Heroics which remain in plain sight,
in shadows of might,
done with bowing to fright.
Delving in the truth of a courageous heart,
expected to fall apart,
never actually fail to start.
Forget about the disappearing
act, because it doesn’t matter if they
do or don’t see. When it come down to it
everyone has only what they say.
Dying, in retrospect, was not the best way to start the day.
He opened up his eyes. It was like waking up for a second time. And there was one time in his life, when he had a proper job and wasn’t wanted as a murderer, that waking up early came naturally to him. That was no longer the case and therefore doing it once was hard enough.
“Oh my god, are you okay?”
There was the lucky aspect that his brother didn’t actually know how bad it had been. The unfortunate part was the fact he had been there to see it at all. “I’ll… be fine.”
Yes, pretending that he had been hurt, now that the death was over. Fantastic, he loved to act. This was all sarcasm.
His brother wasn’t an idiot, but he was a bit more practical sometimes than observant. “Okay, I’ll bring the car around, we’ll get to the hospital.”
That was the most unfortunate part. How was he supposed to say otherwise?
With a sigh, he nodded. Time to bribe a medical professional. This was annoying.
He laughed in their face. “You think you can be one of us?”
They didn’t react like everyone else expected them to. They squinted through the breath that was aimed at their face and when he was done laughing and talking, they wiped their face off with their sleeve. This turned his amusement, cruel and fanatical, into something more angry.
“I think I can be something,” they replied. Their voice was cool, so much cooler than anyone else’s had been that the rest of the troupe remembered. But the group stayed quiet, hidden in the trees, waiting for what would happen. “One of you, maybe not. In charge of you? That’s another thing.”
Everything happened too quickly. There was no one who knew what happened next. They floored the man and all of them attacked, their defense of their own. But the person took them all out. Not a one of them could say they knew how it happened. They were all on the ground, their weapons useless to them or taken away.
They stood there, in the centre of the mess they had created. They looked down upon the entire troupe with a critical eye. “You could be much better,” they said. “I will make you so.”
And they did.
When Carine woke up, she wasn’t dead. At least, she didn’t think she was. She wasn’t in the hospital either, which she would have expected after what had happened to her. Instead, she found herself at the base of a tree. The tree had no leaves, and almost no branches. If she wasn’t right up against the bark she might have thought it was some sort of metal structure. Because no tree could be without so many aspects which would make it a tree.
She sat up, being able to do so. Oh, she was still wearing that dress. The dress her father had glared at when she had decided upon it and reluctantly had used the credit card for it. He had expected her to return it, she had thought, despite everything. Well, it was still stained with the blood from what had happened earlier, so there was no returning it.
Thinking about her father hurt.
She looked around for the owner of the voice. She didn’t see anyone. “Hello?” she asked, hugging herself. The fact she couldn’t tell who was talking to her, someone who knew her name, really bothered her. Moreso than being in a place like this where she had no ideas at all about how she could have gotten here. Where here was. What this tree was.
“Carine, I have a proposition for you.”
The word came out immediately. She didn’t regret it at all. “No?” the voice echoed her.
“No. I’m not going to listen to anything you have to say. The fact you started by saying that tells me I shouldn’t listen to you. Leave me alone.”
Then Carine was alone. Dreadfully alone.
Mother said December was never the same once they sold the empire.
I remember the Decembers of my youth. They were shining things in the corners of my memories. Times of joy, I think. There were the thirteen days of celebration, I remembered. There was a lot more to them then that. Something to open every day. It was always a small toy or some candy. Mother had always been thrilled. She had spent so much time on it, I think, now that I look back on it.
Then they sold the empire. I was five. And December changed. The candles no longer were put on the table. There was nothing to unwrap every day. Just one day that everyone had to go to the city centre and listen to a person speak in a language we didn’t understand. They told us to appreciate the empire and we would all agree to whatever it was that was being said by raising up our hands when the person was done.
December was never the same once they sold the empire. I try to recall what December was, but the memories fade away every year. One day it will just be this language that they are finally teaching me. One day it will just be me, throwing up my hands in agreement when they ask me too. One day.
December will never be what it was.
Damn, it was a beautiful night for flying.
Ria settled her goggles over her eyes. “What do you think?”
Nashita sighed, right in her ear. “I think you’re an adrenaline junkie.”
“Well of course I am. If I hadn’t been, I probably wouldn’t have started flying in the first place.”
The sky lit up with another streak of silver. She counted. The thunder followed, a shining ring in the distance. Despite how grumpy Nashita tried to be, Ria could see her eyes shine with the light in the distance.
The air was electric. Ria finally got back to her feet, feeling the weaker limb of the upper reaches of the tree sway beneath her. “Plus, why are you coming with me? You can fly on your own.”
“To make sure you don’t flatten yourself.”
Because we don’t go as fast alone.
Nashita disappeared under her hat. Taking in a breath, Ria stepped off.