Characters: Madelyn Hassan, Victoria Martin
World: Black Flames
Rating: PG/PG13, for off-screen violence.
Word Count: 820
Total Words: 3,453/20,000
Read Madelyn's journey chronologically:
A New Home » Soldier » Let's Have War
A New Home
She heard the hooves pounding after her and she knew it wouldn’t be long until they caught her. She remembered her father teasing her when she was a little girl playing with him that she was a lanky thing with those long legs. She’d be tall like him, he’d said. Her mother stood solidly at only five feet, but she and her brother had always towered over the children their age. At first, she’d been self-conscious. Being their daughter drew enough attention to her as it was and little kids could be cruel. But her father taught her that it made her special, because it made her fast. She loved running and began competing with the other Fort children when she was seven. Now she was thirteen and if she lost this race, she knew she would die.
The tree line fast approached and she knew there was safety there. She knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a stranger waited for her unawares and would save her, but she’d also learned that the future is ever-changing, ever-evolving. If she picked the wrong path, lost her footing, she could die. You might think that her ability would give her ultimate comfort and security, but she had only a foggy vision to go on. She had dreamed it before, two endings. She fell, hands grabbed her, she screamed, blackness. She ran, she found the trees, she found the woman, and she was safe. Now she’d reached the trees, zigging and zagging, heart pounding and breaths stinging her sides. The riders were slowed by the trees as they got thicker, but they still had horses while she had sandals. Her eyes were peeled for a woman, a woman who knew her pain and would protect her. She didn’t see her, but she had faith. As shaky as everything was, she had faith. She had to.
A sharp pain shot through her ankle and she spun as she fell, down, down. With a hard thud, she hit the ground and saw that her foot was wedged hard between two protruding roots, twisted at a wrong angle. A strangled sob escaped as she heard the horses rapidly closing in. Desperate, she screamed, “Victoria!” into the air.
A shadow swooped down upon her, covering her body and she screamed again. Nothing happened, though. She was able to shift enough to see the woman from her dream shielding her, looking wildly confused, but sensing the danger. The woman turned toward the approaching soldiers and pushed out her hands. The horses flew back, whinnying in fright as their riders shouted and yelped. The animals mostly recovered, leaving their riders strewn about on the ground, except for two. With a quick succession of sharp arm movements, Victoria dispatched the men as well, before they could even ready their weapons. From her awkward angle, the fleeing girl saw very little, hearing a series of sickening pops and cracks, then silence beyond the noise of the forest as a few nervous horses. For a long moment, Victoria stood over her, ready for more, before apparently deciding that they were safe. She turned to the girl and asked, “Who are you and how did you know who I am, or where to find me?” Her hands were up, ready to defend herself against the girl.
Still terrified and pumped full of adrenaline, unable to find the right angle to minimize stress on her ankle, the girl had a hard time focusing, but she managed to respond through gritted teeth, “I am Madelyn Hassan and I am a clairvoyant.” She choked out a few sobs. “Please help me…”
From the shocked look on her face, it seemed that Victoria understood the significance of who she was, but she did not press. Instead, she worked her hands over the roots, pushing hard with her mind to stretch them just enough that Madelyn could wiggle her leg free. The girl sat up, face bleached white with pain and fear. She had just gathered her composure when she looked off toward the men, necks all snapped grotesquely. There had been six of them. Four horses remained, having not run off. The sight of the men caused her to lose it. Her first killing. Granted, she had not performed it, but she knew she was responsible. These men were marks on her soul. Victoria dropped down in front of her and pulled her in, clutching her to her chest. “No, no, don’t cry, please… They would have killed us. You’re safe now. Shh… You’re safe. Come with me and I’ll protect you, okay?”
Madelyn nodded against her chest and Victoria squeezed her tighter, holding her until the crying ceased. She was right, Madelyn knew. She had no choice and, now, she would be safe. She didn’t need a vision for this one. She knew where to go. Victoria would lead her home.