[Nell]: 226.Stories.The Bolt

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2007-01-04 03:07:03
The Bolt
The wind was howling around the corners of the buildings, whistling between trees, bending the flagpole sideways, and generally making going outside a really bad idea, when I got the notice.

"Ahem. Are you Carlis Demagon?"
I turned around. The Lieutenant looking down at me seemed peaceable enough.
"Yes, yes I am."
"You're request has been granted, you must take this letter to the Major."
"Thank you!"
I took the letter excitedly and fought to push the door open against incredibly strong winds. When it snapped closed behind me, I had to pause to catch my breath and bearing.

The compound where we were stationed had once been a farm. We still housed stables, though there were no longer horses in them, and they mostly were used for stockpiling extra supplies that we didn't need right away. They were always a mess, and duty master liked to threaten us with cleaning the whole thing up by ourselves if we didn't do our jobs right. I could see a loose canvas had been blow off a pile, and was flapping madly in the wind.

The rest of the farm had been slowly rebuilt until the main building was much larger than the old farm house used to be, and there were now low-lying sleeping quarters, and learning/training centres. The barn had become an inside training ground for when the weather up here was too rough for even us cadets. The plateau often caught passing storms and other strong weathers. I was lucky that there was no hail yet; heavy black clouds shifted restlessly above my head.

Suddenly a gust caught my cap and took it clean off my head. In horror I leapt after it, pumping my legs frantically to catch up. It tumbled along the ground ahead of me, but finally I was able to tackle it.

When I looked up from where I had landed, I found myself looking, with a shiver, very far down instead. Without even realising it, I had nearly run myself right off the edge of the plateau. How stupid can one get? I'd only been living here since I was five, and knew well the dangers of the cliff. The rocky face extended vertically downwards until it disappeared into the misty, swirling clouds.

Cautiously, I backed away from the precipice, until I felt safe enough to stand up again. I fought my way back to the compound, clutching my cap and the letter tightly against my chest.

I was nearly taken off my feet trying to cross the central compound. The narrow spacing between the buildings acted as funnels for the wind. I managed to make it to the flag pole, and rested a moment before continuing the battle. The pines that hemmed the plateau against the rim of the cliff, groaned and waved menacingly, adding to the cacophony of the rising storm.

Just then, I saw a flash of bright light shoot across the sky. It was the largest lightening bolt I had ever seen, and it burned against my retina. A great rolling wave of thunder crashed against my senses, shaking the ground.

I have never been one for thunder. I have climbed the cliffs and fought off wild animals in the cadets. In the six short years I've been here, I have braved snow storms, and forest fires, and all manner of dangerous conditions along with the other boys. But thunder still makes me quiver under my covers. The storms up here are so close that you feel as though you are right inside of them.

The moment I heard that thunder begin, I sprinted for the stables, which were the closest shelter. Hunkering down between the crates and piles of junk, I felt the awe and fear of this storm making me tremble. I hate it that I'm so scared of a little bit of rumbling, but I can't help myself.

When the thunder died down, I decided I'd best keep going. But just in case, I continued my way behind the crates, clambering over the mounds towards the main building. I knew there was a side entrance at the far end of the stables.

When I reached the door, however, I heard voices and footsteps on the other side. I scrambled back over the last of the crates. I didn't want my superiors to catch me cowering in the stables just because of some thunder. Especially not now that I'd worked so hard for this letter by getting their good opinion of me.

I heard the door close.
"What's going on? Make it quick," spoke a man gruffly. I could barely hear him over the howling wind.
"I'm upset about Demagon," replied a second man.
My ears pricked up. A private conversation about…me?
"He's requested a LOA Rank 37. You know we can't give him that," continued the second man.
But the Lieutenant said it was granted! I thought in desperate confusion.
"Yes, and you know what's required."
"But he's our best student! We can't loose him! He could provide valuable assistance, he could-"

"You know the rules, Colonel."
I'm the best student? It was not natural for officers to give out praise of any kind; they believed it would make the cadets too cocky. I knew I did some things easier than the other boys, but I never imagined I would be singled out in this way. Through my already inflated pride suddenly burst the word Colonel. The Colonel, the Colonel said that about me!

"Screw the rules! Tell him the truth! I want that boy in my squad!"
"Get your act together! Remember to whom you're speaking! We have bigger problems than LOA 37s and dead cadets, didn't you see that bolt? There's a loose-"
The wind picked up and I lost the officer's words. Next thing I heard was the door closing again.

Dead cadets? He didn't mean me, did he? I couldn't understand the conversation that had just taken place. What's wrong with LOA 37s? Why would the Colonel even know my name? Should I still give the letter to the Major General? And why were they talking about the lightening bolt?

I stood up, still wracked with indisicion, and froze. The Colonel was still standing there, looking out across the central compound. He turned quickly at my movement. I watched for a terrified moment as different emotions flickered across his face: surprise, anger, fright, and then resolve.

"Over here now, Demagon!" he barked. Training found me standing before him before I even had time to think. I looked up into a face I had only seen from a distance during ceremonies, and it looked back at me pityingly. He leaned foreword, placing a hand on my shoulder, and spoke into my ear.

"Run, Demagon. Run if you value your life, and never return here again. I will find you, don't worry, and I will help you then. But for now, you must leave. Get off the mountain if you can. Good luck. Now go!"

Though his words frightened me as much as the thunder did, I ran from the compound.

2006-09-16 Shh: Wow. Nice story. Very, very nice. I wish there was more of it! :P

2006-09-17 RiddleRose: oooooooh.... O.O you've got a few grammatical errors... "remember to whom you are speaking" rather than "speaking to" theres a redundant "to" in there. you also want "best student" rather than "best students" i believe. unless Demagon has multiple personalities that is... ;) also, i'm curious as to how you can "house stables"... XD gripping! i want more!

2006-09-28 Nell: Thanks for the check up! I'll have to leave 'house stables' for now until I figure out for myself just how I got that, and what to replace it with...
I was partially inspired after watching 'Howl's Moving Castle', and then your first line got a whole 'nother little movie going for me.

2007-01-17 Anninja: Yep, could make a nice movie of it, if you'd make the story longer... Hollywood would be thrilled :P

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