Between Two Worlds
For the past two years, I’ve dreamed of this day. I’ve imagined in detail what will happen: how my neighborhood will look as I walk up the street once more, my joyful recognition as I pick out memories from my surroundings, my excitement as I near my house. I’ve pictured how my parents will greet me, their surprise and relief to see me back, how I’ll tell them everything I’ve done since I last walked out my door. I’ve laughed as I thought of my sister’s reaction, no less joyful than my parents’ but twice as surprised and outraged that I’d gone and had an adventure without her. I’ve thought many times of what it’ll be like to live again in my own home, sleep in my own bed, and return to my favorite activities and haunts.
Yet, despite all that, my dreams are wrong. The street I now walk up is not quite familiar; everything seems to have shrunk and shifted ever so slightly. My joy is cooled and tempered with sorrow, my excitement dulled with longing for something else I cannot have. And my home itself . . . I pause at the end of the driveway and look up at the house. Has it always been so small? So like the other houses around it?
Aedon waits for me around the other side of the church, where we can’t be seen from the door or the parking lot. As I approach, he gives me that easy grin I know so well. “Hello, Lady Kate. Funny that someone I’ve never met would tell me to meet her outside, isn’t it? Maybe she does know me after all.”
“And maybe she doesn’t like answering more of her sister’s awkward questions than is absolutely necessary.” I cross my arms. “What are you doing here?”
A familiar figure stands before me, tall and lithe, a second dagger ready in his left hand. I let out a moan of mixed relief and pain and manage a slight smile. “Botheration, Jarek,” I mutter, “how many times do I owe you my life now?”
“Seven and counting, shadow.” Jarek steps over the soldier’s body and kneels beside me. “You should be more careful.”
Aedon continues to hover over me once I’m settled in the chair. “What happened, Kate?”
“I was attacked.” I struggle to keep my eyes open, suddenly feeling very tired even though it’s not even nine in the morning. “What’s it look like?”
“You sound like me.” Jarek claims the other chair and raises an eyebrow at me. “Maybe that bump on the head did more damage than I thought.”
When we reach the path, we find that the soldiers’ bodies have been cleared away. A faint smell of burned flesh still hangs in the air, sending a stab of guilt into my soul. Two more people, dead because of me.
I know I’ll see them again in my dreams, watch once more as they die- one to my fire, one to Jarek’s knife. I’ll watch and I’ll see all the details I missed in the moment, and I’ll remember all too clearly that they likely bore me no ill will; they were simply doing following orders.
As if reading my thoughts, Aedon whispers soft words, “Don’t go down that path, Lady Kate. Don’t let the guilt eat you. What’s done is done; there’s nothing you can do to change that.”
Tears bead my eyes as we continue down the black asphalt trail. “They’re dead, Aedon. And it’s my fault.”
“I know.” He rubs my shoulder gently. “I know, but remember what Sir Camrick taught us. If you allow guilt to consume you, you’ll have nothing left.”
Destinies and Decisions
Gwen walked over to Rachelle, Skyla, and Ariana and fixed Rachelle with a firm stare. "Stay out of trouble, understand? I want you to still be in one piece when I see you again."Rachelle made a face. "I already promised Hunter I'd be careful. Besides, I don't get into trouble; it pounces on me.""Then stay out of trouble's way." For emphasis, Gwen let her stare linger a moment longer.
Bianca slid her rook two squares to the right. "Check."Jared took the only option he had: moving his king a space forward and to the left. "You know, I'm starting to hate that word."Bianca moved her queen three spaces to the left. "Then I apologize that I must say it again: check."Sliding his king back a square, Jared scowled. "If you were really sorry, you wouldn't find so much reason to say it.""But then I would eventually force you to say it instead, and I'm sure that would be worse." Bianca smiled sweetly as she moved her knight a space to the right and two spaces down. "Also, checkmate."
A few minutes passed before Gwen replied. Did you know you're the only person I've ever heard stammer while mindspeaking?
And just for fun, a little bit of what I've written this month in Monster in the Castle:
Hayden sighed. "Master Silver, we are not going to fake a crisis simply to convince Miss Pansy to ask for a reprieve from her promise. Nor," he added, anticipating Jason's next suggestion, "are we going to cause one."Jason's expression could've passed for innocence had it not become an amused smirk partway through. "Cause a crisis? Now I know I'm rubbing off on you, highness. That's not a bad idea."
"And not much else besides more questions." Jason made for the door. "Why am I not surprised?""I expect it is because we are Leaguesmen, Master Silver." Hayden reached the door first and pulled it open. "Questions are the purpose for our existence; to find their answers, our calling."Jason snorted. "Leave it to you, highness, to make a rhetorical question into a philosophical statement."
And that's it for the snippets. I hope you enjoyed! How's your writing going? Feel free to leave some of your favorite lines you've recently written in the comments; I'd love to read them!
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)