To Be Happy. 55 Fiction.

“I want to be happy,” said the girl, looking tired with shoulders that sagged by some unknown weight.

“Cry, first you have to cry,” said the old man.

Her voice shook, “but how do I cry?”

“Just let it flow,” he replied.

And she did.  She had wanted to cry for a very long time.

Imaginings of a Wild Heart.

The girl looked up at the sky, and said, “Did you know, I can read the stars?” She was trying to be cool and cute.  But she was slightly flustered, and she was shy.  Looking up at the guy standing next to her—rather she peeked up at him, and ‘peeked’ would have described it better if she actually had bangs or a hat for her peek from under, which she did not—she saw him look down at her, and she smiled.  Sort of.  It was a small smile, because she didn’t know if she should really play it cool and look really knowledgeable, or if she should play it cute, and smile brightly.  But she was wary of everything about herself.  She wanted to adjust her scarf, to brush her hair back, to lick her lips which were getting chapped.  But she didn’t want to seem overly conscious, so she just stuck with licking her lips, even though she could feel something in need of readjusting—her scarf, her shirt, or her bra, she didn’t know, but she hoped it wasn’t embarrassing.

“Oh?” He said.  He had his hands tucked in his pockets, and though they were standing close, she was standing a little away from him too.  She had asked him out, well asked if he would like to go and star gaze with her at the university.  He was busy, but it seemed she had caught him on a free night.  Or rather, he also had something to do here, and so it was all kind of convenient, nothing special really.

“Oh yes!  I can!”  She said, encouraged by his reply, which seemed like he was curious.  Or maybe he just didn’t believe her.  She didn’t believe her either, and this was either going to come across as corny, or maybe it would give her the answer she wanted to hear.  Or maybe, she was just going to embarrass herself.  She was hoping for the middle answer.

“Alright, go, tell me something.”

Crap.  How was she going to start this?  “Well…the stars tell me you’re a Taurus,” she began lamely.

He laughed, and she wanted punch him in the arm.  “You know when my birthday is!” He said laughing, and shifting away when she really did reach out to punch for his arm.  Her fist glanced off the hard, yet soft, fleshiness under that cotton sleeve of the hoodie he was wearing.

“Just listen!”  She said, flushing red, a mixture of embarrassment and annoyance, yet her mouth was parted in a smile.

“Okay, okay,” he said holding up his hand as she went in for another punch.  “Stop punching me and I will.”

He was such a liar.  Yet he was still here, looking overly amused.  Pouting lightly, and looking up at the sparsely cloud covered sky, she squinted.  All around them there were other stargazers wrapped in thick coats, puffy jackets, and some, even in blankets.   Most of them had telescopes, borrowed or purchased, set up in front of their chairs—a variety of camp chairs, stools, cushions on wood and even one office chair.  Even though the event was for a few hours only, people had gathered early, collected telescopes and settled in as if for the night.  She had been a little too late to get a telescope, but at least she had dad’s small one in her pocket.  Coming here had been on whim.  She had actually been late in hearing about the stargazing event, and had almost chickened out if he hadn’t asked what she was doing tonight in their regularly sporadic texting conversation.  An unexpected question and she had said the first thing that had popped into her head.  And he had asked if she was going to go, to which she had answered, quite thoughtlessly, “I want to go, but I don’t know…”  Being a girl, she couldn’t go alone, regardless of her age.  She didn’t have a car, and most of her friends lived on the other side of the city.  If she wanted to go out, fine.  But she usually had to be back before dark—lest she bring down the rain of worried parental censure and a storm of scolding for rebellious young girls.  And then he had surprised her, asking her if she wanted to go.  It wasn’t like he knew about her family and all their weird cultural—maybe it wasn’t cultural, maybe it was just parents being parents even though she wasn’t exactly sixteen anymore—it wasn’t like she wanted to share.  The last time she shared with a guy, it became the sky climbing wall between them.  What had possessed her to ask him?  In many ways, it had been perfect timing, and when she’d asked if he would go with her, and felt the extreme elation that came with knowing she had somewhat succeeded.

For as long as she could walk and talk and brush her hair, pull it back and make it look pretty, she had been unable to flirt.  In actuality, it wasn’t that she didn’t know how to flirt, it was just that with guys, she had a difficult time reacting.  It was always too embarrassing for her.   So she kept her mouth shut if there was a guy around, and even more so if that guy was good looking, tall and somewhat possessed an aura that she, with her daydream tendencies, could only daydream of having.   And if any of those guys talked to her, despite the fact that she had gotten better at talking to such guys over the years, she could rarely do little more than smile and answer the question.  Other than that, she was just shyly standing off to the side, awkward.

But with this guy, it had been kind of sudden, and it had been kind of vague between them—a grey cloud separating black to white.  He was everything she liked, dreamed of, and had hoped.  It seemed beyond real for her to be trading words with this guy, and yet it was so very normal.  For once, she had her head screwed on tightly, though, not so much when she was returning texts.  With those, she hardly knew what she was saying.  So maybe her head wasn’t tied on that tightly, but she wasn’t a teenager and she could handle this like a woman.

Woman.  If only she could be as smart and sophisticated as a woman should be—she was anything but which made her mind a whole lot more receptive to the torrent of daydreams that were coming to her on a daily basis.    Such wonderful daydreams.  So awfully farfetched.  But she enjoyed them nonetheless, doing no more, and no less than necessary when it came to him.  She liked the grey. She liked and disliked knowing and not knowing where they stood.   So why had she opened her mouth and asked him out.  Well rather, she had typed it into her phone, pressed send and had heart palpitations all evening until he replied back with ‘okay’.  Okay.  Such a simple word.   While in flowery terms, it sent her heart smashing out of her chest, soaring far and wide, in much simpler, plain and realistic terms, her hands had gone clammy and she fretted, thinking of cancelling five seconds after asking.

“So, what are the stars telling you?” He prompted her, jerking her out of her thoughts.

She was already here now, the sun was just about setting, meeting the horizon at the set time, just after six in the evening.  They were still standing, but that was okay.  There were others standing too.

She smiled, “you see up there?”  She pointed at a random constellation.  It was a surprise to see even that constellation up in the sky.  But then again, other than a few wisps of cloud, it was an unusually clear night.  But thankfully, and luckily too.

He looked at her first, then looked up too.

“I didn’t think it would be up there tonight, so this is purely coincidental, but it looks good,” she said wistfully.  She was making this up as she was going along.  It was not coming out like she had daydreamt in her head.  In her head, her speech had been smoother, and she had acted more sophisticated and cool.  An enviable persona.  But well, regardless of the fact that she was failing this miserably now, she was going to push ahead and try.

“Oh?”

She could hear that smile in his voice again, but she ignored it, swallowing hard, and ploughing on.  “Legend says if you see that constellation in the sky, it means your love life is going to improve.”  Corny.  Corny.  It had come out corny.  Why had she said it?

She couldn’t look at him now.

“And-it’ll-get-better-if-you-ask-the-one-you’re-interested-in-out-on-a-date,” she said, letting the words spill out in a single chunk.  She really couldn’t look at him now, and yet she dared to peek up at him, expecting a heavily dealt blow of rejection.  But if she was to think that she didn’t have a chance here, that if she had misread all the signs, then she really wouldn’t have a chance at all.  At the same time though, she didn’t want to build up expectations, she didn’t want to find herself in a position where she was worried constantly, fretting idiotically about whether a guy was interested in her or not.  She just wanted….what did she want?  Why had she asked if he wanted to come today?  What was she thinking in letting those words spill out?  Why couldn’t she just say ‘do you like me’?

He blinked, evidently something was going on in his mind that she couldn’t even conceive, and right now didn’t want to.  She was so tempted to close her eyes, squint and go back in time to when this never happened, but then he opened his mouth.

What happens next, I truly don’t know.  I thought about writing the ending, but honestly, I just thought this story up one random afternoon.  I was kind of daydreaming while scanning through facebook, and seeing that my university was holding a ‘break the star gazing record’ event, which, had I known earlier, I would have totally gone!   I wrote this immediately after I daydreamed it, but I never got to the ending, in my daydream or when I wrote it, and when I read it over, I realise, I don’t know how I would end it.   Maybe if I set it aside, thought about it, and edit it, I might know, but for now, I don’t know!

I would loovvveeee to know how you, my dear readers, fellow bloggers, and all friends, if you happened to have read the above all the way through, would end this short story!

Bear In Hibernation. 55 Fiction.

Sourced from here: Link

She is a bear, huddled in her blankets all covered.  Her hair splayed across the pillows, eyes closed.  The chill could not touch her.  The rain endlessly pouring, visible through the curtains.  She smells  it—and sleeps on.  Shoots spring from moistened land as the sun rises, spreading warmth.   And she awakens, stretching, welcoming spring.

[N.B] This time last year, it was unseasonable warm.  Although I dislike immense heat, I do prefer it to be a little warmer–I miss being able to walk out with only a t-shirt on!  (and pants of course!!!!)  I probably wouldn’t mind winter so much if we actually had snow down here–that would be fun!  (The novelty of it would exceed all negatives associated with it.) But no….down under only mountains get snow, flatlands get rain, rain, and more rain, which leads to mud, which leads to mud covered dogs, which leads to ten clothing changes in one day haha.  Ah well!  I’m looking forward to summer, and luckily, today is a nice cold but sunny day <3.

Never Back Down. 55 Fiction

The man was beaten, thrown down to the ground, sweat, blood, cut to the bone.  His eyes rolled back, his life flashing before his eyes, and the world spinning out of his grasp.  She’s looking at him.  Fearful.  Afraid.  A lion roars in him, sends his blood raging.  He surges upwards—one punch knockout win.

.

A woman of her own right. 55 Fiction.

There were so many things she could do.  She could punch him.  She could yell at him.  She could cry.  She could beg him.  But none of that was necessary.  It was too late.

Looking him in the eyes, a woman of her own right, she said, “good bye.”

Gathering her bags, she walked out.

[N.B.] Wow.  It has seriously been a long time since I’ve written a 55 fiction story.  But it looks like I might just be writing some more now!  I sure as hell missed writing them.

The Dark Days.

 

I hate the nights,

That are lonely.

I hate the light,

That pours through my curtain.

It dazzles me,

Sparkling and beautiful,

I don’t deserve it,

I almost don’t want it.

But it holds me,

Embraces me,

Slices my heart to pieces,

Tearing for that one bit,

Where I hide my darkest thoughts.

“Wake up,”

A voice whispers,

Somewhere,

Above?

Below?

In my head?

I wake,

My lips are dry,

My throat is parched.

I can’t breathe.

The air is not there,

Not in there,

Not anywhere.

Where am I?

I wake.

There’s water around me.

Bubbling,

Forming,

Creating a space,

Where I can’t breathe.

I wake,

I’m crying.

My hands are clawing

For a person I don’t know.

Save me!

“Wake up.”

My heart pounds just a bit,

The light is receding.

Somehow,

It doesn’t burn anymore.

“Wake up”

I hear.

It’s just a voice,

Low,

Male,

Warm.

I wake again.

My head is clear.

My eyes aren’t flimy,

Aren’t blurry,

Aren’t afraid.

They’re open,

To the bright light,

To the world,

To the eyes of the guy,

Looking right at me.

It’s a straight, defiant

Gaze.

He saved me,

From the darkness

I was sinking in.

Somehow I’m not scared anymore.

Somehow, I passed through the darkness.

“How are you feeling?”

He said.

And I look at him,

He seems so normal

In this room.

It’s like his face doesn’t match his voice.

“Better.”

“Better?  That’s an improvement”

“An Improvement?”

He nods, makes a mark on his board.

“Congratulations.”

I see the sign on the wall,

It’s a scribble in my writing.

I know,

I remember now.

I’d called that feeling of sinking,

The dark days.

The Red Fish On The Mantel:

The red fish

Sat on the mantel piece,

A gift from husband to wife.

It has gold fins,

And big red eyes,

With red-gold scales,

On all sides.

The wife placed it facing the couch,

So that she could gaze

And admire

It’s red-gold beauty.

She had a penchant

For pretty

Beautiful things,

A penchant that was

Not limited to

Just objects and clothes.

One warm autumn night,

While the husband was away,

The wife comes out of,

Her wifely clothes,

To play with pretty,

Boys and pretty toys.

She’s a beautiful woman,

Who deserves beautiful things,

But a man whose loves her,

Deserves a little more.

Whether it’s despicable,

What he does,

When he’s away,

Watching

His wife’s betrayal,

While it’s in play.

His head falls,

Cupped in his hands,

As he tries to comtemplate,

His worst mistake.

But he can’t see,

What he did wrong,

If he had done anything wrong,

To her.

And he stands,

And throws,

In menacing anger,

The remote.

When he returns home,

She thinks nothing has changed,

And for a moment,

He thinks so too.

She doesn’t do anything,

Out of place,

She doesn’t around him,

As though she should be cautious,

She just leans up and kisses his cheek,

With all her love and warmth,

Just like always.

It had never seemed so bleak,

His beautiful, perfect marriage.

He should have realised,

That his wife,

Loved him for his beauty,

And because he gave her beautiful things,

Like the fish on the mantel,

Red,

Red-gold,

Golden.

To her,

He gives her one last gift,

Before leaving a sheaf of papers,

Lying on the dining room table,

For her to find.

He was not really hurt,

Just sad that

She was too fickle.

The next time he falls in love,

He hopes that,

He won’t need to buy

And give,

A fish that is red-gold,

With big,

Red eyes.

Legend Of The Red Rose.

Pricked on the finger,

In the back,

Cut on the lips,

Dare to be,

Kissed by the red rose.

Of myth and legend,

She is just one woman,

Wrapped in silk red,

With dark eyes

And red lips.

The Legend is just a word,

On the street,

Passed by ear,

Whispered by the mouth.

She kisses her suspects,

And lays a red rose on her victims.

She’s venomous,

Cavernous,

Thin as a stick.

She’s beautiful to behold,

A femme fatale,

Of the worst kind.

She knows what she does,

And she does it anyway.

She’s heartless,

A murderer,

A vigilante.

She will not give up,

Not even at the expense,

Of her life.

It is my burning desire,

A ball of fire,

That only knows how to burn.

But she has a child,

That’s not her own.

She loves him,

As if he was her own,

And she wants him to have,

The best,

Most wonderful life,

Possible.

She doesn’t know though,

That the more she loves,

The more she cares,

The more she cherishes him,

That someone knows.

The Red Rose,

Is notorious,

For her devilish ways

Of dealing

With the worst antagonist.

She knew,

But she forgot,

Just how many enemies she had.

So when the final bell chimed,

On the twenty-first hour,

Of an auspicious day,

She didn’t expect to return home,

To a house that was not home anymore,

But an empty place where home had run away.

Home,

Had become a house,

With a red kiss and a red rose.

She was the Legend,

The Red Rose vigilante,

Without a heart,

Or concern,

For the people she killed.

She had forgotten,

You see,

She doesn’t usually forget,

But some part of her,

Had found something warmer

Than that burning desire.

And she forgot,

In the worst possible way,

Who she was.

As she kneels besides the little boy,

She’s nurtured and cherished,

She shed her first tear,

Closing his eyes,

She kissed his cheek,

With the red lips in the right shade.

Folding his hands,

She remembered again,

The thing she should never forget.

That is,

She is,

The Red Rose.

 

[I realise that there is a real  legend out there with the same title, but this poem isn’t related to that legend, this is purely from the massive imagination forum in my head (:, sorry to disappoint!]

When We Were Together.

For a friend…

*

When we were together,

All I could do was cry.

If we were in love,

Why was I more miserable,

Than happy?

When we were together,

I was the one always waiting,

Dressed prettily,

For only you.

I wanted you to ask me out,

To go on a date,

To spend some time.

If we were in love,

Where were you all the time?

I’m not a clingy person.

I don’t want to take all your space,

But you’re supposed to love me,

You’re supposed to show me you care.

Don’t leave me behind,

Like an old dish rag.

When we were together,

I told you I love you,

And you always said “Me too.”

If we were in love,

Then you should have said

At least once,

“I love you,”

Then maybe,

You would have deserved my trust.

When we were together,

I defended you,

When everyone else,

Said bad things behind you.

Because we were together,

I defended you,

But you didn’t deserve that trust.

You didn’t even trust me,

Not even thinking,

About whether or not,

I needed to be trusted.

If we were in love,

I shouldn’t have had to.

You wouldn’t need to be defended,

Because your eyes,

Wouldn’t even think,

About betraying me.

When we were together,

You never looked at me properly.

If we were in love,

Then you should have cherished me.

I may not be a doll,

Not porcelain,

Not china.

But I am a girl,

With a heart and feelings,

That will break and hurt,

Even though you don’t see it.

You should know,

I am—

Was,

Your girlfriend.

When we were together,

There weren’t all bad memories,

That I will give you.

If we were in love,

Then all my memories,

Would have been happy,

But now it’s ended.

I am so glad,

Because I won’t cry anymore,

I won’t stress anymore,

Won’t send pointless messages,

Under the pretense of a relationship.

I am so glad this has ended,

Because,

When we were together,

We were never in love.

Him, I Love.

 

He walks beside me,

Just once,

Because no one was around,

It’s a lie,

This bond between us,

We lie,

All the time,

To them, not just each other,

But we can’t help it.

I am drawn to him,

To his face,

To his heart,

To his loves, and his hates.

He had just been a star to me,

The first time I saw him,

He was shrouded in sadness,

And in happiness,

Gently carving away the rot.

There was nothing I didn’t understand,

Except,

That expression.

I didn’t understand why, why

Did he look like that,

Doing what he was doing?

It wasn’t alive,

It wasn’t dead,

It wasn’t breathing at all.

It was just wood, or something.

I didn’t get it at all.

But I wanted to paint it.

I wanted to paint that expression,

That was my first lie.

My second, the one where I said,

“I won’t fall in love with you, I promise,”

And he smiled.

My heart broke,

And I mellowed in my self hate,

Hating myself for being a coward,

It was just a promise,

A cold hearted, mean promise,

So why had I fallen in love with him?

He walks beside me,

And my heart races in anticipation.

I will paint his picture,

Just like I saw it,

Unblemished,

Untainted,

Raw.

He sits patiently,

A light smile on his face,

A taint of sadness in his eyes,

Mournful,

Appeased,

Unsure.

Everyday it’s like this,

This secret love of mine,

Unrequited,

I can’t tell him,

That I fell in love the first moment I met him.

How can I?  I made a promise,

But still, I wonder,

He is not the kind of guy to accept a girl’s company,

To sit and walk with,

Much less paint him.

He walks beside me,

Once again, and perhaps,

For the last time.

The painting is almost done,

But I didn’t want to finish it.

I’ve dragged it out too long,

Nothing has changed,

Except he still carves that wood,

Cutting out the rot,

Turning it from rough to smooth.

I still watch him,

Still admire him,

Still want his everything.

I can’t lie anymore,

But I don’t want him to hate me.

Not me, not my painting,

I want to earn his love,

And so I paint the last stroke,

And title it “him, I love.”

It hung in a gallery,

All my love,

Unleashed,

A portrait to the world,

I wished I’d kept it to myself.

It was a secret love,

A one love,

This was my confession, even if,

I never said it in words.

But I think he knew,

That I lied, from the heart,

Because he asked.

I think he knew,

Because I got my answer,

A statue of wood,

Of a girl, and her easel,

Carved by a beautiful hand,

Titled, “She, I love.”

I never thought,

That it could happen.

This time it’s not a lie,

But the truth,

When he walks beside me,

I know how he feels.

He’s still a star,

A gem from another world,

But I can touch him now.

I can hold his hand.

Dance of Seduction.

 

It was his hand holding my waist, and the press of his shoulder against my mouth.  The way we twirled and stepped, he embraced me tightly.  Why did he tempt me?  Teaching me is for my benefit, but that’s a lie, isn’t it?  His hand caresses my neck.  Don’t lie, I know you love me.

Different.

It was just whispers that I heard behind my back.  Everyone whispers things about me.  I’m different.  Different skin, different hair, different eyes, nose, lips.  They dislike me.  Like me.  Hate me.  Adore me.  Befriend me.  I cry.  Their words hurt.  I can’t be me anymore.  Where is me?  This person, is me.  Hate.

Burn, it burns.  Difference burns.  It swallows.  Drowns.  Consumes me.  I can’t find the opening.  I can’t find me.  Me, where is me?

Drowning.

Despair.

Self loathing.

Darkness.

Hate.

Burn.

Buried under their words of malice.  I drown.  And no one comes to save me.  No prince.  No mother. No father.  No best friend.  No friend.  No one.  I am truly alone.  And I hate it.

But only I can change my fate.

It was just a word, a phrase that pushed me forward.  I can’t believe it either.  Was it by my own willpower or was it those words said to me?

“Different?  Nah it’s cool.  You’re cool.”

I changed over the holidays and pulled myself together.  I might not be strong or powerful or pretty or cool, but if I believed in myself, acted myself, then I could totally be happy.

It took time.

But in time that hate, self loathing, pain, disappeared and in their place I found friends, family, people and things I’d begun to cherish.  It felt good.

Being different, made me special.  That’s what I believe.

I can’t hide anymore.  Because if I wasn’t myself then I would never have met all these wonderful people.

Like a Memory. ‘The Diamond of Truth’ Part Six.

Fel and her father followed the Queen as she was hurried back to the palace.  Not once did she let go of her daughter’s hand.  Not once did she show her pain.  She just kept smiling.

Fel remembered that.  She remembered how she cried while her mother had not shed a tear and just kept smiling even though she was racked in pain.  But Fel didn’t realise this until later on, during her time with Dallas.  Before that she only knew guilt.  After she realised strength.  Fel loved her mother, but never had she hated her mother more than in that moment.

This was the moment her father began to change.  Watching, her father from ten years ago approached his wife.  His face was pale and white as he looked at the twisted angles of her body.  He collapsed next to her as young Felicity was gently pried away by her governess.  When she left the room, the King took the Queen’s hand and burst into tears.

‘Lavina…’

‘My love…’ she whispered then she fainted.  The palace healers rushed in at that moment while the King’s secretary pulled him away.  The King didn’t regain his composure, instead he just cried, gushingly on the male secretary’s shoulder saying over and over again, ‘they’ll fix her.  They’ll fix her.’

Fel and her father could only watch this scene from afar.

After some time Fel left her father there, not worried that he would disrupt time and space, and went out into the garden.

In time, this garden had remained the same, blooming with only the most exotic and rare flowers that the Queen could find.  Within the sand ridden kingdom this garden was the only one of its kind to have soil like the forest-like oasis that surrounded Kyrinia.  A high white bricked wall enclosed this space with smaller and lower matching walls cutting through the garden itself.  Orange, reds, yellows and green, purples, pinks and blues littered the white walls and the green lawn creating a little hideaway wonderland.

Fel was not surprised to find her younger self there sitting in the centre, hugging a doll to her chest.  For Fel, her memories were bittersweet and painful.  She preferred not to dwell in them unless necessary.  But though she considered this moment necessary, painful and distant, it still hurt to see her own failing as a daughter.

There she was crying alone but not doing anything to save her mother.  Her father had stayed by her side, but she, Fel, had been carted out.  It was the sensible thing yet, no one saw her guilt.  No one told her, it’s not your fault.  It was always, she’s was a beautiful woman.  Your mother, she was amazing.  Your father is a good man underneath, her mother once said.  He takes care of his kingdom.  So why, mother, Fel asks herself the year she joined Dallas, why is the kingdom dying?

But her mother couldn’t tell her.  Not even the image that Fel had conjured with her magic could tell her why.  It was just as it was.  Fel was on her own.  Fel had to find her own way.

She stopped by the towering sandstone pillar and watched her younger self.  Her mother didn’t die straightway.   It had taken two years for the injuries of this particular day to kill her.  And Fel…

‘What are you doing?’  Fel turned to see a boy walking into the garden.  She didn’t remember this.  Had there been a boy present that many years ago?  Judging from the cut of the boy’s clothes he was noble.  Judging by the gold and silver running through the heavily embroidered silk, Fel saw that he was a rich noble.

Young Felicity lifted her eyes to the boy.  Drenched in tears, she could only squint.  To her this boy must have been insignificant since the next moment she dropped her head and cried once more.  Fel winced at the sight of her younger self so blatantly ignoring the boy, who was probably the son of someone importantly connected to her father.  But she could understand why.

‘Crying is for children Princess, why are you crying?’  He asked.  An unexpected reaction on both Felicity’s part.

‘Mama’s hurt,’ she said at last.

Fel pressed closer to the pillar, but not enough that she was exposed to the sun.  Who was this boy?

‘But she’s just hurt right?  The palace healers will heal her.’

He knelt down not caring that he was sullying his robes.  He was at least thirteen, or maybe fourteen years old.  ‘I wouldn’t waste my time crying.’

‘But-bu-but…’

‘It doesn’t happen to help anyone.  You’re a princess right?’   His daring turn jerked the little girl’s head up.  She stared through her blurry vision at the defiant gaze.  Fel judged by the squinty expression on the young girl’s face that she didn’t who it was, but the expression he wore startled her.

But it wasn’t startling.  If Fel wasn’t wrong, little Felicity couldn’t help but admire him.  She was in awe of this boy.  This boy who couldn’t keep his opinions to himself.

Fel turned away.  It couldn’t be, right?  This boy couldn’t be…

She’d seen that look many times.  Though on the boy it looked cute.  On the face she’d seen it on, it looked arrogant and contemptuous.  But still it was the same.

Did that mean…?

She held her breath, looking away, as the conversation continued.  The boy was trying to cheer her up.  And the girl, young as she was, allowed herself to be cheered up.  Fel heard her sadness and fear fade away even though the boy never even cracked a laugh or smiled.  It seemed, he was eternally frowning.

‘What’s your name?’  The girl asked.

‘I am…Gevrid, ma’am.’

‘Gevrid.’

‘Yes.’

Fel looked again, feeling pale.  She had forgotten this moment.  How had she forgotten?  As she watched them she felt the diamond burn on her chest and realised she had to find her father again.  All the while there was a dull ache at the back of her head and heart.

For this memory, a forgotten paragraph of her past, she would come back for it, not because she was curious but because it was like a friend and those should never be forgotten.

 

Related articles

Like a Light. ‘The Diamond of Truth’ Part Five.

When Fel woke, it took her a moment to realise where she was.  It took a little longer for her to remember what she had done let alone open her eyes.  Her chest ached and her nose was itchy with foreign matter.

She turned over.  Stupid fool!  She scolded herself.  The earth beneath her arms felt cold and unfriendly.  The twigs poked into her bare arms and tangled in her hair.  And she was pretty sure her skirt was ruined now.

But she didn’t care, as she stood and surveyed her surroundings, she felt the warmth and love of the sun and its light shining down on her beloved Kyrinia.

Down below where she and her father had landed, she saw the walled city bustling in the midday bustle.  The streets seemed to glitter with gold as the townspeople rushed from left to right over the golden sandstone roads.

This was Kyrinia ten years ago.  Twinkling in the daylight, set in the desert wasteland of Arlord, it was a sand land oasis.  This was the only place where trees from the other worlds grew, flourishing by some unknown power.  They served the kingdom and fed the people.  This was a sacred land.

On her chest the diamond burned and she clutched at it, for a moment, waiting, breathing, letting this past consume her, before letting it go once again.

‘How many years Felicity?’

She turned to face her father.  ‘Ten father.  Two years before mother passed away.’

He stood next to her, his silken robes equally tattered as hers.  ‘I do not want to see this Felicity.’

‘But I do.’

She began walking down the hill.  Her purple silk threads gathered in her hand while she rewrapped the top half.  Her hair which she had never bothered to do, curtained the nape of her neck with natural short curls.  She sighed.

After some time walking her father joined her, a little puffed, but not too shabby.  In the city they exchanged their tattered robes for a cleaner, plainer and more common set of clothes.  Her father winced as he dressed, but Fel just shrugged.  During her short time with her little adopted groups of orphan brother and sisters, she had worn such garments in all kinds of conditions.  But her father didn’t know that, and she was sure when deciding not to tell him.

As they changed though there were gasps in the crowds.  There were whispers passing down the line like a game of secret wish.  Curious she asked the first guy she saw, ‘what’s going on?’

‘It’s the queen.’  He pointed to a slender figure in the centre of the crowd.  Four scarlet figures surrounded her to protect her, but it seemed she refused to let herself be smothered.

‘Queen mother,’ she breathed taking in the strikingly beautiful woman.  She was frail but her smile lit up the world with its sincerity and kindness.  Fel moved closer unwittingly towards the mother she’d lost.  But then she stopped, behind her rose the imposing steps that lead to the palace up the top and beside her was the eight year old Felicity wearing a diamond on her chest.

Fel was captured by this strangely alluring sight.  The Queen was fearless daringly coming out to see her people taking her young daughter too.  Fel remembered this.  She remembered her mother putting the diamond around her neck.

‘Because you are the heir, and what is mine will be yours anyway, wear it for me today,’ Fel whispered.  They were the words her mother had told her once.

A hand touched her shoulder and Fel jumped only to see that it was her father, also captured by the beautiful sight in front of him.

‘Lavinia…’

She touched his hand.  She had been determined to prove to him his wrong, but she had forgotten something as well.  It didn’t matter how truthful she was, down there in the bottom of her heart was the same guilt that she shared with her father.  Together they both were afraid that day.  And somehow Fel had let the magic of the diamond bring her here.

Together they watched as the events unfolded.  Young Felicity never let go of her mother’s hand as they walked through the market.  The guards followed wary.  And the Queen always smiled.  None of them ever expected the horse to come stampeding through the crowd.  In fact, not one of them suspected it to have been a planned event.

The Queen fell first dragging her daughter with her.  Felicity cried out and the guards, though their job was to protect, they couldn’t even do anything as the horse trampled over the Queen and heir presumptive.

Fel looked away, her mother never even screamed once.

The guards attacked the horse, but it grew wilder, continually rearing up and slamming down.  The Queen who was in agony, never let Felicity know how much she was hurting, even though there was blood dripping from her mouth.  And Felicity believed her, staring deeply into her mother’s eyes.  She never looked away once, even though she was so scared.

‘Look at me,’ said the Queen, ‘Look only at me.’

Felicity just looked.  In her head she knew what was happening and knew what the blood was.  But her mother was telling her with a smile that everything was okay.  Her mother was telling her this.  This was her mother.  So everything should be fine.  And Felicity looked at her mother as the guards dragged the horse away, executing it on the spot.  Felicity never looked away once when the women and children screamed and gasped at the execution.  She just kept looking at the smiling face of her mother.

The mother who she loved with all her heart.  The mother who was the light of the dark, shining as brightly as the sun.  But she was a memory.

 

Related articles

The Book of Tomorrow or Temptation.

Little Snow walked along the dusty road, holding in her hand the Book of Tomorrow.  There was sweat forming beneath the heavy armour she wore, and she was afraid that it would rust before she reached the end of the well worn cart road.  But there was no helping it.  She must hand over the book to the Chaplain so that he may care for it.

It was heavy.  Though leather bound with an intricate design on its cover of triquetras and ellipses, it had thousands of fine filmy sheets of paper.  It was the size of her torso, and perhaps weighed as much, as it sat in the oilskin pouch that hung on one shoulder.  But then she also carried a heavy broadsword and the cape she insisted on wearing.

The further she walked though, the more tired she became.  And the stronger the hum of the Book of Tomorrow called to her.  She had already succumb to the temptation, and what she had already read seemed harmless enough.  It was just a story, nothing more.

So she stopped, and like she had done before pulled out the book and flipped to the last chapter.

‘The princess walked along the final corridor, at last the burden in her heart would be relieved.  But she staggered.  The weight of some unknown force forced her down.  That death to be imminent…she should have foreseen it.  She was the carrier of the Book of Tomorrow was she not?  And yet, it came, bitterly sweet, crushing her future, taking her past.  All that was left was that moment of the present.

‘But still she trudged onwards, taking her burden to the priest.  The priest would take it, he had said, it was his honour and consensus.  If he could not take that burden then he would have no right to call himself a priest.

‘Yet as the weight turned to stone, squashing her hope just a little more, she pushed the door of the church open, and a shadow loomed above her.  This shadow wore a robe of a priest, but its face was that of a demon.  Startled she drew her sword, but found herself crushed by the burden she had been holding.

‘The demon laughed and asked leeringly, ‘Do you know why it’s called the Book of Tomorrow?’

‘She moaned, but could not stand.  ‘It’s because it’s a book of the future, and no one should ever read it for fear of knowing their death.  Now do you know how it ends?’’

Little Snow looked up from the pages.  There were no more words.  Just blank pages as though the story had ended.  As she wrapped the book up once again, she went to continue her journey.  She had disobeyed the order given to her and had read the sacred pages of the Book of Tomorrow.  But it had called to her, begging her, making her fingers itch.  And she had read every page.  Until the last.  Now, walking, the fear resided in her, building and festering as she reached the end of the road.

No one had seen her read, but that did not mean that it wouldn’t be known.  If the ending of the book was anything to say about it, then she had everything in the world to fear.

She waited at the gate to the holy ground at the end of the road, near the sacred building with its towering spires and gothic architecture.  The gargoyles seemed to laugh at her from their watchdog positions at each corner of the building’s roof.  She waited for the chaplain, with the foreboding sense of the princess’s fear hovering about her.

The evening came and she set up camp, still waiting at the gate.  Though there was a church here and a sacred ground, she did not know when the chaplain would come.  When the Bishop had given her this mission it had been with the command, ‘Take this to the chaplain on the land known as the Holy Land.  Bring it straight to him.  Do not lose it, or read it, just go directly to him and wait for him.’

And she did as she was told, taking the book with her.  She had heard of its sacredness, but she hadn’t ever seen it.  Honoured, she carried her journey on dutifully, acting her part as the warrior Little Snow.  No one had ever given a female such an honourable job before.  In fact it had been unheard of.  And yet, here she was at the end of the journey, without a failure in sight, well, except for the reading of the forbidden book.  But where was the harm in that?  She thought as she chewed on her meat.

Though, she had wondered what had happened to the others before her.  It seemed that many had undertaken the journey to take the book, many male warriors, but yet they all had failed.  And the book had returned to the bishop.  Why, Little Snow didn’t know.

At last, the night turned his head and faded into dawn and Little Snow saw a figure of a man waiting by the doors of the sacred building.  Jumping up, she grabbed the bag with the book and headed to the gate where he ushered her in.  As she stepped past the gate though, she felt a fiery sensation creeping up her legs, like a hot flush of the cheeks that slowly creeps up when embarrassed.

Elsewhere, the bishop sighed, the Book of Tomorrow had reappeared on the podium.

He said, ‘Of course a woman couldn’t face temptation.  I suppose I must give her credit for at least finishing the journey, too bad she’d done so after she finished the book.’

He waddled off in search of another warrior, muttering, ‘What about a child this time?  An obedient one maybe…’

Like a Breeze. ‘The Diamond of Truth’ Part Four

“Look at me daughter,” he said.  Gravel and rough, it grated on Fel’s sense of humanity.  At least she could say she was human.

She stood up immediately and glared at her father.  “Don’t think that a pretty dress, a carriage and a pardon to me will make me forgive you.”

Gevrid stiffened beside her.  The King’s frown was magnanimously like a malevolent storm.  His seven councillors chose then to step back from the throne.

The King’s loyal subjects watched from below.  Their presence unwarranted, but still welcomed as witnesses.  It was to them that Fel would reveal the secret of the royal family.

“You took the diamond.  What else am I supposed to do?”

“Not put me in your goddamn statue garden like I’m one of them!  Because you know I’m not.  I’m not like them at all.”

“No?”  The ice on his tongue never ceased to escape Fel’s notice.  She didn’t shiver, but her hand shook.  It shook enough that she tucked it into her skirt.

Angered, Fel dared to take a step closer, closing the distance between the both of them.  Her hand shimmered in the folds of her skirt, the heat came, burning her hand and skirt, as the air stirred a breeze.

The breeze whistled around her and her father, gathering into a minute whirl of wind.  The diamond on her neck burned with truth.  Kyrinia would forgive her for her impudence.  The sky goddess held those of truth in honour, and those dishonest in disfavour.  If Fel was not honest, the diamond would not burn for her.

Her father would think he was honest.  Being the King and the mightiest power of the land, he would assume that he was the one in the right, always.  But he was not.  His land, Kyrinia, and the sky goddess for whom the land had been named after recognised the rot he represented.  Kyrinia was decaying under his rule.

Once Queen Mother had told her that the land was only as alive as its King.  That was when she had been alive and still caring for the young Felicity.  And when the King was good and kind.  That was when he didn’t have his shrine of ice statues.

She died from an unlucky fate.  It seems that she was always meant to die.  Not even the sky goddess could save her.

When she did, the King was no longer the kind of King Fel remembered.  His heart, though at first not evident to the young Fel, grew colder and harder with every passing year.  At first Fel tried to talk to her father, but he always turned her aside.  And she never understood.

So when she turned ten and met Dallas, she submerged herself in a subculture of female warriors and learned a mode of leadership that was so unlike her father’s kind of leadership.

It was brisk and kind and good and strict.  There was discipline and justice.  Fairness and presumption.  Fel fell in love with that kind of leadership and as the King’s only daughter, she was the heiress presumptive.   The only dispute was whether she was capable for such a role.

In the eyes of many, her desertion of her duties, due to her escape with Dallas and her girls, was seen as a betrayal and for a long time there was talk of appointing another heir to the throne.  But that was long before anyone realised just what kind of power the heiress presumptive held.

The King was always powerful, having been blessed by Kyrinia.  But the Queen had also been powerful too, having been a special present from another country.  She had not been blessed by Kyrinia, but she had the power of Kyrinia.  And so Felicity was supposed to be powerful as well.  And in the beginning, she was not.

Fel had been weak to begin with and thus mocked by her peers secretly.  It was mockery that could not be punished though for until Fel could find her magic, she was weaker than them, no matter how regal she pretended to be.  That was why Dallas and her girls were much admired by Fel.

But when her magic came to her, through brute measures that her father inflicted on her, to prove that she was worthy, Fel changed.  Dallas who had come the be a close friend recognised the change, but could not save her.  It was Fel who recognised in time, the twisted nature of her father.  She recognised what he’d become, and what she had become.  And if anything were proof, it would the powerful diamond that hung around her neck.  There was the evidence there in that diamond, that held so much power, there the truth blazed.

Fire, light, blazed forwards from the diamond, encasing father and her in an impenetrable bubble.  Gevrid fell back in astonishment unable to pass through the light.  Dallas and her girls surged forward, but like Gevrid were pushed back by the light.  And the King’s men.  The King’s men were separate and desperate to stand by their King.

As they fell away, the King stood, towering over his petite daughter.  And all that watched, would watch as he stepped close to the Princess, his hand outstretched.  But the moment they would remember would be the next.  They would remember the way her eyes turned back, full of determination, full of hope, and yet sad.  So very sad because she was going to right the future in which she lived, to save her father, and in the end, herself.

“I’m sorry,” she said, though those outside the circle of light could not hear, they saw.  And Gevrid, so full of anxiety, would be seen pushing towards the light, trying once again, and again, to get to the Princess.

But by then, the Princess and the King were gone.

She was like the light, bringing brightness to the world, then dimming for the darkness before returning like day and night, she would always return.

 

 

Quote #2

English: Young Daphne du Maurier (about 1930) ...

English: Young Daphne du Maurier (about 1930) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

From Daphne Du Maurier

“Women want love to be a novel, men a short story.”

Like a Storm. ‘The Diamond of Truth’ Part Three.

The diamond hung from a chain on her neck.  She could feel the fire burning around it.  The storm raged around the safe house.  Dallas was sending out messages while Fel let the magic curl around her hands and arms.

Her father was looking for her.  It wasn’t public knowledge, but it was in the rumours.  Everyone knew the Princess had disappeared.  Only recently they’d heard the ridiculous rumour that the King had turned his own daughter into one of his famed ice statues.  But how was that a surprise when she had taken the King’s most precious diamond.  Anyone who dared to his diamond, let alone steal, faced the possibility of being called a traitor.

She brought her hands together and took a deep breath.  The spark of the storm flared intensely in her consciousness.  She stiffened then pulled away.

“Well?”  Dallas looked at the young Princess.  Dallas was a rebel, but she was also the Princess’s most trusted ally.   She knew the Princess was planning to show the Kingdom what her father kept a secret.

The storm battered their walls, but Fel ignored it.  Like she ignored everything else.  She twitched her nose in case, but nothing restrained it.  She was free to pursue her magical ways.  Dallas girls waited for them under the shelter of the extravagant litter, specially prepared for Fel, to her disgust, by her father for her return, for all of them to return to the palace with the diamond.

“Let’s go,” she said pushing the heavy yet rotting wood door.

The rain dissipated as she stepped on the cobble road.  It formed a shield around her, drenching her companions where it did not touch her.

On her chest the diamond glowed.  It felt hot against her skin.  She laughed as the thought of her father’s gift to her burning up as her punishment.  But alas, the heat of the diamond didn’t affect the physical world.  It only affected the metaphysical.  She turned apologetically to look at Dallas and her pretty warrior girls.  They turned heads in their garish and unprecedented clothing both military-like yet fashioned to fit their curves.

Unlike her they wore pants and knee high boots with short, highly tailored jackets.  Some were in red, some in blue, some in green, but all decorated in purple twist frogs.  Their lips were red and their hair tumbled over their shoulders.  And Dallas was their captain.   Fel smirked.  Dallas was a rebel.  But she had once been trained to be a royal guard.

“Let’s get this shit moving!”  She said with as much vigour as she could muster.

Dallas snorted and tossed her thick blonde hair over her shoulder.

“Your enthusiasm Dallas, never ceases to amuse me.  Really, please reconsider my offer to you to guard me personally.  At least then the King won’t look quite too harshly on you as my friend.”

Dallas snorted again, shaking her head.  While Dallas and her small band of warriors were rebels, they were perceived as harmless to the crown.

She hated the carriage.  She hated the super comfy padding within the carriage.  She hated the beautiful gown he sent.

The King, was feared by his people.  Fel was not afraid of him though.  Not because she was his daughter.  But because she was the only person in the Kingdom who could face him down, well, she thought so anyway.  Her last little run in with the ice statue certainly wasn’t going to deter her.  Though it had shaken her to the core.  Even if she wouldn’t admit it.

Felicity reached up to touch the diamond.  It was hot.  It was always hot.  Looking into its centre, she saw something the purest of diamonds shouldn’t show.  She saw the storm.  It whirled about the diamond, spinning faster and faster, its energy pulsing in her hand taking away time.

The carriage slowed when it approached the never ending steps that lead to the palace above.  Dallas opened the door but Fel stepped out without assistance, her skirt bunched up, but when she stepped out, it bellowed around her, spreading its royal blue colours, vibrant in the overcast daylight.

Her father, the King sat on his pedestal at the entrance to the palace.  Behind her the carriage was drawn away, her father lifted his right arm.  Fel scowled.  She didn’t have to be up close to hear the words he spoke.  Because it was the same to what she was about to say.  She didn’t quite want peace, but if she wanted to show the people the truth, she had to.

She thrust her hand to the sky and said the words of Kyrinian prayer to the sky lord.  “Oh lord above us who casts his wrath where those who walk beneath him, release us.  Give us our peace for just one day.”  Showers and spurts of silver sparks burst forth from her arm; above her the same occurred with her father.

And slowly, oh ever so slowly, the diamond burned on her chest and the rain around them stopped pouring down.

There was no magic stronger than those of the royal family.  When the rain at last faded away, Dallas and her girls took formation behind her, though they intended to climb the steps with her, Fel considered telling them no.

But even as she considered the thought, each girl put their hand on her shoulders and in the silence that pursued, pledged their allegiance to her.

Her father’s scowl could be seen from a mile away.  She smirked.   She’d made her father pissed mad once again without even lifting a finger.   Serves him right, she thought.  He should never have frozen her like a common traitor.

To her surprise, Gevrid appeared at her side, offering one hand to her.  “Gevrid,” she said surprised, but nonetheless taking his arm.

“My lady.”  He was unflinchingly calm.

“Did my father free you?”

“No.  I awoke on my own, it seems.”

Fel looked at him.  It wasn’t possible, was it, that her dream had seeped into life and that life had become a part of her dream?

At the top of the stairs, she curtsied low to her father.

But he was like the breeze, sometimes he brought a gale, and sometimes he bought the calmness, but most importantly he brought change.

One Thousand Nights.

For one thousand nights I will have the same kinds of dreams.  An impossible cacophony of sadness and darkness.  They would weigh upon my heart like an anchor on a ship.  There is no pillow to soften the blow, so the colours of blue, black and yellow choose to show.  They colour me.  They are a colour patchwork across my heart.  I cannot see beyond the dreams, I cannot breathe.

I wake, my heart races faster than the last time I dreamt.  I remember the dream for the eight hundredth time.  I feel as though the surface will crack.

Eight hundred days ago the dreams began.  They took from me my sleep and they took away my freedom.  These dreams of lives, real lives?  They became my everything.  At first they were just dreams, dreams of sadness that drained my energy.  But as each night passed, and with each day I lost my sleep, the dreams became nightmares.

I wanted them to go away.

“What the hell are you doing?”  I squealed, jumping out of my seat.

“You!”  I said.  “Oh get away from me.”

Ero was the dream master.  His life was about dreams.  I met him by accident eight hundred days ago.  He was the one who did this to me.

“What does it bother you?”  He said, the dark ethereal tendrils of his cloak billowed about him by some unseen wind.  “Two hundred more nights to go.”

I hated him.  He was as pale as a ghost, yet his hair was as dark as the night.  They had always been like that.  But what was unsettling was the pale quality of his eyes.  As he stared at me with his hand resting on the back of my chair, he was seeing into my soul.  No one else could see what I was seeing.  No one else could see the dark shadow that encompassed the guy.  No one else saw his pale all-seeing eyes.  No one but me.

I said nothing.  I would not give him the satisfaction of knowing that I was unsettled by the dreams.

“Well, see you later then.”  And he walked away.  When he left, it felt like a whole world of burden had been lifted from my shoulders.  Even so I could not breathe until he was gone.  I watched as he walked out my classroom, his cloak wavering behind him like endless smoke.  He didn’t turn back once.

When he was gone I could breathe again.  But like the last few years, the whispers began.

“He’s so hot!”

“Who is he?”

“Was that his girlfriend?”

And always I would slouch in my seat, hiding as much as I could behind my textbook.  If they knew what he was like, I doubt that would say such things.

This story began eight hundred days ago.  I was in my ninth grade of high school.

I was a happy person.  I had a boyfriend.  I had friends.  I had a great family.  I had everything.  But I was not nice.  I ignored a lot of things and used blunt methods to get what I wanted.  It wasn’t hard.  At fourteen, just being popular is the ultimate goal.  Easy if you played your cards right.  So then why did I end up like this?  It’s because I met him.

He didn’t look like he did now.  Eight hundred days ago, on the first day I walked passed him, he was dressed like nerd, with glasses and acne.  He asked me for help.  In my heart I felt bad because he was asking everyone for help.  Some signed the petition, the others walked by.  I didn’t know what the petition was for, since I was feeling excessively self-conscious and guilty, I didn’t hear what he said.  Instead, I looked once at my friends and once at the guy.  I didn’t even acknowledge the guilt in my heart.

I refused him, insulted him, and told him to stop giving everyone an eyesore.

And that was the turning point.  Although I didn’t find out until later that night when I looked out my window.  I saw him watching me.  Still in his nerd disguise he looked creepy.  Afraid and guilty, I dropped several plates that night.

And I had the first dream.  I dreamt of someone’s unending sadness.  I dreamt about a person like that guy, whose days are inconsolable and burdened.  I became that person, walking through the school hallway, her eyes averted, afraid to look at those beautiful people who looked down on her.

I woke in a sweat.  It was a dream and yet I could feel the girl’s pain—my pain—so clearly, I wondered whether it had been real.  It had terrified me even though I’d only dreamt of being the school outcast for what felt like a moment.  It terrified me.

I didn’t know that was his plan.  But I saw him in school the next day, again dressed as a nerd.  But he just smirked at me.  When my friends saw it, they shoved me and said, “You’re not going to take that crap, right?”

And I wouldn’t.  Because that was who I was.  I couldn’t face up to my own peer pressure.

I had the same dream again the next night, and the next, and the next.  Each time I would see a little more and become a little more terrified.  But still, I did not know that this was punishment.

On the fifth night I saw my demise as the nerdy girl.  I could not take the pain, the disdainful glares.  I could not take the pressure of being the best.  I didn’t care that I was smart or that my best friend praised me.  I could not handle the pressures of society.  In my dream, I took eight pills.  In reality, I woke up with tears on my face and heart that was beating much too loud.

“Did it hurt?”

I turned and found myself facing that guy.  Only he wasn’t dressed as a nerd, he was dressed as I know him now in that inhuman cloak with pale eyes and dark hair.  There was a strange look on his face that really scared me.  It was sadistic and sly.  He just sat on my dresser with one knee up, an arm draped over it with pawn in his hand.  He twirled the piece with his slim fingers as his pale eyes glared at me.

I was terrified and so I screamed.

By the time my family came up I was already in hysterics.  The next day, I discovered that everyone was on high intruder alert.  I was still shaken but by the end of the day, with my family and friends to support me, I was able to become that hard super popular girl that I always was.  I spent the weekend with my boyfriend and felt beautiful because of him.  But on the dreams didn’t stop.  They got worse.

And I got worse.  I couldn’t sleep any more.  Instead, I saw the images.  Now that I had seen the fate of that girl, I watched sadness of another person.  And as each week passed, I watched and experienced more souls losing themselves in sadness.  It wrenched my heart so badly, I didn’t know if I could cry.

The painful sadness that each person went through became my sadness.  As I lived each life, I took on a burden more than my heart could hold.  The weight crushed me from the beginning, terrifying the cold person I pretended to be.  Was this his plan?

I didn’t know.  So I looked for him.  I found him at school in that disguise.  I found him so normal with green eyes I couldn’t believe that he was the same as the guy who intruded into my room.

I demanded to know what was happening to me.  He said, “Is something happening to you?”

I said yes, and asked him again.  He looked at me, with the same kind of glare that the guy who’d intruded my room used and said, “What gives you the impression that I would know anything?  I’m an eyesore and a waste of space remember?”

He left in such a breath coolness I was stunned.  Being as tired as I was, I didn’t realise what I was feeling or seeing or even beginning to understand.

I didn’t come across his path for weeks.  The only sign that he acknowledged my problem was the chess piece he left on my desk.  A pawn and a letter wrapped in red silk.

The letter inside only had three sentences.  A date.  A time.  A place.  I shivered at the thought that he could intrude on my room.  I felt violated and scared.  That night I slept with my chests of drawers pushed against the door and double locked my windows.

On the day stated in that letter I met my enemy in the park near my house, just as it said.  It was a windy day, so my coat was blown about the wind, my scarf got in my face and my skirt would not stay down.

“So you came.”

“So I came.  Who the hell are you?”  I demanded.  At that point in my life I still had my fire.  I hadn’t lost it yet.  I had a boyfriend, so looking at the handsome scary guy before me, wasn’t difficult.  I was more afraid that he’d hurt me than I was that he would hit on me.  Even so…

“Don’t think I’ll like you.  You’ve caused more harm than the harshest person,” he said.  How did he know what I was thinking?

“Whatever.  What the hell is up with the dreams, and who the hell are you?”

And he said looking right at me.  He said, “Punishment.”

“P-punishment?  What for?”

“Take a guess.”  He handed me another letter wrapped in silk.  “When you know why, read this.  Until then, the dreams will keep coming.”

He left after that.  That letter stood on my bedside for many weeks and months as I suffered through the dreams. It was no different to the other one in size and shape, but this one had a set of scales on the back and my name embossed on the front.

I tried to pretend I was not suffering, but the sadness from my dreams, and my lack of sleep became a part of my life.  One reality seeped into the other, and the other became my unreality.  I lost sleep because I was too afraid to feel that unbearable sadness.  Because I was so tired all the time, I ended up refusing invitations left and right.  I didn’t even see my boyfriend, because I’d started falling asleep around him.  In six months, everything I’d worked hard for fell away, and I found myself on the other side of an impenetrable wall.

It was then I was beginning to understand what I’d feared.

When it was clear I was no longer popular, no longer proud of myself, no longer surrounded by my friends and boyfriend, I opened the letter.

You should feel alone by now.  There is no other reason for why you chose to open this letter.  Perhaps even now you feel the sadness experienced by others. This is your punishment.  One thousand nights of sadness. You must live each life through your dreams.  You must experience the pain, until you understand.  Ero is your punisher. 

I had not seen him since the day he handed me that letter.  When I realised that the dreams were my punishment, I convinced mum and dad to transfer me to another school.

When I look over it now, I realised how futile it was to even think about transferring schools.  Since then I had transferred three more times.  Each time for one reason worse than another.  The first because of a misunderstanding, the second because my boyfriend was a loser and the third because I was failing all my classes.

Sleeping became a burden, as was anything else I did.  Just moving was a burden.  I started hating everything.  I had no interest in studying.  I had no interest in making friends.  It all became a burden.

I tried hard to ignore the dreams.  But when I didn’t sleep, I spent more days dwelling inside the person in my dreams.  When I did sleep, the sadness of that person disappeared quickly.  For the first couple of years the dreams were a burden, they still are, but now I sleep longer to see these lives.

As for Ero, he turned up at my second transfer.  I had seen him nerdy and humble.  I had seen him stalker-scary.  But that time he was angry.  I received a silk wrapped envelope in my locker.  A locker I had only just opened.

He waited for me out front, not even dressed in the school uniform.  He asked me why I was there.  He asked me about the dreams.  And then looking at my weary face, he asked how I was.

I ignored him and returned to class.  I didn’t see him until now.  But this time he stalked into my classroom and demanded what I was doing.  My only response was, “get away from me.”

My dream this night was different.  It was a new girl.  She was sad all the time.  She was popular.  She had friends and she had a boyfriend.  She was like the fourteen year old me.  But she was sad.  At home her family was not all happy smiles. Her mother worked all the time and her brother was closed off.

Unlike me.  She suffered on her own.  No one could get to her.  She held her troubles in her a heart wrapped in barbed wire.  And because of that she was losing hope fast.

I wake shivering, not sure how this could scare me.  I had seen so many dreams now.  Since I’d moved here to this frigid little town, it was so easy to be isolated.  Since I didn’t care for friends, I didn’t bother trying to be friendly anymore.  But that recent dream made me wary.

I pulled a jumper over my camo and shorts and headed outside.  It had become the norm for me to work of the sadness from the dreams.  It was dark and scary but I didn’t plan to go far from home.  I guess being alone meant I didn’t care anymore.

Looking left and right, I shivered again at the empty stillness, and then started jogging.  Because I didn’t care, I ran faster to shake the burden away.  My breath was a huff of mist in the darkness.  My shadow just a passing human shape under the circles of light.  I was an enigma in the darkness.  Running to escape, running to feel free.  It was cold.

I shivered again oblivious to my surroundings.  There was nothing left in me to feel anymore.  I felt numb.

“What the hell do you thinking your doing?”  The voice that was colder than how I felt sliced through me, knocking me off balance.  It had been unexpected.  I tripped and tumbled to the ground.  Darkness swathed me.

“Don’t touch me.”  I evaded his helping hands.  What, he wanted to help his punishee?  I stood up, shaking, not just from the numb cold I’d relished in before, but because a sharp pain shot up my leg.

A gust knocked me off my feet.  I swore, but this time I could not evade his arms.  Dark clothed swathed me again, capturing me in its grasp.  “Don’t be stupid.”

He dumped me on the low wall began wrapping my ankle with strips from his cloak.  I shivered.  My anger began to rise.  I didn’t need help.  I was fine on my own.  I had been fine one my own these last few years anyway.  I pushed him away and tied the bandage myself, my cheeks flushing hot red in embarrassment.

“What are you doing here anyway?  I never see you.  So don’t expect me to be nice when you turn up after such a long time!”

I jerked my shoes on and stood up again, ready to leave.  I couldn’t stop feeling agitated.  This guy—!  This person who had taken away my life, replaced my dreams to punish me should not be caring about me at all.

“Just go away.  I’ve only two hundred days left.  Two hundred and these dreams will stop.”

If ever there was a faster escape route, I wish someone had told me.  No sooner had I taken a step in the other direction, I was jerked back.  My first urge was to scream, but a hand covered my mouth.

“Do you really think once the two hundred days are over, you will be free?”  He said.  I shivered again, but I should be scared, so why wasn’t I?  “I have to keep looking for you.  By the time I find you, you always disappear again.  This is what I wanted to tell you.  Your punishment is not for being self-centred and childish.  It is not because you hurt others to be popular.  It is because you forgot who you were.  You lost yourself and hurt others because of it.”

What—?

“You’re supposed to find yourself before your days are up.  That’s your punishment.”

He left in a wisp of darkness, as though he hadn’t even been there.

I dreamt again of that girl.  Her sorrow far more a burden than the night before.  But still she kept moving forward.  As her, I pushed through the happy façade, being perfect for everyone.  Her boyfriend kissed her, her friends hugged and cheered her, and her teachers loved her.  All the while her heart bled on the inside.  But even though she was suffering, she kept going.

She had a hundred plans in her head that kept the sorrow company.  I didn’t understand her dual heart.  I didn’t understand how her sorrow could support her determination.  Shouldn’t a sorrowful person be under such a weight that they couldn’t bear the burden anymore?

Class was boring.  I didn’t expect anyone to talk to me.  But when I walked into the canteen, I was surprised.

Sitting in the centre of the room was Ero.  He looked to me, the same as usual.  His natural form was frightening, yet handsome, with those pale eyes.  If his eyes weren’t pale, he would be less frightening.  But yet, girls flocked him.  A group of them stood about him, giggling and chatting.  He seemed so at ease, with that careless return smile.

So why was I unnerved?

“The new guy is quiet hot isn’t he?”  Startled I turned around to see a girl from my class standing next to me.

“What are you talking about?”  I asked, honestly surprised.

“You serious?”  She said looking at me as though I had a four heads.  “Those smoky green eyes, excellent bone structure, manly body and amazing mop of dark hair.  Not to mention that mysterious aura around him.  If that doesn’t make a guy hot then I don’t know what.”

They didn’t see the real him.  Why was that?  Startled I turned back to find him staring back at me.  I was the only one who can.  And now he was more popular than me.

What the hell?  Why was I suddenly feeling like I needed to be elsewhere?  Why was I suddenly feeling that the room was too small?

“Hey are you okay?”

I turned to her, now she was concerned?  “Fine.”

She frowned.  “Are you his girlfriend?  I mean I did see you with him this morning.”

“No.  I’m not.”  I turned and left.

“Idiot.  So now you’re in my school!  I won’t forgive you!”  I said walking briskly down the hall.  I shoved people out of the way, not caring where the hell I was going.  I should have been more careful.

“Watch where you’re going weirdo.”  I froze.  I’d forgotten the popular people.

I mad to retort back, but, instead just looked at the beautiful girl.  Then I walked away.  And I listened to the laughter that echoed through the corridor.  Laughter that once upon a time had been mine.  Though, maybe I wouldn’t have used the word ‘weirdo’, maybe my words would have been stronger.

Was this a part of the punishment as well?

My shoes clipped down the corridor, marking my presence.  This was not what I wanted.  I wanted to be left alone as I had been for the last two years and a bit.  I wanted to suffer alone.  Was that so hard to ask for?  Was that not my punishment?

I slammed the door of my classroom open.  My breathing hard as my shoes slipped on the linoleum.  I dumped my books and lunch onto my desk and dropped my head into my hands.  I felt sick.  First the dream with its unusual aura, and aura that meant I had no idea where it was going to go.  Second, my punisher, dream master turns after such a long absence.  And third, instead of disappearing, he has also enrolled in my school as a student.  What the hell?

She started reading pamphlets.  University brochures.  Her eyes took in the various courses they listed.  She was curious.  Despite being in her mind, I didn’t quite know what she was thinking.  Most of the lives I’ve lived, drowned in their sorrow.  Some drowned in the liquid of sorrow, others fell to liquid to remove their sorrow.

But she did not do either.  She kept pushing forward.  Why?  Why didn’t she just give up, her heart was already divided.  But she just kept flipping through those booklets, her eyes, my eyes, full of enthusiasm, sometimes bordering annoyance, but enthusiasm all the same.

Really?  That’s ridiculo—

Wake up!”  My eyes flew open.  What the hell is he doing in my classroom?

“Don’t hiss at me!”  I slammed my palms on the table and shoved myself as far away from him as possible.  I was used to those pale eyes now.  In two years I had gotten used to it.  Because I had changed as well.  Gone were those mini skirts and low cut tops.  Gone were those long tresses.  Gone was that attitude.  Replaced now were a cropped do and clothes that said ‘go away’.  Change.  I am one of many people.  No one will care.

“Why are you here?  Why are you a student?  In one hundred and ninety-eight more days and I don’t need to see you ever again!”

“Do you really think so?”

His hand rested on the table, fingers spread.  Dangerous.  He watched me warily.  “I told you before, it’s not just one hundred and ninety-eight more days.  Did you forget?”

In the end it didn’t matter how much I hated him, or how much I resented his presence, what he said, that held the value.

I sat back in my chair and fist my hands on my knees.  “No.  I didn’t forget.”

Once I would not have admitted that.  I would have feigned disdained and told him to go away.  I had started getting tired a long time ago, but now I was really tired.  If I had to find myself before the days were up, I wasn’t sure if I could.  How I am now, isn’t that who I was?

“So go away, leave me alone.”

When did he leave, I didn’t know, and I didn’t care.  But that infuriating heart in my chest wouldn’t stop pounding.  I wonder why.

What was her secret that made her sad?  Why had she stopped looking at the brochures?  What happened in the time between yesterday and today?  Why was she lying on her bed with her sorrow leaking out?  Where had that determination gone?  Then I saw the letter on the bed beside her.

A letter of condolence?  Who died?

I watched as she picked herself up, her body leaden with that heavy grief.  The tears on her cheeks.

When I looked around the room, it took me a moment to realise this was not her room.  This was her brother’s room.  I studied the awards all over the walls.  I looked at the books on the table and the neatly organised wardrobe.  Her brother was no slacker.

He had been so close to obtaining a goal that would have been improbable for someone at his age, he had the expectations of everyone.

I woke up early and jogged before going to school.  It was supposed to clear my head but I could think of nothing but that girl.  She wasn’t just sad, she was guilty!  Before she had been sad and lonely, now she was guilty?  What the hell?  I didn’t understand.  Where had this guilt come from?  From my experience it was from being the sibling alive.  But what did that mean?  What happened?

I slammed my locker shut with an unexpected force.  Murmurs rippled behind me but I ignored them anyway.  As I turned, I found myself in the presence of something unpleasant.

“You need my help,” he said.

“I don’t.”

I walked away.  All day, he and she were in my head.  Why did he want to help?  Why did she lose her way? Why? Why? Why?

“She wanted to support her parents first.  That’s why she was lonely.  That’s why she worked hard.  She was sad because she was always alone.  But she worked hard to go to a better school so that she wouldn’t disappoint her family.  But even though she’s guilty, she’s guilty because she thinks she’s not trying hard enough.  She thinks to some extent that she is the reason for his death.  But it is unreasonable.  She knows that too, but at this moment, her determination, where her rationality lies, is failing.  Why?”  I asked myself.

“Why don’t you try sleeping?”

I spun around.  “What do you want?  I thought I told you to go away.”

Even in broad daylight it still seemed like he was caring the world’s darkness on his back.  It didn’t matter how casually he leaned against the railing or how tough he seemed with his arms across his chest, he was still an enigma beyond normal.

“I can’t go away.  Not now.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”  My head throbbed, and my eyes blurred in a moment making me feel light headed.  “You’re like a migraine!”

“But they always go away.”

“What?”

“Migraine’s.  Dealt with properly, they always go away in the end.”

“Yeah! After a long period of pain!  Which is what you are—a pain!”  Ugh!  My head ached badly.

There was silence after that.  An awkward heavy silence that was only filled in by the sound of a gust of wind that blew between us as we stood on the roof of my house.

He brushed his hair out of his face.  “I’m sorry for being a pain.  But I need to tell you.  Will you listen?”

“I will listen.”

“You do not have to continue the nights.  If you understand yourself before the deadline, then you will be free of the punishment.  But if you can’t understand yourself before the deadline, then you will forever live with the sorrow of not knowing.  I’m telling you this, because you are very close to the end now.  So close, I think you might fail.”

“What?”

If what I understood of Ero’s conversation was correct then I could be free of this sorrow soon.  But if I were to be free of the sorrow it meant that I was not happy with the way I am now and that I was actually someone better.

Ero had said that it was easy for me to break the punishment.  He had said that I had accepted my punishment a long time ago.  My problem was that I had grown comfortable with these dreams.  This problem I was facing now, this dream I was seeing, I knew the answer.  I knew what it was telling me, but as Ero said, I was pushing the answer away.

“It’s too close to the truth, isn’t it?”  He’d said.  And he hadn’t said it with a smirk or sneer.  It was as though he knew.

She was at last standing at her desk with books in her arm.  She didn’t look sad anymore.  Instead she looked determined.  The lines of a young girl were gone, and the birth of a more mature woman stared back at me.

As I watched, I looked at the pile of books in her arms.  They were the brochures from before.

“ANI where are you?”  Her mother shouted from downstairs.  She was leaving.

“Coming mum!”  She shouted.  Then back to the window she said, “I love brother.  I always will.  I was guilty.”

She looked down at her book.  “I won’t ever say I’m not guilty but I can’t forget it.”

She moved around the room.  “All your memories are here.  How hard you worked, how much you did to protect mum and me.  Everything.  I know it all now.  I was sad when you were never at home, when mum was never at home, but I knew you were working hard.  So I worked hard.  But then you died.”

Tears started pouring down her cheeks again, whether she wanted it or not.  “And I was lost.  I couldn’t do anything anymore.  Those people I used to help my appearance?  My boyfriend, my friends, did you know they really cared about me?  Did you know?  I think you did, because they showed me you, they showed me what I refused to see.  I miss you, but I’ll work harder.  I’ll make you proud.  I love you brother.”

I watched as she turned and walked out the room, her hand grazing a photo on the wall beside the door.  As she did, she whispered, “Goodbye brother.”

I was stunned.  What had happened?

“She found a purpose.”

I jumped startled at the sound of Ero’s voice.  “What are you doing in my dream?”  I asked turning to face him.

He looked different.  His eyes weren’t white, but green, and he was wearing plain plaids.  While still good looking, he also looked human.

Looking into my eyes he said the strangest thing.  “Even a dream master has dreams.”

But even as I was looking at him, I was drawn to a photo perched on the wall behind him.  I pushed past him.  What?

He didn’t seem to be aware of it.  He was still staring at the place where she once stood.

When I woke, I was on the ground of my rooftop, and the dream master was beside me.  Strangely enough, I didn’t feel sad.  I watched my dream master wake.  It was slow, because he was still sleeping so peacefully.  I wondered if he would wake soon.

I felt calm for someone who had discovered something immense.  Was this what my punishment led to?  But why?

“Is this what happens if you don’t succeed in one thousand nights?”

He opened his eyes slowly.  I nearly jumped in surprise as they were revealed.  Why were they green now?

“Yes.  You become a slave to her.  You work until someone can free you.  But it’s not all terrible.  If you succeed, you free yourself from the fear.”

“Are you alive?”  I asked him.

He rolled on his stomach.  “No.  I think you know that.”

“So the ultimate punishment is death.”

“No.”

He looked at me.  It was unnerving that he was no longer paled eyed.  But all the same.  It didn’t matter to me if he still had his pale eyes.

“Death was better than living.”

“I don’t understand,” I said.

“You do.”

He stood.  I stood after him.  “What’s that supposed to mean?”  I demanded.

“If you didn’t then tonight you’d dream those dreams again.  But you do, so you won’t.  Now you can live your life the way you want to.  Live it your way.”

He didn’t make much sense, but I think I understood.

“Where are you going now?”  I asked.

He just smiled and looked up to the sky. “I’m going home.”

Like a Fire. ‘The diamond of truth’ Part Two

Felicity lay resting.  Dallas, or Nurse Dallas as Fel liked to tease the female warrior, refused her request to walk.  Fel was stuck.  She could not move from the bed without fear of facing the fierce warrior.  And despite her magic, Fel would not/ could not win a match.  After making a diamond out of Gevrid, Fel had slept for three days.  Magic of that level, especially magic that to so fully transformed a human so that he would still live despite his incarceration would have exceeded Felicity’s ability if it were not for the diamond.

The diamond.  Fel rolled to the bedside table where the diamond sat in a velvet pouch.  She sighed as it rolled onto her palm.  It burned, though no mark remained.  It burned like any tool where its purpose was to enhance the flow of magic.  It had felt like a fire, the magic coursed through her body searing every vein and artery.  The minute her hand with the diamond in its centre had pressed against Gevrid’s forehead, the fire had started.  It had been unlike the magical fire that had melted the ice that had once covered her for several days until her nose became free.  Once her nose was free, Fel had been free to slowly massage her magical muscles.  Slowly the frozen muscles began working again, and by the time Gevrid had the brains enough to tell her to stop, it was already too late.

Gevrid.  Fel sighed as she stared at the glistening forever that was the all powerful diamond in her hand.  As she stared into the heart of the diamond, she saw something she didn’t want to see.

Four weeks ago in the deserted alleyway behind the dinky dunk pub where Fel wandered every so often with her munchkins, little orphans she sponsored in secret, she stumbled across a man in a ripped uniform, half unconscious.  She’d recognised the uniform, and on her command commandeered several scarves from her already clothing-less adoptive family.  With care she’d wrapped them around her face so that he shouldn’t have recognised her.

And he didn’t at first.  With the combined energy of her mini force and herself, she hauled the Captain to their secret hideout.  And despite her common sense, she made absolute sure that the wounds healed cleanly on his chest.

She saw within the diamond the past-her holding her hand above his wounds, the flow of essence shifting between them as she took his pain into her and in return gave him the life boost he needed to live.  The change had been startling.  Fel knew, even then that she had poured more of her life into him than she had meant to.  But life was only healing if it was the life essence that was being exchanged.  If she had given him some of her essence, then she would have killed him instead.

But as it was, he had taken some of her life and unexpectedly draining her more than she should have let such a healing do so.  She collapsed in bed beside the healing Captain and passed out.

When she woke up, it was to a wide awake and fully healed Gevrid.

“Princess.”  Fel’s heart froze then.  The gurgling painful laughter that erupted from him though seemed to speak amusement, which was clearly not what the situation should entail.  Fel was the King’s treasured daughter.  She should be in the palace surrounded by pretty dresses and loyal servants, showered in roses and orchids and all kinds of pretty flowers, not here in the middle of the city’s smelliest suburbs.  But she was, here, that is, where no princess before her would ever think of standing let alone deciding to scour during the daylight.

It was then that she realised she was curled up next to him.  Her scarves had fallen down in her sleep, and she cursed soundly in her head for being so stupid.  But she stayed still anyway.  It wasn’t as though Captain Gevrid, Lord Evernight wasn’t known to her.  He was just, for the moment not the King’s favourite noble.  Not only was he the second son given a title by his uncle, but he was also uncooperative most of the time of the King and his preposterous notions.

Gevrid was known to criticise the King’s attitude towards his only daughter and heir.  It wasn’t unknown that Fel refused to obey her father as she should.  Sure she did well when it came to running her kingdom, but when it came to her father’s restraints she refused to listen.  She was impulsive.  Incredibly impulsive.   And like her father, her magic was just as strong.

Fel pulled out of the memory.  What happened next wasn’t hard to imagine.  Fel let herself trust a man like Gevrid.  She trusted him because he vowed that he would keep her secret.

Even so, for sake of impressions, her little munchkins had brought her more scarves and she once again draped them over her head.

She sighed and put the diamond back on the bedside table.  It would go back home, but not until she proved to her father that the diamond should not be hidden away in the vaults.

She shivered as the sound of raindrops falling on the dilapidated roof sung her to sleep again.  A storm was coming again.  He had betrayed her in the end.  He hadn’t been careful enough.

In her dream she stood in the statue room looking at a decrystallising Gevrid at her feet.  When the crystals fell off him, he stood, stretching his height until he towered over her.

“Oh Fel, you could trust me.”  His hand strayed to her cheek caressing it the way he shouldn’t.  Rain pelted them like the angry god of the sky taking out his revenge.

“I didn’t…know,” she whispered, afraid.  Angry.  Hurt, but mostly, afraid. She reached up to catch his hand, only for him to pull away.  She reached out to grab him again, but he faded faster than she could see.  The storm raged around them, the fire in her soul dimmed, as she realised what she was losing.

As he disappeared beyond the ice, he radiated the fire that matched what disappeared from her.  He burned the aqua from the air.  The vapour engulfed him and she cried out.  He was a part of the storm now, gone with the rain.  She should wonder what would happen to him.

But he was fire and the storm, tempestuous and unpredictable, and not at all like ice and crystal.