I search the house room by room. It is much larger than I had originally thought. I think everyone might be able to stay inside for the night. There are no dangers here either. I exit the house.
I wave everyone in. “I believe we can all take shelter inside. It seems big enough for all. There isn’t anything dangerous either. We will be safe enough.”
I hand a magazine to my companion. She smiles. Everyone enters the house and finds a place to camp out. She goes over to a corner and begins to look at her magazine.
I go back outside. There is a storm coming. I was right to have everyone come inside. There is also a slight chill to the air. It would not be a good thing if any were to get sick. I go back inside.
I snap to get their attention. “Anyone near a window, please move. There is a storm brewing. We do not want to risk anyone getting sick.”
There is a mass migration to the center of the room. I have to smile. I turn to look over at my companion. She is still looking at her magazine.
I go over and sit next to her. She looks up. “Can you teach me how to read?”
I smile. “Sure. It will be my pleasure.”
“Can you teach me how to fight as well?” Her eyes tell of her sincerity.
I nod. “Yes. If we have time.”
She smiles satisfied and scoots a bit closer so I can begin teaching her how to read. I concentrate on her needs alone. Hours pass. It begins to get dark.
I get up. “Time to quit for the night. We will begin tomorrow morning again. You get some rest. I have to stand watch.”
She nods and beds down. I leave the corner and stand at a window. Lightning flashes in the distance. Thunder Crashes. I chuckle to myself. I remember when I thought explosions were thunder.
I stand there watching nature war with herself. Nothing will be out in this. Not even vampires like storms. Unless they aren’t all that bright.
I go out into the night and stand on the porch. I should be safe here from the weather. If not, oh well. I have been in worse.
Morning. The storm lasted all night. Nothing interfered with the campers’ peaceful sleep. That is all that matters. While one of the other women prepares breakfast, I sit in the corner reviewing lessons with my companion.
She looks over at me. “My name is Sara. Sara Mormack. Papa let mama when I was a baby. Mama died when I was in my teens. I have been on my own since. And on the streets.”
I look over at her. “I am Cris. My parents both died when I was four. I was raised and trained by a couple of men.”
“Wasn’t that awkward?” She is surprised.
“Not really. One served as the interpreter for the other.” I smile at her.
She is still not quite understanding. “Oh. Deaf?”
I laugh. “No. He spoke a different language. He was a Cajun.”
She is still confused. “What is that?”
I take a deep breath. Even though I do not need it. “He was from Louisiana. He spoke a mix of French and English. Mostly French. His interpreter was Italian, but spoke excellent English.”
She finally understands. “Oh, I see.”
We go back to her lessons. At least until our breakfasts are delivered. I nod in thanks. We stop our lessons and eat.
We are back on the road. There is still no sign of any way across the river. No ferry. No boats. No bridge.
All we can do is continue our trek south. I only hope that we discover the Crystal Ship. I want to find out the truth. I only hope that I can end the danger it poses should it be anything but a mission of mercy. I only hope that I can free any who might be imprisoned within its hull.
Sara is still walking beside me. I Look over at her. “I need to ask you to keep my secret for me. Can you do that for me?”
She looks over at me and smiles. “Your secret is safe with me. I will die before I breathe a word.”
I smile back. “Thank you.”
She looks away. “It is what friends are for. We are friends, aren’t we?”
I nod. “Yes.”
We plod on in silence. Hours pass as we search for passage. Or a place to camp for the night. I look to the east. Another storm is on the rise. The clouds are starting to build.
I halt the group. “We need to look for another house or building to spend the night in. We have another storm coming in. Remember. The same rules will apply. Stay away from the windows.”
In a matter of a couple hours, we are inside another building. This time, a barn. I notice that it has been repaired at some point not long ago. Ironic. It is now abandoned.
I continue Sara’s lessons until it grows dark. She is starting to learn everything rather fast. She will be able to read in no time. Perhaps we might have time for me to teach her to fight. Maybe.
She beds down and I go to the small window. The storm is coming in quick. I leave the barn and patrol around it. Can’t risk having any nasty surprises.
I watch the last rays of daylight vanish. There is something not right. Something on the air. Something more than just a storm. Something sinister.
I will have to be extra alert tonight. I will have to watch every shadow. check out every noise. Observe every movement.
I will have to guard these refugees with my own life. I will let nothing get past me. Nothing. I cannot afford to allow anything to happen. Not on my watch.
Dark falls quickly as the clouds roll in. More thunder. More lightning. But the night is only starting.