Eating Clouds

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Chapter 10: Dawn

His ears were stuffed.

This was the first thing coming to Ozzy’s mind as he slowly regained consciousness. It felt as if someone had pushed layers of tissues in his eardrums.

He had no idea why someone would do such a thing.

His entire body hurt. As if the same person who put tissues in his ears had wrapped the boy in ropes and knotted them tightly around his limbs. To save himself, Ozzy tried to stay still.

Ah, he thought. I’m lying. On the ground.

But it’s not uncomfortable. It’s actually quite nice. Soft, and warm. That is only when the pain goes away.

Can’t it just stay away?

His eyelids felt sore and heavy. His ‘kidnapper’, as he called him, seemed to push his eyes closed. But he started to lose power as Ozzy could slowly but surely open his eyes.

Immediately he felt pain from the bright sunlight shining directly onto him. He groaned, although he couldn’t hear himself make that sound. His ears were still stuffed.

He couldn’t move or hear. Only see. So he waited.

He didn’t know what was going on, where he was or why he couldn’t do anything, but he wasn’t scared. He felt that if he just waited long enough, it would be alright.

A few times, he tried to groan again, to see if he could hear again. The first attempt, he only heard a slight echo. The second try, it sounded just as a background sound.

Finally they popped. As if the tissues were blown out, all the noises of the world flew back into his ears. The rattling of the leafs as a warm breeze sighed through it, birds performing the most beautiful songs, his own breathing, and a soft voice…

A warming, sweet and unfamiliar voice. It hummed a tune unknown to Ozzy, but he felt relaxed when it reached his ears. The gorgeous sounds grew louder and louder and on its way to Ozzy’s ears added more companions to the party; branches softly shrieking, buzzing from small insects and the clattering sound of a campfire.

Ozzy closed his eyes, and frowned. A fire…?

He focused on his ears, filtered out the crispy sound of wood slowly eating away by a small fire dancing above it.

Slowly and carefully, Ozzy decided to sit up. He grinded his teeth as a ways to keep himself from screaming as his muscles burned with every move. He blinked against the bright lights of the day, so he used his remaining strength raising his hand to hide his eyes in the shadow.

He then noticed the song had stopped.

Ozzy peeked through his fingers. First, he only saw blurry spots, as an abstract painting which hung in Gerald’s store. Green, brown, blue.

Yet every time he blinked the pattern changed, but his sight got sharper. But before he had a chance to closely analyse his surroundings, he felt a cold shadow bowing over him.

He froze, as the last image he remembered before passing out flashed before his eyes. A mist of black following his every move, trees falling down where he’d just stood seconds ago.

He felt an arrow of pain through his spine, a fading memory of the splinters scraping his back.

“Are you alright?” a soft voice sounded. The soft singing voice from before.

Ozzy relaxed immediately relaxed, as the pain faded away by the sweet sounds. He cleared his throat, which felt like papers scraping together.

“Yes” he managed to say, with a crackling voice. A high giggle arose, a sound as beautiful as Christmas Bells. It confused Ozzy. Did he say something funny?

He felt frightened as the person placed a hand on his raised hand, which he still held in front of his eyes.

“Glad to hear it.”

The girl who sat next to him carefully pushed his hand down, so he could see around him. Ozzy turned his head from side to side, quickly taking a look around.

He lay on a mattress made of dried grass, with a thick blanket filled with wool pulled up to his navel. The mattress was placed in the open field he last remembered entering before losing consciousness. He knew it was almost dark before he fell.

The sun shone bright in his eyes. How long had he been away?

The field was surrounded by a circle of trees, as if they guarded this serene place. There was no sign of the bird.

Ozzy turned to look at the girl next to him. The first thing he noticed was the friendly smile around her pink lips. Her brown eyes glimmered in the same way. Her hair was the lightest shade of blonde Ozzy had ever seen, almost as bright as the sunlight. It was thick and a bit messy, but straight, making her face look even smaller than it already was. Her chin was small and pointy, and her nose was as tiny and round as a knob on a little elf’s coat. Under her eyes and on her nose several ligth freckles danced around.

She wore a simple, beige coloured dress which hung loosely around her slim body, as if it was a few sizes too big for her. The sleeves were too long as well and every time she tried to roll them up they nonchalantly slithered down and hid her hands. Around her waist she wore a small belt with a little pouch.

She looked around Ozzy’s age, perhaps a little older.

She giggled, and again it seemed as if the bells sounded. “Please don’t stare like that.”

Ozzy blinked embarrassed and quickly bowed his head. “I’m sorry, I think I’m still a bit sleepy.”

The girl stood up, and patted the strains of grass off her dress. “How do you feel?”

Ozzy dared to stretch his arms, which didn’t hurt as much as before. “A little stiffy. And I’m thirsty.”

She giggled again. “Cup of water, right away, sir!”

Ozzy frowned. Although he liked the sound of the girl’s laughter, he didn’t understand why she said that. It didn’t sound that nice. “You asked me how I felt, didn’t you? I just answered your question.”

The lovely smile disappeared from the slim face, and was replaced by something which looked like wondering. She placed a finger, trapped in sleeve, on her chin and aimed her eyes at the sky above her, as if she had to think about this.

“Yes, indeed” she then whispered. “But you still sound like you think I’m your maid. Just so you know; I’m not.”

Ozzy felt his cheeks burning up and shame in his stomach. “That’s not what I meant. I just-“

He accidently waved his arm around, which send shivers of pain through his entire body. It turned his stomach around and his apologies turned into groans.

The girl’s eyes widened as she kneeled down next to him. She had transformed from the stubborn girl to the nursing woman. She placed two hands on the aching shoulder, and this time her smile spoke only pity.

“That’s alright. I’ll get you some water.”

Ozzy panted, but managed to look her in the eyes. “It hurts.”

The girl stood up. “I know.”

She’d already turned her back on him to walk away, but Ozzy stopped her one more time. “Wait, please.”

She turned around, still with big concerned eyes. “Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon.”

Ozzy felt embarrassed, and shook his head slowly. “No, it’s just…what’s your name?”

The girl seemed surprised, and blushed for some reason, which made Ozzy feel even more embarrassed. “Dawn. My name is Dawn.”

Ozzy nodded, as if he understood. In the future, he would often slap his own forehead thinking back at his first encounter with the girl named Dawn. “I’m Ozzy.”

“A friend of Eddy’s.”

“EDDY?!” Ozzy shouted, and immediately regret it. The pain got so bad he had to lean forward and wait for it to go away.

“Stop forcing yourself, idiot!” Dawn sighed, more concerned than irritated. Ozzy panted, lifting his arm as a gesture he wasn’t done yet.

“Where is he? Is he alright? Wait….where am I?”

Dawn raised her hands as a way of calming him down, although it seemed as if she didn’t know what she was doing. “I’ll tell them you’re awake, and they’ll explain-“

“They?! Who is- argh!”

Ozzy pushed his face in his woollen blanket, as the pain got worse. But when he sat up again, Dawn had disappeared. He breathed in and out, hoping he could somehow treat the pain himself. He didn’t want to look like a person that needs taking care of. He’d embarrassed himself in front of Dawn already.

He looked around the field again, and wondered where Dawn had gone too. There was nothing but trees, everywhere he looked. It wasn’t only a shield against the outside, but it was also a wall keeping the ones inside blind for what was out there.

He wondered if Dawn had disappeared through there. He hoped she would find her way back again, because she owed him an explanation.

He threw his head back, staring into the blue sky. What day was it? What was the time? Where had the pink gone? When did it become blue?

As he sat there thinking, something underground rumbled. It send trembles through the ground, and suddenly the entire world seemed to shake. Ozzy jumped up on his mattress, and immediately fell down, cursing himself with Gerald’s words.

He swiftly glanced around, searching for any signs foretelling the return of that devilish bird. A cracking noise arose, but not of trees breaking in half. Ozzy didn’t know if the unknowing was scarier than the knowing.

It was more like a shrieking sound, as if someone opened an old, heavy door. Ozzy looked around, hoping to see Dawn appear anywhere. She was not there.

From the corner of his eyes, Ozzy saw something brown arise from the green ground. When turning his head, he had to blink a few times in order to understand what he saw.

It looked like someone had cut a square of earth from the ground. A perfect, square piece of earth, lay next to the hole and seemed to fit perfectly, like a puzzle piece.

If Ozzy could walk, he would’ve stepped towards the hole, but he felt too weak. But he could hear a sound coming from down there. It was a familiar loud bang, which had deafened him on multiple occasions. In a split second, something arose from the hole, and a second later it bumped into Ozzy’s chest like a bounce ball.

“OZZYYYYYYYYYYYY!” Eddimeus Tolkon shouted, as tiny tears wetted the boy’s shirt. Ozzy almost fell backwards from the shock.

“Eddy!” he managed to say. The little elf hovered back, wiping the tears from his face.

“Don’t you ever scare me like that, ever!” he spat, seemingly angry and happy at the same time. “I thought you’d died, you idiot!”

“Er….sorry?” the boy mumbled, scratching the back of his head. The little elf wiped his nose, and hovered in front of the boy’s face. As proudly as ever, he placed his hands on his hips, as if he got a hold of himself.

“Yes, I understand. We were both scared. You obviously more than me…but we’re both resurrected an’ healthy, an’ ready to continue our journey…”

Ozzy decided not to respond to the thing about being scared, although he noted to himself he had to remember this. “Where are we?”

Eddy landed back on the ground. As his wings disappeared and he pushed his glasses farther up his round nose. “We’re stayin’ at a friend’s place…more like an acquaintance.”

“Dawn?”

Eddy shook his head, but t, then nodded which didn’t really give away anything. “Kinda, but it’s her uncle that owes me.”

With that being said, as if it had been rehearsed, the ground started to tremble again. Eddy had to clung to the mattress to not fall, yet he didn’t seem scared. Rather annoyed. “Ah, speakin’ of the devil.”


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