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|More from WaterMasterFinn||Adventure||PG-13||N/A|
|Village of the Dead|
Two: The Oceans
Book Two: The Oceans
Village of the Dead
Kyla walked up to the sign and stared at it with uncertainty and fear. She read it over and over. The picture of the skull and cross bones was enough of a message without the words:
Turn back. Quarantined. The Dead Walk & Kill.
Kyla took the sign in her hands and stashed in a bush. She jogged back onto the path near the gate and called over her companions. They rushed over, the firebender leading the way.
"Thank you for helping me," Zyon told her.
"Happy to help," Kyla replied with a discerning smile. Zyon looked down and walked to the gate to open it. Kyla wasn't thrilled with the action she just took, but she felt it necessary to help this man.
"So what exactly is wrong with this place?" Mokolo asked. They had not received any explanation. They were urged there was no time so Mokolo rounded up some of his tribe and they followed the firebender. Zyon opened the gate to the city with a key hanging from his necklace. Mokolo, Kilo, Dakko, Kyla, and Shofini followed Zyon as he stepped in to the city cautiously.
"This city has been abandoned!" Shofini exclaimed.
"I wish," Zyon responded. "The first house on the right is a safe house. Let's go in there."
They quickly ran to the house not knowing what danger was in store for them. Kyla was the last to enter when something caught the corner of her eye. Someone had just walked around the corner of the house. Kyla crept to the edge of the house. She moved down to the ground and peered around the side of the house.
Kyla's head was right at the feet of a person. This person was barely moving though. He was grunting and breathing heavily. Kyla slowly moved back and went into the safe house. She wasn't sure removing the sign was the right thing to do anymore. She hoped Zyon had a good reason for removing the sign.
"Close the door," Zyon called out. Kyla closed it behind her and walked not the house. It was a large one room house. There was a bed standing on its edge covering a window. The rest were boarded up with wood.
"You want to tell me what this means?" Mokolo asked Zyon.
"What does what mean?" Kyla interrupted. Mokolo pointed to the wall. A message was written in blood. It read:
They are sick. There is no hope. GET OUT. -the yellow stone
"I had to wait to tell you or else you wouldn't have come."
"Tell us what!? Who is the yellow stone?" Mokolo shouted.
"Here, have some water," Zyon said as he passed out water. "Then I'll tell you."
"Thank you," Kyla quickly stated as she ran to grab the water. She had been dying of thirst since they arrived at the Fire Nation.
"Our city was infected. There are barely any survivors. None that I know of anyhow. To be honest, I'm not sure whose house were in or who the yellow stone is either."
"Infected with what?" Shofini asked.
"A disease so foul it sucks the life right out of you. You become nothing but instinct. The really sick ones...they can't even tell the difference between food and humans. I'm not even sure they're alive," Zyon revealed. "So will you help?"
Mokolo stared at the rest of his group. He looked back at the firebender.
"You brought us into a disease ridden city. You don't even know if there are any survivors out there! We're leaving."
"You can't!" Zyon begged and ran to the front door. "You're already infected." Zyon pointed to the glasses of water they had all just drunk from. "It's a water-borne disease. Now you have to help."
"What are you doing?" Zyon asked Kilo. Kilo was pressing his ear up against the wall. He peered through the boards covering the windows.
"Do you hear that?"
"Someone is coming. Not just someone. It's a lot of someones." Kilo darted out the door to see who was on their way. He stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of the oncoming mass of people—or what seemed like people. "You guys! Come quick!"
The group ran out into the street and saw the oncoming mob. Zyon pulled Mokolo back into the house. The rest of the tribe was dumbfounded, still trying to figure out what was going on.
"I don't think they're going to stop," Kyla said. She had stopped blinking and entered a trance.
"There's no water to even fight with," Kilo added. "Kyla, I've seen you do powerful bending. Do something!"
Kyla looked down at her hands, unsure of what to do next. She hadn't a clue how to activate the great waterbending she had done in the past. "I can't."
"Get back in the house!" Dakko shouted. They ran for the door but couldn't open it. It was locked. "Mokolo, open the door!" There was no answer and the hoarde was getting closer.
"Run!" Kilo shouted and they ran further into the town.
"Where are we running to?" Kyla asked. Kilo stopped and looked around in every direction. His breathing was almost too heavy for him to think. The houses were mostly damaged. A lot of them were filled with those who were sick. They started exiting the houses at the sound of the group running. Then Kilo pointed to a house in the distance.
"There! The house made of yellow stones!" Kilo announced. The yellow stone was not a who but a where. Perhaps there were survivors left in the town. The rest of the group followed Kilo.
Kyla, Kilo, Dakko, and Shofini walked up to the house made of yellow stone. Kyla knocked softly on the door, hoping none of the ill would hear. The door slowly opened to a teenage girl.
"You shouldn't be here."
"Neither should you," Kilo responded. "There's a group of... sick people coming. Can you let us in?"
"They aren't people. They stopped being people long ago," the young woman stated.
"Please let us in!" Shofini shouted. The door swung open revealing the girl's grandparents. They quickly rushed in.
"What kind of sickness is this?" Kyla asked.
"Lily. My name is Lily thank you for asking. And welcome to my home."
"Thank you," Kyla replied annoyed. "I'm sorry, but we were tricked into this place. What is going on here?"
"We don't know," the grandfather admitted.
"Perfect," Kyla retorted. The mystery continued. "Do you have any water nearby? We need some type of weapon."
"You don't think we fight back with fire bending?" Lily asked.
"No, because you think they still can be saved," Shofini interrupted. Lily darted her eyes to the earthbender. She was correct.
"There's water in the backyard. I will take you there," the grandfather stated and led her to the back door.
They stepped into the backyard. It was a fenced in area. There was a shed in the back along with a tree and a well. The well was made of red stone. Kyla slowly walked to it. Lily's grandfather watched from several feet behind as Kyla drew water up from the well with the wave of her hand.
A creak was heard from the shed. Kyla's head shot up. The grandfather drew a slight flame in his palm. He held his finger from his other hand up to his mouth as he slowly crept to the shed. Another creak. He stopped in his tracks. Kyla formed an icicle in her hand. It was small, but it was all Kilo had taught her since they reunited at the Serpent's Pass.
Lily's grandfather took another step forward. Each step he moved with greater caution. He reached his hand out in slow motion before finally opening the shed door. His flame lit up the small room and revealed nothing. Kyla exhaled. Her icicle turned to water and fell to the ground.
"Must be the wind," Kyla commented. She looked back down the well and started cycling her arms to bring the water up. She let is rise over her head and fall down into several bins. She stared into the water, trying to feel the power of it. Alas, it felt like it always had—a weak connection. Nothing of the power she felt when facing the spirit in the North Pole or the Serpent in the lake.
"Ready to go back in? I may need your help carrying these in—" she stopped midsentence. He was gone. He had disappeared without a noise. "Hello? Are you there?"
Kyla whipped up sleeves of water around her arms. She walked to the shed and found nothing inside. She took a deep breath and inched her way around the corner. What if there was one of those things? What would they do to her? Zyon had mentioned eating other humans.
She turned the corner. Nothing. Kyla exhaled once again. Now the next corner. Step after step, she hesitated. She didn't want to see one of those things again. Kyla took a bit of water and froze it on the ground. Out of the reflection she saw nothing. Exhale.
She turned the corner and came face to face with one of the infected. She screamed and fell to the ground. It turned around and she saw the face. It was blank, nothing in the eyes. The skin covered in splotches. The long hair was falling out.
Kyla suddenly felt the water on her arms take over and guide its way to the infected. The water froze and it stood in place. Kyla couldn't help but stare. She heard another grunt and ran back for the house.
Kilo slowly followed Lily and her grandmother down the stairs. They headed into the giganctic basement looking to see if any water was downstairs. Lily opened the palm of her hand and produced a small flame to light the room. It was mostly filled with old furniture, a maze of sofas and dressers. Lily's father made and designed them all.
Lily found some torches, lit them, and passed them to her grandmother and Kilo. The room was filled with a timid shine. Kilo broke off from the group and traveled to the far end of the room. A noise from behind startled him. He turned around and saw a broom on the ground.
"Lily? Is that you?" He received no answer.
He stepped forward to pick the broom up and his torch went out. The dim light of the other torches just barely allowed Kilo to see. He heard another noise causing him to drop the torch. He went to bend and grab it when it burst into flames.
Out of the illuminating light a figure appeared before Kilo. It was Lily's grandmother. It looked like her skin was burned in symmetric patterns. Her eyes looked empty as she stared right through Kilo. Kilo fell backwards out of shock. What used to be Lily's grandmother was slowly making her way to him.
Kilo could feel the beads of sweats dripping down his face. The heat from the fire as well as his own nerves made him feel like he was in his own personal hell.
With a wave of his hand Kilo flicked the sweat off his face. He froze it in mid-air then used it to dampen the torch. The resulting steam was thick enough for Kilo to escape without notice. He ran to the other end of the basement near the stairs. He grabbed Lily's arm and pulled her up the stairs before she could detest.
Kyla stepped into the house with the water surrounded on her arms. She spread it out to the fellow benders. Kilo came running up the stairs from the basement. He was nearly out of breath.
"What are you doing?" Lily asked.
"Your Grandma, she was one of those things," Kilo admitted to her. Lily took a step in the direction of the basement but Kilo held her back.
"Let me go!"
"Kyla, help me!" Kilo shouted. Kyla shot water at the floor, freezing Lily in place. Lily fell over and began crying.
"Grandma!" she bellowed.
"She's turned. There's nothing you can do!" Kilo yelled.
"Lily, your Grandpa is missing. I don't know if he's turned yet. We might be able to do something about that," Kyla revealed. Lily looked up at the waterbender, then back to the floor, her eyes darting from one floorboard to another. Then the ice around her ankles turned red and melted. Kyla summoned the resulting gas and turned it back to water. Lily ran out of the front door, Kyla followed. Kilo gathered the rest of the group to go help.
Kyla wasn't far behind Lily. She wasn't sure Lily knew where she was even going, but she continued after her nonetheless. The firebender stopped in front of a barn. It had a large cylinder shaped tower next to it. Lily bent down and picked up a cane.
"It was his. He's near."
"How did you know?" Kyla asked as the rest of the group caught up.
"This is his cane," she explained. Lily ran up to the house and kicked open the door. She stood frozen. Kyla told the rest of the group to stay put and followed her. She found out why Lily stopped.
The wall was painted in blood with a message in it. It read:
Turn back. There is no cure!
"Perhaps we should follow their advice," Kyla suggested.
"That's boring," Lily laughed and stepped into the house.
"Lily!" Kyla shouted and went inside.
Lily lit a flame over her palm. There was no sign of disturbance in the rest of the house. It was as if someone came, painted the wall, and left.
"This is more boring," Lily said and turned around to face Kyla. "He's got to be near. Come on."
"Lily, watch out!"
One of the ill took a swipe at Lily, who stepped out of the way just in time. Kyla was frozen, unsure of what to do. Lily quickly spun around in a circle, creating a ring of fire. She raised her arms over her head, moving the halo of fire along with them. She threw them at the sick person, causing him to burn. He screamed in horror until he died.
The boy was too badly burned to get a look at what was wrong. Kyla was disappointed at this fact so she grabbed Lily's arm and left the house.
"I'm not a child!" Lily yelled and sprinted away from her. Kyla watched, upset at the events that transpired. She couldn't help but feeling guilt for not even attempting to help. She had water on her arms, yet she did nothing.
Kilo and the rest of the gang stood outside the house, unaware of the attack Lily had just experienced. He darted his head towards an oncoming sound.
"Do any of you hear that?" he asked.
"It sounds like a stampede," Shofini replied.
"A stampede of what?"
They faced the direction of the noise, squinting to understand the mob coming towards them. It was a herd of those people—the ones that used to be people anyhow. They were speedily walking to them, groaning along the way.
Kilo darted his head in every direction. He spotted a well and began pulling water from it. The rest of the group followed his lead, ready to defend their selves. Shofini rose to large pieces of Earth from the ground and shot it at them. The rocks bull dozed a dozen or so of them over, but the rest of the herd continued on. There must have been hundreds of them.
"They won't be able to get through a shield of ice. It will have to be thin, but it should be enough!" Kilo shouted. Kyla returned with Lily and began to help making the shield. The herd was closing in.
"Shouldn't we run now?" Shofini asked as she put up some walls of rock behind the ice shield.
"We'll be fine. They can't get through this," Kilo responded.
Shofini placed her hands on the ice around her eyes as she pressed her face up against the shield. She tried to see if she could make out how far away they were. Suddenly the ice grew hotter and began to melt. Before she could even take a step back a hand darted through the melted ice and grabbed onto Shofini's arm.
"Help!" Shofini screamed as the hand scratched and clawed at her. She couldn't get away. Kilo ran over to her to help pull her away. The hand was surprisingly strong but they managed to fall back out its clutches.
The whole wall of ice began glowing red as it slowly melted and became water vapor. Blasts of fire were shot at the group as they began running towards the house.
Kilo could only picture Lily's grandmother. She had firebended. He knew it was possible but they depended on water anyhow. This was his fault.
"Close the door!" Kyla shrieked.
Kilo slammed the door shut and began piling furniture in front of it. "I knew."
"I knew they could firebend. I forgot. How could I forget?"
"Where's the Earthbender?" Lily asked.
"She's—" Kilo stopped and looked around. Shofini was missing. "They got her."
"We have to go back," Kyla said.
"It's too late!" Kilo shouted. Lily punched a wall and a fist of fire knocked it down. She darted out to the Earthbender. Shofini was covered in those infected people.
Lily began shooting blasts of fire at them. The noticed her and headed towards her in a hurry. Kyla jumped to Lily. She clenched her fists and took the water from the air. She drew the clouds from the skies and formed a massive wave on which to ride. The group road a block of ice to Shofini's body.
Kyla enveloped the group in an igloo of ice that was over two feet thick. The infected began getting up from the attack they had just endured. They headed to the igloo.
"How did you do that?" Kilo asked.
"I'm not sure," Kyla whispered, too astounded to speak.
"More importantly, how are we even going to get out of here? We're surrounded!" Lily pointed out. Hands were being pressed up against the ice, slowly melting it.
"We could tunnel underneath the Earth! Shofini—" Kyla said and then noticed Shofini was on the ground, completely unconscious. "Oh good, we are definitely stuck."