The Longest Chapter [Written in Time series: 1]

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Close Calls [Sunny]

Entry 2 Day 3 AHD

After that day when everything fell apart, I haven’t had time to sit and write. Between now and then I have acquired a little friend, and when we actually did stop to rest we were completely exhausted. A lot has happened. From one very close almost encounter with more people I know now other people aren’t to be trusted well. It’s downright pathetic with the human race has come down to. With all that’s happened I’ve been reminded that you can get hurt easily with one wrong move. That chance has evened out that being stupid can now get you or someone else killed...

I’ve now found out I probably won’t be able to write down as much now that I have someone else to take care of and we’re on the move, but I will write when I can...

I’m going to try to keep this short. I have a bad feeling we’re being watched. But for now, know we are safe. We have a place to stay. It may be just a treehouse, but it’s good to keep out of sight from anyone...

We have been doing better food wise than I had expected and we should be fine for now.

So until the next chapter.

-Sunny


The next morning I set my new journal in my bag. Threading my fingers through my hair I tied it up into a ponytail. River and I stretched out a bit before we explored the place. He and I had a small breakfast of cheese and meat when I grab anything possibly useful.

Throwing River’s tennis ball, I laughed as he chased after it down the stairs. While he was occupied my eyes looked around. My smile settled when I spotted a satchel. Lifting it away from the hook as doofus got back onto the same floor.

“I think we’re good bud.” I took the ball from him and set it back in my bag. Before I forgot we grabbed the few things in the pet area before leaving. Pulling on my tan leather jacket I adjusted the gray hoodie underneath it. With that taken care of I slipped on my bag as we left.

There is a chill to the mid morning air as I step out. This whole world-ending thing saved me from another pointless year of my teachers and I not seeing eye to eye. The only adults I got along with at school was the art teacher and the band director. I sort of was alright with the creative writing teacher.

Pausing as a cold wind blew past the two of us I took out River’s collar. After fighting him to get it on I passed a watchful eye around our surroundings. Something or someone was watching. I didn’t like it. Deciding against calling it out, my eyes lingered on the treeline.

“C’mon bud. Let’s go.” Turning away we start walking. All the while my eyes never left the corner of my view.


Twilight fell over the area as I tossed another cracker down to River. I had grabbed him a bag of dog food but I wasn’t about to stop. If we kept moving we’d probably lose whoever or whatever it was.

Letting out a breath as the feeling faded, a small puff of air floated in front of me. Thousands of stars shone around in the darkened sky. The moon only half full, making it a gibbous waning. That meant the cycle is about half over. With a sigh and another white cloud of air, we continued on silently through the night.

Squinting at my watch, it read ten past midnight. A small neighborhood came into my sight. Walking up to the second house I peeked inside. Discovering the door to be unlocked I pushed it open. River trotted around as I silently close the door behind me. Looking around it seem to be a nice place. Walking into the living room my eyes wandered over the pictures. A tall man with short brown, graying hair stood with a happy grin in his baby blue dress shirt and black tie. His wife sat on the chair next to him. She wore a pretty cream dress with dark designs. Her blonde hair was short, not fully reaching her jawline. Her smile bright along with the shine of a necklace and earrings she wore. There was an older looking blue healer that sat next to her chair. He smartly look at the camera, fur showing a little white and gray. Lastly, a little girl with long golden Auburn hair sat on her mother’s knee. My eyes couldn’t shift from the portrait. In front of me may have been just a picture, but one of the family I never had. Or ever will.

While I have been observing I hadn’t noticed that River had went to one of the back rooms.

“Teddy!” A small voice cheered. Without hesitation I ran past the kitchen and down the hallway. I heard a small joyful yip come from River as I pushed open the playroom door. The little girl was giggling as River sniffed her face. “Stop it Teddy.” She laughed.

River tilted his head at the name. His ears twitched before he came over and sat next to me. I was down on one knee so I didn’t seem as threatening. The little girl shied away.

“He uh.. He seems to like you kid.” She gave a small nod, still not meeting my eyes. “You seem to have already made friends with River. Everybody calls me Sunny.” I tilted my head. “What’s your name sweetheart?”

She whispered at first, so I didn’t hear her. Then she looked up and repeated. “Emily.”

“Well Emily, do you know where your parents are?” She shook her head. “Is someone- or was, here with you?”

“ Teddy was. But the bad guys took him. I think they hurt him.”

“Who-” I cut myself off when I heard the front door open.

Swiftly I close the playroom door and picked up Emily. Setting a hand over her mouth I shut and the three of us in the closet. River’s fur stood on end. Taking my hand from Emily’s mouth, I wrapped it around his snout. Putting a finger to my lips the little girl put her trembling hands over her own. Deep voices sounded from the living room. Footsteps creaked up the stairs.

“When I tell you to run, you take one of those places chairs. You run and don’t look back. River will go with you. Will you do that for me?” I whispered. Emily was shaking as she slowly nodded. River tried to stand and someone played with the room’s knob. Outside our hiding place the door burst open.

“Boo!” A man yelled. Emily pressed her smaller body against mine and River’s. My dog lowered himself slightly, knowing not to make a sound. Ever so carefully I took my bow from around me and gently started pulling out and arrow from the quiver in my bag. “Come on kid. You couldn’t have gotten that far.” He had a tisking tone to his voice. There was a small pop as I knock the arrow. My eyes met with Emily’s for a second. Giving her a small nod it was reassurance and a statement in one. I started pulling back the string as the closet knob started twisting. Taking a deep breath, the tips of my fingers rested on my cheek. My heart race as I took in as little air as possible. I can feel Emily trying to make herself as small as possible. There was a click now that the doorknob had been fully turned all the way. The door was seconds away from being pulled open.

“Chris!” The voice thundered from the second floor.

Chris let go of the door. I could hear my pulse in my ears as I kept my breathing even.

“What?” Chris demanded.

“What do you mean ‘what’? Get your ass up here. I got something you’ll want to see. “Chris took hold of the knob again while mumbling some pretty colorful words. “Get up here dammit!”

More curses followed. “I’m coming!” Chris muttered a few more words before he walked out of the room. “What the hell is it?”

“Just get up here.”

Swiftly on my feed I nudged the door open. Acting quickly I shut the door to the room and went to lock it. There wasn’t a lock.

Damn it! I screamed internally.

“Sunny?” Emily and River walked out of the closet as she whispered my name.

“Go! Time to run kid.” My voice was quiet but didn’t lack any urgency.

“But-”

“Run.”

Emily grabbed the chair and opened the window. Taking the quiver from my bag I put it and the satchel around me while I grabbed another chair. I handed Emily the bag as she stood on the chair. She took a hold of a small toy before looking at me. It wasn’t hard to miss that she was terrified.

“Go.” I urged as two sets of footsteps stomped down the stairs. “River go.”

Reluctantly Emily went out the window and into the early morning cold. River followed after. Quickly I took the chair and set it under the knob as I slipped my bow around me and put the arrow back. That was when Chris came back. This time he had his friend. Glancing at the window, River and Emily were nowhere in sight. My back pressed against the wood of the door as I kept trying to get the chair positioned while holding it closed. Chris and his friend kept ramming into the door as I tried to get the chair under the knob. It wasn’t not working. Finally I got it placed right, knowing with their attempts I only had a minute at most to get out the moment I left the door. When I did I shoved the chair Emily used out of my way as I pulled myself from the house. When I hit the ground I grabbed most of the arrows that scattered out, only leaving behind one or two. As I started running I put them back by the time the two men had broke into the playroom. The cry of bullets echoed in the darkness of the morning as I pushed myself to go faster.

“What the hell are you thinking?” Chris’s friend demanded while a few more bullets whizzed past me. Not waiting for the rest of the conversation I dodge trees. Blindly I continue having near run-ins with trees in the growing light of the new day. I wasn’t about to slow down.


My knees buckled, causing my body to hit the cold ground in the grassy field. I erupted into a fit of coughing as I gasped for air. My eyes watered at the ability to actually slow down. When I tried to stand my legs shook to the point they couldn’t support my weight.

Sitting on my legs, I needed to stop. Just for a little while.

My racing heart slowed some as I took in deep breaths. A little rest, that’s all I needed. Sweat slid down my forehead as I lay on the ground. A morning fog had set in as the birds started to sing. Gritting my teeth I tried to turn away from the chirping. The sound only made my pounding head feel worse. Every little noise was amplified. Having been on such high alert my ears still strained to pick up on every little sound. To find the danger that wouldn’t be there anymore. My fingers still curled around the curved wood of my bow. The string lightly pressed into me while I remembered that Emily had my leather jacket. Feeling the small breeze that started up my fingers slipped from the smooth wood and up the soft fabric of my grey hoodie. They found a hole on the shoulder that hadn’t been there before. A hiss left my mouth as they dipped into the hole and found the graze from a bullet. With a sigh my hand slipped off my arm and dropped back to the ground. There was a slight red to my fingers now as my other hand hooked onto my bow. My eyes were growing heavy. It was getting hard to fight it off since I hadn’t slept at all that night. On top of it the previous hadn’t been so graced with the unconscious state. I could hardly bring myself to get up, let alone think of the action. The ground was soft and the tall grasses were my shield. I was hidden. I was the safest I could possibly be in a world like this. Sleep wasn’t exactly something anyone could say no to. The sounds of the aging morning was the peaceful lullaby that could hypnotize someone. That person happened to be me.

A light breeze carried the song of a creek. It’s voice was that pull into slumber that was impossible to fight. I didn’t want to either. My breathing and heart rate slowed as my eyes drooped.

“Aahana honey… What are you doing up?”

“Waiting for you daddy.” The little girl said drowsily from the couch as she rubbed her eyes.

“We’ll c’mon.” There was a small pause as he picked the girl up. “Let’s get you to bed.” The little girl fell asleep in his arms as he carried her up the stairs and to her room. The dip and sway of the way he walked rocked her into whatever land her subconscious created.

Half between a dream and reality, my mind was yet to figure out that I had given in to sleep. It still spun around and around. The carousel still lifted the racing horses up and down not giving them any rest. Though there was no obvious winner, they still chased each other. Each one was colored in a different way. Piebalds, skewbalds, whites, bays; blacks, creams, dapples, and greys. Their eyes wide and never close as the music started up again. Fake tails trailed behind them while almost touching the floor. The manes and tails different color or the same. The different colors of the saddles and blankets. Each had a breast collar with a different symbol on the front. Bridles were crafted into the models and extended out into tied straps of leather for a kid to hold onto as the ride carried them round and round with the endless music. Many of the horses mouths hung open. In the thin layer of my subconscious I watched as the horses spun around their little moving track. It was much easier to just stop for a while. Just a minute longer…

That was when a twig snapped. Instantly I pushed myself up. Finding myself on my feet, there was an arrow in my hand I didn’t even know I had taken out. My eyes didn’t leave the direction the sound came from as I started to back into the tall grasses. The fog had spread around the area. Someone was here.

The worst part about knowing I wasn’t alone, was that I knew it wasn’t Emily. I needed to find her before anyone or anything else did. The grass reached to my waist as it and the fog became my cover. With my bow ready I picked up my own pace. My mind kept switching to that scared little girl that was somewhere out there. Of how I needed to get away from here and find her. We’d figure out something from there. Moving swifter I headed into a jog. When my body suddenly collided with a smaller form I didn’t hesitate a loaded bow at them. Within second I made myself relax and put away my arrow as terrified eyes burned into my own. I didn’t even have time to blink before the little girl clung to me. River sat down behind us as Emily hid her face in my stomach.

“Your arm is bleeding.” She mumbled into my shirt.

A ghost of a smile curled the ends of my lips as I closed my eye; and made a little huff while some of my hair floated in front of my face. In the short amount of time I had known her, Emily had grown on me a lot more than I had let someone in a long time. A sudden growl came from River before I looked over to find him standing with his hair on end. Pushing Emily behind me I took out a new arrow.

“River get back.” He listened and moved next to the little girl behind me.

The next thing I knew there was another four legged figure barreling at me. It launched itself at me. What caused me to jerk back out of it’s way was when a sharp pain ran over my eye. My hand connected with the warm furry body as I shoved it out of the air. I held my eye to my shoulder while in the process of keeping the memory away. The dog circled back and came for me again. When it did my foot connected with it’s jaw. I didn’t even get a second before the animal came at me again, this time getting the jump on me.

“Sunny!” Emily shrieked as I fell back into the grass.

My face stung as the dog and I kept rolling. The grasses kept smacking me in the face with the occasional rock and stick. Jerking the animal away from me it was back on it’s feet and back to me too quickly.

“No. Stop it.” The voice didn’t even sound like mine as I was stuck in a different time.

Using my arm I got the dog onto its back while it got ahold of my hand. The dog had gotten the upperhand and forced me under it. It was fast, heavy, and smart. Even through everything that was happening at the moment… I already knew. It was already hitting me hard. My heart raced as it’s teeth sunk into my hand and arm.

No no no. Stop it! A voice echoed in my head. My voice.

Before I even knew what happened blood was streaming down my face and onto my hand. Suddenly there was a weight on top of me as the dog didn’t move anymore. As I shoved the weight aside I found my breath again. Holding my left eye closed I blinked up at the sky from on my back. Squeezing my eyes shut I tried to make it go away. But it just.. wouldn’t. My hand curled into a fist. I could hear the laughter. The taunting.

Six damn year later and they still followed me. My own screams from them still echoed in my chest.

If only they could see me now.

I used my arm to support me as I rose a little. Something warm slid over my left eyelid and to the top of my cheek. My fingers brushed through it and came back red. It was then my eyes focused on the limp body past my hand. My hand dropped as I looked at the unmoving form of the animal that had been attacking me seconds ago. The dark blueish fur was peppered with white hairs as the handle of a knife stuck out of it’s neck.

“Shit.” I pushed myself onto my knees as my wide eyes looked over the blue heeler. “No.” I breathed as the smart looking old dog from the picture flashed into my mind.

I tried to swallow the lump in my throat as my shaking hand hovered next to the handle of the knife. Pulling the knife from the dog I cleaned it before setting it back in my pocket.

“You really screwed yourself over this time old boy.” My fingers ran over his head as I bowed my head. “Shit. Now look what you’ve done. How am I gonna tell Emily? Huh bub?”

I heard a whine come from where Emily and River should have been. My fingers shakily unbuckled the collar.

“Teddy!”

I shook my head as that little girl’s voice filled with hope at the thought of something familiar when everything went so scary. My thumb smoothed over the tag on the collar. The name engraved into it.

With a newborn hate for myself I rose to my feet and made my way to Emily. The ever persistent question of what the hell I was going to do kept slapping me in the face. Slowly Emily’s terrified form came into my view. River relaxed and looked around.

“Emily-” I hardly even spoke her name before she rammed into me.

“Sunny..” I moved back before Emily could get to me. She was surprised and backed up a little. “You’re bleeding.”

“It’s just a scratch. It all is.” As I spoke I balled the collar in my hand so it was mostly out of sight. I stuffed the object into my pocket as I picked all my stuff up. “We need to get going.” I mutter quietly as I slipped the strap of my satchel on my shoulder. My bow was hooked to it my the straps to keep it shut. Silently the two followed.


We had been walking for a while. Neither of us said a word. River didn’t even make a sound. I walked in the middle of the road with River on my right and Emily at my left. Glancing at my watch it read 5:42. The sun would only be up for about another hour and a half. We would use that time to find a tree house I saw mentioned while at the house. My eyes looked over to find Emily hugging her small frame. Without hesitation I set my tan leather jacket over her shoulders. Then just like it was nothing, my eyes shifted back to the road ahead. I could feel her wide eyes look up at me as we continued. Out of the corner of my eye I watched Emily slip her arms into the sleeves that covered up her hands. She messed with the ends of them sadly before I heard the sniffle. As the first sound between us broke into the evening air my fingers had brushed the new scar over my old one on my left eye. I had felt something run into my eyebrow. It was when I pulled my hand back to inspect the streaks of red, arms wrapped around my waist. There was a small clink from the collar in my pocket as Emily clung to me. It reminded me I still had the stupid thing. My bow had been knocked down, so now it lay on the road next to my foot. I stiffened as River looked up at the two of us while I prepared myself for when Emily found the collar in my pocket. As Emily cried into the front of my grey jacket, I relaxed.

It was then that I knew just how terrified she was. How confused she felt. She didn’t know where her parents were and hid from those men for who knows how long. Now she was crying while clinging to a complete stranger. One who probably killed the last connection to her old life. That person just had to be me. So naturally the little girl from the living room portrait was scared out of her mind. I guess I might have been too in her case. But it was the way her arms pulled around me more. She was subconsciously looking for two things I’ve never truly known. Comfort, and a friend. Her actions screamed the words she wasn’t able to fit between her heavy sobbing.

Don’t leave. Please just don’t leave.


Navigating the three of us through the maze of trees I finally spotted it. Through the dulling light of the sun set, I spotted it. The tree house. Holding a hand up, I signed to Emily that River and I would climb the steps first. Slowly I took one creaky step at a time, feeling the wood to be stronger than I originally thought. Once at the top I gave Emily a nod before she soon came up too. The moment we got through the door Emily had found blankets to curl up on. Within seconds she was out. I had sat down next to the little girl who still had my jacket around her shoulders. River lay next to me as I pulled out my journal and started writing. Emily scooted closer and nuzzled against my side. At this I paused while a small curl at the ends of my lips formed before I continued. Before I knew it I closed my journal and moved some hair out of Emily’s face. I let my hand rest on her shoulder while thinking the day over. It was my way to show I was still here. The same way I had shown earlier when she wordlessly pleaded me not to leave. It was clear now as it had been hours ago.

I won’t. Pinky promise.

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