Friend? (TWC ch3)

Story by MaddyFerret on SoFurry

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Chapter 3: Friends?    "You're cutting wood today." Spat today's man, one Anya didn't recognize. Each the the outlaws sent a different man to wake Anya each morning. It was never the same person, nor was it ever the same person as the same person as the one who would head the task she was assigned to. It didn't seem a very logical system to Anya. Maybe they worried if they always sent the same person they would get too close to Anya. Small chance of that, thought the girl. While a few men might show some compassion most saw Anya as nothing more than an animal. Nor did Anya forget they were her captors, her condition had much improved since she had started working but nothing would let her forget she was a prisoner. She had to get out, and get home.     "The wood yard's right over

there." Said the man, pointing to the far side of the camp before untying her.. Anya strode over in the direction directed, stretching in the morning sunbeams. The men of the camp almost totally ignored the girl as she walked by. The girl had gotten a mix of fearful and curious stares for the first few days but at this point her interest had evaporated as the men found there was nothing particularly unique about the girl. Except the tail, ears, and fangs of course, but otherwise she was nothing but a scared little girl.They're not watching. The girl thought, escape always present in her mind. She knew it would be a fool thing to attempt though; there were too many men around and some still watched her with a careful gaze. Soon though, just wait mother. Approaching the area the man had pointed to, right past the edge of camp Anya came to the men who would be her workmates and guards for the day. The was a tall, broad, man with a harsh, scarred face. Anya didn't recognize him, there were so many men about camp and he was relatively unremarkable so that wasn't surprising. The other was the boy outlaw, Will. The boy raised a hand in greeting, with a smile that was almost friendly. The scarred man gave no such greeting. "Get to work Beast." He spat curtly, pointing her to a tiny hatchet. The log yard was filled with felled trees, presumably cut down by other men to be cut to log size here. The girl picked up her hatchet and looked at it curiously. The man and the boy held much larger instruments. "How am I supposed to cut a tree with this." The girl complained. "By shutting your mouth and getting to work." The scarred man responded sharply, smacking the girl across the face. He's nearly as bad as Bruce. Thought Anya. All the same, she picked up the small tool and moved to the nearest tree, striking it sharply with the blade. A small chip of wood flew off the edge of the log, landing harmlessly on the ground. She struck again, sending another chip flying off. I'm never going to get through the wood at this rate she thought despondently.         She did eventually cut through the log, though not without noticing that Will was working more than twice as fast, and scar-face even faster. Nothing I can do about that, she thought to herself I'm working as hard as I can with this little thing. Deciding nothing could be done about it the girl continued to cut at the wood. The second log took even longer than the first as soreness began to creep into the girl's limbs. On the fourth one Anya had begun to throw the hatchet at the wood half-heartedly. By the sixth each swing of the hatchet, despite its small size, sent a ripple of pain through her arm. She kept switching arms to try to give the other a rest. Still, her blows became slower and slower as her arms tired and sweat poured from her brow. Still though, the girl kept working, making her slow progress through the wood, the gap between her yield and that of the men growing exponentially. Just as Anya was finishing what felt like the millionth piece of wood (it was probably closer to the tenth) she felt a presence behind her. Just as she was turning her head to look behind her she felt a blow to her back send her careening into the log she was cutting. Dropping the hatchet, luckily not on her foot, the child yelped, first in surprise then in pain as her chest hit the wood and her face the ground. She groaned and flipped over to find the scarred man looking over her domineeringly. "You're here to work, not sleep." "I thought  was here to sell." The girl objected, "Why should I work for you at all? You haven't done anything but take me from my home!"The man glared at the girl before hitting her again, sending her back into the dirt. "Look here, beast." The man spat, "you will work or I can tell the cook you don't need any food. Here you work to eat."    Anya glared back at the man, but the stinging sensation on her cheek reminded her she could not object any further. She nodded and silently picked up her hatchet and resumed striking the wood. She made a show of striking as hard as she could, her anger giving her a new energy which she brutally took out on the log. The scarred man looked at her and gave a small nod of approval.Anya soon expended her frustrated energy and found herself slowing again. Scar-face didn't bother her again though. Presumably he decided she really was doing the best she could. Or maybe he just didn't feel like coming over to hit her again. "Time to take a break." Said the man, wiping his brow of sweat. The sun was just past the midpoint of its arch across the sky. The man and the boy lay down their axes and sat on some of the logs. Anya collapsed across her log, body sore and weak. "Not you." said the man, making it quite clear who he meant. "You haven't earned your dinner yet." Still, Anya initially made no attempt to get up. The man began walking toward her, imperious. Before he hit her again Anya dragged herself back to her feet and scrambled to pick up her hatchet. The girl became quite conscious of her

own heaving breaths interspersed with thunks of the ax on wood. She sounded so loud to herself now that there wasn't the distraction of the other men's axes.        She looked over at them. The man was drinking water from a pail. The boy was just sitting there watching her. He probably enjoys my pain. She thought ruefully. She continued working as the men rested.The whole party jumped as a loud 'THRUMP!' was heard in the distance. "You make sure that creature keeps working. Can you do that boy?" instructed the scarred man. As he said this he drew a slightly dented bastard sword from his belt and began walking cautiously into the trees. "Yes sir." Said the boy with a small nod. His voice sounded oddly familiar. She hadn't worked with him before today. I guess I've just heard him around camp. There were a lot of voices around so it was quite easily believable that she had heard him around without realizing who it was. As the man walked off the girl continued the work, knowing the boy would tell the man to hit her again if she didn't. She glared at the boy, sitting there lazily. After a few more moments he began walking over to her. What does he want? Hasn't him and his friend tortured me enough? "You can take a break, you know." He said to the girl. It's a trick She thought, and kept on chopping. "Seriously," the boy said, grabbing her arm softly, "I won't tell Joe." Joe, Anya presumed, must be the scar faced man's name, he never did tell her. After giving the boy a suspicious look she dropped the hatchet to the ground. "You better not be lying." She said, still suspicious. "I promise, I won't tell him." The boy said, again. He sat down on the log and gestured for her to sit next to him. Suddenly, Anya realized why she knew his voice. "You!" She shrieked, "What was that about last night?" "I don't know what you mean." Said the boy, the way he bit his lip telling the obviousness of the lie.      "You know perfectly well what I mean." She said, and grinning slightly at the boy added, "and you're a terrible liar." "Alright, alright." Said the boy "I just thought you needed someone to be nice to you okay. Being a prisoner and all, you looked lonely."    "If you wanted to be nice you could have let me go." Said the girl, glaring slightly at the boy. "You know I can't do that." said Will with a sigh. "Anyway where would you go if I did?""Home!""What's left at your 'home' for you. It's a shack in the woods and you don't have any food." "My life, my Mam, everything." "Your mom's dead!" Said the boy, shouting somewhat in frustration. "Even if I did let you go you can't go anywhere."    "No she isn't!" insisted the girl. "How would you know that?"Will's eyes suddenly grew very wide. "You mean they didn't tell you?" He asked, looking away and reddening in the face. "I-I mean. I shouldn't have... I... I thought you knew..."  He stuttered. "A week before we found you they burned a witch in town." "My mom isn't a witch!" The girl exclaimed. Witches were evil, ugly, old women. Anya knew her mother was not ugly nor evil, and not too old. Again the boy looked surprised. "Why do you think she lived alone in the woods? Why did you live a in shack instead of in town? Why did she keep an abo--" The boy cut himself off. He had been about to say "abomination" but he didn't think the girl would take kindly to that term. "She's not a witch! And she's not dead!" Anya screamed, but she began to cry, for she knew in her heart  the boy's words were true. She knew her mom wasn't a witch. But she was taken by men who appeared quite official, and the boy certainly did make her out to be suspicious. Her mom had told her about women falsely accused of being witches before, and even if she didn't want to admit it she knew it was probably her mother who had been killed. "She couldn't be...." The girl said between sobs. "They couldn't... no..." "I'm sorry...." The boy said, inadequately, as he put an arm around her shoulder. Anya pushed him off, her eyes filled with tears. "I--" The boy started to say something else just as the man began to return.He looked at the sobbing child, then to the boy. "What'd you do her?" He demanded. A shadow of fear crossed over the boy's face. "She.. tried to run away. So I hit her." The boy lied. Coward. thought Anya, glaring at the boy through tear-filled eyes. Joe, the scarred man, looked suspiciously at the boy, but failed to pick up on the lie. "Well boy, good for you." He said, giving Will a pat on the back. "Get back to work!" He ordered, turning his scowling gave toward Anya, "Else I'll make whatever the boy did look like a kindness." Struggling to wipe tears from her eyes Anya rose and, trembling raised the hatchet again. It's not true Her arm came down, striking the wood, hard. It's not true. Again, she wiped tears on her arm before raising it to strike again. He's lying. The hatched dug deep into the wood, nearly getting stuck. She's not a witch. The girl raised her arm to hit it again. And she's not dead! The girl screamed internally, before hitting the wood again, shattering the wood. "There we go." Joe said, in mocking approval. "You knew how to get it working, good job boy." He said with a cruel chuckle as the girl cut the at the wood between her tears.       After not too much longer Joe finally decided their work was done for the day. The trio took a quite a few trip to take the fruits of their labor, the cut logs, over closer to the  circle of stones where the outlaws had their fire. They then took a place in the food line. Anya didn't say anything, neither did Joe or the boy, and soon enough they received their food.    Tonight's meal was some berries and a variety of meats picked up by the hunters. It was to tell what was what, but Anya was pretty sure she found rabbit, squirrel, and some sort of bird as well. It was surprisingly savory, the succulent flavour melting in Anya's mouth. The food may cooked over a fire by a fat man in the middle of the woods, but Chuch sure knew his stuff. Anya took her food over to her tree as usual. The men still kept an eye on her but she was left relatively alone at this point. Once she finished she returned her plate and resigned herself to being tied up again. Soon the twilight began to make the shift to the inky blackness of night. The stars began to peek out, twinkling points of light, almost seeming to fight the encroaching darkness. She's not dead. The girl promised herself. You know she is. Another voice in her head said to her. The boy is right you know. Who else would it be?She can't be!She is. And so the girl's argument with herself continued. She whimpered, alone and in the dark, as she struggled to deal with what the boy had told her. She's gone. She isn't!They killed her.They couldn't! But they did. Suddenly the girl heard footsteps coming from behind her. "Who's there? What do you want." She hissed in a sharp whisper, her head whipping back and forth, scanning the darkness. She suspected it might be the boy again, if it were she was angry. Why did he have to torture her more? If it wasn't she knew she should be very afraid.          "I really am sorry." The voice spoke, confirming Anya's suspicions.     "Why can't you just leave me alone." She spat at the boy, indignant. "I really was just trying to be nice, you know.""I know." She said with a sigh. "And I know you're probably right." She saw him tilt his silhouette of a head in the darkness, questioningly. "About my mom, I mean." She explained, her eyes beginning to tear up again. She knew her mother was innocent, but the boy's explanation seemed like the only one that could explain everything. "I'm sorry about that. I don't know, I was probably wrong. I shouldn't have said that, I'm sure she's waiting back home for you." Said Will, biting his lip. For a moment Anya almost believed him, she desperately wanted to. But she couldn't. "You are a terrible liar." She whispered, trying to keep from crying. "I know." He sighed sadness in his voice. Suddenly Anya felt the the ropes around her fall to the ground. The boy had untied her. He smiled, "I really am sorry. You better go quick and get a head start on us before the sun comes up."I can leave. She thought, the knowledge almost surreal after looking for an escape for so long. "Thank you Will." She said, standing up.

She started to take a step. Where will I go? She wondered. She had planned to go home, but she had no home left. After her failed fishing attempts she didn't really think she could go live alone. And her mother was gone. Gone. She couldn't bring herself to say "dead", not even to herself. Gone was a nice safe word. A good euphemism to make it easier to cope with. The girl sat back down. "Retie it." She ordered. "I thought you wanted--""I can't have what I want." She said, my mom, she added silently. "Retie

it."The boy didn't say anything, but knelt down and tied the rope around her. It was a good deal looser than before, but Anya didn't think anyone would notice. "Thank you." Said Anya."For what?" The boy asked, clearly wondering how he went from guilty to ingratiated in a few minutes. "For..." The girl began thinking. For what? She asked herself. After a long moment she finished. "For being my friend." Anya had never had a friend, not unless you counted her mother, but the boy didn't seem like the worst friend. He was trying to help her, wasn't he. Anyway, Anya knew she desperately needed a friend.  "Friend?" The boy asked. "Friend." Anya answered, with one word and nod before watching the boy slink back into the darkness.

Work (TWC ch2)

Chapter 2: Work    Anya, the beast-girl as her captures called her, had been following the camp for ten days now. She'd been counting. The first few days had been miserable as she had struggled to find a way out. By now though, the girl had given up...

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Caught (TWC ch1)

Caught: Chapter One    The girl stabbed the wooden spear into the water, only to see the fish dart away, a silver flash. The girl flicked her tail in annoyance, she'd been out since sunrise; the sun was nearly halfway across the sky by now and her...

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Prologue: Burning

 Burning    They started a fire. The woman knew the end was near. The woman felt herself dragged across the stage to the pile of wood. The men tied her to the wooden pillar in the center of the pile, the rope so tight it dug deep into her flesh. She...

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