Akira & Ivey
In the center of the Di-La’Kaira Forest, where the durable scaffold of a snug log cabin stood amid hundreds of standing trees and frozen rivers, posies of Akita Spruce creaked under the vast pressure of sharp winds gusting at thirty-five to forty miles an hour. Large cranes and other arctic birds swelled the top of this forest as if they could smell small prey from there. Howling that could be identified as the wind rather than large hunting dogs kept everyone at bay in uncertainty that an accident with the willowy branches could surely befall at any time, given the amount of strength a single blow of wind could cause. A storm like this lasted for several hours while stretching almost one-hundred miles outside of the near-abandoned forest. Super colossal shards of ice clung to trees like anglerfish with their mate.
The moonlight was as bright as if it were glaring off of the Pacific Ocean. Striking beams of light flustering mankind for years shone through the glass and in-between the trunks of clustered trees. Bluebottles buzzed loudly, indicating that the sun was soon to rise above the unclaimed forest. Wolves from nearby hills could be heard baying at the moon over the silence of nighttime. A few times would their voices break, then reattach again to cause an illusion of echoing.
Inside of this cabin was a young woman just nineteen years of age. She lay inert in bed with the covers wildly misshapen at her feet, genuinely alert and aware of the condition the forest was in. Akira, a huntress in the making, spotted her third Wind Storm in the past nine months while taking shelter in Boxborough Cabin. She didn’t feel safe anywhere else while on this precarious enterprise. Primarily used as just a resting point, not yet to be called a home, Boxborough Cabin was where she stayed when she wasn’t out hunting for legends that were ambling further up the Omak River and toward the Ises Mountains.
This legend, the trip to find its heart being called The Endurance Trek, came about in the late 1960s from a distrusted source. Known about everywhere in the world, but only taught about in classes in several regions of Alaska and Canada, had at least heard of these acclaimed ‘rumors’. The only two humans who ever tried expediting up the Ises Mountains ended up stranded to die with more than enough supplies to make the lengthy trip unscathed. Each of them had suffered indentures in their necks and asphyxiation was an assumption to the cause, all told to the public through a report by the ACH Squad.
The ‘Items of Endurance’ included a silver bullet for any different ailment, an unknown device of some sort, and a Wishing Stone thought to bring another individual, whether they be human or not, back from the dead untouched. Legends like these were legends for a reason. Not many people believed in the Items of Endurance; at least, not many did publicly besides Akira and two other valiant men.
Once Akira was exposed to such legends in grade school, she took a walk back home and started immediate research. Site after site showed merely what exactly you could obtain, but never instructions on where they were or how to arrive. It wasn’t until she met Caoimhe, a student of her Mother’s hometown studies. When each of them was introduced, and as soon as Akira learned more about how to accomplish the feat, she and Caoihme blabbered on about what could lie atop the Ises Mountains in Fresno Cave, and what could be real or legend.
This dangerous exploring didn’t stop her from having fun in her pastime.
In only a few days, the International Whale Festival would be starting. Akira had plans to travel south so that she could celebrate it with her pen pal and former friend Eagle LeDoux. He wrote statements to her weeks before stating that he would be in the city, Anchorage, and would be attending the festival for all three days it would be held. It would give Akira a break, too, from hunting and catching wild animals seen, yet to find unseen.
An odd presence filled the atmosphere around her. She raised her head high and sniffed the fusty air. Particles of sawdust and what she presumed to be burnt pine needles surrounded her head in an instant. She understood the danger just outside of her house and swiftly grabbed the double-bladed sword mantled just below the cross-section window on her right. Akira hopped out of bed and got down low to the ground while crouching her way out of the bedroom door. She fled down the steps with one hand grasping the hilt and the other sliding against the splintery railing. She hurried and grabbed her dressy fur coat that was almost in shambles hanging up on the side of the front door before keeping an eye out for her companion, an Eskimo Dog named Ivey that must have been snarling somewhere near the backdoor. That was the closest her dog could get to the intruder.
Once Akira entered the kitchen, her dog stopped patrolling and looked back at her mistress with her tongue wagging indecorously and sloppily.
“Come, Ivey.” Akira spoke in a hushed tone toward her only recent family and stood vertically to the door frame; her dog stood by her side waiting for further instruction. Akira peeked outside the window closest to her with one eye. She could identify a man with a buzz saw pacing back and forth with his back turned to the building. He looked to be exactly what Akira was afraid of; he was standing there with a red hat matched with a yellow feather sticking out, it couldn’t have been anything else but a White Devil.
She chiseled a staggered sigh out of her breath. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. White Devils were rarely if at all, seen around Kankakee. It could be something she could broadcast to the whole city if that was what she wanted. She would be praised for eternity if she succeeded in injuring, capturing, and imprisoning him, and she would most certainly owe it all to her dog.
Akira wasn’t like that, to seek such a thing. She was anything but a fan of popularity or attention, but turning a White Devil in to the police was a must. She turned her attention to what was just rather than what could be best for herself, and that was getting Ivey to injure the seemingly-hostile man outside her cabin.
Akira trusted her friend to find the White Devil without getting captured and slaughtered for fur and/or meat. White Devils most certainly couldn’t be the easiest to catch, but they sure didn’t know how to use their weapons properly. All they understood was how to partake in a silent commencement of hostilities, and they did it well when they weren’t outside of an inhabited cabin sawing trees at two in the morning.
Akira rubbed Ivey’s head and prayed silently. “Get ready, Girl. We’ve been training for this all year.”
In a matter of three seconds, Akira unraveled her elbow and swung the door open with the words, “Get ’em, Ivey!” leaving her mouth. Ivey immediately charged outside into the frosty air. She had already seen someone she didn’t like.
In a matter of a few seconds did continuous barking and unidentifiable yelling take place. Twenty or so seconds later, familiar paws trotted through the snow and toward the cabin’s front door. There came Ivey, skipping right back to her owner with a smile from ear-to-ear. Her teeth and muzzle, for the first time, had been glazed with shiny crimson blood that didn’t belong to herself.
Akira stood in shock. “Ivey, you did it!” She bent down next to her friend and gave her a big kiss on the side of her jowls. “Show me where he is, you good girl!”
Ivey just took a seat in front of her awaiting a milk bone. Akira reached into her pocket and lazily tossed one into Ivey’s mouth before stepping foot outside without company. She ran toward the woods promptly, and as soon as she reached the nearest tree, her heart started to pound out of her chest. There was a bunny lying with its legs detached from its body a couple of feet away. There was no White Devil anywhere nearby. She could hear her dog run out after her and catch sides with the dead animal. She started to nudge its body with her snout and looked up at her owner with a proud smile.
Akira heard rustling pines from the tree above her. Before she had time to glance upward, a figure from ten or so feet above crashed down onto her with a bamboo crossbow in his hand. Akira fell flat on her face. The assailant wrapped the bow around her neck and pulled back with a strong force. Akira tried to fight back by temporarily prying the bow off of her throat; she couldn’t hold on for much longer with that sort of strength acting against her.
Ivey, a patient dog, sat beside her and looked down with the same smile on her face. She swatted her paw at Akira’s face hoping for another milk bone.
Akira pounded her fist on the ground and shouted at her dog. “Ivey! Get him!”
Ivey took immediate action and confiscated the man by the front of the neck. Akira felt him let go of the bow and fall rowdily to the ground next to her. She took the bow off from around her neck and hurriedly climbed to her feet. She could see her dog biting down on the nape of this man’s neck. She took a close look at the components of his head; his white-blond hair and square jaw were enough evidence. It was the same White Devil that was traversing earlier.
He fought to scream out a few words. “I should’ve wrung your damn neck out when I had the chance!”
Ivey was taking too long; she was just torturing him. He started to throw a few swings at her hind legs with enclosed fists in an attempt for her to let go. Akira took the sword that was sticking out of her moose-skin belt and stuck it through his back where his heart was located. She ordered her dog to release and watched a pool of blood disband from the man’s body. He had lain motionless for a few seconds before jerking involuntarily once or twice. His body quit taking sharp breaths of air and eventually lay lifeless.
Ivey tilted her head at the body she had just helped kill and started to sniff it with great intensity. She stopped what she was doing and lay down next to him with her chin on his limp arm. She looked sad for unknown reasons. Akira rubbed the back of her head and started heading back to the cabin. “C’mon, Ivey. Let’s go lie down.”
Ivey jumped back up and obeyed her owner. She collected a stick on her way over and brought it into the house as her first souvenir.
Akira closed the door behind her and laid the sword down atop of the counter space in the kitchen. She turned the faucet of water on to it’s highest pressure and grabbed a sponge from underneath the bathroom sink. She reached for the sword and applied soap to the blade with the White Devil’s blood on it. She applied soap to the sponge as well and carefully washed all of the blood down the left side of the sink. Once she was done disinfecting the sword she had only used once, she brought it back up to her bedroom and hung it up on the dusty wall holster.
It was 2:20 in the morning. She would be setting off to Anchorage for the Festival in three or so hours. She made sure she had everything packed up before heading out to the big city; she rescued a flask from underneath her mattress and poured whatever alcohol was left at the bottom outside of her window and onto a sheet of ice at the base of her house. She reached down underneath her bed for a bottle of distilled wine and carefully poured it into the titanium flask. She took a sip to make sure it tasted all right and screwed the lid on tight. She zipped it up in the pouch of her backpack and closed it up for the next day.
She continued to search for more necessities. She scavenged for all of the food she would need for a three-day trip. With enough money to buy lunch every day, she was fine with a couple of bags of kiwis and apples to hold her over. Several pounds of kibble and fresh meat were stashed away for Ivey when she got hungry. Akira invested in furs a few days earlier from Bursa The Cool Guy, so she had enough warmth to make it through the entire journey. Supplies to create a fire, supply defense, and patch wounds were all located just in-reach through the main compartment.
She returned to a sink, this time the one in the bathroom, and angrily splashed her face with cold water. She didn’t know why she was angry. She had been one of the first, if not, the first survivor in a White Devil attack in Kankakee. Her hands shook violently. She didn’t realize how much of her blood was dripping down from her fingertips. She must have somehow injured them with either the sword or the bamboo bow she was getting strangled with. She felt herself start to cry, and before she knew it, her eyes were stinging with salty tears. She aggressively shut the water off and snatched the cotton towel down off of the towel rack. She wiped her face and hands before heading back to bed.
When she awoke the next morning, she was sure to show the body to authorities and let them handle the rest.
“I was just in the heat of the moment…it was an arbitrary action,” She told herself while climbing back into the bearskin covers. She brought them up to her waist and lied still on her back. “I didn’t want to die.”
She could feel herself start to snivel for a few passing minutes. She allotted herself to cry until she fell back asleep in the middle of the cabin, situated in the middle of the Di-La’Kaira Forest, all resting out of harm’s way just north of Anchorage.
The smell of shredded wood gradually shifted to the smell of a burning fire, kindled faintly underneath the acacia mantle within the lounge.