Adventure Fantasy Horror

He supposed he should have been dead by now; his grandmother had told him as a child that, his family always seemed to have the chance to say goodbye before they died. No one had really believed her, not until his own father had been in a car accident that should have killed him, and had somehow survived for 15 hours in the hospital, until his wife came back on the first flight from Europe. As soon as they’d finished speaking, he’d just closed his eyes slipped away.

Everyone was a lot more attentive to what his grandmother had to say after that. 

He’d forgotten about it too, until he was all alone in a forest where the tree trunks swirled with water the leaves were made of flames.

A different world the people in the town told him, visitors came through the forest all the time. From strange places and far off lands.

To go back they said, all you needed to do was die.

He’d run, terrified that they were going “help” him do just that.

After many cold nights under unfamiliar stars with crickets that sang like piano strings, he reached safety.

An orphanage for children from other worlds.

They called him Lore, saying that his full name was too hard to pronounce in their native tongue. He didn’t understand that, weren’t they all speaking English?

He was happy, at least as much as he could be while missing his mom.

He made friends with other kids, learning about their worlds, and teaching them about his own. None of them were from earth.

There was Koucin, a quiet boy from a planet that rained glass and had a blue sun, he had translucent skin with neon purple eyes, and crown of otherworldly flowers that seemed to grow from his hair around his head.

There was Spantara a loud girl with deep green hair and clear eyelids, she had deep slits under the bottoms of her ribs on the side of her torso that opened in the water so she could breathe.

Spantara would have died if a caster hadn’t found her and magicked the water in the air around her to collect around her. Needless to say, she was from a watery world.

There was Alex, from a world more similar to Lore’s, except his had creatures that Lore had never heard of. Alex swore up and down that he was completely human, which was hard to believe when his eyes flickered gold, or whisps of smoke curled from between his lips. He told them it was from his guardian, before showing them a gold tattoo on his arm, a bird made completely out of fire.

And there was Berris, a small girl from a place where everything was sound, no one could say what she actually looked like, her form wavered, looking more like heat shimmers in the depths of summer then a living person. Her eyes were gentle and smooth as cradle songs, her hair rustled like long grass under soft winds. Her feet matched the sound of whatever they trod upon, be it the creaking of wooden steps or the rushing of the stream. And her voice thrummed with the resonance of beautifully gilded harp.

The five of them grew as close as any family, their shared homesickness and loneliness becoming a bond that they knew would cement them together for as long as they were all here. 

They grew up as siblings, and it no one was surprised when they all left together once they were old enough.

They set out to find ways back to their respective home worlds, a bittersweet quest. Since they also knew it meant they probably wouldn’t ever see each other again.

It was only a month after they started questing that Lore was forced, rather harshly, to remember his grandmother’s words.

They’d been making their way through a swamp, night had fallen and Lore was separated from the group, unable to see where he was going, he’d fallen into the water and immediately sunken in past his ears, his boots were stuck firm, and mud weighed down his arms and pack. The air in his lungs burning as it slowly disappeared, he’d tried to move tried to do anything to escape the embrace of the water. Everything was dark and slimy and his chest ached, he was going to die.

Except he’d been drowning for minutes, why was he still alive? His grandmother’s words blurred by time and age came back to him.

“We always get the chance to say goodbye before we die”

The panic in his chest rose, there was no way for his friends to find him, no way to get free, would he be stuck here? Drowning underneath the water forever?

Then he’d felt the glass of the spell vials at his belt, one of them contained an emergence water summoning for Spantara in case of emergencies. With all remaining strength he cracked the bottle against his hand.

The spell worked instantly, flashing bright blue as all the water in the vicinity was sucked toward it. Lore gasped as the water in his lungs was pulled out and air replaced it. He scrambled back to the safety of exposed tree roots.

He spent a few minuets gasping and laying on the ground as he recovered. It might have been dark but he almost expected to drop dead as soon as he made it back to his friends. Yet nothing had happened and he couldn’t bring himself to tell them what had almost happened.

Fortunately, or unfortunately it wasn’t the last time he almost died.

A landslide of rubble and stone that buried his legs and cracked his ribs, Lore had been stuck for days before a passing couple were able to pull him out. Paralyzed and starved they took care of him, probably expecting him to die at any time, somehow, he recovered, both his health and his ability to walk.

He never told them.

Sometimes one of the others would be with him, but never all of them, each time he made whoever it was promise not to tell the others.

Alex had pulled him from a burning building, skin turning cherry red as he did, Lore was far worse off. Burning, he decided was the worse way to die. He skin had seared down the nerves, his hair was gone completely and he couldn’t see out of his left eye, every part of him was in agony and he couldn’t move without screaming. Alex’s tattoo and glowed and grown until it encompassed both of Alex’s arms, any of the burns Alex touched were soothed and slowly healed, after what felt like hours Lore was pain was gone, at least any physical pain was the mental would be there to stay for a very long time.

The fire left its own mark, along with the mud that he couldn’t remove from under his finger nails, and the aching pain in his chest when he ever his lungs moved, he now had a burn on the side of his neck that pulsed painfully anytime he got to close to open fire.

 There were other times, a snake that had wrapped around his neck and almost strangled him; a green bruise the same color as the snake that never went away.

Flowers Koucin had made into a soup, they hadn’t affected Koucin at all, but they left Lore in a state of delirium and induced nightmares; finger tips permanently stained the light lilac of the blooms.

A cold morning, it’d rained the night before, completely drenching them, the next morning Lore had woken with his limbs crusted in frost, Spantara was cold but not covered in ice; white streaks in his hair that were colder than the rest of his body.

And through all of it he never told them. They were just never all there, so he kept his goodbyes in, refusing to say them at all in the hopes that it would give him more time with them.

He would have kept doing it for as long as possible, but he was so tired. His body ached, marked by the events that should have taken him from the land of the living, they felt like brands, telling everyone that death wasn’t happy with all of Lore’s cheating, that it was coming for him.

He never wanted to say goodbye. Until one day, he did.

He’d thought burning was the worse, the most painful, the most agonizing.

He was wrong.

They’d been invited to meet the king of whatever land they were in now; Lore couldn’t remember there had been so many lands.

Walking into the throne room they’d found themselves in the middle of royal coup. The king was dead, and people were fighting. Someone had come up behind Lore and he hadn’t noticed them until it was too late.

The man pulled a blade across his throat and pushed him to the ground.

Lore choked as the blood filled his lungs and spilled past his lips over his chin.

The others surrounded him, frantically trying to stop the bleeding, they had saved him before. But this time there was nothing they could do, they were all here, and he was ready to let go, so ready.

The words gurgling in his throat he finally got the words he’d been stopping himself from saying out.

“My grandma said we get to say goodbye”

“No matter what” He coughed up more blood and he felt the culmination of the other missed deaths begin to take effect. He couldn’t feel his legs, and he was burning and freezing at the same time and so many other things.

Spantara and Alex, held his hands, as if they were hoping that if they could only hold them tight enough, they could hold on to him too.

Koucin was despertly holding his hands over Lore’s throat, the crimson liquid was staining the pale boys skin, light was shining through the throne room, and through Koucin’s glass like skin, littering Lore with tiny rainbows.

And Berris, small far too young to know death, Berris. Was holding his head between her wavering hands. She didn’t touch other people, ever, she didn’t like skin contact at all, yet here she was. Her hands felt like static and cotton, and he could tell that she was trying to focus melodies of summer days, and light and love through them.

So, he cried when all he could hear from her heart were hallow aching wails and mourning coronachs.

“Thank you all…for everything-I love you all so much”

He opened his eyes, he wanted the last thing he would ever see to be there faces. He gave, one last, bloody smile before he whispered.


(There will be a sequel)

April 17, 2021 02:26

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Ran Stites
20:21 Apr 26, 2021

Bro this was cool


Hungara Gamelia
03:47 Apr 27, 2021

Wow thanks! Glad you liked it 😊


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