Storm clouds rolled over one another as they released a torrential downpour of water to the land below, the forest being lit up by the flashes of lightning before the trees shook from the thunders explosion. Drenched and muddy the gypsies below moved their carts through the soft soil, each step being held to the ground by the mud. The motor homes kept moving through the sludge, fearing if they were to stop they would not be able to move, all around them those in task of guarding the group fought off monsters they leap from the dark.
Kara led the group, using her superior handling of blades to carve a path through the monsters that dared to slow the group. A gap appeared in the seemingly endless swarm of nightmares, Kara took this time to go to the lead vehicle yelling to the driver.
“This is only the beginning, we need to use Aramaia. She will see us a way out of this.”
“We can’t she is in the spirit zone.”
“Well get her back we need her eyes.”
Spotting another nightmare Kara returned to the front line, using the lights from the vehicles behind to light up the eyes of her victims before she cut them down. The driver took out a walkie talkie.
“Kara is saying we need Aramaia’s eyes or we will not last the night. I know she is wandering but we need her now.”
The driver peered through his fogged windows at all the carnage that was occurring only a few metres away from him as the receiver of his message ran to Aramaia who laid sleeping peacefully in bed.
Aramaia was asleep in Hollow but her mind was visiting another plane.
She stood in a great white plain, trees sparsely dotting the landscape to give substance to an otherwise featureless expanse. Two young girls stand next to each other staring and the white sun set into the horizon, bringing forth a diverse array or oranges and reds to the sky.
“Aramaia, thank you. I feel like I have been searching for this sunset for such a long time.”
Aramaia turned to the now fading image of the girl next to her, smiling she spoke softly kneeling next to her.
“Tonight you get to bathe in the coloured light, let it guide you back to where you belong.”
As the sun set faded into black sky so did the small girl, leaving Aramaia kneeling alone under the night sky. A new star forming above Aramaia’s head as she laid down, closing her eyes on the spirit plane she found her eyes opening again back on Hollow.
“Aramaia, we were just about to wake you, we need your eyes. The nightmares are being aggressive tonight. We would not ask if we had another way, we know how… we will never know but please, we need you.”
She smiled and hoped down from her bed, heading to the roof of her traveling truck. The rain poured down as she opened the roof hatch, climbing out into the harsh environment. The two men inside the truck followed her out with ropes. Aramaia latched on to the wooden post that was fastened to the roof of the truck, her knuckles white from her grip and the cold winds.
The two men climbed onto the roof with her, struggling to stay standing as the truck jumped around the hilly path.
“We are sorry it has to be like this,” one man yelled through the sounds of the fights below. “It is unfair someone so young has to do this.”
Aramaia smiled at the man. “It does not matter if I am fourteen or if I am forty, the pain would be the same. Those down there risk their life for us, I only have to go through a little pain.”
She turned with her back to the post. “So tie me up and I will walk this Hollow for us.”
The two men tied the young girl to the post and stood guard. Her body shook as she started her process. Her body started to shake, her neck started twitching side to side then her eyes opened beaming white light out in-front of her. Her body started to lift but the ropes held her to the truck.
A ghostly image fell from her body landing on the ground beneath the truck, she watched as the nightmares in the area ran towards her light. The blurred images from the physical plane barely moving as Aramaia looked on from another plane of existence. She wandered ahead of the group trying to find an area of safety, everywhere she looked there was nothing but waves of nightmares heading towards the caravans. She wandered out ahead of the group for nearly ten minutes there was no hope for survival, until she came across a tri of Hunters.
“If there are Hunters here, that means we must be close to a city.”
She wandered close to the three, examining them. Adorning their cloaks was a Sigel that Aramaia recognised. She rushed back to her body with the news, back at the truck they had barely moved. As she met her own body she felt a fire rush into her head as she re-entered her own form. As she returned to the physical plane bloody tears dripped down her face. The two men were shocked as the lights faded from her eyes.
“That was fast, quick get her down. I will make sure nothing gets us.”
With that Aramaia was being unbound as all protected her from the oncoming nightmares, drawn to her once glowing eyes. Her body nearly limp as she was spent from engaging with the spirit realm. Under her breath, she tried telling what she saw, but the rain was too loud for anyone to hear her. She was lowered back into the truck just as nightmares clawed their way onto the top, forcing her guards to stand and fight. Her body dropped as those lowering her had to draw their blades, closing the hatch behind them. Aramaia laid on the ground trying to claw her body to the front of the truck, the sounds of fighting being drowned out by the heavy rains and fast winds. She pulled herself ever closer to the front cabin, blood started to drip down across her face pooling into her eye.
“Driver, please… I know where we need to go.”
Again her voice was drowned out by the weather, arms shaking she continued her clawing towards the head of the truck. Her movements stopping briefly as she felt the rain on the back of her head, groaning she rolled over to see gashes in the truck. Too dazed she laid staring at the new-found holes in the ceiling, her worn brain tried but failed at moving her body. More claw marks made their way across the trucks ceiling till they reached the hatch, she watched incapable of moving as nothing progressed. Body shaking sat praying to the sun that that nightmare had been slain, knowing that if it breaks through those guarding were surly dead. Her heart dropped as the hatch fell into the truck, atop stood a pale blind creature. Its head turned to the side, revealing six ear holes in varying size. Aramaia laid still, thanking the sun that her breathing was shallow from her visions. She watched as the six limbs all twitched towards her, each hand tapping out its surroundings, looking to make purchase on a way out or a new victim. Blood dripped from its mouth, a tongue stretched from another that made birth as its chin split open to reveal another maw more jagged than the first.
The shuffling hands stopped short of her foot as someone dropped into the truck behind the nightmare. Long daggers in each hand Kara stood at the ready, the nightmare turned and leaped forward blindly. All six clawed limbs aimed towards Kara as it flew across the room, unable to react against the attack she flailed her blades to redirect the claws that were to pierce her. All six limbs colliding with the wall with two dropping to the ground for feet, its mouths now poised a breath away from her own. With deliberation and great precision Kara slid a blade into the nightmares ribs causing it to scream from its mouths. The mouths were forced shut as her second blades drove upwards through them into the head of the nightmare. The body fell limp to the floor as Kara dropped her blades.
“Where are we heading Aramaia? We are getting slaughtered.”
“Get everyone inside, drive north with speed. Hunters from Rem are on the road heading our way.”
“Rem? We are already at the capitol?”
Kara leaped back into the night, screaming as she went. Those on the road moved into the vehicles drawing their ranged weapons, they started driving at full speed. The vehicles were protected by the many gypsies, but the nightmares still contacted the trucks, leaving behind deep reminders to the gypsies. The trucks drove through the mud and rain, battling the winds till they left the cover of the forest allowing the rain un-interrupted presence to the windshield. Now blinded the drives drove on faith, until blue eyes pierced the black and the crow like scream of the Hunters sounded, drowning the sound of the rain. As the blue lights of the Hunters appeared the Gypsies turned their truck lights off, the nightmares quickly changed path and started to head towards the Hunters beaming blue eyes.
“Tonight, we bathe in the blood of pale clawed abominations. Let us make this swift.”
As the lead Hunter finished his speech, the two behind him disappeared into bolts of blue light. Taking a deep breath, the lead Hunter turned on music within his mask and drew his lance.
“I love my job, come get me you pale pricks.”
The lead Hunter walked forward slowly with his lance by his side, he watched as the wave of the pale nightmares drew ever closer. As the first nightmare reached him he smiled, the claws outstretched ready to plunge into his chest. Another blue light flashed and a Hunter appeared with a massive hammer, slamming into the nightmare before disappearing with another blue flash. The truck drivers drove on using the blue flashes of teleporting Hunters to light their way, until the Gypsies path was once again blocked by three sets of glowing blue eyes.
The lead Gypsy got out of her truck and headed over to the Hunters, they looked down upon her as she stood before them.
“Why are you travelling at night? Do you have a death wish?”
Gara-vae looked up through the rain, shielding her eyes with a hand as she looked upon the plague mask resting on broad shoulders.
“We travel day and night, we take the risk and we prevail. How far till Rem?”
“I guess we helped you prevail this night, as for Rem… three days walk west.”
Gara-vae bowed gently and returned to her truck, grabbing her radio to talk to the rest.
“We are changing direction everyone, we move west.”
A choir of cheers sounded as they started to head west, Gara-vae made her way to Aramaia’s truck.
“Why is it that you seem to suffer more when you wander on the physical plane, as opposed to the spirit plane?”
Aramaia sat quietly in her chair, her hands still shaking.
“I don’t know, but it feels wrong for me to wander on the physical plane while my body is still there. I think It is wrong to exist twice on the same plane of existence.”
“besides the pain does it feel… different?”
“No, but unlike the spirit plane each step is pain. Even when I remain still I hurt, but I will not stop as long I can help those in our group.”
Gara-vae shuffled a little closer to Aramaia.
“We found you nearly fifteen years ago, as a babe in the woods, you have saved us more times than we have saved you. You owe us nothing, you can leave.”
Aramaia smiled reaching out cradling Gara-vae’s hands.
“I do not save you to repay a debt, I save you to save. All are children of the Sun, all on this world and any other with Sun are my family.
Both shared a silence, then Aramaia slowly fell into a restful sleep. Staring through the window of the truck stood Anodyne and the Conductor.
“Conductor, do we know where this child came from?”
“No my lord, you traced her path back but she seemed to be born from dust. Then when you traced the dust it seemed to come from Earth.”
“Right, Earth, a vile place. I am glad we do not live there. But I am still confused as to how the fuck something is bringing dust from Earth, to my planet, and birthing these dust babies. What deity insults me this time?”
“If they offend you, why not slaughter them?”
“Because I don’t know where they are coming from, I don’t remove what I do not know before I know it. Even if they all seem to try and make my planet better, they are only few, I can dispose of them once I know where they come from.”