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Before It Was Too Late
Her name was Kara. And I will regret loosing her until the day that I die.
There she stood. Just a lonely figure in the doorway, the sunlight dancing around her outline, making her stand out in ways I hadn't noticed before.
She allowed her hair hanging loose, and limp around her shoulders, as opposed to how she typically wrapped her hair down at the base of her neck, to keep it up and out of her way. But now, it left the wind free to blow and tease the wisps of the dark, curly locks.
Her hand moved to the sword at her belt. In town, the thought of a woman carrying such a weapon was one of the most absurd and impractical ideas that could ever possibly be voiced in public. It was the men's duty to provide for them, as it always had been. Why should now be any different?
The difference was that in my case...I couldn't do anything for her. It cut me to the bone, knowing I would never be able to do the things for her that I should. I had an able working mind. But it couldn't do me any good without a body that could get me anywhere. I could never show her what she meant to me. I could never express it with the actions I wanted to. I could never return all of the favors and kindness she showed me.
I sat. A cripple.
My hands gripped the side of the wooden chair that I was imprisoned in. I could never stand next to her. Be at her side.
Because I was a shadow. In the dark. So close...and yet so out of reach.
She gripped the sword tighter, this time drawing it from its sheath and holding it at arms length. I noted her stance—feet spread apart, tense, yet ready to spring to action at any moment. She was only testing the sharpness of it. After a delayed hesitation, she re-sheathed the blade. I could have predicted her every move.
Of course her opponent came up soon. She was so precise and distinct in knowing the exact time that someone would show up. It was one of the things that fueled my burning admiration for her.
“You still protecting the old piece of trash that lives in this dump?” It was a soldier this time. What happened to the money collectors? “He's not worth your time. Step aside.”
Kara's eyes flashed dangerously, “I'm sorry, but you'll have to excuse my bluntness. I'm not letting you into this house now, or any other day. Is that understood?”
“The runts parents haven't been able to pay rent for three months,” He sneered, “Move on so you can help someone who will actually be able to re-pay you for your trouble.”
Her sword was out of its sheath before he'd even reached for his own. She licked her dry lips testily, meeting his gaze without flinching, “Perhaps you did not understand me clearly enough, sir. I asked you to leave this property. You will receive your money in sufficient time.”
He chuckled, “You wouldn't--”
There was no hesitation in her voice. She merely told him the truth. I knew, because I'd seen her do it time and time again.
“Because you amuse me, I'll give the runt another week,” He glared at her, no longer in the mood for playing her games, “We'll burn this place to the ground if we must. But we won't allow him to continue living on stolen ground.”
“The only criminals low enough to steal around here are you pigs who claim to protect us,” She spat at him.
He didn't honor her insult with a reply.
He left silently, not leaving us even another word to speculate over.
Kara turned, flashing me a small smile, “One more week, Coran. You can get by until then, right?”
I grinned, nodding.
Her eyes lit up, and she rushed over to wrap her arms around my neck and kiss my cheek, “You're doing an amazing job. You're parents will surely be back by the end of the week to pay those men.”
I hoped the guilt on my face wasn't too readable. Because...I was honest with her ninety-nine percent of the time. Except for one thing: my parents.
She kept telling me they would come back. That she'd help me until they came to take care of me.
There was one thing she didn't know...
But until she found that out, she would keep coming back. And keep seeing me time and time again. I couldn't live without her. I only wished I could find a way to tell her the way I felt about her...before it was too late.