Tag Archives: food

The Awakening, part 15

I can hardly believe my luck when I see that Caleb’s prepared the food today as well. There is a steaming pot on the table, placed strategically on a disc of wood. I inhale, enjoying the smell of hotpot, and take a seat. My stomach is rumbling, but I hesitate. It would be impolite to eat without him, especially as I am staying at his home and he has gone through the trouble of providing food for me. And since there are two clean plates layd on the table as well, I think it’s safe to assume that he hasn’t eaten yet, either.

I bite my lip as I decide to wait for him. I feel kinda awkward at the moment. How is it going to work, me staying here? And how am I to earn my keep when he keeps doing everything himself? I can’t imagine Marissa letting me sleep in and just do nothing.

As I wait for him, my mind drifts back to what I experienced upstairs. Was it some kind of hallucination, a memory, or a premonition? I could almost feel the rough fabric of Giles’ uniform as I hugged him. No. That’s not right. It wasn’t exactly me. More like me seeing through someone else’s eyes. There were thoughts and feelings that weren’t my own. I’ve never experienced such things before.

Before I have a chance to dwell on whether there’s something extraordinary going on or I’m simply losing my last shards of sanity, Caleb enters the kitchen. His hair is somewhat tousled by the wind and he has a restlessness about him that I can’t quite discern. His expression, once again, is unreadable. I find it increasingly annoying that I can’t tell what he’s thinking at all.

“How are your feet?” he asks as he seats himself opposite me.

“Much better. I feel no pain while walking. I.. .thank you.” I feel a bit embarrassed. I’m not used to having people take care of me. So I concentrate on eating and avoid looking at Caleb for the rest of the meal. Childish, I know, but I’m apparently not very good at managing awkward situations.

“When we are done here we shall check on your wounds and change the bandages.” My eyes shot up at that and I look at him, startled.

“I, um… I think I can manage them myself now. But thanks for… everything?” I didn’t mean for that last part to sound like a question. He probably thinks I’m not quite right in the head. But then again, he most likely had that opinion the first time he saw me, housebreaking in order to sleep in a stranger’s bed. Yeah, can’t do much worse than that.

“After having seen the disregard with which you treat your health and wellbeing, that might not be the wisest course of action.” I can hear the amusement in his voice. I’m irritated, but I automatically give him one of my blandest smiles as I respond.

“As you wish.”

I’m looking down on my plate again, but when I finally raise my eyes after finishing my meal, I see no trace of humour in his face. He is studying me with an indecipherable look, just as he did yesterday.

A few minutes later, I am still sitting on my chair as Caleb unbandages my feet. Truth is, I’ve never felt so awkward before. It doesn’t sit right with me to have someone waiting on me when I’m quite capable of managing things on my own. After examining my legs, he stands up.

“It would seem you have some healing talent. The herbs I used should have only removed the possible infection and eased your pain somewhat. Good. This means we can begin training right away.” With that, he goes outside.

I get a bit confused at that. He sure says as little as possible, leaving out half of the information. Training for what? And that talk about healing talent didn’t make much sense either. Until I look down and look at my feet myself. The cuts I had are barely noticeable. The soles of my feet still feel somewhat tender when I stand and try to walk without bandages, but I can tell that the wounds have healed.

I follow Caleb. He’s waiting for me in the center of the small meadow, about fifty feet from the house. I admit that I’m somewhat surprised to see him completely unarmed. I was almost certain that we’d be clashing wooden swords or something like that. That’s how the boys begin when they are enlisted by the king’s troops. As I near Caleb, I hear him sigh.

“That chest I put in the attic is there for a reason. Go back and get yourself some footwear before you hurt yourself again. Your feet are not completely healed yet.” He sounds kind of exasperated, but it’s hard to tell since his face is as blank from emotions as ever. I rush back inside and up to my room. The glow is back, but I try to look only at the chest as I open it, in fear of other visions intruding my head. Luckily, nothing happens as I rummage the trunk. I find a couple of simple dresses that appear to be approximately my size, and pair of weathered-looking brown leather half-boots. Which also seem to fit, though not perfectly. I pull on the boots and hurry back out, immensely relieved when I escape the attic without recieving any voices or visions.

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The Awakening, part 9

My mouth begins to water when I see the fish cooking on a grill. If the smell is any indication then the Elf can make great food.

Maybe I should ask for his name? Referring to him as “the Elf” all the time is weird, even if I’m doing it only in my head. And probably impolite, too.

I try to ignore the fear and unease he makes me feel and sit on the ground opposite him. Some of the fish is already done and he hands me one of them. When he sees me hesitating he says “It’s not poisoned. If I wanted you dead you wouldn’t be sitting here. Eat.” I take the fish, putting the knife down, and keep an iron grip on my self-control, afraid the inner voice might want to say something again. I’m beginning to think it hates Elfs.

“Thanks.” I try to eat slowly, despite my enormous hunger.  Oh, this fish is even better than I imagined. I gather my courage and ask for his name between bites. As I look at him, our gazes meet. In the light of the day his piercing light blue eyes seem almost… magical. It’s like he can see right into my soul. And with his golden locks he might as well have stepped out of a fairytale. Then I remember that I’m probably crazy and I really don’t want anyone seeing that about me. I quickly avert my eyes.

There is a long pause before he answers. “Caleb.” I can still feel his eyes on me and my nervousness escalates. Why is he staring at me?

“So… Caleb. I apologize for coming here and staying in your house without permission. And, um, also for borrowing your clothes.” I look down on the tunic and pants that are both too big for me.

“I can see that.” His gaze is not wavering.

“I, ah, don’t have any money with me, but I will repay you before I leave. Somehow. Maybe I could help with some work or chores that need to be done?”

That finally got his attention off me. He looks around before asking “Does it look like I’m falling behind with anything?” I follow his gaze. Everything around us is nearly perfect. The house appears to be in great condition, and it even has plumbing. The grass around the house is cut short. The house was tidy from the inside as well, before I made a mess of his bedroom and kitchen. I eat another fish while I think.

“Earlier you said that if I decided to stay, I’d have to earn my keep. How exactly would I be doing it, then?” I suddenly have a very unpleasant idea. Ugh. I hope I’m wrong.

“There are things I might need your assistance with.” He smirks. “But you won’t get off as easily as you were obviously hoping to. I won’t require these kind of services from you. Who knows which diseases you might carry.” He’s clearly baiting me, but I can’t help but fall for it. I stand up, fuming. I almost hit him, but he’s too fast for me and catches my hand half-swing. His grip is so strong it hurts my hand.

“I told you, you’re no match for me. Control your temper when you are in the company of someone superior to you.” He doesn’t look upset about my attempt to hit him, but I can see he means every word he says. It makes me even more angry.

I step closer to him. All the fear and unease I felt are now forgotten in my rage. I hear roaring in my ears, but since I feel it’s not the inner voice I won’t do anything to stop it. As I look into his striking eyes, I see them widen. He lets go of my hand with an awed expression.

“Who do you think you are to imply that I am a whore? What right do you have to talk to me like that?”I push him. Hard. He takes a step backward, his eyes glued to mine.

The wind has risen and it’s blowing in circles around us. He just stands there, silent, doing nothing. But by the look on his face… I’d say he’s having a damn good time. Which in turn makes me even more upset. Is he having fun at my expense?

“I am worth just as much as the next person. I am inferior to NO ONE but my king! I am definetly. Not. Lesser Than. YOU!” I pour all my pent-up rage, disappointment, and sadness into that last word… And Caleb flies back about thirty feet, making a spin in the air and landing on his feet. Now he really is laughing, but not at me.

I look around. What the hell happened here? It’s like something exploded. The grill and fish are scattered on the grass. They are even further away from me than Caleb. And all the windows this side of the house are broken.

My anger is forgotten and I’m starting to shake. I check myself just in case, to make sure I’m not injured. I literally jump back when I notice Caleb approaching.

“Stay away from me!” I take a couple of unsteady steps backward, then turn around and run for the woods.

The Awakening, part 8

I wait, not daring to move just yet. After a few moments I hear the front door open and close. He’s gone. At least for now. I raise a shaking hand to my neck, inspecting the injury. It doesn’t feel like he cut very deep, but it’s still bleeding. I slowly stand up, keeping my hand in place. Maybe it’ll help if I keep some pressure on the wound.

I try to ignore the dizziness as best as I can while limping to the window and pull the curtains aside. The sun is so high that it must be nearly midday. I sigh sadly at the pretty sight and turn around to take a better look at the room. I’t nice and cozy. The ornamented furniture looks like it’s from another century. And there is a beautiful copper bathtub in one corner. I get a very homely vibe here.

Maybe I really should stay? I mean, where else could I go? You shall certainly have to leave. And fast! He’s an Elf. They can’t be trusted.

“Oh, shut up!” As the words leave my mouth I realise I said it out loud. Talking to my creepy inner voice is definetly not a good sign. I try to close off the part in me that gets a weird feeling every time the voice emerges. When I’m done with that I realize that the bleeding on my neck has stopped. I look at the dried blood on my hand with distaste. I’m a complete mess.

Then I remember the comment about my smell. I sniff the air around me and let’s just say that the words “you smell funny” were quite an understatement. I absolutely stink. I think I’ll take the opportunity to bathe. And after that I’ll decide what to do next.

I take a closer look at the tub and am glad (though very surprised) to discover there’s running water in this house. I’ve read about it from one of mother’s books, but I’ve never actually seen it. I turn one of the faucets and water starts coming from a pipe, straight into the bath. I explore the mechanism for a while and discover there is no hot water coming from either of the pipes.

I rummage the cupboards and drawers for a towel and also borrow some of the Elf’s clothes. If he’s friendly toward me now, he might not mind. And should he still want to kill me, he’d do it anyway, even without me taking his stuff.

As I clean myself, shivering because of the cold water, thoughts keep spinning in my head. Should I, or more importantly, can I trust my life in his hands? Because that’s exactly what staying here would mean. Was he only protecting his property when he threathened to kill me, or is he prone to using violence? I’d be a nervous wreck if I had to watch my back and fear for my life all the time. And where did he go, anyway? I wonder if he left to give me some privacy or to find a bigger weapon to kill me with.

I sigh. The day before yesterday my life was ordinary and predictable, though not entirely pleasant. I already miss it.

I still haven’t come to a conclusion by the time I’ve scrubbed myself completely clean. I briefly think about finding my aunt and asking her for help, but I discard the idea right away. She lives in the capital, Lekolla, which is about a two-week journey from my home. But I’ve only been to her place a couple of times, and I was very young then. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t find her house even if I managed to choose the right path toward the city. Plus, I’d be travelling by foot. And my feet are currently in a very sad shape.

After I get dressed in clean, but ill-fitting clothes, I sit on the bed to catch my breath and wait for the black spots to fade from the edges of my vision. I definetly need to eat something, or I’ll collapse. I raise slowly and limp to the kitchen. A thorough search proves that there isn’t even a single breadcrumb here. Don’t Elfs eat?

As I go out of the cottage, I take a knife I found from the kitchen along as a precaution. I take a couple of steps and the first thing that catches my attention is the smell of fried fish, which makes my stomach rumble. The second is a voice right behind my left shoulder.

“Should I decide to attack, your weapon would be useless. You are by no means a threat. But you may carry it along if it makes you feel better.” My heart is racing again and as he steps away from me, I force myself to calm down. He leaves my company without a single glance toward me. I look at his back as he rounds the corner and dissapears behind the house. I feel IT inside me again and mercilessly push it down. I have enough problems as it is. Dealing with my madness would currently be one too many.

I take my chances and follow the Elf, gripping the knife in my hand. It really does make me feel more confident, even if the feeling is delusional.