Author’s note : Hah! After that hiatus here’s the next origin a little early 🙂 I’ll get to updating the character list within the next few days. Still looking for a editor to help out. Can contact through discord.
Arc 2 – A New Dawn
Chapter 6 – The Dawning of a new Day (2)
Anna blinked as one of her friends looked at her expectantly. “I’m sorry, I didn’t quite catch that,” she said to the face, which scowled and said, “I said, when are you and Scott going to get over your tiff?” Anna nearly recoiled from the question and said, “After what he did to Matt, how could you ask that?” Jenna scowled, “It wasn’t him, he said so. He was with his mates in Grand Central, nowhere near Matt when he got jumped. And besides, how could you believe that pathetic loser over your boyfriend.”
Anna didn’t have an answer for her, it wasn’t something that could be put into words, but she knew it had been Scott. She’d thought about nothing else since she’d found Matt, lying in his own congealed blood out by his car. He’d been out there, baking in the sun on the car park that was covered with blue-chip rocks for the better part of the afternoon. Until she’d found him after finishing classes at 7. She remembered how he’d looked at her when she found him, the joy and happiness in his eyes, contrasted with the stony almost hostile glare he’d had when he looked at her when she’d gone to see him in the hospital.
After she’d seen that glare, she had gone to see Scott, who had looked only too pleased with himself over something and she knew it had been him. His flimsy denials had meant nothing, and she’d screamed at him, and stormed off. They hadn’t spoken since and she was still unsure what her full reaction would be. The thought that kept coming back to her was if he would do that to a guy who had just looked at her. How long would it take before that level of jealousy, distrust and rage was directed at her. Anna’s father was also abusive and she feared that sort of domestic violence more then anything. Anna might have looked small and petite but she also posessed a natural athleticism, after the bastard had died, she’d spent every moment she could learning self-defense, and had become proficient in two different martial arts and was working on a third.
Anna couldn’t continue to deal with Jenna’s blind devotion to Scott, she probably fancied him and was doing anything to prove she deserved him. Well, whether or not the little hussy could have him, Anna hadn’t decided yet. So she stood up and said, “I’m going to my prac, I’ll see you guys later.” Jenna smiled a knowing smile, as if she’d beaten her, as she said. “But it’s not for another half hour.”
“I have to see the proffessor before class,” she said to the smiling little bitch, as she hurriedly left the coffee table. Anna was able to stave off the doubts about her friends and boyfriend for the next three hours as her studies kept her mind occupied. She left class, and took a different route out to her car, one that went by the library block, where she knew Jenna wouldn’t be waiting to ambush her with more crap about Scott.
She got out to her car, alone in the parking lot and a dark patch caught her eye, and the images that she’d been trying so hard not to see again came rushing back. Matt laying there, the look in his eyes, the look later and Scott’s smug look of satisfaction as he lied to her about nearly killing Matt. These four moments in time resonated like a drum beat that called to her, as she decided she no longer cared what her friends thought. Her and Scott were over, and she was going to see Matt. Now.
The drive home took Anna about forty five minutes, mostly because traffic was nightmarish at this time. This city might not be that large but it saddled a major transport route between the coast and the grain belt. The time between leaving Uni and reaching home had given her too much time to think, too much time to replay the last week in her mind. Finally she turned off the twisting road that led to her house.
A secluded piece of bush hidden on a hidden road that used to be the serivce road for the range crossing. She pulled into her garage, and turned the car off. She got out of the car, and shut the door and after a quite moment in which she dreaded what she had to do next, started walking over to the hidden path through the bushes that they’d made as children, that led to Matt’s house.
Anna walked the path as carefully as possible, it hadn’t been used in years and was overgrown. It took some doing, but after a few false starts where she had left the path accidently, she emerged into Matt’s backyard. Even after all these years, and all their history, the place still looked the same. She hadn’t been here since she was fifteen, but it could have been yesterday. She walked around to the front door and knocked on the door. She waited a few minutes, and then the door opened and her eyes widened in shock.
Matt had stayed in his room, and let the emotional deluge work its way out of his system. The sadness had welled up out of nowhere, and retreated just as abruptly. He had never been one for second guessing himself, but now…. all he ever seemed to do was replay the moment over and over in his mind. Analysing possible actions, coming to the same conclusion over and over. He did this often while awake, and even sometimes dreamed about it. But thankfully, that was growing rarer as his mind recovered from the shock of a sudden, unprovoked violent attack.
He quietly hoped into the shower, and let the hot water soothe him, as the water washed away the remnants of the tears. He got out and looked in the mirror at himself with the harshest eye possible. Criticising every flaw, the small amount of flab that was on his body. If he had trained during high school as well as study, he might have been more toned, he might have even been good enough to date Anna, and this horrid mess would never have happened. Hindsight assailed his reflection, and after a while his resiliency re-asserted itself. Scott thought he had him beat did he, he’d show the prick.
Matt came out of the shower with a towel wrapped around his midriff, and went into his room and changed into his PT gear. As he came out of the room, Ian looked over from the computer and said, “Dude! You sure you should be running so soon? Doc said to take it easy for a while, besides why have a shower first, and then go for a run.”
Matt smiled and said, “Don’t worry, I’m only going to find the kinks. Most I’ll do is jog, I promise.”
Ian nodded, “I’ll hold you to that, wait up and I’ll get changed so I can go with.”
Matt shook his head and then said, “No man, got some stuff I want to jog out of me, I’ll only be going up the old ranger’s trail. Nothing that a toddler couldn’t handle. Can you cook tea while I’m out, and I don’t mean order take out. There’s Hokken noodles, and chicken in the fridge. A chicken stir-fry sounds good for tea.” With that he sat down and put his runners on to Ian’s martyred expression about having to actually cook. Matt smirked back at Ian, then stood back up and exited by the back door, heading down the trail that led from the house to the set of naturally occurring animal trails that wound through the bush and the sleepy valleys.
Ten minutes into the run, he’d lied to Ian, Matt ached in his joints and muscles. He slowed his pace a little, but he kept running until he came to the rock. His father had first laid out these trails a month after buying the house. He’d been a runner too, said it helped him unwind, he’d marked the trails, with a special shorthand system, indicating level of workout, level of obstacle and level of safety. Normally he would have taken the right hand path, as it led to a series of mid to high intensity aerobic workout trails that were safe and fairly unobstructed.
Today however, he chose the left path. The rock warned that it provided an extreme muscle building workout. He had never taken this path, his father had told him to stay away from it until he was older and he had a chance to show it to him. More importantly, to never never attempt it alone. Today, the notion of devil may care ruled him, and he took off up the left path.
Within 20 metres of heavy scrub he came to the first obstacle, a rock wall about 5 metres high. He began to have real doubts, even if he weren’t still aching from the battering, he would need to be in top physical condition to attempt this path. He pushed the note of caution ringing in his brain down into a deep dark corner and stepped on it, silencing it for good. Sizing the wall up he took a handhold and started climbing. As he got to the top and looked over the otherside, bare track led up to a ledge that skirted round a cliff face. He then turned around and slowly, with his shoulders protesting all the while, managed to get about half way back down the rockwall before he slipped and fell.
His landing could have been better and he fell onto his rear. As he slowly got up he staggered around for a moment and then looked back up at the rockwall, which had no hand holds that he could reach anyway. This trail must exit somewhere else, so to get home he would either have to complete it, or as he looked over the edge of the marked path. Spend several hours climbing down and around before being able to head back to familiar territory. He weighed both options for a moment, and then decided to continue, as he turned and took a step, he caught his foot on a barely exposed tree root, which sent him stumbling toward the edge of the trail. He threw his hands out, trying to save himself on the young tree that was clinging to the edge, it arrested his momentum for a moment, before giving way and sending him plunging down the incline.
He experienced sheer panic for that single moment of flight, before his survival instincts kicked in, he threw his hands out and as he landed he collapsed one elbow and then tucked his shoulder in so that he transitioned from a face forward head plant into a combat roll that saved his life. The role flipped him onto his back and turned his tumble into a slide. He slid over bare rock, gravel and through various plants and branches till he hit a gulley about a hundred metres down the slope.
He passed out, and when he came to in the gulley, he was covered in mud, scratches and some minor lacerations. He ached all over, but he was still alive and somehow without any broken bones. He tried to laugh weakly at his good fortune and coughed in a spasm of pain. His aches had aches, but he lived to fight another day. Ian would rip him a new one when he finally managed to stumble his way home, but things could be worse, a lot worse. A moment later a sharp cracking sound reached his ears from close by and he froze.
There wasn’t any large feline predators in these mountains, or not that he’d ever heard from the farmers, and they’d go after cows more then they would be lurking around waiting to gobble up injured humans. But he didn’t question the sound, someone could be lurking in the scrub, and when you heard a noise in the forest you don’t turn to your mate and ask “Is that a tiger?”, you just run.
So Matt crawled quietly, and then more with more speed, mentally cursing and then coaxing his bruised, battered and fall damaged muscles to get a little more speed out of them as the need to be away from here consumed him. His senses were on high alert as he creeped through the bush, the sound behind him moved one way and then another as if it was stalking him, and he nearly went into a frenzy at that thought. He neared a large hole in the ground, probably washed away by the recent rains and turned to make his stand against what was ever out there as best he could.
Matt stood in a crouch awaiting the mystery threat, and what stepped out of the bush was the last thing he expected. Gleaming metal and prehensile appendages, it’s appearance shocked him so much, that he forgot there was a hole right behind him and he took an involuntary step back.
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