one | insomnia
| PART ONE |
′the stars know everything′
• 2 0 4 2 •
’they’ve seen our past. they live our present. they carve our future’
o n e
• insomnia •
In a war, you don’t sleep, unless you never want to wake up again. It’s a pretty stupid saying, but it’s remembered none the less.
Maia woke after Eve, only noticing because when she shifted her arm, Eve’s side of the bed was freezing. She glanced around the sunlit room.
Alfred, Sonya and Pipsqueak where all soundly asleep and one more turn from Vance would send him plummeting to the ground. From the other room she could hear Lando, Ellie and Shrimp snoring.
“Babe?” She peered over the edge of the mattress, half expecting her to be playing with her knife beneath her. Eve’s shoes and jacket where both gone.
When Maia inevitably found her, Eve was outside and as she’d suspected, was playing with her knife. Her legs hung over the edge of the roof, Eve stared nonchalantly out across the pitiful remains of the neighbourhood, twirling her blade in her right hand.
“You’re up early” Eve stated, glancing back to look at Maia. “Did I wake you?” Maia shook her head, twisting her braids into a ponytail behind her, fully aware of Eve’s eyes which where scaling her bare legs.
“You nervous?” Maia sat beside her, gladly shuffling into Eve’s side when she held out her jacket.
“I won’t be, at least not until I have to move” She planted a kiss in Maia’s hair, resting her cheek against her. They sat in silence, staring at the city before them. The looming shadow of the wall which stretched through and around the crumbled remnants of high rise buildings barely touching them as the sun rose across the skyline. None of them had ever had the opportunity to be within those buildings, though that may soon be changing, depending on the success of the mission. Clouds as dark as the wall’s shadow could be seen in the distance, the looming presence of the shade a constant reminder of the futility of trying to escape. They watched the hues of the sun bathe their street and the sky in reds and golds until Maia sighed.
“This raid’s going to be longer, isn’t it?” She groped her feet, her toes having gone numb. “Roost was saying that you might not be back until tomorrow morning”
“Why do you talk to that asshole?” Eve muttered in annoyance, her eyes closed. “But it depends on when the supplies arrive”
“Do you have to go?” Slipping her arm over Eve’s stomach, she pulled her closer and softly inhaled the collar of the jacket. Although Eve’s jacket distinctly smelt of men cologne, it was a smell Maia had come to recognise her by, and she loved it. “They give you the most dangerous aspect of the missions but won’t make you a team leader” She murmured in incredulous.
“True” Eve sighed, dropping her knife to slip her hand into Maia’s noticeably larger one. “But what can you do?” She asked sarcastically, twisting her hand to kiss the top of Maia’s dark hand. She loved the familiar texture and smoothness of her hands, allowing her lips to linger for a second before dropping their intertwined fingers onto her thighs. “The quicker it’s done, the quicker I’m back. And I am the fastest aren’t I?” Maia was silent and Eve nudged her in mock offence, “Aren’t I?”
The smallest of smiles peaked on Maia’s full, dark lips. It was a boyish smile which she buried into Eve’s side, “I’ve seen what you can do with those legs”
Eve smirked playfully, leaning forward and kissing her forehead. “But it’s not my legs you’re concerned about is it?” Her lips feathered down her skin, delivering the faintest of kisses along the bridge of her nose, up her cheekbones and down her jaw before she finally stopped an inch from her Maia’s eager mouth. An uncontrollable shiver slipped down Maia’s spine, her toes curling as she held her breathe.
“You little tease” Maia whispered slightly, curling her body closer to Eve’s and pulling her leg higher. The previous chill of the air had been lost between their close bodies and heated gaze.
“You love it” Eve grinned, her arm tightening around Maia as their lips connected in a slow, burning motion which made Maia twist slightly in place. Her hands moved in the same slow motion, one to her cheek and the other slid upwards, lacing into the hair at the nape of Eve’s neck,
Their brief moment that passed felt barely acknowledged before the door which allowed them entry to the roof was roughly kicked open. The dented metal door hit the holding wall with a shattering crash which gave Maia enough time to unintentionally jump away from Eve’s embrace.
There was drilled chatter before a louder voice resonates above the rest, “Aw shit. Were you two being couple-y?”
“If by that you mean you just interrupted my girlfriend and I, then yes, we were” Eve grumbled slightly, glancing back at the three figures in the doorway.
Slightly flustered, Maia stood up and brushed herself off. “We-uh, we’re fine. Thank you Lando” She held her face in embarrassment and Eve stood up beside her, draping her jacket over her shoulders.
“Some warning next time would be nice” Vance scoffed before turning around to walk around the entrance, fiddling with his drawstrings.
“I’d be more then happy to accommodate either of you fine ladies, if you require the company of a man to help you” Shrimp’s thick Russian accent made it difficult for the average human to understand his perverted banter but two years had adequately taught both Maia and Eve how to understand. He grinned at them lewdly, doing a mock bow before walking around to follow Vance.
“Don’t be sad boys” Eve called, following Maia as she hurried back inside. Vance and Shrimp were already pissing in the long urinal around the entrance while Lando stood by the door, his arms crossed over his bare, muscular chest.
“Why would we be sad?” He frowned, watching as Eve stopped in the middle of the doorframe.
“Because I’ve been with more straight girls then the three of you combined?” She said it as though it were the most common knowledge in the world, but nonetheless, Lando’s face darkened in embarrassment while Eve cheekily gave him a lopsided grin, jogging down to follow Maia.
Mornings often started this way, with some kind of banter or argument. It was almost comical how deceivingly well their outwards appearances disguised their inner-most thoughts because it was always the innocent lookers that started the biggest fights. Eve’s confident, proud and stubborn personality was more suited to Maia’s angular and curvaceous body rather than her own delicate features. Slim with an angelically gentle face, no one would rationally determine Eve a threat unless they saw her in action. On the other hand, Maia acted exactly how Eve looked; soft, small, and innocent, which was one of the reasons Eve loved her.
By the time the pair had reached the bottom of the stairwell, everyone was moving. Sonya was trying to dress Pipsqueak and Alfred was carrying wood outside for the fire. Ellie stood in the doorway, her enormous belly concealed by one of Lando’s shirts.
“The boys interrupt you?” Sonya chuckled, finally sliding the shirt over Pip’s head. The five month old squirmed in disapproval, bubbles of spit frothing from his mouth before he squealed.
“I swear they do it on purpose” Eve muttered jokingly, pulling her sleeves further down to her wrists.
“Evie, think you could bring some wood out?” Alfred asked from across the room.
Quickly ducking over to the small kitchen area she begun to carefully place the hacked wood pieces into her arms, accumulating a small pile before following Alfred outside as he waited by the doorway. The single entrance led to the back of the store, the front having been boarded up with planks of wood and blocked by pieces of rubble at its front. After laying the wood systematically in the pit, she quickly retrieved a pile of ruined magazines and newspapers. It was only after she’d turned to approach the fire did Alfred hold a large paw in front of her to halt movement.
“I want you leading one of the decoy teams today” It came out of nowhere and caught Eve off guard to say the least. She stared at his aged, stumble ridden face, looking for any evidence of humour and finding nothing but sleep deprivation.
“Why?” Face contorted in confusion, Eve moved under his hand and begun to shove pieces of crumbled newspaper beneath the wood as Alfred ran a hand down his face and through his silvery hair. In the many years he’d been in charge, the exhaustion looked as though it’d aged him more in the past three weeks than in the past three years combined.
“It’s safer for you to be with Rudolph’s group”
“The midget?” She clicked her tongue at Alfred disapprovingly before scoffing, “You know I don’t do all the flash and glamour stuff anymore. Also, it’s always been safer for me to be with literally any other group but yours and that’s never stopped you before”
“This time’s different”
Standing up, she mimicked his actions, crossing her arms in denial and staring up at his dominating figure. “Where is all this coming from? Did Maia say something?”
He ran his hand across the back of his neck, his biceps bulging slightly with prominent white scars, “Evie, you’re just as much an asset in Rudolph’s team as you are in mine”
The shadow that befell his eyes at her defiance made her nervously swallow the anxiety that was crawling up her throat. From the base of his neck, his blessing pulsed slightly beneath the fabric of his shirt.
“Evie, he won’t be in your group” She ignored him.
“I’m the fastest person around. It’s safer for everyone if I stay the carrier because I can get in and out quicker”
“Not if you can only carry small portions at a time. Ellie’s due soon and a lot of the Redhall people are having issues with skin infection. We need more supplies then usual and the available gap of time will be smaller”
Eve rolled the thought around in her head, “Who would you send instead?”
“Hasi has volunteered”
“Hasi?” She asked in shock. “Yeah he can lift a few logs over his head but all that extra muscle is just going to weigh him down! He isn’t fast at all”
“Eve, you aren’t strong in your biceps. Hasi is stronger then you, and for this mission we need strength, not speed” He paused, “Do I make myself clear?”
For a moment she considered retaliating before deciding otherwise. “Yes sir” She jokingly scoffed, slipping her hands into the back pockets of her shorts. “And hey! You know better then anyone I’m one hell of a dancer”
“You know that’s not why I’m doing this”
“I know. You’ve made it very clear why you’re doing this. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with it”
For a single moment, he glanced at the door and he stepped closer to her. There was barely a breadth of space between them which hid the hushed whisper of his voice.
“Something’s changed Evie”
The bitterness of her tone and demeanour was lost in a moment as she looked at him suspiciously. “Changed how?”
“My...” His hand shifted to the base of his neck, several of his fingers looping into his collar to drag the neckline of his shirt lower. “My blessing is.... different” She pushed his hand down slightly to show the scars that marred his body.
The prominency of the white, scarred flesh against the tanned, freckled planes of his skin where left unnoticed as her eyes befell the minuscule scar carved slightly below his left collarbone.
“How long has it been like this?” Her finger brushed the red, irritated skin surrounding the scar. It resembled a burn wound or infection, the scar a disturbingly ghost-like colour.
“A couple days” Her finger brushed the curve of the Taurus horns before he pushed her hands down. “Evie there are more soldiers in the Wall then I’ve ever felt before, there’s just...so much energy in the air. I don’t know why”
She stared at the concealed area of his chest which bore his blessing in silence. “Do you think they could be preparing for something?”
“Maybe” He smiled slightly, dropping his large hand on her shoulder. “You know I trust you Evie. Although one of my most stubborn-” She grinned at him playfully, “-you’re also one of my most loyal. If things go bad I don’t want you to be hit by the brunt of the onslaught”
The second meaning behind his statement left her silent and slightly shaken. The intuition of the blessed was nothing to be taken lightly, it was something they were naturally gifted with. Alfred’s precaution worked as well as a bright red sign, setting the alarm bells off in her head.
The following silence was only interrupted by the resounding clatter of the door, and entrance of Shrimp stepping outside, several packages of meat in hand. “Daddy brought home ze bacon!” He laughed at his own idiocy before he noticed the heavy aura around them. He chuckled nervously at Alfred’s cold expression, dropping his arms awkwardly, “This is bad time?”
Stepping away from Alfred, Eve slid her hands in her pockets and walked towards Shrimp. “Please” Walking past him, she leant against the doorframe and turned, “In this time and era-” She turned to walk back inside, “-we’re always in a bad time”
Both males silently watched her as she disappeared into their house.
• end chapter one •