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New Feature! The Refuge: The Durants

Looking to get away from everyone’s living and travel advice? Or maybe you need a break from current events? In short, you simply want a few minutes away from the real world.

Welcome to The Refuge.

This is the newest section of Hyogo Times, where we bring you works of fiction from our very own Hyogo JETs. The works you find here may be part of a larger continuous story, or a ‘one and done’ deal, but all are created through creative processes that provide new and imaginative worlds to the reader. So take a breath, relax, and escape from reality for a brief moment.


I.         The Durants


The sun, growing ever hotter by the year, beat down upon the barren soil. There were only a handful of oases left. With them, just a few bands of people remained. Among one of these bands were a young medic and his wife. The star blistered their skin painfully, necessitating long, flowing garments. Brion favored a pale aquamarine, while Gaia wore a deep emerald that brought out her forest-colored eyes. The thick air burned their lungs, reminding them of one reason why they had fled from what was left of society.

“Brion, when do you think we’ll get back home?” Gaia covered her mouth with her sleeve, trying to prevent the haze from poisoning her.

“Maybe an hour. I’m not sure, dear. I have to pick up more supplies from Dr. Carlton.”

Gaia brightened. “I’ll go talk to Mr. Sullivan while you do that then!” She hummed to herself. Drake Sullivan had been their first friend when they moved to this remote desert two years ago. He had helped them with everything, from finding a well-hidden home, to finding work, and adjusting to life among the sands. It was a very different lifestyle from that in Taesh, one of the last cities.

Upon seeing the post declaring their arrival to Hyra, Gaia leapt forward, bounding toward the small market Drake ran. “I’ll wait for you here, Brion!” she shouted over her shoulder. Brion rolled his eyes at his wife in response as he continued on toward Dr. Carlton’s humble clinic.

The footsteps attracted Drake’s attention and he looked up. A grin spread across his face, his worry momentarily forgotten. Gaia Durant was a rare creature. She seemed at home everywhere and was terrifyingly knowledgeable about nearly everything. It had taken less than a week before she had adapted to the desert, despite having lived in the capital her entire childhood.

“Hey Drake! Any eruptions this week yet?” Gaia greeted, as per usual.

“Only from young master Oscar so far. How long are you here for?”

Gaia’s eyes sparkled in anticipation of playing with little Oscar. “Probably about an hour.” She wiped the sweat from her brow as she looked around the stall hopefully, straining to hear the pitter-patter of tiny feet.

“Great. Plenty of time to tell you something important.” Drake smiled, bemused. “Sorry, Gaia. Oscar is sleeping after his great fit. He might wake up before you go.”

Dejected, Gaia began to deflate. In a morose voice, she prompted, “You mentioned something important?”

Drake’s eyes darkened, the smile slipping from them and his mouth. “Someone came by earlier, asking after you and Brion. Someone not from around here. There was a golden sun on his clothes.”

Sweat gushed forth, her heart and stomach dropped, and her mind began running in a frenzy. Never in her wildest nightmares had Gaia thought they’d be found so quickly. “Brion….” she whispered to herself, horror gripping her firmly. She turned on her heel, preparing to sprint to the clinic.

“Wait, Gaia! Take these,” Drake reeled her back, handing her two items. “This is what you asked for last week. Take this to protect yourself.” The second item was a curved blade with an emerald in the pommel and two crimson sashes dangling.

“I don’t—”

“Shhh. You’ll learn. Now go! And be careful!”

Gaia thrust the small box into her pocket, gulped, and took the blade with trepidation. She locked eyes for a brief second with Drake, fear and worry saturating the thick air. Adrenaline pumped through her veins, pushing her toward her husband. If they failed to be cautious, they could be hauled back to Taesh, or invite destruction into Hyra.

The clinic came into sight, and with it Dr. Carlton speaking with the intruder. Gaia ripped her eyes over the rest of the area, searching for some sign of her husband. Her heart pounded, the blood distending her temples. The seconds between each beat stretched into minutes as she crept forward, gripping the sword tightly in her sweaty palm. She saw a flash of Brion’s pale gown in the clinic. The intruder caught sight of it too, breaking off his assailment of Dr. Carlton mid-sentence and stalking toward the building. With each of his steps, the sky brightened and a grating whistling grew more intense. Gaia brought her hood up in a futile effort to block out both the light and the noise. The rustling of her cloak drew the intruder’s attention, and he pivoted in Gaia’s direction.

Fear clawed at her insides and bile rose in her throat as she locked eyes with the brown-eyed man she’d seen once before. Tears threatened to spill out of her widening eyes, dread settling in. Officer Zoran’s mouth widened in surprise. Before he could draw breath, the light became blinding and the whistling blared. A rock collided with the back of Zoran’s head. He crumpled to the ground, unconscious. Dr. Carlton rushed toward him, beginning to drag him toward the clinic.

“Gaia, Brion, go now! Quickly, before he regains consciousness!”

Brion scrambled out of the building and scampered toward his wife, sweat dripping down his forehead. “Dr. Carlton, I—”

“You need to leave. I will take care of things here. Lay low for a while. I’ll visit if I can.” The doctor huffed as he pulled the officer. The young couple took a brief look at the doctor, nodding their thanks before scampering back to the outskirts of the oasis, far from the rest of the town.

Upon descending into their home, both exhaled sharply. Panic still held them in its fist. Gaia wandered off while Brion set about concealing their entryway further. After finishing, he sat down in silence, holding his head. He grew concerned about his wife after he’d sat in deepening silence. He pushed himself to his feet and searched their abode, finally finding her moving as in a daze, clutching something to her chest.

Gaia smiled softly at her husband, murmuring. “We’re going to have a child.”



Brittany Teodorski


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