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I love this short story! It's on a sad topic, lost love, but I also didn't want to much detail and structure, so that the reader could take something different away from the story every time.
Through the spaces in the trees I can see the clouds float slowly along with the breeze. They were the big white fluffy clouds; the ones that only seem to appear in front of baby blue sky, and cover the sun in a cheery lackadaisical kind of way. Today was no different; a bright baby blue backdrop to those cotton ball clouds. As I lay in the grass staring up at the clouds something moved next to me.
“Oh, is that you, Naberius? Get out of my sun.”
“Calm down. I’m just here for a little visit. It’s been a while since we’ve seen you down below.”
A little visit, he calls it. Like there was no other motive, like he was dropping by for tea.
“It has been a while, you’re right. It was good to see you.”
“Ah-ah. Don’t think I’ll leave that soon. Plus, I’m here to deliver a message.”
He squints his eyes against the light as the sun peeks out from behind the clouds. It must be hot up here for him. He’s not used to the air above ground.
“If it’s from him, I know. And I won’t go back.”
“Ipos misses you. He mopes all the time. It’s been years, decades! Why can’t you forgive him?”
The shock of his question startles me. Has he not told them? Or, more than likely, he’s spun some lie, a cleverly crafted tale, painting my character and soul a darker shade. Of course he’d make me into the one at fault; he’s a duke, after all. Can’t ruin his image; he needs his reputation in Hell.
It’s no matter to me. I should calm down. I won’t be seeing him again, and I won’t return with Naberius. It would feed their pride, thinking they can control me.
“It’s not going to change, Naberius. You should leave now, before the sun reaches its peak.”
“You should too. Stop pouting and come with me. Ipos has been very patient in his waiting. If you don’t return now, however, he may come retrieve you himself.”
Ha. He would never do something like that himself. It’s too easy to just replace me. I’m sure plenty of others have fallen by now. They might not have the lineage I do, but they still came from grace, from the light.
“He won’t…He never does anything that requires him to exert any unnecessary energy. He’ll calm down in another couple of years, and you won’t need to bother yourself with me anymore."
“All you’re doing is torturing him now! You know you want to return home too…”
Home…my home is not beneath me. I thought I could find one there, but it was too much to hope for happiness under the earth.
“…Back to our city, the moors, the cool darkness. No more of this awful sky, this hideous sun and its burning light….”
Fool! Nothing can compare to the sun shining through the trees, the breeze flowing through your hair as you glide effortlessly on a current.
“…It’s all so horribly unbearable. How have you lived so long among this constant danger? One stray beam of sunlight and you disappear, forever. You know that right?”
“But! You’re not thinking of…”
“Naberius! Leave! And don’t come back!”
He stares at me for a long time. Long enough for my sudden anger at his words to pass. I look back at him, willing him to leave, but my mind is lost on another issue….
Thinking of seeing that glorious sunshine just once more. Feeling the faith I used to have return to me as the sun light starts to burn my skin, hoping that my king from long ago will forgive the fall I have taken, look past the wrongs I have done in his eyes, and take his child back into his kingdom. Even as I know this is a false hope, I would turn my head to the sky and smile at its baby blue color, its bright white fluffy clouds, and feel once more that warmth that I had long ago all but forgotten.
Naberius stands and without another word walks slowly into the darker deeper shade by the trunk of the tree, until he blends into the blackness and is gone. His face as he said those last words lingers with me. The fear, and the wonder, the longing for the courage and the knowledge to take that step with me splayed across his features.
But he would never give into it. He only guesses that my king is forgiving, that the ecstasy of the world far above ours is what drives me to this path. Naberius knows not true joy, or happiness. The wonders that fill the kingdom above, that freeze, and die in our world below. He only guesses that this is what I am returning to.
And I know I am not.
I know that the first step into the light is the last one I’ll ever take. There is nothing beyond that for me. The fallen are not forgiven. They never will be. I am chained to this spot; halfway into the light, still sheltered by the shadow. I cannot move forward, and I will not return.
Not unless he comes himself.
Another forbidden hope. A lie I tell myself; another chain around my wrists. Despite what Naberius thinks, he will not come for me, his nature lacks the traits that would make that a possibility; kindness, love.
He will stay in his stained castle, with his blind followers. He will fill his halls with other fallen; that are more than happy to tarnish their skin, and rip out their feathers, until all that is left are oily, bloody stretches of skin.
And he will forget.
As will I. I will lay here, motionless, unfeeling, until I am taken pity upon and turned to stone at the feet of this tree, blocking his exit into this world, or until I am brave enough to take that first step.
|Hawker 1-2||Strings: Fated Love|