The Justice Of Usa – Part 4
She stands now, on that cliff, her back to the cave. While surviving on the outskirts of town, she heard murmurs of the king’s order; she heard of the punishment for denying it. Usa wonders about the king, about the state of her town, her country, but what can she do?
There’s a million questions in her mind. Where’s the answers?
How did she survive having her ability taken from her?
She’s known the process to happen to criminals. When Usa was but a child, a friend’s mother had used her anima to steal money from the local bank. It was said that she intended to buy groceries with it. A few weeks later, the courts sentenced her to have her anima removed. The process leaves survivors- the rare few- of the ordeal in vegetative states or find themselves in states of insanity. No one saw the mother again after the sentencing, and her family moved away shortly after. It was highly probable that she died. Why Usa survived is beyond her. This brought the next question, one that stood out from the others as the skies opened up and rain poured down.
Why did she end up with this ability?
Usa has no clue, but she understands that this ability to turn things to stone came about soon after she lost her anima. Somehow, there’s a connection there. But how does she find it? She’s tested this new power and has gotten an interesting result: she can control her ability, but in times of stress- like being attacked- she doesn’t. Once something turns to stone, she can’t undo it. Usa goes back to the forest, and the hunter is still there, lying on the ground, completely made of stone. No pulse. His stone irises stare into nothing even while his still body is beaten by the weather, wild animals, and time. Parts of him are broken off.
“You won’t hurt me anymore,” Usa says to the statue and sighs. “But I wish it hadn’t come to that.”
In the night, she buries the statue and prays for his peace. This brings to mind another question.
Who else is after her?
Usa has yet to sneak back into town or go near it enough to figure out such information. After a night’s rest and a breakfast comprising berries and stale water, she plans. The first thing she needs is information. She needs to know about this ability; she needs to know about who’s hunting her, if any, are. She needs to know what the king is up to.
Something is brewing in her- a streak of anger from being cast out. Hurt from the pain of losing something so brilliant and amazing. And a sense of duty to do something dangerous. In the pocket of her jacket, she carries a knife the hunter had on him. Usa waits until the sun sets and the new moon night comes alive with the brilliance of a million stars. She ties up her hair and, on the way into town, steals a heavy cloak from the house of an old woman who babysits the town’s children. Usa leaves a handful of berries on her porch. She also takes a lantern with a silent promise to return it. Finally, she treks to the library, hoping to find something. Would the king allow such knowledge to be stored publicly? If he’s taking control of users, would he allow them to know such information?
That’s a risk she’s going to have to take.