He would probably whine about this soon. This was the third time she had taken chocolates away from him. The last time she had to eat it all herself to keep him from it. It was disgusting, but throwing it out had not been an option. For some reason she could not make herself waste it all.
Not that it mattered. Nothing mattered. She had accomplished what she had wanted and had been left with her final promise: killing Emil. He had apparently volunteered to die through the slow process of old age. Or chocolate poisoning. Whichever came first.
“Experiences are what you get when you don’t get what you want,” he reminded her. He had said that before, once. Coleen was certain he quoted someone else, but had never bothered to find out.
Experiences. Things she could never have now or things that she could have now that she had nothing more to give to the world.
“We could get married,” she found herself suggesting. A homemaker for Emil while he found a way to adapt to a mortal life. It would not last forever. She could take care of him for that long. He had claimed them to be engaged at one point (a ploy, but still).
“I can’t get married to the former king,” Emil flat-out refused.
“Of course.” It had been silly of her to suggest it, but now Emil looked thoughtful. Perhaps because he realized he could make that connection now. Make a connection and see it through to his end.
So this is the simple life.
Meera started in the morning, long before Shu-fang did. Shu-fang could have, but the other two women had seemed to think that Meera’s morning hours were a bit more odd so Shu-fang let them keep that feeling. She didn’t want to stand out too much. Every little bit of energy that Shu-fang could muster went to acting like a regular person. As regular as any individual could ever be.
“I got a text last night. Apparently we have someone who found a bunch of old clothes somewhere or another and she wants them repaired.”
“I don’t have any other plans,” Shu-fang said quickly. Repairs? She was very good with those. Meera knew it too. She had spent some time watching Shu-fang with it and other than a few pointers when it came to the machine, Meera always left her to it. Shu-fang felt like she would still have some time to go when it came to fashioning the clothes from scratch. She didn’t want to waste any fabric, after all. But when it came to repairs Shu-fang was already a master.
There were years she had worn certain things threadbare as she continued to repair and repair them. She knew a bit better about it now.
Is there life out there?
Past everything set gingerly on the shelves
Stars shine down night and day
Where the speed shoots down the old and pastes up the new
A planet named after war stays the loudest of all silent grace
The namesake of dark soaks up nothing of space
Is there anything worth looking for?
Changes occur past the blinds
Nothing is different from this far away
The same stories on an endless loop of boredom and excitement
The light of day consistent for only so long
The moon losing the cycle strong
Is there life out there?
Or is it as fake as what is created for screens?
Is it a pretend you thought as an echoed array?
Through the door as lies and deceit
Nothing, just nothing, ever so sweet
As the life you wait for out there
Shu-fang woke up feeling rested for one of the first times in a long while. The room was small, perhaps even cramped. It wasn’t to say that Shu-fang had lived in worse places, because that went without saying, but this place was nice and cozy. Even without too much in it, she enjoyed this immensely. It never got too hot or too cold and the room service was amazing. Carla came up every morning, except for the few times she was out of town or sick, and in which case Shu-fang and Meera didn’t want her to be doing that anyway.
There was a routine to it. Shu-fang liked routines. At least, routines like this. Getting up and ready for the day, getting behind a sewing machine, and doing something creative. People all had something specific they wanted. Sometimes it fell into patterns. Most all of the time it fell into patterns. Yet Shu-fang had never spent the time before to know the exact patterns. She definitely knew how to sew, she had even used a sewing machine before. Nevertheless, Shu-fang was much more familiar of things by hand considering the length of time involved with that, so it was fun to do something new like this.
“Good morning, Shu-fang.”
“Good morning, Meera.”
Emil had watched people grow old and die around him for an eternity. Coleen only understood it as a concept. As numb as she felt now, she knew it would affect her when it happened. When Emil died. Then she would fall numb again. It was not a big deal.
“Something other than being a homemaker,” Emil clarified.
At one point that might have enraged her. Coleen could not feel beyond the numbness of peace and reconstruction.
“I could be a homemaker,” she mused, the thought no longer a sexist insult. Someone who fixed, who did not destroy. Something she could be appreciated for doing… unlike what had happened.
“You certainly have become odd since losing your throne.” Emil placed the broom aside and sat at the table. He had bought what she had requested (like the apples), but under the grocery bag was a rectangular box. Emil opened the box and slid it to him.
Coleen took the lid and closed it. “You need to watch what you eat now. Food can kill you.”
Emil did not even blink. “Food has killed me.”
She took the box from the table. “Then let’s not repeat the experience.”
What is so expecting?
Dripping life, newly come from death
Beautiful where it is, stay there
Nothing to do with metal minds, nothing so
What is so flawless?
It is perfection, broken perfection
Minds crazed from the sight of superiority gone mad
Bodies pierced with metal, so helpful
How did they become like this?
The last was his while none were theirs
Certainly those from before were not at fault
Someone to be blamed must be present
He wishes it was him
The broken work he was brought to, inherited
Nothing more to deconstruct when all is destroyed
One can look from the inside
How many things can live in the same space?
Inside where one should be alone
Nothing can be understood while locked away
No one is so superior as to forget that
Except when lost, lost in themselves
From all others
How can such deep holes be filled?
Inside there was something to understand
It just wasn’t what they were looking for
So he takes it
“Coleen, you are not listening to me.”
“I wasn’t aware you needed me to,” Coleen replied wryly, rubbing at her hands where they had been grasped about the handle of the broom. Emil had yanked it from her fingers. It seemed that being immortal hadn’t done anything for her physically. Dying had hurt.
It meant it had hurt every time Emil had died. Yet he had said nothing.
It had hurt when she had died too, when the Faith had run her through, as Ami caressed her and told her the things Coleen had not wanted her to say. ‘Yes, that is what you thought you wanted, Ami. But now you can find another way to be happy. Yes, you will. You do not need me. I have made myself irrelevant to happiness.’
“You are a fool.” Emil saying as such was nothing new, so Coleen ignored it. “It seems odd to say something like this, considering what you tend to enjoy. You need a hobby.”
What she tended to enjoy? Nothing at this point. Coleen had told him as much when they had arrived in this place. Emil had his life now. His mortal life. It was time for him to grow older and die. He really should not have been spending time with her. Did he not know how much it might hurt?
Of course he did.
Running at War, Shu-fang let the other woman throw her down the embankment. There was no time to pause. Shu-fang got up and started to run.
The shriek rang in her ears. She remembered once that would have made her pause, deny, but Shu-fang knew better. She had known better for some time.
It didn’t matter what War said. War would never understand. Shu-fang didn’t really need her to.
She only had to get away.
Born in a turn of fate
One as dark as the inside who could find a way
A lone way
Are you alone? But not lost
Only to the gold is the path clear
Others only interfere
If only they knew, understood
How they hurt more than helped
How much more you knew and so you did
Death lays in your wake
All you can see
Above them all
Now all you must do is make them see it
And all will be well as the sand tumbles down
All will be well
War flipped her up, then without getting off her back swept Shu-fang’s feet from underneath her. There was no way she could stop that, but she could turn it into a back-flip. Shu-fang had long since realized how unreal her fights looked to other people.
What was her advantage? War wouldn’t understand. That was it. Shu-fang would be able to run because War didn’t expect her to retreat. Or if she did, she would expect it to be to regroup. Shu-fang had to run and lose her in the wilds.
She lost track of what War did, but Shu-fang managed to step aside before War clocked her in the head, evading another grapple. Shu-fang already felt sore. War never pulled any punches. A lesser person would need hospitalization by now.
Lesser? Mortal. This was why Shu-fang wanted it to end. She didn’t want to think like this.