Ch19: Homesick

This is the conclusion of part 1 to my short story. I will be continuing my work on part 2 as well as my other larger book series, but I will be taking a break from posting a chapter every week as things are getting busy at my end. Enjoy! 

Copyright © 2013 by P.A. Lackey
All rights reserved.
No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. 

Chapter Nineteen: Homesick 

Thunderous clouds rolled in over the trees which sparsely canopied the ground. The weather seemed calm however as the storm’s winds had not yet started, and Arius watched the family preparing the ranch for the coming storm. He had followed the father and two children back to the ranch hours earlier after they were done playing at the shore. He was curious about them. They were aliens to him, or more he was an alien to them. This was their world, and he was merely a visitor stranded where he did not want to be. He wondered if this family posed a threat to him or not, and thus he stayed hidden until he could discern a conclusion.
Arius remained in the shadows along the edge of the ranch. He felt weary, and hopelessness began to set in. He felt alone in the world, and found himself longing for people he could call friends. Furthermore he longed to be home again with his once to be future wife, but the realization that this world could very well be his new home set in. There was no way to go back now.
Thunder crackled in the distance, and he watched as the father put away a set of lawn chairs where they would not be carried off by the wind. A woman called to the children demanding that they come in soon, and Arius guessed it to be their mother. The children were reluctant to do so as they climbed upon the wooden fence next to the barn, but a rising gust of wind encouraged them to listen to their mother. The trees began to swirl as the wind passed through them, and the family hurried inside as cold rain began to pelt the earth.
Arius looked to the mean sky where lightning licked it furiously. Already it was a downpour, and his eyes were soaked in the cold rain spilling down his face. Looking to the barn he decided to intrude upon the family’s estate and find shelter.
He hurried to the barn door which the wind slammed shut behind him, and he found a dark foyer full of hay and various kinds of tools. A small burden pulling machine sat in the center of it, and his eyes looked to the upper deck where a shuttered window beat violently.
Making his way to a stack of hay he bedded down where he could feel most comfortable. The sound of rain pelting the wooden roof and barn walls eased him into the comfort of his own mind. The hopelessness he felt before seemed to melt away, and now he felt a temporary relief. He felt neither happy nor anxious, but the kind of sadness that would carry one to slumber.
A harsh scream shattered through, and Arius shuddered as if waking from a nightmare. He glanced around the barn but found no intruder but himself, and wondered if the scream had come from the house. Another scream splintered through the storm however, and he felt it far off away from the property. It was something else in the forest at least a couple miles away.
He didn’t know what it was, but it didn’t sound human. Suddenly he felt vulnerable as if something horrific would break through the barn at any moment flashing its sharp teeth, but the screams ceased leaving nothing but the pattering rain and wind which creaked through the barn.
His nerves were tight, but soon he began to fall back into a slumber where his dreams took him back home. He was with his wife-to-be upon a lime balcony overlooking a blue forest canopy. Red and gold cliffs spired above the canopy, and a mountain range swelled up past the far lakes sparkling beneath the sun. It was his future father in law’s palace which overlooked the countryside below. He had come up in the late afternoon to spend time with his future wife, and had been discussing the conflict between the several clans vying for power at the time. Not the most romantic conversation, but it was the world they were enveloped in. Of course their entire courtship was in the midst of political conflict. His to be father in law had arranged for his daughter to marry into one of the more prestigious clans, but had absolved the contract to make her marriage to Arius possible. The man had been like a father to Arius, and he was thankful for all the kindness he had showed him, but absolving a marriage contract was not a well appreciated thing in those days. Especially when it involved some of the most powerful people at the time. His to be father in law had sacrificed much to make his marriage to his daughter possible, but the consequences were huge.
“Hey, wake up,” a voice broke through his dream.
Arius jumped as someone prodded his shoulder, and he found himself back in the barn with two men standing over him.
“What are you doing in my barn?” the man with a rifle asked.

Thanks for reading part 1 of my short story. Hopefully I will soon have part 2 running. In the meantime check out my book, "Ground of Oam" here


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