Musemugger Challenge #100 The Unknown – Part Three

The Unknown
Part Three
- based on picture 4
Word Count: 788
betaed by

After a very short while there was quite a semi-circle of people around the fountain; all talking, all shouting, some pointing, and I started to get more frightened than I already was.

I am ashamed to say that I simply scrabbled backwards, pressing against the strange shaped fountain, I curled my legs up and stared in horror at this foreign nightmare. If truth be told, I was half convinced that I was trapped in sleep, swathed safe in Gi’obi fur, and I tried to ignore the fact that the last thing I remembered was checking the water meadows. For all that this mob did not appear to be armed, I am a farmer, not a warrior, it was my brother who chose to learn to fight.

I tried to speak to them, but it was clear that no-one had heard my language before – how could they have done? In my fear, for all the confusion I had, I could not help but keep glancing at that terrifying sky. Where was I?

Finally two men pushed through the crowd, taller by at least half a head than the men already present, their skins slightly paler, their cheeks and foreheads decorated with strange geometric designs. They carried small square boxes in their hands, and the crowd parted like my meadows did when the Gi’obi migrated. Whatever they carried, the crowd respected them for it, and backed away, some returning to their stalls, leaving only the very curious and some of the children to stare from a muted distance. I saw fear in the eyes of the children.

The more brightly decorated one spoke directly to me, but it might as well have been the wind through banglora reeds. He pointed the box at me; I took this as a threat and stayed down (although if I had known then what I know now, I would have been a lot more frightened). All I could do was shake my head, hoping that the gesture was universal and hold my hands out to show I had nothing to threaten them with.

This lack of communication went on for several minutes, and finally they dragged me to my feet, all the while talking to each other (having given up on me.) I was as tall as them, and I tried to shake their grip from me, but their hands were abnormally long, with fingers that wrapped all the way around my arms, and they were strong. The onlookers stood and watched in a strange silence as I was manhandled across the market place and out through a huge archway into the street.

The city, for it could have been mistaken for nothing less, took my breath away; the area from which we emerged was high up, and instantly I could see that the city was built in a defensive manner, many many feet above the land.

However, I didn’t get time to get much of a view that first day. I was led down maze-like streets, down more stairs than I could count until we reached, not some prison, or a palace, as I had been expecting, but a modest house, cut into the rock, as were many others we had passed on our descent. Surprising me more, one of my companions knocked on the door, and they put the black boxes on a ledge outside the house. I wondered why, if they were weapons, they would leave them for anyone to take, but it was only a cursory thought before I was pulled into the house.

It was a dim room, surprisingly large – but as I looked about me, waiting for something to happen I could see that it had not been constructed with bricks and mortar – it had been cut into solid rock and the enormity hit me – the entire city had been hacked out of a mountain!

I was still processing this, wondering at the age of the place, comparing it with the transient nature of my homeland with our wooden huts, moveable as the floodplains we followed, when a man and a woman entered, dark as my captors, lighter than the people in the market place. My guards pulled me towards them, and we all entered a further room cut away deeper into the mountain’s wall. This room was lit softly with globes, or rather half globes, sunk into the wall, which seemed to hum with a soft purring noise. The woman, her eyes as scared as the children up above, went to a box at the side of the room and gently lifted out a bundle. Walking up to me, she pulled aside the cloth, revealing a child as pale skinned and as white haired as myself.

TBC

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