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Romance Fiction Sad

Most people thought to avoid the stairs, they said the steps went on forever. An endless string of creaking boards, spiraling up the tower like a fraying strand of dna. One step forward feels like a thousand steps backward, climbing this eternal tower. 


It’s quite a view, standing prominent in the center of town; visible even from my cabin perched on the sloping hills in the distance. Back straight and head held high, never flinching as bombs rained down upon us. The stone feels frozen under my touch as I run a single finger along the ancient walls. Not a single engraving marks the walls, no one daring to spoil something so flawless.


A lone firefly, wandering away from the rest of the light, leads my way. Flickering and disappearing around the monotonous corkscrew floors. It bobs up and down a few feet ahead, looking close enough to reach out and touch. To clasp inside my slender hands until I find a suitable glass jar, one that I could set on my nightstand to bring me light throughout the night. But only a small movement causes it to flit away from me in the blink of an eye, possible one second and impossible the next. 


Just like our victory in this war, it’s a fleeting thing. Becoming only a dream as our people’s once-strong faith gives way to hopelessness. 


The air thins and the ice starts to bite at my rosy cheeks as the steps tick higher and higher. As memories race through my mind, giving the sensation one might have standing on the fringe of a road, a drop escapes from my frozen eyelashes. My short breaths start to haze the air in front of me, creating a fog to conceal my tears.


--- ✧ Moving forward.


-------- ✧ Another single step.


------------- ✧ Ignoring the shadows.


------------------- ✧ Only one step at a time.


I’ve almost reached the top of the tower now. When the staircase ends, another limitless ladder appears in front of me. I place one oversized black boot on the first ring and test my weight on the wavering wood. It bends a little under my foot, but I continue on upward. The bare skin of my hands becomes numb as I start to grip slippery ice. More than a few times, my feet begin to slip on the sleek bars, giving me barely enough time to catch myself. I don’t want to look down, to see how far the fall will be, instead, I fix my eyes on the growing light at the top of the trapdoor. 



✼ ---- Hand, foot, hand, foot. ----- ✼



✼ ------ Distance dwindling. ----- ✼



✼ - Moonlight glimmering above. - ✼



At the final minute, my hands reach the top and I pull myself onto the roof. Another silhouette waits for me above, starlight illuminating his wiry figure. His eyes are flushed and weary, not having slept in days. A sign that he, like the rest of us, is kept awake by the ghosts that now haunt our homes.


With no need for words, we settle down on the blanket layed on the stone, watching the lights over the old balcony in the clouds. After a few silent seconds pass, a glowing streak of light darts across the sooty canvas.


A shooting star.


A window of opportunity, to make one wish. For the spirits living among the night sky to finally listen, instead of ignoring my pleading voice. I sometimes wonder how they can stand to watch us from the sky, and do nothing to save us from our loss.


“I wish for him to come back, to hold me again with a beating heart,” I whisper to the night, begging them to notice how quickly my faith is fading.


Lukas shifts to face me, solemnly taking in my unrequited hope.


“They pronounced him dead over a year ago, Kiera, you can’t wait for the impossible.”


“You don’t know that he’s not still alive out there. Shivering in the cold and looking up at the same moon as us,” my voice breaks a little as Lukas watches me carefully, “Waiting for the day he can make it home.”


“Death is a hard thing to accept for us all,” he whispers, moving closer to wrap a blanket around my trembling shoulders. The icy wind continues to pester me, making old wounds so much more painful.


“He can’t be dead. Not now, not when he had so much left to do. He can’t leave me alone in this place.”


“You’re not alone, Kiera”


“You can’t replace him,” I whisper, shaking my head quickly back and forth, “No one can replace him.”


We’re silent for another minute, listening to the buzzing sound of the insects around us.


“I want to be yours,” he says quietly, “For when the nights are dark and the days fill with ashes. I’ll always love you underneath the stars.”


I can’t find any words, so I stare out into the remains of what was once our magnificent city. Where two people lived and loved without fear of the fire around them. Inseparable until the sharp blade of war cut them apart.


“When will you let yourself love me?” he asks, trying to meet my glistening eyes.


“I can’t think about that now. I can’t possibly see past the ruins around us.”


“Maybe when the fire that lights up our homes is extinguished?”


“That isn’t happening any time soon. This is war, Lukas, and there’s no simple end to the misery. Only more and more deaths piling up beneath this tower,” even as I say these words, it feels as if the reality is suffocating.


“Possibly when his death stops consuming you?”


“Another word for never,” my voice is nearly lost in the sweeping breeze, but I know the words weren’t lost to him.


I know Lukas is looking toward my future, one that could be spent by his side, but I can’t help but be stuck in the past. Forever immersed in vivid recollections of the one that meant the most to me. The one that kept me warm on the coldest nights and read me whispered tales in the candlelight. The one that’s forever was shorter than any of us expected.


Lukas is silent after that, not asking me the question again, the question he hasn’t stopped asking me these days. I know he hasn't given up hope, not that easily, he’s only waiting for another night. Perhaps one similar to this one, where two old friends meet atop a colossal tower to discuss their past and future under the moonlight.


For now, I’ll let the walls of this hundred-foot tower shelter me from the damage, keeping my heart safe behind its unforgiving stone door. Standing tall above me, as the flames burn through everything I have ever known.


Because I know that even when what was once our town is turned to dust, the tower will be standing.


Taller than ever.


June 08, 2021 06:39

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67 comments

Mohamed Sarfan
21:09 Jun 16, 2021

Dear Writer, Dreams?, shadows? I love the story of the secrets that mysteriously wove the faces of the senses with tears and smiles like a mirror in front of that truth. My mind was flying like a butterfly not knowing where I was going. My mind naturally travels behind the thoughts of engaging in the task of finding a black pen lost in the darkness. The journey of this story brings in thoughts like a soldier who keeps wartime in his mind. Write more Congratulations

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S. Closson
09:10 Jun 13, 2021

You're writing style is very unique. I really enjoyed your vivid descriptions, as well as the way you convey the emotions of your characters. Awesome work!

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Vrasti 🌺
17:59 Jun 08, 2021

Wow. I really felt the main character's emotions through the words of your story. I feel so bad for Lukas! 🥺Hopefully they'll live ✨happily ever after✨. Even though your story wasn't super long, I could tell what ha happened and I also loved your word choice. Also, the last line so amazing!

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Maya
03:52 Jun 13, 2021

Thanks for reading!!

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Danny E.G.
07:38 Jun 08, 2021

Wonderful story, Maya! This was a great take on the prompt, you managed to build a world around it and have the general idea of the prompt consistently show up throughout the story. ​ This was an enjoyable read. A simple, short story with the characters carrying the flow themselves. How you described their emotions went really well with the dialogue, it gives the reader a nice insight into their thoughts as the story progressed. You did a great job <33 :)

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Hey Maya. I know you haven’t been on a lot, but how’s it been? I kinda miss the small chats we had :)

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Courtney S.
22:02 Oct 05, 2021

Hey, Maya. This is great. I specifically liked this line: “Becoming only a dream as our people’s once-strong faith gives way to hopelessness.” It has a very poetic and symbolic atmosphere. Gave me chills. And that last line? Spot-on. Great job, Maya, thanks for sharing!

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14:41 Sep 19, 2021

Hey, it's been foreverrrrr How are you lol

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Ivy Carter is coming back sometime next week along with Abigail Cross, spread the word! Also, how have you been? We haven’t talked much.

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Maya
01:37 Aug 22, 2021

Okay :) Yeah, I've been good, you?

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That’s good :D I’ve been alright, school got started again so yeah

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Maya
19:17 Aug 22, 2021

Oh, how is it?

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It’s alright so far, new school and all

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Maya
02:24 Aug 23, 2021

That’s good! Do you like the new school?

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Megan Sutherland
16:05 Aug 18, 2021

this was.... real. amazing. i can't function rn what was happening in this but whatever bye what??? im just confused i guess, im too stupid to read some of these stories cuz this is the third one today ive commented on like huh what is going on lolllll I WANT A BACKSTORY i miss youuu we haven't talked in forever -meg

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Maya
04:48 Aug 19, 2021

Thanks lol You’re not stupid, it probably is confusing oop xD Miss you, too. How’s life? :)

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Megan Sutherland
19:14 Aug 19, 2021

Life is good!! Basketball starts soon, I've been seeing my friends and going to the beach. Lots of new music to listen to. wbu?

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Maya
01:36 Aug 22, 2021

That's fun! Good luck on your basketball season :) How was the beach? What songs? lol I'm good, I'm starting school in person again soon.

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Megan Sutherland
01:44 Aug 22, 2021

Thank you!! The beach is awesome always XD ummmm idk if you listen to NF, but he came out with a mixtape a few months ago. a few other artists i like came out with some stuff. :) same, school for me starts in two weeks

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Maya
19:16 Aug 22, 2021

Lol nice 🌊 That’s cool :) Are you excited?

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Megan Sutherland
16:02 Aug 18, 2021

maya. it has been TOO LONG. how are youuuuuuuuuu im gonna go read this now ttyllllllll

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Maya
04:47 Aug 19, 2021

I knowww I’m good! You? Okie lol

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Megan Sutherland
19:14 Aug 19, 2021

im fabuloussssss and thank you sm on the pfp i found it on pinterest i think

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Maya
01:36 Aug 22, 2021

Nicee

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Maya
04:49 Aug 19, 2021

Cool profile picture btw :)

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Moon Fox
15:49 Aug 17, 2021

Super powerful, and really poetic.

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12:25 Aug 09, 2021

Hello! It's been a while since I've heard from you. Did you go inactive? Or maybe it's because I'm lazy and don't talk to people... anyway, I'm going to be doing a Reedsycast and need a few more people, so I'd love it if you could join. If you won't, that's okay.

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Maya
04:48 Aug 17, 2021

Yeah, I was inactive for a while, but I might start writing here again. I would love to join your story, thanks for asking! How have you been? :)

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09:22 Aug 17, 2021

I've been great! I was sucked into the vortex of Les Mis, finally got around to watching the old Disney movies that terrified me, and made this quiz for the story! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfGEWmL2BlUwEvt8kKxgV1zp5XgPsc4BKje3T0R3HLz3TeRMQ/viewform

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14:13 Jun 29, 2021

I was immersed in this story, especially because of your descriptions. They draw me in every time. I want to know so much more about both of the character's backstory. And I loved the touch of the firefly. The title is amazing, too! Keep writing! -b r o n a n a

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Maya
03:09 Jul 01, 2021

Thank you so much! Is that your new nickname? lol

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12:12 Jul 01, 2021

You're welcome so much! Yes, courtesy of Saph's wonderful imagination XD I now call her s a p h a n a

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Maya
20:36 Jul 06, 2021

Lol that's great :p

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14:06 Jul 07, 2021

XD

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16:51 Jun 22, 2021

omg. i just thought of something. WHERE DID THE SKRIBBLS GOOOO??????????

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Maya
02:59 Jun 29, 2021

Ah idk lol How've you been?

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03:19 Jun 29, 2021

Lolol Pretty good! How about you?

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Maya
03:27 Jun 29, 2021

Good :) Same How's your summer?

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03:29 Jun 29, 2021

It's been busy, but so boring when I'm home. You?

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Maya
05:10 Jun 29, 2021

Oop lol What have you been busy with? :) It's been good, my family went on a trip last week.

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02:38 Jun 18, 2021

How are you Maya? I haven't heard from you for ages!

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Maya
03:02 Jun 29, 2021

Oh hi! I'm good, I've just been a little inactive. You?

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03:30 Jun 29, 2021

Great thanks!

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Maya
05:10 Jun 29, 2021

Good!

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Michael Martin
15:44 Jun 14, 2021

I always like when something gets "dropped" on us after we get lulled into a false sense of security/understanding. We start of talking about something as straightforward as stairs... then, with no fanfare, you drop "never flinching as bombs rained down upon us" on us. I enjoy these mini-mic drops, the kind that force us to go back and re-read to make sure we didn't miss something leading up to that part.

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15:00 Jun 10, 2021

Haven't read anything by you in a while. I missed your writing style! it's fantastic. I got so caught up in the descriptions of everything that I forgot where I was in real life. Don't you love when that happens? Great story!

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Maya
03:56 Jun 13, 2021

Yeah :') Thank you <3

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15:27 Jun 13, 2021

:D

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Aw, this is gorgeous! I love your imagery and emotion between Lukas and Kiera, not to mention their names XD The title is also stunning and this whole story is just...pretty? Poetic? Fragile??? Idk how to describe it. Awesome job! <3

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Maya
03:52 Jun 13, 2021

Thank you, Aerin! <3

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Space Human 🌌
23:50 Jun 08, 2021

The metaphors 😇 I love the way you put the story format so it has the perfect emotion and anticipation at the perfect time, and the sensory details are amazing. Way to pack all this emotion into a short story 😄

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Maya
03:19 Jun 29, 2021

Thanks for the feedback~

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