Far From Tomorrow – Chapter 2 – Part 1

Part 1 of chapter 2… unedited, as always.

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Adelaide sneaked a peek at her bodyguard; he was still there, next to the door. Sighing, once again, she continued eating. She rolled her eyes. There was no way she could shake him off. That morning she found him next to the door of her room, sitting on a chair, reading a book. He followed her all the way to the bathroom, to which he stood outside, and into the dining room. He wouldn’t look at her but she knew that somehow, William was studying her every movement.

The door opened, a well-dressed man walking with a small bell. He rang the bell and announced his host’s arrival.

“Lady Margaret Emilia ViGrigori, twenty-second in line for the crown.” His voice was melodious and soothing.

“Your Royal Highness, may I partake in that delicious breakfast?” Emilia asked. She was short, compared to Adelaide. Her brown curly hair fell down to her shoulders, as her pink cheeks blushed at the sight of William. “Who is he?”

“My pest…” Adelaide replied.

“No, seriously, who is he?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Is he another suitor? That’s not fair. You already have Anthony!”

“He’s not my suitor. He’s my bodyguard or something.” She hastily grabbed a grape and ate it.

Emilia sat next to Adelaide, stretching her slender arms and plucking a grape from the vine. She smiled at William, as he looked away. Emilia looked back at Adelaide as she scolded her with just a quick disapproving gaze. Giving her a quick tug, Emilia looked at William and back at Adelaide. Adelaide couldn’t make out what she was trying to show her. Cupping her hands around Adelaide’s ear, she whispered: “He is handsome, though.”

Adelaide became flustered. “I wouldn’t know that.”

“Well, if he’s not yours, then am I free to court him?” Emilia looked at Adelaide straight into her eyes, “that is, if you don’t have a problem with it.”

“Oh God, take him away or whatever you want to do to him. He’s been a bother and I’ve only been with him for a few hours.”

“Then it’s settled,” Emilia placed a strawberry in her mouth.

***

They had made their way to the garden in the back of the building. A small path, covered in stone sheets and green, nicely trimmed, grass with a few tiny flowers growing from a few cracks on the material. Large rose bushes with beautiful red flowers dotted the place, as tiny drops of dew dripped from their petals. They sat near a small, metal table on small wooden tables and their soft, feather-stuffed pillows. The butler came in with a plate and on it, three teacups. William looked at them as they motioned for him to sit down. He was reluctant to sit so close to them but Emilia dragged him closer.

Adelaide and Emilia took a small sip from their cup and smiled at each other. William looked at them, puzzled. Emilia poured some honey on her teaspoon and mixing it with the tea, much to Adelaide’s disapproval. She looked from the corner of her eyes and smiled at William. Adelaide wouldn’t even make eye contact with him.

“So, Mr. William or would you prefer we call you Mr. Solt?” Emilia’s eyes glimmered with curiosity.

“Call me William, that is enough,” he coldly replied.

Emilia looked at Adelaide, confused at his reply. Adelaide just wagged her finger, “there is a great chasm between those who live for war and us.”

“Adelaide, that’s a bit harsh, don’t you think?” Emlia replied.

“Yes, she is right. We view things differently,” William replied, unfazed in a monotone voice.

“How so?” Emilia asked.

“A squad is composed of men, soldiers, but everyone is different. Everyone is a distinct piece from the other and hence, everyone is a valuable asset in combat,” he sipped his tea, as Emilia glared at Adelaide. She knew Adelaide would not keep quiet.

“But what are a few soldiers to the countless lives that you have sworn to protect?” Adelaide replied, “30? 40? 100 soldiers die for the millions of inhabitants within this island. I think it’s a fair trade.”

“Let’s see… What would you do if one day, you were walking down the street and some mad man came and shot Emilia right before your eyes and the reaction of everyone around you was: things like this happen all the time?”

“But that’ll never happen.”

“And yet, that’s why I’m here watching over you.”

“That’s a totally different circumstance.”

“I do recall you being at someone else’s mercy.”

Emilia quickly placed the cup on the place. The sound startled everyone. “Children, this is a no argument zone. If you want to fight, take your fight somewhere else but know this: William, rule number one – never contradict royalty.” She took a sip, “even if you’re right, even if it’s just common sense; you’ll never win. In our veins flows a blood stained with a superiority complex that can never be washed away.”

William quickly bowed and apologized. Adelaide didn’t. Emilia had known Adelaide ever since they were little; Adelaide was a very clever girl but her pride proved to be her downfall.

The sun was shining brightly over the garden. Emilia wished to break the awkward silence that had settled over them. She didn’t think they were fighting; it was all about pride and responsibility. William knew he couldn’t disrespect authority and Adelaide didn’t want to lower herself to a commoner.

Adelaide looked down at her tea, not knowing what to say. She wanted to apologize but was too embarrassed to do so. He was her bodyguard; he was the only person who even managed to keep her company. Her home was a graveyard; not a single family member ever lingered there for too long. Anthony had captivated her with his constant support and warm presence yet, now that he had returned to his land, she was alone again.

“I must apologize for my behaviour…” she was hesitant at first, unable to continue. Emilia smiled and urged her to continue with a light tap on her fingers, “I didn’t mean to sound rude, William, and I failed to realize that not everyone shares my ideals but that doesn’t mean that what I said was untrue.”

It was an apology, even if she didn’t manage to solve the whole issue.

“Well, that’s that,” Emilia clasped Adelaide’s hands, “you two are so charming to watch; like little children arguing over who gets to play next.”

Adelaide got up, pushing her chair to a side, she fixed her dress. “I must take my leave, Anthony will be here soon.”

William got up but Adelaide promptly gave him a letter.

“Father has issued a restriction since Anthony’s family isn’t too fond of military personnel,” she grabbed a beautiful white, wide-brimmed hat and her bag, “You two stay here while I take my leave.”

Sitting next to Emilia, he grabbed the letter and placed it in his pocket. Emilia looked at William and back at the pocket, “aren’t you going to read it?”

“What for? It would be too elaborate for a lie,” he replied.

“So, you’re saying that you trust her?” Emilia smiled.

“Yes.”

“That’s cute, I like you.”

A Cut That Will Not Bleed

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It’s been a while since I wrote a stand-alone story. It’s made from something that happened to me recently, yes, I’m a dick but I’ve learned my lesson and so should the reader. Things aren’t always what they seem. There is no good and bad, just appropriate and inappropriate. It’s unedited, so beware the typos.

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Dirt and mud particles floating around, rushing past his face, dragging along enough debris to strike him; he wondered if he would die. He couldn’t breathe anymore, what’s wrong with him? Knee-deep in mud, head covered in water; someone was standing on his shoulder. He tried to look, at the human who’d do such a thing to him. A tin veil of murky water still covered his vision, but he could see something: two slender creamy legs, a skirt and a face looking down on him, still smiling.

 

He woke up, dazed and scared. Checking his pulse, he wiped away the sweat on his forehead. It was all a dream. Choking up on his own saliva, he struggled to the kitchen. A glass of water, crystalline and pure, unlike that within his dream; his heart was beating faster and faster as agitation sank in. He didn’t know who she was but he had an idea. Sliding unto the checkered floor of his three-room apartment, he gazed at the darkened ceiling. Strange, he’d usually cry or beg for some supernatural power to guide him. No, he couldn’t… not after publicly bashing said ideas. He’d be a hypocrite.

 

Light’s turn on and off, the outside world was a dangerous place. Hearts are broken, spirits are damaged beyond repair… he knew what this was all about. Staring at his hands, he could picture them covered in blood; his blood. No, he looked around, such a stupid idea for such a stupid situation. Nobody was worth anybody’s life, except for his parents. He ran his fingers through his shaggy hair, it was surprisingly long. He had promised himself to get his hair as long as he could possibly bear it. Staring at the front door, he hoped someone would ring the doorbell. A keg of beer, some rum, maybe tequila – that’s all he hoped for.  Should he even get drunk at a time like this? Didn’t seem possible or reasonable, making drunk phone calls didn’t seem like a bright idea to him.

 

Struggling to his feet, he shuffled to his room. Slamming, no, he didn’t have enough anger to exhort said emotions on a door. He jumped unto his bed, slamming with the bed sheets, pillows jumping around like tiny marbles on a stretchy fabric. Watching from the edge of his eyes, the door was slightly opened as darkness poured in. He was sleepy, very sleepy but his heart was beating faster. No, it wasn’t a demon or a spirit… it was his conscience. It was black, murky, and bottled up within his sad existence. How he longed for things to go back to the simplicity of everyday life. They couldn’t, it was too late, he was alone now and that was what hurt the most.

*#*

The alarm clock was beeping, or should he call it his cellphone? Nobody was calling, of course. He swiped the screen with his finger and clumsily walked to the bathroom. He stared long and hard at his face, it was a mess. Hair all-over the place, eyes sunken with sleep deprivation, a half-broken, half-assed smile; something wasn’t right. As he closed the front door, he sighed. Another day, another side of the ugly world he’d have to see. Running past pedestrians, he caught the bus. Right in the nick of time, he wondered how many had been left behind or arrived too late. What had happened if he had arrived too late? A bloody sickening day or that should have been the right answer.

 

He checked his phone: 6:00a.m and right on schedule. He wasn’t too fond of arriving late nor was he fond of being so crammed inside a vehicle. Looking around, staring at the faces of individuals who might or might not be having a better life. Oh, shit, there it goes again… depression was sinking in. The outside world was passing by but to him everything was rewinding to that one event. He messed up, real bad.

 

Leaning on one leg, he looked over to the other classroom. Just as he had expected, there she was, smiling away with everybody. Was he the only one who felt pathetic? She should show some hint of sorrow or something, after all, they were close. He sighed again, looking at her one more time. He swore that she did a double take on him, but he couldn’t be sure. Why would she? She’s got plenty of friends will to take her side, he, on the other hand, had a handful of friends who were a few kilometers away. No real support there. Students and professors walking by, some running down the stairs, other going up; it all seemed parallel to him. Shit.

 

*#*

She peeked from a window on the door of the classroom. His heart skipped a beat. Why would she be here? Did she come to apologize? Nah, he was the one at fault, not her. Still, the way he treated him, he was hoping for something along the lines of a hug or a ‘good morning’ to cheer him up. Nothing, she waved at the guy next to him, as he awkwardly lowered his hand. Why did he think she’d wave at him? He still remembers her hazel eyes as he said that their friendship should that… Was she happy or was she depressed? He couldn’t quite catch it though he really wanted to believe that she was depressed. Running half-way through the campus, he found her and thoroughly apologized. He promised it was all a misunderstanding and that his brain had essentially stopped working. Apology accepted, or so he thought.

 

The nightmares wouldn’t stop, the fears would sink in, and the nervous shaking and the dryness of his mouth keep him preoccupied for the last four days. He wanted to salvage their friendship, or did he want something else? He closed his eyes and wondered what had happened to him. Why had he grown so attached to her? It was faint, the feelings that drove him to her were not friendship… it was attraction. A girl like her: charismatic, friendly, intelligent, beautiful, and an untamed spirit of rebellion and chaos. She had it all, he had none. He wanted to be the first to kiss her soft lips, whenever she’d twist them to prove a point, or to hold her side with both arms, whenever he’d poke them to make her tickle. Gripping his right arm, the trembling became unbearable. He got up and walked over to the next classroom.

 

He wasn’t doing it for those selfless feeling that generate within your heart, he wanted to be the first and no one else should get that privilege. What a fool, he had been. Shaken by this newfound feeling, the guilt was slowly fading away, now all that was left was desire. A shallow, hollow desire that served no purpose; he shook his head, people must have thought he was crazy. No, he wasn’t crazy; he was sick of himself and wanted to change everything. He knew every well that things with her would never be the same, it was crystal clear, no, and it was a sad, painful reality. But, what is a friendship if no two parties are honest? He’d never admit that to her, and she’d never admit that he was his pillar while things were falling around her, that she used him just as he had used her though their aims were different, the selfishness was still there.

 

She had told her to find the answer himself. That we were all alone in the world and nobody was there to guide us. He had always thought of friends as being beacons of like and support. Was he wrong? Had he envisioned a world so painfully wrong that his whole spirit would have to be converted to this way of thought? The sun was shining brightly, scorching the back of his neck, yet, his shadow was sad and lonely. Cold and emotionless, he wished for revenged, hoping that she’d come crawling back to him and he’d be there to tell her the exact same thing. He couldn’t… he was unable to abandon someone when they needed him the most, even if it was someone who had taken advantage of him in the past or a friend who had left him when he needed her the most.

 

Mist covered blades of grass, slightly shaken by the coursing breeze. Glittering droplets, a starry memoir to the lights that illuminates the darkness; he still can’t find the answer to it all but he doesn’t have to. Taking his cellphone, he activated his wifi, called on some friends and acquaintances. He knew the time was ripe to strengthen old friendships and form new ones. People don’t change, not if you’re unable to change yourself. Realizing that the hole in his chest was a void for dark, sickening desires and imaginations; he gazed into the sun for new illumination. If he wanted to be happy, he needed to shake off these feelings. Maybe be it will still linger after a week or two, he had, after all, lost something akin to a competition or a hunt.

 

Swiping his finger on the phone, the screen lit up. He tapped away as a he made a call. “Hey, how are you? Are you still going there this Thursday? Yeah, yeah, change of plans, I’m tagging along!”

Heißen of Eternity – Chapter 1: Part 1

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This is a very old story which I recently edited and revamped from my Horrible-disasters folder. It was a mess, I couldn’t believe I was that bad, or has my criteria moved up a notch? This was a project I started with a friend but it soon was forgotten and it gathered dust and regret. Initially called: Through An Angel’s Eyes, this was later turned into something more sinister. Well, I’ll check that out for myself but meantime, you can indulge in a very strange story. Comments would be appreciated but if not, then, wait for the other piece.

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“Hello? Hello? Where’s everyone?!” His voice echoed through the darkness. It was pitch black, nothing beyond this blind veil. He could feel a solid surface behind him, what was it? He felt around for something that could pop an image into his mind, anything that would help him or keep him at ease… nothing, there was nothing. Waving one hand then the other before him, believing his sight had finally vanished, he panicked.

 

“If memory serves me right, I was at a party—”small tremors shook the place. Holding on to nothing but a dust covered ground, he sat on the floor. “What’s going on in here? Am I lost? Is that it?” Footsteps echoed in the distance. “If I can hear it, then this place must be a big empty room, right? Was I kidnapped?” His hands trembled with fear.

 

He was at a birthday party though things quickly got out of hand ;Drinks pouring down into his system, a bit too much for him to handle, as he walked away from the place. His clothes reeked of alcohol, a pulsating headache that would not leave him and a beating heart that would not cease to race. He knew the level of drunkenness he was in; it was too early to even believe that he had lost consciousness and had been captured by someone. This has to be some sort of a bad prank.

 

“Guys! This isn’t funny!” A small light, ever so faint, flickered a distance away from where he was standing. “Hey! I mean it! What is the matter with you—“ He felt nauseous, all of a sudden. At a loss for words, he held on to his stomach. Churning, rumbling, he kneeled as everything emptied out from within his body; Bitter and smelly, that’s the payment for indulging in that which is harmful and sick.

 

As he wiped his mouth, with the sleeve of his t-shirt, the light became brighter and brighter till it completely engulfed him. Blinded, he struggled to his feet. They were wobbly; the effects of the alcohol were still going strong. The light soon faded, his surroundings became clear. A football field? What am I doing here? He knew the place; it was the old football field from his hometown. What was this doing here? There was nothing around him, the air was too thick to breathe without any difficulty and the grass was sharp, almost as if they were covered with needles.

 

“This has got to be some sort of a dream…” He rubbed his eyes with the heel of his palm, trying to wake up. “But, if I’m dreaming, why am I still drunk?” He saw the blood dripping from the tiny punctures in his palms. There was no pain, just tiny droplets of scarlet life-giving fluid. As they fell on the floor, the grass became soaked with it, turning red.

“This is no dream, young one.” A voice echoed inside his head. It was soft and pleasant but why did it make him shudder with fear?

“Who are you? Where are you?” He shouted, but no one responded. His voice echoed; something was definitely wrong. He could feel it. An open space couldn’t possibly produce an echo. After a while he heard her voice again. “Young one, come to me, follow my voi—“

“It’s easier said than done. I don’t know where you are!” He looked around, but to no avail.

“Follow my voice.” It was that voice again.

He was skeptical. “Right.”

 

He got off his back, and walked around for a few minutes till a figure appeared. Never had he imagined he would feel so disoriented and scared. It was clear this was the same lady that had been calling out to him though her silhouette was too far away to distinguish her. The closer he got, the more he could see, though his vision was still fuzzy. She wore a white semi-transparent dress, the front piece, from her legs to her feet was uncovered, it had no sleeves just strips of some unknown translucent material wrapped around her arms, and a big bulky metallic mask. Her long golden hair touched the ground. She opened her arms. Is she hoping for an embrace? Just who is she?

 

“Again, who are you? I hope this isn’t a prank!  I know I’m inside something… Just let me out, okay?” His voice made her giggle. It was at that moment that an idea hit him. That voice, so familiar it made him burn red with frustration. Sabrina’s always been a trickster.

“The tiny itsy bitsy prank fooled you, huh! Come here and give me a big hug.” Sabrina? She sounded just like her. Damn you! I almost fell for it.

 

As he walked towards her, she hugged him. Her body was soft and warm, like the embrace of a plush toy… and just like a plush toy, she had no heartbeat. All of a sudden, massive chains bound her arms and legs, dragged her and restrained her; each chain had emerged from the ground entwined around her slender arms. A crimson cross fell from the heavens. Nails surged from the ground, piercing her extremities, securing her to the cross. He fell on the ground, as the tiny, sharp edges of the grass pierced his skin.

 

The chains were old and rusty, filled with barbs; the cross oozed a blood-like substance and the nails were blazed brightly as they burned through her flesh. The smell of burned skin filled the air; each chain was seeping blood from the gashes they had opened throughout her body. She struggled, screamed and cried but couldn’t manage to free herself. The chains ripped each gash further apart.

 

He was in a state of shock, unable to move, frightened that he would be met with the same fate; his hands and legs were shaking uncontrollably. Cold sweat slid down his body. Is she really Sabrina? Can’t be, can it? There is no way that she is slowly dying before me…! No way! I can’t believe it, I won’t believe it. Damn it! Damn it! I need to do something, but what? Move, damn it, move! He was reluctant to suffer the same fate and still, he struggled to move on and save her.

 

The cross turned upside down, inverting her body. Blood fell down the mask that covered her face, staining her hair. He slowly walked up to her, afraid, powerless to save her. He grabbed her mask in his hands and kissed it.

 

“Please, oh please, don’t go, I need you. I need you more than you’ll ever know.” As he finished saying this, the mask shattered. The tiny fragments became white roses as soon as they touched the ground.

 

He screamed out in horror. Trying to crawl away, slipping and falling flat on his chest as the grass ripped through is skin. What was that thing? Is it even human? A monster! The nails popped out, falling on the ground, burning the grass; the chains broke and the cross turned to blood. She appeared. He checked his clothes; they were stained with his own blood. The grass was sharp yet he still felt no pain.

 

Her face was bloody; her lower jaw had been ripped out by some unknown force and a deep laceration across her face oozed a tar-like fluid. Blood spewed forth from her mouth and seven eyes that gazed at him, all organized in two columns of three and four. A single snow-white wing grew from her left shoulder. In a single flap, the white roses had turned red all burning in a crimson flame. With every petal that touched his skin, it instantly became liquid and burned his flesh. Running away, he grabbed on to something long and hard, covered in dirt and dust… a bone. Soon, he was standing before a field covered in the bones of beings with wings protruding from their backs. Impaled and butchered, it looked like the scene from a massacre.

 

“Young one, why do you fear me?” She asked. How could such a sweet, soft voice emanate from such a monstrosity!

“What do you want? Who or what are y- y- y- you!” His voice was shaky. Is she going to eat me? Or maybe she’ll steal my soul? Is she even a she?

 

She looked towards the sky; a majestic moon appeared above them, turning the ground into a great crystalline lake. A drop fell from the moon’s surface. She descended; touching the lake with the tip of her ornamented boot, creating a ripple that glowed in several colors, like a prism. With that he awakened.

Ciudades Do Destino – 3 – Girl with the Prism Wings

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So, here it is… Part 3/5 is finally out. I’m excited and as I get closer to the end, I jump for joy. As before, this is unedited so hold your horses, Grammar Nazis. I’m being anarchistic today, enjoy the freedom and read on.

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“Do you know where this road leads to… emmm… Pricilla?” Cassandra shook her head, slowly trying to make sense of everything. A tall tree, a dystopian-looking city and a strange night sky held together by a living canopy. “Have we been abducted?”

“Abducted?” Pricilla looked away, retracing her steps to where she came from. “As in, taken by some unknown organization?”

“I mean aliens.”

“Nahhhhhh… This feels more like a dream.”

“Come to think of it, it does. I can see colors; that’s something far-fetched.”

“I can walk…”

 

Both girls looked on ahead, at the majestic tree. They knew there was only one place they could go, and that was the tree. Slowly, walking on opposite ends of the road, they quietly mumbled to each other. The closer they got to the tree, the more vibrant its details became. Beautiful fluorescent vine-like markings decorated the trunk of the tree, dotted with runes and leave patterns that became as bright as the stars in the sky.  The trunk must have been atleast four blocks wide, probably twenty-eight to thirty two houses in length, and as tall as any skyscraper they’ve ever seen.

The base of the trunk was surrounded by a crystalline lake, dotted with tiny flying fireflies zooming to and fro, from the surface of the water. The tree’s roots pierced its crystalline veil, popping out of nowhere, and plunging back in. On the edge of the lake, there was a soft sandy beach, probably around ten yards in length, or a hell of a lot of footsteps from the coarse soil. Large rectangular stone structures rose from the white, sandy surface. Pricilla touched the surface of the structures with the tip of her fingers, much to Cassandra’s dismay.

From time to time, tiny rays of golden light would fall on the surface of the water, reflecting upwards to the sky. As it hit the leaves on the overlaying branches, a tiny glow would emanate from the inflicted leaf – like the birth of a new star. Cassandra walked over to the edge of the sand, there were no waves. She placed one of her feet on the water; it was warm. Warm like a soothing, soul-resting bath on a cold, Christmas Eve; this was something she’d do every year with her ex-lover.

Pricilla wandered off to see the other statues, examining them well. She knew they’d make perfect portraits on a fine canvas. There were runes etched on its smooth, marble-like surface. There was a drawing that repeated over and over along the inscriptions: an oval surrounded by twelve bird wings and a halo over its head. She was scared, it felt ominous.

 

“Pricilla! I’ve found a boat!” Cassandra shouted.

Pricilla ran over to her. The boat was not tied to anything. “Was it here when we came?” Pricilla commented. The lack of waves couldn’t have possibly made the boat drift over to the shore.

“Do you suppose someone wants us to get on the boat?” Cassandra tied her hair in a bun. “Like an invitation?”

“Yeah, I get the feeling we are not alone.”

 

The got on the boat, as Cassandra clumsily pushed it off the shore. It slowly drifted, as if controlled by an external force. Pricilla lay on the edge of the boat, touching the water’s crystalline surface. It created ripples that extended exponentially and soon vanished. She commented on the strange image she had seen. Cassandra would stare into the sky and wonder what was going on. Someone must have dragged them into the place, but that someone might not be what they expected it to be.

 

“Do you believe in God, Cassandra?” Pricilla asked.

“No, I do not. I’m an atheist, and a good one at that.” Cassandra replied.

“I believe in God, but, sometimes I wish I did not. If he really was looking after me, then shit wouldn’t happen to me. Life looks so unfair from its surface but that’s only a reflection of how cruel it all sums up to be.”

“I don’t think that someone else can control every aspect of your life. You make decisions and if they go bad, then it’s your fault, ain’t it? You have to take responsibility.” Pricilla turned around, facing the sky, her long hair fell on the water. “The sky is awake.”

“More like, the sky is alive.” Cassandra gazed that the tiny golden stars, twinkling, and changing colors – like miniature prisms held by invisible strings of golden light.

 

The boat hit a land mass, as the two girls awakened from their deep trance. Pricilla fell off the boat, falling face-first into the water. Gasping for air, she kneeled on the shore. Cassandra quickly got up, gazing at her soaked companion. Offering Pricilla a hand, she took off her jacket and gave it to her. Removing her wet clothes, she put on the jacket. Walking side by side, they finally made it to the center-most island: the base of the tree.

 

“What do you think we should do?” Pricilla asked, they hoped something magical might happen. “It feels so ominous.”

“I was hoping for a massive magical head or something.” Cassandra commented. “You know, something Wizard of Oz-ish.”

“Well, I guess we’re not in Kansas anymore…” They both giggled.

 

The runes began to shine as a voice whispered, “Come…” The girls stopped in their tracks. Cassandra held Pricilla closer to her. Pricilla, not wanting to be the girl who dies first in every horror movie, grabbed a hold of Cassandra’s hand.

 

“You know, in most horror movies… There is a girl who dies first.” Pricilla whispered. “It’s usually the half-naked one.”

“It might be God. What if he’s calling us?” Cassandra commented.

“Then, I’m in no way dressed properly to meet the creator of everything.”

“You do have a jacket on.”

Pricilla glared at Cassandra, “That doesn’t make me feel safe. I’m jail-bait.”

 

Words appeared on the trunk of the tree.

He who dwells upon fleshy soil,

Baptized in thine heavenly oil,

Bow and toil;

Frail, show thine reverence.

 

“Mother told me to never talk to strangers.” Pricilla whispered.

“Could you stop whispering? It’s kind of annoying…” Cassandra sighed. “It’s a riddle, I guess.”

“It’s not a riddle. It’s telling us to bow before it.”

“How do you know?”

“I study these sorts of things. Art and literature… I’m a fan of Mark Twain and Shakespeare.”

“So, you’re a nut-job…”

“An educated nut-job, thank you very much.”

 

As they both bowed, their faces staring at their sand covered feet, a voice called to them.

 

“My little children, I have heard your cries.”

 

Echoes of voices surged through the trunk’s tiny cracks. The water rippled. It was their voices, and the people around them. They could hear their comments, their thoughts and above all – they could hear each other’s thoughts. Their lives were far from perfect.

 

“I hold a chalice, where I pour my blood to give to thee. Bring me that which you would give to obtain that which you desire.”

 

A small wooden chalice appeared before them. A strong, scented liquid filled the cup as it began to shine. Cassandra looked at Pricilla. Pricilla was baffled. What could they give to obtain what they wanted? Money for talent? Blood for happiness?

 

“I want to be free… and to be free, I need to walk.” Pricilla commented, looking at Cassandra.

“I want to be normal. To see colors.” Cassandra replied.

“It’s asking to give up something to gain something… I’d give anything…”

“Me too.”

“Then, let’s try this: I’ll cut a strand of my hair and place it in the liquid and you can give something similar and place it in the chalice.”

“I’ll pour some blood and with that, we’ve given up something, right?”

 

As Pricilla cut a strand of her hair, she placed it in the red liquid. It dissolved on contact. Cassandra pricked her finger and poured three drops of blood. They both grabbed the chalice and gave it a sip. The taste was unique. It smelled like rotting flesh but tasted as a high class wine, bittersweet with a slight grape-like tinge to it.

 

“I am nothing but a womb of desires and hopes. Now, go my children. Be happy, dance in the protection of the On-High.”

***

Cassandra woke-up in a cold sweat. Covered from head to toe, she looked around. Everything was the same except for one thing: she couldn’t move her legs.

Ciudades Do Destino – 2 – Girl with the Ivory Wings

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Okay, this is part two. Again, this is unedited and posted just so I could hear some thoughts about it… The voices in my head don’t count as ‘other’ thoughts either.

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“Pricilla, honey… I’m going out, dinner is at the table and there is some orange juice in the fridge.” Her mother called out. No sooner had she said this than the door slammed behind her.

 

Another evening by herself, not a bad way to end the day, she told herself over and over again. She grabbed the remote and turned on the tv. Her favorite show was on; it was about a girl who happened to be lawyer. She was infatuated with her; the way she dressed, her mannerisms, her courage, her self-esteem and the way she attracted guys and dumped them with no sense of attachment. She wanted that, she needed to become an independent person. Looking around for something munch on, she heard the doorbell ring. Who could it be at this hour?

It was still seven thirty but this neighborhood didn’t have many visitors after the gates closed. Carefully dragging herself over to her wheelchair, she rolled down the hall. Upon reaching the door, she was hit with a dilemma. The peephole was too high up on the door and she couldn’t just ‘stand’ and look through it. In the event that someone dangerous was on the other side, opening the door exposed her to unspeakable evil. She swallowed hard, as the doorbell rang. Come one now, there can’t be any rapists or robbers in this neighborhood. There is barely any middle class family here, much less shady characters. As she repeated those words to herself, over and over again, she realized she sounded so much like her mother; a classist.

There goes nothing. She held on to the doorknob, tightly, and slowly opened the door. The hinges creaked.

 

“Pricilla? What are you doing? Where’s your mother?” She heard a familiar voice.

“She’s out,” she stuttered. “Would you like to come in, Nathan?”

He smiled. “Normally, I don’t go into people’s homes but I’ll make an exception if you have some orange juice.”

Looking about, she giggled. “Lemon juice, just so you know.”

 

Finally, it wasn’t perfect, per se, but things were taking a turn for the best. If everything worked out the way she had planned, he’d be out before her mother came back and probably snatched him from her grip. To be at odds with someone who was supposed to be your guardian; an exhausting torture that can only be described as living in a personal hell – torture of the ironic kind.

He walked over to the living room, sitting on the sofa. She wheeled on to his side, after all, she was already sitting on something; be it a wheelchair or a sofa. He sipped on his lemonade while she wondered why she even suggested lemonade. He’s a guy; he needs some sort of alcohol not lemonade or strawberry cool-aid.

 

“So, what made you come over to our neck of the woods?” Pricilla grabbed her glass and drank some water; she wasn’t too fond of acid tasting things much less lemon. “Was it because of the wheelchair? I’ve already fixed it myself.”

“No, don’t worry. I came to talk to your mother about an issue she’s been having with her washing machine.” He evaded her stare.

Knowing full well what was going on, she poked some more. Holding on to her shirt, close to where her heart was, she looked down at the carpet. “So late at night?”

“Yeah, she’s usually home at this time, so that’s why I came over.”

 

Pricilla stopped with the probing questions and realized what everything was about. She wanted to cry but a crying paraplegic only evokes pity not sorrow. Looking around, searching the room, she realized that everything here was like a memento to the greatness of the woman she called mother. Her past was filled with audacious achievements from a woman with nerves of steel, yet, the child she longed for was born more delicate than a piece of paper; a papier-mâché princess.

She heard the door open and out popped her mother. Sniffing in what tears were trying to escape, she rolled herself over to her room. Knocking a vase, she opened the door and slammed it behind her. Locking it, she cried. Holding her face with both hands, she didn’t make it to her bed. How weak, she thought to herself. Was it weak to lose out to her very own mother or was it weak that she would always cry on her wheelchair? Probably, the fault was all on her star, it wasn’t shining like it should be.

*

“Hello?” Cassandra held her cellphone close to her ear, hoping to guess who the caller was. “This is an unknown number, who are you?”

“Cass! It’s me, Jenny!” A squeamish voice replied. She could hear loud electronic music in the background.

“Jen? Why are you calling me so late in the night? It’s nearly twelve!”

“You won’t believe who I saw in the show! Your boyfriend is here with another girl!”

She stopped thinking, her heart skipped a beat, there was something stuck inside her throat; she was unable to react properly to the news. “What do you mea-”

“It’s Lizzy! She’s here with your boyfriend. They’ve been at it for half an hour now, kissing, touching; he’s been fondling her for the last twenty minutes. It’s like they don’t care who sees them!”

Her legs became weak. “How do you know it’s him?”

“I took pictures of them… I’ll send them over to your phone.”

The phone vibrated, a set of ten pictures flooded the chat box. Yes, it was him. How dumb could she be? It was all like she had imagined; he was cheating on her. “I don’t know what to do, Jen… I don’t know what to do.” Her voice was breaking up.

“Come one Cass, you’re stronger than this. You’re smart, beautiful-”

“I’m not… I’m not… I’m just lying to myself about this.” She pressed the cellphone close to her face. “I wanted a perfect life, a perfect boyfriend with a perfect relationship and maybe a few perfect moments here and there. I wanted it all but… but… life can’t give you everything you want.”

“Come on-”

“Why can’t I have what I want? Is it too much to ask? All I wanted was to have someone to love me like I did. I know I’m a retard, I can’t see colors… Who’s going to love a girl whose eyesight is no better than that of a dog?”

“Cass, it’s not like that…”

“It is!” She slid down the side of the drawer unto the cold floor. “Just, leave me alone. I need to think.” Hanging up the phone, she pressed it close to her heart and began to cry. Tears sliding down her rosy cheeks, falling down on her legs; things took a turn for the worse. “Why can’t I have what I want?”

Her hands gripping on her small phone, even tighter, as she curled up on the floor; like a baby in a cold womb. She regretted everything she had ever said, every smile she shot him, every kiss, every night they spent together and every guy she had rejected for him. Why couldn’t she have what she wanted?

**

Pricilla woke up to the sound of birds chirping. It was a gleeful chirp, yet it sounded so far away, echoing from a distant place; almost like a memory. A light fog settled on the ground, like a slight mist running about, akin to water. Large structures rose from the ground – skyscrapers of sorts. The sky was covered by the branches of a massive tree with tiny glittering fruits that made the umbra become one with a starry night sky. As she walked down the long, winding road she noticed someone up ahead. Could it be a ghost? A spirit? A demon? An alien or some interdimensional being? Her imagination was just too big for her own good.

Closing up on the girl, she noticed her long red hair, she was a ginger huh? A ginger spirit? No, it was too early to think of her as a zombie or some ghost bent on revenge. She was wiping her eyes, had she been crying? If that was the case then they had one thing in common, despite their apparent differences. Pricilla stepped on a stone, as it jolted from a side of her sandals; it clicked and crackled on the ground. The girl turned around.

 

“Who are you?” She asked.

“My name is Pricilla and I come in peace, from the planet Earth.” Pricilla replied, holding up her hand, fingers posed as a V.

“I’m not a monster, silly. My name is Cassandra.”

“Oh, well, this is awkward… I even had a speech and all… Well then, now that you’re not a threat… My name is Pricilla, pleased to meet you.”

Ciudades Do Destino – 1 – Girl with the Ashen Wings

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This story will probably be entering a competition, pretty soon. It’s still 1/5 completed but you guys will be able to see how it develops.

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The lines lead to nowhere in the map. How in the world was she going to distinguish it from the rivers and the roads? She looked up at the ceiling, staring at its old, eroded surface. She sighed. If they wanted her to do this work, they’d have to help. Taking out a piece of paper, a pen, a pencil and an eraser, she started doodling on the side, figuring out which was which. Bridges and rising elevations, probably a river not a road; intersections, roundabouts and houses, probably a road, not a river – this was starting to feel a bit more simple than it usually was.

She looked at her watch, a small Mickey Mouse figurine moving his arms around, pointing with his small hand at the number twelve and the longer at the number six: twelve thirty in the evening and nobody bothered to call her. Untying the pink band of her wrist watch and placing it on the table, she got up and stretched. Bending over, touching her toes, her hair falling over, touching the ground like grey bristles.

Back again, stretching as far as her body could take her. She could see the entrance of the classroom, upside-down, and the world seemed unchanged. Spending all morning figuring out what to do with the map of the city, she begged for help but no one seemed to care. Handicapped was for people with missing limbs or those with special needs but color-blindness never seemed to be an issue.

Her phone vibrated, she quickly slipped her hand into her pocket. It was no use, her pants were too tight. Scratching with her long fingernails, she finally managed to take a hold of it but by that time, it had stopped. Tapping her password, she looked at the log: an alarm. Great, she was excited over an alarm clock, whoopty doo. Searching through her contacts, she found him.

You left me behind with a map…

That should get his attention, after-all, he deserves her frustration. Tapping her finger on the soft, jelly protector that covered her phone, she flipped through her photos. Sighing, she smiled at the one photo that made her day- her in a beautiful white dress and her boyfriend next to her in a tuxedo. Too bad it was all for a play, but she still hoped it would someday become a reality. Her phone vibrated. About time!

Sorry hun, there was something I needed to do. So, how’s the project coming along? Any ideas?

Unconsciously, her face met her palm at the blink of an eye; a reflex action that quickly infuriated her friends? She wasn’t that good at holding her temper. He knew exactly what was going on; he had to. How in the world could he expect her to figure out what the map was about? She was struggling as it is, with the colors. This was one class she hated the most: geography. The mathematical aspect of it all was so simple, yet why did she have to take a class like this?

Basil! You know I’m color-blind… How in the hell am I supposed to figure this out? You need to help me. 

How could he be so insensitive? Of all people, he should know better. A small chill ran up her spine, she was afraid, paranoid, probably over thinking things but it was all within the realm of possibilities. Recently, he had grown cold to her affection. Could he have someone else? Was he seeing someone? What would that mean to her? Was she the ‘other girl’ or was she the person he’d return to when there was nothing going on with the other girl?

I’m sorry hun, I’ll be there okay? Love you, wait for me XOXOX

No, what was she thinking? He wouldn’t write like that if he was with someone else, would he? It must all be some sort of mistake, yeah, that must be it. After all, he’s been with her through thick and thin, there was no way he’d just get up and leave. They had plans, they had dreams, they wanted a family; everything was moving on so perfectly, there was no way in hell that things could go bad.

Get over here, babe. Miss you.

That should fix things up a bit. An angry tone could get him angry, then she’d be angry, they’d have another fight, they wouldn’t speak to each other for the rest of the day and then she’d… O my god! He never seemed to text her when they got in a fight, as a matter of fact, she’d be the one doing the texting and apologizing. For Christ’s sake! She looked around for something to beat him with. A broom? No, too long. A chair? No, too heavy. She had made-up her mind to just scratching his eyes out. Yeah, that should do the trick. How dare he betray her trust! After all they’ve been through, after all the time she’s saved his ass from flunking. No, either he comes through that door with chocolates and a bouquet of roses, white roses to be exact, or she’d have to go Animal Planet on his face.

She hears the door open. Placing her phone on her chair, she rolled up her sweater’s sleeves. As she was about to scream out everything she’s ever thought about him, the unimaginable happened: a bouquet of white roses, some chocolates and a few heart-shaped balloons? Idiot, why did he do that? She was about to tear him a new skin and her goes on being so romantic and… and… and… she ran up to him and kissed him. How could she have doubted her one and only love?

*

The flowers where inside her favorite pink vase, which she had labeled as such so as to distinguish it from the rest of her vases; it had always been a hassle to ask for that grey item when the whole world saw in a whole spectrum of colors. The chocolates were inside the fridge, the balloons had all popped; she loved popping balloons. Now, for a goodnight’s rest… today wasn’t as bad as she thought it would be.

A strange sound awakened her from her sleep. She swore that she’d been dreaming about unicorns. Looking around, everything seemed so different: a field covered in flowers. Different types of flowers, with different colors, yes, for the first time in forever, she had finally seen colors. How could she know what colors were? It was strange, like something she knew but was unable to confirm. Colors, who knew she’d see them in a dream.

No trees, clouds covering a beautiful blue sky, sunlight piercing through their fluffy white texture, tearing a veil of white with a golden shower of light. The flowers followed closely the movement of the sun. A soft breeze picked up speed, rushing though the field, taking with it a rainbow of petals. As soon as she was about to speak, a dark object covered the sun, as darkness enveloped the field.

Cold sweat running down her chest, the sky was still dark, with the monochrome twinkling of stars just outside her window. What had happened? Searching the small drawer next to her bed, she took out a small container. Sipping from a cup of water, she swallowed a small pink pill. She promised herself that this would never happen again, but in the end, her depression would always win. Cassandra, keep it together, it’s just a dream, a bad dream, that’s all it is.

II

“Mom! Mom! Mom!” She shouted, her voice echoed through silent hallways and abandoned rooms. “Mom! I’m stuck, again…” She sighed.

The wheel screeched, as she tried leaning to a side, trying to see what was wrong. It couldn’t be the gear, no, she checked it a while back and everything was fine. Could something be stuck underneath the wheel? No, impossible… It’s too thin for something like a marble to be stuck within its surface. Groaning, she grabbed both wheels again and pulled, forcing out air from her lungs, burning as it left her nostrils. She gave up on the matter. Holding her head with her arm gentle supported on her wheelchair, she closed her eyes. I won’t get mad, not today, today I need to be happy and at peace.

“Mom! I’m stuck! Help me! I’ll be late for the presentation!” Once again, she let out a long, exasperated sigh. “Mom!” She shouted at the top of her lungs. Nobody answered.

Taking out her cellphone, she dialed her mother’s number. After three attempts, her mother answered.

“Hello dear, what’s going on?” Her voice seemed peculiar.

“Mom! Where are you? I’ve been calling for you for the past forty-five minutes!” She tried to hold how annoyed she was at the present issue. “I need you to help me out of this crack or whatever is holding my chair. I need to get ready for the presentation.”

“Honey, I’m not home.” Her mother giggled. A giggle definitely not aimed at her. “With the current traffic, I’ll be there in an hour, if I trying running through red rights.”

“You know what, never mind. Just… be there when I present my painting, okay?” She cringed at the tough of what was going on. “Tell Antonio I said hi.” Her mother was probably in the middle of something, right now. If she interrupted her, she’d have to listen to her gross stories afterwards.

Somehow, today was definitely not her day. Sitting alone, she looked around, hoping to find the source of her frustration. The door was really small and the tiled floor was smooth, at best; not something that could keep her from advancing. Leaning over to the right, she stared at the wheel, at the checkered floor and her surroundings; nothing. Leaning to the left, she did the exact same thing, except that this time, she poked around a bit, hoping to find the source of the problem. Her phone rang.

Picking up her phone she saw the ID: Mother. What would her mother want with her, this time?

“Hello?”

“Honey, I forgot to mention.” She could hear whispers in the background, “Stop it-”

“Mom, focus.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m okay.” She cleared her throat and continued. “The guy that does maintenance on the wheelchair, and not a bad pick if I do say so myself-”

“Mom! Again, focus!”

“Well, Nathan came to fix something on your wheelchair, or was it maintenance? I’m not sure, but he removed a part and took it with him.”

“Mother! Why didn’t you say so?”

“Well, it was your day with your father and I didn’t want to bother you with-”

“You should have told me! I could have taken the wheelchair dad bought me and I wouldn’t be having these sorts of problems.”

“Well, if your dad…” There she goes again, she rolled her eyes. Blaming dad for something she did. No wonder dad left her, she’s just so immature.

“I know, mom. Talk to ya later, I need to get dressed.”

Gently slipping down into the floor, having made sure that the breaks were still in use, she slowly crawled to her bed. Unbuttoning her light blue, semi-transparent shirt, she flung it over her shoulders, falling atop a pile of plush toys. As she unhooked her bra, she looked into the mirror, ashamed of her own body. A large scar ran down the middle of her chest, as she traced, with the tip of her fingers, down this aberration stopping at her belly button. Her legs were so thin, her fingers so long, her breasts so small and her lips too thin to charm anybody. Looking away, she grabbed a pillow, burying her face on the small pink, pillow; she screamed with all her might.

“Now then,” she tossed the pillow over to a side. “It’s time to get ready. Pricilla, focus on the issue at hand… You are lady, no; you are a painter, so act like one. Grace of a swan, patience of a cat and the cunning of a fox. You can do it.”

**

Later that night, she lay on her bed, still awake though it was way past her bedtime. Looking at the clock, she could see its small hands tick-tocking their way through the night. She was too anxious to get any sleep but as soon as the clock hit midnight, her eyes felt heavy. Strange, this never happens. She was perplexed but above all, happy. For the first time, she’d get a good night’s sleep.

Closing her eyes for just a second, the next time she opened them she saw something unlike anything she had ever seen before. A large cave covered in massive crystalline structures much bigger than her. All of different colors and forms, she could identify as few crystals, mainly quartz, pyrite and probably zirconium crystals. She was impressed when she saw the floor, not only was she standing on her own two legs but the ground was dotted with rare jewels, as lakes were made of gold coins, crowns, pearl necklaces and other rare jewels. The surface of the floor was coarse but at the same time, warm and gentle. She wiggled her toes, it was a miracle, no; a dream. As soon as she took a step forward, a strong icy gale pushed her back till she awakened. Lying flat on the floor, she realized it was all a dream. Still, the idea of being able to just stand for a few seconds was enough to make her shed a tear. She still remembers a time when the ground wasn’t as cold as it was now.

 

 

 

Golden Monsignor’s Place – Step I: Drinks for Two Please

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Something new, which would be an understatement given the fact that I’ve taken my sweet time uploading something. Yes, things have been pretty busy for me as I’ve finished my first novel and I’m looking for a glimmer of guidance in this strange world known only to the publishing industries.

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The light was dim, silent as the slow paced music muffled the light whispers of the customers – this is where I met her. She was the daughter of the owner of the Golden Monsignor’s Place. An old man, well in his sixties; neatly shaved, with not a single hair on his chin; his well kempt hair lacking white hairs, unlike most men his age; his eyes darkened by the shadows of a hard life, where traces of blue had faded to the grey of regret. His firm hands were strong enough to lift a whole crate of bottles by himself; the same coarse skin that greeted us every morning. He walked, hands tied behind his back. He was a strict fellow and a demanding boss.

 

“Order’s up,” Joshua shouted from over the counter. “Keith, A Class, table 34. It’s the same salad guy.”

“Salad guy? He’s early today.” I grabbed the whole container.

“Yeah, well, that spot’s practically his.”

“That fellow has reserved it for 5 weeks now. Why do you suppose he does that?”

“Don’t know, don’t care; you’ve got work to do. We can’t afford to get behind schedule.” Jean-Paul whispered, his arm straightening up my tie. “Now, go get’em kid.”

 

The floor was glittering with golden sparks of starry wonder. Real marble on the walls; a strange thing to see nowadays as the echoes of my shoes’ heels resonated through them room along with the light clanking of the plate on the large porcelain support. I walked beside the central pool; the main attraction. Walls of crystalline, transparent water held together by tiny generators on the floor. Science was beyond me but this was something to marvel at; no support, a structure of liquid water akin to Jell-O.

I enjoyed observing the girls who would swim inside this structure. Blue miniskirts, a tight blue shirt and a small collar that blinked in a wide spectrum of colors; bringing to and fro, small jars with Tonic, an alcoholic beverage made for the elite. Finding myself staring at a small figure, she smiled.

There, a few steps from the pool, was a man dressed in a red, formal shirt with a black jacket covering his robust body. He took a sip from his glass of water and grinned.

 

“Hello, young man. We meet again.” He smiled at me.

“Good evening sir, here is your order: one Patrician Salad with a serving of St. Carlos Trout. Is there anything else I can assist you with?”

“How’s about some small talk?”

 

I realized that he was a lonely soul seeking the attention of anyone. He had taken me by surprise, like a wave of revelations. He opened the door and allowed me in, but I wasn’t interested in that. I needed my own problems solved. Do I need to listen to him? It wasn’t in my paycheck.

 

“I’m sorry, sir.” I looked at the clock. “We’re running a tight schedule here.”

“I see. It’s a wonderful place run by blissful people; I enjoy it.”

“Probably next time, okay?”

“Don’t worry, we’ll wait.”

 

We’ll? Who is we? That man needs help. I peeked back, his face overflowing with joy as he ate his salad. Strangely, it felt so nostalgic. It reminded me of myself; staring at the liquid walls, hoping to see her figure. Mother told me once: a woman cannot be swayed by words alone, but by actions – tangible gestures of affection. Strange, it doesn’t seem to be working.

 

From within the crystalline surface, a small hand appeared. Taking a hold of my sleeve, she emerged. Her long hair stuck to the surface of her tight blue shirt. Soaking wet, she smiled.

 

“Fancy meeting you here, A Class huh?” Her eyes gazed at my small necklace. She gave me this tiny golden necklace for my birthday, and I’ve keep it with me ever since. “You still carry that old thing?”

“It’s gold. To some of us, that is a big deal.” I replied, hesitant to provide any further conversation.

“It’s been…ummmm… five years? I’ll get you something new; you’ve outgrown that old thing.”

“I like this ‘old thing’.”

“Well, I don’t…”

 

Turning around, I waved goodbye and set off to continue on with my work. The boss would soon be here and I’d be in trouble if he caught me talking to his daughter. We’ve been friends ever since I was little, much to his dismay. He wanted her to grow up and become someone famous. She decided on staying her and working, gaining experience till she was ready to ‘command’ her own legion of mindless minions.

The slow sounding saxophone on the Class C section, even if they were less inclined to pay for a Class A seat, their section was still amazing. There was no pool in the middle but they were close to the entertainment. Men dressed in white suits, black ties and glistering charcoal-black shoes, reflecting the light from the crystalline chandeliers and golden wall lights.

I felt a gentle tug on my shirt’s collar. As I turned around, he placed a small cocktail on my service dish. He was looking irritated, his eyes placed firmly on the saxophone player.

 

“What’s going on, Erick?” I looked around for Candice; she was always great at dealing with these situations.

“I can’t deal with this shit.” Not again, he should know better than to start something he can’t handle. “Why do I have to deal with this dumb-ass.” He pointed his service dish at Martin.

“Martin’s just playing, he’s hasn’t done anything wrong.”

“Yeah? He’s been pinning Candice against me. I warned him! I told him shit would get real if he talked to my woman.”

“Calm down Erick, let’s just finish our shirt and go out for a few drinks, okay? The drinks are on me.”

“Man, why do you take his side?”

“Because I don’t want to see you guys beat the crap out of each other and regret it. Candice loves you but she cares about Martin in a strictly friendly sort of way. Get over and do your job.” I returned the cocktail.

 

He grumbled as he took the tiny container over to a lady sitting next to a wall. Again, another tug at my collar; seriously, why does everybody take it as normal behavior?

 

“Are you evading me?” Her again… Why does she keep bothering me?

“Maddie, please, can’t you see I’m busy?”

“No, I can’t… You’re going to sign off and go home. Let’s go out for a few drinks.”

“Is your father okay with this?”

“I’ve had a chat with myself about that…”

“And?”

“I’m okay with it, so you’d be by the front door in thirty minutes.”

“That’s kind of long…”

She ruffled my hair and giggled, “I’m a girl, and last time I checked, we took our time to get ready. Stop whining and get to it.”