The Red Hand Part 41
by Shane Migliavacca
The Red Hand Epilogue
Days flow into weeks. Weeks turn into a month. The whole time my body is healing. I spend my time with the reborn Red Hand. The girl, who has yet to pick a name is somewhat feared by the others. Not that I can blame them. There’s times she gives me the creeps. The girl get’s an otherworldly look on her face. And a far off stare. Like she’s looking into the fabric of things. But I think the main thing is knowing the power she has or once had. She has yet to answer me when I ask her what she’s capable of.
We’re headed to the garden at this enclave. The girl walking alongside me. I’ve got Sixth’s ashes. I’m going to spread them in the garden here, I think she’d like that. After we got captured and taken aboard Hagen’s warship, our gear was confiscated. Thought I’d never see the little urn again. During the attack on Kuma Torth, A group of guardians managed to take over the warship. Tenth returned the ashes to me a few days ago. I’d asked her about them after waking up. Don’t know what I’d do without her.
Standing outside the garden area. I cradle the urn in my arms. The girl beside me looks in at all the plants.
“I remember Earth has many plants. Much green.” She smiles. “I wish I could see it again.”
“Yeah. It does.” I sigh. I feel a little angry at her. It’s not her fault though. I’d done a pretty good job not thinking about Earth for awhile. Putting it out of my mind. I was starting to feel better about everything. Starting to come to terms with this being my new home. Can’t blame her. She has no idea mentioning it’d make me feel like shit.
Entering the garden, the workers glance at us briefly before going back to their tasks. I look around for an out of the way area to do this. Somewhere we won’t be in the way.
We pass by a large plant. Taller then me or the girl. Bright red leaves hang from it. She stops to admire the plant. Touching one of the shiny leaves.
“Wonderful!” She runs her hand over it. The leaf breaking off in her hand. “Oh…”
“Don’t touch that.” Someone says, too late.
“I’m sorry.” The girl says. Holding the leaf out like a talisman. “I’m sorry.”
One of the workers comes over. “Do not harm the plants child!” She snatches the leaf from the girl’s hand. “Go!”
The girl face contorts in anger. “Said I was sorry. Don’t holler at me.”
I can feel something rising in the air. I swallow hard. There’s something there, deep within this girl. Maybe something even she’s unaware of.
I step between the two. Raising my arms up. “Easy there. She didn’t know. Okay?”
The woman, perhaps sensing the change, relents. A little. “Do what you must, then go.”
“We will.” I take the girl’s hand. “C’mon.”
I pick a corner spot. With lush grass and bright purple flowers. Gently opening the urn, I spread my friend’s ashes. “You’ll be happy here kiddo.”
I brush a couple tears from my cheek as my eyes water. I’ve come to the decision while I healed that I need to put everything behind me. Figure out a future. Part of it is making sure this new life walking next to me gets a good start.
“You miss your friends?” The girl asks. “The ones that died.”
“Yes, very much. But there’s Tenth and Third and you.”
“Back there, I could feel something. When that woman got angry with you.”
The girl frowns. “I’m sorry.”
She looks hurt. Damn, not what I wanted. “No. No. I wanted to ask you something. What can you… You know, do?”
She looks away from me. “I don’t know. I feel things. Energy around us. I tried making a portal. Like the ones I was forced to make as the hand. I wanted to make to Earth. I know you miss it… I do too. I wanted to surprise you. But I can’t. Nothing happened.”
I put a hand on her shoulder. “Hey it’s okay. The fact that you tried is awesome.”
The girl smiles at me weakly. “But there’s something. Something out there… It calls to me.”
I feel my stomach tighten with her ominous words. “What sort of something?”
She shakes her head. “Don’t know. But it’s out there. I can hear it. Feel it. It sings to me.”
Without hesitating I commit myself. “Then we’ll find it. Together.”
I tell Tenth about my plan to find this thing out there. At first, she’s hesitant about me going. Agreeing to let us go if she comes with us. Third and Hallie also tagging along. The five of us set out. Packing a good amount of gear for a trip we don’t the length of.
Our first day out as night falls the group is sitting around a fire. Tenth and I side by side. The way it seems like it’s always been.
“This feels good.” Tenth says. “I have much responsibly now. I don’t have time to see you.”
She’s right about that. Since the girl was “born.” Tenth hasn’t been around much. She confides in me that she’s in charge of the Guardians now. She’s asked Third to join them, which she did without hesitation. What she tells me next is a surprise. The Guardians were started by Maebh. After coming to this world, the old woman saw the division among the races. She also needed allies to protect the Red Hand. Hoping to solve both problems the old woman recruited members from the various races. Ones she knew were like-minded and trustworthy. She hoped The Guardians would be a way to bring all the races together someday.
Tenth reaches into her tunic, pulling out one of their broaches. Used to identify who’s a member. “I would be honored if you joined us.”
I take it from her. Turning the thing over in my hand. Before it was just a piece of jewelry. Now it feels different. Heavy.
“I’d be the one who’s honored.” I pin it onto my tunic.
“The Red Hand may no longer be around, but now there’s the girl. She needs protection. And guidance.”
“And a name.”
“Yes.” Tenth laughs.
“I suggested some. She wants to choose one for herself though. Says she hasn’t found a good one yet.”
We watch as Third shows the girl various combat stances.
Tenth points to the girl’s hand. “Is there a reason her hand is like that?”
“I asked her. She says it’s to ‘remind herself’ of what she was.”
On the third day, we pass some very familiar mountains. The area beyond them, could it be?
“There!” I point to a dune on the horizon. “That’s where I landed. When I came through the portal.”
I take off running, rushing past my friends. I reach the dune out of breath. I scramble up it, with my last bit of energy. Sitting down in the sand. I sit there waiting for the others to get there. Panting, I lie on my back. Staring up at the sky.
“Here.” The girl says, standing over me. “This is what’s calling me.”
The girl waves her hand through the air. Leaving a trail of glowing light in her wake.
I bolt up. “Can you, you know… open it?”
She shakes her head. “I’m not sure. I can try.”
We camp there for the next few days as the girl attempts to open the portal. She can only try for so long, before tiring out. The girl is resting while the rest of us are having a meal. When suddenly we hear her exclaiming wildly. “Serena!”
We get up, turning to see the girl standing on the dune. A person sized hole in space behind her.
“I did it!”
She certainly did. A way home. It has to be. I can feel it in my being. This is the moment. The moment I never thought would come.
“We have to hurry.” The visibly tired girl beckons to me from atop the dune.
I look at Tenth and Third. My friends. I’ve wanted to go home since I ended up here. Never thought I’d get the chance. Now, I have it. And it means leaving them.
“Go my sister.” She hugs me tightly. “Go home. You deserve it.”
I feel the tears coming. I hug her back, not wanting to let go. But, in the end I do. I turn to Third. “You watch after her, okay?”
Third smiles. “I will.”
“And take care of yourself.” I hug her.
I look up at Hallie. “Last, but not least.”
“Actually, I’d like to inquire about going with you?”
I smile. The girl will take some explaining. The living computer sphere will a whole lot of it. “Sure, if that’s what you want.”
I join the girl in front of the portal. Taking her hand. With my other I grip Hallie. I take one last look at this world that was my home for a while. And my friends. Who I love very much.
“I’ll come back!” I say, before we step into the portal. Following the currents of energy. I’m not sure what I’ll find when we get to Earth. How long I’ve been gone. I have my friends with me. In the end, that’s all I’ve ever needed.
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