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Shadow's Tale (undecided)
“You don't have to do this.” She whispers to me
My heart sank as she drew nearer, a mirror image of myself. Her hands reach out in an empathetic gesture, as she places them on each of my shoulders. An eerie feeling envelops me, her hands; like cold glass, seemed to tear through me to my very core.
“Why not stop while you're ahead?” She continued “Give up on him and let go.”
“Can't or won't?”
She releases her grip on my shoulders and turns to face the malevolent blue sky, turning her back to me. I try without avail to gather my words and thoughts, to make sense off what all of this could mean. Before I can release a single word she turns back around to face me once more. Her long red hair is blackened by the dark and an icy chill lingers on her lips. It only takes one breath from her before the icy chill becomes a bleak and disorienting fog and the world crumbles behind her. Where the moon and sky had been there was only what appeared to be a glass mirror, cracking in many points. Though as soon as I blink the mirror shatters into millions of small shimmery pieces. She is gone and the room; pitch black. My expression is hard set in concentration.
“You know she's right, don't you?” He asked “You can't trust him, he's not worth it anyway.” “she learned that all too well with me.” He chuckles
“She couldn't trust you?”
“That's not it exactly.” “I was more or less hard to predict, so she's used to it.” “Take it from someone who knows. He's a hopeless mess.”
His face is concealed by shadows with no notable source thought the feeling that we're not alone continues to grow. I shift my weight in response to my discomfort and in a failed attempt, try decrypt his expression. His face; a forlorn proposal. His shoulders are like strong mountains and his eyes are like frosted onyx; so soothing but deadly as a serpent's bite.
“And what about you two?” “Why don't you care about loosing her?”
“It's not that I don't care. She comes and goes as she pleases.” “We see each other over generations but I never expected that we'd be together again.” “I guess it was nice while it lasted.”
“But you don't care enough to stay?”
“After the last time we were together she not only lost her baby, but lost me and took her own life because of the stress she faced everyday after that.” “She couldn't deal with the loss or the empty feeling she experienced every time she saw the family portrait of all three of us on the wall in the parlour.” “She broke down after about a month and slit her own throat with the dagger that I kept above the door frame in the kitchen. It belonged to my father who was already dead by the time I had met her.” “We've died so many times apart, I don't know if I can do it again.”
“So you care too much.” It wasn't a question.
He didn't respond, the only reply was a mumbled jumble of words that came out sounding like, “ I've spent too much time out, he's going to be exhausted.”
And then I was alone.
I can't quite remember the first time I'd spoken to them but, I do remember that it was quite some time ago. The floor and walls around me were still solid darkness but a small
shimmer of light emanated from just beneath my feet. I stared at it more and more confused by the second until a hole opened beneath me and I fell through the floor. I attempted to muffle my screams but soon realised that I wasn't screaming. I was sitting up in bed.
The light of dawn peaked in my window and a cold chill, like a reminder, tickled my spine. I stared at the walls finding the shadows of my possessions distributed through out the room and paint chipping around the white marble of my windowsill.
I contemplated trying to go back to sleep but each minute I laid there, my head began to throb and my pulse quicken. Before long I get up and grab my clothes for the day, determined to take a shower and relax my muscles which were still shaking.
The water in the shower turned on rather quickly and I jumped back an inch to avoid getting sprayed by the shower head that was turned at the wrong angle. Thought the spray from the shower was cold to begin with, I soon became accustomed to the time it took for the water to heat up. After that, I spent the next forty five minutes washing my hair and my body, temporarily fascinated with the soap bubbles as they scaled the length of my skin.
I quickly shut the water off and stepped out of the shower to wrap the towel that hung over the counter around myself. The bitter air that greeted me was soon gone as I replaced it's cold embrace with the warmth locked within the cotton of the towel. I sigh heavily. Why do dreams like these haunt me night after night? I'm so confused and yet I feel they have a higher meaning.
The full length mirror that spans the width of the bathroom counter gives me no further answers, no matter how many times I attempted to consult it. I quickly dress, my body soon covered by a long dark blue blouse and a pair of solid black jeans, I stand in the reflection of the mirror and yet, still felt completely exposed. I wrap my arms around my waist and squeeze slightly. I try to reassure myself that nothing can hurt me but, I'm positive that I can never guarantee such a thing. The world seems to be as unpredictable as my dreams. I contemplate the thought. How is it that they can both speak to me freely and yet I can't just summon them? I can't even ask them to help me, they just appear, why is that?
Fatigue seems to have drained out of me, and now that I seem alert and focused it maybe time for some experiments, or at least some planning. My stomach rumbles. Maybe I should eat something first. I consider ignoring my stomach but I can't risk breaking concentration. Especially being light headed, that's something that could be devastating to my research. I can't just go around passing out every time I choose to be stubborn. Not only is it not worth it, but a waste of energy. Why spend energy needlessly? Seems like an awful waste to me.
I settle for a leftover pan of Chicken Parmesan and a small helping of fresh rice. I don't feel like doing anything more elaborate so this will have to suffice. I stand patiently as possible, which in my opinion is still pretty impatient, next to the microwave and heat my food. I press my head against the top of the unit and listen to the soft hum of the rotisserie plate as it spins. The small timer signals me to remove my plate from it's confines and sit down to eat. The rice; hot and steamy, burns my throat, thought the gravy over the chicken becomes a soft relief to my scalded mouth. I quickly finish my plate and proceed to place it in the dishwasher, turning it on soak and scour.
I lean back into the couch in the living room and try to review my thoughts. So, I need a plan. Something to maybe, get them on better terms. That's a start, isn't it? Maybe then she won't feel so trapped. But what could I do? I can't even talk to her, can I?
I shake my head doubtfully and try to focus on how I'm going to accomplish such a task. Nothing seems to make her happy any more. She just seems to have given up. Though as devastated as she is, how she can just brush it off is astounding. Or rather how she can hide it so well is intriguing. Yet that they were so in love one time appears to be my drive but, shouldn't it be hers?
“What happened?” I whisper, desperately lost in my own thoughts.
The answers you seek may be lost in the sands of time, turn back the clock.
I jump at her willingness to speak to me and through my thoughts rather than through my dreams. Astounding ! Simply amazing !
“Can you tell me what happened?”
He is the only other one that will tell you, he is more consenting than I.
“Are you afraid of something?”
I feel no fear and yet at the same time I question whether or not a heart or soul my being contains. Look no further. Uncover not things meant to be left alone.
“But how do I ask him, how do I even speak to him?”
The answer lies within what you already know. Don't ask me questions you already have the answers for. It's a waste of your time and my patience.
“Then what makes you so sad?” “Why don't you talk to him?” “Can I talk to him?”
Time slowly passes and I never receive a response. She has ceased communication and I have no further interest to press her. Why I even went as far as to ask such a wasteful question is beyond me. The only thing left to do is ponder what she could have possibly have meant by “the answers lie within what you already know.” Such a puzzle.
My back has slid further down on the couch and the I feel uncomfortable just to look at my posture. I attempt to adjust my position when I realise that my eyes are closed and I can't move my arms. I breath in deep and laboured. My air way is constricted and I feel as if someone's hands are around my throat. I gasp again coughing harshly. I'm sure I can taste blood on my lips. I struggle more and more, aware that I'm still on my couch, I wonder why I can't see anything.
You wanted to talk to him, didn't you? She asks
I can't force my lips to form the words. All that comes out is mindless drivel. None of which makes any sense, the babbling continues. I try to will myself to tell her that that everything will be alright and that she will be content soon. Though no matter what I do, I have no muscle control and no way to will my frozen lips to speak. I have the sense of being a puppet on strings and the feeling sends a cold chill throughout my body.
My heart feels as if it has ceased beating, though my breathing seems to be inexplicably shallow. How am I still breathing if I'm dead? Am I still alive? I don't remember dying.
Momentarily distracted, I ponder whether or not to scream. My hands feel numb even though I can move my limbs again and I can see perfectly. So how could I be dead? Wait! I can see perfectly. I finally take in the view of my surroundings.
A dense pine forest secludes me and keeps me bundled up tight within it's confines. There's no way I'm going anywhere. So why am I here? I search for an answer but none can be drawn from any reasonable source.
“Hello!” I shout
Several minutes pass and no answer succeeds my own, not even an echo.
“Hello!” I scream again
Several more minutes pass and still, nothing. I have no idea where I am and there's no one here to tell me. Where the hell am I? I wander and wander within the same five feet endlessly, afraid that if I stay in the same spot too long something is going to get me.
“Hello?!!!” I sob
My face is starting to feel warm and flushed. Tears in my eyes are starting to gather and I fear it won't be long before they spill over. I sob loudly once more and wait for the silence. Sickening as it is, the silence comes as no comfort. Even for someone as independent as me, being alone like this isn't something I can take, not for long any ways.
“How many times must I say it girl?!” comes the voice
I adjust my vision and scan the area once again, though I'm sure I've looked over the same piece of land at least a hundred times now. Nothing has changed, the same uniform looking trees surround me and show no signs of thinning. I thought I heard someone. I must have been wrong. Though natural curiosity gets the better of me and I search again, aimlessly for the origin of the sound.
“You've got to be kidding me!” He boasts
“Where did you come from?”
I stumble backwards and try to catch my breath, seeing as he's knocked the wind out of me. With all, I'm grateful that he's here but, I'm doubtful of his reasons. He seems to be gravitating towards me and at the same time he's keeping a reasonable distance. But why? There is no possible way he could have followed me, there are no paths. How did he just materialise?
“Where am I?” I demand
“Don't you remember dear?” he questions
Up until now nothing made any sense but when I looked up from my toes to his glance, something in the trees caught my attention. I proceed to meet his gaze. His smile is seductive and heinous. I couldn't decipher what all of the details amounted to but one final detail eventually gave it away.
Out of the corner of my eye something, a shade of dirty white , fluttered in the wind. The object that I'd been afraid to confront the reality of until now was a noose.
It hung high on the branch of a pine tree. No particular pine made it any more the odd one out than any other. The only difference was the cold and tattered remains of the ancient rope.
My stomach turns and I can feel my head start to spin.
“It was right here.” he says “This was the last place she ever saw me, and of all ways to see me, she got to see me die.”
My stomach lurches again.
“You know,” he sighs “I was young and stupid. I guess I didn't think about what would happen if I killed that boy.” “That, or I knew too well and accepted my fate.” “She loved him so much, you know that don't you?”
The words continued to process and his world began to scare me even more. I tried to fathom the pain and the emotional desperation he had felt, but I couldn't.
“I wanted revenge, I thirsted for blood to be shed. I had to avenge my son.”
My voice was raw with disbelief and my knees were starting to wobble again.
“Come with me and I'll show you.”