“No! Don’t touch me! I can do this…”
I could feel the warmth between my fingers, hand pressed against my abdomen. The blood flowed quickly and even though I put pressure on the wound, it was inevitable. I was going to die. Here, in a cave infested with glow worms the size of a bull. One of those nasty creatures took a bite at me, actually took a bite at me, and tore the flesh from my body like I was just a piece of tender, yet juicy meat, waiting to be sliced, served, and digested.
We managed to kill a few before we ran from them, Plixxa and I. We were so far from our kind, so far from Rata Sum, but we had to keep going, we had to fight for our survival. We had to live.
Blood traced the path behind us as we ran, the wound inflicted to me only a few seconds ago now expanding with every steps. The flesh tore as my muscles moved, and my head was very, very light. I wasn’t feeling any pain because of the adrenaline, but I knew my entrails were screaming for protection.
Yet, we had to run. They were closing on us.
“Over here! A Tunnel!” Plixxa said, and with this, we took a right as we dashed to our safe place. Behind us, slimy creatures were moving on the ground, the gushing sound of their slither coming closer and closer. As we got into the tunnel and hid behind a giant slab, we stopped breathing. Just for a little while. Wiiishhh, Wiiishhh, Wiiishhh… At least ten worms made their way passed the small tunnel, their pointy teeth bared, their senses missing our presence. We looked at each other and decided we could release soft sighs from our lips. Sitting down and leaning against the slab, I finally took a look at the wound; deep, red, and quickly emptying the contents of my veins.
“There’s a tooth…” Plixxa started and I held out a hand, letting her know that I knew. “No! don’t touch me! I can do this…” My fingers felt around the wound and grabbed on the worm’s tooth. I couldn’t stop myself, the pain was too intense and I let out a whimper that echoed the tunnel as the tooth came out. “No! Don’t! The blood, it will-” but it was too late. I should have thought about it. Stupid, Stupid! The giant, circular tooth was blocking the way to the blood and now it was heavily flowing through my fingers, my clothes and onto the ground.
“Wait! I can stop the bleeding!” Plixxa opened her bag and took out the bandages that would barely stop the bleeding. “Plixxa, it’s too late.” My head was even lighter than before, my feet were freezing, I could feel my body trembling and there was nothing I could do to stop it. “No… No! I refuse to let you die here!” She grasped her staff and casted a wave of warm, comforting water that seemed to ease the pain for a moment. But as soon as the water went away, the agony would return and leave me breathless.
I laughed a little, a smile formed on my lips and my big, black eyes looked into those of my companion who was already in tears, knowing that she had done what she could, but had failed to protect. “It’s not your fault, Plixxa.” I said, a wince following my sentence.
The pain. It was excruciating.
“Yes it is! It IS my fault! I shouldn’t have brought you here, I shouldn’t have! We should have stayed in Rata Sum and studied more than we did before heading out!” I couldn’t stop myself. Again, I laughed slightly. The pain was going away, bit by bit. I knew I didn’t have much time left. “Plixxa… We brought this on ourselves. This isn’t a miscalculation. We were taught our lessons, we followed them and we went on with our job.” It took me one long breath to push those words out of my mouth, and I had to hurry because now my view was failing.
“But for what? Look at us now! We are in the middle of nowhere, not even close to a city. Lion’s Arch is hours away and there isn’t a single Gate opened near.” Plixxa put her soft hands on my cheeks. A touch of her skin was a relief as my eyes lost their sight. And all I could do was to accept my position; my soul was departing. “Plixxa… The slime… The scent… They will lose…”
No, not yet, I didn’t tell her, I have to tell her. Please soul, don’t leave now!
“What slime? The worms’?” She took my shoulders in a hard grasp and shook me a little. “What scent? Please you have to speak!”
My eyelids, they were so heavy. And what use did they give me if I was blind? So I closed them, and I felt lighter than I had never been in my life. It was peaceful, so peaceful. I had never been this calm before.
“Vitakk!” she shook me again, this time vigorously. She was crying, I could hear her sobs, each one quieter than the one before, as if I was walking away. “Cover the scent…” I found my lips moving by themselves, whispering to my companion. “With slime…”
When you dream, you feel no pain. Not physically. When you dream, things happen in slow motion yet they seem to move so fast at the same time. Sometimes, within those dreams, you try to speak and you can’t. You attempt to warn others, but your screams won’t reach. “Cover myself? With the slime? I can blend in and escape…” Her voice was so faint, but I could hear it filled with hope.
She placed a kiss on my cheek. Her whole being radiated with hope. She stood up. She whispered something to me, but I couldn’t make out what she said. I heard her steps slowly backing away, turning on her heels, and I couldn’t feel her presence anymore.
It’s strange. When you’re alone, you’re alert at all times; a bird flies by, someone yells greetings far away, children laugh in the distance, you feel the breeze on your skin and sometimes, all of those things are taken for granted. I will never know how to enjoy those moments. I will never sit down and truly experience what is happening around me.
In the cold tunnel, only water dripped from the ceiling. The sound of my breathing was slow and deep.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
My heart beat was slowing down.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
I couldn’t hear any signs of battle echoing through the tunnels. It was as silent as ever, just me and the water drops, until the worms returned, unsuccessful in finding Plixxa, yet victorious when they caught my scent.
This is how I know Plixxa survived.
This is how I know I died.
This, was my story.