rushing back to me, both the physical and the emotional kind. I had loved Dragomir as soon as I'd met him, but now, after less than 24 hours of being trapped without any food, he had resorted to cannibalism and had eaten one of his good friends. Imagine what he'd do to me. I almost passed out again at the thought, but something shiny a few feet away from my head caught my eye. There was something sticking out of the rubble, something that was lucky enough to catch the glint of the moon shining through the gap in the ceiling. I looked over at Dragomir again, who was still sleeping peacefully.
I looked back over at the object in the wall and started to drag myself toward it. I had no real idea what it was, but for some reason, it gave me hope. When I came to where it was, I reached up my one good arm and grabbed onto it. I immediately wished I hadn't. I took my hand away and looked down at the stripe of blood now going across it. I reached up, more carefully this time, and gripped it with two fingers on its sides, slowly sliding it out. It landed on the ground in front of me with a thud, slightly blood stained from my own wound. Even in the near darkness, I could tell it was an axe. And possibly my only savior.
Gripping the handle, not the blade, I tried to push myself up with my good arm, but failing, my stomach screaming in protest. I looked back down at the burn wound, wishing it wasn't there. I looked back at Dragomir, part of Rose's finger lying near his mouth as if he had been chewing on it before he had fallen asleep. A new wave of fear and rage washed through me, overwriting the pain I felt as I hoisted myself up onto my feet. I wanted to scream with the pain, but if I did, I would definitely be killed. Walking was extremely difficult, but I was planning on walking slowly and quietly anyway.
When I got to Dragomir I stopped looking down at how peaceful he looked. Looking down at him, you would hardly think he was a sadistic psychopath. The words "I love you" were on the tip of my tongue, but if I said them, I would break down and sacrifice myself. Instead, with shaky arms, I raised the axe over my head, and brought it down, again and again. The first time I brought it down I sliced right into his torso, blood spurting up into my face and then gushing out onto the floor. I brought it down again, this time on his neck, disconnecting his head from his body, the blood spilling out and soaking my knees. I was kneeling now, my legs to shaky to hold me. I brought it down again and again, hacking away at his body until he was unrecognizable. I brought it down one last time, right in the middle of his face, splitting it open and sending brain tissue flying onto my own face. I dropped the axe, the blade embedding itself in my leg as it came down. I screamed and cried, more for his sake than my own.
Flameheart's dream of murdering Dragomir stayed with her when she woke up a few hours later. Dragomir had demolished most of Rose's arm by then and she had woken up to him staring at her, with a look in his eyes that could only be described as hunger.