“Stand back!” shouted Castor, his hand wrapped tightly around the handle. The solider and the men were shocked and cautiously watched him.
“Now, now, don’t be rash,” said the solider as he reached to around his hip to take his own weapon to hand. The solider took his own sword and step closer to Castor. Fires of fury burned in his eyes as he approached the foreigner. He had no intention of letting Castor go unharmed even he could avoid it.
“Stand back!” shouted Castor again. He touched the jewel on the hilt of his knife and it began to glow.
“Stop trying to resist, you are already-”
A large bolt of lightning struck the ground right before the solider, The solider quickly stepped back and stared at the large scorched mark on the ground where the large white spark hit. The grass was burned and there was an indentation in the ground.
“He can use magic!” shouted a witness in the distance who had been watching the fray from afar. More of the dispersed mob began to congregate around them but the solider seemed too surprised to approach.
“Anneli!” shouted Castor and Anneli swiftly jumped down from the tree. They ran as fast and as hard as they could away from the village. They ran down the hill and across the field and far away as they could. Their muscles cried in pain and their lungs were on fire. The panting breath and their aching bodies did not stop them from running until they reached a thicket in a nearby forest. Anneli collapsed first; he let himself fall upon the ground huffing and puffing with his heart beating out of his chest. Castor too, sat beside him out of breath and sweating profusely. They did not exchange a word for a long while.
“Did we get away?” asked Anneli softly.
“I don’t think they were chasing us.”
“Is that true?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t look back,” replied Castor honestly. He lay down on the cool ground besides Anneli. His breath had become more regular but he could still feel the soft thumping of his heart in his chest.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen to us,” said Castor, “but all we can do now is move forward. They will probably be looking for us now.” Anneli moved closer to Castor until he could feel his body heat. Again they were silent, contemplating what to say but never quite gathering the determination to say it. The sunlight streamed through the leaves like twirling ribbons as the beetles buzzed and cackled around the thicket. Anneli looked at Castor who was not paying attention to anything in particular.
“What is like? The desert.” asked Anneli, and watched a myriad of emotions take over Castor’s expressions.
“Well…. it is hot and dry. And it is mostly just sand. More like it is all just sand and there is nothing for any one. Just a bunch of people trying to survive in a desolate place that they are not meant to but choose to anyway because they are just stubborn.”
“Are the people there like the people there like the people here or are they like you?”
Castor laughed bitterly, “no one else is anything like me.”
“But I guess,” continued Castor, “people are the same everywhere. Eve if the land is different or their skin is different everyone is still human. Everyone everywhere are selfish and ignorant and fear and hate things and people who are different or they don’t understand or conflict with their narrative of the truth or what is right.”
Anneli could no quiet grasp why Castor’s words had such an effect on himself but could see that they were effecting Castor. Castor sighed once he was done with his rant. “So why do you want to go to the desert?”
“I want to find someone to love,”
“Right, right, I remember the fish. But what kind of love are you looking for? Romantic love? Platonic love? Familial love?”
“I don’t know” replied Anneli honestly, “I just don’t want to be alone anymore. I just want to feel safe and happy and be love someone as much as they love me.”
Castor smiled as a bit of his ice cold heart melted at the little monster’s words. “Anneli, you don’t need to go all the way to the desert for that.”