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Posts tagged ‘short story’

Guilt Indebted

Prompt: “I got the last ticket.”

She carefully wrapped it in gold and silver paper.  All her savings had gone into it.  It was the very last one.

The next day, she went to school as usual, waiting until the end of the day to approach her best friend, Edna.

“I got you something as an early present.”

“Really?  What’d you get me?!”

Edna was the type of girl who had everything.  It was hard to surprise her with anything, so Lily really hoped that this would do it.

“Why don’t you open it, silly!”

Edna laughed, “Alright then.”

As Edna peeled back the gold and silver wrapping, her eyes grew wide, the smile vanishing, replaced with shock.

“How?” breathed Edna.

“I got the last ticket.”

Edna threw her arms around her friend, “Oh Lily!  This is the best thing in the world!  You’re amazing!  Did you know my family tried to buy tickets, but there were only three left from the place they were buying from?  I’m so glad I get to go with them!”

April 10, 1912

Lily went to the pier with hundreds of other spectators to see their friends and family off.  She waved and screamed with thousands of other even though she knew that Edna couldn’t see her.  She was so happy that she had been able to afford the chance to give her best friend such a momentous opportunity.

Inside, she was envious of Edna, but she knew she would never fit in with the rich folk.  That’s why she had been so surprised when Edna wanted to be her friend.  But their friendship blossomed over the years and they became inseparable.

Edna had a kind heart and gentle soul.  She never wanted Lily to go without nor did she want Lily to miss out on all the fun that her fellow classmates could afford.  You see, Lily was from the poorest of the poor.  Her parents could barely feed and clothe her, let alone send her to school.  Lily had met Edna in first grade and by third grade, they were up to all kinds of mischief.  That’s when the money ran out.  Lily’s parents wanted to pull her out of school, force her to get a job to support the family, but Edna stepped in.  Edna told Lily’s parents that she could not stand by and watch as their family suffered.  Edna promised that from that day on they would never have to worry about food on the table, or whether they could afford to purchase new clothes to survive the coming winter, or to send Lily to school.  Edna vowed that she would take care of them, not out of pity, but out of the belief that everyone deserved this basic kindness.

All this time, Lily had saved up, hoping one day she could repay her friend with a gift worthy of everything she had done for her.

Lily smiled.  This had been Edna’s dream ever since it had been announced to the public and Lily was happy she had been able to give something back to the best friend who had given her everything.

Then came the news.  April 15, 1912.  The whole neighbourhood was abuzz.  How could the unsinkable sink?

And all Lily could think was that she sent her only friend to her death.  How could fate be so cruel?

So Lily lived on, never knowing whether her friend had lived or died at sea.  Only in Heaven did she finally learn the truth.


Loyal No More

She loved him more than anything in the world, but sometimes she had a hard time showing it.  Sometimes she would appear difficult, but it was only her concern that drove her to be this way.  She was insecure and wanted reassurance that she was the only one he would ever care for and love in his life.  He would never come out and say it, but he did.  He was always loyal to her. Until one day when he had enough.

It was a day like any other. They spent their day separate from each other and met up at the movie theatre. This theatre was different from most that she had gone to.  It looked ultra modern with its white, polished surfaces and bright red leather couches.  They had a bar setup in the back of the theatre and a restaurant that would serve you dinner as you watched the show.  It was a new kind of luxury product on the market, so to speak.

She arrived with her family and she headed in ahead of them to save everyone spots.  It was hard since she was one person, trying to save spots for five people. As the theatre began to fill and her family was taking their time to show up, people started taking the spots she was saving.  Shortly after she was able to ward off several people, an events manager came up to her telling her she couldn’t save spots for people as this event was so fully booked that it wasn’t fair to people who showed up early if someone was saving spots for people who didn’t even bother to show up on time.  Reluctantly, she relinquished the seats, hoping her family would understand and be able to find their own spots elsewhere in the theatre.  She saved one spot for him.

Her mom came in and sat down next to her.

“Mom…I’m trying to save this spot for Declan,” said Grace awkwardly.

“Oh, I’m sorry, honey,” returned her mom, standing up.

“No, it’s-it’s fine. Um, you can have this spot and uh, dad can take mine.  I’ll find another spot when he gets here,” said Grace, shaking her head.

“Are you sure? I mean, I could go find a different spot since we need to save a spot for your sister too,” said her mom.

“Nah, it’s fine,” said her sister walking in, “I found some friends.  I’ll go sit with them, but guess who I found?”

Her sister stepped aside to reveal Declan with his arm around another girl.

In a word, she was gorgeous.  The type of gorgeous that would make you stop in the middle of traffic, the type of beauty that could get you in trouble.  She looked like she always got what she wanted and pursued what didn’t fall right into her lap.  She was smart. She was cunning.  In short, she was dangerous and Grace could see that.

“Um…excuse me, who are you?” asked Grace standing, feeling immediately threatened.

Her sister took one look at her face and knew she had to get the hell out of there.

“I’m Ashley, who are you?” said the other girl, looking Grace up and down.

“His girlfriend,” snapped Grace, “DECLAN! How could you? Who is this?!”

“Grace, relax, it’s nothing,” shrugged Declan in the casual way he often did when speaking to her, dropping his arm to his side, “She’s just a friend, that’s all.”

“Yeah, let’s go find our seats,” said Ashley taking his hand.

“Excuse me?” said Grace, blocking their way.

“Wha-” started Ashley, looking as though she  was about to protest.

“Ashley,” said Declan sharply, cutting her off.

Ashley looked from Declan to Grace and back, bewildered.

“Seriously? You’re not even allowed to sit with your friends?” asked Ashley incredulous, trying to hold back her anger.

“Drop it,” said Declan, not taking his eyes off Ashley,”Grace, go find a spot for us, I’ll go get us some refreshments.”

Grace nodded and headed up towards the left side of the theatre to find a spot along the wall.  As she settled into her bar stool, Declan returned with a plate of pasta and a basket of chips

“Sorry I couldn’t find better spots facing the screen,” apologized Grace, “I guess we’ll have to just turn the bar stools so we can see the screen, are you ok with that? I mean my back will be to you…”

Declan gave her a reassuring smile, “It’s fine, I brought you your favourite, orecchiette in an arrabbiata sauce.  Did you want a drink?”

“A Strawberry Daiquiri?” said Grace.

“Sure, I’ll be right back hun,” smiled Declan.

From across the theatre, Ashley watched Declan go to the bar.  She dropped her jacket on her seat and sprinted up to the bar.

“Hi, a sex on the beach,” said Ashley to the bartender.

“Comin’ right up,” returned the bartender, flashing her a smile.

“Hello stranger,” said Ashley sidling up to him.

“Ashley, don’t.” said Declan quietly, shooting a glance at Grace.

Her back was turned to him as she enjoyed her pasta.

“What? I thought you said you two were done,” said Ashley.

“I haven’t exactly broken up with her yet,” he said.

“So?” smirked Ashley, “We all know that you’re gonna, so I don’t see what the difference is if she finds out from me rather than you.”

“Ash, seriously, can we not do this here and now?” said Declan.

“Why is this bothering you so much?” asked Ashley.

“Cuz her parents are right there,” he said, “And I don’t want them to you know…kill me?”

Ashley laughed, “Alright, I’ll keep my distance, but just for tonight alright babe? You gotta break it off with her.”

“What if I don’t?” he asked, looking at Grace again.

“What would make you want to stay with her? You said it yourself, you said she was a psycho. You said she’s over emotional and cries over the smallest things,” said Ashley accusingly.

“She wants kids,” thought Declan, “Not like you. You have no love for children. You’re nothing more than a fling. I don’t and never will see this going anywhere farther than sex.”

Declan shook his head, picked up the drinks and headed back to his seat.

“Here, sorry it took so long, the bartender is swamped back there,” apologized Declan, setting the drink down and sliding it towards Grace.

Grace nodded, “Thanks hun.”


“Declan…can I…talk to you about something?” asked Grace cautiously.

“Something wrong?” asked Declan, cosying up to her.

“Who’s Ashley?” asked Grace.

“She’s just a friend,” said Declan, “Like I told you last night.”

“I know, but like how did you guys meet?” asked Grace.

“She was a childhood friend.  Grew up with her.  She was a neighbour’s kid,” said Declan.

“The one you had a crush on when you were a kid?” asked Grace.

“Yeah…” said Declan awkwardly.

“I’m gonna ask you just once, is there anything going on?” asked Grace.

“No,” said Declan immediately, “What would make you say that?”

“Well, I mean, I’m not pretty or anything. I’m always so insecure. According to you and everyone, I cry too much,” listed Grace, the tell-tale tears welling up in her eyes.

“Oh, hun, there’s nothing to worry about,” said Declan holding her close.

“Liar,” she thought.

She nodded and climbed out of bed.

“Where are you going?” asked Declan, sitting up.

“I…I just need some fresh air.  I’ll talk to you later,” said Grace walking out, feeling numb.


Grace drove herself down to the Glenmore Reservoir, sitting at the water’s edge watching the sunset, replaying the conversation she had with Declan, replaying the confrontation with Ashley, rereading the texts from an unknown number telling her about the affair.  From what she could see, logically she had two choices: to walk away from this or to try to make things work with him.  Her over dramatic mind gave her one more option, she could die.

Once the sun had set, she walked back to her car and drove home.  As she drove she steeled herself, prepared her mind for what she was about to do.^ (see below for ending three)

“Hey hun, everything ok?” asked Declan, picking up the phone.

“Yeah, it’s fine.  Do you think you could meet me at Chapters in Crowfoot?” she asked.

“You mean at the Starbucks?” asked Declan.

“Yeah,” said Grace.

“What’s this about?” asked Declan.

“I think this is a better conversation to have in person,” said Grace.

You could hear the pain her voice as she said it and the pain in Declan’s reply.

“Sure, I’ll see you in ten?” said Declan.

“See you,” said Grace, hanging up.

Shortly after, she pulled into the parking lot and headed inside to the bookstore.  She got herself a Grande Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher. She was a sentimental sort.  This was the drink she had had on their very first date here. He arrived shortly after, ordering Starbucks Refresher Strawberry Lemonade.

“Grace, please tell me what’s going on?” asked Declan sitting down.

“Declan…I don’t think this is working out…” started Grace.

“What do you mean?” asked Declan.

Grace pulled out her phone and pushed the messages towards him, “I know you’re cheating on me.”

Declan’s face fell, “Grace…I’m so sorry. I never meant to hurt you.”

“I gave you a chance to tell me why.  To explain to me why you would do that to me,” said Grace, trying to hold back the tears that were fighting to break through the surface, “But you chose to lie to me.”

“Grace-” started Declan.

“No, let me finish. Declan, I’ve always imagined a life with you.  Getting married, having children, growing old, but your choice has taken that away.  I loved…no I still love you, but I can’t live with someone who would lie to me about something like this.  I trusted you and I thought you were better than this.  I know I’m not the easiest person to love, but you know that I would work hard to make things work,” started Grace, “Your one decision to do this has destroyed everything we’ve built together. We’re done.  I’m sorry.  Good bye.”

She stood, turning to hide her tears that had now spilled over when Declan caught her arm.

“Can I say something before you go?” asked Declan.

Grace nodded; he deserved a chance to explain himself.

“I love you.  I’ll never stop loving you.  I know I slipped up and I regret it, but I know that will never get you back and I’m sorry,” said Declan.

She nodded again and walked away.

Declan sat there for a while longer and called Ashley.

“Hey babe,” answered Ashley.

“How dare you!” said Declan angrily.

“What?” asked Ashley confused.

“You texted Grace even after I told you to leave her alone,” said Declan.

Ashley made to protest, but Declan cut her off, “We’re done. I don’t ever want to see or hear from you again.  Get out of my life!”

“Deck…please,” said Ashley tearfully.

“I told you this was a mistake.  I begged you to leave me alone, but you clearly couldn’t stay away could you?  You just had to have me,” continued Declan, “Well I hope you’re happy because I lost the best thing that has happened to me.  I lost the ONLY person I ever loved because of you.  So fuck off and I swear to God, if you ever try to contact me, I will make sure you don’t see the light of day ever again. Am I clear?”

He hung up without waiting for a response.

Declan looked at her blankly, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Grace looked at him puzzled, pulling the phone towards her rereading the texts, “What do you mean?”

“Like I told you, Ashley was just a friend.  Yes, I used have feeling for her, but that was maybe ten, twelve years ago,” said Declan, “Look, she contacted me and asked me about starting up a relationship with her, but I told her I wasn’t interested.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t having any of it.  She somehow figured out that we’d be at the theatre that night and went there pretending not to know I would be there.  And you know that I hug people rather than handshakes, so when I hugged her she just wouldn’t let go, so I left my arm around her.”

“And you’re sure you’ve never had anything with her,” confirmed Grace.

“Years ago, before we started dating,” sighed Declan, “Yes, I had a one night stand with her.”

Grace nodded, “I trust you.  Thank you for being forward with me.”

Declan smiled, “Now come here.”

Grace returned his smiled and hopped on his lap.

“Can I see that message again?” asked Declan.

“Why?” asked Grace.

“I just wanted to double check that number; I think that might be Ashley’s number,” said Declan, “And I want to make it clear to her that she’s to leave us alone.  I promise that I will never hurt you and I will never let anyone else hurt you either.”

Grace handed him the phone and he compared the number of the unknown messager to the number on his phone, confirming it was hers. He called Ashley, putting her on speaker phone so Grace could listen in.

“Hey babe,” answered Ashley.

“Ashley, I told you that I wasn’t interested in a relationship, I told you not to make up lies about us to try and break up my relationship with Grace, and you’ve completely disregard all my requests,” said Declan angrily.

“What?” asked Ashley confused.

“You texted Grace even after I told you to leave her alone,” said Declan.

Ashley made to protest, but Declan cut her off, “I love Grace.  Can’t you see that?  What we had was gone years ago.  I intend to stay with Grace, to love her until the end of my days. I don’t love you, I never have, Ash.  Why is that so hard to understand?”

“Deck…please,” said Ashley tearfully.

“I told you that was a mistake.  I had just broken up with Charlotte and was looking for the comfort of a friend and you took advantage of me.  When I found Grace, I begged you to leave me alone, but you clearly couldn’t stay away could you?  You just had to have me,” continued Declan, “Don’t try to contact me again.  We’re done.”

“Deck, can’t we please talk about it?” begged Ashley.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” stated Declan plainly.

“How can you say there was nothing between us?  Did you honestly feel nothing?” asked Ashley.

“Nothing,” confirmed Declan.

Ashley broke down in tears, hanging up the phone.

Grace looked at Declan and smiled.  For once, she was glad she was wrong.


She drove across the grass, maneuvering around the blockades that would normally prevent people from driving on to the walking trails, heading straight for the spot she had been sitting, watching the sunset. In her mind this was the only solution. He was going to leave her; she just knew it. The world was better without her anyways. She was certain that no one would miss her. Her car bumped along; it was not made for off-roading. As her car plunged into the water she sent one final text: goodbye. Slowly, she lowered her windows. The water flooded in. She closed her eyes as the car began to fill. She did not go peacefully. Her body struggled and fought, but in the end, it was futile. She was gone.



Ever since the fall of the second dynasty, our world had been thrown into chaos. Nothing seemed right anymore. There were no morals, no laws, nothing. But no one cared. No one felt it was wrong. No one but me. Laws today were arbitrary. What was legal today wasn’t tomorrow under the new regime. The only law that remained constant was that no government, past, present, or future could be expressed in any form deemed derogatory by the current regime except by the conquering regime.

I couldn’t keep things straight anymore, but I had to; I didn’t want to die for disobedience. I didn’t understand how the others could keep up, following blindly like a bunch of sheep. I liked to think of myself as more of a leader, but I knew I wasn’t a real leader. If I was, I wouldn’t be so afraid to die for what I believed in. More recently, there have been whispers of a coup rising up against the new regimes, a group, working from the grassroots where there is the most discontent, as is the case in most uprisings.

And it wasn’t only political chaos that was rampant, nature also had had enough of our abuse. She took her revenge on us and sent in an invasion of highly resistant pigeons. It was as though they had taken on the characteristics of bacteria, growing and adapting to the technologies created to destroy them. You would be hard pressed to find a building that wasn’t covered in a thick layer of shit. I know it’s hard to imagine, I know what you’re thinking. They’re just pigeons, what can they do? Well for one, they are creepy as hell. The way they watch you with their beady little eyes. It’s like they know something, like they’re watching and waiting for you to slip up, to make a mistake and expose a vulnerability that they can shit on. I suppose that’s why the pigeon has unofficially become the symbol of the imminent rebellion.

In early China, the ability to control the Yellow River was a measure of a dynasty’s competency to rule. Now it was the ability to control the pigeon population. The rebels enjoyed the symbolism associated with the stream of regimes unable to control these pests. They imagine themselves to be such a handful for the government when the time comes that they will be impossible to suppress.

But we will see. Only time will tell. But for now, all that is left is to wait.

Prompt: Random three word story (derogatory, me, pigeon)

Frosted Reality

I drive this familiar road remembering what you called a better time. Everything looks so different covered in snow, shivering and bracing itself against the cold. Despite everything I’ve lost, despite everything that’s changed since you left, I can’t say life was any better before. Less lonely, yes, but like everything else in this world, it was temporary, fleeting, that’s what made it beautiful, that’s what made you beautiful.

Though everyone is gone. Though everything is different. Though I’ve lost you in my life. I don’t feel alone. Not anymore. Through loving you I found myself. Through seeing the deadness inside reflected on this lonely road I realized that I too had beauty. Too long I had been kept from seeing my truth.

I stop, taking in the dark, leafless trees standing tall against the sky. Defiant and declarant. All along I should have seen my strength. You didn’t make me stronger. You didn’t help me realize my full potential. Everything I did for you was never enough, but somehow that showed me what I was capable of. Like the winter, I realized how destructive you were in my life. Even when you assured me you loved me. I knew it couldn’t be true. How could it be? You were just a trick.

Without you, my life is complete.

Death’s Mistress

Title: Appearances  Artist: Kurtzan  Link:

Title: Appearances
Artist: Kurtzan

I never felt like I belonged. Like everyone else around me, I looked as though I was the same. We all wore the same mask, voted for the same political party, went to work, came home to our families. But that’s all they were, masks covering their honeyed words on venomous tongues.

Life is about fear and “man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.” Tonight we were given that opportunity.


“Did you hear, there’s like a new millionaire who moved into town?” gossiped Olivia

“Millionaire? I heard he was like a billionaire,” returned Lily Anne.

“Whatever, same difference,” said Olivia, rolling her eyes.

“Yeah, ok, you’re right, he’s gonna totally be my husband,” laughed Lily Anne.

“Nuh-uh, he’s mine!” Olivia argued.

“What? You were invited too?!” asked Lily Anne.

“Of course!” returned Olivia.

“I’m pretty sure he invited the whole town,” said Logan passing by.

“Shut up!” exclaimed the girls hotly.

Logan chuckled and walked away.

“Is that true?” asked Lily Anne biting her lip, “Did he really invite the whole town?”

“I don’t know,” replied Olivia worriedly, “I mean our town is only 250 people, but that’s a lot of people to be in one house at one time. Like the only time that ever happens is at weddings.”

“He must be really rich then,” said Lily Anne.

“Yeah, I know what we can do! You know how we were saying we were like bored? Well we can go around and ask to see how many people are going to this and try to convince them not to go! That way we like increase our chances that we’ll be the one he marries!” suggested Olivia.

“OMG! That is like a totally great idea!” squealed Lily Anne.


“Is there a point to go to tonight’s party?” asked my mother quietly.

“Jeannie, we hardly ever get out anymore. It will be a good experience for Sophia,” said my father.

“That’s true…but I would much rather Sophia get her experience from being in the city rather than living her life entirely in a small town being a wife to a farmer or blacksmith. I want her to have aspirations beyond this town,” sighed Jeannie.

“I know, sweetie, but we have to let Sophia do what she wants. She’s 18 and her life is no longer in our hands,” said Nathan.

“Alright…I suppose that’s true,” relented Jeannie.

“Sophia, come here please, your mother and I would like to discuss something with you,” called Nathan.

“What is it dad?” I asked.

“Are you going to the party hosted by Dæmon Austen?” asked Jeannie.

“I was planning to,” I said, “Did you guys have other plans?”

“No,” said Nathan quickly, “Not at all, just wondering is all. Do you have everything you need for the party? Should we make a quick trip into the city to buy anything?”

“Well I have that dress grandma bought for me last year that I could wear. And I think I still have the mask that we bought in Venice three years ago, but I’m not sure that the mask and dress match…” I asnswered

“That dress grandma bought for you is a little…dated. I would prefer you bought something newer, nicer to match the mask, what colour was that again?” asked Jeannie.

“Blue,” I answered.

“That seems a bit juvenile,” commented Jeannie, “Let me lend you my black and gold mask.”

“What will you wear then mom?” I asked.

“I don’t plan on going,” said Jeannie plainly.

“But for a dress to match that…” I said trailing off.

“I’m sure we have enough to buy you one,” said Nathan firmly.

“Alright,” I said frowning.


It was the day of the masquerade ball. My mother had spent two hours helping me dress and another three and a half hours doing my hair and makeup before I could be considered presentable.

“How do I look?” I asked.

“Like a Victorian,” admitted Jeannie.

“Was that you intention?” I asked.

“That’s the only way you should look wearing a mask like that,” returned Jeannie, “Other girls tonight will dress…less than conservatively…he will not notice them.”

“How can you possibly know that mom?” I asked.

“I’ve been to my fair share of parties and girls never change. They will be conservative in one sense and only one and that is in the amount of clothes they wear,” said Jeannie, sounding almost bitter.

I snickered, “How can you possibly know that I want him to notice me?”

“Isn’t that why girls go to parties in the first place?” asked Jeannie frowning.

I blushed, “Well usually it is, but I don’t even know Dæmon yet, so I can’t say that I want him to notice me…I mean if I don’t like him, I don’t want the attention…”

Jeannie nodded, “That’s true. Either way, let’s make you presentable just in case.”

I laughed, “I wasn’t presentable before?”

Jeannie laughed, “Well…you need some work is all.”

“Fine, fine,” I said, “Is it almost time to go?”

“What’s the rush?” teased Nathan, “He’s just next door.”

I rolled my eyes, “I don’t like to be ‘fashionably late.’ You know I hate being late for anything”

 “Alright, done,” said Jeannie, putting the last gem into my hair.

“Thanks mum! I’ll be home by midnight!” I exclaimed heading for the door.

“Don’t come home that early!” urged Nathan, “Maybe 2?”

Jeannie punched him, “She can come home when she wants.”

I smiled, “I’ll try not be a klutz when I get home tonight.”

Nathan chuckled, “Don’t worry about it, your mom and I will probably be out late too. We’re going into the city for dinner and a show.”

“Alright, drive safely. Call me if anything happens,” I said waving goodbye.

I was early, as usual, but the whole town was curious about Dæmon Austen and had showed up hours early. When I arrived, people were already inside mingling with one another. The older ladies wore full ball gowns and all the gentlemen wore suits, but the girls my age wore dresses short enough to qualify as a shirt.

“Welcome, do you have your invitation?” asked the doorman.

I handed it to him, looking around to see if there was anyone I knew that I could hang out with for the evening.

“Miss Sophia?” asked the doorman.

“Yes, that’s correct,” I returned.

“And your parents?” inquired the doorman.

“Unfortunately they had other plans for this evening and are regrettably unable to attend,” I answered.

“That is quite unfortunate indeed. However, we are very happy that you are able to attend,” welcomed the doorman, “Please come in, a formal dinner will be served shortly.”

I headed in looking for someone I might know under the vertical and horizontal masks, but it was impossible. I suppose that was partially the point, but frankly I was a bit scared and overwhelmed by the number of people in attendance. It wasn’t that I didn’t know anyone. It was impossible to live in such a small town and not know everyone, but to have them all hidden behind masks was unnerving.

“Hi,” I said to a boy in a vertical skull mask.

He smiled at me, “Evening, how do you do?”

“I’m good, yourself?” I asked, while wondering who I was talking to.

“Well, thank you. I am Dæmon Austen, welcome to my home,” he smiled.

“Mr. Austen, what a pleasure,” I said returning his smile and reaching out to shake his hand.

He grasped it firmly, “Miss Sophia is it?”

“Yes,” I said, trying to keep my voice even.

How did he know my name?

“It’s unfortunate that your parents could not attend. However, I believe we are neighbours and a dinner can be arranged,” commented Dæmon.

“Yes, that is so,” I nodded.

“I hope you are enjoying yourself. Dinner is about to be served, please head into the dining room and have a seat anywhere you’d like,” said Dæmon indicating to a door opposite us.

“Thank you, I hope we will have an opportunity to talk more later,” I said heading in that direction.

“As do I,” said Dæmon heading off in the opposite direction.

I entered the dining room to find it empty. I found that surprising as Dæmon stated that dinner would be starting soon. I made my way to one end of the table and took a seat. I contemplated removing my mask. It wouldn’t hinder my ability to eat; it just wasn’t the most comfortable thing to wear while eating though. I pondered it until the dining room filled up.

“Ladies and gentleman, a slight request,” started Dæmon, taking his place at the head of the table, “If you’d be so kind to remove your masks for dinner, it would be much appreciated.”

At the same time a hundred masks clattered against the dining room table. Dæmon smiled and took his seat.  Dinner came out on a million silver platters and everyone was too preoccupied with dinner to notice he didn’t remove his mask. Dæmon shot me a look out of the corner of his eye and slipped me a note under the table.

I’d like to see you after dinner if it’s not too improper.

I looked at him inquisitively, trying to read him.

“Hey Sophia!” exclaimed Lily Anne next to me, taking my attention away from Dæmon.

I gave him one last lingering look and turned to Lily Anne.

“Hi, how are you?” I returned, giving her a fake smile.

Lily Anne and her friend Olivia were the town gossips. Everyone knew that they had no skills other than manipulation. They were very well suited for the media. All they needed was to open their mouth and have an outlet to publish it on. They didn’t need evidence. Sure, one could sue for libel or inaccuracy, but that didn’t matter, they would just apologize and do it again.

“I didn’t expect you to come,” sneered Lily Anne, “You always act like you’re above parties. Like you never come to ours.”

“Not attending the parties you and Olivia throw is not an accurate determinant of whether or not I show up to this one,” I returned.

“What?” asked Olivia and Lily Anne genuinely confused.

“What does that mean?” Olivia whispered to Lily Anne.

“I don’t know,” returned Lily Anne frowning, “But obviously it was an insult, so we gotta defend ourselves. I mean our future husband hear that we gotta make him think we can fight for ourselves against that stupid bookworm.”

“For your information our parties are totally awesome!” exclaimed Olivia hotly.

“Uh…” I said unsure how to respond, “Ok…”

“Nice job!” exclaimed Lily Anne under her breath, “You made her speechless, that’s like a good thing right?”

“Yeah, totally,” agreed Olivia.

I turned to someone else and started a conversation with them instead. I had no idea what to say to the two of them anymore. It was clear they were to dim-witted to appropriately respond or insult me back.

Dinner lasted for about three hours and afterwards the guests returned to the ballroom to dance and continue mingling. No one noticed that Dæmon or myself did not return.

“Miss Sophia, though we have not spoken much, I feel as though you and I could get along very well. I hope that we can be friends and get to know each other better,” began Dæmon.

“This is an odd way to express it,” I said.

“How do most people do it?” asked Dæmon innocently.

“They don’t ask to be friends, they just hang out with one another until a relationship develops,” I explained.

“Really?” frowned Dæmon.

I nodded, “Is this how you’ve made friends your whole life?”

“I’ve never had any friends,” admitted Dæmon.

“Well this may come across as rude, but I don’t mean it to be. I’m not surprised. If you’ve been trying to make friends in this way, no one would automatically gravitate towards being friends with you,” I said.

Dæmon laughed, “No one’s ever had the nerve to tell me otherwise, so thank you. I hope that I will be able to make friends in the future based on your advice.”

I smiled, “I’m sorry, I would stay longer, but it’s getting late and I ought to be home.”

“We’ve barely talked, will you come tomorrow for dinner with your parents? I would very much like to meet them,” said Dæmon.

“I will talk to them. Shall I call you with my answer?” I asked.

“No need. We are neighbours after all. You may leave a message with my doorman,” said Dæmon, “It was good to meet you Miss Sophia. Good night.”


Many years had passed since I had met Dæmon. From the time of our awkward confrontation until now, he had made many friends. He always had had the manners and suave to sweet talk people, but with a less direct approach he was able to maintain his friendships.

He must have been raised under different circumstances than everyone else because it was a shock for him to be asked out by girls. But the girls in our town went a step further than that. Girls like Olivia and Lily Anne had no problem proposing to him and did so on every available occasion.

Like the gentleman he was, he always politely refused.

“Soph,” called Dæmon as I was heading out one day.

“What is it?” I returned, stopping before my car.

“Are you busy tonight?” he called.

“No, did you have something in mind?” I asked.

“Dinner?” he called back.

“Sure,” I shrugged, “What time?”

“The usual,” was his reply.

“Your place or mine?” I asked.

“Neither, can you be home a half hour before?” he said.

“Sure, we’re going out? What’s the occasion?” I asked.

“You’ll see,”


It was the first time we had had dinner together alone. Usually it was with my parents or one of his relatives, but today, it was just the two of us.

“Soph, I know you’ve never considered me as marriage material,” started Dæmon.

“Says who?” I interrupted.

“I—um, I just assumed since we never formally declared our relationship past friends,” said Dæmon embarrassed.

“Do you remember what I told you when we first met?” I demanded.

Dæmon laughed, “Of course, we don’t need to declare…oh…I see what you’re saying.”

“I’ve always considered you more than a friend,” I said tenderly.

“As have I,” returned Dæmon, “So I hope that this proposal does not come as a shock.”

“Can I pretend to be shocked?” I teased.

“There’s no reason you can’t be,” smiled Dæmon, opening up a ring box.

Nestled in the plush red velvet was a platinum ring set with a solitary black diamond.

 I smirked, “I should have expected something as unconventional as this from you.”

“Do you dislike it?” asked Dæmon, a hint of concern crept into his voice.

I pretended to think, making him suffer a while longer.

“Soph, you’re killing me,” said Dæmon, bordering on whiny.

“Dæmon, I though you said you were in another relationship,” I said, remembering a girl he had brought to dinner once.

“Well…I am…sorta,” admitted Dæmon, “But it’s complicated.”

“I have all night,” I said, getting comfortable.

“I’m sure you’ve heard all these stories about how so and so met Death on the road and stuff,” started Dæmon.

“Oh brother,” I sighed.

“No, Soph, listen. They’re true. It was all me,” said Dæmon in a hushed whisper.

“What?!” I exclaimed, nearly knocking over my water.

“Shh, not so loud,” said Dæmon looking around to make sure no one had heard my outburst.

“How can you be Death? Wouldn’t I be dead by now?” I whispered back.

“I don’t kill everything I touched,” retorted Dæmon.

“Sorry, I just assumed…” I said embarrassed.

“I want to marry you Soph,” said Dæmon

“How many others have you said that to?” I asked, a hint of jealousy beginning to dominate.

“About six,” admitted Dæmon.

“Did they all say yes?” I asked astonished.

“Yes,” said Dæmon.

“Am I just going to be another wife in your collection?” I said, almost accusingly.

“You are not going to be just another part of my collection and neither are they. You’ve met them, you’ve seen their devotion,” said Dæmon almost begging me.

“I’ve…met them?” I asked surprised yet again.

“My ‘sisters’ and ‘cousins,’” nodded Dæmon.

“How was I so dumb not to notice?” I groaned.

“I kept a very good blindfold on you,” said Dæmon.

“Dæmon…I…need some time to think about this. I grew up in a world that doesn’t condone polygamy…I don’t know if I can accept this living arrangement, I don’t know if I can share,” I said finally.

“Soph, I’m asking you tonight because tomorrow you die. I can see your lifespan. Tonight is your last night,” said Dæmon.

“What?! How?!” I blurted out.

Dæmon shrugged, “Do you want to wait and find out? Could be painful.”

I winced, he knew how pain affected me.

“You could spend the rest of forever with me, not to be clichéd or anything,” said Dæmon.

“What have my parents said to this?” I asked, “Have you asked them?”

Dæmon nodded, “Of course. They provided their blessing and consent on the condition that you consented.”

I nodded, “I…love you. There’s no question about that. But sharing you? I don’t know still.”

“Come with me, let me introduce you to my wives. You’ll like them. They’re not so different from you,” said Dæmon taking my hand and leading me from the restaurant.


I was never one for showy, but it was my wedding day and Dæmon spared no expense. The entire town and then some were invited. And of course his six wives. He had been right; I bonded with them immediately. It didn’t seem odd to share, at least not with them.

I got to relish the annoyance of Olivia and Lily Anne, but it didn’t matter anymore. I was dead. I had been dead for over three weeks. I was just a living corpse barely animated by electrical impulses and chemical reactions to go through a ceremony for the sake of my parents. Dæmon had told my parents we would be moving to the big city soon after, so my parents wanted to have a wedding as a sort of goodbye party as well.

“Congratulations,” said Olivia without any sincerity.

“I’m surprised you came,” I returned snarkily.

“Wouldn’t miss the chance to object,” sneered Olivia.

“Too bad you can’t,” I laughed walking away to join Dæmon’s other wives.

“Sophia, you look gorgeous,” said Abigail, his first wife.

I gave her a small smile, “All of you look gorgeous all the time.”

“It comes with time,” reassured Charlotte, his most recent wife.

“I hope so,” I laughed nervously.


A year had passed and not much had changed. I had learned to live peacefully with Dæmon’s other wives and kids. He was right; it wasn’t any different than being married to one man. Dæmon was always fair, splitting his time between each of us and made the most of our time together. I never thought I could be happy, but I was. He was just as affectionate to me as he was to Abigail and Charlotte, Violetta and Arianna, and Michaela and Elizabeth.

“Beth, Abby, do you mind staying with Sophia? She’s gone into labour and I’ve got to get everything ready for when she does give birth. Just calm her down, she’s not good with pain and there’s a lot of pain coming,” called Dæmon running by.

Both women nodded and flew up to my room.

“Sophia, you have to relax. This is no like anything you’ve ever experienced. The child is not human and possesses superhuman strength. You need to relax otherwise you’ll be in more pain than you need to be,” said Abigail kneeling at my side.

“I’m trying,” I said, trying to regulate my breathing.

“I know it’s hard,” reassured Elizabeth, “Just follow my lead. I’ll set out a beat for you follow. I found that it helps when you’re panicking.”

I nodded and tried to follow her lead, but when the contractions began I completely forgot myself and everything Elizabeth had told me.

“Sophia! Calm down!” said Abigail firmly.

“Mmm,” I said hyperventilating.

“How is she doing?” asked Charlotte, peeking in.

“Not good, get Dæmon,” ordered Abigail.

Charlotte nodded and dashed off to find him.

“Charlotte?” asked Dæmon looking up confused.

“Sophia’s already panicking and they’re just contractions…nothing’s actually happening yet,” explained Charlotte.

“Get the others, I’ll be there as soon as preparations are complete,” ordered Dæmon.

Charlotte nodded and ran out grabbing the other women before returning to my room.

“How is she?” asked Charlotte sinking down next to me.

“Not good, her heart rate is unbelievably high,” said Elizabeth.

“Will she make it?” asked Violetta.

Abigail shook her head, “It’s hard to tell right now. Only Dæmon knows. Where is he?”

“He’s finishing up with the preparations. He said he’ll be here once he’s finished,” repeated Charlotte.

“What’s going on?” asked Dæmon flying into the room.

“Sophia doesn’t look like she’ll last,” said Abigail dryly.

Charlotte, Abigail and Elizabeth moved to make room for Dæmon who sank down next to me.

“Soph, you need to calm down…I’m here, everything’s going to be okay,” said Dæmon quietly.

“Dæmon?” I whispered.

He grasped my hand firmly, “Breathe.”

He squeezed my hand creating a beat like Elizabeth had done for me earlier. I concentrated on it trying to regulate my breathing again. It turned out that Dæmon squeezed harder and caused more pain than the contractions and in that way it helped me through it.

“Well done,” smiled Dæmon, picking up the child.

“A boy,” whispered his wives in hushed tones.

I smiled weakly and collapsed on the bed.

Two can Play

I could have never imagined that killing would have felt so good. I could never have imagined how easy it had been. But he had it coming. He deserved it for everything he had done. My only wish was that he hadn’t died so easily. I had so much more to give him. I wanted to take care of him the same way he had taken care of me and my sister.

The police had come. They had asked their questions. And they had nothing vaguely incriminating against me. But yet they held me. My lawyers were useless. All they could think about was how to get me off. There was no conviction yet, but my lawyers were already preparing an insanity plea for me. I couldn’t help but think that by setting me up to be evaluated by a psychiatrist, it would make me look even guiltier.

“Alexandria, this is Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a renowned psychiatrist in his field,” introduced one of my lawyers, “”Dr. Lecter, this is Alexandria Verger.”

I blinked a couple times and took in my surroundings in silence.

Dr. Lecter extended his hand to me, “It’s a pleasure Miss Verger.”

I grasped it firmly, but still said nothing, opting to stare at the ground instead.

“Well we’ll leave you to it,” said another lawyer, “We’ll be waiting in the sitting room for you Alexandria.”

I gave him an annoyed look and the three of them filed out in silence.

“Please, have a seat,” offered Dr. Lecter.

“Thank you,” I murmured.

Dr. Lecter followed the lawyers to the door, closing the door before seating himself across from me.

“You’re Margot’s therapist aren’t you?” I started timidly.

“And you’re Margot’s sister, aren’t you?” returned Dr. Lecter.

I nodded and studied his face.

Dr. Lecter nodded, “Did Margot tell you about me?”

I shook my head, “Not really. She mentioned you in passing, but didn’t delve into details.”

Dr. Lecter continued to study me, waiting for me to say something that he could respond or reflect back at me.

“Do you know why I’m here Dr. Lecter?” I asked quietly.

“Why don’t you tell me?” asked Dr. Lecter amused.

“My lawyers think I’m guilty of my brother’s murder and are trying to get me off on an insanity plea. However, there is nothing the police can charge me with, does that not seem odd to you?” I answered.

Dr. Lecter cracked a smile, “Now why would you want to murder your brother?”

“Have you met Mason?!” I asked incredulous.

“Unfortunately so,” grimaced Dr. Lecter.

“Then you’d know…” I said trailing off.

“Are you admitting you murdered him?” asked Dr. Lecter.

“Not at all, quite the contrary actually. As you have met him, you can attest to how utterly unlikable he is. In fact, you and I are not the only ones who disliked him; he had many enemies, but liked to hide behind his Italian henchmen and money and I mean, he could only hide for so long,” I stated stiffly.

“Now that he’s dead, are you and Margot free?” asked Dr. Lecter.

I shrugged, “I wouldn’t call it freedom as father has done everything to restrict the Verger fortune from falling into Margot or my hands. We don’t get a legacy.”

“Unless you create one,” said Dr. Lecter.

“Margot can’t. After what Mason did to her…there’s no way she’ll ever be able to have children,” I said shaking my head.

“What about you?” asked Dr. Lecter.

“I was never allowed to leave the house. I could never have met anyone…even now. I don’t have the skills to…entice anyone,” I said hesitantly.

“But since you’ve been out, have you met someone you like?” asked Dr. Lecter.

I dropped my gaze, “Yes…but I don’t think it’ll work out…I mean who he is isn’t compatible with who I am.”

“How do you know if you haven’t tried?” pressed Dr. Lecter.

“Because I understand societal conventions even if I’ve never been a part of them…this is one relationship that would be greatly frowned upon,” I sighed.

“Without going into too many details, describe him,” instructed Dr. Lecter.

I sighed again before starting, “He and I have a professional relationship. No it isn’t one of those idiot lawyers you’ve met who are waiting outside, but we’ve interacted briefly in the past. He ran errands for Mason and was one of the few people I had any sort of interaction with. He was a decent person, was always polite, soft spoken and willing to do anything I asked. After I got out he…offered to teach me things, took me in and there I…feel that it’s wrong to be falling in love with him.”

Dr. Lecter smiled encouragingly for me to continue.

“The more I talk to him the more I feel that I’m in love with him. Some nights I can hardly sleep without getting a panic attack thinking about him. It’s the little things that trigger a skip in my heart beat and a rush of adrenaline. Well that and estrogen as my voice usually shoots up three octaves or so when I’m talking to him,” I continued, “It’s like I can’t even function like a normal human being.”

“You bring up a good point with that last there, but let’s get back to the panic attacks. Tell me more about what those are like?” asked Dr. Lecter.

I buried my face in my hands, “Everything I see is somehow connected back to him.”

“Give me an example,” requested Dr. Lecter.

“Okay, um, so he drives a green Toyota Prius, so every time I see one I think it’s him and it makes me do a double take. Not just green Toyotas though. Green cars more generally that are the same shape, other Toyota Priuses…small things like that. Other green cars though not of the same shape or model or anything make me smile because they make me think of him,” I explained.

“Strange thing love, isn’t it?” mused Dr. Lecter, “What kind of things did he talk to you about before Mason’s death?”

“Ordinary things. Like how Mason was treating me, if I was getting enough to eat and yeah, stuff like that,” I answered.

“Did he ever suggest getting rid of Mason? Did he ever say ‘if Mason were dead, I would…’?” asked Dr. Lecter.

I furrowed my brow, “I don’t recall, but I was too enamored with him to remember much. Gosh, I’m still enamored with him.”

“Describe a typical fantasy,” said Dr. Lecter.

I reddened and looked away again, twisting my hair as I used to do as a little girl when Mason used to hurt me.

“I’m sorry…I don’t think I can…” I said as steadily as I could.

“I know that you remember one,” said Dr. Lecter sharply.

“What I meant was…I can’t repeat what I have thought in my head. It’s…too much,” I blushed.

“Really? There must be a tame one in there somewhere,” smiled Dr. Lecter.

He appeared to be enjoying himself, pushing me to the edges of my comfort zone.

I frowned again, trying to think of my first fantasy, sure that it would the most decent and tame fantasy I had of him, “I remember thinking how good he smelled and one of my first fantasies was cuddling. Just cuddling under the stars with him and taking in his wonderful scent.”

“And now tell me the most risqué,” said Dr. Lecter.

I groaned, “I don’t think so Dr. Lecter.”

“Miss Verger, I think it would be a good exercise,” said Dr. Lecter.

“Fine…the most…,” I started, “I think it would be dinner and…um, going to his house and…”

“Oh,” said Dr. Lecter disappointed, “I expected more. From what Margot told me, you have a powerful imagination.”

“Margot praises me too highly. I’m really worthless,” I said, “I’m sorry to have disappointed you.”

Dr. Lecter shook his head, “You are far bolder than you’d like to reveal and far more clever and imaginative than Margot described you as, but years with Mason have stifled what you feel is your self-worth.”

I stared at the ground, I hated admitting that I was wrong.

Dr. Lecter leaned in, “. I have a friend who consults me and works in the Behavioural Science Unit. I read the report and saw Mason’s body. It was well done. An art form in and of itself. It was well thought out and planned.”

“Perhaps it was a serenade,” I said simply.

“To whom?” asked Dr. Lecter curiously.

“To the Chesapeake Ripper,” I answered standing.

At that moment my lawyers returned and I allowed them to escort me out.

“We’ll be in touch, Dr. Lecter, for Alexandria’s full evaluation,” stated a lawyer.

“Will it be likely that I will have another session with Miss Verger?” asked Dr. Lecter.

“No,” answered another, “Thank you for your expertise doctor and have a good evening.”

Dr. Lecter watched from his window as I got into the car. Once fastened in, I gave him a smile as I disappeared down the road.

Prompt: Write or draw something based around a favorite movie or TV show

Ice Cold Flames

It was so cold.  It never used to be this way.  Whoever said Hell was fiery…they were wrong, I know because I’ve been there.  I live here!

I can’t remember exactly what it was like before, but I know it wasn’t like this!  There is ice all around me, frozen, like my heart.  I’m numb, but I still feel the pain of his absence.

I’ve been like this since he had left.  Hell has been like this since.

Before, when I was alive, my life was a blur.  All I remember of it was my parents’ shame, the demon’s visit every evening with an overly good-looking boy.  This boy had a name–Alexander and he was the son of the devil.

The next thing I remember was my wedding.  I was only sixteen.  He looked eighteen, but he could have been over a hundred years old.  I was the payment for the debt my parents owed.  They had wanted a son so badly, so the devil gave them a son.  In return, he wanted me…to ease his son’s insatiable loneliness.

Marriage was what I wanted.  I loved him.  And he loved me.  We were happy.  For once in my life, I felt that I was free and able to do what I wanted, be who I wanted to be and somebody loved me for who I was.

It was the happiest years of my life, full of warmth and love. Our first child was a boy.  But as they say, happiness is temporary.  It was a dark and fiery evening when they came for him, the angels.  They wouldn’t explain anything to me.  They just took Alexander away.

I can still hear his voice, “Moira, Moira, don’t worry baby, I won’t be long.  Wait for me, I’ll be back.”

He never came back.  I’ve been waiting…just patiently waiting…for…for…so long…

How many years have passed?

I’m so lost.

So alone.

When he left, all of hell mourned for his absence.  A hush fell over the land and a pain consumed us all.  His father filled his heart with as much anger and determination as possible to fight the angels to get his son back…his only child…my Alexander.

One month.
Two months.
No news of either.
Three months.
Four months
Nothing still
Five months.
Six months.
Things got cooler.
Seven months.
Eight months.
I’m so cold…
Nine months.
Ten months…
A year…
Everything froze…except for me.

He never came back.
Father and Son.
Devil and my love.
My Alexander……

Everyone…frozen in place.
Like ice statues, with a sheet of ice draped over them
In an ice palace.
In the depths of hell
Jagged with frozen flames
Dangerous, but beautiful
And dead.

I walk amongst them…
I caress their faces.
Looking for my son among them
In the ice museum

He went out to play one day…and never came back

I sit
Wishing to die
But cannot
For I am already dead.

I think of all the people who made promises.
To do something when hell froze over.
Well it’s frozen, and so I make a promise
When hell thaws out, I will have my revenge
I will find my son
I will find the Angels who did this
And I will administer my own justice


Him and I

Mother and Son


Vengeance will be mine



For the Roman Empire


I walked down the aisle, feeling the scrutinizing gaze of everyone. I tried to hold my head high, ignore them all as I dropped to my knees before him, trying hard not to tremble. To be in the presence of the greatest man in the empire, what did I do to deserve this honour?

“Rise,” he ordered.

His voice resonated throughout the hall. I rose, holding his gaze for a moment. Any longer would have been disrespecting.

“Your name,” he said.

“Lavinia,” I said, my voice cutting through the silence.

“We have heard of your talents, Lavinia,” he said grandly, “And wish to employ your tactics to defeat the Goths.”

“My tactics, my Lord?” I asked.

“We have received intelligence that you have brought about the defeat of the Turks. Though it is unusual for a woman commander, it is our belief that to have accomplished such a feat is deserving of recognition,” recounted the Emperor.

“My Lord, that-that was a mistake. It was not my intent to go into battle,” I said, deferring the honour.

“All the more reason you should fight for Rome,” said the Emperor, “Your success will bring you great riches. Your failure will be your death.”

I knelt once more, very aware to the buzz around me that disturbed the silence.

“Your Imperial Majesty,” I murmured, “I will not disappoint you.”

“Caius!” bellowed the Emperor.

A handsome young soldier appeared at his side, “Father?”

“Lavinia, you shall have my eldest son for your husband if you succeed and become Empress of Rome. He will accompany you into war and make sure you have all the necessities,” instructed the Emperor.

“Yes, my Lord,” I nodded.

“Yes, father,” Caius said simultaneously.

I rose, exiting with full confidence.


The journey to the battlefront was long and arduous. In that time Caius and I grew closer to one another.

“Lavinia…you are unlike any other Roman woman I’ve met,” began Caius.

“Is it because I fight?” I asked.

“Not only that. You are intelligent. I’ve never met anyone more educated, male or otherwise,” he said, “It’s admirable.”

“I’ve never met a general so optimistic,” I said, returning the compliment, “It’s infectious.”

He smiled shyly, “You inspired that optimism.”

I laughed, “No. Give yourself some credit.”

“Sir!” called a soldier, “We’re under attack! The Goths!”

We both snapped to attention. This was clearly a surprise attack. We grabbed our weapons and rushed out.

“Lavinia…if…” Caius started, his voice catching in his throat.

“I love you,” I said quietly, cutting him off.

He nodded and repeated, “I love you too.”


“It’s too much!” he yelled to me across the battlefield, “Retreat!”

I nodded and motioned to those around me to run, but made not effort to turn back myself.

“Lavinia!” he screamed, noticing that I hadn’t turned away.

“I can’t, your father-” I returned.

“He wouldn’t. Come back, I’ll beg for your life if I must. I must have you as my bride,” yelled Caius.

“Failure is not an option. To die in battle would be a much greater honour than returning in defeat,” I said shaking my head.

“Please, Lavinia!” he begged.

I kept fighting, unsure how much longer I could hold off the Goths as my men retreated.

“GO!” I urged, “Your father would not take it well if his eldest died in this battle.”

“LAVINIA!” Caius yelled, running to my side.

He grabbed me around the waist and dragged me off while fighting off the advancing Goths.


I returned to Rome in shame. I deserved this death sentence I was walking towards, but Caius could not see. He believed in the best of his father. We returned to court and recounted to the Emperor our failure in battle.

“What have you to say, Lavinia?” demanded the Emperor, clearly disappointed.

“I should have died on that battlefield with my men. If it was not for the stubbornness of your son, I would have,” I said annoyed.

“You should have died on that battlefield. What an honour that would have been,” agreed the Emperor.

“Father, please, have mercy on her. She is the most…she is irreplaceable. She can return to fight off the Goths, but had she died we would have to search for a new saviour. Give her another chance,” implored Caius.

“I will not go back on my word,” stated the Emperor coldly.

“Father, I implore you. Have mercy on my love,” begged Caius.

The Emperor shook his head and called for his guards. I rose with grace and did not resist as they led me out. Around me I heard the snickers of the same men who had scorned me months earlier.

“For the service you have provided to our empire, we will show you mercy,” said the Emperor.

A look of relief crossed Caius’ face, but the next sentence drained him of his blood.

“For that you may choose which manner of death you prefer,” said the Emperor.

“NO!” screamed Caius.

“Remove him,” ordered the Emperor.

Two guards came forward from my retinue and escorted him out, kicking and scream.

“I should like to die by burning,” I said, “I should suffer the way my men have suffered.”

“That is honourable of you, Lavinia. We thank you for all you have done, but we must do as was promised. You could not secure us a victory and for that you must give your life.”

“I understand, Emperor and feel no animosity towards you for your action,” I returned.

He nodded, “Your execution will be in one week. Make the necessary preparations. You may return home, escorted of course, to say your good byes.”

“Thank you,” I murmured, kneeling.


On the day of my execution, all of Rome showed up to watch me burn. My family could hardly keep back the tears, but I could not cry. I had to remain strong until the end. The executioner helped me up upon my stage and secured me to the stake, making sure I was as comfortable as I could be. The Emperor and Caius were present, watching over the proceedings.

“Lavinia, I love you!” cried Caius over the sounds of the excited crowd.

I offered him a smile, “Please do not be sad on my account. Please live, love and learn to forget.”

I was doused in oil and set alight. No matter how much it hurt I would not cry out. I had not stood by my men. This is what I deserved.

“NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!” screamed Caius.

He attempted to run and put out the flames, but was restrained by the guards. He fought hard, brandishing his dagger, wounding several men, breaking through to me, but it was too late. I was already dead.

“STOP HIM!” ordered the Emperor when he realized what was going on.

But before anyone could reach Caius, he had thrown himself onto the burning funeral pyre and immolated himself.

Image Credit: daRoz (deviantart)



A Whole New World


The year was 3429. The world was at it’s end. The fresh water and air supplies were depleted and people had infected Mars with the same disease Earth had been cursed with. I was born on the red planet, accustomed to the thin and oxygenless environment. Today we would have a field trip.

The new government of Mars were cruel men. The sick, the disabled, the different were all sent back to Earth. It was their death sentence. Criminals were housed on Earth, enemies of the new government and misfits, rebels, and mutants. Today we were going to Earth.

No it wasn’t a punishment, but a warning. The graduating class was brought to Earth every year to bear witness to the horror we would have to face should we defy our present government. No one had dared to rebel. Not anymore.

I remember a time when my mother used to tell me stories of Earth, stories that had been passed down from generation to generation. What my mother saw on Earth on the day of her graduation was not merely a lesson, not a deterrent, but people, people who needed her help, people who didn’t deserve to be punished. When she returned she kept it all inside. She didn’t tell anyone how she felt, but when I was born, when I grew up, she began to get more vocal. She didn’t want me to be trapped in the life she had been forced to live. For that she was banished to Earth.

I hoped I would see her today. I wanted to let her know that I still loved her. That I had not abandoned her, but I was afraid. I didn’t want to be banished to Earth. Life on Mars was good.  But I missed her. She was still my mother.

We landed on Earth and were set free to explore with a warning to return before sunset otherwise we wouldn’t be allowed to return to Mars. I headed off, hoping that I could ask someone, hopefully someone would know my mother.

I walked on for kilometer after kilometer but saw nothing and no one. Everything looked dead and the air was stifling. It felt like my lungs were constricting, closing upon themselves. I heard footsteps behind me and thought to myself, some classmates must be following me. I wondered who it was, but I kept walking. I wanted to find my mother before sunset.

The breathing behind me was laboured. I tried to ignore it but it sounded like someone was in pain. I turned and stared in horror at the thing in front of me. It bent over and leaned close to me. I tried hard to keep the disgust from my face but I could not. It made a rasping noise, as if trying to form words, but could not. I furrowed my brows as I tried to understand it.

“Callie,” it rasped.

My name.

“Mother?” I asked leaning in closer.

It nodded and reached to embrace me. Instinctively I recoiled and she looked at me sadly. This was my mother. How could I reject her so cruelly?

“No, please, mom, I’m sorry,” I apologized, reaching for her, “I’m just…I’m so scared.”

She nodded again.

“I don’t know what to do mom. I’m happy on Mars. I have everything I could ever ask for, but I miss you mom. Is this what Earth does to you?” I asked.

She shook her head, “Gov-er-n-ment.”

“The government did this to you?!” I asked in disbelief.

She nodded, her milk white eyes staring at me.

I clenched my fists, “Never again! I’ll set them straight.”

“Don’t,” she rasped.

“Why not?”

“I want-want best for…Callie,” she managed.

I looked at her sadly, “Thanks mom, but…you’re right. People here need help and you and me…we can do that.”

She smiled, but it wasn’t the same beautiful smile she used to give me as she tucked me in at night. Her skin had rotted away, exposing her teeth so that the grin she gave me was eerie.

I took her hand, “Let’s make things better for everyone here. Let me take care of you.”

Image Credit: Sally-Jackson (deviantart)


The Final Farewell

Prompt: Choose a song and write a short piece in response to the music

I walk back along these streets remembering what once was. In the empty and broken store windows I can still see the lights dancing across the darkened snowy streets as the shopkeepers bob back and forth helping the last minute shoppers. I see the children running breathless, laughing, their cheeks burning brightly, their eyes glistening with joy. The songs rise up through the air, heavenly, light and ethereal. I follow the road, long and winding, to the warmth of mother’s baking. I hear a song from within. It is familiar, yet I cannot recognize it. I follow the stairs up into the house, curious, and see her. A little girl. She’s only eight years old, but she glides across the floor with the grace of a seasoned ballerina. Her eyes are closed as she revels in the luxury of the moment. She is only eight years old, but she knows true happiness. I smiled mesmerized by the beauty of her form. She dances on and does not notice me watching. Like an automaton she goes through the motions perfectly as though she cannot stop. Like she cannot feel. I reach out for her, to touch her and she ripples away. The music continues though no one is seated at the piano. The music continues though she is gone. I dare myself to venture over. I am curious what keeps it going. I see the keys press themselves downward and spring back up to the staccato of the piece. I sit down and place my hands upon the piano, joining in with the invisible musician. He doesn’t seem to notice, but has now materialized. He is young. Too young to know how to play so well. He has the skill of a concert pianist, but can’t be more than twelve.

I am amazed for in my life I have never met such talent and yet, here they were, living in my home. I reached out for him too, just to make sure he was real and he too rippled away.

Alone and in silence, I follow my nose. It leads me to my father’s library. A fresh batch of blueberry scones sits untouched on the desk. A fresh pot of tea softly releasing its steam. I am aware of my hunger, but I am afraid to eat. I am afraid that they will vanish like the little girl and boy. Then I see him. Illuminated by a candle, bent, in concentration over a manuscript. He is carefully copying out the Bible, illuminating the first letter of each page. He looks sad. I reach out for him too. I want to comfort him, but cannot. At my touch he diminishes to nothing and I am left alone again.

I sigh and walk up the stairs too my room. It is exactly as I had left it. Only everything had changed. The toys were scattered on the floor, the fish bowl smashed, my pillow soaked with my tears. There were angry letters on my desk, clothes dangling from the furniture and hate written into the walls. I had put them there all these things were mine. Once. Now they looked worn. Old. Like too long had passed. Had I been gone so long? Had I been forgotten?

Their bodies were arranged like a grotesque dreamer’s artwork. A body draped across a chair, another like a rag doll cast across the bed. One hanging on the door frame and one locked in a box.  The dancing sister? The musical brother? The pious father? The loving mother? Was this my family? But where was I? Had I been gone too long? Had they forgotten me?

Then I heard their laughter. Their voices, are they calling for me?  Illuminated in the single ray of sunlight in the boarded up windows. I reach for them, full of regret.

I won’t be able to touch them. I have been gone too long. Too far. They have forgotten me.

But they are safe now. They are safe.

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