The Lightsby Narratorway
Terra and Gau: The Learning Lights
Terra and Gau: The Learning Lights
Chapter 3 - An Angry Night
"I bet it was quite an adventure." Katarin was sitting in her rocking chair by the fireplace with Terra. Unfortunately Duane only made one, so Terra was forced to use the old chair.
"Oh yes, that it was." Terra replied. She was staring at the fire, both of them were. Lost in thoughts, some good, some bad. "But all the while, I was worried. I wasn't sure if you and Duane could handle things alone." Terra smiled, "Guess I had nothing to worry about. You even brought the town back to life." She had seen all the repaired houses as they went into the orphanage. They didn't look brand new, far from it, but they were a far cry of their former selves.
"Oh that was all Duane's idea," she said in an exasperated tone, "Right after you left, he finished reinforcing the orphanage. Then he got it into his head to do the same thing for the other houses. One thing led to another and before you know it, he was spending more time risking his life on those roofs, than hunting for food. Despite all my efforts, I just couldn't get him to quit."
Terra looked at her with raised eyebrows, "Why Katarin, why would you want him to quit?"
Katarin turned to her, "I don't understand, you were the one who told us never to go outside cause of the monsters. A-and there Duane would be, working inside, inside those rickety old shacks, making all sorts of noises." She began to talk quicker and louder, "I remember when I heard the most terrible crash while he was 'working', then silence, awful silence. I was terrified and waited for what seemed like an eternity, then Duane appeared at the door, covered in dust and smiling, smiling! Didn't he realize he could've killed himself for nothing?! Doesn't he realize this town's finished?! It'll never be the same again no matter how much he wants it to!" She burst into tears.
Terra got out of the old chair to comfort her, but before she could do anything a howl from outside split the silence in two. Instantly, both women forgot about the outbursts and got to work. Katarin went to the bedroom and prepared all the children. The howl came again, and all the children became quiet, as they were trained to do. Terra went up the stairs; Duane was waiting for her. He had an ax in his hand.
"Duane, I want you to stay here, okay?"
"I've been outside befo-" another howl came. This time they heard it directly above them. Duane gasped. "It's on the roof!" he whispered. He looked at Terra. She was thinking about something and not paying attention to him or the thing above their heads. "Terra!" he whispered harshly.
"Shhh, Duane." Terra replied.
"But it's on the roof!"
"I don't think it's a monster."
"Just go down and protect the kids."
Grudgingly, Duane went down the stairs. Protecting the kids was a joke, he remembered when she would say it to get rid of him when an animal attacked the house. Didn't she realize that he'd been going outside to battle these monsters ever since she left?
Terra walked out of the house with her sword drawn, ready for an attack at any time. It was windy outside, and cool. It whipped her hair around her face. Slowly she backed away from the house, looking up at the roof. Sure enough, on the top was a figure on all fours. It howled again, and Terra sheathed her sword. She saw Gau's outline against the moon, but couldn't be sure until he raised his head to howl.
Gau turned a looked at her, then smiled, "Hi Terra. Why not sleeping?"
"Gau, what are you doing? Get down!"
"Gau telling all the animals, they not come here. They not allowed here."
Terra gaped at him, and he howled again. Behind her, from far away, she heard a reply. Howling, from many voices, the same as Gau's, only without the inflections that would mistake them for human. She hesitated, not sure what to do, "What did they say?"
"They say that this place shouldn't be here." Gau looked worried, "They say that this place is where friends killed for no reason. They don't want this place to be here anymore." He looked at her inquiringly. At first she didn't understand, then it hit her: revenge. Whatever was out there wanted revenge. The idea chilled her to the bone.
Before she could reply, more howls were heard. They were louder...and closer. "Gau, get inside right now! Hurry!" He ignored her. "Gau!"
"Terra get inside. Gau protect everyone." With that he stood up and ran to the end of the roof and jumped. He landed like a cat and ran on all fours out into the darkness before Terra knew what was happening. She called out, but of course it was too late. Terra stood there, confused, afraid, and worst of all, in doubt. Why wasn't she running after him? Maybe this was all a mistake. Maybe he was meant to live in the wild, like the veldt. She began to hear more howls, some from Gau. Suddenly growls were heard, then something large roared. She heard Gau roar back and it sounded weak and small in comparison. She grabbed her sword hilt. Why wasn't she running after him?
With a cry, Terra turned around and ran into the house.
Duane was at the stairs. He'd been debating whether or not he should have gone out with Terra, when she ran through the door. She was panting heavily.
"Duane, get downstairs, okay?"
"What about the monsters?" My God, she looked haggard.
"It's ok, everything's fine."
"Are you sure Terra?" she sounded distant, as if she didn't even know he was there...and tired.
"Yes." Very tired. She began to walk down the stairs. "Gau has it covered. He'll protect us."
"What?! Terra, you don't mean the wild boy do you? He-" before he could finish, she whirled around, and he could swear that her eyes were red.
"His name is Gau and don't you ever forget that, understand? That 'boy' has lived all of his life in the wild, no tools, no weapons, no shelter. He's saved me in ways you'll never understand, so you give him the respect he deserves!"
"O-okay...Terra." Duane gulped. He'd never seen Terra so angry before and it truly shocked him. She turned around and continued down the stairs into the orphanage. He paused for a moment, lost in his shock before following her down. Just as he was about to open the door, he stopped and listened. It was silent, all the animal cries had ceased.
That night, Terra couldn't sleep. It was silent all night as she stared at the stairwell, no howls, no growls, no hoots...nothing. All she could think about was Gau, out there, with the monsters. How could she just turn and run? She heard nothing. Why wasn't she out helping him now? The stairs were five feet away. Still she heard nothing. There was nothing stopping her, she still had her sword clasped to her side. All she had to do was walk to the stairs. There was nothing out there. That was all. Oh god please, let me hear him! Duane woke up before dawn the next day to find Terra sleeping on the floor, as he knelt down to pick her up, he noticed she'd been crying.
When Gau returned the next morning, Terra ran to him and hugged him, crying. He looked confused. She held him out in front of her, "Gau don't ever do that again! Do you hear me!?"
"What wrong, Terra?"
"Gau, what did you think you were doing running out into the fields?"
Gau smiled, "Gau protecting Terra and friends."
"Don't you know you could've been hurt? You could've been killed!"
"Not Gau!" he said almost indignantly, "Gau strong. Besides, most of friends not want to fight anyway."
"What do you mean Gau? Whose friends?"
Gau yawned, he was obviously very tired, "Gau's friends, out on field. Gau talk, they listen. They talk, Gau listen. We make friends. Terra understand?"
She understood. She understood so well, she was speechless. Just then Duane entered the room.
"Oh, hello...uh, Gau, where were you all night? You know you shouldn't run off like that, it's very dangerous." He sounded oddly jovial to Terra.
Gau looked at him, and Terra noticed his eyes became alive. He looked at Duane for a moment, then at Terra, then back. "Gau-do-just-fine-outside." He talked slowly and deliberately. It reminded Terra of times when Edgar would talk through his teeth, and whenever Edgar did that, it meant he was very, very, angry. And there was something else, Gau's hair was standing on end, each hair rigid like a porcupine. Duane noticed it too, and he began to look uncomfortable. He cleared his throat and went back into the door he came in from. Whatever he was gonna do, he must not have felt like doing it anymore.