In time they said I would heal. In time the world would pass me by. I cannot stop seeing the horrifying sight. It wakes me when I sleep. It is the deep root of my bloodiest bloodcurdling scream. But they won’t let me forget. I need to remember to heal. “Because I was their weapon”
He gazed down at the flowers and the photos that were wrapped around the pole.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing here?” The mother of one of the lost teens stood there.
Protest! But it was that kind of rash action that had done this. The bouquet fell as he limped away, remorseful.
There was water in my hair…how could that be? I wondered as looked down at myself. I was dry. The water thrashed about me. Where was I? I wondered. The beach. I frowned. Why was I at the beach? Then the cries reached my ears and I saw my floating body on the water, lifeless.
In my mind I see things, hear things, think things; things that aren’t real, great or spectacularly life inspiring. But they’re there. Telling me, whispering to me, sneaking into my mind.
I stumble to the stairs, cold and metallic, they clang beneath my heavy boots. My head throbs. Ba-dum. Ba-dum. BA-dum!
I climb with my hands and knees, feeling for the next step to haul myself up. I’m blinded by the sight that I cannot see. I’m blinded by what my brain tells me.
The vision has always followed me. It has always preceded me. I wondered had all those who’d died had known whether they were going to do it?
Death follows me. He shadows me as I walk, as I crawl, as I climb. He knows my fate. Perhaps he has known it for years.
Destiny finds me too. But unlike Death, Destiny does not stay. Destiny comes and goes, straying to my right shoulder while Death waits by my left. They are patient and unassuming but they wait, reminding me all the time exactly how much of my fate they already know.
I shove the heavy rooftop door open. It weighs more than the world and the burden on my shoulders.
The night is cold against my skin. The sound of silence but howls in my ears. What have I left but than to edge my way slowly over to the top of the summit?
Death hovers by my side as I find my way up the roof. I look for handholds and footholds. The tiles were gritty against my calloused hands.
Halfway up I stopped and turned. Breathing, my breath fogging up the night, the cityscape stretched all around me. My eyes looked down. Only a hill as high as the one my house sat on could show me this unbelievable sight.
“Why do you want me to climb the roof?” I ask to no one in particular. Death never spoke, but Death could hear.
And like always Death was quiet. Death and Destiny never interfered. Death and Destiny stood aside to watch.
I looked at the short bit of roof I still had to climb. It wasn’t far. But it wasn’t like I climbed roofs for a living. I breathed again. My breath surrounding me like a cloud.
“It is my destiny isn’t it?” I asked.
The silence from Death was all that surrounded me.
Fate had led me here. Fate had always been leading me. Fate took me to school to watch my peers.
The visions didn’t show me my future. Even though at first, I always thought it was mine.
But I see her now, standing on top of my roof. My younger sister, thirteen. It was her in the visions. Not me.
And now Death walked beside me, Death and Destiny. Fate followed behind me. He watched broodingly, because he was Fate and he knew what my sister didn’t. He knew, as did Death and Destiny what I will find.
I hauled myself over the apex and sat down uncomfortably.
“Rela, don’t.” I breathed hoarsely looking at the slender girl in front of me.
When I’m ready I stand. I almost feel Death offer a hand of kindness or was it Fate? But it was a wisp of darkness that brushed faintly over my elbow, that barely supported me at all.
My house is stranger than most. It has three stories; the fourth sitting at the very top. It is an attic with an old-fashioned roof. The rest is metal and highly resembles a maximum security vault.
It was supposed to be safe. But like everything else in this world, it wasn’t. I should have known.
I bet others didn’t have this problem, this supernatural calling of the horrid, horrid angels of Destiny, Death and Fate.
They didn’t have the visions I did or the freak headaches I had within my own house. It was the house, this house. Why did I live in this house? Was it the house?
“Do you know, it’s like fate put us here. That this house, the only house in the suburb should be the one with the faulty security. How does it feel?” She sounded manic. I had to stop her. Rela was my only flesh and blood left. Mum was gone. Dad was gone. But Rela was here.
I cursed this world of fear and oppression. I cursed their want of power. Their ability to make us think the way they wanted us to.
“Rela please!” I lurched forward grabbing her. She screamed and jerked back throwing me off balance.
“Rela!” I screeched, feeling my foot slip off the roof. Her eyes widened as she recaptured her balance.
“Faith!” Her eyes were wide with absolute horror as she lurched forward to catch me.
But I was already falling away. Her hand brushed my arm. But she was too far to grab it.
I fell for the time it took to live a lifetime.
Ba-dum. Ba-dum. BA-dum!
I gasped as the ground embraced me, my arms and legs sprawled out in all angles. There was no pain. There never would be.
“FAITH!!” Rela’s strangled cry would fill the air with sorrow. She was only thirteen. And now she had a whole lifetime to live.
Fate touched his lips to mine, Death watched with Destiny as Fate pulled my spirit from my body. Then he pulled away, his hand never straying from my arm.
Fate had never been happy with the outcome because he had known. The difference being, of the three angels, their wings surrounding them, encasing them, that Fate spoke to me.
It was but a voice in my mind, but I heard it like a whisper even as I looked up at my distraught sister. The neighbours were already coming. In my heart Fate whispered to me.
“This was your fate…as it was hers, she will be safe…”
He was right as I could see. Our next door neighbour was already taking Rela safely in her arms and taking her away.
In the dark his breathing is shallow. So shallow I’m not sure if I should continue to be strong or cry. The blood was everywhere. It spilled mercilessly from the wound in his torso.
“Sometimes all it takes is great grief to bring out your gift.”
The grief in me glowed, circling the wound. “Live.”
The world is ghostly, I am but a wisp in it. My companion is not. Just a visitor whom I will send back to life soon. But before I do, he will see what I want him to see of his life. He must know that life is worth living. “Walk with me,” I say.
The gun fell loose in his hand. It dangled there beside him as he contemplated the city spread before him. What part of the human brain, or was it the heart, that recognised the true value of the life that swarmed in those cluttered streets; those perfect apartment buildings; the gritty grotto slums? Which part understood that for one to survive, the other must exist? Was it the heart or was it the brain? Which part? The voice in his head taunted. Oh that voice. That voice that had haunted him since his first blooding. It would never leave him. Not in this god-forsaken city with its swarms of leeches. They were the voices in his head. They who had watched his every act, who had condemned the choices he made. Didn’t they understand that with every death he dealt, there was a reason for it?
No. They didn’t. But it wasn’t them who had driven him to the rooftop with his prized weapon of death in his hand. It was everything else.
“One, two, three…” he murmured stepping onto the ledge. The bitter breeze of the deepening night blew his short dark hair in puffs around his head. His girlfriend would have admired that. That single image of him on the ledge, with that bitterly black gun dangling from his hand. She would have liked his legs parted, standing strong, his back ramrod straight. She would have draped herself off him and dared him to drop her. And he would stare back with those iridescently cold blue eyes of his and she would pull back. She wouldn’t show it, but she would be afraid, afraid of him and those cold emotionless eyes… but she would also hunger for him; for the white shirt that billowed about him leaving his chest bare to weather the cold. For the way his dark denim sat neatly on his hips. She would hunger for him. If only it was him she hungered for.
He cocked his head to the side and stared at the atoms that paced the walkways. He watched the tinier than tiny citizens going about their nightly leisure pursuits. Each and every one of them knew who made it safe for them. They knew he watched their every move. Watched them until they made the wrong move. And then they would meet the reaper.
They would know what it meant to meet their maker, to meet the reaper, not a person, not breathing or even rotting. The reaper that sat in his hand. They would know what it meant then. When the dark barrel was pointed into their face and they were force to look into the darkness of their death.
He would clean the body up afterwards. That sacred duty that he reserved only for himself. He would let no one else touch the bodies he killed. Not after the reaper had seen to them. It would deface the work he had done.
The inhumane actions he took it seemed enraged those he protected. The people believed he did more harm to them than good. But no, he treated the bodies with the respect any human being deserved. Because every being, when they’re dead, had no soul, no life anymore, in death, he surmised, they were all the same. All equal, all bad, all good, all the same. And thus he cleaned the bodies and prepared them for burial, wrapping white gauze around the body so they may be returned to their families. Some say he is the kindest of all those who sat around the table. Some say that he was least monstrous of them all.
But he was no kinder than the others. He just had the one piece of humanity that the others had cut out of themselves after their first blooding. They couldn’t handle the voices.
You can’t handle the voices!
“I can!” He murmured to himself. The lights dancing in the street below. Some festival was happening. He wondered if it was the summer or the winter one.
“One, two, three…” He edged closer to the edge of the ledge and gripped the butt of the gun tighter.
“One, two, three…”
The voices came after his first blooding, but he couldn’t tell it to go away. He had wanted it to go away. Every fibre of his body, of his heart, of his mind, of his soul cried out, “Go away!” But the voices stayed.
The others said, “There is always a ritual. Give your conscience away, give to a new born child.”
He remember looking at the little girl. He’d been eighteen at his blooding. And the girl, the girl had been twelve. Innocent, with wide eyes, he had known she was the type of child to spend her time studying. The type of child who was afraid of something, something that she would inevitably hold secret until the day she died. She was the kind of child such conscience should be given. But he couldn’t. Not with those eyes watching him. Not when they stared at him so widely innocent.
So he sent her away and acquired his girlfriend. A girl whose heart was as cold as the innocent girl had been innocent. She had thrived for the attention and he had given it to her. Bit by bit her nasty presence took away his conscience, reminding him of his place, his chosen future, of the reaper.
Then her body lay on the table him and the voices, those horrible voices, they came back. With every wipe he smeared on the dead girl, the conscience returned. She had saved him, and he had not saved her.
The reaper looked so homely now. Firmly gripped in his hand. Could he do it?
Of course you can, the voices whispered deviously.
Just pull the trigger.
Oblivion was so pleasant. He thought the reaper was gone, that his hand was empty, but when he opened his eyes, he knew what his hand stroked. It seemed to whisper to him, One, two three…
The angels were coming, hell would not last in a plane where humans lived. If the demons stayed in their smoky forces engulfing the night and devouring the dwellers of the night time, they would soon wipe out the human race. Then they would wipe themselves out. And without evil, there cannot be any good.
All is not fair in love and war.
I knew that when I waited in fear for the letter to come something bad would happen. War is a devastating period in life. You cannot avoid the fear that comes. It comes like a quiet whisper. Trailing before. The letter comes in hand says, painfully, “Sorry.”
One day can change everything, and change nothing. One day is the centre of the heart and the heart of the centre. You cannot change one day if that day has already begun. That day is done, and done it has been.
Walk. I walk along the river.
Feel. I feel the breeze amongst my hair.
Think. I cannot change a thing.
Life is a bittersweet memory. I stop and look to the river, its wide expanse stretching beyond the distance that my eyes can see. I look. The bridge is not so far. I walk. To the bridge to cross the river.
I stop again and knee, expecting with every moment that I will see the birth of ripples spreading over the water caused by the boat of Charon. But when I look up there is nothing there. Evidently.
Then I dip my hand into the water. It’s cool and polluted, but I do it anyway. I am so small beside the river whether I am sitting, standing, or kneeling on the river edge. Just like I am but an insignificant being in this vastly populated world. So what difference would one day make?
I look at the water, it’s dark and murky, unpleasantly unclean. I have no doubt that it would stain my body and health with its black mark of death. I watch in silent horror as the surface changes. It doesn’t reflect the sky and its blueness. Or the sky and its puffy white clouds I’m so far away from. Instead it shifts and changes, and morphs into something else.
It is a mirror, a bowl of water, with a crystal in the centre. It calls to a past I want to forget. It calls to the days that are insignificant.
I walk to the bus stop and say hi to the girl I call my friend. She laughs and says hi then pulls me along the bus to the back where all the boys are. Then she flirts with them while I sit next to here, trying control my blush as I talk to the guy on my other side.
He’s nice. I like him. I’ve liked him for a while. I tell myself I’m not nervous because he’s talking to me. I tell myself I’m nervous because I’m afraid of what I’ll say.
The bus stops and the idea of class at nine hits me full force. There’s still forty-five minutes until it starts, Les drags me to the canteen where she stacks up on unhealthy but absolutely delicious breakfast foods before plonking me into a chair with a bunch of rowdy guys.
They roared and punched her in the arm while their hands reached for her food. I batted them away for her. Like always. She was incapable of keeping them out of her food. When I wasn’t around, she’d end up with nothing but one or two. And this was why she loved me. Because I was her wingman, her best friend, her buffer, her food saver.
If we hadn’t been the only two loners in year seven too quirky for the rest of the class, then we’d never be friends. But I know this is the reason why we were friends in the first place. Because neither of us could really ever truly be the best friend of someone else. Nor could we get along too well with a bunch of other girls. We had our secrets, and we had the reasons why we could not go out like the other girls. And we bonded in that way, even if we never actually told each other why.
We trusted each other. Somehow indefinitely, and because of that our fates seemed entwined together. But I was still me. I was still the only. I was still alone.
When class began, I sat in my usual seat beside a random friend. She chatted unnecessarily about some party or another. I nodded and smiled, it was customary, familiar, repetitious.
The teacher started speaking then and her talk was drowned out. Thank god.
I scribbled mercilessly all over my book. Touché I didn’t actually write anything. Recess passed like a breeze. Les buying a chunk of food, and me buffering the hoard of people trying to take her food. She flirted again.
Maths was the bane of my existence. Why not? Since the reason why I was in maths in the first place was because I was egotistic enough to think that I was good enough. But I couldn’t back out now. No matter how much I hated it. The rowdy guys from this morning flooded the seats next to me and around me and badgered me all lesson. I wasn’t surprised, they needed my help. So I did my work ahead and helped them in class rather than doing my work.
Too bad, I was such a pushover.
Lunch came and they all dragged me with them even though I might have preferred to find a quiet place, far away, a place that doesn’t exist.
I buffered for Les again. She was forever always in my favour.
Then the day ended with another class, again, I was doing nothing more than scribbling in my book. I was too far ahead for the teacher to comprehend. Too bad.
And when the day ended, I had received more than the norm in invitations to parties, Les looked at me. I gave her a sad smile and put them in the bin.
The scene disappeared, and the river was once more a river. It was as it was. Flowing and fluid. Liquid darkness that could poison me bit by bit.
I took off my boots and pulled off my socks.
The water was warm. I pulled off my other boot so that I could stand on the stairs, with my feet in the water. It seemed to call to me. It seemed to want me to swim. The other side of the river wasn’t so far. It couldn’t possibly be as far as walking to the bridge to cross what I could cross now.
I love Australian YA fiction, nearly every book I’ve read has met my expectations. There isn’t one that I haven’t enjoyed! So here are some Aussie fction for you peeps out there!
Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody (Dystopia, must read for all those who are obsessed with YA dystopia. You will not be disappointed!)
Burnt Snow by Van Badham (A surprising supernatural fiction that is both horrifyingly terrible – in a frightening sense, not a this is a bad book sense – that should be read by anyone who calls themselves a connoisseur of supernatural fiction. There is real substance in this story!)
Mercy by Rebecca Lim (Love angels? Pick this one up, you won’t be disappointed. Lim knows how to weave a tale. I am going to be a little biased here – but it definitely has more substance than Fallen. (Or at least the books that follow as the sequels of Fallen.) )
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto (Not my favourite particularly, but people seem to enjoy it. I think it’s longer than it needs to be. Halo, for those who love books about angels.)
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier (One of my favourite fantasy reads! Marillier’s writing is as delicious as her story.)
The Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable (I read this one early on in highschool and I really enjoyed the story. It was later I learnt the author was an Australian. I was enchanted, so hopefully others will be too!)
Sabriel by Garth Nix (Garth Nix, the god of fantasy? Okay maybe that’s an exaggeration but his books are high fantasy and definitely worth the read. If you’re after a novel that is both fantasy and extremely well written then pick up Garth Nix – anyone of them will do! The old Kingdom series and The Keys to the Kingdom are both excellent!)
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Allison Goodman (An Australian author setting her book in an ancient Eastern era was a big surprise for me. But a pleasant surprise. She knows how to write. If you enjoy fantasy and eastern settings, this is the book for you. Even the protagonist is strong!)
Fury by Shirley Marr (This was a riot! Marr creates the most comical character that I’ve hadn’t had the pleasure to read about in a long time. I absolutely loved Fury. Although mind you it’s Eliza Boans retelling of a murder she commits, but it also is a story about the strength of friendship bonds. Marr’s Eliza is a well developed character.)
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (This story is extremely confusing at first, but once you get the hang of the plot and the multiciplicity of characters, you start to fall in love with the story itself. Any of Marchetta’s book are amazing; this is only one of them!)
He held a gun to her head and his companion held another to the baby, they looked to the kid, “make a choice, boy.” He had a gun too. He couldn’t do anything for her or the baby but save them.
“Oh baby, don’t!”
“I’m sorry.” Saddened but determined, he turned the gun on himself.
“Take my hand,” He said, but I hesitated. “Take my hand!” On the cliff so high above the water, we were trapped. They would catch us unless we jumped. But jumping meant facing my fear of heights. I was innocent. Damn him for trying to keep me alive. I took his hand.