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The Love Song Prophecy: Blood, Danger, and M+Ms
Jamais knelt before the Annacaa, transfixed by it’s serene beauty when standing still, the lion like body, it’s coloring too magnificent to be compared to any earthly hue. Its face was a delicate painting stretched across the canvas of muscle and bone that was the epitome of strength.
He could still hear the running, shouting of the foot soldiers behind him. He knew they fought for the enemy, that they would add him to the list of people, planets, worlds; they had destroyed-seemingly for no reason. Jamais didn’t care. He had a mission to carry out, but for the moment, it too was far from his mind. The Annacaa’s beauty was the only thought in his mind.
“I know why you are here, child.”
Jamais trembled at the bell like clarity of the voice, and his mission snuck back into his head, “So you will help us with,” he looked over his shoulder, at the approaching soldiers, waving swords, clubs, and just out of range crossbows, “Them?”
The Annacaa shook its beautiful head, “No. The master of the enemy’s forces has almost unlimited power. I will not fight him.”
Jamais nodded, “Yes, great one.”
The creature said, “I will do one thing, child. I will give you a prophecy: If the enemy is to be brought down, a young one’s love song will do it. She will travel with the warrior to the master and sing to him, but the journey will be fraught with danger. Even if she makes it to the master, chances are, he will defeat her.”
Even the Annacaa couldn’t keep Jamais from feeling devastated, when he heard his world would probably be destroyed. The Annacaa looked away as tears flowed out of Jamais’ eyes. That’s why neither of them saw the arrow fly toward Jamais.
I pursed my lips. I was standing outside my front door, the same one my mother had told me to leave shut and locked when she’d gone to run a few errands about an hour ago. You should be glad I’m a horrible daughter, because I was talking to a frail looking old man in a wheelchair, one who called himself Jamais. And he started the whole thing.
“So what happened?”
The old man smiled sadly, “The arrow hit me in the shoulder. The rest of the attacks were not far behind. Luckily I was a good fighter, and I had a great weapon, but I was horribly injured. Something startled the men, and they fled, leaving me to die. I was found by some passing travelers. They did the best they could to patch me up, but I haven’t been able to use my legs since then.”
I imagined running: the wind flowing through my long red hair, lungs and leg muscles burning. I heard for the tiniest second the screaming laughter of a game of tag, dodging, turning, reaching... and this man could never feel that. He couldn’t even stand, “Gosh,” I breathed.
“Do not feel bad for me. Many have suffered worse wounds without the satisfaction of knowing they were not injured in vain.”
I said, “So why are you here exactly? Are you selling something, or collecting for charity or whatever? Because my mom’s a sucker for a good sob story”
The guy…Jamais, frowned, “We both know your mother left a while ago, Elaine. I believe it was to ‘run a few errands.”
Whoa, “How did you-
“With my physic powers,” I shivered, and he laughed, “Actually, I saw your mother leave. You might have noticed me watching-
“You might have noticed me watching if you had been paying attention.”
My fingers found my cell phone in my pocket, and I rested a nail on the 9, “I’m actually not supposed to talk to strangers.” I turned to go, and Jamais caught my arm, the one holding the phone.
“I lost a lot, gave up a lot, for this audience with you. You will listen to me.”
I tried to scream, but my throat felt frozen. He wasn’t as frail as he looked.
“Good, now repeat after me ‘I, Elaine Redwind, am the child of the prophecy.”
I turned around to see a boy and girl about my age standing behind Jamais. They looked about my age, but they wore long, ragged cloaks over what looked like lightweight metal armor. The girl was pretty; slim, blonde, and strong looking. The boy was dark and tan, but he looked strong as well.
“Your conduct is against all rules,” the girl said.
Jamais glared, “It is very much like you, Cilara, to pick rules over the safety of the world.”
“Except she’s not,” the boy retorted, “ You are going to give this little hottie you’re holding a car, or something, right, put her on the trail of the big bad master, and she’s going to run.”
Jamais said, “You’re forgetting something, Nagan. I’m the warrior of the prophecy. I’m going with her.”
Nagan laughed, “You? The warrior?”
Cilara opened her cloak slightly, revealing a long sword, black dagger, and was that a taser? Who the heck was this girl? I started squirming.
She winced, “ I was going to say something cool like ‘,My prophesy is that you will either put her down or end up as a shish -kebab,’ but under the circumstances, I’m just going to remind you that you just might be jeopardizing the future of mankind by torturing her like that.”
Her companion added, “Plus it’s just creeper-like.”
Cilara nodded, “Go back to the base, Jamais.”
He looked into the girl’s hard blue eyes and nodded, releasing me slowly. I didn’t relax until he reached the warrior pair. They would clobber him now. I actually cackled before turning it into a hacking cough.
“Not cool, Elaine”, I chided myself under my breath.
I was still leaning forward to see the cripple guy get clocked (I never said I was a saint.) But the strange kids surprised me. Nagan, looking somber for a second, patted Jamais on the back, “Good boy. We won’t let you down.”
As soon as Jamais was out of sight, I approached Nagan and Cilara.
“So…” I said
Cilara executed an elaborate bow, “So?”
“So,” Nagan replied, “Are we done with the two letter conversations? You owe us something.”
I ask, “Yeah, thanks for saving-
He tossed his black hair, over his hunky shoulders, “Not that. My sister almost had a great taunt, but thanks to you she only sort of used it. This means you owe us big time- she doesn’t get good comebacks a lot if you know what I mean.”
Cilara slapped Nagan right across the cheek.
“Really? Because I thought that was a great response,” I giggled.
Nagan pretended to sigh sadly, “Dangerous journey or not, I think you two will be hurting me a lot more than the villains.”
I stepped back, “I never said I was going.”
He rolled his eyes, “You owe us.”
“Please,” said Cilara sweetly
I shifted uncomfortably. Now I don’t want to tell you this, because you already probably think I’m stupid. Heck- talking to strangers, cavorting with creepers, cackling…I wasn’t just acting stupid; I was practically an At Risk Youth. But the possible danger of this mission didn’t even factor into my decision.
It was just, on one hand, this was practically my dream. I’d met a cute funny boy who thought I was a hottie. I’d been mentioned in an ancient prophecy. I could be the one to save the world! I was on the edge of the adventure I’d dreamed of, wanted, hungered for. And I’d met a cute funny boy who thought I was a hottie! Anybody with half a brain-but therein lied the problem.
Despite the cool weaponry, creepy guys, and authentic brainless banter here, this was probably just a reality show. Wasn’t that crazy? I couldn’t believe something was true, so I chalked it up to reality T.V. But this was too fantastic, unbelievable, too freakin’ awesome to be my life.
So I ordered them, “Prove it. Prove that all this impossible stuff is true.”
They looked at each other. She bit her lips and laid a hand on his shoulder. He shrugged and nodded. Then they shrugged off their cloaks, and turned. I gasped. It was an indescribable sight- but how can I resist trying. Cilara’s back was beautiful, lined with miniscule feathers, each delicately shimmering a light gold and then she flexed all of her muscles, and what I thought was her back unfolded into wings, leaving her oddly hollow looking real back exposed.
I eagerly looked over at Nagan, put saw only seven long hideous scars. I was equal parts transfixed and horrified as the scars began writhing, crawling over his smooth coffee colored skin. They all converged on his spine, and tore open. Nagan’s face was a snarl of crazed pain as blood gushed from the perfectly round hole in his back. After the scarlet blood had caked itself into a horribly beautiful flower, something new and black burst from the wound, a long smooth tail. Nagan relaxed, and I could see the pain leaving his face, but the horrible tail…
“I’ve seen enough,” I yelled
Nagan’s easy smile returned, as his tail turned back into scars “So you’ll help us?”
I pretended to think, though my mind was up, “Will I get off of school for this?”
“You would interrupt your education?” asked Cilara, aghast.
“Of course, and how can I refuse?”
Nagan narrowed his eyes, “What?”
I took a deep breath, “I’m going to help you save the world.”
“Wait until you see your chariot!” Nagan cheered.
When we had walked a long way, Nagan pushed me gently forward, and I leaned into the hands he held over my eyes, one, of his fingers slipped close enough my nose for me to inhale the cinnamon scent of him. I stepped forward, something hard hit my calf.
“Oops”, he apologized, “You should step up here.”
“Stop acting like a two year old, Nagan” called Cilara from somewhere in front of us.
But the warm pressure of his hands stayed over my eyelids, he lifted me slightly and guided him to an itchy seat.
It was hard to smell anything but Nagan’s skin, but after a minute or two I got a noseful of something gross.
“Ugh,” I spluttered, “This smells like a bus!”
Nagan’s hands go from my eyes to his hips, and I see… a bus, or at least the inside of one.
“No fair!” he joked, “You peeked!”
“You said this was my chariot!”
He laughs, “That actually was fair. I was training you to deal with someone devious, like the master for instance.”
This topic sobered me up, and I tried to sit up a little straighter, and I stared into Nagan’s eyes beautiful chocolaty brown, “Yeah who is this master creep?”
“Well he’s the heart and soul of the enemy’s forces. We believe his name is Charlton Aster, and he’s a year younger than us. I’m your age, I checked your records. But back to Charlton: He’s what they call a Blood Scorpion.”
“A Blood Scorpion? Sounds like a heavy metal band.”
Nagan said, “Yeah. That’s actually what they call people-people like me.”
I just made fun of the boy’s strange mutation! I think that’s worse than eating with your hands on the date disaster scale! Why oh why isn’t there Glamour about how to flirt with a warrior fighting for the salvation of the world, “I’m sorry.”
He shook his head,” It’s okay. Anyway, they call my sister-
“As in Cilara? Cilara’s your sister?”
“Yeah. Actually she’s my half sister.”
“Yes!” I screamed, I wasn’t going to have to compete with the strong looking blonde! Under the stares of everyone else on the bus, I noticed Nagan staring at me confusedly, “I mean, what do they call people her?”
Finally he laughed, “They call them Glory Doves.”
I nodded, “That’s pretty. So the master is a kid like us?”
“Affirmative, But he’s a freakin’ genius. There’s no doubt he could direct an army, and his power as a Scorpion is unmatched.”
I raised my eyebrows, not knowing or caring what it meant to be a powerful scorpion “Unmatched? With you around?”
“I was as surprised as you are.”
“Can I…” I trailed off shyly
“Can you what?” he asked curiously.
“You’ll think I’m weird.”
Nagan said, “I already do. But it’s a good kind of weird. One little question can’t change how I think of you.”
I asked “Can I see your scars?”
The cute boy doesn’t seem fazed, “Sure.”
He turned his back to me, and I moved his cloak aside. The wounds curved, long and graceful looking on his beautiful muscles.
“You can touch them, if you want.”
I stretched out a finger and ran it over the puckered skin, “How did you get these?”
“Born with em’” Nagan said, “They only hurt when I blood up.”
“Yeah,” I replied, “I want to apologize, for making you do that. I probably would have gone with you anyway.”
“Well, you rescued me.”
He turns around, his delicious chocolate eyes probing “I remember. I was there.”
“And”, I give in to honesty, “and you called me a hottie. No one’s ever done that before.”
He smiles, leaning in toward me, “Stupid people.”
If I were being dramatic, I would say that as the bus was traveling, Charlton sat nearly a world away in his throne, leering.( I would also probably not use his real name, since it reminds me of the spoiled preppy kid Chesterton who was the treasurer of the student council in 4th grade.) But Charlton was sitting in a swivel chair a mile or so from my house, and he wasn’t happy.
“What?” he roared , “There is a chance we will fail?”
The messenger just stretched, “There is always a chance of failure, child. Did it stop Napoleon?”
“Yes you moro-
The messenger pinned Charlton down on the plush carpet of his office, “ You forget yourself. Playing a leader warrants do authority.”
“Just getting into character,” simpered the boy.
“Child, “the messenger’s voice rang as he pushed the boy across the room, “, Get out,”
Charlton rose to his feet, trying not to groan as he taster the blood trickling from his lip, “ I just want to know why you gave our opponents –why you told them how they could beat us.”
“This world is not as grand as it was once. I will need to wipe out what is, so what will be will be.”
The messenger stared hard into the young boy’s eyes, and Charlton shook his head, “You are the essence of perfection. All that is will have to die for you to create a world worthy of you. That is what is right.”
The messenger said quietly, “You will die too.”
“My right and my duty”
“It is Charlton, as It is my right to rule those underlings below me. They are flawed. A new world will be best for all. But my perfection is sometimes a burden. I see all sides-
“Then you see ours is right!”
“Silence!” the messenger ordered angrily, “ Of course we are right. That is why the earth lovers will fail and die.”
Meanwhile, I was obliviously, idiotically happy on my chariot. I leaned in so close I could see every pore on his face, count his eyelashes, and feel the sweet energy of life emanating from him.
“Yes?” I asked dreamily.
“We are here.”
I tore my eyes away from my fantasy come to life and saw his sister standing in the bus aisle, looking serious as usual.
She said, “We have to scale the wall in front of the house.”
I straightened up, and tried to prepare myself. This is it. The world could end. I could die…. Oh he was smiling! I shook my head
“Right, so I’m not great with fence climbing. Last time I tried I ripped my pants in half. And that was not a pretty scene, let me tell-
The bus driver stared at me, “Shouldn’t you be getting off?” he asked pointedly.
Shouldn’t you be getting a personality makeover or a new job? I thought. Out loud, I said, “Yes sir.”
Nagan and Cilara usher me off the bus, and the driver speeds off.
“I should have hit him,” said Nagan good naturedly.
“Why didn’t you?” I asked
Cilara suggested, “Because it shows blatant disregard for the rules and his own safety?”
He shrugged, “I was just going to say I didn’t feel like it. “
Cilara sighed, “Right, I forgot blatant disregard is my brother’s main motivation.”
We reached a huge, crumbling cement wall and we stopped.
“What now,” Cilara asked, “we can’t touch it. It might be electric or have sensors, or any other security.”
Nagan jumped up and grabbed onto the wall, “Nope seems good to me.”
His sister glared at him, “You could have died.”
“I didn’t have a choice.”
Cilara said, “Fine. You go up ahead in case we run into guards or are attacked from the front. I’ll stay back here with Elaine in case we have to flee.”
I gulped. She didn’t look happy, with me or her brother.
Nagan began, “Cil-
She shook her head, “Don’t waste time.”
Nagan began climbing up the wall, and when he was conveniently out of earshot, Cilara removed her black dagger, and dug a matching white one from a chain around her neck.
“I know you’re mad about me talking so much with your brother, but-
She threw the knives into the wall just above my head, “ Use them to help you climb.”
“What about you? Nagan seems to be a pretty good climber, but-
Cilara undid her cloak, revealing a treasure trove of swords, daggers, a short red bow, and of course her taser strapped to her body. She tucked her cloak into a strap, and then her golden wings unfolded, and she fluttered up to a particularly rough looking spot and began to climb.
“Oh”, I said.
Soon I was high enough off the ground that it would seriously hurt if I fell, my feet braced against the wall, and caught up in the monotony of plant black dagger; step up; dig out white dagger; plant white dagger higher; step up; dig out black dagger…
I was planting the black dagger higher when Cilara spoke, “He likes you.”
“Who?” As if I didn’t know.
“Nagan, And yes, he likes you. In that way” She said.
“Oh. Why do you care?”
She stared me in the eyes, “You are distracting each other. According to the prophecy, this mission will probably fail. The enemy will destroy the earth. Could you at least pretend not to want that?”
Save the earth? I couldn’t even save ten dollars, “I don’t want it.”
“Then focus, Elaine.”
I let my voice trail off and stepped up; dug out the white dagger; planted it-
And that’s when we heard the scream.
“Nagan!” called Cilara worriedly.
He didn’t answer, and Cilara grabbed my arm just as I dug the white dagger out. She pulled , upward, her wings straining to lift us, and suddenly I saw the top of the gate, and over that, a giant creature with bristling fur and a menacing scowl cradling Nagan in its jaws.
Charlton paused the security footage, and smiled, “The Fluff will keep them busy for a while.”
The messenger nodded, “I will have to take him to my new planet.”
Charlton said bitterly, “Well it’s just going to be a regular block party, isn’t it?”
“I sense you are upset.”
The boy looked eagerly into the messenger’s eyes, “It’s just that-when new earth dawns, can I be a part of it? I know I’m not perfect-
“You just answered yourself. Now stop this nonsense. I must tell you my plan.”