Monday, May 04, 2009

Seven #1.5

Seven, Cassius, Nicholas and Tara had followed the railroad tracks the last two days and have traveled about seventy miles. Seven was more interested in Cassius' visions and his journey up to Cassoday. Tara and Nicholas remained relatively quiet.

The sun was almost down and Cassius stopped and looked around. "We should stop for the night," he said.

"When are we going to get to the King's Elm?" Tara asked.

"I don't know," Cassius began, " my visions aren't clear as to where the seven things are but I know them when I get to them."

"I just don't want to walk right past it. We've passed hundreds of elm trees since leaving Cassoday and I keep getting my hopes up," Tara said.

"I will know when we come to it," Cassius said sternly. It took me nearly two months to get to Cassoday so it will just take time."

"Cassius will tell us when we get there. It's obviously a very special elm tree, Tara," Seven said sternly.

Tara sat down on the railroad grade and sighed. The guys went to the bottom of the grade and began to set up camp. Seven and Nicholas began putting down the blankets while Cassius gathered up sticks for a fire.

"I can't believe a blind man like Cassius is so active," Seven said in amazement. "I know a part of it is the visions but I still think it's amazing."

"I see something," Cassius suddenly said. "We should take turns keeping watch tonight."

"Secrets In the Night"
Seven took the first watch. He sat against a nearby tree and watched his friends sleep. Seven was as tired as them but opted to take the first watch because he felt it would be easier to stay up. It wasn't quite as easy as he thought. He began drifting off to sleep about an hour after everybody else.

"Seven?" asked a voice. Seven lifted his head and his eyes opened slightly. "Seven? Wake up, sweetie."

Seven's eyes popped open. "Mom?" he asked.

Standing in front of him, dressed in a white flowing robe, illuminated by the moon so that she looked like an angel was his mother, Eliana. Seven was too stunned to say anything or react but teared up at the sight of his mom.

"You are so handsome. You look just like your father," Eliana said quietly and reached out to touch Seven's face.

Seven moved his head out of her reach. "I've missed you."

"I'm sorry, Seven. I didn't want to leave but I had to. I didn't want to miss seeing you grow up. I was so scared that your father wouldn't be able to handle it but I see Tzviel did just fine," Eliana looked back at Tara, still sleeping. "He did just fine with both of you."

"He's been the best father anyone could ever ask for and I'm sure Tara would agree," Seven said.

"I just wanted to make sure you were all right," Eliana said. "Be careful on this journey. It will be very long and even when you reach the Valley, it will still be difficult."

"What are you...What are you talking about?"

"You'll see," Eliana began to fade away. Soon she was gone and Seven jolted himself awake.

"No, Mom!" he shouted. His eyes adjusted to the darkness and he saw Cassius knealing down in front of him. "Cassius. I'm sorry. I fell asleep."

"No problem. Dreaming of your mom, huh?" he asked.

"Yeah. She died when I was seven and I've never dreamed about her until tonight. It was...I never realized how much I missed her until just now," Seven said and stood up to stretch.

"How did she die, if you don't mind me asking," Cassius asked.

"She got sick. That's really all I know. Is it your turn to watch?" Seven asked.

"Yep. It's about midnight. Get some sleep, see you in the morning."

Seven went over with Nicholas and Tara and immediately fell asleep. Cassius stayed under the tree and looked up at the night sky and smiled. He sat alone in the dark for a long time until Tara woke up and walked over to him.

"How's it going?" she asked.

"Is it three already?" Cassius asked.

"No, I woke up early. Doing okay out here?"

"Yeah. It's a really nice night. I think the stars are so beautiful," Cassius said.

Tara looked up and then back at Cassius. "Can I ask you something personal?"

"Sure, Tara."

"How did you become blind?"

"Very good question. I remember it so clearly. I was 15 and I, along with my mother and father were working on this plantation near the Mississippi Delta. We were happy there but we were still slaves. My father was out working in the fields and I was returning home from school and I walked into my house and saw my owner--normally a really nice guy, very personable and kind--on top of my mother. From the way she was screaming and the look on her face, he was raping her. They looked at me and I turned to go find my father in the fields. Malcolm--that was my owner's name--caught me and dragged me into a shed. He whipped me for what seemed like hours and then, just so I couldn't see anything else I wasn't supposed to see, he poured some sort of acid on my eyes. The scars healed pretty well but, well, now I can't see," Cassius told.

"That's horrible," Tara said.

"It was at the time. At 18, Malcolm kicked me off the plantation. I never saw my parents again and I've done the best I could but I do believe that these visions are the best thing to ever happen to me. So in retrospect, I guess being blinded has been pretty good, too."

"That's being positive," Tara said. "I originally didn't want to come on this journey."

"I figured as much. Why did you come? You didn't have to," Cassius asked.

Tara looked at where Seven was sleeping. "I came for Seven," she smiled. "I love him and I want to be with him and be in his life no matter what the cost."

"That's a very good reason. I'm glad you decided to go. Having a woman on board will keep things interesting and you'll think with your head. You'll think things out before acting," Cassius said. "And I know Seven really enjoys having you here."

"I know," Tara said and smiled as she looked up at the stars. "You can turn in if you want. I'll start my watch."

The group comes to the town of Hazlewood, which is haunted by the demons of it's past.