Ch17: Mourning of Damon
That evening was somber. No one spoke, after the mess hall, the troop was ordered to the barracks. Once there, Magdaline sat on her cot and barely breathed. She was horrified that Damon was not there. She wondered where they took him. Was he ok? She desperately wanted to know where he was. Elizira came and sat beside her, both just looking at the floor. Neither wanting to be the first person to speak.
“I am sorry.” Magdaline said. A small tear erupted from her eye and fell to the floor.
Elizira leaned over and put an arm around her. She gently laid her head against Magdaline’s.
“He had it coming.” One kid spoke up. “He was a smug human. Human’s have no place here.”
“It was Hamelfoot. That short imp made her do this.” Another said.
“No, it was her fault, you dummy. She wouldn’t stop.” A girl spoke up.
“No. It’s her fault.” Another spoke up. The whole room got quiet.
Magdaline slowly raised her eyes. Phayefine stood, pointing a finger directly at her. Suddenly shock came across her face.
“She taunted her and made her do it. You don’t dangle a worm in front of a fish and then tell the fish he is wrong for trying to eat it.” Phayefine came over to where she was sitting. “What are you even doing here? You don’t belong here.”
Magdaline couldn’t even speak. She felt that she did nothing wrong. For her trouble, she received a welt that was purple and swollen.
“Oh, you will get yours.” Phayefine sputtered. “This is what we get when they try to put stupid recruits with us. We are weaker because SHE is weak.” The emphasis was marked with a grand pointing gesture. “You should just die for what you did.”
Magdaline said nothing.
Others began to join Phayefine. “You should leave. You’re worthless. I hate you.” Came from all around the room.
Elizira held the girl tight. Sarros stood and came between Magdaline and Phayefine. He started yelling at her. “Leave her alone. She hasn’t done anything.”
Phayefine fumed at him. “You want to be with this garbage, we can make that happen.”
Sarros stood as tall as he could and puffed his chest in Phayefine’s face. “Bring it on, I am not afraid of you. We are not afraid of you.”
The door swung open quickly and sergeant Lorafean burst in. “Be quiet all of you.” Her loud voice carried throughout the room. And with that the postering and preening of all deflated.
Lorafean walked through the troop and began dowsing the candles that lit the barracks. About midways, she stopped at bed sixteen. She crumpled up the sheets and took them with her.
When she finally walked out the door out of the darkness of the barracks, many children were crying. Sixteen was Damon’s cot.
Sleep was difficult for Magdaline that night. She tossed and turned and could not find any rest. Once it finally came, it was fitful.
Sometime in the middle of the night, after she had finally cried herself to sleep, Magdaline was awoken as her body hit the floor. She somehow fell out of her cot. As her eyes opened, she saw the dim figure of Phayefine standing above her. She could feel the fury and hatred from the girl.
“If I get you in that circle, I will kill you.” The girl said softly but the words were deafening to her.
The door opened, and a lit candle on a candle holder thrust through it. “What’s going on here?” The sergeant entered the room and looked around. Magdaline was on the floor and Phayefine was lying on her cot pretending to be asleep.
“Uh, I fell out of my bed.” Magdaline said softly.
The sergeant came over and helped the girl to her feet. “Come with me child.” The sergeant’s tone was soft, much softer than she thought the woman was even capable of. She led Magdaline outside, away from the barracks. She walked with her, slowly. “Child, I have no doubt that you are in part the cause of Damon. The children in our troop do not trust you because you have not proved yourself. If you don’t, I fear for your safety. I fear for the safety of your new friends. Until you stand up and take your place, you will be an outcast.” They walked around a couple of barracks then back to the troop. Magdaline was silent the whole time.