Bertholdt brought his hand to his eyes in useless attempt to protect himself from the clarity. He had no idea where was or where to go; since his flank was massacred by a group of abnormal titans, his maneuvering equipment broken and his horse crushed by a giant foot. He had no choice but to run very far if he wanted to survive; however Berth already considered himself dead, because no human would ever survive beyond the walls .. well, actually had a person, Ilse Langnar; but anyway she didn't lasted very long.
After traversing vast open plains with the sun punishing over the head, Bertholdt saw a set of trees where he could rest a little. Gasping and sweaty, he sat and pressed his back against the rough surface of the tree, and took deep breaths to try to calm himself.
Along a distant hill, he can see a beam of red smoke in the sky. His will was to scream for help ... but he was so far away, his voice will never reach their ear. Minutes later, a beam of black smoke rising in the air; after some time no more signs appeared. Bertholdt closed his eyes, he could do nothing to help his friends, just moan.
Today was not a good day for the survey corps, in fact there was never a good day, Bertholdt thought.
The brunet brought the canteen to the dry lips and drank the last sip left, and then nibbled his cereal bar. Now with the quieter heart, Berth had to keep moving while the titans seem to be busy with the rest of the groups. He had no idea where to go, because behind a hills and forests, there were only more hills and forests, but he knew he couldn't go back to the wall, because your equipment was broken and left behind, only what is left of his sword he kept.
According to the theory of the scientist creepypasta, known as Hanji Zoë, the titans clustered near the walls because they feel the human presence, but far from the wall the amount should be lower. It's time to put this theory in practice.
The green eyes widened and a trickle of sweat poured down on Bertholdt's forehead when he heard the noises of clicking branches, but soon calmed down .. at least a little. The titan that revealed itself among the trees was three meters and had a belly so swollen that it looked like it had eaten another titan (or had it eaten many humans?). Because of its titan’s excessive weight, its steps were slow, very slow. This thing will not be able to keep up with Bertholdt for long.
The long legs went back to work. Sometimes Berth looked back to see if the the potbellied titan was getting more distant and also to check if there was another titan pain in the ass around, but luck was at his side this time.
The sun was setting.. it was a good sign, because soon the giants going to "sleep". Bertholdt thought it might be a good idea to get some sleep too, but discarded the idea; because he was still in dangerous territory, and the night is the perfect opportunity for him to sneak as far as possible, mainly because it isn’t full moon night, so the titans couldn't enjoy the light reflected from the moon.
The first stars began to appear over Bertholdt's head. He contemplated the sky with a certain admiration in his emerald eyes, because this was his first night outside the walls. A scary night ... but beautiful anyway.
Berth screamed and took what was left of his sword to defend himself when heard the noise of the grass being crushed. It was not high enough to be a giant, but it could be a wolf or other type of predator; but still had enough clarity for him to see that it was only a horse. The brunet gave a sigh of relief, but then he was in shock when realized it was Marco's spotted horse.
" .. M-Mar.." Bertholdt tried to say, but the words refused coming out of his mouth.
Bertholdt was incredulous. Marcos was a gentle and smiling boy, everyone liked him because he liked everybody (including Annie). He didn't deserve to die, not like this. Probably Jean must be shattered, because he was very close to Marco ... if he is still alive, but the irritants never die early, right? The steps now closer of the horse took off bertholdt of hiss thoughts. He stretched out his palm and the horse without hesitation pressed the snout.
The tall boy rummaged through the bag that was tied next to horse's saddle and took out a half-empty canteen. He drank long sips and then poured the rest over his head to get rid of sweat that he does not even know where it comes from.
In the saddle of the horse, Bertholdt noticed that there were some blood drops, probably should be Marco's blood or another member, because a titan couldn't be, the blood would evaporate. Bertholtd took a handkerchief from his pocket that he always carried secretly because of his excessive sweat and clean the saddle. If Levi were here he would want the saddle to be de-sterilized and rubbed about fifty times with alcohol. He laughed at the thought .. actually it would be very good to be in the presence of the strongest dwarf of humanity.
The spotted horse whinnied and began to trot when Bertholdt mounted on his back and took the reins. At first the horse didn't obey the commands very much; because he wasn’t accustomed to this strange stranger in his back, but Berth remained patient and stroked the animal's long neck as if trying to say he was a friend. Gradually the horse gave way and created a bond with its new owner.
Now the sky was darker, almost impossible to see the way. Bertholdt had to trust on the keen senses of the animal that stood firm on his path. the brunet moved his head to look around and saw several dark silhouettes along a mountain, at first thought it was rocks, but when his vision became accustomed to the dark he almost fell off the horse's back. Were dozens of titans. The freaks were like a sack of potatoes, but their eyes remained open with a certain murderous glow. A chill went through the Bertholdt's spine, were the titans watching and accompanying him with the eyes? (even their pupils are immobile)?
He didn't have the answer and did not even want to know.
The brunet hit the reins and the horse started to walk faster. He wanted to go as far as possible from these giants with macabre grimaces.
"Are you scared too?" Bertholdt murmured.
The horse obviously didn't answer, but if he could he would say: The titans want to eat you, not me!
"Of course not ... you've been trained so that you don't have."
Great, talking to animals, I'm getting paranoid! thought bertholdt.
Berth always preferred to listen more than talk, the reason he was always more excluded from the groups, but in a situation like this .. he did not want to be alone as he always was, maybe the company of an animal was not so bad.
It was already dawning when Bertholdt arrived in a rocky canyon. He thought it would be a good idea to camp in a high place with good visibility to stay more protected against the titans. The brunet removed the equipment from the exhausted animal so he could graze and have his merited rest.
While the spotted horse regained its strength, Bertholdt went to a lake to fill his canteen and also used to wet his face and hair. After half an hour running after a hare, Berth skinned the animal and put it on a spit over the fire he had done by rubbing two stones.
It isn’t one of the tastiest meats, but at least it will fill the empty space in the stomach and give him energy to reward the night not asleep, thought Bertholdt
As soon as his meal was over, the brunet walked to the edge of the canyon to check the situation. There was no titan in sight, probably hanji was right. More far, fewer titans.
"Well ... at least the world outside the walls is beautiful."
Maybe being a bit optimistic in a situation like that was not so bad. Actually, it's comforting.
Bertholdt sat cross-legged near the edge and enjoyed the landscape of a man-untouched nature. The refreshing breeze hit the long face of the brunette and made his short hair pulled back. Until the memories he so much tries to forget came out like a rocket going to the moon, it was as if he had sent his consciousness back to the past.
"Here Berth, bon appétit!"
Said his mother, giving a kiss to the top of his head while putting a very flashy plate on a table. Bertholdt's father snorted in disapproval while reading his newspaper.
"I Already said for you to stop pampering this chicken!"
Bertholdt immediately flinched at the tone of voice his father used for him, it was the same tone he used when he left bruises on his own son. Her mother realizing the sudden change, she placed herself in the space between berth and her husband.
Already tired of seeing her son being neglected, she blew out.
"GOD DAMMIT HENRY! Don't you see that unloading your anger from the death of your first son at Bert is insane! Marcel was killed by a chariot of these drunken military police! IT ISN’T BERTH’S FAUL-!"
A punch made her fall backwards, almost falling on Bertholdt.
"BITCH! STOP CALLING HIM OF BERTH, IT'S IRRITANT!"
Henry was breathless and red, and then his green eyes met the tearful of bertholdt.
"Marcel was the perfect son ... strong, responsible." Shane stared at him for a while longer and said, "You're a waste of time I have to feed, A COWARD!"
Then he turned and left.
Bertholdt helped his mother to get up, she tried to say that she was well; but her face said otherwise.
This was just another normal day after Marcel's death. Bertholdt's father hated him completely because Bertholdt was always the weakest, almost every day he returned home with fresh bruises caused by the other boys in the neighborhood, while Marcel always imposed respect.
The brunet came back to reality when he spotted some titans running toward him on the horizon. Berth was incredulous. How do these demons know I'm here? Did they feel my scent through the wind, or something like this?
Bertholdt immediately raised an arm and sniffed, then grimaced. Fucking sweat.
Turning his attention to the herd of titan, he realized that their movements were more flexible, probably they should be abnormal. Bertholdt looked down into the abyss, was about 30 meters, it’s impossible for the titans to climb here, he thought.
Again the memories dominated him.
At the top of the wall that had protected humanity for years, there was an aberration of meat shrouded in vapor of sixty meters. That thing allowed the titans to come in and make their banquet insatiable.
"I love you Berth"
Said Bertholdt's mother, seconds before her head was crushed by a titan's jaw. Bertholdt froze looking the blood dripping between the giant's fingers until he felt his arm being pulled by a military.
"What are you doing brat! Run!"
Bertholdt looked around while was pulled by the arm. There were no signs of his father anywhere.
Fuck him, I hope he dies, Bertholdt thought.
Berth sighed. He missed his mother, many of the other scouts were ashamed when they received a family visit, but if they knew what it is, lose someone close, they would think twice. He remembered Eren, the easy irritates. Eren also faced the same thing, he saw the massacre those unemotional creatures are capable of doing.
Now the titans were stretching out their arms in a useless attempt to catch him. Look at them was like looking at the door of hell.
The little Bertholdt looked terrified, as well as all those who were lucky to get on the boat to the massive demon covered by some kind of hard material. This reminded bertholdt of the images in the history books of armor that warriors wore in wars.
Suddenly the armored titan straightened; the hard plates creaking with the movement and returned to the fresh hole he had made in the wall.
Looking down, Bertholdt saw that the titans were trying to climb, but there was no support and they fall knocking the others down like bowling. The vision was funny, but unfortunately in every attempt, the titans were leaving craters on the rock and using them as a ladder.
"So .. titan has the ability to learn, damn it!"
Time to move again.
The horse returned obediently to bertholdt after hearing the whistle. The brunet decided to leave the riding equipment behind; because if it had to make a quick escape, putting the equipment would spend a lot of time, and besides, the equipment was useless now.
"Come on boy."
The horse trotted slowly at first, and then began to gain speed. The brunet looked back as if to say good-bye. The freaks do not reach the edge yet, but he could already hear the noise of stone breaking by the force of the titans' fingers. It was only a matter of time before they climbed up, but until, bertholdt was already far away.
Hills, forests and mountains, hills, forests and again these fucking mountains. It was all the same outside the walls ... well there were some beautiful landscapes, like waterfalls, field of flowers and gorges that reached the clouds, but of course! It's was incest of titans, so it couldn't be appreciated for long.
It was about noon when Bertholdt spotted an old wooden house near a river with walls full of mucus and creeping plants springing up here and there. He dismounted from the horse, trusting that the animal would not go very far and entered the house or what was left of it. He planned to find nothing, Berth only wanted to explore the interior of the house out of curiosity; after all this was the dream of the survige corps .. to find vistigues of the before world and solve this puzzle, and since he was here, why not?
Was dark inside and the rotten wood floor creaked beneath his feet. The brunet had to be careful and took one step at a time; because he was entering a house more than a hundred years old, and the probability that the ceiling fall on his head was huge.
Bertholdt screamed as the floor fell under the weight of his foot. Termites and other disgusting bugs left the fresh hole to seek another corner to hide.
Okay, it was just an accident ... nothing to worry, thought Bertholdt.
Some fruit bats hissed at him, indignant at the lack of privacy and fly away. Bertholdt swallowed the fear and entered the darkest corridor illuminated only by a faint light that went through the holes in the ceiling. He observed how the furnishings and the structure of the house were suffering with the action of time. Now that the humans were not here,the nature was partying.
Diverting of some webs of spiders and trying to get as far as possible from a nest of wasps, the brunet finally reached a room. It was not a very large room, and there was nothing interesting; but in the corner of the room, something caught his eye. On top of a desk was something hidden under a long white cloth ... or it was white.
He grabbed one end of the cloth and with a sudden movement he pulled it. A cloud of dust got up making bertholdt close his eyes and cough. When the dust died out and Bertholdt could open his eyes, he saw that on the desk there was a metal box with latches on the side.
He was a little distressed whether he should open the box or not, but his curiosity spoke louder. Bertholdt brought his hands up to the latches that opened easily, and then pulled the box lid upward revealing several pieces of colored cloth. Scouring with one hand, he discovered that under the cloths were sewing materials and simple tools, but then something surprised him. In the bottom of the box there was a book with a drawing of a man giving a flower bunch to a woman .. a novel? Fascinated, Bertholdt took the book to examine it more closely and opened some pages. At first berth thought that the book was written in another language that the humanity of before used .. but he was surprised when he discovered that the book was in english. So english language was a lot older than I thought. Hanji would love to hear this information.
The brunet shrieked and almost dropped the book when he heard a hissing of a snake. He turned in time to see a long saithe tail disappear on the other side of the door.
Better get out of here soon, he thought.
He took some needles, line rolls, and tools from the box that he thought were important and put in a bag including the novel. Lend turns to get out of there, Bertholdt noticed that there were pictures on the walls, coming closer to look, he noted that it was the image of an elderly couple.
How did they live before these titans showed up? Better .. how would the people of before lived in this world? This was a question that would never find an answer; because humanity lost its connections with the past, only a few story books still contained something, but many believed that stories were invented.
Speaking of history, Berth remembered Armin. The blonde loves to share his books and always emphasized the sea and also said that one day he would see.
Wait! Armin was on the expedition too! Bertholdt thought
Shaking his head to ward off the bad thoughts, Bertholdt left as quickly as possible of the "half-mortified" house. Now near the banks of the river, where the spotted horse grazed as if nothing were happening. Bertholdt noticed that in one corner there was one crucifix made of scraps of metal almost hidden in the thicket.
He tilted his head thinking about the image of an elderly couple he'd seen, and wondering why there was only one crucifix and not two, but slapped him mentally when he realized such stupidity. How the second person could "self bury"?
Berth looked up. The two emeralds reflecting the blue sky that was replaced almost immediately by a dark clouds.
He wished that Armin .. no, that all his friends were alive and that one day they could see the sea together as they always wanted, undoubtedly this is an impossible dream, but is always those small hopes that motivates us to rise and continue. The first raindrops on his face took him out of his thoughts.
He needs to find a shelter soon.
Now with his attention turned to the horse, Bertholdt realized that the animal had his head up and the ears moved carefully to catch the sound, and it didn't appear to be the sounds of the thunders.
"Hey boy, what's the probl-!"
He was cut off by the distant howls of the wolves. Maybe this wasn't a good time to chat ... especially with a horse.
It was a bit difficult at first to ride the horse without the riding equipment, but the feeling of holding a mane of the animal instead of the net, was freedom (and it looks like the horse was happy for not being pulled by reins). That made him remember one night in the barracks when Armin was in the bunk reading a book with a candle beside him. The blonde had commented on a page that said about the Indians, an ancient people who had an exotic culture: own language, made no use of money, painted the body, wore weapons with materials easy to find in nature and mounted horses without any type of equipment. The cadets who were nearby laughed at him and compared him as a naive child who believed in everything, but immediately they shut up and invented something to do when Mikasa stared at them. Those were good times.
The rain became intense and the night began to reign over the land when bertholdt reached on a mountain, diverting from some titans in the way that fortunately were few. The horse stumbled a few times because of the erosion and with that rain the situation would get worse.
Bertholdt clutched the cloak over his body in an attempt to protect himself from the cold, but the green cloth was already very wet. He needed to find a shelter soon, or he will have to face hypothermia.
The tall man shrieked when the horse's foreleg slid, but managed to regain his balance, avoiding a fall.
"Easy boy ,easy"
Said Bertholdt, patting the long neck of the exhausted animal.
The green eyes widened in fear as lightning snapped nearby, but thanks to the light that the lightning projected for a few seconds was enough for the brunet see a cave hidden among the wild vegetation.
Bertholdt dismounted from the horse and approached the cave to examine. There weren't footprints or remains of food, probably no animal lived there, but for precaution, Bertholdt put two fingers in his mouth and whistled to scare off snakes or other undesirable bugs.
There was no response coming from inside the cave. Satisfied, he entered the darkness of the cave, followed by the spotted horse. The interior wasn't very deep, but it was enough to accommodate both.
The exhausted horse collapsed on the dirt floor. Berth sat down beside him and stroked the taut torso of the animal that soon fell asleep.
"Thanks buddy" Murmured Bertholdt.
He tightened the cloak around his body and ate the last bran of the cereal bar; his stomach begged for more, but he'll have to put up with it until tomorrow. Bertholdt looked at the rain out there and noticed that began to fall hail. He wished the storm would erase any clues the titans could catch to follow his trail.
His eyelids became more and more heavy and his head seemed to weigh tons on tired shoulders. He couldn't stand to stay awake any longer. Bertholdt cuddled his body with the sleeping horse's torso and rested his head on the soft and comforting fur, enjoying the warmth that the animal offers.
Bertholdt finally gave in and closed his eyes, allowing the darkness to envelop him. Tomorrow going to be a good day ... perhaps.