Secrets of the Universe by Thea McSweeney
The girl wonders through the beast, it’s pearly ribs stretching up to the smoky, grey clouds. She runs her finger along the scar on her hip, tracing the red lines. Her bare feet scuff through the grey-green earth, burying her toes into the the moist soil beneath the layer of dust.
She hears the sound of footsteps and the chatter of voices, “I can’t believe they sent us on patrol here of all places,” one complains, “Don’t let Artaya hear you say that, she’ll have your head for questioning her decisions,” the second reprimands.
The girl tenses all of her muscles, fixing her eyes on the direction of the voices. Two figures turn the corner and stare right into her eyes. She bolts backwards, but trips over a stray bone. Her body thumps down onto the rocks leaving her helpless.
The two people move forward and kneel beside her, the second person, a woman, peers at the scar on her hip, “giant scorpion. No one has ever survived an attack from it, let alone an orphan girl.”
She looks at the scar in awe. “I’m a healer, I’ve learned how to make medicine and cure stings and burns,” she replies.
She decides that she can trust these humans.
Synthia steps out of the tent, the light fabric tunic feeling strange after years of naked skin. She had followed the woman, Claire, and the man, Oscar, to their camp where she had been given medication for something, clothes, food and a name. The food was heavenly and Synthia has seconds. It turns out the humans were all as nice as Claire and Oscar and soon she has made some friends. Raven and Kelly are so impressed by all the things she’s done that soon she has a crowd gawking at her scorpion scar. The camp was situated in a small wall of rocks on the border of giants hollow and the forgotten woods. Synthia is the only one allowed back in Giant’s Hollow, but even she can only go so far. Everyone has to be back at sunset and in bed when the fires are lit by patrol. The stars are blinking like eyes that know the secrets of history and beyond. Feet crunch on dead leaves and Synthia looks up from her book. Standing in front of her is a fox, it’s grey fur catches the moonlight, turning it silver. The fox darts into her tent and curls up on her blanket. Synthia curls up next to the fox and slowly drifts off to sleep.
Her dreams are mysterious and all involve a giant, creepy, dark, creepy, ominous, creepy, disturbing, creepy, irritating abyss. The moon is gleaming like polished diamonds as Synthia starts awake, sweat dripping down her face. She somehow knows where the visions came from, the stars. She stands up, careful not to make a sound.
The fox lifts it’s head, it’s cobalt blue eyes blink slowly up at her. “I need to give you a name,” she tells the fox, “how about Quicksilver.”
Quicksilver tilts her head in reply. Dirt flys behind her as she runs along the pathways, Quicksilver at her heel, towards the calling. The sun is rising as she turns a corner and finds herself at a group of arched rocks. They were smooth and polished like marble. Synthia weaves through the stones careful not to look back at the camp. Claire opens her eyes to see Raven shaking her.
“What is it?” she yawns, “It’s Synthia…she’s missing.” Synthia reaches the end of the rocks and stares ahead. The abyss was only metres away, it emits a blue glow and radiates authority. She reaches the end and stands at it’s edge. She takes a deep breath and steps forward, to her triumph or her death…
The darkness surrounds Synthia as she falls down, down, down.