Flight- The Point of No Return
The air smelt profusely of fresh snow and morning dew as Ismus watched in the high treetops of the Serabi Forest, just beyond the kingdom. Frosted ice latched to the bottoms of Ismus’s iced boots. She clung to the old, firm tree trunk, determined not to slip and plummet to the ground. Idiotic death was not an option for Ismus. Not yet. Ismus could not even yaw for she was so anxious that someone would find her and tell the Queen, Aloes. Ismus turned all of her attention to the castle grounds, watching for any sign of movement, any sign of her castle members—her family.
She cringed at the thought of that word.
Ismus was not someone who had people to depend on. She did not need people. She was lean and defined, compact and athletic. Her hip-kissed hair was the kind of red that struck fear into one’s heart—the kind of red that brought out the paleness in her skin, the vivid purple in her eyes.
She had to go; she couldn’t stand another second with those members.
Ismus took a long breath in, and her lungs were filled with the rancid air of Serabi—one that smelled of death and grime. Just then, several thick, cold gusts of wind engulfed her, freezing her like an ice cube.
Clutching her rabbit-skin pelt, she attempted to warm her cold hands, but the material was no match for the arctic day. She shivered, then turned away from the castle, reassured that no one was skulking out of the kingdom to follow her: no being would care enough to follow her.
Find me if you can, Aloes.
Ismus cursed as she grabbed hold of the rough branches. Her hands stung every time she touched it, drips of blood staying behind with every swing. Teeth chattering, watery lilac eyes straining, fog coating, she continued.
A second pack of wind hit her in the face, pain piercing her ears and cheeks. Her muscles pumped and swelled, and the wind stiffened her hands and arms. Then she came to an abrupt halt. She had made it to the end of the tree branch. Trembling, Ismus grasped more firmly to the branch with her left arm, while fishing for her bow in the satchel with the other. She pulled out her favored weapon and looked forward with anxious eyes.
And there she saw it.
When the branch ended, a long, green vine encased in thorns grew from the side of the tree and stretched over many miles of land, extending over the deep opening in the earth. As far as Ismus could see, the vine continued to wind its way down until it connected to another small, stubby tree boarding the creek’s circular exterior.
That was where Rodem began.
Ismus rejected hesitation. She slipped her bow through its small opening and hung it tightly around the vine. She let go of the branch and held firmly to her bow.
Her breath quickened. She was hovering over the trench.
Blackness filled her eyes. It was frightening; the trench stretched out farther than an ocean, until it disappeared under a mountain bluff, on the other side of the border. Ismus could tell it was hundreds of miles deep, for she could not see the bottom of its endless dread. The Thangos Trench. Blood pounded in her left ear.
Regaining herself, she placed her legs on the back of the tree, and, with all her force, pushed off. Nothing happened. The winds died. Suspension above the trench with nothing but the bow to clutch made her stomach tighten and cramp.
A sickness in her stomach churned, first with fear, then anger.
“Cowards!” Ismus bellowed to the sky. “COWARDS! YOU DIE WHEN I NEED YOU?”
She waited. Her breath hitched.
“ANSWER ME!” Ismus was ready to puke up nothing but the one stale biscuit she had consumed that morning. It was over. One mistake, a second of lost grip, and she would be doomed to fall endlessly. Forever in the vastness of the Thangos…
An electric shock snapped her to attention.
In the blink of an eye, she shot down, a bullet. She shrieked into the distance– out of fear, out of excitement. The gray world blurred into fuzzy nothingness. Tears formed from the winds and tossed her flaming red hair into her eyes. She raced across the open sky, losing control and consciousness of her body.
A thrilling sensation coursed through her veins. She grinned, madly, riotously. Ismus laughed, feeling free. Free. Freedom was… uncontainable. That was a different feeling…uncontainable.
All her life, Ismus had been depressed. There was always a present and everlasting feeling of seclusion, of loneliness…until she felt nearly numb. She had always been contained, but for a reason she did not truly understand. As if they were afraid of her. As if she were a monster.
Yet now, she was experiencing a new, revolutionary feeling, one that no human being could take away from her. The feeling of being uncontainable.
Ismus sped down the vine, nearing the stout tree on the outskirts of the creek. She laughed in hysteria. Adrenaline burned throughout her entire body. She was more than halfway across, the wide ditch in the ground almost completely vanished from under her.
I’m so close.
Ismus thrashed to one side. Her laughter ceased. Her insides jostled. A surge of wind kicked her to the side.
She screamed for her life.
A jet stream sucked her into a windstorm, and her fingers froze. The winds howled as the bow began to slip from the vine.