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Written by ChanelleJoy in portal Fantasy

CURSED

Once upon a time there was a girl who could not cry. Nor could she laugh or smile or frown or show any other emotion at all. She was just, numb. People say she is cursed, and maybe she is, for Death follows her wherever she goes, an ever-present shadow. Whoever is unfortunate enough to step into that shadow, seals their doom.

It started when she was just a child. Some say it started the day she was born. The sun had been shining and it was a beautiful, summer day; until the girl’s mother went into labour. Almost instantly, the sky darkened. At first the villages had thought it just a passing summer storm only, it wasn’t. It was as though something had stolen the sun, swallowed it whole and left behind a black, empty void. Everything went deathly silent, still. Not even a leaf stirred. In those days, people still believed in magic so, naturally, the villages blamed it on the work of some evil sorcerer. Perhaps they were right, though, no one ever did find out. The darkness lasted a full twenty-four hours and when the light came again, the villages begged the parents to get rid of the child, even offering to kill it for them. Horrified and afraid for their daughter’s safety, the couple bundled together what they could carry, wrapped up the child and fled into the forest.

She was named Scarlet and as she grew, it became apparent that she was not a normal child. Appearance wise, she was beautiful, if not strange with her dark red eyes. Wherever they went, those eyes would frighten all who looked upon them. She never spoke a word and her poor parents worried for her. Despite her differences, they still loved and cherished their daughter. All they wanted for her was happiness yet, they never once heard or laugh or saw her smile. She cried. She could cry once, and when she did, it stormed. Heavy clouds would blanket the sky and bellow thunder. Rain would pour in thick sheets and lightning cracked and sizzled in zigzagging slashes. Every village shunned them and things only got worse as Scarlet grew.

Her mother was the first to die. Scarlet was seven years and that was when she stopped crying. Her father, grief stricken, turned on the young girl. He took her far into the depths of the forest, and left her there. She watched him walk away with blank, lifeless eyes. For years, she wandered aimlessly, finding all sorts of towns and villages and as she did, the deaths became more frequent. Word of her existence spread and for the first time in history, the people were united against one enemy. An army was created to hunt her down and kill her on sight however, when they found her, Death caught them instead. Eventually, people realized it was better to just leave her alone. Watches were set on the walls to keep a look out for her, ordered to shoot if she came near. But Death didn’t want her. And so, Death took her to live a life of exile, to wait in the shadows for the random passing of strangers. They were few and far between but, woe to those who would cross her path.

One day, she stumbled across a place she had never been. If she could comprehend beauty, she would have been able to see it as such. The ground was hidden beneath a spread of soft, green grass. Drooping willow trees, resplendent in green coats, dotted the clearing and interspersed between were brightly coloured flowers. The sun shone down, making everything glow with a magical aura and a sense of wonder and mystery hung in the air, along with the perfumed scent of earth and music from a crystal-clear stream, winding its way through the trees. Albeit, the beauty was lost on her. Death grew uneasy, feeling the benevolence seeping through its Reapers cloak. Scarlet sat down on a moss-covered rock, staring. The longer she sat there, something started to grow within her heart and soul. Slowly, something was awakening for the first time. She took a breath, a long inhale as though starved of oxygen. Death gasped. It was losing its hold. Scarlet shook as body and mind came to terms with the experience of feeling. Suddenly, fear gripped her. She became overwhelmed by a barrage of emotions she didn’t have names for. But she knew fear. She sucked in more air until, trembling, she fell.

Unconscious, she did not notice the approach of a magnificent creature. Death however, did. Standing before them was a stunning Pegasus in all its splendid glory. Its pure, white coat gleamed and shone like the moon. A white mane and tail cascaded in silky waves from head and rump, shining as though woven from stars. Even more impressive were the large, white, feathered wings sprouting from its back. Eyes of fire stared into the black abyss of Death’s hood.

“You are not welcome here,” the Pegasus said in a regal, commanding voice. The words crashed over Death like a powerful wave. “You will leave. Now.”

The last was spoken with such authority that Death cowered, hissing, “You brought her here on purpose.”

“Indeed. It is my duty to protect the innocent. You will leave and never return. Neither shall you hinder this girl again.”

Death howled, fighting to keep its grip but as the Pegasus moved closer, the Reaper grew weaker. Finally, Death could stand the assault no longer and fled. The Pegasus watched in noble satisfaction then shifted and, in a flash, a man stood in its place. He scooped Scarlet into muscular arms, holding her tightly against his sculpted torso. Scarlet's eyes fluttered open. A strange sensation worked its way up her throat. Somehow, she knew it was her voice, sentient at last.

“Wh… Who are you?” she whispered hoarsely.

“I am Mishokee. You are free, Scarlet. Rest, for all is well.”

Scarlet stared in wonder up into this bewitching man’s blazing eyes. Slowly, cautiously, she reached out her hand and let her fingers caress his long, white hair.

“So soft,” she murmured.

Mishokee smiled gently at her. He had found a rose ensnared by thorns, a precious jewel encased in rough stone, trapped against her will. Now she was free to spread her wings and live. This woman was something precious and he was going to teach her how magical life could be; he was going to acquaint her with love.

Scarlet let her eyes slide shut once more; eyes that had once frightened people with their bloody hue but now, her closed lids concealed eyes the shade of liquid amber. She fell into a deep slumber, breathing steadily. For the first time, she was not swallowed by inky, black nothingness. Instead, she saw vivid colours, captivating images that moved so realistically. She saw eyes of fire and wings of white. For the first time, she dreamed.

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Written by ChanelleJoy in portal Fantasy
CURSED
Once upon a time there was a girl who could not cry. Nor could she laugh or smile or frown or show any other emotion at all. She was just, numb. People say she is cursed, and maybe she is, for Death follows her wherever she goes, an ever-present shadow. Whoever is unfortunate enough to step into that shadow, seals their doom.

It started when she was just a child. Some say it started the day she was born. The sun had been shining and it was a beautiful, summer day; until the girl’s mother went into labour. Almost instantly, the sky darkened. At first the villages had thought it just a passing summer storm only, it wasn’t. It was as though something had stolen the sun, swallowed it whole and left behind a black, empty void. Everything went deathly silent, still. Not even a leaf stirred. In those days, people still believed in magic so, naturally, the villages blamed it on the work of some evil sorcerer. Perhaps they were right, though, no one ever did find out. The darkness lasted a full twenty-four hours and when the light came again, the villages begged the parents to get rid of the child, even offering to kill it for them. Horrified and afraid for their daughter’s safety, the couple bundled together what they could carry, wrapped up the child and fled into the forest.

She was named Scarlet and as she grew, it became apparent that she was not a normal child. Appearance wise, she was beautiful, if not strange with her dark red eyes. Wherever they went, those eyes would frighten all who looked upon them. She never spoke a word and her poor parents worried for her. Despite her differences, they still loved and cherished their daughter. All they wanted for her was happiness yet, they never once heard or laugh or saw her smile. She cried. She could cry once, and when she did, it stormed. Heavy clouds would blanket the sky and bellow thunder. Rain would pour in thick sheets and lightning cracked and sizzled in zigzagging slashes. Every village shunned them and things only got worse as Scarlet grew.

Her mother was the first to die. Scarlet was seven years and that was when she stopped crying. Her father, grief stricken, turned on the young girl. He took her far into the depths of the forest, and left her there. She watched him walk away with blank, lifeless eyes. For years, she wandered aimlessly, finding all sorts of towns and villages and as she did, the deaths became more frequent. Word of her existence spread and for the first time in history, the people were united against one enemy. An army was created to hunt her down and kill her on sight however, when they found her, Death caught them instead. Eventually, people realized it was better to just leave her alone. Watches were set on the walls to keep a look out for her, ordered to shoot if she came near. But Death didn’t want her. And so, Death took her to live a life of exile, to wait in the shadows for the random passing of strangers. They were few and far between but, woe to those who would cross her path.

One day, she stumbled across a place she had never been. If she could comprehend beauty, she would have been able to see it as such. The ground was hidden beneath a spread of soft, green grass. Drooping willow trees, resplendent in green coats, dotted the clearing and interspersed between were brightly coloured flowers. The sun shone down, making everything glow with a magical aura and a sense of wonder and mystery hung in the air, along with the perfumed scent of earth and music from a crystal-clear stream, winding its way through the trees. Albeit, the beauty was lost on her. Death grew uneasy, feeling the benevolence seeping through its Reapers cloak. Scarlet sat down on a moss-covered rock, staring. The longer she sat there, something started to grow within her heart and soul. Slowly, something was awakening for the first time. She took a breath, a long inhale as though starved of oxygen. Death gasped. It was losing its hold. Scarlet shook as body and mind came to terms with the experience of feeling. Suddenly, fear gripped her. She became overwhelmed by a barrage of emotions she didn’t have names for. But she knew fear. She sucked in more air until, trembling, she fell.

Unconscious, she did not notice the approach of a magnificent creature. Death however, did. Standing before them was a stunning Pegasus in all its splendid glory. Its pure, white coat gleamed and shone like the moon. A white mane and tail cascaded in silky waves from head and rump, shining as though woven from stars. Even more impressive were the large, white, feathered wings sprouting from its back. Eyes of fire stared into the black abyss of Death’s hood.

“You are not welcome here,” the Pegasus said in a regal, commanding voice. The words crashed over Death like a powerful wave. “You will leave. Now.”

The last was spoken with such authority that Death cowered, hissing, “You brought her here on purpose.”

“Indeed. It is my duty to protect the innocent. You will leave and never return. Neither shall you hinder this girl again.”

Death howled, fighting to keep its grip but as the Pegasus moved closer, the Reaper grew weaker. Finally, Death could stand the assault no longer and fled. The Pegasus watched in noble satisfaction then shifted and, in a flash, a man stood in its place. He scooped Scarlet into muscular arms, holding her tightly against his sculpted torso. Scarlet's eyes fluttered open. A strange sensation worked its way up her throat. Somehow, she knew it was her voice, sentient at last.

“Wh… Who are you?” she whispered hoarsely.

“I am Mishokee. You are free, Scarlet. Rest, for all is well.”

Scarlet stared in wonder up into this bewitching man’s blazing eyes. Slowly, cautiously, she reached out her hand and let her fingers caress his long, white hair.

“So soft,” she murmured.

Mishokee smiled gently at her. He had found a rose ensnared by thorns, a precious jewel encased in rough stone, trapped against her will. Now she was free to spread her wings and live. This woman was something precious and he was going to teach her how magical life could be; he was going to acquaint her with love.

Scarlet let her eyes slide shut once more; eyes that had once frightened people with their bloody hue but now, her closed lids concealed eyes the shade of liquid amber. She fell into a deep slumber, breathing steadily. For the first time, she was not swallowed by inky, black nothingness. Instead, she saw vivid colours, captivating images that moved so realistically. She saw eyes of fire and wings of white. For the first time, she dreamed.

#fantasy  #fiction  #romance  #cursed  #pegasus 
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Written by ChanelleJoy in portal Fiction

RED (Part 8)

An hour later, we packed up and headed back to the Inn. He walked me to my room and kissed me goodnight. Floating on air, I breezed through the door to find Jacqui, Ruby and Jill waiting for me.

“Well?”

“How was it?”

“What happened?”

I laughed, deciding to have a little fun with them. “Excuse me ladies, I need the bathroom.”

“Noooo!”

“Can’t you hold it for five minutes?”

“No, sorry. I really do need to go.” I said, shutting the door on their protests but they continued with their questions, yelling them a little louder. I shook my head. Girls will be girls.“Ok.” I opened the door.

“So?” they demanded.

“It was wonderful…” I was interrupted by the sound of car coming to a roaring halt out the front of the Inn.

“Someone’s in a hurry,” Jacqui commented and waved her hand in dismissal. “Continue,” she instructed.

“He is such a gentleman. Very sweet.”

“Come on, enough of the boring stuff. Did you kiss?” Jill demanded.

I flushed. That was all the answer they needed.

“Oh, I knew it! You guys were gone for so long we knew it must have been going well!” Jacqui hugged me as a sharp, rapid knock came from the door.

Jacqui smirked at me. “Maybe Dale decided the night isn’t quite over yet, if you know what I mean.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Everyone knows you don’t put out on the first date,” Ruby piped up.

“Exactly,” I agreed. I turned the handle and opened the door. It wasn’t Dale. My stomach dropped to the floor. I shrieked in fright and tried to run but it was too late.

“You little bitch!” A hand grabbed me roughly and began to drag me away. “Think you can just up and leave like that?” He slapped me hard across the face. “You’re coming home right now!” His face was red with anger as he continued to drag me down the hallway.

“Simon, let go of me!” I caught the look of surprise then anger on the girl’s faces as they realized who it was.

He slapped me again. “Shut up! You do not speak unless spoken to!”

“Hey! Jerk! Let her go!” Jacqui and Jill stormed up and tried to block Simon’s path. It didn’t slow him down. First Jill, then Jacqui went down.

“Stay out of it,” Simon growled. “This is none of your business.”

Ruby raced over to where Jacqui and Jill lay crumpled in a heap. I was numb with fear. I struggled against Simon’s grip to no avail. His fingers were a vice. He dragged and pulled me until we came to his rental car then shoved me roughly into the backseat. I kicked out at him, crying in pain as my foot collided with the car door, missing my target. I reached for the door handle and yanked only to find it was child locked. The other door as well. Simon ran for the driver’s side and in no time at all, we were speeding away, leaving a trail of dust. Without thinking, I launched myself at Simon, grabbing him around the neck. Caught by surprise, he lost control of the car for just a moment before recovering. He was a lot stronger than me and it took hardly effort on his part to pry me loose. I fell back but launched myself at him again, this time catching his ear between my teeth.

“OUCH!” Simon roared. 

He braked hard. I fell back, winded from the driver’s seat pressing hard into my chest and abdomen and dizzy from the whiplash. Simon sped on for another few kilometres before pulling over. He got out and wrenched open the back door, pulling me out by my legs and dumping me on the ground. A solid kick to my already aching midsection guaranteed I would not be going anywhere as he took a rope and duct tape from the boot. I was hauled up and pushed against the car, Simon’s body pressing against mine to hold me in place.

“You never learn, do you?” My wrists were pulled together behind my back and secured firmly with the rope. A piece of duct tape went over my mouth. From his pocket, he pulled a bandana and tied it over my eyes. “It’s time I taught you a lesson you will never forget.” He shoved me back in the car, slammed the door and took off again.

I was terrified. Only minutes earlier I had been riding the cloud of elation. How had things changed so quickly? I should have known Simon would find me. I should have known it was a mistake to leave in the first place. Curse that old woman for making me believe things could be different. Things could never be different. I had tried to make a change and it had failed. As far as I could see, I was trapped and doomed to spend the rest of my life in hell. My ribs burned and throbbed and I fought to breathe. I was ready to admit defeat.

“It is not over. You will be free.”

My fear turned to anger. “Shut up! Leave me alone! This is all your fault!” I screamed silently at the voice.

“Have faith. All will be well. Just keep looking for the red.”

I ignored it. Angels. How could I have thought there were angles? I was on my own; always had been and always will be.

“You are never alone. Do not give up.”

“Argh! Go away! Look where listening to you has got me!”

“You are stronger than you once were," was the last thing the voice said before I was alone with my thoughts once more.

I paused. Was that true? It didn’t matter either way. The voice was gone and would offer no more help. Good riddance, I thought cynically. Dale’s face appeared in my mind’s eye along with Jacqui, Jill and Ruby. I was about to lose them and any possible future I had with them. I couldn’t let that happen. The sharp realization came to me that, suddenly, I had something worth fighting for; an experience I had never encountered. It gave me strength, strength I never would have found if I hadn’t escaped to the desert. I started thinking of how I could get away. The dark night would certainly play to my advantage but could I be quick enough? How far could I get while not being able to see? I shook my head, hoping the bandanna would slip. It didn’t budge. Neither did the rope that bound my wrists. I strained and struggled until I was sure my wrists were bleeding. How long had we been driving for? Dale and I had returned to the Inn at around 11:00pm. I estimated it must have been around 11:30 by now. Maybe the girls had called the police. Not that it would help because there was no way they could know where we were going. I managed to get myself up into a sitting position, hoping someone passing by on the road would see me. Simon must have had the same thought.

“Get back down,” he demanded. I did as I was told. There was no point in making him angrier by defying him. That would not serve me well.

A short while later I felt the car begin to slow and come to a stop. I heard the glove box open then slam shut again as I waited for Simon to come and get me. I was still angry but the fear had also returned; an immense fear that Simon was going to kill me. I’d always wondered if people who were going to die got some type of premonition or sense of foreboding before their demise, something to let them know that their time was up. Now I knew. The Reaper bore down on me, his scythe ready to swipe. I could see him, his black hooded robe hanging as still as the grave, hiding a face too ghastly to look upon. No one knew where I was. My body wouldn’t be found for days out here in the middle of nowhere. The Reaper chuckled in anticipation, a hollow, ghostly sound that echoed through my head. Simon opened the door and hauled me out. I lost my balance and fell, wincing at the sharp pain in my ribs then wincing some more as I was pulled back up to my feet. The bandanna was removed from my eyes and in the light from the moon I could see what Simon must have taken from the glove box. I was staring straight down the barrel of a gun.

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Written by ChanelleJoy in portal Fiction
RED (Part 8)
An hour later, we packed up and headed back to the Inn. He walked me to my room and kissed me goodnight. Floating on air, I breezed through the door to find Jacqui, Ruby and Jill waiting for me.

“Well?”

“How was it?”

“What happened?”

I laughed, deciding to have a little fun with them. “Excuse me ladies, I need the bathroom.”

“Noooo!”

“Can’t you hold it for five minutes?”

“No, sorry. I really do need to go.” I said, shutting the door on their protests but they continued with their questions, yelling them a little louder. I shook my head. Girls will be girls.“Ok.” I opened the door.

“So?” they demanded.

“It was wonderful…” I was interrupted by the sound of car coming to a roaring halt out the front of the Inn.

“Someone’s in a hurry,” Jacqui commented and waved her hand in dismissal. “Continue,” she instructed.

“He is such a gentleman. Very sweet.”

“Come on, enough of the boring stuff. Did you kiss?” Jill demanded.

I flushed. That was all the answer they needed.

“Oh, I knew it! You guys were gone for so long we knew it must have been going well!” Jacqui hugged me as a sharp, rapid knock came from the door.

Jacqui smirked at me. “Maybe Dale decided the night isn’t quite over yet, if you know what I mean.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Everyone knows you don’t put out on the first date,” Ruby piped up.

“Exactly,” I agreed. I turned the handle and opened the door. It wasn’t Dale. My stomach dropped to the floor. I shrieked in fright and tried to run but it was too late.

“You little bitch!” A hand grabbed me roughly and began to drag me away. “Think you can just up and leave like that?” He slapped me hard across the face. “You’re coming home right now!” His face was red with anger as he continued to drag me down the hallway.

“Simon, let go of me!” I caught the look of surprise then anger on the girl’s faces as they realized who it was.

He slapped me again. “Shut up! You do not speak unless spoken to!”

“Hey! Jerk! Let her go!” Jacqui and Jill stormed up and tried to block Simon’s path. It didn’t slow him down. First Jill, then Jacqui went down.

“Stay out of it,” Simon growled. “This is none of your business.”

Ruby raced over to where Jacqui and Jill lay crumpled in a heap. I was numb with fear. I struggled against Simon’s grip to no avail. His fingers were a vice. He dragged and pulled me until we came to his rental car then shoved me roughly into the backseat. I kicked out at him, crying in pain as my foot collided with the car door, missing my target. I reached for the door handle and yanked only to find it was child locked. The other door as well. Simon ran for the driver’s side and in no time at all, we were speeding away, leaving a trail of dust. Without thinking, I launched myself at Simon, grabbing him around the neck. Caught by surprise, he lost control of the car for just a moment before recovering. He was a lot stronger than me and it took hardly effort on his part to pry me loose. I fell back but launched myself at him again, this time catching his ear between my teeth.

“OUCH!” Simon roared. 

He braked hard. I fell back, winded from the driver’s seat pressing hard into my chest and abdomen and dizzy from the whiplash. Simon sped on for another few kilometres before pulling over. He got out and wrenched open the back door, pulling me out by my legs and dumping me on the ground. A solid kick to my already aching midsection guaranteed I would not be going anywhere as he took a rope and duct tape from the boot. I was hauled up and pushed against the car, Simon’s body pressing against mine to hold me in place.

“You never learn, do you?” My wrists were pulled together behind my back and secured firmly with the rope. A piece of duct tape went over my mouth. From his pocket, he pulled a bandana and tied it over my eyes. “It’s time I taught you a lesson you will never forget.” He shoved me back in the car, slammed the door and took off again.

I was terrified. Only minutes earlier I had been riding the cloud of elation. How had things changed so quickly? I should have known Simon would find me. I should have known it was a mistake to leave in the first place. Curse that old woman for making me believe things could be different. Things could never be different. I had tried to make a change and it had failed. As far as I could see, I was trapped and doomed to spend the rest of my life in hell. My ribs burned and throbbed and I fought to breathe. I was ready to admit defeat.

“It is not over. You will be free.”

My fear turned to anger. “Shut up! Leave me alone! This is all your fault!” I screamed silently at the voice.

“Have faith. All will be well. Just keep looking for the red.”

I ignored it. Angels. How could I have thought there were angles? I was on my own; always had been and always will be.

“You are never alone. Do not give up.”

“Argh! Go away! Look where listening to you has got me!”

“You are stronger than you once were," was the last thing the voice said before I was alone with my thoughts once more.

I paused. Was that true? It didn’t matter either way. The voice was gone and would offer no more help. Good riddance, I thought cynically. Dale’s face appeared in my mind’s eye along with Jacqui, Jill and Ruby. I was about to lose them and any possible future I had with them. I couldn’t let that happen. The sharp realization came to me that, suddenly, I had something worth fighting for; an experience I had never encountered. It gave me strength, strength I never would have found if I hadn’t escaped to the desert. I started thinking of how I could get away. The dark night would certainly play to my advantage but could I be quick enough? How far could I get while not being able to see? I shook my head, hoping the bandanna would slip. It didn’t budge. Neither did the rope that bound my wrists. I strained and struggled until I was sure my wrists were bleeding. How long had we been driving for? Dale and I had returned to the Inn at around 11:00pm. I estimated it must have been around 11:30 by now. Maybe the girls had called the police. Not that it would help because there was no way they could know where we were going. I managed to get myself up into a sitting position, hoping someone passing by on the road would see me. Simon must have had the same thought.

“Get back down,” he demanded. I did as I was told. There was no point in making him angrier by defying him. That would not serve me well.

A short while later I felt the car begin to slow and come to a stop. I heard the glove box open then slam shut again as I waited for Simon to come and get me. I was still angry but the fear had also returned; an immense fear that Simon was going to kill me. I’d always wondered if people who were going to die got some type of premonition or sense of foreboding before their demise, something to let them know that their time was up. Now I knew. The Reaper bore down on me, his scythe ready to swipe. I could see him, his black hooded robe hanging as still as the grave, hiding a face too ghastly to look upon. No one knew where I was. My body wouldn’t be found for days out here in the middle of nowhere. The Reaper chuckled in anticipation, a hollow, ghostly sound that echoed through my head. Simon opened the door and hauled me out. I lost my balance and fell, wincing at the sharp pain in my ribs then wincing some more as I was pulled back up to my feet. The bandanna was removed from my eyes and in the light from the moon I could see what Simon must have taken from the glove box. I was staring straight down the barrel of a gun.

#fiction  #desert  #red  #australia 
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Up In Smoke: Craft a shortstory, drabble, vignette, or poem that features, includes, or describes the act of smoking.
Written by apromptaday in portal Fiction

what I see in the smoke-light

Fancy flouncing cigarette, your poised two finger hold – coughed up gold – like an ocean’s tide onto washed up dreams 

Chipped nails painted black, you; a careless flick onto frozen concrete, the catcher of flames that roar inside my stomach, you – my charcoal knight in amour, the only one I want to kiss.

I bum one off a boy who tells me not to smoke so much. “These things aren’t meant for the candlelight like your smile,” Like my body’s melted wax for him to shape, like I’m a waiting wick and he’s the lighter that can start the burning inside my bones.

Pretty little wax, the wall decorations – vanilla smelling scent washing through his bedroom door – you’d like that wouldn’t you? Contained little starlight, ready to blow, put out on your time.

My light can’t stop once it disintegrates. I demolish and bite edges of your fingertips; I’ll scoop off my wax and burn the house down, hope you got a fire alarm – I’ll choke you in the smoke and won’t feel a thing.

Gray stained lungs turned outlook on life, dirty filter to the mind. I signed a contact in second grade; promised puffs of nicotine would never leave my lips. Now it’s all I know how to breathe.

“It’ll kill you,” warned my mother, when she catches the scent swirls in the fabric of my composure. And I don’t tell her I’m banking on it.

Swaying dusty air, the last love I believe in, black little cancer draped in pretty paper white. I fashioned my body into a cigarette one day, and time’s been charring at my ribcage since.

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Up In Smoke: Craft a shortstory, drabble, vignette, or poem that features, includes, or describes the act of smoking.
Written by apromptaday in portal Fiction
what I see in the smoke-light
Fancy flouncing cigarette, your poised two finger hold – coughed up gold – like an ocean’s tide onto washed up dreams 

Chipped nails painted black, you; a careless flick onto frozen concrete, the catcher of flames that roar inside my stomach, you – my charcoal knight in amour, the only one I want to kiss.

I bum one off a boy who tells me not to smoke so much. “These things aren’t meant for the candlelight like your smile,” Like my body’s melted wax for him to shape, like I’m a waiting wick and he’s the lighter that can start the burning inside my bones.

Pretty little wax, the wall decorations – vanilla smelling scent washing through his bedroom door – you’d like that wouldn’t you? Contained little starlight, ready to blow, put out on your time.

My light can’t stop once it disintegrates. I demolish and bite edges of your fingertips; I’ll scoop off my wax and burn the house down, hope you got a fire alarm – I’ll choke you in the smoke and won’t feel a thing.

Gray stained lungs turned outlook on life, dirty filter to the mind. I signed a contact in second grade; promised puffs of nicotine would never leave my lips. Now it’s all I know how to breathe.

“It’ll kill you,” warned my mother, when she catches the scent swirls in the fabric of my composure. And I don’t tell her I’m banking on it.

Swaying dusty air, the last love I believe in, black little cancer draped in pretty paper white. I fashioned my body into a cigarette one day, and time’s been charring at my ribcage since.
#fiction  #philosophy  #culture  #opinion 
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Written by Harry_Situation in portal Fiction

The Devil's Intern Part 9

The third day for Internship Week was on the way, and Joshua was off to learn about the next lesson as the devil's intern: serving as commander-in-chief for a whole army. Lucifer led Joshua to this training facility located outside Inferno Tower, all the way down its crooked road. There Joshua met those that guard the damned, the Doomsguard. Like any army the demons—young and old—signed on to be soldiers for the Inferno. 

Lu left Joshua under the care of one of the young demon soldiers of the outpost. "No worries. I'll treat him like my kid brother." Those his exact words to his king as he led Joshua through the wreck rooms. "Welcome to the Doomsguard, kid. Outpost 13."

The soldiers were young. Their ages varied different centuries but they all looked and sounded like they were in their twenties. Like Babylon and the Tower, he saw a different assortment of demons. Some looked reptilian, some looked like goats or satyrs, and some were the humanoid incubi and succubi. There were even a couple that were hybrids like his friend Dominic, part demon and part succubi or incubi.

Joshua got to know several of the young recruits. At first they joked about eating him—which made Joshua very nervous—but they liked his company. They even introduced him to the personal friend of the guard: the FyreBlast-23. An automatic assault rifle, flamethrower, and grenade launcher all in one. Each clip loaded with a .300 Winchester Magnum bullet casing, powerful enough to tear a scavenger and soul to meaty pieces.

The pleasantries and jokes ended quickly when a loud whistle signaled them all to attention. In rows of two they stood. Joshua stood among them too. The recruits hoped the kid would meet their drill instructor, a demon that was harsh but laid back, yet someone worse arrived.

CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK!

Another succubus marched inside the barracks. This one had skin was light blue like the ocean. Her hair, or what's left, trimmed short to the skin. She wore a pitch black tank top and dark camo pants. Large, thick dark sunglasses, that looked like an eclipsed sun, hid her savage eyes. Her face was stern, not at all friendly like Lilith or Sitri.

All of the Inferno knew her by name and reputation: General Belial. The first succubus to reach the rank of general, and to become the supreme commander of the Doomsguard. A rumor floated that she yanked the wings off an archangel once with her bare hands, long ago during the Heaven-Hell War. Didn't even scorch her.

CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK!

The metallic peg that replaced her left leg tapped across the cold floor with each step. As she walked down the rows the recruits tried their hardest to stand still and not flinch when she darted them. They dared not breathe or sweat with the general present. Punishment from her was similar to how the condemned souls were treated.

"This is for all you new faces here in my beloved guard." she hollered. Joshua made himself not jump when the general spoke, "My name is General Belial. Yet the only thing I want to hear out of your pie holes is 'ma'am' or 'general'. Is that clear?"

"Yes ma'am." the recruits uttered in unison. 

"Bullcrap! Make it sound convincing!"

"YES MA'AM!" they all shouted louder.

"Unfortunately your drill instructor is out sick today. But lucky for you maggots, I volunteered to give you some serious P.T. We're gonna P.T. until your legs pop right off. Doesn't that sound good?"

"YES MA'AM!"

"We are the Doomsguard. Nothing in the Inferno gets in or out without our say so. We are born from hellfire and we crap hot coal. We shoot for kills and for thrills. We're lean, mean, killing machines that smashed open the gates of Heaven and march through the fields of Eden. And we did so as one superior unit.

"I don't care what you are or who you were. I don't look down on purebloods, half-breeds, succubi, or incubi. I don't care if you're endowed with magical abilities or not. I don't care if you were born from Hell or reborn from a soul. To me, you're all equally worthless, and you'll all receive the same amount of treatment. Do you maggots understand me?"

They answered. "YES MA'AM!"

She cocked her head to the left. "You!" Her eyes locked with one of the recruits.

"Yes ma'am!" he answered. The recruit looked a lot like Moloch. Not in physique or appearance, but he had his horns, red skin, and dark eyes. 

"You're one of Moloch's boys, ain't ya?" the general moved a couple feet closer to Moloch's eldest son.

"Yes ma'am!" he answered again.

"Are you the scrawny little maggot that died at childbirth?"

"No ma'am! That was one of my younger brothers. And he's not dead now, ma'am!"

"Your daddy was a war hero. He ever talk about the war?"

"Just once, ma'am."

"Good. Then he wasn't lying about it. Now you better live up to his reputation, or he's gonna wish you'd died so he wouldn't be embarrassed by your existence!"

Moloch's son gave the general his final answer. "YES MA'AM!" 

The succubus general carried on. She waltzed a few feet down the line until she sized up to another recruit. This one looked like a toad with his pudgy body and blank, round eyes. 

"What's your excuse?" Belial asked him.

"Excuse for what, sir?" her next victim responded.

Belial's hand slapped around the recruit's meaty throat. "SIR?" she berated. "YOUR MOTHER IS A SIR! Do I look masculine to you, soldier?"

"No, ma'am!" the recruit choked. "Just a slip-up."

"Slip-ups getcha killed, private!"

"Sorry."

"Sorry what?"

"Sorry, general."

"Oh, so I'm a sorry general now, that it?"

"No ma'am!"

Acknowledging his mistake, the general released her grasp. The toad-like recruit cough some fresh air back into his lungs but remained at attention. General Belial continued her onslaught. "Tell me, why did you join my beloved guard?"

"To shoot scavengers, ma'am!"

"Scavengers were souls once. Do you have sympathy for them?"

"No ma'am!"

"Were you a soul once?"

"No ma'am!"

"I bet you were once a scroungy little soul that got damned down here because he liked fondling little boy pee-pees! You can bet your ass I'll be watching you!"

General Belial moved back down the line. Her march then led her to another recruit. This one a doe satyr with small eyes, pale skin, brown fur, and a pair of small, nubby horns on the back of her head.

The general eyed the small female. Her gaze then concentrated on a tattoo, on her right shoulder. "What is that?" She demanded an answer. Her brows scrunched into her sunglasses.

"A tattoo, ma'am!" the doe answered.

"Are tattoos allowed in my barracks, private?" 

"No ma'am!" 

"Then why the hell do you have one on your skin, private?"

"It's brand new, ma'am!"

"Is it now?" Belial's struck against the fresh tattoo. The doe felt the sting but she dared not flinch in front of the general. "Where should that tattoo be next time?"

"Apologies, ma'am." the recruit gasped. "I'll have it covered next time."

"Damn right you will."

Their conversation ended when Belial marched off again. A couple feet down then she paused. She felt something off in her guard. Her neck curved to the right. There was a gap between two other recruits. If there was one thing she despised it was gaps in her beloved guard.

Her neck tilted down. There's the problem. Joshua Wordsworth, standing in the row and staring at the general. The general whipped off her sunglasses to get a better look at this new face. For the first time Joshua saw the succubus' eyes. Clear blue, like her skin and hair.

General Belial approached the human boy. Her shadow engulfed the boy's small body. "Well, what do we got here?" she said, her tone a little calmer. A grin groomed on her lips. "A human among demons. What brings you down here?"

"I'm here as an intern for-"

"SPEAK UP, KID!" the general snapped. "Or am I talking to a mouse?"

"Internship for the devil, ma'am!" Joshua answered anxiously. His words nearly jumbled together.

"What's your name, son?"

"Joshua Wordsworth.

"What's that around your neck?" A blue finger pointed at the cross that Joshua carried on him.

"My rosary, uh ma'am." Joshua answered, trying to avoid being yelled again.

"So you're a Christian?"

"Yes ma'am."

"What kind? Catholic? Protestant? Lutheran?"

"Evangelical."

"Ah, the fun kind."

Josh's eyes couldn't help but stare at the general's leg. Just a stump attached to a long metal shaft that stretched into half her humerus. Josh tried not to stare too long at it, but the general already noticed. 

"What are you eyeballing at, boy?" Her hand slapped against the metal, taunting the poor human boy. "You like this? You got a prosthetic fetish I should know about?"

"Uh, no ma'am." 

Belial's calm demeanor reverted back to her aggressive nature. "You don't think I look pretty with this leg on, kid? You don't think I look attractive?"

Joshua gulped. "Wha? N-no that's not-"

"Oh so you're gay then. That why you don't find me attractive?"

"No! No! I'm not gay-"

"Then why are you in my beloved guard then?"

"I don't know! To do what you tell me to do?" Joshua shouted. It echoed through the barracks.

The general's smile returned. "To do what I tell you to do. I like that answer. Well done, son." 

She turned from him and addressed the recruits. "Take note from this boy, maggots. If you do what I say, when I say it, if you follow my directions and proceed with my training, you will survive. You will live at the end, until the end. We are the Doomsguard! When Hell rises, we help raise it!

"Now all of you! Drop and give me twenty!"

The recruits obeyed. The dropped to the icy floors, hands and legs spread out. They all pushed themselves up and down, counting the number of push-ups their general wanted. Joshua even joined in with the recruits.

Belial marched down to the entrance where her king, Lu, watched them all. "How's my intern holding up, Bel?" he asked his loyal general.

"Sir, your intern seems to be doing fine," she answered. "Boy's got brains and guts, and that's good enough for me. If he was really part of my guard, I'd give him a metal."

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Written by Harry_Situation in portal Fiction
The Devil's Intern Part 9
The third day for Internship Week was on the way, and Joshua was off to learn about the next lesson as the devil's intern: serving as commander-in-chief for a whole army. Lucifer led Joshua to this training facility located outside Inferno Tower, all the way down its crooked road. There Joshua met those that guard the damned, the Doomsguard. Like any army the demons—young and old—signed on to be soldiers for the Inferno. 

Lu left Joshua under the care of one of the young demon soldiers of the outpost. "No worries. I'll treat him like my kid brother." Those his exact words to his king as he led Joshua through the wreck rooms. "Welcome to the Doomsguard, kid. Outpost 13."

The soldiers were young. Their ages varied different centuries but they all looked and sounded like they were in their twenties. Like Babylon and the Tower, he saw a different assortment of demons. Some looked reptilian, some looked like goats or satyrs, and some were the humanoid incubi and succubi. There were even a couple that were hybrids like his friend Dominic, part demon and part succubi or incubi.

Joshua got to know several of the young recruits. At first they joked about eating him—which made Joshua very nervous—but they liked his company. They even introduced him to the personal friend of the guard: the FyreBlast-23. An automatic assault rifle, flamethrower, and grenade launcher all in one. Each clip loaded with a .300 Winchester Magnum bullet casing, powerful enough to tear a scavenger and soul to meaty pieces.

The pleasantries and jokes ended quickly when a loud whistle signaled them all to attention. In rows of two they stood. Joshua stood among them too. The recruits hoped the kid would meet their drill instructor, a demon that was harsh but laid back, yet someone worse arrived.

CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK!

Another succubus marched inside the barracks. This one had skin was light blue like the ocean. Her hair, or what's left, trimmed short to the skin. She wore a pitch black tank top and dark camo pants. Large, thick dark sunglasses, that looked like an eclipsed sun, hid her savage eyes. Her face was stern, not at all friendly like Lilith or Sitri.

All of the Inferno knew her by name and reputation: General Belial. The first succubus to reach the rank of general, and to become the supreme commander of the Doomsguard. A rumor floated that she yanked the wings off an archangel once with her bare hands, long ago during the Heaven-Hell War. Didn't even scorch her.

CLUNK! CLUNK! CLUNK!

The metallic peg that replaced her left leg tapped across the cold floor with each step. As she walked down the rows the recruits tried their hardest to stand still and not flinch when she darted them. They dared not breathe or sweat with the general present. Punishment from her was similar to how the condemned souls were treated.

"This is for all you new faces here in my beloved guard." she hollered. Joshua made himself not jump when the general spoke, "My name is General Belial. Yet the only thing I want to hear out of your pie holes is 'ma'am' or 'general'. Is that clear?"

"Yes ma'am." the recruits uttered in unison. 

"Bullcrap! Make it sound convincing!"

"YES MA'AM!" they all shouted louder.

"Unfortunately your drill instructor is out sick today. But lucky for you maggots, I volunteered to give you some serious P.T. We're gonna P.T. until your legs pop right off. Doesn't that sound good?"

"YES MA'AM!"

"We are the Doomsguard. Nothing in the Inferno gets in or out without our say so. We are born from hellfire and we crap hot coal. We shoot for kills and for thrills. We're lean, mean, killing machines that smashed open the gates of Heaven and march through the fields of Eden. And we did so as one superior unit.

"I don't care what you are or who you were. I don't look down on purebloods, half-breeds, succubi, or incubi. I don't care if you're endowed with magical abilities or not. I don't care if you were born from Hell or reborn from a soul. To me, you're all equally worthless, and you'll all receive the same amount of treatment. Do you maggots understand me?"

They answered. "YES MA'AM!"

She cocked her head to the left. "You!" Her eyes locked with one of the recruits.

"Yes ma'am!" he answered. The recruit looked a lot like Moloch. Not in physique or appearance, but he had his horns, red skin, and dark eyes. 

"You're one of Moloch's boys, ain't ya?" the general moved a couple feet closer to Moloch's eldest son.

"Yes ma'am!" he answered again.

"Are you the scrawny little maggot that died at childbirth?"

"No ma'am! That was one of my younger brothers. And he's not dead now, ma'am!"

"Your daddy was a war hero. He ever talk about the war?"

"Just once, ma'am."

"Good. Then he wasn't lying about it. Now you better live up to his reputation, or he's gonna wish you'd died so he wouldn't be embarrassed by your existence!"

Moloch's son gave the general his final answer. "YES MA'AM!" 

The succubus general carried on. She waltzed a few feet down the line until she sized up to another recruit. This one looked like a toad with his pudgy body and blank, round eyes. 

"What's your excuse?" Belial asked him.

"Excuse for what, sir?" her next victim responded.

Belial's hand slapped around the recruit's meaty throat. "SIR?" she berated. "YOUR MOTHER IS A SIR! Do I look masculine to you, soldier?"

"No, ma'am!" the recruit choked. "Just a slip-up."

"Slip-ups getcha killed, private!"

"Sorry."

"Sorry what?"

"Sorry, general."

"Oh, so I'm a sorry general now, that it?"

"No ma'am!"

Acknowledging his mistake, the general released her grasp. The toad-like recruit cough some fresh air back into his lungs but remained at attention. General Belial continued her onslaught. "Tell me, why did you join my beloved guard?"

"To shoot scavengers, ma'am!"

"Scavengers were souls once. Do you have sympathy for them?"

"No ma'am!"

"Were you a soul once?"

"No ma'am!"

"I bet you were once a scroungy little soul that got damned down here because he liked fondling little boy pee-pees! You can bet your ass I'll be watching you!"

General Belial moved back down the line. Her march then led her to another recruit. This one a doe satyr with small eyes, pale skin, brown fur, and a pair of small, nubby horns on the back of her head.

The general eyed the small female. Her gaze then concentrated on a tattoo, on her right shoulder. "What is that?" She demanded an answer. Her brows scrunched into her sunglasses.

"A tattoo, ma'am!" the doe answered.

"Are tattoos allowed in my barracks, private?" 

"No ma'am!" 

"Then why the hell do you have one on your skin, private?"

"It's brand new, ma'am!"

"Is it now?" Belial's struck against the fresh tattoo. The doe felt the sting but she dared not flinch in front of the general. "Where should that tattoo be next time?"

"Apologies, ma'am." the recruit gasped. "I'll have it covered next time."

"Damn right you will."

Their conversation ended when Belial marched off again. A couple feet down then she paused. She felt something off in her guard. Her neck curved to the right. There was a gap between two other recruits. If there was one thing she despised it was gaps in her beloved guard.

Her neck tilted down. There's the problem. Joshua Wordsworth, standing in the row and staring at the general. The general whipped off her sunglasses to get a better look at this new face. For the first time Joshua saw the succubus' eyes. Clear blue, like her skin and hair.

General Belial approached the human boy. Her shadow engulfed the boy's small body. "Well, what do we got here?" she said, her tone a little calmer. A grin groomed on her lips. "A human among demons. What brings you down here?"

"I'm here as an intern for-"

"SPEAK UP, KID!" the general snapped. "Or am I talking to a mouse?"

"Internship for the devil, ma'am!" Joshua answered anxiously. His words nearly jumbled together.

"What's your name, son?"

"Joshua Wordsworth.

"What's that around your neck?" A blue finger pointed at the cross that Joshua carried on him.

"My rosary, uh ma'am." Joshua answered, trying to avoid being yelled again.

"So you're a Christian?"

"Yes ma'am."

"What kind? Catholic? Protestant? Lutheran?"

"Evangelical."

"Ah, the fun kind."

Josh's eyes couldn't help but stare at the general's leg. Just a stump attached to a long metal shaft that stretched into half her humerus. Josh tried not to stare too long at it, but the general already noticed. 

"What are you eyeballing at, boy?" Her hand slapped against the metal, taunting the poor human boy. "You like this? You got a prosthetic fetish I should know about?"

"Uh, no ma'am." 

Belial's calm demeanor reverted back to her aggressive nature. "You don't think I look pretty with this leg on, kid? You don't think I look attractive?"

Joshua gulped. "Wha? N-no that's not-"

"Oh so you're gay then. That why you don't find me attractive?"

"No! No! I'm not gay-"

"Then why are you in my beloved guard then?"

"I don't know! To do what you tell me to do?" Joshua shouted. It echoed through the barracks.

The general's smile returned. "To do what I tell you to do. I like that answer. Well done, son." 

She turned from him and addressed the recruits. "Take note from this boy, maggots. If you do what I say, when I say it, if you follow my directions and proceed with my training, you will survive. You will live at the end, until the end. We are the Doomsguard! When Hell rises, we help raise it!

"Now all of you! Drop and give me twenty!"

The recruits obeyed. The dropped to the icy floors, hands and legs spread out. They all pushed themselves up and down, counting the number of push-ups their general wanted. Joshua even joined in with the recruits.

Belial marched down to the entrance where her king, Lu, watched them all. "How's my intern holding up, Bel?" he asked his loyal general.

"Sir, your intern seems to be doing fine," she answered. "Boy's got brains and guts, and that's good enough for me. If he was really part of my guard, I'd give him a metal."
#fantasy  #fiction  #horror  #comedy  #sinsofthefather 
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You've travelled into the dead world\realm. Only with your spirit. You're alive, but can't find your body. You meet ghosts, zombies and other scary creatures. What happened to you to be in this state? Do you end up finding where your physical form/body is? How do you end up returning to normal & the physical world. Narrative, & descriptive writing format, please. Or You can also make it a quest. You needed to be in the spiritual or dead realm to find a special powerful device|object.
Written by desmondwrite in portal Horror & Thriller

"The Great Fugue"

[An excerpt from the famous orc scholar and adventurer Brakis Grimdear. For the full text, please consult the librarians of Teatree University in the city of Harkness.]

"The underworld is not the heart of a volcano as described by the Cult of Fire, nor a blue ice-fringe as described by the Cult of Ice. There is no eternal whirlwind, meaning the djinn of the Cult of Air are wrong (or metaphorical). Perhaps the Cult of Earth understands this realm best, for the underworld is a cave that expands to bounds unknown. Here, shadows rule, and the darkness has such potency that it becomes fluid and runs on the rocks. The void is lessened only by the blue lights emitted from the souls of the dead, and by the cairns, or stacks of stones and skulls, which glow internally from some secret flame, and the lanterns at the docks. 

The terrain is mostly plains of a material akin to obsidian, and is intercut by hills and shade-cloak rivulets; these 'rivers' are called Little Fugues and are easy to cross as long as you don't step in them. The entrance of the realm ends at the Great Fugue, an immense black channel, although I am sure it has no current. To be truly initiated into the dark halls, one must cross the river. This is usually done by a barge called the Ferryskul, although I believe that boats buried in tombs can be used as well. On this side of the Great Fugue, the undead do not emit a glow, for they still carry their meat and cloaks and any possessions left in the grave. I think the lantern-light attracts them for they crawl across the plains intently and growl if deterred. At the docks, sarlowes strip the dead of their belongings, load the barge with freshly-shaved souls, and ferry across the Great Fugue. The dead's luggage is tossed into the river which is, in some form, alive. I did not see where the refuse went, but if you peered into the muck, you might glimpse lights in the depths and the honeycomb of tombs.

The sarlowes (these labormen of the underworld are robed halflings with faces concealed by hoods, although each had a single blue eye which shone from within; not cycloptic, but as if the other had been punctured) were efficient carvers, and could whittle a man to spirit in seconds. I watched an elf lose her long-ears and long hair, her pale skin, her accruements of sexuality, her green and brown leather coat, and a single arrow puncturing her neck, and when this was peeled away I watched the sarlowes scrape away muscle and bleached bone and even bits of personality, including her elvish grooming, artistic ability, honor, freedom, vitality, and grudges. A dwarf tyrant, too, I beheld; I think it was Urist II of Val Dhuhaim (he had died of an energetic bowel). The stone-faced king was first parted with his beard and jewelry—diadems, rings, a crown, armor plate laced with silver. Then his gentle red cloak, his garments, and all other materia that makes a fattened monarch. Urist almost kept his cruelty and folly if an observant sarlowe hadn't pulled him from the barge for a second snip—then the tyrant lost his lust, glory-love, and insolence, too.

Finally, it was my turn, and those robed barbers examined me confusedly. "Yes," I said to them. "I am still alive." The creatures chittered to each other in an underling vernacular, and then one of them asked about my trip. I explained my rationale; how I was not satisfied with the wars between humans and goblins and other species, nor the political conflicts of Harkness, that rotting capitol, or world cultures. All of these endeavors were arbitrary, and it was a testament to the entropy of scholarship that I was one of the few who still wondered what the gods were made of, if they were merely magical mortals, if there was an afterlife, how magic originated, from where the different races derived, etc, etc. How could anyone let themselves be distracted from examining the principles of the cosmos?

The sarlowes wanted to know how I had come to the land of the unliving. I will not detail my process of reaching the underworld here for it was a tedious project, but I explained to them my preparation. Just imagine a ritual with the usual accruements of necromancy: signs made from blood, infernal words, candles lit and extinguished by cold gusts of wind, wails from invisible spirits, etc, etc, and a breach into reality itself—down into which I climbed.

Finally, the sarlowes took their blades to me. It was fascinating to watch my physical experience be severed from immaterium. First they took my armament—my foul-wind sword, my cloak of ever-fire, my flying scabbard beetle for a shield, and the black crown I let hang by my neck from a chain. Then they cut away my green flesh and layers of muscle beneath, and pried away my bones. Of my persona, especially my intellect, courage, pride, and independence, I would not depart.

All of this luggage they secured in a chest for my return. And then it was the onto the Ferryskul, and onward to Hell, not to rescue a lost lover, not to seek ancient counsel, not to conquer some infernal beast or steal a wondrous artifact, but to better the annals of mankind through the cogency of research."

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You've travelled into the dead world\realm. Only with your spirit. You're alive, but can't find your body. You meet ghosts, zombies and other scary creatures. What happened to you to be in this state? Do you end up finding where your physical form/body is? How do you end up returning to normal & the physical world. Narrative, & descriptive writing format, please. Or You can also make it a quest. You needed to be in the spiritual or dead realm to find a special powerful device|object.
Written by desmondwrite in portal Horror & Thriller
"The Great Fugue"

[An excerpt from the famous orc scholar and adventurer Brakis Grimdear. For the full text, please consult the librarians of Teatree University in the city of Harkness.]

"The underworld is not the heart of a volcano as described by the Cult of Fire, nor a blue ice-fringe as described by the Cult of Ice. There is no eternal whirlwind, meaning the djinn of the Cult of Air are wrong (or metaphorical). Perhaps the Cult of Earth understands this realm best, for the underworld is a cave that expands to bounds unknown. Here, shadows rule, and the darkness has such potency that it becomes fluid and runs on the rocks. The void is lessened only by the blue lights emitted from the souls of the dead, and by the cairns, or stacks of stones and skulls, which glow internally from some secret flame, and the lanterns at the docks. 

The terrain is mostly plains of a material akin to obsidian, and is intercut by hills and shade-cloak rivulets; these 'rivers' are called Little Fugues and are easy to cross as long as you don't step in them. The entrance of the realm ends at the Great Fugue, an immense black channel, although I am sure it has no current. To be truly initiated into the dark halls, one must cross the river. This is usually done by a barge called the Ferryskul, although I believe that boats buried in tombs can be used as well. On this side of the Great Fugue, the undead do not emit a glow, for they still carry their meat and cloaks and any possessions left in the grave. I think the lantern-light attracts them for they crawl across the plains intently and growl if deterred. At the docks, sarlowes strip the dead of their belongings, load the barge with freshly-shaved souls, and ferry across the Great Fugue. The dead's luggage is tossed into the river which is, in some form, alive. I did not see where the refuse went, but if you peered into the muck, you might glimpse lights in the depths and the honeycomb of tombs.

The sarlowes (these labormen of the underworld are robed halflings with faces concealed by hoods, although each had a single blue eye which shone from within; not cycloptic, but as if the other had been punctured) were efficient carvers, and could whittle a man to spirit in seconds. I watched an elf lose her long-ears and long hair, her pale skin, her accruements of sexuality, her green and brown leather coat, and a single arrow puncturing her neck, and when this was peeled away I watched the sarlowes scrape away muscle and bleached bone and even bits of personality, including her elvish grooming, artistic ability, honor, freedom, vitality, and grudges. A dwarf tyrant, too, I beheld; I think it was Urist II of Val Dhuhaim (he had died of an energetic bowel). The stone-faced king was first parted with his beard and jewelry—diadems, rings, a crown, armor plate laced with silver. Then his gentle red cloak, his garments, and all other materia that makes a fattened monarch. Urist almost kept his cruelty and folly if an observant sarlowe hadn't pulled him from the barge for a second snip—then the tyrant lost his lust, glory-love, and insolence, too.

Finally, it was my turn, and those robed barbers examined me confusedly. "Yes," I said to them. "I am still alive." The creatures chittered to each other in an underling vernacular, and then one of them asked about my trip. I explained my rationale; how I was not satisfied with the wars between humans and goblins and other species, nor the political conflicts of Harkness, that rotting capitol, or world cultures. All of these endeavors were arbitrary, and it was a testament to the entropy of scholarship that I was one of the few who still wondered what the gods were made of, if they were merely magical mortals, if there was an afterlife, how magic originated, from where the different races derived, etc, etc. How could anyone let themselves be distracted from examining the principles of the cosmos?

The sarlowes wanted to know how I had come to the land of the unliving. I will not detail my process of reaching the underworld here for it was a tedious project, but I explained to them my preparation. Just imagine a ritual with the usual accruements of necromancy: signs made from blood, infernal words, candles lit and extinguished by cold gusts of wind, wails from invisible spirits, etc, etc, and a breach into reality itself—down into which I climbed.

Finally, the sarlowes took their blades to me. It was fascinating to watch my physical experience be severed from immaterium. First they took my armament—my foul-wind sword, my cloak of ever-fire, my flying scabbard beetle for a shield, and the black crown I let hang by my neck from a chain. Then they cut away my green flesh and layers of muscle beneath, and pried away my bones. Of my persona, especially my intellect, courage, pride, and independence, I would not depart.

All of this luggage they secured in a chest for my return. And then it was the onto the Ferryskul, and onward to Hell, not to rescue a lost lover, not to seek ancient counsel, not to conquer some infernal beast or steal a wondrous artifact, but to better the annals of mankind through the cogency of research."
#fantasy  #fiction  #adventure  #death  #underworld 
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RED (Part 7)

Two days later, I was still shaken by the dream. I tried to cover it up but the little blossom of hope had suffered a fatal blow and now lay in a shriveled wreck. I thought it was beyond resurrection but I’d been wrong. Jacqui’s prediction came true and Dale asked me to have dinner with him. Given the circumstances and my current mood, I was going to decline. Instead I found myself saying sure, I’d love to. At 6:30 I flitted about the room like a hummingbird. There was still half an hour before Dale would be at my door but I was already dressed and ready to go. I’d put on the best outfit I had brought with me which was a pair of white denim shorts and a forest green, loose fitting shirt. Not the greatest outfit for a first date but it would have to do. While I had hoped to make a few friends to have dinners with, dating was not something I had anticipated at all. Thankfully though, I had also brought a pair of nice, tan sandals with matching belt and bag. I left my hair down, letting the loose waves fall freely. With a touch of makeup, I was done. I studied myself critically in the bathroom mirror. Simon would not have approved of this as adequate dress for a dinner date. He would have required an evening gown. Dale isn’t Simon, I scolded myself. 

Jacqui knocked on the bathroom door.“You done in there yet?”

“Sorry, yes. Come in.”

“Hey, look at you! You look hot!” Jacqui joined me by the mirror. “Green really suits you. Brings out your eyes.”

“Jacqui, I don’t think I can do this.” My stomach heaved like a ship at sea. For the second time on this trip I thought I was going to vomit. Panic clouded the edges of my vision.

“How could I eat? Oh gosh! I have to eat in front of Dale! I’m just going to vomit it straight back up! Good impression that would make. Maybe I should call and cancel, tell him I’m sick. It wouldn’t exactly be a lie because…”

“Erin.” Jacqui cut me off. Grabbing my arms, she pulled me into our room and sat me on the edge of my bed. “Erin, you can do this. You’re stronger than you think or else you wouldn’t even be here. Don’t let Simon ruin your life. Don’t let him win. You deserve a nice night out with a spunky man.”

There wasn’t time for me to answer as a knock sounded at the door. I yelped, quickly covering my mouth with my hand. I looked at Jacqui in panic. This was a mistake. I wasn’t ready for this.

“Coming!” Jacqui called. “Breathe,” she whispered to me. I was trembling all over. Jacqui put a hand on my arm to steady me as I rose on wobbly legs and kept it there as I opened the door. My breath caught in my chest at the sight of him. He had traded his usual ripped jeans for a pair of smart black ones. His scuffed work shoes had also been replaced by a pair of polished black cowboy boots. A red checkered shirt, on which he had rolled the sleeves up, strained across his broad shoulders and muscular torso. As always, his head was topped with an akubra, black this time, and in his hand was a picnic basket. Even his guitar had come along, the strap of its case slung over one shoulder. Oh goodness, is he going to serenade me? 

He smiled his brilliant smile and tipped his hat in greeting. “Ladies.”

“Hey, Dale,” Jacqui replied easily.

“H…” I cleared my throat. “Hi.”

He turned the full force of that smile on me and I almost melted. “Ready to go?”

“Ah, I think so.”

“You’re ready,” Jacqui assured me. “You just need this.” She handed me my bag.

“Thanks.” I took it from her and hung it over my shoulder. “Ok. Ready.”

“You kids have fun now. But you,” she pointed a finger in Dale’s face. “You best have her back by midnight or there will be hell to pay.” Hands on hips, she looked up at him all fire and brimstone – a truly comical sight given as she only reached the height of his elbow – yet she held onto that pose until a laugh escaped her lips.

“Phew! You had me going for a second there.” Dale chuckled and offered me his arm. “Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of you, darlin’.”

I flushed. There was that term again. I laced my arm through his as we said our goodbyes to Jacqui.

“So, ah…” I was lost for words until, thankfully, my eyes caught the picnic basket. “Are we having a picnic?”

“Not just any picnic. A sunset picnic.” He grinned at me. “I thought it would be something a bit different, a little more private. Is that okay?”

“Yes, of course,” I said aloud but inside my panic was rising. I would be completely alone with him. No distractions, no disappearing into the bathroom if I started getting overwhelmed. No one to hear me if I screamed. If I screamed? What? Where had that come from? Stop it Erin. Why would you have any reason to scream? Dale isn’t like Simon. Give him the benefit of the doubt for goodness sake.

“Are you sure?” Dale asked. “It’s not too cliché, is it?"

Shoveling aside my inner turmoil, I smiled up at him. “It’s a lovely idea.”

The relief on his face was evident as he seemed to let go of a breath he had been holding. We made our way outside and set up under a gumtree offering ample shade from the sun and heat.

“Here seems like a good spot. Let me pull out your chair.” Dale set the basket down and pulled out a picnic rug, spreading it upon the ground with a dramatic flourish. He was incredibly charming and I found myself relaxing easily into conversation. We watched the sun go down while sipping on a glass of red wine and eating a delicious meal, which Dale had prepared himself. Time flew by and before we knew it, the stars were out in full. Dale took off his hat and let the cool breeze tussle his flattened hair. I wanted to reach out and play with that hair myself but I was too afraid. He took out his guitar and began to strum a soft, slow melody. I watched, transfixed by the beautiful sight. Closing my eyes, I let the music flow through me and took a deep, contented breath. I wanted to remember this moment forever. Quietly, I reached for my camera and changed the setting to night mode. I was hoping to be discreet except, I had forgotten about the flash.

“Oops!” I cried, completely embarrassed. “Sorry!”

Dale laughed and winked at me. “I don’t mind.” He kept playing and I snapped one more picture then let myself fall back, stretching out out on the rug. Time stood still. The tune morphed into a familiar song and I hummed along. Dale started to sing and I was so mesmerized I forgot to breathe. His rich voice moved me, filled me as I hung onto every word. He finished the song and I gave him a hearty applause. 

He pretended to bow and in his best Elvis impersonation said, “Thank you very much.”

The laugh caught in my throat as Dale’s tall form stretched out beside me. His arm rested against mine causing me to shiver. He must have felt it.

“Cold, darlin’?”

“Um, a little,” I lied.

“I’d give you my jacket but I’m not wearing one. So, why don’t you come over here?” He lifted his arm and went to wrap it around my shoulders. Out of old habit, I quickly rolled away, cowering into a little ball.

“Please don’t!” I whimpered.

“Hey. Okay. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to push anything.”

I remained huddled up, arms clenched around my legs.

“Erin?” Dale asked softly, gently touching my shoulder.

“Stay away!” I cried. “Don’t touch me. Don’t hurt me. I’m sorry!”

“Sorry? Hurt you? Erin, what’s going on? Did I do something wrong?”

What? Did he do something wrong? Gradually, as the initial adrenaline rush subsided, I began to realise what I had done. Oh no. Everything had been going so well. We had talked and talked, never stopping for awkward silences or struggling for words. Now here I was making a mess of things, as usual.

“Dale. Dale I’m so sorry,” I said as I unwound, uncurled and unclenched my body. 

A frown creased his brow. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Probably that I was crazy and he was regretting asking me to dinner. I wanted to explain but had no idea how to tell a man I had barely met that I was married to an abusive husband.

“Who did this to you?”

“Excuse me?” That was not what I’d been expecting. He was practically seething.

“What good for nothing low life did this to you? Whoever it was, I can guarantee I am not like that. I would never hurt you.”

“Why do you care?” I asked more sarcastically and harshly than I intended.

“Why do I care?” His vehemence startled me. “Because no woman deserves to be treated the way you have been. No woman should have to endure abuse and domestic violence. Now tell me, who did this to you?”

“Um, my husband,” I answered in little more than a whisper.

“Your husband? You’re married?” His was clearly shocked. Who could blame him.

“Yes.”

“Do you love him?”

I shook my head. “No. I stopped loving him a long time ago. I just haven’t had the courage to leave or file for divorce. He probably wouldn’t let me divorce him.”

Dale ran a hand through his hair.

“I’m sorry. I should have told you earlier.” I ducked my head.

“No, no. I understand why you didn’t. But you need to divorce him. You deserve better. Much better.”

“Why do you even care?” I asked again, gentler than last time.

He clenched his fists in anger. “Three years ago, my sister finally managed to escape an abusive relationship. No one else in the family even knew what was going on. When I found out, it took my whole family to stop me from beating the guy to a pulp. I’m her older brother. I should have protected her. I’ll be damned if I’m just going to stand back and let another woman suffer the same.”

“Dale, you’re not responsible for me.”

“No, but I care.” He took my hand in his and looked deeply into my eyes. “I care a lot.”

Unshed tears stung my eyes. “Can we just stop talking about this please?”

He gave my hand a squeeze. “Yes. Just promise me you will leave him.”

I wasn’t entirely sure I could make such a promise. I may have come a long way in the last three weeks but not that far.

“Erin?” Dale prompted.

“I promise.” What else could I say?

He smiled. “Good.” He moved closer to me and reached out to stroke my cheek. I trembled as he slid his hand behind my neck, drawing me closer. “Now let me show you how gentle a real man can be.” He hesitated, his lips less than an inch from mine. When I didn’t pull back, he closed the gap. The tears that I’d been holding back slid silently down my cheeks. 

He pulled away, gently wiping them with his thumb. “You do know you deserve better than that jerk, right?”

“I didn’t.”

“What about now?”

“Maybe.” It was the best I could do.

“No maybe about it, darlin’. I will make you see that.”

“Dale, I…”

His lips cut me off and I let myself surrender to his sweet, warm embrace. I felt like someone who had been sleeping for a long time and was just beginning to wake up. My body responded to his in ways that I had never imagined possible. Could I trust him though? Only time would tell.

“Follow the red,” a now familiar voice echoed in my head. I opened my eyes, not breaking contact with Dale. Just in my peripheral vision I spotted the young Aboriginal warrior. He was smiling at me.

“Red is safe. On this journey, red can always be trusted.” He vanished and I turned my full attention back to Dale. My hands clutched at his shirt and I remembered. Dale’s shirt was red. I smiled and let myself sink deeper into the kiss. Maybe there was something to this after all. Maybe angels did exist.

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RED (Part 7)
Two days later, I was still shaken by the dream. I tried to cover it up but the little blossom of hope had suffered a fatal blow and now lay in a shriveled wreck. I thought it was beyond resurrection but I’d been wrong. Jacqui’s prediction came true and Dale asked me to have dinner with him. Given the circumstances and my current mood, I was going to decline. Instead I found myself saying sure, I’d love to. At 6:30 I flitted about the room like a hummingbird. There was still half an hour before Dale would be at my door but I was already dressed and ready to go. I’d put on the best outfit I had brought with me which was a pair of white denim shorts and a forest green, loose fitting shirt. Not the greatest outfit for a first date but it would have to do. While I had hoped to make a few friends to have dinners with, dating was not something I had anticipated at all. Thankfully though, I had also brought a pair of nice, tan sandals with matching belt and bag. I left my hair down, letting the loose waves fall freely. With a touch of makeup, I was done. I studied myself critically in the bathroom mirror. Simon would not have approved of this as adequate dress for a dinner date. He would have required an evening gown. Dale isn’t Simon, I scolded myself. 

Jacqui knocked on the bathroom door.“You done in there yet?”

“Sorry, yes. Come in.”

“Hey, look at you! You look hot!” Jacqui joined me by the mirror. “Green really suits you. Brings out your eyes.”

“Jacqui, I don’t think I can do this.” My stomach heaved like a ship at sea. For the second time on this trip I thought I was going to vomit. Panic clouded the edges of my vision.
“How could I eat? Oh gosh! I have to eat in front of Dale! I’m just going to vomit it straight back up! Good impression that would make. Maybe I should call and cancel, tell him I’m sick. It wouldn’t exactly be a lie because…”

“Erin.” Jacqui cut me off. Grabbing my arms, she pulled me into our room and sat me on the edge of my bed. “Erin, you can do this. You’re stronger than you think or else you wouldn’t even be here. Don’t let Simon ruin your life. Don’t let him win. You deserve a nice night out with a spunky man.”

There wasn’t time for me to answer as a knock sounded at the door. I yelped, quickly covering my mouth with my hand. I looked at Jacqui in panic. This was a mistake. I wasn’t ready for this.

“Coming!” Jacqui called. “Breathe,” she whispered to me. I was trembling all over. Jacqui put a hand on my arm to steady me as I rose on wobbly legs and kept it there as I opened the door. My breath caught in my chest at the sight of him. He had traded his usual ripped jeans for a pair of smart black ones. His scuffed work shoes had also been replaced by a pair of polished black cowboy boots. A red checkered shirt, on which he had rolled the sleeves up, strained across his broad shoulders and muscular torso. As always, his head was topped with an akubra, black this time, and in his hand was a picnic basket. Even his guitar had come along, the strap of its case slung over one shoulder. Oh goodness, is he going to serenade me? 

He smiled his brilliant smile and tipped his hat in greeting. “Ladies.”

“Hey, Dale,” Jacqui replied easily.

“H…” I cleared my throat. “Hi.”

He turned the full force of that smile on me and I almost melted. “Ready to go?”

“Ah, I think so.”

“You’re ready,” Jacqui assured me. “You just need this.” She handed me my bag.

“Thanks.” I took it from her and hung it over my shoulder. “Ok. Ready.”

“You kids have fun now. But you,” she pointed a finger in Dale’s face. “You best have her back by midnight or there will be hell to pay.” Hands on hips, she looked up at him all fire and brimstone – a truly comical sight given as she only reached the height of his elbow – yet she held onto that pose until a laugh escaped her lips.

“Phew! You had me going for a second there.” Dale chuckled and offered me his arm. “Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of you, darlin’.”

I flushed. There was that term again. I laced my arm through his as we said our goodbyes to Jacqui.

“So, ah…” I was lost for words until, thankfully, my eyes caught the picnic basket. “Are we having a picnic?”

“Not just any picnic. A sunset picnic.” He grinned at me. “I thought it would be something a bit different, a little more private. Is that okay?”

“Yes, of course,” I said aloud but inside my panic was rising. I would be completely alone with him. No distractions, no disappearing into the bathroom if I started getting overwhelmed. No one to hear me if I screamed. If I screamed? What? Where had that come from? Stop it Erin. Why would you have any reason to scream? Dale isn’t like Simon. Give him the benefit of the doubt for goodness sake.

“Are you sure?” Dale asked. “It’s not too cliché, is it?"

Shoveling aside my inner turmoil, I smiled up at him. “It’s a lovely idea.”

The relief on his face was evident as he seemed to let go of a breath he had been holding. We made our way outside and set up under a gumtree offering ample shade from the sun and heat.

“Here seems like a good spot. Let me pull out your chair.” Dale set the basket down and pulled out a picnic rug, spreading it upon the ground with a dramatic flourish. He was incredibly charming and I found myself relaxing easily into conversation. We watched the sun go down while sipping on a glass of red wine and eating a delicious meal, which Dale had prepared himself. Time flew by and before we knew it, the stars were out in full. Dale took off his hat and let the cool breeze tussle his flattened hair. I wanted to reach out and play with that hair myself but I was too afraid. He took out his guitar and began to strum a soft, slow melody. I watched, transfixed by the beautiful sight. Closing my eyes, I let the music flow through me and took a deep, contented breath. I wanted to remember this moment forever. Quietly, I reached for my camera and changed the setting to night mode. I was hoping to be discreet except, I had forgotten about the flash.

“Oops!” I cried, completely embarrassed. “Sorry!”

Dale laughed and winked at me. “I don’t mind.” He kept playing and I snapped one more picture then let myself fall back, stretching out out on the rug. Time stood still. The tune morphed into a familiar song and I hummed along. Dale started to sing and I was so mesmerized I forgot to breathe. His rich voice moved me, filled me as I hung onto every word. He finished the song and I gave him a hearty applause. 

He pretended to bow and in his best Elvis impersonation said, “Thank you very much.”

The laugh caught in my throat as Dale’s tall form stretched out beside me. His arm rested against mine causing me to shiver. He must have felt it.

“Cold, darlin’?”

“Um, a little,” I lied.

“I’d give you my jacket but I’m not wearing one. So, why don’t you come over here?” He lifted his arm and went to wrap it around my shoulders. Out of old habit, I quickly rolled away, cowering into a little ball.

“Please don’t!” I whimpered.

“Hey. Okay. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to push anything.”

I remained huddled up, arms clenched around my legs.

“Erin?” Dale asked softly, gently touching my shoulder.

“Stay away!” I cried. “Don’t touch me. Don’t hurt me. I’m sorry!”

“Sorry? Hurt you? Erin, what’s going on? Did I do something wrong?”

What? Did he do something wrong? Gradually, as the initial adrenaline rush subsided, I began to realise what I had done. Oh no. Everything had been going so well. We had talked and talked, never stopping for awkward silences or struggling for words. Now here I was making a mess of things, as usual.

“Dale. Dale I’m so sorry,” I said as I unwound, uncurled and unclenched my body. 

A frown creased his brow. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. Probably that I was crazy and he was regretting asking me to dinner. I wanted to explain but had no idea how to tell a man I had barely met that I was married to an abusive husband.

“Who did this to you?”

“Excuse me?” That was not what I’d been expecting. He was practically seething.

“What good for nothing low life did this to you? Whoever it was, I can guarantee I am not like that. I would never hurt you.”

“Why do you care?” I asked more sarcastically and harshly than I intended.

“Why do I care?” His vehemence startled me. “Because no woman deserves to be treated the way you have been. No woman should have to endure abuse and domestic violence. Now tell me, who did this to you?”

“Um, my husband,” I answered in little more than a whisper.

“Your husband? You’re married?” His was clearly shocked. Who could blame him.

“Yes.”

“Do you love him?”

I shook my head. “No. I stopped loving him a long time ago. I just haven’t had the courage to leave or file for divorce. He probably wouldn’t let me divorce him.”

Dale ran a hand through his hair.

“I’m sorry. I should have told you earlier.” I ducked my head.

“No, no. I understand why you didn’t. But you need to divorce him. You deserve better. Much better.”

“Why do you even care?” I asked again, gentler than last time.

He clenched his fists in anger. “Three years ago, my sister finally managed to escape an abusive relationship. No one else in the family even knew what was going on. When I found out, it took my whole family to stop me from beating the guy to a pulp. I’m her older brother. I should have protected her. I’ll be damned if I’m just going to stand back and let another woman suffer the same.”

“Dale, you’re not responsible for me.”

“No, but I care.” He took my hand in his and looked deeply into my eyes. “I care a lot.”

Unshed tears stung my eyes. “Can we just stop talking about this please?”

He gave my hand a squeeze. “Yes. Just promise me you will leave him.”

I wasn’t entirely sure I could make such a promise. I may have come a long way in the last three weeks but not that far.

“Erin?” Dale prompted.

“I promise.” What else could I say?

He smiled. “Good.” He moved closer to me and reached out to stroke my cheek. I trembled as he slid his hand behind my neck, drawing me closer. “Now let me show you how gentle a real man can be.” He hesitated, his lips less than an inch from mine. When I didn’t pull back, he closed the gap. The tears that I’d been holding back slid silently down my cheeks. 

He pulled away, gently wiping them with his thumb. “You do know you deserve better than that jerk, right?”

“I didn’t.”

“What about now?”

“Maybe.” It was the best I could do.

“No maybe about it, darlin’. I will make you see that.”

“Dale, I…”

His lips cut me off and I let myself surrender to his sweet, warm embrace. I felt like someone who had been sleeping for a long time and was just beginning to wake up. My body responded to his in ways that I had never imagined possible. Could I trust him though? Only time would tell.

“Follow the red,” a now familiar voice echoed in my head. I opened my eyes, not breaking contact with Dale. Just in my peripheral vision I spotted the young Aboriginal warrior. He was smiling at me.

“Red is safe. On this journey, red can always be trusted.” He vanished and I turned my full attention back to Dale. My hands clutched at his shirt and I remembered. Dale’s shirt was red. I smiled and let myself sink deeper into the kiss. Maybe there was something to this after all. Maybe angels did exist.

#fiction  #desert  #red  #australia 
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The Devil's Intern Part 8

Lu, Joshua, and the rest of Lu's gang all sat inside a large room with an oval shaped table. 

"Welcome to the meeting room." the devil proclaimed to his intern. "Here is where we discuss different methods of torturing souls. No worries, there's no gore or violence. Just talk."

"Yeah," Balthazar added, "Talk about gore and violence." The others laughed at his comment, including Joshua. 

Joshua seemed to be adapting well to his demonic company. His business was kept mostly in the upper portions of Inferno Tower, which he was glad to be part of. No torturing, no screaming, no sort of abuse against souls. He didn't even have to look a poor soul wandering around the towel, with the exception for one or two used as a servants.

While Lu rambled on during the meeting, Joshua did as he normally would: doodle in his journal. Ghuul peeked over the boy's shoulder with his lazy eye. "Hey kid." he whispered. "Whatcha working on?"

"Just some doodles."

Ghuul caught a glimpse of the boy's artwork. Superheroes battling supervillains, monsters on top of skyscrappers, UFO's hovering in space. Typical drawings for a boy his age, yet there was much more attention to detail with every pencil mark he made.

"Say, you got some serious talent." Ghuul added.

"You think so?"

"Kid, you should do some serious business with this."

"I don't think my mom would approve." Joshua said hesitantly. The thought of his mother's disapproval worried him. He knew that she preferred that his talents was put to use serving God as an educator or a priest.

"And what does your pops think?"

Joshua frowned. "I don't think his opinion matters anymore." he muttered to himself.

"May we keep all eyes and ears on me, please?" Lu demanded. All eyes were now focused on him. "Now as you all know we gotta come up with new methods of torture. Some techniques are still good, others are a little dated. But we don't want them too broken. Otherwise you know what becomes of them."

"What happens?" Joshua asked.

"Scavengers." The hulking Moloch growled.

"Filthy, festering diseases that kill and eat everything." the devil explained.

Lilith shuttered. "Yeeek! Scavengers. Every time I think about them, I need to shower in holy water."

"Don't even joke about that." Balthazar said. "I'd take the scavengers over what holy water could do any day."

"Yes, yes, we know the damage scavengers and holy water can do," Lu interrupted, "but now we need some new methods to punish all those damned down here. Any ideas." The room was silent. "Come on, there are no stupid ideas."

"How about we boil them in hot sauce?" The short bat-looking demon Scrugs suggested to the group.

"That's a stupid idea." his boss retorted. "Next?"

"We could bring back the prongs?" Ghuul said.

"We haven't used those since the Crusades," Lu then turned his gaze over to Joshua. A nasty smile formulated back onto his lips. "Intern, what about you? Got any fresh ideas?"

All demonic eyes were on Josh now. Joshua started getting nervous. His throat was becoming dry and lumpy. He had to think of something fast. One idea popped into his head, yet he wasn't sure if these dark beings would approve. "Uh, just one," he muttered, "Can we get TubeFlix in here?"

The devil pressed a button on a remote while a large projector screen lowered behind him. He then proceeded to take his seat in his large chair, which dwarfed all the other chairs around him. 

The remote slid over to Joshua's spot. After examining the remote, he pressed the button that read 'TUBEFLIX'. The screen showed a wide variety of shows and movies for everyone's viewing pleasure. Joshua flipped through the alphabetized catalog of titles until he found the show that remembered watching through much of his childhood.

The title showed a bright background of disgusting sunshine and happiness. The few kids featuring on the cover were despicably happy. The most heinous image was the adult man, cosplayed as a superhero, who stood at the center of the cover box. The man's costume, which was just low budget body armor of a forgotten movie set, was painted bright blue like the fake sky background. His mask covered most of his face, probably to hide his shame. On his back was a cape that looked like a regular bath towel. But the one feature that drew everyone's attention was the large cross that was painted on the "hero's" chest.

"Captain Christian and the Holy Helpers?" Lu read the title. His face scrunched up in confusion. "What is this crap?"

"Something my mom had me watch when I was younger." Joshua said.

"That explains it," Moloch growled again.

Joshua pressed play and the show began. It opened with the titular hero talking about a certain dead carpenter and how much he loved everyone. Joshua overheard his demonic cohorts make a few jokes about the character, unaware of the real horror that awaited them all.

As the episode continued, the protagonist would confront a child, talking to each about their problems. The hero and the child would then say a prayer and the problem was magically fixed. The phrase 'what are we watching' was tossed around much each member of the room. The demons slumped over the desk, dazed and petrified by what they were watching. Joshua, on the other hand, sat perfectly normal, unfazed by the show's campy nature. 

All the demons breathed a sigh of relief when the credits finally rolled. "Oh thank god it's over," Lilith gasped.

"That's just the first episode." Joshua said.

"THERE'S MORE?!?" All the demons screamed. 

The show continued onto the second episode. Each episode was the same scenario. A kid has problems, Captain Christian comes in and talks, they pray, problems solved. Once in a while he would have to battle monsters and costumed baddies, but the fights were so poorly choreographed the hero might have sneezed and won the fight.

It was torturous. The demons could barely hang on to their sanity. Both Ghuul and Balthazar wept on Lilith's shoulders as Lilith lightly panted their heads. Scrugs tied himself a noose out of paperclips around his neck. Even the mighty Moloch, who was the toughest of the group, couldn't stand it. His head smacked into the desk so many times that a crater was beginning to form.

The devil himself look completely lobotomized. His mouth gaped open for a fly to buzz right in. His scarlet eyes blank of life. He wished that he was repeatedly cast out of Heaven so that it would spare him having to watch more of this fiendish show.

The credits rolled again. "That's the end of the first season." Joshua muttered, "Only seven more to go."

"NO MORE!" Lu popped back to life. "No more. I can't take it. This is sick. This is evil!" 

His lips curled up. "I love it! This this just what we need."

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Written by Harry_Situation in portal Fiction
The Devil's Intern Part 8
Lu, Joshua, and the rest of Lu's gang all sat inside a large room with an oval shaped table. 

"Welcome to the meeting room." the devil proclaimed to his intern. "Here is where we discuss different methods of torturing souls. No worries, there's no gore or violence. Just talk."

"Yeah," Balthazar added, "Talk about gore and violence." The others laughed at his comment, including Joshua. 

Joshua seemed to be adapting well to his demonic company. His business was kept mostly in the upper portions of Inferno Tower, which he was glad to be part of. No torturing, no screaming, no sort of abuse against souls. He didn't even have to look a poor soul wandering around the towel, with the exception for one or two used as a servants.

While Lu rambled on during the meeting, Joshua did as he normally would: doodle in his journal. Ghuul peeked over the boy's shoulder with his lazy eye. "Hey kid." he whispered. "Whatcha working on?"

"Just some doodles."

Ghuul caught a glimpse of the boy's artwork. Superheroes battling supervillains, monsters on top of skyscrappers, UFO's hovering in space. Typical drawings for a boy his age, yet there was much more attention to detail with every pencil mark he made.

"Say, you got some serious talent." Ghuul added.

"You think so?"

"Kid, you should do some serious business with this."

"I don't think my mom would approve." Joshua said hesitantly. The thought of his mother's disapproval worried him. He knew that she preferred that his talents was put to use serving God as an educator or a priest.

"And what does your pops think?"

Joshua frowned. "I don't think his opinion matters anymore." he muttered to himself.

"May we keep all eyes and ears on me, please?" Lu demanded. All eyes were now focused on him. "Now as you all know we gotta come up with new methods of torture. Some techniques are still good, others are a little dated. But we don't want them too broken. Otherwise you know what becomes of them."

"What happens?" Joshua asked.

"Scavengers." The hulking Moloch growled.

"Filthy, festering diseases that kill and eat everything." the devil explained.

Lilith shuttered. "Yeeek! Scavengers. Every time I think about them, I need to shower in holy water."

"Don't even joke about that." Balthazar said. "I'd take the scavengers over what holy water could do any day."

"Yes, yes, we know the damage scavengers and holy water can do," Lu interrupted, "but now we need some new methods to punish all those damned down here. Any ideas." The room was silent. "Come on, there are no stupid ideas."

"How about we boil them in hot sauce?" The short bat-looking demon Scrugs suggested to the group.

"That's a stupid idea." his boss retorted. "Next?"

"We could bring back the prongs?" Ghuul said.

"We haven't used those since the Crusades," Lu then turned his gaze over to Joshua. A nasty smile formulated back onto his lips. "Intern, what about you? Got any fresh ideas?"

All demonic eyes were on Josh now. Joshua started getting nervous. His throat was becoming dry and lumpy. He had to think of something fast. One idea popped into his head, yet he wasn't sure if these dark beings would approve. "Uh, just one," he muttered, "Can we get TubeFlix in here?"

The devil pressed a button on a remote while a large projector screen lowered behind him. He then proceeded to take his seat in his large chair, which dwarfed all the other chairs around him. 

The remote slid over to Joshua's spot. After examining the remote, he pressed the button that read 'TUBEFLIX'. The screen showed a wide variety of shows and movies for everyone's viewing pleasure. Joshua flipped through the alphabetized catalog of titles until he found the show that remembered watching through much of his childhood.

The title showed a bright background of disgusting sunshine and happiness. The few kids featuring on the cover were despicably happy. The most heinous image was the adult man, cosplayed as a superhero, who stood at the center of the cover box. The man's costume, which was just low budget body armor of a forgotten movie set, was painted bright blue like the fake sky background. His mask covered most of his face, probably to hide his shame. On his back was a cape that looked like a regular bath towel. But the one feature that drew everyone's attention was the large cross that was painted on the "hero's" chest.

"Captain Christian and the Holy Helpers?" Lu read the title. His face scrunched up in confusion. "What is this crap?"

"Something my mom had me watch when I was younger." Joshua said.

"That explains it," Moloch growled again.

Joshua pressed play and the show began. It opened with the titular hero talking about a certain dead carpenter and how much he loved everyone. Joshua overheard his demonic cohorts make a few jokes about the character, unaware of the real horror that awaited them all.

As the episode continued, the protagonist would confront a child, talking to each about their problems. The hero and the child would then say a prayer and the problem was magically fixed. The phrase 'what are we watching' was tossed around much each member of the room. The demons slumped over the desk, dazed and petrified by what they were watching. Joshua, on the other hand, sat perfectly normal, unfazed by the show's campy nature. 

All the demons breathed a sigh of relief when the credits finally rolled. "Oh thank god it's over," Lilith gasped.

"That's just the first episode." Joshua said.

"THERE'S MORE?!?" All the demons screamed. 

The show continued onto the second episode. Each episode was the same scenario. A kid has problems, Captain Christian comes in and talks, they pray, problems solved. Once in a while he would have to battle monsters and costumed baddies, but the fights were so poorly choreographed the hero might have sneezed and won the fight.

It was torturous. The demons could barely hang on to their sanity. Both Ghuul and Balthazar wept on Lilith's shoulders as Lilith lightly panted their heads. Scrugs tied himself a noose out of paperclips around his neck. Even the mighty Moloch, who was the toughest of the group, couldn't stand it. His head smacked into the desk so many times that a crater was beginning to form.

The devil himself look completely lobotomized. His mouth gaped open for a fly to buzz right in. His scarlet eyes blank of life. He wished that he was repeatedly cast out of Heaven so that it would spare him having to watch more of this fiendish show.

The credits rolled again. "That's the end of the first season." Joshua muttered, "Only seven more to go."

"NO MORE!" Lu popped back to life. "No more. I can't take it. This is sick. This is evil!" 

His lips curled up. "I love it! This this just what we need."
#fantasy  #fiction  #horror  #comedy  #sinsofthefather 
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Write the longest grammatically sound alliteration you can possibly muster. The longest such alliteration's author wins $150 if, and only if, this challenge receives at least 300 entries. Editing is allowed.
Written by SonofEternity in portal Words

Frustration - The Other F Word

I'm feeling freaking frustrated, 

foes, friends, and family finding faults, 

flipping fervor for fear, 

fickle freedom, 

while flattering financial feats fondle fiction, 

foolish friction fraternize fair fantasies far from fantastic, 

fire flamed filled fences, 

forced father fatalities, 

fetal fraternity facilities feeding feminist fish foods, 

fingers forgetting fundamental functions, 

fuel fees, frantic freeway flux, and fleeing focus fade frontal foresight, 

false flight falling fifty-five feet fornenst a feeble fringe fathoming future fulfillment, 

fist of fury fighting ferocious phenomena fending folding figures funneling flaky facts, 

futile fashion, fruitless freelance, 

frivolous frequencies flooding favorable fellowship, 

fiending freakish foreign forsaken flavors framed in familiar fabric, 

flying phobia, failing phobia, 

forward footsteps filming the finale following frustration.

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Write the longest grammatically sound alliteration you can possibly muster. The longest such alliteration's author wins $150 if, and only if, this challenge receives at least 300 entries. Editing is allowed.
Written by SonofEternity in portal Words
Frustration - The Other F Word
I'm feeling freaking frustrated, 
foes, friends, and family finding faults, 
flipping fervor for fear, 
fickle freedom, 
while flattering financial feats fondle fiction, 
foolish friction fraternize fair fantasies far from fantastic, 
fire flamed filled fences, 
forced father fatalities, 
fetal fraternity facilities feeding feminist fish foods, 
fingers forgetting fundamental functions, 
fuel fees, frantic freeway flux, and fleeing focus fade frontal foresight, 
false flight falling fifty-five feet fornenst a feeble fringe fathoming future fulfillment, 
fist of fury fighting ferocious phenomena fending folding figures funneling flaky facts, 
futile fashion, fruitless freelance, 
frivolous frequencies flooding favorable fellowship, 
fiending freakish foreign forsaken flavors framed in familiar fabric, 
flying phobia, failing phobia, 
forward footsteps filming the finale following frustration.
#fiction  #philosophy  #spirituality  #culture 
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Written by Lexilindale

Big dreams and caffeine

It was going to snow. There was no doubt about it, it was too cold to do anything but snow. I blew out a breath as the gas pumped into my jeep. I tried to keep my hands in my pockets so they don't fall off as I let it go itself. I feel my phone vibrate, but I don't pull it out. I still haven't gotten to where I'm going.

Then again I wasn't even sure where I was going. The dark clouds seemed to be following me though. Ever since I left I couldn't shake them. But I couldn't stay there, I needed space. There were too many ghosts; too much pain.

My phone buzzed once, telling me I had a message. I knew who it was, one of my brothers checking up on me. They were probably worried sick. I never left for this long without a note or a reason. I'm sure they knew why, they had to know why I needed time. I fought back the tears as I stood there letting the cold bite my face.

Life was unfair, I have always known that. I watched my mom die before she was even forty years old. I never even met my father. Life would never be easy, but I never thought it would be this hard.

The pump clicked off, snapping me back into reality. I closed the cap and then head inside to pay for my gas. It feels good to get inside and out of the cold. But when I step behind the guy paying my heart stops. There's a Coke bottle in his hand, one of the glass ones. He stuck a straw in the hole, shattering my attempt at shutting down that part of my brain. My mind starts to race, the memories I tried so hard to forget come back all at once.

She was beautiful, I knew it before she even turned around. Her blonde curls were swinging in the wind as she threw her head back laughing. The lights of the fair illuminated her green jacket. She looked like she loved life and from what I could tell everyone in her life loved her just as much.

Ryan pushed me towards her, my feet were frozen as she smiled at me. Her bright steel blue eyes drew me in. They were beautiful and yet she had an air of mystery around her. She giggled again as the brown haired girl beside her whispered something in her ear.

I offered her my hand, "Cassian Moten. Ferris wheel solo rider looking for a partner.”

She laughed again, then shook her head, "oh no. I don't do the Ferris wheel Mr. Moten.”

I raised an eyebrow, feeling more confident as her friends watched, "and why not? I thought a pretty girl like you wouldn't be afraid of anything.”

"I'm not afraid," she defended herself, my hand falling back down beside me, "I just don't like it, that's all.”

I nodded, biting my lip as I stood there, "okay well let me get you a drink. A funnel cake? Let me win you a stuffed animal with my ability to knock down glass milk bottles.”

She shook her head slowly, still giving me that half smirk half smile that was driving me insane. I had never been so taken by a girl let alone a stranger before. I was the guy who played the field, but I knew the moment she laughed she was it for me.

Sometimes you just know these things. It was the spark that changed your life.

"Come on Logan," the girl beside her nudged her shoulder, "he clearly wants to get to know you. Stop being a big scaredy cat.”

She glared at her friend and then sighed as she looked back in my direction, “fine. Let’s get something to drink.”

We walked to a stand together and I ordered two cokes. She giggled, shaking her head as I handed her the soda, "so does Logan have a last name?”

"Acher. Why do you want to know me so badly?" She put a straw in the hole and took a sip. Her friends were watching, Rhysand was chatting with one off to the side. I smiled at our situation.

I shrugged, "you seem like a mystery. I like a good mystery.”

We sat down on a bench and she sighed, "I'm not a mystery you want to figure out, Cassian.”

"I don't think that's true," I finished my drink and then smiled, "I bet I can get this can into that trash can. If I don't I'll leave you alone.”

She raised an eyebrow, "and if you do?”

"You go on the Ferris wheel with me.”

I didn't wait for her answer. I put my hands up and looked at the can waiting for the crowd to thin out. Once the coast was clear I flicked my wrist and let the can fly through the air. It hit the rim of the trash can and then slid around like it was going to fall in. But before it did it hit the wall and fell onto the ground.

"Damn," Logan clicked her tongue as I blushed at my failure, "I changed my mind. I'll go on with you.”

She threw her empty can into the trash can without trying and laughed when it landed in without a challenge. I shook my head, grabbing her hand before she could change her mind. I felt her grip tighten as we got closer to the ride and I smiled as she leaned into me.

Once we were sitting at the top, the lights were beautiful. Everyone was small and the town looked even more beautiful in the fall weather. My heart was beating faster than it ever had before as Logan slid in close to my side.

She let out a slow breath, her grip on the bar loosened as she relaxed, "you don't want to get to know me," she whispered as the stars sparkled above us.

"Sir? Are you going to pay?" I shook my head, the attendant at the gas station called my attention as the memory faded away.

I stepped up to the counter, "sorry," I whispered as I paid for my gas and then took my receipt. I was still reeling from the memory that I walked away from the door and through an aisle. My hands were shaking. I should be mad at her. I should be mad at the memory, but I wasn't.

I kept walking, unsure of where I was going in this small store. My heart hurt as I tried to collect my thoughts and my emotions. This trip was supposed to bring me peace, help me heal. But in this gas station only a few hours from home it was doing the total opposite.

I sighed, turning the corner of the last aisle. I thought I'd go to the bathroom and pull myself together, but I stopped short once more.

There beside the beer cooler was a set of those big camping lanterns. This time I smiled as the memory came flashing back.

The cabin had been huge, it was their vacation house and it was bigger than the home I grew up in. She promised it didn't matter, she wanted me to meet her parents. They were so excited to have me come along they went all out. The first night they cooked a big fancy dinner. Logan barely ate a thing, but it was delicious.

Better than anything I had ever tried to cook for the boys and me.

Her mom seemed distant, she would glare at me and I could tell she was judging me. She didn't think I was good enough to be with her daughter. That didn't stop me, I picked up Logan's hand while we ate and held it tightly in mine.

The entire time we ate mother and daughter would glare at each other. I knew they both had a secret they weren't sharing. Something that they knew and didn't want anyone else to know. I could only hope it didn't have to do with me.

Her dad was the opposite. He was so warm and welcoming I felt like I had known him forever once dinner was done. We talked about everything, he didn't look at me like I was a scholarship kid. He asked my opinion and listened to what I was studying. I could see where Logan got her personality from as I sat there with him.

Once dinner was over the storm started. It was late and her parents turned in for bed early. Her parents had set up the guest room for me. Logan yawned and seemed tired, so I told her to go on up I'd follow. She shook her head and sat down beside me. She settled into my arms as we watched the dying fire.

"So do you think they like me?" I whispered as she leaned her head back against my shoulder. I wanted them to like me, after all their daughter was very important to me.

"Yeah they like you. I just wish they realized I'm not five and you don't need to stay in the guest room," she huffed as she sat up straighter, "we're adults.”

I tickled her sides and she giggled, "you're barely an adult, Logan. And I will sleep wherever you or they want me to. Although your mom didn't seem to like me much.”

She sighed, choosing her words carefully, "she's protective.”

Logan hesitated when she explained her moms behavior. I didn't think too hard about it, I just held her closer and kissed her neck. It didn't matter, her mother could flat out tell me she didn't like me and I wouldn't care. Because I was here for her daughter and no one else.

That was the thing about Logan, she never looked at me like I was trash. She never cared about my small house or my sister tagging along on our movie dates. She loved the way we included her in our little family with ease. She seemed to understand that we needed her as much as she wanted to need us.

"So did you ever think a ride on the Ferris wheel would turn into this?" I whispered as the thunder boomed outside and Logan shivered in my arms.

She laughed, "no. But I sure am glad I got on it with you.”

She turned to face me, kissing my lips softly. I loved kissing her. I loved everything about her. We hadn't known each other long but hell I knew it was fate. There was nothing that could drag me away from her. Nothing.

Halfway through our evening of joking and laughing Logan yawned again. I told her to go on up I would make sure the fire died completely. She didn't fight me this time, she stood up and stretched. Her shirt pulled up as she stood on her toes and smiled at my eyes wandering to her stomach.

She giggled making me smile, "I love your laugh.”

Her blue eyes lit up as she stood there staring at me. She looked like she wanted to tell me something, but instead she just smiled, "your laugh is better. You and your deep voice. That's the only reason I'm still around.”

Logan leaned down and kissed my cheek and thanked me for being so kind to her parents, before heading off to bed. I watched the empty fireplace for a little while longer, wondering how a guy like me had found someone like her.

I settled into my bed a few hours later. I was about to turn my lamp off when the power cut out. I sighed, sitting up and letting my eyes adjust to the darkness. I didn't want to sleep alone anyways and I remembered Logan telling me about her nightmares. I got up and found the camping lamp her dad told me was in the closet. Apparently they lost power a lot when the storms rolled through here.

I wandered down the hallway slowly, hoping her parents room was in the opposite direction. There were more rooms than people on this floor and I hesitate between the last two doors at the end of the hallway. I couldn't remember which one was hers.

The door opened before I could figure out which room belonged to Logan. Her face was lit up by the lamp and she laughed softly as she pulled me into her room.

"I was hoping you'd come," she whispered setting the lamp down on her nightstand and kissing me. I wrapped my arms around her small body and held her close. She relaxed in my embrace, her skin cold against mine.

Thinking back now her hands were always cold.

She pulled at my shirt, her eyes hungry. Ever since we met we could barely get enough of each other. I kissed her that first night after the Ferris wheel and that was it. There was no going back. She never hesitated to tell me to slow down, so this was new.

Before she told me she wasn't ready. Now she seemed more experienced than I was. I pulled at her lip gently, "are you sure Logan?”

She nodded as she ran her cold hands up my stomach, "I want it to be you Cassian.”

I didn't need anything more to convince me. I laid her down on the mattress and pulled her shirt up over her head. I laid a trail of kisses down her stomach as her fingers ran through my hair. I couldn't get enough of her. I would never get tired of feeling her body against mine.

I pressed a kiss to her temple as she curled up in my arms. I knew it was wrong to be so happy after finally sleeping with her in her parents house. But I was more than happy as she sighed contently in my arms. She drew a heart on my chest and then she looked up at me.

"You don't want to fall in love with me," she whispered, her voice breaking as her blue eyes held mine.

I pushed open the door and walked out of the gas station, my heart still shattered in pieces. She had been right both times, but that didn't stop me. I got to know her and I fell in love with the blonde haired girl with the beautiful smile. I sighed as I climbed into the jeep and slammed my door shut.

My breathing was heavy as I tried to stop the panic attack that was coming on. I closed my eyes, squeezing my hands on the wheel as I saw her face. Her laughter played on loop in my head and it hurt to breathe whenever that happened. That stupid Coke bottle. That stupid memory. I had been doing so well.

My breath still came out in puffs, I didn’t bother turning on the heat. It wouldn’t help with the pain inside my chest. I hit the radio dial hoping it would help ease the pain. But it only made it worse as I pulled back onto the dirt road. The song that started to play was the old country song she loved to sing along to. She used to sit right there in the passenger seat and sing loudly off key with Faith Hill.

I looked over at the empty seat, that ache in my chest getting tighter. I didn't get far from the gas station, not even a mile away when I had to pull over. The tears made it too hard to see, the knot in my chest even tighter than before.

Another tear fell as I leaned my head against the wheel.

"Come on, it'll be fun!" She laughed as she tugged my arm and pulled me into the field. Her hair was covered by her red hat, her cheeks pink from the cold. I smiled as she led me out where the other couples were.

I wasn't big on school spirit, but for some reason Logan wanted to go to this football game. She was mesmerized by the homecoming court, her eyes glue to the girls wearing prom dresses in the freezing cold. She leaned in close when they waved and walked the track with their dates. I wrapped my arms around her tightly, my jacket swallowing her tiny frame. I loved her wearing my jacket, that's the only reason I agreed to come to this game.

She knew it too, that's why she always wore it when I was around. I was a sucker for that smile and her wearing my clothes. I shook my head, I didn't want to dance in front of people. That didn't stop her from dragging me into the middle of the football field with everyone else. Logan didn't care, she was already dancing on her own.

I smiled as her favorite song played and everyone grabbed a person to dance with. She pressed her fingers against my lips, "is that a smile Mr. Moten? Are you actually having fun?”

I laughed and pulled her in close as the snow started to fall, "not at all. But you, you look like you’re having the time of your life.”

She shivered as a flake landed on her nose and leaned in to kiss me. She wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me in close. She held me tightly, as if she could keep this moment and hold onto it forever. Her eyes were closed when she pulled away. She leaned her forehead against mine and sighed.

Looking back now I realize we were so young. I thought we could take on the world together. We were high on big dreams and caffeine. We were the lucky ones, we had found each other before our lives truly started. I knew there wasn't anyone else for me. Not since I stepped into that fair and heard her laugh.

I would've given her my life and spent all the years I had spread out in front of me with her.

I opened my eyes and looked at the girl I never knew actually existed. I smiled at her, not realizing how little time we had left. I would've appreciated every second, I would've memorized her face. I would've held her tighter, tried to freeze the moment and never let it go.

But I was young. I didn't think I'd have to let go so fast.

"I love you," I whispered as the song ended and we stood there for a moment more.

There were tears in her eyes as she pushed my chest hard letting her hands fall away from me, "I told you not to fall in love with me.”

She was actually angry, she wasn't kidding. She walked off the field as the game got ready to go into the second half. I followed behind her, grabbing her hand before she could get far.

"What the hell Logan? You aren't serious?" My voice was hard as she shook her head.

She blew out a breath as the snow fell, her lips were almost blue, "you can't love me. I'm a grenade.”

She looked pale, I assumed it was the cold. Her cheeks weren't red from the wind anymore and before I could ask her what that meant she closed her eyes. I was still holding her wrist as it happened. Time seemed to slow down as she fell, my arms wrapping around her before she landed on the ground.

"Someone call nine one one," I yelled as I forgot all about the game happening around us.

I wasn't sure how I made it back home in one piece. One minute I was sitting on the side of the highway and the next my jeep pulled back into the town I never thought I wanted to see again. The song opened the damn and all my tears were pouring out now as I pulled into a parking spot outside the black iron gates. I hadn't stepped inside since it all happened.

Saying goodbye once had been hard, I wasn’t sure I could do it again.

The sky was gray as I stood there at her grave. It was white marble, her mom had taken care of every detail. Logan Acher; daughter, friend. Two words summed up the life of the girl I barely got to know. She was more than that, she was the one I thought I'd never lose.

The dash between her birth and her death was too short. There was so much more she was supposed to do. There was so much love we were supposed to share. My heart was still beating inside my chest, but the truth was it was buried there with her. I would never love anyone the way I loved her.

I placed the flowers on top of her grave. The stone was cold against my fingers. I sighed, not even trying to stop the tears as they gathered in my eyes. Then I leaned down and placed the Coke bottle in front of the marker, in the corner where it couldn't hurt the precious stone that cost more than my car.

"I miss you every damn day, Logan Acher. But I'd do it all over again, just to hold you one more time.”

She warned me, time and time again she told me not to fall for her. Her kisses weren't a promise she could keep, she knew it the night we met. She was already dying the day we met, the day I felt alive for the first time in my life.

It was cancer, stage five. It had gotten to her bones. There was nothing she could do, she had accepted that long before she ever met me. The chemo had stopped working so she stopped letting it destroy her body. She didn't look sick, but then again I didn't know what sick looked like. She embraced life and never once felt sorry for herself. She thought she was scared, but she was the bravest person I knew.

Logan held on when the ambulance showed up. I held her hand as they drove to the hospital. She would squeeze my fingers every once and a while to let me know she was still there. Her blue eyes weren't as bright, I could see the life fading from her. She was fighting so hard to stay with me.

Her hand tightened in mine as I sat there watching them attach lines and try to save her. She pulled the breathing mask off and smiled at me. It wasn’t her usual smile, there was less spark behind it. Tears were in her eyes, but she was more than calm as she looked at me.

"I didn't want to let myself fall in love with you," she whispered as I leaned in closer to hear her soft voice, "I didn't want to hurt you. I don't want to leave you.”

A tear slipped down my cheek as I kissed her cold skin. My heart was breaking into a million pieces as I realized the truth, "I know, it's okay. I love you Logan.”

She smiled slightly, before wincing at the pain she was in, "promise me you won't hold onto me. Let me go and find someone else to share your smile with. Let another girl fall in love with your attitude and your laugh.”

I nodded, "I promise I'll try," I whispered as the paramedics pushed the oxygen mask back on her face.

She pulled it off once more, "I love you too Cassian Moten. Thank you for giving me the best gift I never thought I would get to have.”

They forced the mask back over her mouth. That moment I knew I was lucky to have found her at all. I smiled, I put on a brave face for her. I didn’t want her to know I was about ready to fall apart. I wasn’t ready to lose her, but I knew that I didn’t have a say in how this ended.

I brought our hands up to my chin and kissed her fingers as the machines beeped and all hell broke loose.

"I will always love you," I whispered as the wind picked up. I closed my eyes and for a moment I thought I could hear her laughter.

Before I turned to leave the snow started to fall. I shivered as I looked back at the Coke bottle one last time. I would never forget that day, when I felt my life begin.

I knew I couldn't out run her ghost. She would always be with me, I'd carry her in my heart and never let her go. She taught me to love and what it's like to be loved. She gave me the greatest gift in the world. I only realized it after it was too late. I never got to truly thank her for finding her way into my life.

Life is unfair, there's no denying that. But knowing what I know now, I'd still buy her that Coke. I would still find a way to make her laugh. Even if I knew the way it would all end, I'd do it all over again. If that was the only way I ever got to know her, I'd hold her in my arms and never ever let her go.

Logan Acher was my first love and even though I promised her I would love again, I lied. I would never love another person the way I loved her. She took my heart with her in the short time we had together. And even though I knew I'd never get it back, I wouldn't change a thing.

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Written by Lexilindale
Big dreams and caffeine
It was going to snow. There was no doubt about it, it was too cold to do anything but snow. I blew out a breath as the gas pumped into my jeep. I tried to keep my hands in my pockets so they don't fall off as I let it go itself. I feel my phone vibrate, but I don't pull it out. I still haven't gotten to where I'm going.

Then again I wasn't even sure where I was going. The dark clouds seemed to be following me though. Ever since I left I couldn't shake them. But I couldn't stay there, I needed space. There were too many ghosts; too much pain.

My phone buzzed once, telling me I had a message. I knew who it was, one of my brothers checking up on me. They were probably worried sick. I never left for this long without a note or a reason. I'm sure they knew why, they had to know why I needed time. I fought back the tears as I stood there letting the cold bite my face.

Life was unfair, I have always known that. I watched my mom die before she was even forty years old. I never even met my father. Life would never be easy, but I never thought it would be this hard.

The pump clicked off, snapping me back into reality. I closed the cap and then head inside to pay for my gas. It feels good to get inside and out of the cold. But when I step behind the guy paying my heart stops. There's a Coke bottle in his hand, one of the glass ones. He stuck a straw in the hole, shattering my attempt at shutting down that part of my brain. My mind starts to race, the memories I tried so hard to forget come back all at once.

She was beautiful, I knew it before she even turned around. Her blonde curls were swinging in the wind as she threw her head back laughing. The lights of the fair illuminated her green jacket. She looked like she loved life and from what I could tell everyone in her life loved her just as much.

Ryan pushed me towards her, my feet were frozen as she smiled at me. Her bright steel blue eyes drew me in. They were beautiful and yet she had an air of mystery around her. She giggled again as the brown haired girl beside her whispered something in her ear.

I offered her my hand, "Cassian Moten. Ferris wheel solo rider looking for a partner.”

She laughed again, then shook her head, "oh no. I don't do the Ferris wheel Mr. Moten.”

I raised an eyebrow, feeling more confident as her friends watched, "and why not? I thought a pretty girl like you wouldn't be afraid of anything.”

"I'm not afraid," she defended herself, my hand falling back down beside me, "I just don't like it, that's all.”

I nodded, biting my lip as I stood there, "okay well let me get you a drink. A funnel cake? Let me win you a stuffed animal with my ability to knock down glass milk bottles.”

She shook her head slowly, still giving me that half smirk half smile that was driving me insane. I had never been so taken by a girl let alone a stranger before. I was the guy who played the field, but I knew the moment she laughed she was it for me.

Sometimes you just know these things. It was the spark that changed your life.

"Come on Logan," the girl beside her nudged her shoulder, "he clearly wants to get to know you. Stop being a big scaredy cat.”

She glared at her friend and then sighed as she looked back in my direction, “fine. Let’s get something to drink.”

We walked to a stand together and I ordered two cokes. She giggled, shaking her head as I handed her the soda, "so does Logan have a last name?”

"Acher. Why do you want to know me so badly?" She put a straw in the hole and took a sip. Her friends were watching, Rhysand was chatting with one off to the side. I smiled at our situation.

I shrugged, "you seem like a mystery. I like a good mystery.”

We sat down on a bench and she sighed, "I'm not a mystery you want to figure out, Cassian.”

"I don't think that's true," I finished my drink and then smiled, "I bet I can get this can into that trash can. If I don't I'll leave you alone.”

She raised an eyebrow, "and if you do?”

"You go on the Ferris wheel with me.”

I didn't wait for her answer. I put my hands up and looked at the can waiting for the crowd to thin out. Once the coast was clear I flicked my wrist and let the can fly through the air. It hit the rim of the trash can and then slid around like it was going to fall in. But before it did it hit the wall and fell onto the ground.

"Damn," Logan clicked her tongue as I blushed at my failure, "I changed my mind. I'll go on with you.”

She threw her empty can into the trash can without trying and laughed when it landed in without a challenge. I shook my head, grabbing her hand before she could change her mind. I felt her grip tighten as we got closer to the ride and I smiled as she leaned into me.

Once we were sitting at the top, the lights were beautiful. Everyone was small and the town looked even more beautiful in the fall weather. My heart was beating faster than it ever had before as Logan slid in close to my side.

She let out a slow breath, her grip on the bar loosened as she relaxed, "you don't want to get to know me," she whispered as the stars sparkled above us.

"Sir? Are you going to pay?" I shook my head, the attendant at the gas station called my attention as the memory faded away.

I stepped up to the counter, "sorry," I whispered as I paid for my gas and then took my receipt. I was still reeling from the memory that I walked away from the door and through an aisle. My hands were shaking. I should be mad at her. I should be mad at the memory, but I wasn't.

I kept walking, unsure of where I was going in this small store. My heart hurt as I tried to collect my thoughts and my emotions. This trip was supposed to bring me peace, help me heal. But in this gas station only a few hours from home it was doing the total opposite.

I sighed, turning the corner of the last aisle. I thought I'd go to the bathroom and pull myself together, but I stopped short once more.

There beside the beer cooler was a set of those big camping lanterns. This time I smiled as the memory came flashing back.

The cabin had been huge, it was their vacation house and it was bigger than the home I grew up in. She promised it didn't matter, she wanted me to meet her parents. They were so excited to have me come along they went all out. The first night they cooked a big fancy dinner. Logan barely ate a thing, but it was delicious.

Better than anything I had ever tried to cook for the boys and me.

Her mom seemed distant, she would glare at me and I could tell she was judging me. She didn't think I was good enough to be with her daughter. That didn't stop me, I picked up Logan's hand while we ate and held it tightly in mine.

The entire time we ate mother and daughter would glare at each other. I knew they both had a secret they weren't sharing. Something that they knew and didn't want anyone else to know. I could only hope it didn't have to do with me.

Her dad was the opposite. He was so warm and welcoming I felt like I had known him forever once dinner was done. We talked about everything, he didn't look at me like I was a scholarship kid. He asked my opinion and listened to what I was studying. I could see where Logan got her personality from as I sat there with him.

Once dinner was over the storm started. It was late and her parents turned in for bed early. Her parents had set up the guest room for me. Logan yawned and seemed tired, so I told her to go on up I'd follow. She shook her head and sat down beside me. She settled into my arms as we watched the dying fire.

"So do you think they like me?" I whispered as she leaned her head back against my shoulder. I wanted them to like me, after all their daughter was very important to me.

"Yeah they like you. I just wish they realized I'm not five and you don't need to stay in the guest room," she huffed as she sat up straighter, "we're adults.”

I tickled her sides and she giggled, "you're barely an adult, Logan. And I will sleep wherever you or they want me to. Although your mom didn't seem to like me much.”

She sighed, choosing her words carefully, "she's protective.”

Logan hesitated when she explained her moms behavior. I didn't think too hard about it, I just held her closer and kissed her neck. It didn't matter, her mother could flat out tell me she didn't like me and I wouldn't care. Because I was here for her daughter and no one else.

That was the thing about Logan, she never looked at me like I was trash. She never cared about my small house or my sister tagging along on our movie dates. She loved the way we included her in our little family with ease. She seemed to understand that we needed her as much as she wanted to need us.

"So did you ever think a ride on the Ferris wheel would turn into this?" I whispered as the thunder boomed outside and Logan shivered in my arms.

She laughed, "no. But I sure am glad I got on it with you.”

She turned to face me, kissing my lips softly. I loved kissing her. I loved everything about her. We hadn't known each other long but hell I knew it was fate. There was nothing that could drag me away from her. Nothing.

Halfway through our evening of joking and laughing Logan yawned again. I told her to go on up I would make sure the fire died completely. She didn't fight me this time, she stood up and stretched. Her shirt pulled up as she stood on her toes and smiled at my eyes wandering to her stomach.

She giggled making me smile, "I love your laugh.”

Her blue eyes lit up as she stood there staring at me. She looked like she wanted to tell me something, but instead she just smiled, "your laugh is better. You and your deep voice. That's the only reason I'm still around.”

Logan leaned down and kissed my cheek and thanked me for being so kind to her parents, before heading off to bed. I watched the empty fireplace for a little while longer, wondering how a guy like me had found someone like her.

I settled into my bed a few hours later. I was about to turn my lamp off when the power cut out. I sighed, sitting up and letting my eyes adjust to the darkness. I didn't want to sleep alone anyways and I remembered Logan telling me about her nightmares. I got up and found the camping lamp her dad told me was in the closet. Apparently they lost power a lot when the storms rolled through here.

I wandered down the hallway slowly, hoping her parents room was in the opposite direction. There were more rooms than people on this floor and I hesitate between the last two doors at the end of the hallway. I couldn't remember which one was hers.

The door opened before I could figure out which room belonged to Logan. Her face was lit up by the lamp and she laughed softly as she pulled me into her room.

"I was hoping you'd come," she whispered setting the lamp down on her nightstand and kissing me. I wrapped my arms around her small body and held her close. She relaxed in my embrace, her skin cold against mine.

Thinking back now her hands were always cold.

She pulled at my shirt, her eyes hungry. Ever since we met we could barely get enough of each other. I kissed her that first night after the Ferris wheel and that was it. There was no going back. She never hesitated to tell me to slow down, so this was new.

Before she told me she wasn't ready. Now she seemed more experienced than I was. I pulled at her lip gently, "are you sure Logan?”

She nodded as she ran her cold hands up my stomach, "I want it to be you Cassian.”

I didn't need anything more to convince me. I laid her down on the mattress and pulled her shirt up over her head. I laid a trail of kisses down her stomach as her fingers ran through my hair. I couldn't get enough of her. I would never get tired of feeling her body against mine.

I pressed a kiss to her temple as she curled up in my arms. I knew it was wrong to be so happy after finally sleeping with her in her parents house. But I was more than happy as she sighed contently in my arms. She drew a heart on my chest and then she looked up at me.

"You don't want to fall in love with me," she whispered, her voice breaking as her blue eyes held mine.

I pushed open the door and walked out of the gas station, my heart still shattered in pieces. She had been right both times, but that didn't stop me. I got to know her and I fell in love with the blonde haired girl with the beautiful smile. I sighed as I climbed into the jeep and slammed my door shut.

My breathing was heavy as I tried to stop the panic attack that was coming on. I closed my eyes, squeezing my hands on the wheel as I saw her face. Her laughter played on loop in my head and it hurt to breathe whenever that happened. That stupid Coke bottle. That stupid memory. I had been doing so well.

My breath still came out in puffs, I didn’t bother turning on the heat. It wouldn’t help with the pain inside my chest. I hit the radio dial hoping it would help ease the pain. But it only made it worse as I pulled back onto the dirt road. The song that started to play was the old country song she loved to sing along to. She used to sit right there in the passenger seat and sing loudly off key with Faith Hill.

I looked over at the empty seat, that ache in my chest getting tighter. I didn't get far from the gas station, not even a mile away when I had to pull over. The tears made it too hard to see, the knot in my chest even tighter than before.

Another tear fell as I leaned my head against the wheel.

"Come on, it'll be fun!" She laughed as she tugged my arm and pulled me into the field. Her hair was covered by her red hat, her cheeks pink from the cold. I smiled as she led me out where the other couples were.

I wasn't big on school spirit, but for some reason Logan wanted to go to this football game. She was mesmerized by the homecoming court, her eyes glue to the girls wearing prom dresses in the freezing cold. She leaned in close when they waved and walked the track with their dates. I wrapped my arms around her tightly, my jacket swallowing her tiny frame. I loved her wearing my jacket, that's the only reason I agreed to come to this game.

She knew it too, that's why she always wore it when I was around. I was a sucker for that smile and her wearing my clothes. I shook my head, I didn't want to dance in front of people. That didn't stop her from dragging me into the middle of the football field with everyone else. Logan didn't care, she was already dancing on her own.

I smiled as her favorite song played and everyone grabbed a person to dance with. She pressed her fingers against my lips, "is that a smile Mr. Moten? Are you actually having fun?”

I laughed and pulled her in close as the snow started to fall, "not at all. But you, you look like you’re having the time of your life.”

She shivered as a flake landed on her nose and leaned in to kiss me. She wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me in close. She held me tightly, as if she could keep this moment and hold onto it forever. Her eyes were closed when she pulled away. She leaned her forehead against mine and sighed.

Looking back now I realize we were so young. I thought we could take on the world together. We were high on big dreams and caffeine. We were the lucky ones, we had found each other before our lives truly started. I knew there wasn't anyone else for me. Not since I stepped into that fair and heard her laugh.

I would've given her my life and spent all the years I had spread out in front of me with her.

I opened my eyes and looked at the girl I never knew actually existed. I smiled at her, not realizing how little time we had left. I would've appreciated every second, I would've memorized her face. I would've held her tighter, tried to freeze the moment and never let it go.

But I was young. I didn't think I'd have to let go so fast.

"I love you," I whispered as the song ended and we stood there for a moment more.

There were tears in her eyes as she pushed my chest hard letting her hands fall away from me, "I told you not to fall in love with me.”

She was actually angry, she wasn't kidding. She walked off the field as the game got ready to go into the second half. I followed behind her, grabbing her hand before she could get far.

"What the hell Logan? You aren't serious?" My voice was hard as she shook her head.

She blew out a breath as the snow fell, her lips were almost blue, "you can't love me. I'm a grenade.”

She looked pale, I assumed it was the cold. Her cheeks weren't red from the wind anymore and before I could ask her what that meant she closed her eyes. I was still holding her wrist as it happened. Time seemed to slow down as she fell, my arms wrapping around her before she landed on the ground.

"Someone call nine one one," I yelled as I forgot all about the game happening around us.

I wasn't sure how I made it back home in one piece. One minute I was sitting on the side of the highway and the next my jeep pulled back into the town I never thought I wanted to see again. The song opened the damn and all my tears were pouring out now as I pulled into a parking spot outside the black iron gates. I hadn't stepped inside since it all happened.

Saying goodbye once had been hard, I wasn’t sure I could do it again.

The sky was gray as I stood there at her grave. It was white marble, her mom had taken care of every detail. Logan Acher; daughter, friend. Two words summed up the life of the girl I barely got to know. She was more than that, she was the one I thought I'd never lose.

The dash between her birth and her death was too short. There was so much more she was supposed to do. There was so much love we were supposed to share. My heart was still beating inside my chest, but the truth was it was buried there with her. I would never love anyone the way I loved her.

I placed the flowers on top of her grave. The stone was cold against my fingers. I sighed, not even trying to stop the tears as they gathered in my eyes. Then I leaned down and placed the Coke bottle in front of the marker, in the corner where it couldn't hurt the precious stone that cost more than my car.

"I miss you every damn day, Logan Acher. But I'd do it all over again, just to hold you one more time.”

She warned me, time and time again she told me not to fall for her. Her kisses weren't a promise she could keep, she knew it the night we met. She was already dying the day we met, the day I felt alive for the first time in my life.

It was cancer, stage five. It had gotten to her bones. There was nothing she could do, she had accepted that long before she ever met me. The chemo had stopped working so she stopped letting it destroy her body. She didn't look sick, but then again I didn't know what sick looked like. She embraced life and never once felt sorry for herself. She thought she was scared, but she was the bravest person I knew.

Logan held on when the ambulance showed up. I held her hand as they drove to the hospital. She would squeeze my fingers every once and a while to let me know she was still there. Her blue eyes weren't as bright, I could see the life fading from her. She was fighting so hard to stay with me.

Her hand tightened in mine as I sat there watching them attach lines and try to save her. She pulled the breathing mask off and smiled at me. It wasn’t her usual smile, there was less spark behind it. Tears were in her eyes, but she was more than calm as she looked at me.

"I didn't want to let myself fall in love with you," she whispered as I leaned in closer to hear her soft voice, "I didn't want to hurt you. I don't want to leave you.”

A tear slipped down my cheek as I kissed her cold skin. My heart was breaking into a million pieces as I realized the truth, "I know, it's okay. I love you Logan.”

She smiled slightly, before wincing at the pain she was in, "promise me you won't hold onto me. Let me go and find someone else to share your smile with. Let another girl fall in love with your attitude and your laugh.”

I nodded, "I promise I'll try," I whispered as the paramedics pushed the oxygen mask back on her face.

She pulled it off once more, "I love you too Cassian Moten. Thank you for giving me the best gift I never thought I would get to have.”

They forced the mask back over her mouth. That moment I knew I was lucky to have found her at all. I smiled, I put on a brave face for her. I didn’t want her to know I was about ready to fall apart. I wasn’t ready to lose her, but I knew that I didn’t have a say in how this ended.

I brought our hands up to my chin and kissed her fingers as the machines beeped and all hell broke loose.

"I will always love you," I whispered as the wind picked up. I closed my eyes and for a moment I thought I could hear her laughter.

Before I turned to leave the snow started to fall. I shivered as I looked back at the Coke bottle one last time. I would never forget that day, when I felt my life begin.

I knew I couldn't out run her ghost. She would always be with me, I'd carry her in my heart and never let her go. She taught me to love and what it's like to be loved. She gave me the greatest gift in the world. I only realized it after it was too late. I never got to truly thank her for finding her way into my life.

Life is unfair, there's no denying that. But knowing what I know now, I'd still buy her that Coke. I would still find a way to make her laugh. Even if I knew the way it would all end, I'd do it all over again. If that was the only way I ever got to know her, I'd hold her in my arms and never ever let her go.

Logan Acher was my first love and even though I promised her I would love again, I lied. I would never love another person the way I loved her. She took my heart with her in the short time we had together. And even though I knew I'd never get it back, I wouldn't change a thing.

#fiction  #romance  #dying  #younglove  #firstlove 
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Written by EyesofArt

Winter's Tick Tock

Winter has come early this year; some welcome it as others wish they have more time to prepare. 

Time.

Time lingers for those who wish it did not.

Time stops for those who beg for the sound of ticking.

Unfortunately, time ceases for a few moments when the first snowfall touches the earth. The power of time intermingles with the coldest season. The pleasure of her touch is ripped from her lover's grasp.

For a moment, there was darkness as her eyes closed for the final time in the body she inhabited for thirty-two years. Everything seems lost after that last moment except love and passion.

Time was different now.

Time seems out of sync, so she thought as she stands in cemetery unaffected by the chill in the air. It was oddly warm to her.

However, the ticks of time for those around her kept moving forward. She watches as each family, friend and foe listen to the eulogy only her mother has put together. She knew her mother’s words even though someone else was reading it.

Snow cascades down upon her wood cherry casket. Why the cherry wood, she thought to herself.

“Because the cherry tree symbolizes strong expression, rebirth, new awakenings and compassion. It is time.” The voice startles her.

“Who goes there? I am not afraid!” She yells into nothing. A few minutes of silence before she realizes as days slowly pass, she could not leave the cemetery, something was holding her back. Over time she watches other ethereal beings go through an unknown tunnel of darkness. Maybe staying here was best for her.

                                                                                                        To be continued…

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Written by EyesofArt
Winter's Tick Tock
Winter has come early this year; some welcome it as others wish they have more time to prepare. 
Time.
Time lingers for those who wish it did not.
Time stops for those who beg for the sound of ticking.
Unfortunately, time ceases for a few moments when the first snowfall touches the earth. The power of time intermingles with the coldest season. The pleasure of her touch is ripped from her lover's grasp.
For a moment, there was darkness as her eyes closed for the final time in the body she inhabited for thirty-two years. Everything seems lost after that last moment except love and passion.

Time was different now.

Time seems out of sync, so she thought as she stands in cemetery unaffected by the chill in the air. It was oddly warm to her.
However, the ticks of time for those around her kept moving forward. She watches as each family, friend and foe listen to the eulogy only her mother has put together. She knew her mother’s words even though someone else was reading it.

Snow cascades down upon her wood cherry casket. Why the cherry wood, she thought to herself.
“Because the cherry tree symbolizes strong expression, rebirth, new awakenings and compassion. It is time.” The voice startles her.
“Who goes there? I am not afraid!” She yells into nothing. A few minutes of silence before she realizes as days slowly pass, she could not leave the cemetery, something was holding her back. Over time she watches other ethereal beings go through an unknown tunnel of darkness. Maybe staying here was best for her.

                                                                                                        To be continued…

#fantasy  #scifi  #fiction  #mystery  #shortstory 
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