Monday, April 16, 2012

52 Week Short Story Writing Challenge - #16

Background: Why is school so difficult to keep up with? Every time I turn around there’s a whole pile of Japanese work – and that’s just one subject. Without further ado, four new short stories

Short Story #16 – Turn

Not a guard in sight, Nue turned toward the neat row of multi-coloured shipping containers and smirked. Their prisoner was a most wanted figure of sorts, the reputable Mr. Harrowleigh. She found the very humanlike man in one of the least likely places, a shipping container with holes and mould. Its walls were flaking, chipped red paint stripping away to reveal the rust underneath. Nue took a small breath and stepped inside, its door slightly ajar from its thick broken hinges.
Nue didn’t turn on the light, a single bulb that was suspended from the ceiling. In the middle of the space directly below the bulb was a gurney, a middle-aged figure tied by wrists and ankles to its bars. His eyes were shut, gagged with a black cloth; black hair fell into his eyes. She had a brief moment, imagining what he would have looked like in his youth. Handsome no doubt, in that way teenage rock stars were.
She moved forward, taking in the outline of the scalpels and other medical equipment whose names she did not know. The silver shone darkly with blackish liquid, remnants of whatever horrible things the scientists had been doing to him. She looked at him again, his skin unmarked and barely touched by wrinkles. She was a Valkyrie, a woman sent to the bravest of figures to determine whether they deserved to live another lifetime. What had this man done to deserve such an honour?
She stepped closer to him, frowning as some distant memory of the past tugged at the edges of her mind. Her skin took on a luminescent glow as she stepped out of the moonlight drifting calmly through the door; she reached for the man’s cheek, her skin brighter than the sun as the memory sparked.
A thousand memories shared between the two flitted through her mind, both hers and Mr. Harrowleigh’s as she looked at his teenage years. Indeed he had been handsome, smart and a little arrogant, too, but a constant feature in his memory was her smiling face.
Nue, sitting under the cherry blossoms of the house she’d rented, pretending to be the new girl in the neighbourhood. Another memory: her first day of high school through Mr. Harrowleigh’s eyes, his admiration flaring inside him. She hadn’t changed – no Valkyrie ever did, except to lessen their beauty to blend with humans – and he had loved her instantly.
There were other memories too, some very dark and depressed. The good were of their first kiss, so beautiful and free, but everything leaked of colour as she looked at his memories without her. Even his wedding day to his stunning wife looked bleak in comparison to his memories with her. She staggered back a step but stopped as a warm hand wrapped around her wrist.
Mr. Harrowleigh – Ayd – was awake and watching her, his face full of hope and love. His eyes were the only thing that hadn’t changed with age, as wide and brilliantly blue as his youth. Within her she felt her heart stutter, responding to the soul mate she had left behind.
I’ve missed you,” he said quietly. He offered her a joy-filled smile and touched her long deep violet hair. “You haven’t changed whatsoever.” Nue smiled sadly, gazing deep into his eyes.
I’ve missed you too,” she whispered, a tear sliding down her cheek. Ayd reached for it, his fingertips barely grazing her cheek before her hypnotism had him pinned and his hand dropped limply.
She wiped the tear away fiercely. “You are exhausted,” she murmured. “By power of the Sky and Earth, the Valkyries and Higher Powers, I carry your soul to the next life.” She climbed onto the gurney beside him, eyes fixed on his. “We shall meet again.” She gently kissed him, watching as his eyes slid gently shut. She rested her head against his chest, listening to his heart as it slowed.
I love you,” he whispered, wrapping his arm around her drowsily. “No hypnotism is strong enough to stop me.” Nue couldn’t stop herself from crying, watching as her glowing skin turned to flame and they disintegrated into flame together.
I love you too,” she whispered.

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