Hi there! Welcome back to another segment of Unraveled! I hope you’re still enjoying it; thank you so much for all your wonderful, supportive comments! I’m having fun blogging another book. 🙂
I do have some other posts in the works, but I haven’t had time to write them up. I feel bad posting only Unraveled, but I’ve been really busy lately. Hopefully I can get them posted in the future. If only I had a working Time Turner, I could get so much more done. 😉
Today’s segment is a little bit different, as you’ll see from the opening bit. I lost about 2,000 words of the story when Microsoft Word crashed, so I had to rewrite part 11 and 12. It was annoying, but now I know to keep things saved in Google Docs! Live and learn. 🙂
Unraveled, Part 11
My dress gathers around my ankles, nearly tripping me as I run down the stairs and into the gardens. Thorns tug at my skin, ripping through my flesh, and I bite my lip to keep from crying out in pain. I don’t dare look to see if anyone follows me. Instead I hitch up my dress around my knees and run for my life.
I have to make it outside the palace gates. It would be faster to take a horse, but there’s no time to saddle one, and I can’t ride without a saddle. So I sprint, tripping over roots and branches, heart trying to fly out my mouth.
People are calling my name. I hear Elide calling for me. Fear courses through my veins and increases my speed. Will she come after me? She could catch me if she wanted to. If she’s letting me go, that means I’m running right into a trap.
But because it’s my nature, I still run. I have to at least try to escape. If I can make it to the Well, I’ll be able to hide. I don’t want to leave, but it’s my only choice. The Well is just outside the gates, and they’re within reach. Something sharp pinches the bottom of my foot, a rock of some sort, and I whimper in pain. Don’t stop now! I tell myself, and I throw myself forward, fingers scraping across the rough stone of the gate. I fall –
I jerked awake. Catherine’s hand was on my shoulder.
“Bad dream?” she asked.
I groaned. The dream was already fading; all I could remember were snatches of it, like the feeling of running and the blur of the gardens. “No,” I said. It was true, it hadn’t been a bad dream, just a peculiar one.
We were in a parking lot outside Wendy’s. Rory was nowhere in sight, and Catherine was leaning in through the open door. I blinked. “Wait, how long was I asleep?”
“About five hours,” said Catherine. She laughed at the expression on my face.
“You’re kidding.” I yawned, stretching, and went to rub the sleep out of my eyes.
“Yeah, you were pretty out of it,” she said. “We ran into some bad traffic about four hours in, and we just got here.”
I sat up, stuffing the shawl back into my bag.
“Rory’s inside getting food,” said Catherine, seeing the question in my face. “Are fries okay with you?”
“Of course.” It felt like my stomach had been replaced with a bottomless pit of hunger. I found myself craving the salty, fat-filled unhealthiness of fast food. I went to rub my eyes and flinched as a stabbing pain lanced through my finger. My left index finger was covered in a Band-Aid, stained with dark red.
My finger had hurt before I fell asleep, from the crocheting I was doing, but I hadn’t bandaged it or anything. How had that gotten there? Had I spaced out and forgotten doing it?
“Oh,” said Catherine, “I forgot to mention…” She leaned on the side of the car, looking a little embarrassed. “I tried to wake you up about an hour ago, when Rory stopped for gas, but you were dead to the world. You had this awful cut on your finger, it was bleeding all over your clothes, so I just stuck a Band-Aid on it. I had some antibiotic stuff in my purse so I just…” She trailed off.
“Thank you,” I said, feeling a little flustered myself. I didn’t want her to see the extent of the damage the shawl had wrought. But she had noticed my bandaged fingers before, so of course she would have noticed this time too. “I mean, that was sweet of you. I can’t believe I slept through that.”
“Me neither,” said Catherine, a smile stretching across her face. I couldn’t help but notice how perfectly white her teeth were, like she was a model for a teeth-whitening commercial or something. Naturally I kept that thought quiet so I didn’t sound like a creep.
I noticed Rory coming out of the restaurant doors with a paper bag in hand. My stomach growled, like it had detected the presence of food, and my mouth watered. I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, which was now nothing but a memory. Catherine looked over her shoulder. “Oh good, I’m starving.”
Rory’s eyes widened for a minute when she saw me awake, but her shocked expression was fleeting, leaving me to wonder if I was making things up. She thrust the bag into my hands, and the smell of French fries pervaded my senses. “Good to see you awake, Emma,” she said. “I was beginning to think you were comatose!”
“So was I,” said Catherine with a laugh. “All it took was fries to wake her up.”
“Did you have a nice nap, dear?” asked Rory. I had popped a French fry into my mouth, so I just nodded. “Great. You girls eat, because we have a bit of a hike ahead of us.”
After sleeping for so long the thought of stretching my legs sounded wonderful. I pulled out the carton of fries and held it out to Catherine so we could both eat. I stood next to her, leaning against the car, reveling in the cold air blowing against my face.
While we ate, I took in my surroundings. We were in a small parking lot bordered by Wendy’s and a couple other stores. Behind us stretched a wall of pine trees, verdant waves against the gray-blue sky. The forest started out sparse but thickened quickly – it looked like it would be easy to get lost in there. Clouds were beginning to roll across the sky, shielding me from the glare of the sun.
It was a vast difference from earlier, and I had a sudden twinge of unease.
I licked the salt off my fingers and threw the carton away, nowhere near full but unwilling to ask for more. I went to get back into the car, but Rory shook her head.
“We’ll be walking to the nature center,” she said. “To get the whole nature vibe, there are no cars permitted on the premises. Don’t worry, I’ve been here before; I know where to go.”
There were smarter things to do than walk into the forest with a stranger, but I was about to do just that.
Reading back over this part… Can you tell I wrote it when I was hungry? 😉 Also, I definitely don’t recommend doing what Emma does in this part. Or any of Unraveled, for that matter; who knows what she’ll do in the future.
How are y’all doing? I hope you had a lovely week, and have a restful, craft-filled weekend! 😀