Landscape at sunrise
Chapter information

The Haunting Burden



Written by




Release date

March 17, 2014

Last chapter

Chapter 1 - The Funeral

Next chapter

Chapter 3 - Beginning Anew

As I wake up into reality, I realize that it is about the crack of dawn due to the rays of the sun brightening up my room. After a well-rested night, my mind is made up; I'm going to wake up Wakato, and we are going to leave. I stretch my arms out flexing my muscles awake. I grab a hold of the handle of my bag made out of an armadillo bear's skins, and grab a few of my beloved items. I drop in my sabertooth lion comb, a pair of boots, and lastly, my book along with the writing utensil I use to write in it. I also drop in the bottle of ink I use to dip the stick in, but it's running low. Wait! I have a few copper pieces laying around here somewhere! One by one I pick the scattered pieces of money off the floor. There's even a couple silver pieces. That should be enough for not just a bottle of ink, but a couple of small meals!

Before I go into Wakato's room, I decide to stroll through the kitchen. There's not much food laying around; just some fruit and the leftover jook mother made a couple days ago. That's one thing I won't miss leaving behind. I guess I'll take the apple and papaya. That should hold us up until we find a place to stay at.

I quietly tip-toe into mother's room. I haven't seen her so peaceful since we found out about father's death. I look to the floor and let out a long, but quiet sigh. Even though mother is acting out of the ordinary, and it's not safe for me or Wakato to stay here, I still love her and will miss her very much. Maybe if things turn up, Wakato and I might come back.

Finally, I enter Wakato's room. He's sleeping as well. I almost hate to wake him up. Ugh, why must you look so peaceful? I walk over to him, and shake his shoulder. It takes him a few seconds before he finally opens his tired, saggy eyes. He takes one look at me before he rolls over, now facing away from me, and groans.

"What do you want, Naomi," Wakato asks annoyingly in his raspy, morning voice.

I walk over to him, so we are face to face again, even if his eyes are still closed. "Sorry to wake you, but...well...I've done some thinking. We can't live here with mom anymore. She's far too dangerous to be around. We gotta go," I whisper.

Wakato opens his eyes immediately. "What?" He asks sitting up. "We can't just leave mom behind. She'll go insane."

"I already have a plan," I explain. "We're going to stop by her friend, Madoka's house and explain to her why we're going. I know she can take care of mom. Madoka seems like the only person mom still likes to be around."

There was a long silence. "I don't know, Naomi. It's easier to say things than actually doing them. If mom knew what happened to us, she'd hunt us down like a boar-q-pine and kill us!"

"I understand why you have your doubts on leaving, but think about it. We'd have a better chance of staying alive on our own," I debate.

Wakato looks away from me, thinking about what I had to say. He closes his eyes, and lets out a long, painful sounding sigh. "Alright, I'm in," he says looking back at me.

"Good, now grab a bag and put what you'd hate to leave behind. We're gonna stop by Madoka's in a couple minutes."

Wakato slowly gets himself out of bed and grabs onto his armadillo bear bag - father bought us a twin pair of bags a couple years back. He puts in his butterfly sword and his favorite book which is about a boy who loves to hunt.

"Do you any money?" I ask Wakato.

"Oh yeah!" He whispers.

He rushes back over to the side of his animal pelts and reaches his hand under it. When his hand returns, he drops a handful of copper pieces. I think I even saw a few silver pieces go in too. My jaw practically fell off my face. I had no idea Wakato was harboring so much money.

"Where did you get all those coins?" I ask curiously.

"Sometimes I'm lucky enough to find a piece or two on the ground when I'm out with my friends. Wait. Friends! Naomi! We can't leave! We're leaving behind our friends!"

I place my hand on his shoulder firmly. "Look, I'm just as upset to leave my friends behind as you are, but we're talking about saving our lives here. Besides, we might make some new friends."

Wakato sighs again. "Okay," he finally lets out.

We both quietly sneak out of his room, and make it all the way to the front door. This is the part that could ruin it all. Out of all the doors in the house, the front door makes the most noise when you open it. I place my hand as quietly as possible and begin to push.


As I predicted, the door is its usual, loud self. Wakato and I wait a couple seconds to see if mom will walk in on our escape. She doesn't. I signal Wakato to go out first. After he exits, I follow behind, and pull the door back. It makes another long squeak, but it's not nearly as loud as the first time.

Wakato and I start to run across the street, rushing to Madoka's place. I knock the door upon our arrival. We wait a few seconds in the cold, windy weather before she finally opens the door. She looks surprised to see us.

"Naomi? Wakato? What are you two doing here? It's just barely dawn."

I smile at Madoka. "We don't mean to bother you, its just...Wakato and I are leaving Chin village and we need you to check on our mom. We don't feel safe living with her anymore. We need to start a new life somewhere far away. Please...promise us you'll take good care of our mother."

There's a long silence before Madoka finally says, "What do you mean you don't feel safe with your mother anymore? She's a very kind lady."

"Was," I say, interrupting Madoka. "Ever since we found out that our father died, she's been terrible. She yells at us nonstop, threatens us, and throws things at us for no reason. We can't live like this anymore."

Madoka looks down and replies with, "Maybe it's not the best choice, but if you feel the need to go, then do what your heart tells you is right to do."

"Thank you, Madoka," I say, embracing her one last time.

Wakato and I wave goodbye to her, and begin walking out of Chin Village.

"Before we make a complete departure, you think we can stop somewhere for a bite? I'm starving," Wakato complains.

I can't help, but let out a tiny laugh. "Relax, I took an apple and papaya out of the kitchen before I woke you up. We'll have plenty to eat before we make it to another town."

"Well, can we at least make a pit stop. I drank a lot of water yesterday after the funeral, and now my bladd--

"Please do what you must," I say in a disgusted tone.

I guess it wouldn't hurt to make a pit stop myself. I walk over to the nearest public outhouse, and a similar thing to what Wakato's doing. Once we finish, we start to head out of town.  After about a half hour, we finally exit Chin Village.

"So, where are we headed?" Wakato asks.

I was afraid he'd ask that. I never really had an exact location picked out. I figured we'd just go wherever our feet walk us to.I get the feeling that answer won't be very settling. "Well...we're going Here's the thing. I figured we could just go from place to place until we find somewhere that's perfect for us."

"So you have no idea where we're headed?"

"It's not like I carry around a map with me. This was a last minute decision I made."

Before Wakato could say something, his stomach spoke first, letting out a loud growl. He looks at me, embarrassed as I laugh to myself again. "Here, mister warrior. Use your butterfly sword to slice this apple into pieces," I explain whilst pulling the apple out of my bag.

He grabs the apple from me rather annoyed. "Don't call it a 'butterfly sword', butterflies are for girls!" He snaps as he takes out his sword.

"Fine, how about I call it your 'girly named sword' instead?" I ask with a smug grin growing across my face.

Wakato looks at me frustrated; his face turning red with anger. "Just call it a sword," he demands.

Wakato throws the apple in the air, and slices it mid-fall. I can't believe what he just did. It was just a simple move, but knowing me, I'd never be able to master something that looks so simple. "Impressive slicing form," I say, grabbing my half of the apple off the ground.

"Any reason why you brought the fruit with us?" Wakato asks.

"What? You'd rather have the leftover jook?" I reply.

Wakato gives me a disgusted face. "Good point."

Neither of us have ever liked jook. It tastes plain and smells like a rotting fish, but for some reason, mom loves it. Even father didn't like it. I remember him telling me one time before dinner that he hoped mom wasn't cooking jook. She was. He was not happy that night.

Wakato and I travel through the fields for the majority of the day. We take a few breaks, but otherwise, we never stopped moving. It's sad to think after all this walking, we still haven't reached another town. The sun is close to setting, and we are setting up a place in the field to stay for the night. I earthbend a couple pieces of the ground together at a slant to form a tent. It has plenty of space for the both of us.

"You sure we can't have separate areas?" Wakato asks unsurely.

"I don't like the idea of sleeping next to you any more than you do, but we have nothing to keep us warm. Live with it," I explain.

We both walk into the tent. We unpack the stuff in our bags, and turn them into pillows. For awhile, we just lay around in silence.

"You think we'll ever return home?" Wakato asks, breaking the quiet moment.

"I really don't know. There's a possibility that we could return someday. For now, we just need to get away and put Chin Village behind us. We have a whole world to roam."

".....I miss dad," Wakato says quietly.

My heart feels like it's cracking. I just want to hug Wakato, and tell him that everything will be okay, but I'd just be overreacting.

"I miss him too," I say, holding back tears.

I look back at Wakato, who is now turned around. "Wakato?" I say.

He turns around and looks at me, "Yeah?"

"I love you."

Wakato's eyes widen a little. He probably wasn't expecting me to say that. I never tell him things like this enough. He's my brother and has no one, but me. I have no one, but him. He needs someone to tell him, and I mean it more than words can say.

"I love you, too." Wakato says mumbling.

I wait for Wakato to fall asleep before I pick up my book and utensil, dipping it the last of my ink.

Day 194,

Wakato and I left Chin Village today. Mother is out of control. I can't have Wakato grow up in a home where it doesn't feel safe to be. We packed our bags, told mom's friend, Madoka where we were going, and are currently spending the night in a field. By now, mother probably has been told that we've left and is going crazy. A part of me is glad that I made the decision to get Wakato and myself out of the village, but I regret it too. We probably really hurt mother's feelings. She already lost her husband, now her children have abandoned her? There's no turning back now. Wakato and I have a new life ahead of us. Maybe one day we can return home. Maybe by then, mother's emotions will be in control. I just hope that wherever we go, wherever destiny takes us, Wakato and I have an incredible journey. With that being said, let the journey begin. There's a whole world to explore. Maybe we'll make a difference in someone's life. Maybe we'll learn something that will stay with us the rest of our lives. Whatever the case, I look forward to what Wakato and I have ahead of us.

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