Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day Five-Thirty-Three: I have yet to create a well-mannered child

We're seven hours' travel from Vacia, making good headway to the west. Not much to report on the travelling - which is good, 'cause we've got another problem on our hands. If you read yesterday's entry, you can probably guess what it is.

I've had the pleasure of watching over the little girl we found only once. The hour long shifts are pretty tame, and a few workers looking to capitalize on the ease of the duty have 'volunteered' to take longer shifts. Grylock remained at her side for no less than three hours, and that's only because he was taking naps whenever others were out of earshot. Little bastard.

I've been using the present tense to describe watching over the girl. Two hours ago, I would not have been grammatically incorrect. Ever since Edmund came charging into the halls, though, her comatose status has changed dramatically.

I was digging into dinner, sitting by Libby's hammock as she slumbered, when I heard a shout in the hallways of Subsistence. It was loud enough to wake up Libby, and she lazily kicked me in the head to send me on an investigation. (Her kicks have a lot less power these days. Guess her muscles are all going into her enormous stomach.)

I emerged to find a small knot of people gathered down the corridor. Still munching on a scrumptious meal of corn and cooked field grubs (seriously, they're GREAT), I jogged over to see what was the matter.

Ed was sprawled out on the floor, rolling wildly and clutching at his arm. I immediately noticed small specks of red on his chocolate skin. (I figured his blood would be milky white, to be honest. Is that racist? I only recently learned that racism is a thing. Not sure if I'm doing it right.) Despite the obvious pain Ed remained lyrical in his explanations, and it took a few stanzas for him to reveal that the little girl had woken up and attacked him.

"She's rent, she's rent, she's rent my skin apart!" he cried, raising his arm dramatically into the air. "What pain! What pain! That saucy little tart!"

"Go bandage yourself up, ya baby." I nudged at Ed to get him out of the doorway into the recovery room. "Now, where… ah. Hi, there."

Peering into the room, shouldering past the crowd of onlookers (must there ALWAYS be onlookers?), I spotted the girl at once. She'd wedged herself under the bed in the room and was staring out at me, her wide, white eyes filled with suspicion and fear. I stooped to my knees and beckoned her forward, but she growled and refused to move.

Sigh. I scratched my head. At least old men masquerading as little kids are well behaved.

It took us three hours to coax her out of her hiding spot, and by the end I don't think 'coax' was the appropriate word to describe the situation. We used gentle words; we used accepting gestures; we used bribes of food, water, and shiny things; we used veiled threats wrapped in happy tones, as though speaking to an unruly dog. None of the above worked, and eventually we had to go in and remove the girl by force. As much for her safety as for ours. Took five grown men and one wussy bard, but we got the job done.

The girl remains hostile. Awake, which is a start, but hostile. If she understands our words, she shows no sign of comprehension. Maybe she doesn't care to comprehend? Maybe the whole world is now an enemy? No clue. She's currently restrained, at any rate, and those lucky souls watching over her now have to put up with constant snarling and incoherent curses. They also get to wipe the spittle from her mouth, which is a dangerous and gross job.

I have no idea what to do with this girl. If she's gonna become part of the crew… well… hell. I just don't know.


Dragomir the Wanderer

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