Background: There really isn’t much to say about this short story and its background; I was just home ill with the flu, listening to Avalanche City’s album ‘Our New Life Above the Ground’.
Short Story #15 – When Karma Calls
Pleats of rose pink silk billowed like sails around her long, thin legs; a delicate matching corset was fitted around her ribcage, sleeves to her wrists. Her seamstresses had insisted on providing a beautiful white dress for her wedding yet she had declined them and chose the rose pink. It was her final defiance before her marriage, before Master Henry Vasdez gained possession of her. Orana’s father stood at the closed entrance, wearing his best black dress suit; his clear blue eyes were bright, greying brown hair combed perfectly.
He extended his arm to Orana and she lifted her own reluctantly; something flashed in his gaze, disappointment in her colour choice. Rose pink had been Kinden’s favourite colour on her; he’d also been the one to buy her the beautiful dress she was to be wed in. Wearing the dress so boldly was a statement as to who her heart really belonged to, and everyone in the chapel knew it.
Orana’s father stepped closer, reaching up to arrange the delicate golden waves of her hair, the servants fixing the veil over her head. It fell over her face, obscuring it from plain view. Inside the voices hushed as the organ began playing the wedding march and Orana was all but dragged through the doors. Eager faces blurred as they all turned to face her but only one face was in her focus, the one of her soon-to-be husband’s.
His eyes were the deep colour of a lake in storm, a cruel smile stretched across his too-handsome face. Orana wanted to backpedal, to escape, but there was nowhere to go. The chapel grew darker with every step but she still managed to reach the alter. Henry looked like the devil in disguise as the celebration drew onward, hands blistering hot against hers as he forced her to hold his fingers.
When the priest turned to Orana, every eye in the chapel fell on her. “Do you, Miss Orana Deredge take Master Henry Vasdez to be your husband?” Orana’s breathing was silent in comparison with the chorus of the others in the room. Her father wiped sweat from his brow with the back of a sweaty hand; Henry looked like he was about to charge her down like a bull with crimson in its sights. She tore her hands away from Henry, looking down at where the skin had turned pink where he’d gripped her.
With an apologetic glance at her father she turned and ran from the chapel, tearing through the doors before the servants could stop her. She heard Henry’s enraged voice booming from the building and his footfalls on the tiles but she was already down the stairs and racing toward one of the guest’s horses. Still Henry was faster, snatching her by the waist before she could mount the animal.
He was strong but he had left the sword at his waist clear, easily taken. She leaned toward him limply until her hand wrapped around the hilt and she drew it from its sheath. It glinted and shone in the light as she stepped back three paces, raising the blade until its tip rested below his throat. It rested in the hollow of his collarbone, drawing a single drop of blood that ran down the blade’s sharp edge.
“Yield and I shall leave you alive,” she said. The chapel guests were exiting the building, gasping at the scene they found. Orana ignored them, narrowing her eyes at the demon before her.
“I will never yield,” he said, spitting at her feet. “I need claim of my prize. You have the boldness to wed in the dress of an illicit lover’s, wear his favourite colour because it flatters you and I have tolerated it. Now I will be paid for my tolerance with the eternal binding of our souls in the house of God. Come now, yield.” Orana smiled too-sweetly and pulled back the sword, ready to be rid of him but someone called her name.
From the edge of the meadow Orana saw the tall, muscular outline of her true beloved. His black hair fell in his fiery yellow-orange eyes and he raised a crossbow. She ran from Henry, the weapon firing in the same instant. As Henry collapsed with the arrow protruding from his back Orana mounted the horse and galloped over to Kinden, only stopping long enough for him to mount and take the reins.
They rode for hours, over plains and fields as they escaped the bitter gathering at the chapel. Eventually they stopped at the edge of a field of corn, leaving the white filly to drink from a well beside a windmill. While Kinden ensured the windmill was safe to remain in for the night, Orana stood at the edge of the cornfield holding herself tight. All she could think of was Henry’s face as he fell, his blood already pooling on the dusty ground.
Kinden returned, ensuring that the windmill was empty and ready for the evening. The sunset had already fallen, engulfed by the evening. He gathered wood and began a fire as the cold bit them both; Orana knew there would be frost by morning. She sat shivering, leaning against the outer wall of the windmill as she watched Kinden light the fire. When it was glowing brightly and heating her frozen body he moved to her side, pulling her into his warm embrace.
He knew that there was something wrong by the faraway expression she wore; he placed a gentle finger below her chin and tipped her head back.
“Tell me what is bothering you,” he murmured quietly. She sighed; she never could hold together a strong wall whenever she was around him. She laced her fingers through his and realized exactly how much she had missed him the past few weeks.
“Why did you come?” she whispered. Kinden kissed the crown of her head gently; nearby the horse whinnied quietly and went back to chewing on some hay.
“I would sooner die than see you marry a demon like him,” he said, meaning to be gentle but his voice came out fierce. He looked at Orana apologetically but she gently kissed him instead.
Sometimes karma was busy so you have to take the reins instead.