|More from Azulazulazula||Adventure, Drama||PG-13||Highly Positive|
Scarred is the fifth chapter of the fanon, "Rebel".
Jong finds himself having strange visions in the swamp, and meets a girl with similar problems, and secrets of their past are revealed.
The red on his hands thickened in the evening fog, ascending off the still puddles which littered the grove. And he pulled himself backwards, being careful not to touch the point of the knife. Not daring to touch anything. Or anyone. As he fell backwards off the log, he noticed that the knife wasn't following him. The knife sat still, pointing at the tree behind him. And the knife pulled back. In shock, he pulled himself to a sitting position on the log, and muttered to himself. "Huh?"
He examined the person and knife closely. The person stood still. So did the knife. And as he looked closer, he noticed that they blue in the breeze, and that there was green pouring off the person. And he realized: it was a tree. But it looked too real. That...I saw a person. And two friends. He examined the friends, which had broken up with the wind. Fog.
But...how did it...I'm tired. It must be an, uh...hallucination. He backed away slowly, not daring to blink. Slowly, he turned his back, and took off, blood still covering his arms. But he looked at it closely. It was too dark to be blood. Hesitantly, he touched his finger to his arm, and licked the substance off his finger. Cranberry juice. He continued his running, but an unshakable thought still burned in the back of his mind. The tree...for a second, it looked like...Mom. And as he'd always been taught to do, he ran.
Any sign of daylight had exited the sky. There were no stars in the sky. And if there were, he couldn't see them. He couldn't see much of anything. Not beyond the trees. Yet above him, the trees seemed to mock him, as if flying above him made them superior to him. "Hmph..." he grumbled. But he couldn't shake the feeling. He couldn't shake his feeling of shame, of neglect, of abandoning. And a tear fell down his cheek. And as he caught himself crying, he remembered. It's behind you. You need to quit whining.
And he looked only ahead. Not down, not up, not to his sides. Focused on what lay ahead of him, he hadn't noticed the mud at his feet. And as he ran through the mud, his left leg was ankle-deep in the sticky goo of the swamp. And he fell face-first. He picked himself up quickly, and looked at the print in the mud that he made. It appeared to morph right in front of his eyes. Into a figure with a long braid, thin eyes, with evil in every corner. And suddenly, he recognized it. Long Feng.
The most evil man on Earth.
The reason he was in that prison for two years, the reason his fa...no. It's your own fault. He reminded himself. He blinked in shock, and it left. Long Feng, the most evil man on Earth...gone.
He ran ahead, sobbing the whole way. And after about three minutes of wailing, he came to a clearing in the woods, where a tree the size of the Wall of Ba Sing Se stood. Steadily, he approached it. As if it was...calling him.
Hypnotized, he crept. Not daring to speak. Not daring to break stare with it. Not daring to breathe. In the dark night, hardly anything was visible, especially through the fog. He wasn't sure where he was going. But wherever it was, he had to go there. And he broke focus when he collided with somebody, who was running. Fast, and petrified.
She spoke. "Ow...I'm....sorry. I just felt like something was...chasing me."
"Like it was right up behind you, but...it couldn't catch you. But you couldn't stop running," he offered.
She remained silent, in awe. And he reopened the conversation. "I know the feeling," he told her.
"I'm Partida," she explained. Something about him compelled her. Like...he was a part of her. Like she was here with him...for a reason.
"Jong," he replied. He gazed at her through the fog, wondrously longing to catch a glimpse of the girl's face. Bleakness filled her voice, as if she was ready to burst into tears. But as he walked through the mist, he noticed that her expression was tough. Covered in dirt, she briefly smiled at the sight of his greenish clothes, as well as his muddy face, hidden by his mask. He's kinda cute. She thought. But she quickly shook it off as he turned away from her. "So how'd you get out here?" he finally asked.
"I've lived here all my life...and I've never left. But, I'm sorta running away. And I'm so far failing miserably. I keep thinking I see these strange things...they're memories. But somehow," she stated. And as Jong's ears perked up, he finished her thought.
"Somehow they just go away. But they're," he continued. Partida chimed in for the last words. "so real," they finished in unison. They stared at each other. Mesmerized. Curiously, he steered away from the topic of the swamp, and instead focused on the girl. "So, why are you running away...if it's any of my business," he asked.
Normally, she would have smacked him across the face right then and there, and went running home. But no. Not this time. She couldn't run home, and she needed help. And he seemed like he'd understand. "Walk with me," she replied. And he did. Avoiding the thick vines in front of them, they ducked, and she spoke.
"When I was three years old, my mother and father had a really huge fight. My mom cried myself to sleep that night, and my father was gone for a week afterwards. But when he got back, things didn't get better. They got worse. My mom and dad starting fighting constantly, and I couldn't stand it anymore. I thought that if I got their attention, they would forget to fight with each other. So I started acting out. But that didn't work at all. My dad took his anger out on me. He screamed at me, called me stupid...I think I remember him hitting me a couple times. And yet they still argued. I'd cry myself to sleep at night, until I came up with another idea. I decided to be the best I could be at Waterbending, so I could impress daddy. At first, he was surprised...pleasantly. But he and mom still fought. And his amazement at my Waterbending grew into expectation, and to perfectionism. I couldn't take it anymore, so I left," she explained, struggling to choke the words beyond her mouth. Jong had barely been listening since she said she was a Waterbender. But he managed to gather what she said, and somewhat moved past his surprise.
"That's horrible...you're a Waterbender?" he stuttered.
Beyond her tears, she managed to mumble a brief word. "Yeah..."
"Well, I can sorta relate to your...past. I try to forget it, but...I can't. It's too shameful. And sad, and...I'm embarrassed by it," he began. A long pause, with only the sound of thee chirping crickets, filled the swamp. And once he managed to muster the courage, he spoke. "I'm the youngest of five kids. And my mom told us that when we were all old enough, she'd tell us a secret she'd been keeping from us for a long time...until we were ready. She told us about the war, and other stuff like that." He paused, closed his eyes, and resumed his speech in pain. "She told us never to tell anyone, or we'd be in big trouble. But I couldn't keep my mouth shut. I blabbed, and suddenly, the Dai Li was at our house, arresting us. We were helpless. And they dragged us away to a prison. Because of me. I got us all imprisoned."
"Jong, that's horrible! I..."
"That's not the worst of it," he quieted her. He took a deep, dirt-filled breath, and told the final chapter of his past. "Two years later, my mom finally figured out a way for all of us to escape. And a week later, we were walking through the prison, desperately searching for a way out, when a loud siren went off...right after I kicked something. I don't know what it was, but I know I set off that alarm. Within minutes, the Dai Li had discovered us. We fought, long and hard. And we were winning. But our success was temporary. My mom...was thrown against a wall, and she was hit with a rock in the head. And within seconds, her eyelids shut, and her blood rushed out of her body. Fast. One of my brothers ran over to help her, but...he was too late. She was dead. And about five seconds later, he joined her. There were four of us left, and we knew we couldn't fend them off. And we ran. I went first. And I was the only one who made it out alive," he said. In a few seconds, he broke down into tears, and Partida offered him a hug. And they walked together.
- Partida's name is of Spanish origin. In Spanish, the word 'partido' means 'broken'.
- The swamp is, if you haven't guessed, the same swamp Team Avatar visits.
- This chapter takes place during City of Walls and Secrets.
For the collective works of the author, go here.