‘Unmarked’ excerpt

“Wait, please,” Sypia said, the aggression fading from her voice. It was obvious from her actions she was now trying to appeal to his humanity, perhaps to call for pity. Lyn advised himself to leave, as to not be pulled by the ploy, but he stopped. He turned to face her, expecting to see a pouting lip or a sorrowful glance from the princess, but that was not the case at all. It was a look of defiance.

Despite being a member of royalty, this woman had a somewhat vulgar disposition. She was certainly no straight-spined, luxurious woman you would expect. She wore the garb of a commoner, a male’s, in fact. Lyn could deduce, from the choice of frayed, blue veined Capri’s, sandy tan and mud-splattered tennis-shoes, she did not stay at the castle for long periods of time. The only thing regal was the hair-pin with a royal white jewel that bulged off the right side of her head, the side where her hair was left to curl to its own devices. It was probably a gift from someone, as she seemed the type too busy to care for appearances. Probably something from her brother, the recently kidnapped crown-prince, had given her, knowing the king’s lasting relationship with her. If one could call that a relationship. The other side of her head, kneaded with braids, had not been tended to a maid for quite some time; wads of hair were breaking free of the braids grips.

Her face though, was startling. Although she could not be considered unattractive, she clearly had the face of her stubborn mother, who had been known to have her dark eyebrows permanently knotted into a half-scowl.  Her eyes were a gray-blue, not a common color for this region, yet common from the east, where her mother reigned from. Her teeth were clenched tightly, possibly tighter than her fists, where her skin was clearly blanched. She could be mistaken as angry at the moment, but it was clear enough to him she was not. No, her clenched appearance was one of holding back determination, one with a clear goal to pursue. It was a dangerous expression.

“You know as well as I do that I don’t want to be here. I am well aware of who you are, Silver. You are a murderer. Of children, no less. If there was any other damned way to do this, I wouldn’t be risking my life just so you could twist me around your finger. But you are the only one I can turn to right now to save my brother. You are the only one,” she spit out the last words as if she’d tasted something repulsive. She was purposefully injuring her pride for his assistance. He could not help feeling impressed.

“And how would I benefit from this? Your Father would not approve of any award you could give me. And I suspect you are on your own for funds, am I correct?” He had no choice but to ask, unless his appearance as Silver would be compromised. He stepped closer to her until her eyes were forced to look into his colorless ones. “Why should I give a damn?”

Sypia stepped back, looking away. Probably intimidated, no doubt, by his appearance. White hair, clear eyes, no coloration in the cheeks, he more closely resembled a specter in this form.  He made himself smile in a sinister way, surprised how well it fit in his cheekbones. He was grateful for a moment he could not see himself in the mirror, as to see his haunting appearance.

“I will erase your death sentence,” she said at last, still not looking at him.

“And?”

“I will give you my hand  in marriage.”

Blue Jay

“I don’t want to go on the damn Ferris wheel Libel,” Marge said, her dimples pulling back toward the smooth white curve of her jaw. Although she adamantly tried to pull herself from the line, Libel’s steady hand kept her next to him, because he knew she was lying. He could see her eyes follow the orange carts into the middle of the sky in wonder. But then again, she was afraid of heights.

“Relax, I’ll be right there with you if you need a hand to hold onto,” Libel said, attempting to reassure her. Despite her clear reluctance, she saw that he could hardly keep a smile from his face. “Just keep your eyes on me.”

With this, Marge quit complaining, she knew she had lost, by any rate. The couple had entered the line a half an hour ago, and had already weaved through most of the metal guardrails that led up to the attraction. Now, only a couple more groups stood between them and the moving carts.

“It’s our turn,” Libel finally said, when their cart was in front of them, a few dark-skinned foreigners stepping out of it quickly. Libel ushered her in, taking her hand to help her in, and she plopped right onto the plastic seats. Sweat gathered on her palms as he stepped in, the pod swaying from his weight. The door shut with a small click. No way to get out now.

“This will be a great way to end the day, you’ll see,” Libel smiled, his shining face managing to calm her down a little. Although he was shorter than her standing, his bronze colored eyes were now level with hers, his tan, jar-shaped face able to face forward. The cabin lurched as they left his ear-length brown hair swaying along with it. His massive hand took hers, her hands were small birds within an interlocked cage of dark skin and strength. He told her to breathe and she did, the tension releasing from her shoulders with every one.

They began a bit of small talk, reminiscing for a bit on past dates and such. It had been but a few months since the couple had come together, and it had been great, filled with crazy clubs and a few silly dates like this one, but Marge couldn’t help but feel a little doubt about all this. It had gone too fast.

Libel, catching her in one of her moments of deep thought, put his hand to her chin to keep her gaze with his. “Don’t worry about the thing last night. I’ll convince your parents. Trust me.”

Oh, she knew he could. It was whether she wanted all of this. The one who had sowed a seed of doubt in her parents had been herself. She was worried for her grades at her High School, worried for too much commitment when it all might disappear in a year when she went to college. The bright summer sun behind Libel proved blinding for her, so she looked to the side, into the Cincinnati skyline.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it,” he said, looking with her. The sky was terribly blue, almost fairy tale blue. Marge wished for a cloud or two, but none came.

Then, something caught her eye, she turned to see a flash of blue, black and white, a blue jay, scurrying for a tree. Once it halted, it stared at her with an innocent black, beady eye for a few seconds. Then, with a rush of a wing, flew away, and disappeared behind a flurry of leaves.

Marge took one hand from Libel’s and placed it on the hot glass, staring at the place where the Blue Jay had disappeared. For a second, she imagined her fingers as wings, wishing she could feel the rush of wind pull her hair back. Her chest felt like it was fluttering.

Before she even realized it, the tree-line came back into the view, green leaves swallowing the sky. She looked back at Libel, who seemed perfectly happy with the ride, and felt something stir in her. She didn’t know what.

The ride finally came to a stop, and she left the ride without taking Libel’s hand, though he didn’t seem to mind. She looked back at him, at his beautiful skin, his large, stiff hands, his bronze eyes. He was absolutely glowing in the sunlight, a large, brass body.

“Is anything wrong Marge?” Libel asked, seeing the confused look on her face. She looked away, and looked at herself, imagining the pattern on her dress forming o the slight curves of her body and turning into the wings of a bird. She let out a deep sigh.

“I’m sorry,” she said, sadness welling up from the bottom of her heart. She knew the words she was about to say, but she didn’t want to say them. Her insides burned as much as the sun did on her skin. She took in a few deep breaths as Libel hurriedly got her to a bench. He was worried for her. She knew he loved her. But…

“We’re breaking up, Libel,” she said, finally, letting tears escape her eyes. She buried her head into her hands until she could no longer hear Libel’s protests. After nearly half an hour, he silenced himself, and disappeared.

Finally, as evening approached, she stood, finally allowing herself to be proud of what she had done. She headed home, grief and strength heavy in her heart.

And above the tree beside the Ferris wheel, she spotted a Blue Jay flying away.

The Un-eventful Epic

(got the inspiration for the story from a friend of mine, who always makes these kinds of posts. Though he does them much better than I do)

“This will be our final battle, Akane,” I said, a smile creeping up my face.

“Indeed, Kila,” my opponent’s eyes glittering with fierce delight.

Unsheathing my katana from its ruby case, I pointed the glimmering blade at Akane, posing myself to look like one of those cool people in movies. Without even performing my first move, I knew this battle of be over soon with my win. I was the King’s knight, garbed in the glorious scarlet robes of the royal court. On my arms and legs were plates of armor forged in the mines of the greatest blacksmiths in the country, made of the cleanest and toughest metal found in this country. My precious head was protected by closely weaved chain mail, and of course, no one would ever aim for my beautiful face. With its well sculpted chin, thick, luscious unibrow, and my rosy cheeks, no damsel in this country could turn away from my face. It caused many a jaw to drop, even the king had taken many minutes to observe its glory.

This fool in front of me, Akane, seems to scoff at the word beauty. He has golden hairs, a large body, too large for taste, and alien green eyes, making him a grotesque mix of features. I refuse to believe that Sylvia would choose a man such as him. This is why it is my loyal duty to take her back to the tower in which she belongs. So that I may properly save her and then marry her and create beautiful children together. I smiled at the thought.

Although, Akane could have chosen a better place for a showdown. We were standing at the top of mount Kujimar, an active volcano that was due to blow any decade now. As I witness gobs of fiery lava being spewed all over the place, I worry that they may burn through my robes if they came into contact. The black, course lava rocks underneath me were unsteady, veins of orange appearing from between the cracks. This battlefield would not last long. In addition to that, ash obscured my sight, turning the sky to a pale gray. It became hard to see my opponent.

I lunged, knowing I have very little sword experience, so I figured swinging around my sword randomly would do the trick. I had seen enough movies to know that the protagonists never needed to practice real fighting skills for very long, that their inner power would help and defeat their enemy. So as my opponent continually stopped blows with only a flick of his wrist, I waited for some inner fire to take over. The volcano certainly seemed to have plenty of that.

Then, to my own dismay, Akane knocked my sword from my grasp, the metal clanging of the rocks beside me. I fell to my bottom, quite ungracefully, and stared up at my ugly foe. He held his sword by my neck, the cool metal was startling on my skin. I was shocked. Had I, the protagonist, just lost?

I refused such a loss! I stood up and looked Akane in the face. I was ready to punch the man, or kick him where it hurts; however, suddenly I felt the burn of lava on my face. I screamed and jumped back, cursing Akane.

“I will get you for this!” I yelled, running with all my might.

And that was the end to our battle. And the end to my face.

Shadow Chaser THE FINALE

    The darkness was quickly approaching. The huge mass reminded me of ink spreading in water, the billowing clouds spreading at an unstoppable pace. At its speed, I guessed it would reach the first island, on the outskirts of the complicated web of enviro-domes, in less than 5 minutes. I bit my lip, already knowing what I was going to do next, and already regretting it. I took one last look at all the domes, seeing all the people, my people, running with all their might across the light bridges to get to safety.

If there was anywhere that was safe.

    Taking a deep breath, I whirled around, looking straight into Kied’s eyes. The kid was just awestruck, little violent convulsions on his skin the only moves he made. He was looking straight into the storm with a gaping mouth and wide eyes. He wasn’t even trying to escape, he was just that scared.

    “We’re doomed, we’re definitely, god-forsakingly screwed,” he said finally, burying his hands into his tentacles. He obviously didn’t think anyone was going to jump in and stop that thing. He obviously didn’t know me very well.

    “So, what do I do?” I said. My head gesturing to the storm.

    It took him a moment to register what I had just said. Though I can take pride in the fact that I finally peeled the guy’s eyes away from the darkness. He had that look that told me he hadn’t believed what I said.

    “Look kid. There’s a cloud coming straight for us. You need a Dream-Traveler to stop it. I’m a Dream-Traveler. Everything’s solved!” I said, saying it a bit too cheerfully. Might as well act like I knew what I was doing. Though it didn’t convince my heart, it was still doing frantic taps on my chest like it was trying to leap out. “So what do I do?”

    “Shadra, it’s not that simple, you could lose all your memories! Or worse, you could disappear forever,” Kied said, grabbing my arms, shaking me around violently.

    “Look. What else is there to do? If I don’t try, everyone will pay. If I go and somehow succeed or disappear, then we’ve got a chance. Besides, it’s not like I have much to lose,” I said, shrugging. It was true, I only had a few hours’ worth of memories.

    Kied just stared at me a few moments, and then let me go. His head facing downward, defeated. “Fine,” he said, sighing, “you go in there, defeat the nightmare causing the darkness, and that’ll kill it. The hard part is getting through the darkness.” He looked up. “Go, the cloud’s almost got us.”

    I nodded with as much enthusiasm as I could pull off, and ran towards the cloud, which was just a few moments away from eating one of the islands. Fear still gripped me, but I talked myself out of it. It’s only a nightmare, which I had dealt with for, like, ever. What was one more measly nightmare? I swallowed, and teleported into the darkness.

    I was thrust into complete blindness. No feeling but the heaviness of the darkness entering my lungs, no sight but the black wall in front of me. For a split second, I felt an oozing calm between my fingertips, until I was falling, falling… falling…

    Time stopped. It literally stopped. The only thing that told me I was alive was the feeling of my heart. I wasn’t even certain I had a mind; I was grabbing for some sort of memory, but then realized I had none. I had been in the black for my entire life. Right?

    No, I hadn’t been.

    I fought for the control of my mind, putting up a mental block against the encroaching darkness. I took in a deep breath and pushed myself forward, as if I were swimming through it. And, to reward my hard work, a light soon appeared ahead, promising a new place, a new nightmare to solve.

    I’m ready to roll.

    The place I fell into was a colorfully creepy place. It was like a mixture of your grandmother’s house and a Tim Burton Movie. I landed on a rainbow patched quilt with little cartoon skulls stitched onto them. There were bare trees growing out of the dusty fabric, which occasionally gave out creepy little laughs from thick-lipped, snaggle-tooth mouths that popped out of nowhere. I looked up, and the clouds moved at a snail pace, and shifted up and down as if they were from one of those old large-pixeled video games. It was quite the weird scene. Quilts upon hills went from horizon to horizon, and the sky a gray mass with some weird clouds. Someone had a messed up mind.

    I soon spotted a little black bench with an old woman sitting on it, her head in her hands, weeping bitterly. She was surrounded by floating picture frames of children whom I guessed were her grandchildren, from their similar hair color, and the fact that the photos looked fairly new and colorful. She looked lonely. I instantly took back that mean comment I said about her.

    Who was I to judge? Dreams cannot be controlled, and are never made consciously. And don’t get me started on nightmares.

    I knew what to do the moment I laid eyes on her. With a deep breath, I counted each step it took to reach her side, imagining myself as the children from those photos. I felt myself split into different pieces, all running toward the woman to embrace her.

    As soon as my tiny arms wrapped around her, I felt warmth I could only imagine, penetrating into my arms. I snuggled into the folds of her skin, letting her leathery hide settle next to mine, her musty smell feeling familiar and so comfortable. The woman lifted her eyes and looked into mine.

    And what happened next was so unexpected, I would question it almost every day in the future. She smiled at me, kissed each one of my foreheads with dry lips, and said one thing.

    “Don’t hide anymore,”

    I instantly felt myself conform into myself again, and even when the woman looked at me in my black, octopus hair form, she didn’t flinch. Green spots were not rising on my skin. She smiled.

    “Thank you, my Guardian Angel,” the old woman said, a small tear sliding down her face. Slowly, her form faded, until she was no longer there. The dream quickly following, turning into colorful puffs of smoke. I watched every color dissolve into darkness.

    And for the first time in my life, the darkness had never felt so warm.

Shadow Chaser, Part 2

Part 1 can be found here: https://rookswriter.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/shadow-chaser-part-1/
~~~

    I swear, some sort of purple monster threw up all over this girl’s dream. The indigo ocean was violently churning; sending my boat’s nose into a deep sky that only a eccentric king could love. Then, there was the squid, a huge wall of slimy magenta, holding onto a girl with a cheap, but very frilly purple dress. Even the girl’s tongue was a light violet, as she screamed out with all her might.

    Huge, wet tentacles flew through the air, threatening to knock me right into the ocean. I dodged each one, the blasts of air nearly knocking me overboard. I clutched my harpoon, trying to aim for the head, but with the seas churning and the tentacles I was having to dodge, I could barely even keep myself standing.

    The squid’s attack seemed to cease for a moment, and I took aim to fire, but then I felt something underneath my boat, lifting it up. Before I could act, a tentacle flipped my boat, and I was thrown into the dark sea.

    Surrounded by darkness, fear seized me. My chest tightening as I thrashed for the surface. If I went any deeper, the darkness, the portal to the next dream would take me. I wouldn’t let that happen. I couldn’t. Something in my gut told me if I let this dream consume her, her real life would be impacted. I wasn’t sure how, but these dreams can carry onto real life, literally or emotionally when they’re not handled correctly.

    I found the surface, but not for long. Huge waves kept knocking me under, over and over. My mind, muddled and useless, was screaming to not go into the darkness. With all my might I imagined light, I imagined air, and suddenly, I was up in the sky with wings.

    Taking two deep breaths, I lunged at the tentacle with the screaming girl, taking hold of her shoulders. Her eyes locked with mine, shining like dark jewels, ignoring the rising green spots on my skin. I smiled, and pulled her out of the tentacle, bringing her into the sky with me.

    “I’m here to save you. But I can’t kill that thing,” I said to her, her hands around my shoulders, “you can.”

    She stared at me quizzically as I landed on the boat, its bottom side up, letting her stand. Conjuring a harpoon while she fearfully looked over at the squid, I handed it to her and nodded. She took it slowly, but shook her head when she saw the huge flailing beast headed straight towards us.

    “I can’t do this,” she said, tears trailing down her cheeks, “I just can’t.” The squid was quickly approaching only a few boat lengths away now. I took her hand firmly into mine, feeling her quick heartbeat.

    “Yes you can. But only if you stop saying you can’t. You CAN do it.” I was looking her right in the eyes, “you’ve got to trust me on this.”

    It must have clicked then, because she quickly wiped her eyes and nodded, looking back at the squid. As it neared, she took aim, as if she was going to hit its face. Her mouth was carved into a deep frown, fear in the spark of her eyes, but I knew she could do it now, with or without me. Though reluctant to leave, I slipped off the boat into the murky waters before she could see me leave.

    This time, darkness lasted for what felt like a lifetime, the time stretched and floppy, to the point where I wasn’t sure how long I really was in there. When I finally escaped, I found myself in a completely different place than before. A place that wasn’t a dream.

    It was an area with thousands of floating islands, each tied together by bridges of moonlight. There were thousands of people, like me, all with dark, pear shaped bodies and tentacles for hair, walking from island to island, talking, playing, laughing. It was the first time I’d ever seen anyone like me. I was so stunned I didn’t notice my mouth gaping until moments later.

    “Welcome to the center of the Dreamverse,” another me said, except with a deeper voice. His green, reptile eyes looked at me with such warmness I could have melted into them, “your home.”