As I walk into the living room I hear whispers. I know its now Krag and Darwins voices. They both look at me when I enter the living room. Krag nods his head at Darwin and heads for the front door. Darwin walks up to me and guides me to walk behind Krag. Once outside I head for Darwins truck, but he stops me and points to where Krag is. Your riding with him says Darwin. I look at Darwin like hes lost his mind. The whiney of the horse brings me back to Krag. Ummm Darwin...I say as I back away slowly.
Darwin doesn’t even lose a step, he’s picked me up and placed me behind Krag. He gives me a kiss on my forehead and stays there for a second almost as if he is gaining strength to pull away and says I’ll see you soon. My mouth is open about to yell for Darwin to get me down but I have no choice but to hold on to Krag because the horse starts moving and whatever Krag is doing with his hands is making the horse start to move faster.
I look back at Darwin pleading with my eyes to get me off this horse, but his face just gets further and further away as the horse goes at a steady pace towards wherever were going. I turn around and just wait for whats next. Mama wanted this. I chant in my head over and over again. Its the only thing that keeps me from freaking out everytime I feel the wind hit my face or the horse speed up.
The horse finally stops and I open my eyes. I have to blink several times because all I see is spots from how hard I had my eyes shut. Mountains all I see is mountains. I feel something shift in my hands and all but forget im still gripping Krag. I drop my hands quickly and continue to look around. Krag gets off the horse and reaches up for me. I take his help because how else am I going to get down. That was my first time being on a horse. Hopefully my last.
He puts me down and takes the rope hanging from the horse’s head and starts walking a trail that leads between the mountains. He doesn’t even turn around to make sure i’m following him, but where else would I go? Not like I can go back, don’t know where we are. So I follow him. He leads me down a path between huge mountains. We walk and walk and it seems never ending until we finally come to a mountain that looks somewhat odd in its surroundings.
It has weird writing on the outside. We continue to walk as if there isn’t a big mountain standing in our way. Like were going to somehow go through it. I’m really starting to think maybe Krag is crazy because he drops the rope he was leading the horse with and starts hitting the mountain.
Like pounding on it like that supposed to make it move. I start to take a step back because he has obviously lost it, but then I feel a gust of wind hit me so hard it nearly knocks me down. Once I feel in control of my body again I look up to see the mountain now has an opening and Krag is walking through it with the horse. Mind blown..I stop staring and follow him just like before he doesn’t look back to see if im following him nor does he ask me to follow him. I just know I have to.
Once inside I feel my hair on the back of my neck rise. Like someone is watching me. I hear the loud thud of the door closing of the mountain. I turn around to see who closed it and see nothing, but I swore someone had to have been there. Freaked out I turn around and hurry to catch up to Krag. After calming down I notice that inside the mountain almost looks like a two story home.
There is a big area where there are what seems to be makeshift bean bags put in an circle. In the middle of the circle is another seat that resembles a bean bag but made out of fur. To the right of this area theres a little path that seems to lead to kitchen from what I can tell. Or would be a kitchen in a real house.
There is metal cups and spoons and forks on a piece of wood thats attached to wooden legs to make a table. Theres no chairs though. Weird. I see what I assume is bowls, pots, and pans. Though they don’t quite look like ones you get from a store. There is a round pot with water in it and dishes , so I guess thats how they wash their plates and stuff. I wonder where they get the water? While making my own assumptions I realize Ive stopped moving and lost Krag.
I search frantically around me and look left and right, but I see no one. I suddenly feel alone and it seems a lot darker then it did when we came in. Then I see a shadow moving above me on the other level of this mountain. I look closer and realize its Krag walking around up there. How could he just leave me? Jeez Where did my mom meet this man?
I look around to find a way up and after no help from Dr. Weirdo I find a way to climb up to the next level. Grumbling and saying bad words in my head the entire time I finally make it to the top. I must have been so wrapped up in cursing him out in my head that I didn’t realize he was right in front of me. He almost made me fall backwards to the first floor. I hold my breath cause he’s staring at me and not saying anything. Just observing it seems.
Then he turns around and starts walking and turns into a side tunnel. I quickly follow after him and see that the tunnel is actually a room. There is a pile of what looks like big animal fur on the ground to make a bed. A little shelf with books on it. Its roomy enough for us both to fit in the room. He sits on the ground and points his hand to the bed. I stare at his hand for a minute thinking maybe I should be yelling stranger danger and getting out this mountain. Then reality hits me, who would come for me im alone now. Yea so if he wants me to sit on the bed then I will sit. I sit down with a loud sigh. Its quiet for so long that I almost forgot Krag is there until he starts to speak.
I see her in you. He says Thats good. He shakes his head yes as if confirming what he just said. Strong he adds. We start training today. He hands me a bowl of something hot and steamy. Eat and drink then rest he says. I will be back to get you when I am ready. Before I could ask him what it is we were training to do, he gets up and disappears around the corner. I don’t even bother trying to catch up with him. I’m tired and hungry, so I lay my bag down and start eating. When I’m finished I lay on my back and drift off thinking about what training im supposed to be doing.
Get up Jayna. I open my eyes to see Krag standing at the entrance of my makeshift room. He turns and walks away. I get up and follow him. We walks down to the space where I assume is being used as a living room. This time it isn’t empty. There are women and girls sitting around in a circle. They all look at me as we walk towards them. No one says anything just stares at me with an emotionless face. Krag points to a spot near a girl who has a scar across her face.
She looks at me and nods. I turn away quickly because Im staring at the scar and I don’t want to be rude. Krag sits in the middle of the circle. All eyes immediately turn to him and Im glad the attention is off of me. Except not for long because as Krag starts talking all eyes go back to me. Im so entranced with what Krag is saying that I don’t even care this time.
Jayna is Maya’s daughter. She is hear for our protection and teachings. She is one of us now. His tone left no room for negotiation or argument. None of the girls said anything just nodded their heads and turned their focus towards Krag. Laya you will train her on knives. A women with rich dark skin and short black hair nods at me. I guess thats Laya.
Moro she needs to be agile. A girl who looks to be in her teens sitting directly across from me nods. Asha she needs to be stronger. The girl with the scar across her face turns to me and nods. I will teach her to fight with her hands and mind Krag says. The group of women nod.
Asha says Krag. Everyone else seems to obey some silent request and leave the room. Asha will meet you every morning at the entrance to the cave. When she is done with you, you will go to Moro than Laya, lastly meet me here afterwards. Krag looks at me as if he is waiting for me to answer.
I finally find my voice and ask Why do I have to do this? Krag nods his head towards Asha and gets up without looking back and leaves the room. Asha why am I here? Because your mother wanted you here. I don’t argue or ask anymore questions because I never questioned my mother. Never. If this is what she wanted then, I will do whatever they want me to.
Asha gets up and starts walking towards the entrance of the mountain. I guess no one talks much here so I guess I should follow her. She stops by the kitchen and gives me what looks like a jug that has something in it. It has a strap around it. She puts it around my neck. The door is already opened in front of the mountain and we walk out. I know now that it must have been one of the the other girls who opened the door before. As soon as we get outside. Asha starts to speed up. I trip several times trying to keep up with her, but she never slows down or looks back.
Where are we going Asha? She doesn’t answer or stop. She takes me on a trail around the mountain. We never stop and I even fall several times to keep pace with her. Not once does she look back or help me up. The trail seems to lead up a hill and I groan with exertion as we finally reach the top. She sits on the top of the hill and drinks from a similar jug she has around her neck. I don’t hesistate to drink from the jug around my neck and realize its water.
I cough and almost choke from trying to catch my breath and drink at the same time. Again she makes no move to help me, she just looks straight ahead and stays silent. A few more minutes up the hill and Asha starts walking back down the hill following the trail we just came from. She doesn’t even ask if im ready, she just goes. Arrggghhh I scream. She still continues to walk. I let one more loud groan leave my lips before im running to catch up to her.
As we come closer to the mountain I see a shadow in the crevice of two rocks. The rocks are as big as me. Asha continues to walk the trail towards the entrance as if nothing is wrong, so I continue to follow her. As we get closer to the mountain the shadow starts to look more like a person squatting but then its gone.
We finally reach the entrance and Asha walks in without a glance back. I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I turn around and almost jump out my skin as im face to face with Moro. She nods and goes around me to walk to the right of the mountain. The area which she walk is shaded dark due to the lack of light on that side of the mountain. She walks straight through it and doesnt look back. I slowly start to walk in that direction.
I’m still out of breath from Asha’s speed walking so I take my time going to Moro. My breathing picks up as I walk through the dark area in which Moro walked. I see her standing on the other side. I take in the area we are getting in. It actually has a bit of grass in this space and surrounded by other rock formations. Its closed off besides the path we came in. The area is shaped like a circle. Do as I do. Says Moro. I jump at the sound of her voice. Almost forgetting she was there.
She starts to do as I can only describe as yoga poses. She bends and twists easily in every position. I try to mimic her every move but fail at most of the positions. She never looks at me with disappointment though. Again. Is all she says when I fail miserably. By the time we are finished, im so sore. I can barely stand. Moro nods at me and starts walking towards the path we came. I follow her and feel a cold object at my throat. I scream but don’t move. Moro doesn’t look back but keeps walking into the mountain entrance. I stop looking at Moro to look in front of me and stare into big brown eyes.
Her face shows nothing. No anger, fear, or laughter. Laya moves the knife from my throat and says Never expect someone else to help you. I nod as tears come down my face. She makes no move to console me. She just turns around and start walking. Like ive been doing all day, I say nothing and follow her. We end up in another clearing near the mountain. She hands me a long sharp sword. She shows me swift movements and expects me to do the same. I try my best. Like Moro and Asha she doesn’t get mad at me for doing it wrong. She just says Again. We go again and again until ive at least got two moves perfectly. Laya nods and starts walking past me.