Tuesday, February 08, 2011

The Rescue (8): In her mind

Miravet ferry, night of 26th August 1713

At the very same time as the dips started their attack upon Albesa and Canals, young Mireia suddenly felt again that odd conscience insidiously penetrating into her mind. This time however, it was quite worse, for she was unavoidably dragged into the vortex of that nebula of alien sensory impressions, violent emotions and strange thoughts -for the primitive, incomprehensible nature of dips was a so overwhelming power that she could barely resist to it. Some time later, when recalling the incident, Mireia would understand she had unwillingly been in close mental connection with the beasts, who reflected some kind of ancestral thinking -an evil and bestial one, although strangely familiar too.

At the sound of fighting, Barceló rushed outside to help their fellows and Copons watched Mireia in distress, while the girl fell down to ground out of control, swept by blue funk, terrified by the beasts' violent emotions: hate, anger, anxiety... Mireia could hardly distinguish her own perceptions from those of the beasts: shooting, roars, snapping jaws... Amidst her confusion, she dimly heard -from where?- the distant voice of Barceló shouting: -Go back! Back into the hut!

At some point however, Mireia willingly managed to overcome the intrusion, so that her perceptions gradually lost intensity, and then recovered conscience and inhaled deeply. She found herself nestled against a corner, with her legs drawn under the body. Second lieutenant Copons was kneeling before her, turned towards the door, delivering a violent lunge to some huge shadow facing him. A black, pink-eyed dip fell mortally wounded, its long fangs wide open for the last breath. The beast stared at Mireia and died.

Then her own conscience understood and learnt. She then acknowledged the dips' eyes -developed among perpetual shadows- were painfully wounded by the firearms' lighting flashes. She learnt the monsters were pressed by their own bloodthirst beyond any other needing; so overhelming was their dependency that it caused in them a perpetual anxiety for quenching that unnatural thirst. She understood they couldn't bear with the smell of their own species corpses; and even she knew such intolerance had spared her fellows' lives, for a second pack had stopped and withdrawn at the smell of their dead comrades. She could remember their odd locomotion was the result of a disproportion between front and back legs -just as that of hares-, that forced them to move by powerful jumps... Mireia felt comforted by such a deep knowledge, so painfully acquired, and reassured on her own.

Lieutenant Barceló broke sharply inside the hut, dragging Albesa with him. The old Miquelet was bleeding through a horrible wound. After a quick inspection, the girl immediately began bandaging Albesa's injured arm. A gasping Canals also got inside a short while afterwards, and then a few musket shots abruptly tore off the silence of night. This time, it was someone else who had shot, from the opposite river bank: Spaniards. Barceló turned towards Mireia and sharply ordered: -We have no time. Just take a fast cure, you'll have time later to properly complete it. We must leave this hut.

Short orders, shorter answers. They rushed into the dark, taking backwards the path followed a while before. Another musket shot. They had to find a safe hiding place and decide, before the area became plentiful of Spanish soldiers.

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