It Was Quick
The large albino wolf pounced on me quickly, his large maw opened wide, his sharp carnassial teeth ripped through my chest like a hot knife to butter. I stared in deathly horror watching him chew my heart before he changed into a man and said, "Now, you will roam the land in search of prey."
Okay, so, remember a challenge where we had to spotlight our favorite authors which was held a few months ago? To be precise, on the September of 2021. And the challenge word limit was 200, and I went out of my way to make a gigantic post of-- a lot of words? Well, last day, I found the lost draft that I thought was gone forever. And ah, it's a mess. So much of a mess that it almost hurts XD But I am going to put that up here. So here we go!
How could I possibly not notice this challenge before?! Alright, there is only one day left. So, we have to be fast. I will keep everything short. I don’t want to, but I think I will have to. Let’s hop right into it.
I just skimmed through some challenge entries this morning. I might have blushed a little, maybe jumped across my room in excitement for minutes on end, and perhaps played a happy dance. I don’t think I did, though. I mean, I am so mature and all, so... Yeah, I am still a horrible liar.
But I was surprised to notice that this name has not popped up anywhere: @Clarity. If you had known me for a while, you might probably know that I am a mad fan (a fanatic) of her work. I don’t think she is around these days, but she might probably remain one of the best storytellers, forever, in my heart. And if you are yet to read one of her novels, come on, what are you waiting for? Go! GO! GO! GO!
I am sorry for that. But next up in my list, it would be @CindyCalder. I haven’t read many of her posts, but she is such an incredible author. I don’t know if she had published any of her works before. But if she hasn’t, the publishers are missing out on some quality content.
And if I don’t mention this name in my list, I would rather be dead: @Mnezz. I mean, come on! She is the nicest person on all of Earth. The universe, maybe! She is the lifeblood of Prose. Without her, this community wouldn’t be what it is tonight. And of course, her spooky tales are a must read *chuckling*
Now, I have to mention this person too: @GLD. Yes, she is an amazing writer, and writes such amazing poems and stories. But more than that, she is such a wonderful friend. When I say that she has changed me even as a person, I am not lying. She has. I am lucky to have a friend like her. And I still feel that’s an understatement. And of course, check out her heartfelt poems and beautiful stories, you are missing out.
Wow, this post will go on forever. You know what? Let’s shift gears! Hold on, my dear friends. We are going lightspeed!!!
My pal, my buddy, my Bucky: @Amal_Z. My very first online friend with whom I could speak in my own language: @Sanjana_S. Her stories and poems are just *chef's kiss* And then, our queen, the epitome of self-love, my dear friend, Our Radiance: @Smruti_Swarupa. The young girl whose confidence and hard work I admire and respect: @Samina. Another online friend that I found in my aimless wander who loves a good debate: @Tushar. And when we talk about him, we can't avoid this man: @Hrithik. Also check out Miss @VRose's profile. She got some really, really good posts lined up.
Now, descriptions are not something that everyone can master, except these two. If you want to read a good character description to fill your mind, you go to @Sinha. If you want to read a good emotional description, you go to @HelenaTherese. And her micro-poetry is a must-read! And yes, my dear friend whose ambition and stories that inspires and motivates my lazy soul: @CalebPinnow. Now, if you are feeling a rush of positivity here, none of it stands a chance against the one and only Ms Nightmare: @LiannaC! Honestly though, she is such a nice person. But, we aren't still done with descriptions here. You want to experience the story on a deeper level with descriptions? Well, I got another two that can create such wonderful imageries and precise descriptions: @PaperbackFish and @HandsOfFire.
And now, it's time for heartbreak. There is one person who can top this least without an effort: @ajrfanz. But trust me. If he breaks my heart again, I am taking him down XD. But heartbreak doesn't end there. I got a bunch of people who can break your heart with ease. Someone who can break it with merely one or two lines: @LovelyNB. Someone who makes us cry and imagine such beautiful yet depressing scenarios simultaneously: @Zoe_n. No, it doesn't end there. I got two more! @arctic and @coldfront. They just like playing around with our heartstrings, I guess.
Now, it's time for siblings! We got lots of them. First off, my dear history mate: @ValiantRaptor47. With him, you got both informative and thrilling posts to read. What a combo! And of course, his sister: @Voidkin_Killer. It doesn't take a long time for her to crack you up with her fun rants. That brings us to our heartbreak and mending pair: @snivyth3 and @Laveenya. You read @snivyth3's poems, you heart gets broken, then you have to go to @Laveenya's profile and read a little something. It's like they have a little evil masterplan! And we have yet another pair of siblings: @VerityMonet and @Carissa. @VerityMonet is one of the most confident, resolved young ladies I am lucky to have met. And her sister, @Carissa, will never let her down too. You will love this duo.
Now, I have a bunch of writers (and good friends) who never ceases to amaze us with their writing abilities. First off: @Rob_Lee. Now this man knows how to craft a story, and he is not even leaving one of them as weak. His profile itself is a masterpiece. And he leaves some of the most heartwarming comments too. Next up: @nightscribbler. Her expertise over language is unmatched in all of Prose! And she is such an amazing person too! Next up: @ana_vega222. If you haven't read any of your poems, you are seriously missing out. Go straight away! Don't care to wait. Fourth up, we have @WhiteWolfe32. I mean, have you even seen his collection of poems? Have you read his chilling stories? Have you visited his super cool website?! Please don't say no. I can also name someone who never stops writing and gives us something everyday. He even has a few books lined up: @1912writer! He is one of our best young men!
Now, this has already crossed over a thousand words, and I not even halfway through. Alright, we are doing a quicker thing.
Some good friends who are not around these days:
@GinelleColour: A young Irish lady, an amazing friend.
@Mara_C: That one person who will pop up when you need it the most.
@MargeauxReed: If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be here. She was the first person to send me a message, told me what all I had to do with my posts, gave me advices, supported me. I will never forget her.
@MsHannahTweets: I wasn't here when she used to be here. But I read every last one of her stories, and if you haven't, go straight up there. Trust me, you will never regret that.
@thesavyleelyon: One of her stories still has not left my mind, even after several months. I was excited to delve deeper into that story, but well, I never got the chance to.
@TheDreamer: We all know her. There used to be a time when she ruled over the challenges.
@NaomiAdams: That lady who helped me continue a series with her lovely comments.
@Acadec56: A young man who inspired me to do good, and stay as myself.
Some good friends who only stayed with us for a short while:
@Parise_25: A young lady, who had tons to say and write, but never did it. Her poems were always beautiful, and they always will be.
@Rodaina: Just two posts, and both of them are challenge winning stories. And her debut even won the Prose Monthly challenge!
@Shayna13: A good friend for a brief time. She had such wonderful stories to tell.
@Deeksharai: Another good friend who stayed for a short while. She had a book written in Hindi, and was one to stand up for the things she believed in.
@AnnieLParrish: She is a published author. Need I say more?
Now I have to tell about four others: @Celia_Himawari (Formerly @Cass_Wolf, a good friend), @SadieBug (a.k.a Breadcrumbs. I was Jellybeans!) and @Raing0at (or whatever his username is right now XD). And @KacieIuwara (She has a collection of such amazing tales!)
And when I say these names, I also have to say about one mighty young gitl: @mightymanda. There used to be a time when many of us used to be good friends, so... And she is back now, and she is writing more!
Oh my, I will have to list just the names, I guess XD
Some of the best of the best: @KMCassidy (stories are a must read!), @rlove327 (an English teacher and a wonderful author), @EstherFlowers1 (the one with the tiger pfp, need I say more?), @TW (The Wordsmith), @QuietSilence, @poetgreen, @Mfrobs (stellar writing, here it is!), @EvelynDawn (always encouraging!), @SharondaBriggs (the kind of person the world needs more), @KarenKitchel (leaves the most concise, perfect comments), @CatLady1 (she will crack you up.), @Scratch77 and @JulianRace (Masters of Comedy!), @Roses311Sublime (Just go to his profile, you will understand.)
Ernaline (probably the best poet on Prose), anarosewood (Well, there's the contender XD), @TeaRise, @chainedinshadow, @Thereisnospoon, @BonnieBoo, @VividHues (she is a lovely poet!), @LexiCon (If anyone can replace what @Mnezz do one day, it's her.), @tooldtocare (Her trilogy is a must-read!!! MUST-READ!), @James.
@ChristopherHow1: He built a website to write a collaborative novel on mother's love, and I am still sad that I couldn't be a part of it.
@AliPoetry: He even has a newsletter!
Some other lovely names who inspire me to write books:
@thniels: I read his entire book in a day. That explains a lot.
@goldenmel: I am yet to read her books, but I know they will be good!
@Taki: I am yet to read her books too, but I feel the same!!!
@Commentator: He also left me dangling midway through such an amazing sci-fi thriller, but okay, I will forgive him XD I just hope he becomes wildly successful one day.
@EllaCressman: She had a good thriller, gradually unveiling, but again, I could never get to the end.
Well, you know, life and its phases... *sighs* But I do love all of those people behind these names. And they will all forever have a place in my heart. Yes, even after I had written this post back then, a lot of new guests had joined us over here on Prose, and I adore them too. And I do have reasons to believe I had missed out on a lot of people even back then. But please know, guys, it ain't personal XD
To this little family I got here <3
Lots of love,
Life, ALL life, is a dream.
Begins where OUR DREAMS begin.
One Of Us
“One of us is lying
In her lonely bed
Staring at the ceiling
Wishing she was somewhere else instead”
It was a sudden blow to you
When I met and told you
Our love is no more
Like a blown-out candle
I thought a thousand times
But it wasn’t worth fighting for
I don’t feel the love I’ve felt before
And now, one of us has to go.
“One of us is lying
In her lonely bed
Staring at the ceiling
Wishing she was somewhere else instead”
Survival: Misery Loves Company
Bryan woke up early in the morning when the dawn broke the silence of a gloomy night with a ray of intense sunshine.
I see a beacon of hope flickering to shine on the rim. In the city that was once completely demolished, now it’s halfway restored structurally and morally; life has started to return to normal, although uncertainty still wavers ahead. Some forces of demons are fighting us in every direction. Sometimes, this survival quest feels like waking up from a deep reverie—it’s hard knowing what’s real or an illusion. I’m convinced and confident that we’ll prevail somehow. We’re more than capable and resolute, and determined to utilize all resources to revitalize a brand-new world. Everyone’s committed and investing in their labors and lives to the cause and hard challenges.
He exercised around the camp, avoiding the potholes and craters the storm left behind. He wanted to create some normalcy and develop mental agility to lead his people into the promised land.
To do that, he must stay fit physically and mentally. Nobody could give him those strengths unless he harnessed the power within himself; he knew that those were at least in his willpower, between his fists and control, something he could easily do and accomplish. But what occasionally terrified him was how he was going to keep his promises that he’d made blindly—something that he still couldn’t fathom fully, nonetheless, whatever it took, he promised that he would fight to the end in keeping everyone safe and sound.
He’ll revolt to create a tapestry of life for the years to come.
Running gave him clarity about what to do about Banks and anyone else that might arise. The war was way too far from over. But things were looking much better at the same time.
He inhaled the fresh air and let the burning fire out of his lungs. He ran for miles until he couldn’t breathe anymore. He was alone, and he had a breathing room for himself, a few moments to ponder over his next moves.
On the way back as he got closer to the busy camp, the sun got warmer. He kept his momentum and enjoyed the lone morning run. He smiled happily for the first time, watching the flames of the sun shining upon the town that once was destroyed and turned to ashes, yet it was now shimmering with hope, a few homes, and walls standing tall.
When he turned around the corner of Faith’s damaged gardens, his mother’s childhood memories danced in the back of his head. I promise, one day, nobody can defeat you.
He slowed down and gasped for more air and took in all of her memories and buried them back deep inside where nobody could reach them. This isn’t a time for a sentimental cry he thought, walking bare feet on the edges of her lost echoes; the days of reckoning are almost over he mumbled, watching her delicate face fade into the morning sun ahead of him when he saw Felix and Faith come running towards him.
They seemed happy about something, and he couldn’t wait to hear what they had to say. For the first time, Bryan smiled without force or exaggeration and felt his glowing cheeks turning red with happiness. More than that, he could see a flicker of hope on Felix’s face when he saw sunlight shining from Bryan’s broken face.
Bryan’s heart sparked with a smile again as he felt the compassion and magnetism of those two inseparable souls and their unbreakable bond. He never had that kind of bond with anyone except his mother.
His father was a shadow, a hidden ghost even when he was around and breathing, sitting in the living room, or reading papers. He was rather locked up in his world of desolation, holding and fighting his demons that were buried deep within. He was a stranger who Bryan had never understood or gotten his affection or approvals from. He stopped looking for his love way before he killed him.
His dad was dead to him even way before the accident. Though sometimes a little remorse lingered in his head, it became pointless thinking about the ghost-father that was never involved in his life; he felt a little or no pain when he often came to mind. He was a casualty of war, a deadly one that Bryan couldn’t avoid at that moment.
Now, he wouldn’t want to allow his emptiness to shadow his visions. He had no time wondering about his past anymore. There were other strangers who he had no blood connections with yet looked up to him, respected, and loved him unconditionally. Those are the ones worth, and he swore to protect with his life. He inhaled the morning breeze of freedom once more and let go of the darkness and nightmares that had been haunting him. He finally allowed himself to be free, seeing those youngsters.
When they got to him, Felix and Faith stopped, breathing heavily. They were excited to tell him that Dr. Matthews could also understand and speak their sign language, and Faith was quite happy to find another person to communicate with besides her brother. Bryan laughed at their childish innocence and hugged them both under his protective umbrella arms, and then, they all started running toward the campus together.
Every day, Dr. Matthews worked in the lab tirelessly. She was left to her own accords, and a few people hardly walked to her lab. She felt a bit lonely there sometimes. Like the old days, she missed seeing people rushing in and out of the hospital rooms, voices ringing through the intercoms calling onto her on different floors.
She loved the thrill of saving lives under pressure. At least back then, she had control and most of the equipment she needed to solve problems and heal wounds. This one, however, started putting a lot of tolls on her mind, until everything they’re building from scratch gets ready for service to help her ease the process. She vowed to wait and work hard patiently and find the cure.
One afternoon, Faith walked into the lab and startled Dr. Matthews. She was not sure why she went there, but she found herself standing in the middle of it, silently trying to figure out what to say. Suddenly, Felix walked behind her and asked what she was doing in there, disturbing the good doctor. When both began to argue, Dr. Matthews interjected, speaking in sign language, and asked them to stop fighting. Faith left, speechless for knowing the doctor understood them. A few moments later silence filled the room.
Breaking the cold silence, Dr. Matthews said, “She’s going to read? I didn’t know she had books.”
“Yeah, she has a couple, mostly on plants and herbs, that sort of thing.”
Dr. Matthews moved around a table and looked at Felix and asked about their families and where they came from. Felix told her about their long journey, how they survived and got separated down the line, and how fate brought them together. They talked for a few minutes more, lost in their conversation.
Felix felt safe and happy watching the doctor explain about her work and life. She was easy going and reminded him of his mother—and when a sudden feeling burst out of his chest, he went and hugged the doctor tightly like her teddy bears, thrilled that Faith had found another person who she could freely talk to.
“How do you know sign language,” Felix asked excitedly before they headed out.
“My daughter used to be mute, and I had to learn it,” said the doctor, suddenly a drenching sadness washing over her lonely face; her response took her back to her life with her grandmother and deaf daughter Naomi.
She remembered how hard her family had it before the explosion. She was a single mother with a mute daughter and a sick grandmother. She worked day and night as the head doctor in a big hospital in the country. She regrets that she was way busier and unavailable emotionally because she was more focused on her hospital job in saving others, as her family was slipping away; by the time she made it home, she was exhausted beyond her control, and sometimes out of exhaustion, she even slept on the couch after her housekeepers left her alone with her family.
The day she stayed late for work on an emergency call, the explosion happened and forever altered her life. She could not go home looking for them. She was not sure if they survived or died. She couldn’t make it to the other side when the final rescuing came. She had to leave them behind. She was told that nobody could’ve survived the blast anyway, and it was no point in risking her life in searching for lost causes—the radiation was too high in the areas she lived in more than others. So, she said goodbye and blew them a kiss and picked up her empty hopes and dreams and followed the remaining survivors to never-land. That’s something she can never forget.
She returned from her nightmares and watched Felix and Faith leave the lab and disappear into the silent hall. I’ll do my best to help these people any way possible, she whispered to the empty room, even though I wasn’t much of a help to mine.
Haley remained in dire pain, and it got worse by the hour. She moaned through the nights. Matt stayed beside her as often as time permitted, but when duty called, he had to leave her alone, which sickened him more than anything. If it were possible, he wanted not to leave her sight for a second.
When he came back though, he sat and slept on the floor next to her, his hands wrapped around hers, brushing her soft, silky hair. He blamed himself after what happened when she fell into the crater, even though he tried. Yet as a man, he still couldn’t save her from this excruciating agony.
“Matt,” she said in her soft, tired voice, “I am not feeling well, and I want to see the doctor tomorrow.” He nodded and rested her head between his arms and sang her lullaby until she fell sound asleep.
The next morning, Dr. Matthews examined Haley thoroughly. She found nothing alarming. But seeing a glow and change in Haley’s face and body, the doctor suspected something else was happening for the cause of the pain.
“How often and when do you feel symptoms?” Asked the doctor.
“Most mornings and lately though, they’re getting worse,” replied Haley.
“When was your last period?”
“I don’t know. I think maybe seven weeks ago. Why?”
“Congratulations, you’re pregnant,” the doctor said, smiling at Haley, although what she just said tightened her stomach with sharp pain.
Matt began to blush with the good news. But, a horrific wind brushed over Haley’s face, a sudden fear tearing her apart from the inside.
“Are you sure, Doc?” Haley asked, since those were the only words that popped into her head. After that, she could not even hear what the doctor was saying. She got lost in a solace thought.
This is a bad time to have a baby. She felt death swirling around her. Her hysteria made her feel like she was having a heart attack. She wanted to take this baby out before it’s too late. What if there’s hope tomorrow, a vaccine or medical treatment that could reverse the birth defects and deaths? Would I wait and take that chance? The firestorm burning inside her head was nagging her emotionally, and she began to burn up. Her heart began to beat faster. She wheezed for air. She wanted to sit with Matt and discuss their course of action. Even though it was her body to decide, she wanted to make the right decision together. Two minds are always better than one under any weather, she uttered.
I am tired of killing, and bathing in the rivers of blood to expand my powers. I’ve never thought of what happens if, in fact, I conquered this bleak world, even as my plans are becoming darker and more hopeless by the day. My love is long gone, and there is no one to share my kingdom with. I can punish every living soul all I want but nothing will bring my Emery back from the gates of hell, the only woman who understood my weaknesses and power and still cared for me more than herself.
I am going to let Leila go. Maybe, she can be my redemption when a day comes for me to sleep.
Banks walked around and thought more and more, unable to fathom what was raging in his mind sporadically. Lately, the nightmares and people’s faces were becoming frequent visitors in his dreams and sleep.
He thought about Leila’s fate, and then he only came to one conclusion. I am afraid to kill her because she reminds me of my Emery. Or am I starting to have feelings for her? He loved her fortitude and resilience, her feistiness; she had an attitude like a lioness that patiently hunts her prey and chokes the life out of it.
He doubted himself. The earth beneath his feet seemed to move, tilting forward. I am getting weaker for her, perhaps attracted to her, too, but I can’t make her forgive me or love me after what I’ve done to her mentally and physically. I won’t blame her if she wanted to kill me after this. Should I take that chance with her and fall down from my grace? No, says his other ego. Are you delusional? You’re making a huge mistake thinking that you have any chance with this one and live happily ever after. He ignores the noises. Everyone wants to be happy.
It’s exhausting being alone and fighting with everybody and for everything all my life. My days are coming, and I want to find some solitude and a piece of happiness, even if that’s meant with someone who could kill me while I’m dead asleep. Maybe that’s something worth exploring for a change.
He paused, contemplating and opened the door to gaze outside where Leila was standing.
“Guard, please invite Leila over.”
“Yes, sir,” responded one of the guards and disappeared in a blink to where Leila was looking over the vast clearing, devising her final kill plans.
“Excuse me, Mr. Banks would like to see you now,” said the messenger guard.
She frowned yet followed him as requested, her heartbeat skipping faster, knowing that Banks might have changed his mad mind about keeping her alive any longer.
Leila accepted that her fate was running thin. She was also tired of living in terror that one day she could just vanish before she could return to Bryan and his people. Not knowing whether she’d live, or die was an endless torture, and she couldn’t bear the pains of silence anymore. Skeptically, she trudged to the office, numbing her mind and body, for whatever was awaiting for her. If it had to be her last day, she wanted to do something quick about this menacing man without a heart, who was wild and so mad out of his mind, obsessing over the fire of power.
“Leave us alone now and bring us wine and food.” He spoke kindly, with a voice his guards had never heard before. For the first time, the guard saw his soft side.
Leila’s glare was fierce like she was on death row and this was her last meal before given a lethal injection. She didn’t bother to ask or argue with him anymore but waited until he came close to her and held her broken, dry hands between his big and firm hands. He seemed to breathe heavily before he spoke.
“I’m sorry for what I’ve put you through. Please forgive me.” He said softly and unexpectedly.
She couldn’t believe what she heard. Bewildered with the shifting narrative and breaking news, she kept her eyes on his moving lips and felt his warm and firm hands, which were sweating and shaking like a little boy’s.
He collected his thoughts, and told her, “You know, how much you remind me of someone I dearly loved, Emery? Just recently, someone took her away from me.”
He almost said who killed her before getting closer under her nose.
“I know we may not see eye to eye right now, but I would love the chance to show you how good and kind I would be to you if you would only give me a chance.”
She looked at him and with a wry smile, laughed and said, “It’ll be a cold day in hell before I would even think about letting myself be your look-alike lover. I would just as soon be dead.”
Her cold response infuriated Banks, but he managed to hold his temper in check. If she didn’t resemble and reminded him of Emery, he’d just snap her neck like a chicken in a second. That would be the justice repayment for his anger and to those who defy or refuse him.
Putting his fuming rage down, he said, “You will change your mind one day. Once I destroy your friends, you won’t have anyone else left to trust but me. Go back to your quarters and clean yourself up.”
As Leila leaves, he thinks to himself, If mother were here, she could tell me what I have to do.
One day, I will find the happiness I want and deserve, dammit!
Survival: An Unexpected Visitor
As night fell over the rubble that was L.A., a young guard named Sam, was walking the perimeter. As she was making her rounds, she noticed something on the ground. At first she thought it was a pile of rags but when as she approached, it revealed itself to be a person, collapsed in the dust and debris on the road.
”.... hello?” She said tentatively and reached out to touch the figure’s shoulder. No response. With a little more effort she managed to grab a shoulder and turn the figure over. As her flashlight beam fell on the face, she gasped.
Scars crisscrossed the figure’s features, the markings across the woman’s face appeared older while some looked very fresh. Her short hair was so full of dusty grey powder that it was impossible to tell what color it was, but her build and the lines on her face that weren’t made by a weapon suggested she could be in her thirties.
The woman groaned and her eyes squinched shut even tighter, fighting off the bright flashlight beam. As soon as Sam realized it was uncomfortable, she aimed it off to the side.
“Hello? Ma’am, are you alright?” She asked again, panicked this time.
“How did you get here? Please, try to stay still and calm.”
Another groan sounded, and the woman on the ground raised a hand to her face, muttering something inaudible.
“Ma’am, I can’t hear you. Let me go get help, I’ll be right back. “
Sam spun around and set off towards the camp, her heart pounding. What was this woman doing here? What other injuries might she have? And who did this to her to deserve those scars?
Back in the camp, Sam scanned the area for her watch partner, which tonight was Felix. Spotting him peering into the gloom by the weapons tent she jogged over.
“Felix! I found someone, hurt pretty badly. She collapsed right outside of camp. Can you come help me take a look?”
He turned around and he saw the shock and confusion on her face mirrored by his. “A person! Anybody we know?”
“No. She just appeared. At first I thought she was a bundle of rags but...”
“We should head over to where she is, then. Let me grab an extra gun first though—we can never be too careful.”
Sam and Felix headed back to where the body lay, armed and jumpy. Each fed off of the other’s nervousness until they nearly tripped over her, they were so focused on their surroundings. The woman struggled into a seated position, but she was far too weak to remain there and had slumped back again.
“Oh my god,” Felix breathed. “What happened to her face?”
“I don’t know, but I don’t think it’s the only damage. She could have some serious internal bleeding.”
Felix leaned closer to her. “Is she saying something?”
“Is she? I didn’t hear.”
“I can’t make out the words, you try.”
Sam leaned forward. Now that she was closer she could hear the faint; breathy whisper being breathed against her ear. The sound had a strange cadence to it; a rhythm that almost made her think—
“No wonder you couldn’t make it out. She’s speaking Spanish. You probably never got to learn much before the war.
Felix sighed. “No. And afterward, it was somehow never a priority. Can you understand her?”
Sam shook her head. “I had three years in high school; but now the most advanced thing I can do is recognize it. But I bet there’s someone in the building who can speak Spanish. Dr. Matthews traveled all over the place, maybe she picked some up.”
“Of course! Maybe Kalinda can help if internal bleeding is a possibility.”
Sam was about to reply when the woman reached out a hand and grasped her wrist. She was whispering urgently, “Ka-leen-da,” in sharp and precise Spanish vowels.
“Kalinda? Kalinda? Estás aquí?”
Felix and Sam exchanged a glance. “She knows Kalinda,” Sam breathed. “We need to let her know. Felix, you stay and guard, I’ll carry her inside.” Without waiting for an answer, Sam hoisted the woman into her arms and started toward Kalinda’s quarters.
“Ma’am, can you tell me your name? Uh... nombre por favor?”
Coughs racked her body, and Sam immediately loosened her grip to allow for more lung expansion. They were almost there, heading towards the door. In a voice so faint that she could barely detect it, Sam heard the woman whisper, “Rosa”.
A Ride for Two
Journey on a motorbike,
Under a carpet so blue,
The journey of love,
A love meant for two.
Swiftly down the hill,
Her hair tickling my face,
Together in this ride,
We felt the sun’s first rays.
Tea in a village,
Breakfast in a small town
And everyone wondered,
Where this angel had come from.
We rode with the horses,
We flew with the birds
And our love grew in silence,
With unspoken words.
The wing mirror glowed,
As she spread her arms in the air
And my heart pounded,
When she hugged me hard like a bear.
We had lunch together,
The best lunch ever
Our evenings were longer,
Filled with memories that would last forever.
When the traffic lights went red,
I saw people stressed
But it was in those junctions,
When our lips pressed.
“Where to go?”
I asked her chasing the cars
She smiled and smiled,
And we went to the stars.
Survival: The Paths Between Shadows
“How is Hayley doing?”
Matt shifted his numb stare from the men that were still building the wall in the distance, back to Bryan, his expression both hardening and trying to stay neutral.
“She’s... coping. Dr. Matthews is looking after her the best way that she can.”
Something tugs on his lungs, as a painful breath seems to tear his insides piece by piece.
Slowly, mercilessly. But it didn’t matter though. All that he cared about right now and where all of his thoughts were running to was her. There was nothing else in the world, just a girl that stole his heart and that made all of his dreams come true when she whispered that she loved him back. As if he finally found his home, a steady harbor in the never-ending storm. But he didn’t deliver the way he should and failed her. He couldn’t protect her. Maybe if she went alone, it wouldn’t have turned out this bad. If only Matt would....
His body flinches, as silent sobs grow in his chest. He wants to scream out all of his accusations, curse the world, cause destruction, only so to numb his thoughts and the torture. But then a warm hand on his shoulder stops all of that.
“Matt, she will pull through somehow. She won’t be the way that she was, but she is still the same woman that...”
Bryan looks at him with a silent question mixed with an unexpected softness coming from a tough soldier that has gone through the unimaginable. But then again, they all did.
“That you fell for without a doubt, deeply. She didn’t change, just the circumstances.”
“But how can I even look her in the eye now? With everything that happened?”
“She needs you, Matt. And you’re going to be there for her, do you understand me?
“Whatever made you panic the way you did at the crater last night... It doesn’t matter now. You will be strong for both of you.”
Bryan’s eyes harden for a moment.
“Do you understand me?”
Matt nods slowly, gaining back some calm and strength, a clearer mind. It was a good start.
“Yes, I do. I will do my best for her, for us.”
“Great, much better. We have so much to take care of, and I need everyone to be as focused as possible.”
He crosses his arms tightly, back straight, gazing forward into the night without seeing. The rumors of Leila reappearing and apparently breathing despite the odds, have spread around the camp, gossips taking over as people suddenly seemed to have a lot to say, even if just among themselves, whispering in small groups. The word moved around fast, as Bryan, our beaten up leader seemed to both showing suspicious calm and strained tension under the surface. It was the way he carried himself and what was blazing in his once flat stare.
How could she still be alive? Hmm, if Monique were still among the land of the living, she would have been furious. A small smile spreads over his lips, deeper wrinkles appearing around his entire face, his sharp grey eyes finally gaining a spark or a two. How ironic, that his friend was now six feet underground, while the person she despised the most in the world, was shamelessly walking around this god forsaken earth. One could not miss the humor in the situation. He looks down at his arm and slowly lifts a sleeve of his shirt up to the elbow, as a long and thick line bends and curves against his skin, almost lighting up in the fading light of the moon. A symbol of loyalty by those that had to prove themselves to Banks when he had doubts.
John exhales slowly, not bothered by it much. It was a reminder of raw and excruciating pain that would always remain in his mind, but it was also a warning that he needed to never come back to that monster. He once more gazes at the bright scar that would always be there, a pale shape of a crooked snake; Lionel’s venom forever tattered, swimming in his veins. But the scars like that were just a symbol. They didn’t stop him from wanting to find peace. He pushes down the ragged sleeve and lifts an old rifle while gazing at Bank’s camp below. It was time to have a little peek at what was going on there, and what little treasures he could carry out. They were low on weapons, and from what he heard from Miles, and a somewhat hysterical Sue—there were plenty of toys under the big bad wolf’s nose.
All he had to do was to be very quiet and always be on alert. He would get some redeeming points and show others what he was capable of. He looked to the side and stared at the man that was with him. Two sets of eyes were always better than one, weren’t they?
“Come on, we have to get a move on if we want to make it out of that hell pit before dawn.”
“Not a problem.”
“Oh, and Phillips?”
The tall man turns his profile slowly to him, eyeing him cautiously, always the military man on alert.
“As much as it would be fun to blow up a thing or two, let’s keep a low profile, shall we? We need to get out of here alive above all.”
“What about unexpected casualties?”
John smiles but then shakes his head slowly.
“Only if necessary or attacked first... or pushed to it.”
Phillips nods again and puts a hood over his head, the masking colors of his clothes and the dirt on his face, making him invisible from afar.
“And the woman?”
He asks unexpectedly.
“Leila? We will see how it goes. If she is even there. Honestly, the sharp weapons interest me much more than her sharp, lovely tongue.”
They move slowly in the dark, while the nearly full moon disappears behind the clouds. This plan might prove to be a complete disaster, but risks had to be taken if they were going to have any chance of survival.
Besides, his military companion wasn’t the only one on the lookout and ready to intervene if necessary. He also had a young volunteer to prove some distraction, and she was just the person to do it. Faster than anyone of them combined. And smart enough not to get caught. Brutal strength wasn’t always the most important on the checklist. What they needed from her were smarts and speed. And she could provide both.
Walk Me Home
A simple night, cold and rainy.
Walking home, the leg is pain-ee.
Knees start to buckle, can't crack a smile.
Walking home alone, cramping my style.
I need a car to drive, no more body pain for me.
Filling it up with fuel, take me where I need to be.
Wishful thinking because of pain, walking home drives me insane.
Noises coming from the alley-way.
I can hear people from apartments and what they have to say.
I'll walk a bit faster, but not too fast to run.
I will walk in the light, so I will be seen by someone.
Two blocks from home, not a soul in sight.
Cook and relax is what I plan for the night.
One more block and I am almost there.
Dumpster singers are starting to stare.
Even though I am limping and seems like I am about to fall.
As I step in my door, this will erase it all.
Key turns, chambers slide, door open with a subtle moan.
I have never been so happy to say "I made it home."
first and last meet
Breathe in, breathe out
A text popped on my phone. It was him. My body has adjusted itself to the unsettling motion of trains. I don't trust google maps but today I did. We were two stations away. As each station crossed by my heartbeat competes to the speed of the train. I was finally going to meet him. It's strange how you love someone without seeing them. Time passed and the moment arrived. I got down from the train. Eyes looked for him. He was there wearing a blue sweater. I ran to him and hugged him tightly. It was the first time I met him. I sighed and then turned back to get on the train. I couldn't see his wet eyes. But the train was ready to go. It was our first and last meeting.