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Fiction Friendship Suspense

This is a collab with Jose, go check out their POV! I will be publishing parts 1 and 2 of my pov today, then Jose will take over the rest of the series once I leave over the summer.

Jose's link: https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/jose-valdivia/

The walls around me start to crumble as small explosions burst through the air. A sheen of sweat forms on my forehead as I struggle to keep in control of myself. The memories flood in, the smell of blood and smoke suffocating my lungs. My parents fall to the ground in front of me, limbs blown off their body, then they disappear in the smoke. I shake my head violently, reminding myself that it's not real, despite the fact that it once was. I run through the mines and straight into James, relying more on instinct than anything. My eyes flick towards Jones as he notices me, his eyebrows raised on concern, but nodding his head in understanding.ย 

"C'mon kid," says Jones, grabbing James' hand. I follow behind them, my hand on the knife in case we ran into trouble. We walked through the passageway as billows of dust followed behind us, the screams of the prisoners echoing against the walls. I knew it was screams of terror and not death, since the explosion was simply meant to close off the prison and not kill.

I pressed my hand against the wall, my breathing coming in short, sharp gasps as I struggle to stay in reality. My parents flash in and out of view and I barely hear James talking to me, but I can't understand what he's saying.

I shake my head violently, warding off Jamesโ€™ unheard questions. I kept a steady running pace next to him, my eyes glazed over and filled with terror. My shield of confidence is shattered, leaving me feeling vulnerable and scared.ย 

James' bright hazel eyes are hard and concentrated as he practically drags me through the tunnels. Jones looks back at us, dust clouding his vision, the collar of his shirt covering his nose.ย 

"The exit is just ahead!" he shouts between coughs.ย 

"James..." I tremble, fighting to stay in control of my body and not let past instinct take over. Guards form from the dusty walls, slashing their swords at me. In an instant they disappear, never real to begin with. I finger the scar on my neck as the memories flood in, the sudden desire to attack anyone near me returning. I shove James away from me, guards flashing in and out of my vision, blood staining the walls. Is the blood real? Is James and Jones real? Is any of this real? Or am I dead, doomed to relive all of these memories for the rest of eternity? I grab the knife and lunge towards James, my icy blue eyes wild with instinct. He dodges my attacks as the rocks and dust crumble around us. I manage to back him up against the wall, knife trained on his throat. Blood drips down his throat, his pupils dilated in fear.

โ€œJones! Help me!โ€ he shouts, trying to push the knife away.

A pair of hands suddenly grab me from behind, and I slash my knife, Jones' blood spraying on the walls, mixing with the imaginary blood from before. Jones clutches his head, fresh blood dripping through his fingertips.

I can hear James and Jones talking to each other, but i can't tell what they're saying. Explosions reverberate through the walls, and I slowly exit my wild state, feeling scared and confused.

โ€œJust go!โ€ shouts Jones, his voice sounding far off and wavered. โ€œIโ€™ll be fine.โ€

I gaze around the crumbling tunnel, fresh blood dripping on the floor as my eyes dart around the crumbling tunnel. I see Jones leaning against the wall, trying to staunch the blood pouring from his head. James grabs my hand and drags me out of the tunnels... I only hope Jones is following close behind. The bright sunlight blinded my eyes, and I glance back to see the walls crumbling over the cave. A strangled cry emerges from my lips as the tunnel crumbles, trapping Jones inside. I drop to my knees, shoving aside rocks, ignoring the blood forming on my hands.

"Jones!" I cry, hot tears rushing down my cheeks.

James kneels down next to me, lifting my chin to meet his hazel eyes. His face was layered with sweat and blood, a small slit of broken flesh on his throat. I wonder where that came from. Tears well in my eyes as he does something I never expected: he wraps his arms around me, embracing me in a tender hug.

I sit paralyzed, never having felt something like this in a long time. My hands lay useless at my sides, tears rolling over the layers of dirt and blood on my face.ย 

โ€œHe was the only one who trusted me,โ€ I whispered. โ€œHe stood by my side no matter what, even after my parents diedโ€ฆโ€

โ€œShh,โ€ he says, stroking my black hair.ย 

I choke down a sob, gazing at the blood on my hands- mine mixed with Jones- wisps of my previous fire dispersing. We stay in that embrace for a long time before the tunnel next to us rumbles again, and I snap back into reality. I exhale slowly to gain control of myself and stand up, once again putting up my shield of confidence, but the previous snarky attitude is gone.ย 

โ€œSo, where to?โ€ asks James, standing up as well.

โ€œFollow me,โ€ I say briskly, brushing the dust off my shabby pants.

I stalk through the forest, away from the prison as I explainย  the plan to James.ย 

โ€œInside that prison are some very important people who were visiting for their annual security check. They are now trapped with no way out, and the food rations can only survive a few days since they were supposed to get supplies as well. We wait the few days until they call out more guards to contain the damage and attempt to free the trapped people. While they do that, the palace will be exposed, where I will go in and kill the advisor.โ€

I turn to James. โ€œYou donโ€™t have a problem with that, right?โ€

โ€œWell, um,โ€ he starts. โ€œItโ€™s not a foolproof plan, but itโ€™s better than nothing. And the whole point of this is to eliminate the advisor which, in turn, eliminated fear, correct?โ€ย 

I open my mouth to answer when he interrupts me. โ€œWait, why do you need me then?โ€

โ€œI didnโ€™t need you at first,โ€ I explain. โ€œBut now that I have the prince himself involved in my planโ€ฆโ€ I give a hint of a smile, then stop. This is no time to smile or be happy. I turn away as I continue talking.

โ€œI previously planned to simply trap theโ€ฆ important personโ€ฆ in the prison, then kill the advisor and get the queen on my side. That simple task would be a bit difficult, but now that she sees that I rescued her son from the prisonโ€ฆ it might work.โ€

โ€˜Youโ€™re gonna use me as bait, great,โ€ he says, exasperated. โ€œOh, and how do you know Iโ€™m actually the prince, hm? I could be lying about that, too for all you know.โ€

I open my mouth to answer, but he raises his hand at me, not finished with his rant. โ€œAnd one more small detail you left out. If all this goes to plan, howโ€™ll you convince my mother to make her believe Iโ€™m her son? If you havenโ€™t heard the news, the prince is supposed to have died by the clutches of robbers.โ€ He hesitates, staring off into the distance as if reliving a memory. His attitude quickly changes as he looks down.

โ€œI-I need to tell you something,โ€ he whispers.

I wait for him to continue, not bothering to answer his previous questions.

โ€œI was best friends with the royal advisorโ€™s daughter, Rachael. Iโ€™m sure youโ€™ve heard of her at some point?"

โ€œI have... โ€œ I say hesitantly. The advisor's daughter was a tricky one, sweet and nice at first sight, but the moment you get to close, her real objectives are revealed. I've bumped into her a few times, but she was never a real threat to my plan. "Why?"

โ€œWell later on I began to feel something more for her, and I think she felt the same way. Weโ€™d been friends since forever and the entire kingdom knew of our friendship. But that all changed on my last birthday.

โ€œI invited Rachael to this very forest where I would tell her my feelings. Things went well at first and she was actually the first one to profess her love for me. I, um, believed that her love for me was true. I know, I know; I was an ignorant fool,โ€ he says as he covered his face with his hands, his cheeks flushing in embarrassment.

โ€œSeconds later the love of my life turned on me, stole anything of value, and left me to fend for myself. We met deep in the forest and the sun had set. They took my carriage that brought us here, and I was left to struggle to survive for days. When I returned to the palace, the advisor and Rachael said Iโ€™d died on our outing by the hands of robbers. My father and mother believed the lie and let their fear take over.

โ€œI still kinda love her though,โ€ he mumbles, barely audible.

I stare at him in disbelief. โ€œSo, you thought she loved you, and she betrayed youโ€ฆโ€ I remember his mentions of being betrayed while we were in the prison, and I nod my head knowingly, having experienced betrayal myself.

He traces a heart in the dirt, then hurridly erases it and changes it to a circle.

โ€œDoes she know that youโ€™re still alive?โ€ I ask.

โ€œNot sure,โ€ he responds. โ€œBut my guess is that she thinks I met my doom in the forest long ago.โ€ He tousles his matted hair as our eyes meet, unspoken words floating in the air around us.ย 

He breaks away from my gaze, seemingly embarrassed. โ€œLetโ€™s get on with the plan. Iโ€™m over her and itโ€™s about time I fall for the right person sooner or later.โ€

Iโ€™m slightly exasperated that he was so willing to ignore what just happened, but his last sentence caught my attention. โ€œFall for the right person?โ€ I ask, a small smile on my face. I stare at him, willing for his hazel eyes to make contact with mine once again.

โ€œInterestingโ€ฆ and how do you know whoโ€™s the right person?โ€

He hesitates, choosing his words carefully as he stares at the ground. โ€œI donโ€™t know who that person will be or when Iโ€™ll find them, if at all. I trust that time will lead me to an answer. Have you found your special someone? Or better yet, do you think you ever will?โ€ He finally lifts his head, looking me straight in the eyes.

Iโ€™ve already found him, I think silently, my heart fluttering. I immediately curse myself for thinking such a thought, my face immediately growing hot.ย 

โ€œLove is stupid,โ€ I respond harshly, breaking away from his gaze, but not missing the hurt look in his eyes. I feel torn apart in so many directions, and I try to focus on the mission at hand.

We stand in awkward silence, our silent thoughts clouding the air.

โ€œWeโ€™re almost at the castle,โ€ I say finally. โ€œUnderstand the plan, prince boy?โ€

"I sure do. Now let's do this, Miss Rayla with no last name."

May 22, 2021 19:01