Drama Fantasy Suspense

It was done.

Under the black, smog covered sky, a labyrinth of a city slept, bathed in pale streetlamps and weightless dreams.  The usual  hustle and bustle of its once vibrant streets barely a flicker in the night. Desolate alleys, thick with grime and disregard, now seamed oh so perfect for an escape.

What is done cannot be undone.

Hands, dripping with shame, anger, betrayal, regret… leaving simple crimson splatters, no bigger than raindrops on the pavement of a dead city. Evidence was not important, the perpetrator would soon be gone; vanishing like a phantom under the welcoming cover of darkness. Turning away from the road, I was faced with a dead end. Checking for life I moved carefully towards the rear wall, holding my breath in the unyielding silence. Nothing moved. Not even a hushed skitter of paws resounded in gloom. Even they knew what I had just done. All the more reason to leave.

You cannot run from the inevitable. 

Taking a small orb from my pocket, a storm rose inside. A flurry of objection bore down from my thoughts. How could I go back? What would I do? Was I making the right choice? Is now really the best time? Where else could I turn? The very object of my ambition, the thing that had guided my every action, plagued my thoughts and haunted my nightmares, was over. It seemed surreal, that something I had longed for, for so long, had been done. Now, maybe, after all of this, I could be happy. It has been so long; I don’t know if I know what happiness is. 

Once before, I had.

But that was long ago, before this city rose. I had had everything. My world was prospering, in eternal peace, bountiful harvest and long, warm summers. All of it like a dream, so beautiful while it lasted, but a short-lived bliss, one slipping further from my grasp with every moment. I had lost everything that day. I had lost my family, my home, my people.  So long ago but so important; the tragedy had never left me, a haunting image of my failure the thing that drove me forward. And since that day, nothing had mattered to me more than this mission. I could let nothing distract me from my goal. Distraction meant remembering, reliving my past over and over again. But I could not deny it. Today, I would face my past, have my sins lay bare before me. I could never prepare myself for the pain.

This was the reality I could run from no longer. 

Cupping the orb in my hands, it began to glow a deep blue. Then a purple, stained by the dark tendrils of guilt in my mind. So many regrets, so many broken promises and so many years of hate; hating them for leaving me alone, for letting me suffer, for abandoning me; hating that thing for taking them, for destroying everything, for ruining my life. All these years on a hopeless quest for vengeance, justice, revenge all because I was not strong enough to save them. No matter how much I blame them, I blame myself more. I poured all of the hatred, the anger, the helplessness into the orb and it sucked the power into its core. The sharp edges of my broken mind pierced the innocence of the magic, leaching the power and staining it with the rivers of blood that oozed from my ledger. The darkness in my heart and mind swarmed the sphere, crushing it with the power of the corruption. This was who I was, all suffering I had endured had only made me stronger. Closing my I eyes, I was dragged into the heart of the vortex, carried by the swirling mass of darkness towards the eye of the storm. 

It was time to go home 

When I opened my eyes, I was home. I was standing in the middle of a field, where the sun had once shone. Where the mountain breeze, sweet with petals, had danced among the old oak trees and children had run, tiny hands grabbing at the masses of brightly coloured wildflowers. Long strands of lush grass waved in the meadow, hiding the butterfly’s vivid hues from prying eyes. I remembered the serenity, the happiness that radiated from a place of such pure, untainted beauty. And in the background, I remember the steady peaks of the mountains, the steadfast guardians of the harmony, pillars of the sky that supported it’s sparkling blue majesty, each one embellished with tufts of soft silvery clouds. 

This was not how I remembered it.

Now such beaty had faded, vanishing from reality and retreating to the furthest corners of my memories. The mountains were dark and the clouds even more so, stained with shadows and filth. The sky was murky, thick and black like tar. Nothing stirred on the breeze, the silence suffocating and the stale air chocked with ash. It burned when I took a breath, like gulping up a lungful of flames. Trees were gone, burning husks no more than pitiful stumps, frozen in their final moments as the life was leached from then. What was left of the ground was barren and charred, crumbling with every step I took, sending flurries of soot teetering over the edge of the gorges. They ran the length of the field, tearing it apart, ripping the seams of the very earth as is struggled not to succumb to the power of the inferno. The magma had clawed its way from the depth of the earth, spewing lava across the land, marring the beauty with retched scars.

Things could never be the same again.

I wanted to walk across the fields; head held high. I was not angry; I was far beyond that. This was a matter of vengeance, revenge for all that I had suffered.  But I understand now that I could not change what had happened. 

What is done cannot be undone. 

That is the truth.

And I am ready to face it.

November 19, 2020 20:37

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.