The Durants Part V



“Mom, we have to go, now!” Bionca pleaded while her father held their door open. Gaia shook together with the earth beneath her feet as she grabbed everything she thought might help. “Just grab the sword and let’s go! We don’t have time for this!” her daughter warned, desperation crawling into her sweet voice.

Tying the sword around her waist, Gaia followed her grown child and husband out the door. Ash and a red haze from magma finding its way to the surface blotted out the sun. A chill took a hold of the mother.

The trio ran toward the center of Hyra, hoping to catch the Sullivans and Dr. Carlton before they fled. Before they could reach Drake’s store, however, they were apprehended by a growing mob.

“The Harbinger! The Harbinger did this!”

“Leave her to die with her curse!”

“Take off her head!”

The cacophony rose as froth began to line the Hyrans’ lips like some sort of garish cosmetic. Hands clawed toward the woman, but she shook them off with the help of her parents. Fear coiled around the citizens of the dying oasis, the hysteria nearly palpable. After all these years the volcano was now unleashing the Hyrans’ suppressed hostility toward the Durants.

“Enough!” a voice cut through the discord. Drake and Oscar appeared upon their roof. “We all needa leave now. We don’t got time for your squabblin’.”

“Bee, com’ere.” Oscar offered his hand. She took it and looked out over the townsfolk. Their eyes held both the typical paranoia and an animalistic horror at the situation in which they had found themselves.

“Now listen up! We need to get to safety now! We’re gonna head toward the capital.” Bionca saw a dark look pass between her parents. “These past few years’ve been hard on people. They’ll be prowlin’ the roads, lookin’ to pick off the weak. We must stand strong. Together! Or we will die.” Drake’s confident voice drowned the dying murmurs of the superstitious. He turned toward his son and Bionca, and squeezed both of their shoulders. “Oscar, my man. Keep Bee here safe. Bee, you keep my man safe. Stick together, or we’re all goners.” The ageing man scrambled down the side of his shop and was immediately swarmed by all seeking protection under his leadership.

Bionca saw a figure in the distance struggling with a cart. She nudged Oscar before jumping down. Frantically, she took the cart stocked with medical supplies from the doctor’s hands.

“Thank you Bionca,” he greeted wearily. “You’ve always been such a big help.” The doctor smiled warmly at the woman, tired wrinkles stretching out from his eyes. Oscar caught him by his upper arm as he wobbled on his rotting peg leg.

“You really oughta get that replaced, Doc,” the man chastised. “Too late now, I s’pose.”

Tremors began to spread under their feet, prompting the Hyrans to scurry as one frightened colony toward the capital road. As they reached the mountain pass farthest from the spewing lava, rocks rained upon them from above and large swathes of their former home sunk into the ground, revealing bitingly cold seawater. Drake did his best to lead the Hyrans out of their dying land while his son tried to quell their nerves. Dr. Carlton and the Durants brought up the rear, the quartet all silently worrying about what violence the people may inflict on the Harbinger if they were not careful.

The volcano belched a cloud of ash and returned to sleep.


One night after several days of walking,Brion fell into a fitful sleep. He dreamed his face was reflected in the moon, his daughter struggling toward him through space as his wife watched helplessly from the earth. When he was awoken by a sharp crack, sweat coated his entire body. Bewildered, he searched around their small camp separated from the rest of the Hyrans. The fire was smoking, only embers remaining. Near its carcass, Oscar lay facedown, eerily still.

Farther into the distance, he could make out the form of three people, one struggling between the others. Brion grabbed the blood-stained rock beside the fire and crept toward the trio. One step.Six steps. As quickly and quietly as he could, he approached the abductors. He threw his weight into the smaller one and cleaved his weapon into the jaw of the other.

The sickening crack was soon joined by the shrieks of the Hyran man and grunts from the road-worn woman. Bionca shredded her bonds and leapt toward her father. Stumbling and screaming, the Hyran returned toward his camp, likely to rouse the others and drive out the Durants. The road-woman glared up at the pair, crouching before bounding into the darkness.

Visibly shaken, father and daughter rushed back to their dying fire. Bionca shook the slumber out of the others while Brion cared for Oscar. Dr. Carlton joined him shortly. There was a heavily bleeding gash where he had been struck with the rock. The pair worked quickly to wash out the wound and suture it up with the supplies they had toted along.

“My boy,” Drake whispered mournfully to himself. “Why did they do this to my boy?” A slow stream of tears trekked down his cheek before falling to the ground. When beckoned, he helped Brion pull Oscar onto the cart, sacrificing some of the supplies.

“We need to go.” There was no room for question in Bionca’s voice.

“We’re weak on our own. We gotta stick with-”

“Drake, they tried to kill both of our children.” A fire radiated from Brion. “We have to leave them before they come back to finish the job.”

The old shopkeeper hung his head, two last tears falling directly to the earth before his eyes dried. Steeling himself, he rose to his full height, towering over the others. “Then let’s get goin’. We can’t waste anymore time.” He grabbed Dr. Carlton under his arm. The doctor hobbled less with Drake’s assistance. Brion and Bionca struggled with the cart occupied by Oscar, and Gaia grabbed what fallen supplies she could.

Wistfully she looked back at the camp, lamenting the chasm that had appeared between them and the Hyrans.




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