Chapter 4.11- Noxious Smog

10 May

Hey all. Just a heads up, this is one of those posts that I’ve been psyched to post for a very very long time. Like, months. Also I got drunk as I was writing this, so that helped. Let’s get started, shall we.

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Looking up at the lighted hillside, Rylo recalls a name, “Ravenna”.

He vividly remembers the terrifying hallucinations of the last time he was here. The feeling of losing control.

The effects of that pungent smoke are not something Rylo wants to repeat, but some part of him is curious to go in. Just for a quick look, to see if it’s all still the same.

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Anyways, Rylo has an idea. He remembers a scrap of fur he carries in his pocket. It’s just an old thing he uses for a pillow, or to wipe his hands, or for whatever other unexpected need comes up. He wraps it tightly around his face, and holds the fur to his nose to block out the smoke.

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The fur doesn’t do the greatest job of keeping the smoke out, but Rylo can tell it’s enough. His mind seems to fog up a bit, but nothing like before, and this time he’s fully in control. It’s a good thing, because as he approaches the hole in the ruined foundation the smoke seems to thicken.

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Rylo steps soundlessly and peers around the corner. He had half been expecting to see another performance going on, but what he sees instead surprised him.

Despite only having spent a few hours with her, Rylo feels that this is out of character for Ravenna. From what he remembers, she always seemed like she was a step ahead of him. Seeing her slumped over the table like this, Rylo feels compelled to move closer.

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Walking towards her, Rylo keeps expecting Ravenna to wake up. He even intentionally drops his feet more heavily than he usually would, wondering if the sound of footsteps would be enough to rouse her.

Rylo walks right up to her without stirring her. Tentatively he reaches out and touches the golden hair, just as soft and long as he remembers. Underneath his fingers her body feels slack and unresponsive. Rylo tries shaking her shoulder, lightly at first, but then roughly as she continues to lay slumped over the table.

Looking down at the unconscious figure and breathing shallowly through his furs, Rylo realizes the cause.

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The barrels prove too hot to touch, so Rylo has to kick them over, spilling burning cinders and leaves from the strange toxic plant growing in pots all over Ravenna’s house. He holds his furs close against his mouth as he carefully stomps out the ashes smoldering in the dirt.

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Satisfied with the barrels on the ground level, Rylo makes his way up the stairs to the barrel burning by Ravenna’s bed. Already he can feel the fresh air rushing in from the holes in the walls and ceilings, replacing the thick noxious smog. He breathes deep, feeling his mind clear with each inhale.

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This last barrel Rylo lets down slowly with a deft maneuvering of his feet. He’s careful not to spill cinders on the flammable old carpet, but still concerns himself with the embers that land on the dry hardwood.

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As he stamps out the last of the ashes, Rylo jumps in surprise at the little figure lounging dreamily in the corner.

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He walks over to the little girl, who does nothing to let him know she’s at all aware of his presence. He tries waving his hand back and forth in front of her face, and shakes her shoulder just as he did with Ravenna.

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The child sighs, and stares straight through him with that same glassy expression he knows he wore the last time he was here.

Rylo considers the girl. Maybe he could set her by a doorway to give her some air. Then he could walk off into the forest and never look back, like nothing had ever happened.

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Delicately he lifts the child into his arms. She’s incredibly light, but her warmth and aliveness makes Rylo so uncomfortable he nearly throws her back down. Again she makes a few sleepy sighing sounds, and leans into his body. Repelled, Rylo looks down at her with aversion and holds her outwards, extending his arms as far away from himself as he can without dropping her.

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With a few inches of empty air safely padding the space between himself and the girl, Rylo finally looks up again to survey the scene. Crackling heat has taken over a corner of the room, and is creeping hungrily towards Ravenna’s peacefully slumbering form.

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The flames are a foot away from catching Ravenna’s loose hair, and Rylo bounds down the stairs. He quickly deposits the sleeping child on the ground and sprints back to Ravenna.

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Rylo drapes Ravenna’s arm over his neck and lifts. She’s not terribly heavy, but she’s complete dead weight. Her legs drag uselessly behind as Rylo hauls her away from the ravenous flames.

The proximity of the blaze is close to burning his exposed skin, and Rylo turns away his face and scrunches his eyes to shut out the heat. Finally gaining some distance from the fire, he shoots a glance back at the girl lying on the ground.

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Rylo looks on in horror as four zombies stumble through the breach in the foundations. This is what he hadn’t thought about, but it makes perfect sense. With the smoke dissipating, the zombies are quickly returning to their usual selves.  They move more clumsily, but are still just as focused and menacing as they move towards the child.

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Panic surging through his veins, Rylo drops Ravenna to the ground. He pulls out his pocket knife and hurtles towards the zombies closing in on the little girl.

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Rylo body slams the first zombie, and follows it up with a quick slice to the head. Pieces of flesh and coagulated blood fly off in different directions, sticking to every surface they hit.

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With no time to agonize over the closeness between them, Rylo hoists up the child around her waist and takes off running up the stairs.

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He briefly registers a second fire that has started upstairs, and then whirls around to look back at the disaster behind him, hoping that saving Ravenna could still be possible.

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Rylo gasps at the sight of the deadly inferno consuming the ground floor. Flames lick their way across the room, racing the zombies for the first chance to devour Ravenna’s motionless body.

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Rylo feels vomit rising in his throat as the race between the zombies and the flames is declared a tie. In complete horror, he spins around and takes off running into the night.

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The only sound he recognizes as he runs from the burning building is a long, high scream coming from somewhere near his left ear.

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Rylo runs directionlessly, unthinkingly. He runs past rivers, through trees, over rocks. Eventually he slows to a walk, and realizes that the little body he’s carrying so tightly against his chest is shaking violently. He continues walking, and after a while the shaking stops, replaced by relaxed muscles and long deep breaths.

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He hadn’t been looking for a place, but somehow he ends up walking straight into it. It’s not secure in any way, but it’s enough for tonight.

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As soon as he enters the dilapidated building Rylo starts to stagger with exhaustion, and quickly lowers the child to the floor. Her eyelids seem to stir, and Rylo retreats in fear of her waking up.

Then, her breathing slows and Rylo knows it will be alright for tonight.

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Rylo crawls to the other side of the creaking cabin and, exhausted, falls into a deep sleep.

Sooooo holy fuck. Yes, this chapter just happened. I love it the best of all chapters. The end, goodbye.

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5 Responses to “Chapter 4.11- Noxious Smog”

  1. AtlasSims May 16, 2015 at 4:28 am #

    Hi, this is actually my first comment on this story. I just wanted to let you know that I nominated your blog for a Liebster Award. It’s an award bloggers give to other bloggers to show their support. You can find out more about it here: https://theloganlegacy.wordpress.com/liebster-award/

    • thronepie May 16, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

      Oh wow, thank you!! I hadn’t heard of this but it’s great to get that kind of recognition 🙂

      • AtlasSims May 16, 2015 at 3:13 pm #

        Your welcome! You have a really great story and I always look forward to reading the new chapters. 🙂

  2. Niura May 16, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

    Hi!
    Hope you don’t mind that i did exactly the same thing 😀 Your blog is just too awesome to not mention it…
    https://simtowntales.wordpress.com/2015/05/16/liebster-award/

    • thronepie May 16, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

      Thank you!! Ooh I like the questions you asked.

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