Challenge #100 The Unknown – Part Five

The Unknown
Part Five
- based on Picture 6
Word Count: 866

I don’t know exactly how long I was in that first place, there were things to distract me, and so I wasn’t too worried at first, (other than the overwhelming sense of dissociation and shock from being ripped from my lonely life on the white marsh.)  I didn’t start counting the days until many had passed, content to watch the world go by, and assuming that eventually, I would be dealt with, but as the time moved on and I counted 12 dawns and didn’t know exactly how many there had been before that, I started to worry.

No-one spoke to me.  My food arrived three times a day, brought by another one of those tall guards with the blue and orange designs on his face, but he would not answer me or even look at me when I addressed him, and I wondered who they thought I was, and why they were keeping me incarcerated.  Did they think I was an evil spirit, or some dark force come in hidden secrecy to kill them whilst they slept?  The thought tormented me, as much as the loss of freedom, as much as not knowing how I’d come to this place, and I’m ashamed to say that for a little while, I think I went a little mad.  I stopped eating, retreated into my cell and wouldn’t bother to try and attract the guards attention.  I suppose now, when I look back at it, it was done for attention, and eventually it worked.  I could see groups of adults in the corridors and in the quadrangle talking and pointing at my windows and in a day or two I was taken out and led deeper into the complex and given normal rooms.

They were more beautiful than anything I had ever seen before.  As I’ve said, my homeland is one of wind, water and sky.  We are a nomadic solitary people with houses that can be packed and moved at a moment’s notice.  The men live alone, the women in small encampments.  We do not live for the future, or build for it.  I had never seen carved ceilings and draperies that looked like they had been painted.  I had never held a metal drinking utensil – we kept our precious metals for tools – it seemed like such a frivolous waste. The windows – I was astounded – looked out from the side of the mountain and were filled with something like ice, only not frozen, but clear.  Incredibly strong, you could see through it, but it kept the wind out and let the sunlight in. Much later I asked its name and the word I had was “smret” but that could have meant the substance or the view, or indeed my finger as it pointed.  

I also had a chance to examine the strange light globes, and there were more of them than I realised.  There were the large half ball types in the wall, that I had seen before, giving the bulk of the light in the room, and smaller similar ones, dotted in the ceiling.  They gave a comforting humming sound that I liked.  Also, and most bafflingly there was a large blueish one in a tripod in a corner of a room, which was not enclosed in membrane like the light globes, but spun light caged lightning.  I tried to touch it, and am ashamed to say I blacked out for several minutes afterwards and my arms hurt for days.  I learned my lesson.

Left alone that first day, I kept returning to that magical window, my hands smoothing over the flat substance.  There was no hope of escape from that window, the mountain fell straight down to the plains, and anyway, it was more comfortable in the room than where I had been.  Than anywhere I had ever been in my life.

A day passed in the same pattern as it had when I had been in less luck, and it was not until the next morning that something changed.  The door opened, and instead of the food guards, two guards entered and I stood, in a trained response, thinking I was going to be taken elsewhere again, but they simply flanked the doorway (which was kept locked – I had tried it) and another figure entered.  This man was older than any I had seen in the city up to now, his hair long, curled and white, his robes as white as his hair, and his skin was paler than any, save that of some of the teenage children. 

I found I was staring and he smiled, the first person who had done anything so thoughtful since I arrived, and gestured me to sit down on the large cushions that they used for seating, we made ourselves comfortable and a guard gave us drinks in cups made, seemingly of the same incredible substance as the field in the window – drinks of indescribable taste, but cool and refreshing.  All the while the old man watched me with large dark eyes, as if he wanted to know my soul.  Then he wiped his mouth with his hand and said, “How came you here?”

In my own language.

TBC

© Copyright 2005 Erastes, All rights Reserved. Written For: Erastes
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