Endless Fields of Grain
by Lucy Cummings
I stand on the edge of a precipice, looking over the endless fields. Empty wheat fields, long abandoned to grow untamed. There are probably millions of fields just like this one all over the globe.
“We have to go back,” I say, turning to face Ruby. My hair slaps me in the face, then blows out behind me, red and long.
“What?” Ruby asks, staring at me like I have a RoboBee on my face.
“We have to go back,” I repeat. “Gloria’s still in there.”
Ruby’s eyes harden. “No. No way am I going back to the Honeycomb.”
I should’ve known. Ruby would never risk her life for another.
“Please. Gloria’s alone with the Wasp,” I plead.
“Don’t you think I know that?” Ruby’s voice is sharp, digging under my skin, her icy eyes flashing. It hurts, like when something is far away, you squint to make it clearer. It hurts like straining to see something that’s beyond your comprehension.
It starts to rain, the cloudy skies that have been hanging over us all morning dropping their burden.
Ruby’s dark hair—although short—shadows her face, hiding her expression. “All three of us at our strongest couldn’t beat him. Trust me, if I thought we had any chance, I’d go back.”
“Would you?” I challenge, stepping forwards. “Would you go back for Gloria?”
“No,” Ruby says. I’m about to retort but she cuts me off. “But I’d go back for you.”
My mouth drops open. Could she possibly… Ruby has always been distant. Untouchable. She never wavers, never falters, never shows weakness. To think she might regard me as a… no. I regain my composure. I have to be untouchable, have to be unfeeling, have to think like her. To truly convince your enemy of confidence, you must first convince yourself.
“Okay. Go. Come back for me if I’m captured, because I’m going.”
“Cat, it’s suicide to go back by yourself!” Ruby cries. Her hair, wet, sticks to her face. She pushes it back, finally revealing some sort of fear, some sort of anger on her face. Desperate, even.
“Then come with me.”
I think about the wheat fields, thirsting for the rain that’s now falling. I think about the earthworms, surfacing to soak up the water. Small buds of life in an endless field of grain.
I turn to my pack, laying on the dirt. Raindrops mark small, dark drops on the soft leather. I take out a rain jacket, then pack my other things. A small iron pot. Collapsible eating ware. A compact sleeping bag and a tent, now only a square of fabric thanks to Ruby’s tech.
Then I sling my backpack over my shoulder and start walking down the path. One foot in front of the other, boots pushing tracks into the softening ground.
I haven’t gotten very far before I hear footsteps behind me and feel Ruby’s cool hand on my arm.
I pause to smile at her. Her hand slides down to clasp mine, intertwining our fingers. Then, together this time, we walk towards the fields. Fields full of life.
About the author: Lucy is a self-proclaimed nerd, who when not writing can be found swimming, reading, or singing. She watches more TV than she probably should and loves all sorts of food.
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