Chapter Eleven

 

My gasp of surprise is obnoxious in the stillness of the moment.  My eyes slam open with abrupt force, the light of the full moon brutal to my unprepared pupils.  An abasing whimper escapes my lips, a puff of platinum breath fleeing alongside it.  Disoriented, I struggle to right myself in the swaddle of torn sheets and stained pelts.  A hand gently pushes me back down, two hazel eyes filled with concern. 

“You were having a nightmare again,” whispers Gay soothingly, his satiny voice like a balm on my nerves.  “Might’ve been the nightmare.”

An unsteady breath rattles from my lungs.  My eyes close against the stinging cold of the morning.  The sour scent of urine, blood, and rancid meat plunges forth, not wasting a moment of my waking hours without a whiff of something utterly putrid.

“Was it?”  Gay’s voice is curious from beside me.  “Was it the dream?”

I sigh, shuffling in my heap of ratty linens.  This shelter we’ve built against the cold is a rather scant one at best, held together with the bones of the deer living outside the wall.  If I’d arrived back at the camp a little earlier, we would’ve had a fire roasting underneath the heavy animal skin tarp above our heads to keep us warm.  However, it’d been far too late, and I’d been far too fatigued to contribute to constructing a fire in any way. 

I shuffle over to look at his open, fatherly face.  Though he is male and I am female, I’d never thought of Gay as being anything more than a brother at best.  He raised me, the father I never had.  He and Homo, but we don’t speak about Homo very much. 

“I don’t remember.”  My voice is an aloof whisper.  “Could’ve been.”

Gay props himself on an arm, his movement in the sheets stirring up another wave of rank smells.  Those eyes glint with interest, his choppy brown hair falling into his face.  “I heard from Old Henry that dreams mean things,” he muses.  “I wonder what yours means.  I mean, a courtroom erupting into brilliant flames?  Silver dress?  Sounds a lot like you.”

I elbow him, my strength still weakened by my grogginess.  “Watch it.”  A yawn leaves my mouth, the strained moan awkward in the overall silence.  “Time?”

Gay angles himself too look up at the sky, stirring the pelts again.  His face is scrutinizing and plain; though he’d skipped out of school as a child, something even I had neglected to do, Gay is more intelligent than most men – I accredit that to his feminine attitude.  The sheen of silver icing over his skin is merely a reflection of the starlight, but it gives my dear friend a magical appearance.  His hazel eyes study the sky with distaste. 

“Just an hour more ‘til sunrise,” Gay grunts discontentedly.  With one hand, he ruffles a sheet mournfully, looking down at his cozy nest plaintively.  “I suppose it’s best we get up and at ‘em now.  It’ll be big enough a day without a surprise visit from one of the gangs.”

I moan despite myself, weariness dragging at my movement.  Ignoring my attempts to burrow back into my mound of coverings, Gay jabs me roughly on the arm.  The jolt sends webs of pain through my flesh, pulsing in my veins.  “Omega, you’re not a child anymore,” he chastises, sympathy devoid in his voice.  When still I do not rise, instead rolling on my side to muffle his voice further, he rips a few layers off my nest effortlessly.  “Omega, up.  We’re going to get eaten by Kanines.”

With a mighty groaning and wailing fest, I at last rise from my tomb of ratty sheets to meet a new day.  The dim glow of sun slowly paints the atmosphere, but the undoubtedly magnificent sunrise is shielded by the massive wall we sit at the base of.  Fishing knives and daggers from hidden nooks and crannies throughout the alley we’d claimed as ours, Gay and I prepare for a day in which we will likely not return to our hiding hole until nightfall, when the Genetics roam once more. 

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