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CHAPTER THREE

R

ay had driven us to a quaint little restaurant, that belied what the pamphlet had offered. It was tucked down a dirt alley between a laundry mat and a key-makers store. I wasn‟t impressed by the exterior but there was lasagne and it was home-made and not the franchised chain store food I had been expecting. It was delicious and I don‟t know how I managed it but I ate the whole thing. A hand on my now bloated stomach, I actually paid attention to the restaurant for the first time since we had gotten there. I don‟t know how I had missed it but there were tribal ornaments everywhere. Masks, spears, bows and arrows all lining the brown wallpaper. There were weapons I had never seen before, wood twisted in odd angels with sharp pointy bits sticking out here and there. I looked at Ray, who was finishing off his third plate. Just


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watching him was making me a little sick. My stomach churned and I made to get up, but Ray laid a hand on my arm. “It‟s alright, just let the food do its job. You‟ll just feel a little sick but you won‟t actually be sick,” Ray motioned towards the menu, fork in hand a sliver of spaghetti dangling as he swooshed it about, “Enjoy, eat as much as you want. You‟ll need it later, trust me.” I gently pried his hand of my arm, frowning, “Why should I? Trust you, that is. I have only known you for-” I looked down at my watch, the numbers were a little blurry. I tried to focus my eyes but it just made my head woozy, it was then that my body started to sway and tilt to the side. Closing my eye for a brief moment my body nearly collapsed only the table. My left hand caught my face, elbow on the table I balanced myself glaring through my fingers at Ray. “What have you done? Did you drug me?” I was proud that the tone still remained strong, while in a half slur. Ray laughed, shrugging light-heartily, “It‟s necessary, if I hadn‟t you‟d be worse for it later. It‟s not a drug, per say-” he paused and shoved another mouthful in his gaping mouth. Pig. “It‟s more of an alternative remedy. It‟s a bit trippy at first but you get used to it,” I could see it coming, I could see the signs. The small titch in the corner of his mouth, the crinkle of his eyes, his nose scrunching ever so slightly, and then it hit me like a punch to the gut. That famous grin, all teeth mocking me. I couldn‟t stop myself, I was on my feet held up only by the one arm still on the table as my right came swinging past my vision and connecting with its target. Ray‟s face. I watched in slow motion as his skin rippled from the impact, his head knocking back and then his body following the blow. His chair rocked a couple of times then settled back on its legs. An „ommphh‟ sound echoed in my ears, as a „caarrsmaackkk‟ bounced around the walls on my skull. And then, as though someone had flicked a switch everything happened in real time. Ray laid a hand on his now red face, while I stood as still as I could. I felt my body fight to sway, to crumble to the floor, but there was something I had to do first and I didn‟t think I had a choice. 2 |P a g e


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Ray opened his mouth to say something, and thenI hadn‟t meant to throw up on Ray, it had just been a bonus. He had said nothing, he simply got up and walked to the counter and ordered me a glass of water. The moment it had come up I felt instantly better. The world stopped spinning and me legs felt solid once more. Sitting back down, I waited for Ray to return. Closing my eyes again, I could feel a headache coming on. “So much for not actually being sick,” I heard Ray say, he was at my side placing the cold glass in my hand, “Drink, you look a little pale.” Opening my eyes, I looked warily at the glass. “It‟s not drugged, I swear. It‟s just water.” I didn‟t want to fight, it was too much effort so I just sipped from the glass. It was exactly what I needed, I gulped the rest of it down as Ray took his seat again. “I‟m... I‟m sorry, I shouldn‟t have done that. I didn‟t think it would affect you like that. It‟s harmless I swear. It‟s just a herb it will make things easier. I think... I think you were just given too much too quickly.” Ray looked up forlorn. His eyes searched mine, worry was all I could see. To see that eased my anger a little. He really hadn‟t meant me any harm. The glass was empty so I put it aside, “Ray, what is going on? Ever since the body this morning no-body has told me anything. I have no idea what is happening. Why were you so angry at the scene? What was all the talk about their land? That symbol, what does it mean? I have so many questions and no answers. I need-” Ray raised a hand to stop me, “I didn‟t even think. Again, I‟m sorry. I just thought with you being the Captain‟s niece, sort of, you would know things. Things you maybe shouldn‟t, you two seem close.” “We‟re not that close.” I said refilling my glass with the mug Ray had also brought over. “You must be closer then you realise, because the Captain fought tooth and nail to get you resigned to our precinct. After what happened at 74-” he stopped when he saw me pull a face, I didn‟t want to talk about it and saw that. 3|P a g e


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“Well just after, the Captain said you were going to spend the rest of your career behind a desk. He said he couldn‟t see that happen, not when it wasn‟t your fault. I don‟t blame him, I‟ve read the report I believe what you said,” Ray looked down, as though collecting his thoughts. His body sighed and then he was looking at me with that face I had seen at the crime scene. It was filled with so much anger, so much rage. But there was something else, something pushing at the side screaming to be seen. It was fear. He was afraid of something and it had to do with whatever was killing these people. “Ray?” “No, don‟t ask any more questions,” I went to argue, but he cut me off. “Not here, okay. Not here.” With that he threw a handful of money on the table and stood, waiting for me to follow. Grabbing my bag I did. Back in the car, I was expecting Ray to start to explain everything that was happening. But he didn‟t he just drove. It was only when we turned onto the highway that I realised we were heading back out to the sticks. For the second time that day I watched as the buildings thinned out slowly into desert. It seemed as though we reached the scene faster than that morning and just as I thought we were going to pull over we just drove past. I turned as much as possible with the seat belt on to face my entire body towards Ray. “Where are we going?” I asked. Ray glanced at me quickly then looked back to the road, “We‟re going to their land. But before I go into that, you need to understand a few things first.” I nodded for him to go on and then realised he wasn‟t looking at me, “Yes?” “I guess the first thing I should tell you is that the body we saw this morning was not a human. I guess that‟s the best way to put it. It‟s like a lion and a cat both being feline but at the same time being different. They have the same structure of bones and come from the same family and what not, but they are viewed as two completely different species. Well that‟s what it‟s like with these people and humans. 4|P a g e


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“They are fundamentally the same but not. I can‟t really explain it properly. You‟ll just have to wait and see for yourself. Maybe then it will make more sense. I never really understood the details myself. ” I stared at him a little strangely, “so, um, their different from us. Okay, I kind gathered that a little from the body. But how different? In what way?” “They‟re different in a way that humans haven‟t developed to their level yet. They see the world in a completely different light to you. When you see water, you see water. But when they see water, they see life, they see energy.” I frowned, he was still making no sense, “There are people who see that too when they look at water. You get hippies freaks and peace greenies all the time protesting for the goodness of water and everything else. What‟s the difference?” Ray waved a hand around in frustration, “The difference is they see the value of water and what it means to the planet, and all that nonsense. But these „people‟ see the life of water. They can see with their eyes the energy within water, the energy that gives life and takes it away. I mean it was only an example, not a very good one. God! How do I explain this? They see things from a spiritual plane, you could say but not in a corny way- Ah!” Ray punched his hand into the dashboard in frustration. “It‟s unconceivable, to you it‟s unconceivable. It‟s the stuff of fantasy novels and science fiction. To them it‟s a way of life, energy flowing around in currents, bendable and manipulable. Do you understand? They can see the energy of a tiny spark and turn it into a flame. A tear can be made into a flood. Think of the power, the power someone must possess to be able to do something like that, and it gets worse. These people are everywhere, you just don‟t know it. How do you know that when you turn on a TV and a hurricane as stuck a town, how do you know it was not one of these people manipulating the wind, bending it to do their will? You don‟t. Do you see the seriousness of what they are?” I stared blankly at him, he couldn‟t be serious, could he? I stared, and he felt it, turning to me. I looked right past him instead of looking him in the eyes. The world was zooming past so fast, I couldn‟t make anything out, it was all just a mess of colours. 5|P a g e


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“If what you say is true then how? How do they get these powers? I mean why are they so special to have this ability?” I asked, still not looking at him. Ray returned his attention to the road, “These people are tribal, they don‟t believe in technology like humans do. They are a race of warriors. It‟s their life, the hunt, the fight, the kill. It‟s all they live and breathe. At a certain age a select few are chosen by the tribe‟s Paleo, he or she is the equivalent to the Pope. The Paleo is the spiritual guide of the tribe, they are the link to the deities. “As I said, at a certain age the Paleo chooses a select few and they then take the Hier-rite. It‟s a process that detaches the body from the spirit and then reconnects them on a new path or wave link. It is painful and at least one is known to die. But every year the Hierrite takes places and after that the new Saqui are born.” I finally pulled my gaze away from the window, “So all it takes is one little process and then they can control everything that has energy?” “No. Firstly it‟s not just a one little process we are talking about ripping your spirit from your body and then re-attaching it again. Imagine me ripping your shin bone out of your body and then putting it back in a different angle. It‟s going to hurt. Secondly, once someone has done the Hier-rite they don‟t have control over everything. Each person has an affiliation with a specific energy. One might go through the Hier-rite and then see the energy of water and another would come through and see the energy of fire. After that they then have to spend years perfecting their skill. It‟s not just one little process and then poof. “From an early age, they have been trained to kill and defend. After the Hier-rite they are trained to become a Saqui Warrior. It is not something they take lightly. It is a great honour among their people to be chosen, the Saqui warriors are the ones who guard the Nahsii. The Nahsii is the chief of a tribe. They are Saqui also but that doesn‟t always grantee victory in a fight not when you‟re fighting other Saqui and definitely not when some are Saqui warriors. The Nahsii while fighters themselves are like any King in the human world, they become accustomed to their way of life. Of being pampered. Some become soft and indulgent. Though you do find some that 6|P a g e


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still have that killer inside them they aren‟t known for getting their royal hands dirty, if you know what I mean.” I soaked it all in. It was as though I was a child and everything I had known up until this point had just been worthless. If anyone else had told me any of this I would have shrugged it off as some petty delusion. But Ray spoke with such passion. There was no other word, but passion. This world, something about it spoke to him on a deeper level. It was while I thought on this that a light bulb flashed like in a cartoon above my head. Ray had said that only they could walk their land, if anyone else tried it was death. He also said that their law was in their own hands and that only they could punish another within their land. The captain had said no problem as though it was nothing. I could see the dots start to connect in my head. “Ray, how do you know all of this?” I watched as he looked everywhere but at me. This was the one question he hadn‟t wanted me to ask, but I had and there was nowhere for him to go. We were travelling down a highway at 100km per hour. He was stuck in a car with only me and my questions. He had no escape and I could see that right then that‟s what he wanted most in the world. “Ray, how do you know all of this?” I repeated. He waited a few minutes, and then he began explaining again, “To become a Saqui Warrior you must complete four tasks. The first three are all bases on defining your skills and honing your abilities. The tasks are set out in a period of four years, one task per year. They are about making you, simply put, better. Better at control, better at extending your power, better at killing. The fourth task, the final task is about proving yourself. Proving that you have what it takes to protect and guard the Nahsii. You have to imagine living with someone for four years, sharing everything, your sweat, your blood, literally everything for four straight years. You become a family onto your own. You would die for each other. Then imagine having to kill one of them.” I tried to read Ray‟s face as he spoke, the further he got into his explanation the more I could see it. In the world I lived in you missed things constantly, little details here and there. There is always so much going on that you don‟t see, that you don‟t pay attention to. As I watched Ray speak, I saw 7|P a g e


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him for the first time. When I met Ray I had seen his face in a way as perfect. His skin smooth, he complexion soft, his features all aligned. But what I missed was the tiny scar beneath his mouth, the unnatural indent just above his left eyebrow, a constant alertness in his eyes like he was scanning everything for possible threats. His manner was constantly on guard. “Because that is what the final task is, to become a Saqui Warrior you must prove you belong there be killing another. I said they become your family and sometimes actual blood brothers and sisters are both picked. Imagine being paired together in the final task, knowing that one of you is going to die. It is either you or them and for it to be them you must kill them first. This has only happened once, and the brother walked away. He left the tribe and chose voluntary exile over killing his sister. He has only ever told three people of where he had come from and who he had been.â€? It seemed like we had been driving for hours but when I glanced at my watch it was only quarter past one. It was then that Ray stopped speaking and it appeared as though he was simply concentrating on the road. But there was a slight unease in his body language that made me think otherwise. I didnâ€&#x;t need Ray to say it out loud I had already figured it out before he had started. He had chosen exile over killing his sister for that I respected him more, but a part of me became wary. If what he said was true then he had taken this Hierrite and become a Saqui, only one task away from a Saqui Warrior. He was a bred a killer and I was sitting in a car miles from anyone else, alone with only him. I had seen his rage this morning only vaguely and to now know he had this kind of power buried deep within him scared me. Before I could ask any more questions, the car suddenly felt too small for the two of us. A force squeezed at the sides of the vehicle. The steel screaming in protest as it shifted against its skeletal frame. Ray grabbed my hand and pulled it to his chest. I could feel his heart pounding a steady beat. A wave pushed its way along my skin, it encased me in a cold warmth. It was not the kind of warmth you get from the sun, it felt more like a fan on a really hot day. Cold yet still warm. I looked out the window trying to find the source of whatever was doing this but I saw nothing but dirt and holes. In the far distant I could just

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see the outline of something huge, it looked like a cliff face but there were no water and no steep drop to be seen. It made no sense. Nothing did anymore. A sharp sting pricked the back of my neck and I felt blood drip down my back. Ray shifted his legs to hold the steering wheel and grabbed my other hand, drawing them both to his chest. The wave of cool warmth grew stronger and the nothing. It felt as though we had just passed through an unseen doorway. Ray stopped the car and looked out into the desert. “We‟re on their land now.”

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Searh in the Dying - Chp 3  

Searh in the Dying - Chp 3

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