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Sad Urban Fantasy Drama

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

For Cupid, Valentine’s Day was just as much his day. He adorned cards and walls, a symbol of true, passionate, and spontaneous love. For while his arrows worked its magic all year long, it was on Valentine’s Day that his marksmanship was really appreciated. And on Valentine’s Day, Cupid took no greater joy than watching the fruits of his labor, relishing in seeing new flames of love ignite and the rekindling of old ones.

Valentine’s Day was not so for Laedid. Nobody knew of Laedid, and if they did, they most certainly would despise him. For Laedid, like his brother, was an archer whose arrows shaped the destiny of the hearts of those it struck. Laedid was Cupid’s twin, and by necessity, his opposite. Whereas Cupid was cherubic and soft, Laedid was dry, wrinkly, and mangled, bearing few strands of hair and even fewer teeth. Laedid’s arrows splintered relationships, brought wrath and grief. Like Cupid, though, he shot his bow through the entire year, unseen but far from impotent. 

It would be natural to expect that Laedid hated Valentine’s Day, the day his brother was revered and idolized. But that is not entirely true, because it was in Laedid’s nature to be delighted by misery and suffering. He envied and coveted the attention Cupid received on Valentine’s Day, but he found great reprieve in spending the day watching his ruinous sharpshooting come to pass. And thus, Valentine’s Day was both painful and delightful for Laedid, and he sought to make the most of it every time it passed, fueled by spite and ill nature. 

***

It had been the morning of February 7th that Laedid had phased into Charles’ kitchen, striking him through with a black arrow as he wished his wife well. It was now midday a week later, and Laedid hovered over Charles in the coffee shop. Charles was entirely unsuspecting, and eagerly awaited his wife to join him for a Valentine’s lunch.

Laedid was giddy with anticipation as he noticed Carol come in through the front, and make her way to Charles’ table. Charles beamed with delight as Carol sat down, but his excitement gave way to worry, noticing the teary streams that crisscrossed Carol’s face and the persistent tremble in her hands. 

“Baby… what’s wrong? Are you okay?” Charles asked as he clasped her arm. She sat in silence for a moment, drawing a breath, before collapsing onto the table with a torrent of visceral sobs. She was inconsolable, and the entire shop stared at the couple with pity and discomfort. Charles could do nothing but usher her out, pleading with her to tell him what had happened. She had been perfectly fine this morning, just having to go to a checkup at the doctor’s prior to lunch. 

No longer wailing, she managed to pull herself a little bit and looked into Charles’ eyes. “Charles. I… I have a tumor. Oh God, the nurse- she said she felt something off, and, and,” Carol could not finish her sentence before she once again broke down, her head going into Charles’ shoulder. As for him, his face had gone sallow, and time had seemed to stop. His chest ballooned with pain, as if he had been shot. 

Which, of course, he had been. Laedid watched the scene unfold with great satisfaction, eyes glued to the destruction. It may have been Cupid ten years ago that had hit its mark, but it would be Laedid’s arrow that would be the fatal blow. 

***

Laedid awaited Colby’s return eagerly, finally catching sight as Colby’s car pulled around the corner. Colby was supposed to get back the 16th, but his contract had ended early and he now could make it in time to see Lenaya, who would be so happily surprised.

Or she would be, had Laedid not stuck her with one of his twisted arrows the night of his departure. Its dark magic wormed its way into her heart, entrenching prickly roots that cut off its love and loyalty.

Colby had diligently stopped for a stuffed animal and treats, though there were slim pickings left at the grocery. He opened his front door, and quickly made his way towards the bedroom, expecting a sleepy Lenaya to awake joyously to his presence, knowing this was the time of her midday naps. 

But as he approached the room, he heard panicked shuffling. Thinking he may have alarmed her, he said, “Babe, it’s just Cole Bear!” Confusingly, she did not respond, and he opened the door.

There she stood, half covered with a sheet, and a look of shock. Another man skulked in the back corner, clothes half on. Laedid drifted over Colby’s shoulder to get a peek at his face. There was nothing but blankness at first, which slowly gave in to rage. Cobly’s nostrils began flaring as his breaths became shallow and fast, while his fists tightened. “You… you fucking bitch!” He screamed as he darted forward towards her, spiking the gifts onto the bed. She began crying, saying “No!’ over and over as Colby continued to berate her. The other man hurriedly slipped past, though not before Colby caught wind and followed him to the front, literally shoving him off of the front steps.

The man briefly listened to the ensuing shouting match inside, before making his way to the other street where his car was parked. Laedid, knowing there would be much to watch, decided to follow his pawn first. Though the man had served Laedid’s purposes well, Laedid saw no value in mercy nor appraisal, for he desired misery for everyone. So, the adulterous man’s reward was a dark arrow to his heart, a just payment for his actions. 

***

While the total destruction of love Laedid considered his highlights, he also took a different, but nonetheless special, in the denial of small moments of love. Pouring fires on the sparks before they can catch, with his victims unaware of the true scope of what is being stripped from them providing great amusement.

Laedid sat upon the blade of the ceiling fan, waiting for Gretchen and Owen to inevitably bump into one another. They were one of those pairings that was always meant to be, and deep down, always knew it themselves. But circumstance had always kept them away from it, and in time, they had drifted apart, pursuing other opportunities and relationships. Yet, secretly, they always hoped they would once again happen upon each other. 

The moment was finally here, as the couple next to Gretchen left the bar, and out of instinct she turned her head. She instantly recognized Owen by himself at a table across the room, and wondered how she had not seen him earlier. 

The burning of passion crept into her soul, as she knew this was the opportunity she had been waiting for. She grabbed her drink, and steeled herself to walk over to him. 

Yet, she could not find the courage to stand herself up, and the whispers of doubt filled her mind. What if he wasn’t interested anymore? What if she embarrassed herself? What if they hit it off only for bigger heartbreak to come? Questions like these raced around in her head.

Within a few minutes, Owen had paid for his drinks and left, completely unaware that Gretchen had even been there. She found herself powerless to go stop him as he left, or even go find him as he exited the door. She just stared at him, frozen, her fear only giving way to regret once the opportunity was completely wasted. 

Laedid knew why she couldn’t find the strength to do what she knew she should. An arrowhead, dark as it was potent, remained lodged in her heart, waiting for its poison to strike at the right moment and inhibit her. Forever now, she would be left with the bitter taste of remorse, wondering what could have been. And for Owen’s part, he would never even know that the chance was there, nor ever realize what might have happened. But Laedid, he was absolutely tickled, and would not have had events transpire any other way.

***

As the night came to a close, Laedid wanted to check on one last victim. There was no better entertainment for Laedid than to watch people undo themselves, impaling themselves on a situation they never should have been in. Giving them false hope, goading them into action, and watching as they become the fool and the villain.

He fluttered over to Jay’s flat, where a Valentine’s get together was well under way. He ignored the first two couples; their comeuppance would have to wait for a better time. 

Jay and Clarice sat on a couch, close but not quite touching. They were not together, though Jay wished it to be so. And almost within reach he had been; they had shared their intimate moments in the past, and were certainly close friends, and sometimes she even felt the pull of her own desires to him. Yet, it wasn’t meant to be, and Jay knew this. Patience would see him to the right place; time would allow him to move on proper, preserving the sanctity of their friendship while allowing him to heal. 

But the strength of logic was not more powerful than Laedid’s work. With every sip of wine, Jay found it harder to resist his heart. He wanted her so, and against better judgment, gave in.

He shifted his hand to her knee, twisting his body towards her. He gave her the look, a look they had once shared together. But it was not something she would return now. Before he could speak, she shut him down. 

“I’m not doing this again,” she said, with understanding but also firmly. Jay knew he should apologize and give up, but recklessness would not release its hold of him. “Why?” he retorted. “What changed?”

Clarice sighed. “It’s just not for us. Why can’t we just be friends? What happened, happened, and maybe it was a mistake, maybe it wasn’t, but either way it needs to stay in the past,” she replied. 

Jay now felt the tinge of anger, and drank the rest of his cup. He sat in silence for a moment, contemplating. She was right. But maybe she wasn’t. Maybe she was leading him on and deserved to be hurt for how he was hurt. Jay was scared by the wrath that was bubbling in him, but he would not stop it.

“Fucking fine. I get it. You’re just a fucking bitch, who likes to pull me along just enough. Well I’m over it, Clarice,” he said loudly. Now, the whole room was looking at him, and nobody was happy. Her jaw was dropped, a look of absolute pain painted on her face. His other friends were also appalled, and one of them told him to chill out whilst another said it was uncalled for.

They were right and Jay knew that, but he couldn’t stop himself from digging this hole deeper. “Fuck all of you then! If you’re just gonna enable her and watch me suffer, you all can fucking leave. Clarice, enjoy these words because it will be the last time we ever speak. Enjoy a lifetime of loneliness because that’s what you deserve!” He shouted. 

Clarice burst into tears, and her girls quickly rushed over to her and got her out of the door, burning looks of hate into Jay. Meanwhile, his boys had gotten him to sit down and were trying to snap him out of it. 

Jay realized the magnitude of what he had done. He now had nothing but shame and guilt, and to fix the damage he had inflicted. But it was too late, and he knew that, and so did Laedid, who was cackling uncontrollably. It had been a fruitful day, and this was the sweet cherry on top.

***

So, a warning to those who toil in the woes of love. For you never know when things will go sour, when your heart will be broken, when passion will give way to despair. The best you can hope for, is that you, nor your loved one, is struck by Laedid’s arrow.

February 19, 2022 01:27

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