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I awoke to the sound of thunder.

My head shot straight up, but was forced down by a pain that shot through my skull. I screamed in agony at the throb, and all of a sudden a candle was lit, and the room was illuminated.

The room wasn't much larger than my parent's home, but it was far more decorative. Instead of dirty broken armoires and closets, the cabinets were a dark ebony Black tinged with a light crimson, that pulled the light room together. Paintings hung on the walls, some featuring colorful, abstract art, while others portrayed dark, grisly scenes. The room was full of contrast, but my eyes focused upon the lady holding the candle.

From the light that lit her body, I could see that she was of middle class. mid 30's in years. She was of brunette colored hair, and had a figure of a much younger being. The low-cut brilliant blue dress even gave her added youth, and the rings on her hands made her look more like a lady just coming out of her 20's. But what gave her away was her eyes. The face looked quite young, but her eyes... they were a blue color, but they has a gaze of a woman her age, not what she appeared at first sight. I took all of this in within 3 seconds. It was a trait I had learned back in the Sanctuary, to read somebody's looks, to tell what they were truly thinking and what they had. Of course, back then we used the ability to see whether or not this person had anything of value, not whether he/she were a person to be feared or to be talked with. Then I recalled the things I had seen right before I sank into the land of no thought.

I tried to raise my head once more, only to receive the same results as earlier. I yelled once more in pain.

"Be still child," said the lady in a sing song voice, "You have suffered through quite the injury. You need not be doing anything but lying there."

I managed to gasp out, "But, David... Edgar! They're gone.. I have to, I have to go and find the others!"

The lady's hands put a firm but gentle push on me, and I calmed down considerably. I suddenly was aware of how tired I was.

"Right now you cannot do any of that. You need to rest, to recover from that hit to your head. I don't know how you are still alive, your skull.. well, it is in the worst of shapes."

I managed to move a hand and feel the back of my head. I groped around until I felt a soft spot. I withdrew my hand. Edgar had told me the seriousness of head hits, and to NEVER go prodding where it feels wrong.

The lady then pulled back from me and began walking about. She walked to a small cup sitting on a table and handed it to me. I took it slowly and took a sip. Tea, watery, but of a fine brew.

The lady lay on my bed and observed me for a few more moment before speaking. "I'm glad you recovered so quickly, I'm Janet Warsteel. Now, who are you?"

I took a long drought before answering, "Jack. And before you ask, no, I don't recollect a last name. I never got my namesake."

She looked at me strangely for one moment before grinning slightly. "You must have quite the tale. Washed up on a beach in a rowboat, near death when we found you. What happened to you, Jack?"

She talked to me as an equal, not as the kid I was, and I liked that. However, this didn't mean I trusted her. I thought over my answer for a few moments, disguising my thoughts by taking a long drink from the tea cup, and was just about to tell a lie, when Thunder erupted close by.

However, it's wasn't thunder.

"Janet! How is our little guest?"

The thunder I heard was just the slamming of the front door. I didn't realize that I had drew in a sharp breath, and quickly let it out.

Janet called out, "He's awake and talking Leon! Come on up and meet him!"

I heard the loud steps of somebody walking up the stairs, and soon enough saw the perpetrator himself.

The man was of middling stature, not too tall, not too short, and was built strong. His muscles showed through the clothes he wore, and were very imposing. He had dirty brown hair, from what I could see under his hat, and had a leathered face. He was a working man, like my father.

He gave me a quick look up and down before exclaiming, "Good to see you awake. Thought you wouldn't wake up, and here you are, talking and alive," He smiled, "I forgot to introduce myself, Leon Warsteel, the owner of this house and the husband to Janet.

They exchanged loving looks. I liked these people, but what did I know about them?

"A pleasure to meet you," I replied, "My name is Jack."

He looked almost a little off balance, and I knew why. Most people were sort of, how do I put this, scared of the way I greeted people as a child.

Leon then asked me, "So, you know a little about us now. How about you tell us how you got that tiny scar up there?"

I took a moment to think it over. I had thought of something to tell the lady, but I realized how strange it would sound. So, I improvised as I went along.

I told him, "I was on a crew on a fishing boat, and during a storm fell off the ship. I guess I hit the lifeboat too hard, and the currents brought me here.

They took it without a second thought. "Poor boy! Why, you need to get your rest," said Janet.

"But, I don't want to impose.."

Janet laughed at this and told me, "Your a child! Letting you sleep here is a trivial matter. Now, go to sleep."

I was about to utter another rebuttal, but I suddenly was overcome with fatigue. I let my head fall to the pillow, and fell to slumber hearing the words..

"He's just a boy Leon.. what would we do to him, let him live on the streets?"

"I suppose not.. we'll let him stay here, for now."

And as quickly as I woke up, I was fast asleep.

To be continued...

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The Life, Lies and Tragedies of Jack Shipsteel 5 The Life, Lies and Tragedies of Jack Shipsteel 7

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