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10 small stories

AN: Read at your own risk! Might include bad language or disturbing images. The 10th and last story of the 10 small stories. You can find the rest at my blog. Enjoy and comment!

The Red Lord looked the destroyed place through his visor. The rough mountains had been turned into a red waste, as red as the blood of his thousand enemies that he had slain. He wondered whether the soil will obtain its original color someday in the future. He doubted that day would come soon enough, it never rained more than three times a year on this part of the mountains, transfiguring the landscape into sole rocks and further below into a dessert that was stretching for thousands of miles. The mists of the mountain tops, where his home was located, would transform into life giving rain that would grace with its presence the other side of the mountain.

A thunderous noise alerted him of his partner’s arrival. At last, thought the Red Lord gloomily. The huge dark dragon was gone for far too long after the battle. He was sure that he was feasting on the flesh of their foes and friends alike, with no discrimination. His best friend was a beast, literally. The Red Lord had him since he was only a tiny small egg that could fit perfectly on the inside of his ear, and he was not a Red Lord but a nameless child of five. Soon afterward after many days of care and protecting it from becoming part of his father’s scrambled eggs, the dragon had finally hatched. At first, he was no longer than his middle finger, with black leather wings and dark purple veins. The scales would sparkle on the light. Fast, but not as fast as he would like, his dragon grew in size and strength. His appetite grew in correlation, too. He was so growing ever day more and more hungry and nothing could really satisfy its hunger, up until he ate his father alive. Not that the boy had felt sorry to lose his abusive father.

Twenty years later, the Dark Dragon was still devouring men, even though he liked to roast them first. The thunderous noises produced by its flapping of the wings, approached steadily but relatively slow. His dragon was growing old and heavy, but the Red Lord could do nothing about it. Soon, it would come the time for both of them to retire and find a hoard of gold to sit upon and each of them a beautiful wife to produce some loud offsprings. But not yet. First they had to confront the Gem Lord. As soon as the Dark Dragon landed next to him, he hoped onto his saddled back.

“Come on, my boy, it is time for us to hit the skied again. Let’s go and drink our last enemy’s blood.” the only answer that he got was a loud roar that cracked some rocks nearby. He let himself observe for a while their tumble downwards; they crashed with each other braking into smaller pieces and sometimes more blood stained rocks followed their path downwards.

After a while he kicked the dragon’s sides and flew off in the air. If anyone could see him at that moment, he would think that death had acquired flesh, bones and wings. His long red cape was blowing behind him, as did his silvery, long blond hair. He wore chainmail, boots and gloves as black as his beast’s leather wings; his helmet in the shape of his dragon’s face was black as well. Even his sword had a black glamour on it. They flew towards the east, over the green land, full of small orchards, flowers and busy bees. The Dark Dragon would flap his wings leisurely to navigate through the air currents. Twice he chased a flock of birds and once he ate an eagle; no beast could withstand a dragon. The Red Lord let him to his sport; they were in no hurry.

When the sun was setting, they reached their destination. They landed in the middle of a pavilion full of primroses, daises and other wildflowers. The colors were vivid here, they sang of merry work and the smells in the air whispered of lovemaking. The two of them in their black and red colors were out of place. Everything was so merry here that made him to want to fly away. He hated that part of the mountains. But now, they had to stay and confront the huge dragon in the middle of the pavilion.

The dragon was a blazing gold color that the sun rays only made it more dashing. The dragon was older than his own and thus larger and stronger, but also heavier and slower, less agile. He couldn’t see its dragonrider, but the Gem Lord was near, he could almost feel his golden rings rattle against the breastplate decorated with fine gems. He dismounded and approached the dragon. The dragon tried to snap at him and Dark Dragon roared protectively. His foe immediately subsided, he was seriously injured and couldn’t go up against the much younger and healthier dragon.

The Red Lord walked around the dragon keeping a fair distance, looking for his enemy. He spotted the Gem Lord under the dragon’s golden wing. He drew his sword.

“Hello, again” he called to him.

“You, again” said wearily the other rider. He was exhausted, pain and grief was marked on his face. “What do you want? It isn’t enough for you that you spilled the blood of my friends? That your beast caused so much pain to my dragon with its ugly nails?”

“No. You know what I want, you know why I am here” he replied steadily. He stopped some meters away from him, the tip of his sword aiming his breast.

The Gem Lord didn’t answer. He was focused to his bleeding dragon. Finally, after a long time during which both his enemies became restless, he answered. “All those dead, massacred dead and for what?” he said in a voice that he could barely listen to, “Are you sure it is worth your time? Because I am not sure anymore”.

“Yes” he said sure of himself.

“Do you know how old am I, boy?” asked the other rider. He had turned now and he was facing him. His arms were soaked in blood up to its elbow; blood was on his face, where earlier the Dark Lord had sliced him with his sword.

“I don’t know, old” he shrugged his shoulders.

“I am five hundred years old, and that beast over there” he patted his dragon gently on its wing “is a few years younger. During all those years I managed to win every single claimant, apart from you, Red Lord” he pouted his lips. “You have something in you… something dark and twisted, blood is in your future, and I can see it”.

“I don’t care about your ramblings, old man” he answered hotly. He was getting tired of him, he wanted the gem, and he wanted it now. “Just give me the Source, or…”

“Or what?” snapped the older rider, it was he turn to be angry now. “Will you hunt me down for the rest of my life? Will you rob me of my wealth, lands and daughter? You already did that, you have already spoiled my beautiful daughter. Will you kill my minions? You spilled every gallon of their blood back there. Will you kill me?” he laughed bitterly.

“I’ll kill your dragon” that made the other man stop laughing and watching carefully. “Or, you can give me the source and I will be gone, and you and your dragon will live the rest of your life in peace. You won’t be challenged again; by me at least”.

The Gem Lord looked him steadily. His eyes were the same gold shade as his dragon’s scales, as his daughter’s eyes. His lips turned into a thin line, his whole body tensed as he made his decision. Speechless he reached into his breastplate and drew out a small gem. It was gold in color, as gold as his eyes. It looked like it was made out of gold, with beautiful patterns on its surface. The other Lord reluctantly gave him the Source.

When he picked it up, he felt it heavier than it looked. A sudden energy run through him, reaching every single cell of his body, making his heart beat faster, his eyes see clearer, his ears hear better. And then he felt it, again and again and again. Pump, pump, pump. A small irregular thunder inside his heart was beating next to his own. He had two hearts now. He looked the gem into his hand, it had changed. It was small, still, but now it was dark red, like a ruby and its surface was rough, like it was made out of a thousand cutting knives. Slowly, it fainted and disappeared, all the while the thunder next to his heart had turned slow, strong and steady, fueling a new force inside him, the force of the Thousand Dragons’ Lives. Dark Dragon roared happily behind him.

“And, so it is done” the Gem Lord looked somehow diminished, tired, less vivid. He was like he had lost his color, his blood, his life. “The previous Keeper of the Source told me that the shape it took before settling beside your heart reveals something about you and something about your future. He was happy when he entrusted it to me, it was prettier than his or than his predecessor’s shape. Bountiful and happy will be your life; others will live through your life, too. You will bring sunshine into the world and I can rest in peace. Those were his words”.

The last rays of the sunlight faded away. Twilight was upon them, his favorite hour of the day when all the shadows and the foul creatures could lurk on the earth alike. He wondered what his shape meant. Blood and death. What else? Had it ever been anything else? He cast a last look into the other man’s eyes. The sorrow in them confirmed his suspicions.

The younger man said nothing; he turned around and climbed onto the back on his dragon. They flew away into the twilight. He didn’t care of his ominous future; of the Blood and Death within it; after all, he was not named the Red Lord without reason0

AN: I hope you have enjoyed reading this very random collection of stories. I was not always at the same mood when I wrote them, it took me almost 2 years to finish them. Please comment and thank you!  😀

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AN: Read at your own risk! Might include bad language or disturbing images. The 9th story of the 10 small stories. You can find the rest at my blog. Enjoy and comment!

 

“If death looked as beautiful as you, I would have died a thousand times just to be able to look at your face.”

A woman was standing in front of the window. The room was dark, darker than oil, darker than the starless night that was outside. He was standing next to the close door and the only thing he could see was her silhouette against the light coming in through the window. She was wearing a tight, black dress and high black heels. She was smoking long slim cigarettes, the smoke was visible in an unearthly way and the tip of it shone red with ash and fire. Her silvery hair were caught up in a tight bun, not a single hair was out of its intended place. The few light was reflected on her hair, making her look like she had a crown made out of tears.

When she slowly turned towards him, his heart skipped a beat. Her full, red lips curved slightly, as if she could hear the man’s heartbeat. The dark man felt his heart race and the beats sounded like drums. When she moved towards him, he noticed the white skin on her flesh. His heart skipped a beat. When she looked him with her almond shaped, dark eyes, he could not break away from her intense stare, a stare that pierced right through his heart. His heart missed another beat. When she slowly moved close to him he felt his flesh burn with desire. His heart missed a beat. When she leaned forward to kiss him, he felt his mind would burst, his body would become fluid. His heart raced with fear and anticipation the kiss, but she stopped a few millimeters away from his skin.

Death wasn’t a toy for young men, he knew that now. He should have known it that it was a dangerous path to take, a path that led to a dead end. He should have known that. But he was in love. He was in love with Death itself. Few people could see Death, realize its breathtaking beauty. Few men could feel the passion for it, few men could feel her touch on their soul. But once they felt her eyes gaze into her soul, they always sought her, even though they did know why they were following that course. The same was for the Red Lord that John owed so much to. The Lord was the one wreaking havoc in John’s little gipsy caravan, just find her touch. She was there and even though the Red Lord was too blind to see her, he saw her. And ever since he wished to marry her.

Death was dangerous, as the Old Crone had told him. Death gripped at you and once she had her teeth of steel into your soul nothing could help you escape. He knew that now. ”How can I find her?” he had arrogantly asked her.

“On a village by the sea cliff, at the other end of the Dessert, there is a girl living with her sister. She weeps tears of blood, tears of fire and tears that are steaming hot. You must collect them all and one more” was her response.

“What is the other thing?”

“Her soul. It must fly to me”. John hesitated for a moment and he could feel her eyes mocking him.

“Deal”.

And so he had done, he had gain her trust, knowing that would make it easier for him to collect the tears, the young girl gave everything for him. And then, she flew as she was nudged to do by him. The girl had potential to become a great witch, maybe even better than her. Was the Old Crone afraid that she would take her place and thus wanted her dead? Was she collecting young girl’s souls to avoid the Death’s kiss? He had heard that she avoided for too long, but death comes for all. But he did not care. He wanted to meet Death and Death was here. Death was paid with the tears.

“What do you want John?” Death breathed those words against his lips.

“I want to marry you. I want to be with you. I want to be your eternal husband. Please take me with you.” John begged, hoping that his quest would have won her over. He had offered her the tears, he had offered her an infant’s life.

“I have an eternal husband. Life is my other half. But I will grand you your wish to take you with me”. When she kissed him fully on the lips he felt a strange sensation run through his spine. His heart forgot how to beat.

Your lips tasted like the sweetest summerwine. Your mouth tasted of honey and almonds; your lips where softer than silk; your smell reminded me of hot summer nights. I would die another thousands times just to kiss you again.

 

AN: Read at your own risk! Might include bad language or disturbing images. The 7th story of the 10 small stories. You can find the rest at my blog. Enjoy and comment!

She was standing on the edge of the cliff. The wind was howling; it blew her golden hair all over her face. It was better this way, none could see the tears tricking down her chin. It was not because she was afraid to be seen crying; on the contrary the young woman with the pale skin was never afraid to hide her emotions. What she wanted was to hide her tears.

The tears trickled down slowly, painfully. They always hurt, tears of fire had that effect on the young girl. She would weep fire tears when she was angry, she would weep tears of blood when she was scared. Physical pain could make her weep with salty tears, like all the normal girls of her age and yet different. None of these girls would feel the tears steaming hot against their smooth cheeks.

But this time, the tears were not afflicting her only with physical pain but also with emotional pain. The way was down, she thought. She watched down at the sea. The waves would crash against the sharp rocks, the foam looked as if it formed shapes. She could see a horse, a rose, a petal, a house, a dead girl floating across the ocean. The way was down.

She was afraid, but what had he said before going away to look for Death? If you want to rise, first you must fall. Take the leap and have faith. Yes that was the last advice he had given her before he abandoned her once and for all. He was a cruel man, a man with ambitions and secret dreams. But so was she. She had hoped for more than new life. She had hoped for freedom, for salvation for power. The dark man with the deep eyes had promised her that and more if she betrayed all her life, all her loyalties, all her emotions. If she was ready to do what was necessary. The girl had done that; she still remembered the knife slashing through an infant’s neck, the wailing of a mother with the same long hair as hers.

And now here she was. Take the leap. The way is down. But she could not. She wanted to fly, to be free of the torment that was her life. She did not want to weep tears of blood, fire or steaming hot water anymore. She did not want to be special anymore, she did not want to have power. She wanted to be done with all that and fly away. She wanted to find her way out of this misery. Take the leap! She urged herself, but she was afraid.

He wouldn’t be afraid. He was not afraid when he went to seek for Death. He would do it, he would have faith and he would do it. He would jump without a moment’s hesitation, he would do it and feel no remorse. He would have faith even if it failed. Faith can be tricky sometimes. It can reward you with all you want and more, but Faith can reward you with a cold kiss and a stone hug, he used to say.

She pictured herself jumping. She pictured herself crushing again the waves, becoming unrecognizable mass against the waves. Her bones shattered, her flesh broken. The sea animals would feast on her flesh and the waves would drink her blood. No, I will fly. Take the leap. But maybe her soul would fly away, go and join Death and maybe even see him. Either way she would be free.

As she jumped, her face was clean, no tears were there. And then she flew.

AN: Read at your own risk! Might include bad language or disturbing images. The 7th story of the 10 small stories. You can find the rest at my blog. Enjoy and comment!

 

The Desert is always generous. Most people don’t see it like that; not that he could blame them. Everyday a lot of people lose their lives in her sandy depths. Hundreds of them leave their lifeless bodies to decay in her scorching hug under the blazing sun. It was a fact that the Desert was an unforgiving slut, if one didn’t know her. But if you knew her secrets, her passions, how to treat her, she was as kind as a loving wife.

And that she was for Malick, his wife, his only wife. During his fifty four long years he never wanted to know another woman apart from her, because the great Desert that lay just south of the City, was a woman in his mind. Malick fell in love with her the first moment his lay his eyes across her vast lands, when he felt the sands against his toes. He never felt so good before. He only wanted to get lost in herself. And he knew that the Desert liked him too. He could never really understand why, or how, but he knew it. He was sure of it when the Desert gave him her greatest gift of all, the Hearing. In that moment, he knew that he was married to her and he will never know another woman in his life. As Leo was married to dreams.

“Old man, wake up” he heard a voice talk to him. He didn’t open them immediately, he savored its texture first. Malick could tell that it belonged to a young man, probably under aged but near his eighteenth birthday. He could tell that he was hasty and cocky. He was disrespectful too, even though he didn’t reach that conclusion because of his voice. Despite that he could see something else beneath it, he was afraid. Afraid and so young, so new to the real world. The world that mattered.

“My name is Malick” he answered after a while slowly. His voice was hoarse; he hadn’t spoken for a long while.

“Yeah, I know” answered boy impatiently. “Will you open your eyes and watch me?”

“Why?”

“Because it makes me nervous” came the response. He has some fire in him.

Malick opened his eyes slowly and looked at him steadily for a while. He had gotten all the facts of his voice correctly; and more he saw that he was a City boy, tall and lean, with long black hair. In his eyes fear was lurking, fear and uncertainty.

“If you are afraid, boy, go and never come back”.

“I am not afraid! And I have a name!” anger distorted his face.

“I have one too. But you deemed it better to call me Old Man.” He looked at him gently.

“Okay, fine… I am sorry, what’s your name?”

“I am Malick, Leo. Nice to meet you”.

“How do you know my name?” asked suspiciously the boy. He looked down at him where he was sitting atop a sand hill, right under the rays of the sun; his favorite spot.

“I know things. Now, to our business. You have been sent here by the Old Crone, downtown, no?”

“Yes.” he answered uncertain. “She spoke to you? She said you would know, about me and my…” his voice flattered as Leo couldn’t find the right words to describe what was happening to him. Malick’s stern features became kinder. All of them had the same problem at the begging, even that evil slut of Witch that was drinking the folks’ blood downtown.

“Please, sit next to me” after a hesitation that lasted no longer than two seconds, he did as obliged. “Now, the word that you are looking for is wizard. You are a wizard like me, like the Witch is a real Alchemist and not a fraud. We all have certain gifts, to bind the magic in our will, one way or another. We all have to serve for the greater scheme in this world” he started explaining but the boy was impatient; he cut him with a wave of his hand.

“Yes, Malick, I know. The witch has already, explained it to me. That’s why I am here. I am here to be trained.”

“Then go down that hill and find the woman there. She is expecting you. The sun will set, soon”.

Leo got up. He begun descending the hill, but halfway he remembered to turn to him and say goodbye. The old man didn’t hold a grudge against him; he knew how difficult it was at first. He knew that next time he would answer him what is his gift.

The boy had come a long way since then. Leo had grown mature, had been more confident in himself, he could be flow through his dreams more carefully. He was still sad, he had lost his mother. And it did not help that he had to look into other peoples’ deaths. He had matured though, soon he would be able to confer with him and dream without Mellaria’s help. He was going through so much pain, but the balance in this world was kept by the pains of those few who had the gift. He shuddered when he thought of him. He had left the fold and things were not good.

He emptied his mind and did what he was good at. He listened to the sands. The sands had a voice of themselves, as every living thing and dead object in this world. Only it was compulsory to know how to listen to their voice. He knew, and they brought to him all sort of news. Because the sands heard everything from the water, from the air, from the people themselves. And then they whispered what they had heard to him.

A beautiful young woman with fire in her eyes is falling down a cliff. Can she fly? No, but she can see, and she sees him.

That was unfortunate. A tear tripped down his withered cheek. He wish he could have helped her. But now it was too late, she was dead.

A blond woman was drinking from a potion. She had to seduce that policeman. Or else, the policeman would suspect. Would he know that she knows about her death?

A woman was crying bitterly over a small crib. Her veil covered her face but he could hear her tears falling to the floor.

A man was cutting meat on a counter. He was listening to soft jazz music while humming to himself.

Another woman was walking on the streets alone. She was drinking heavily the last weeks and now her steps were unsteady. She almost got hit by a car, but she survived. The man took her along him to the hospital and there a nurse complimented her red hair.

Leo had woken up in the small hut and was pouring his heart’s content on the feet of a young woman. He had lost a mother, he had thought that it was a leak of gas, but it was magic, it seemed. She was a powerful witch, but she burned alive. Now he wanted to know her enemy.

All people are cruel, but desperate women could be even crueler; and desperate women with magic could be the cruelest of them all, because Magic was never kind. Magic always exacted its toll. So, it was death. Leo’s mother had learned that the hard way, when she was burned alive. He had heard of her death through the sands, and he was very sad about her death. She was a kind woman, but she had taken for granted that she had paid her due to Magic. And Magic never likes arrogance, either.

Malick wondered if Magic had exacted the toll on him, or not. He knew deep inside that he had not paid yet, but he didn’t care. He thanked the Desert that he had revealed to him his gift of hearing the sands and that he had been his wife for so long. He was one of the few wizards that were actually happy. He let himself a small smile before getting lost to the sands again. The Old Crone would like to know the rumors tonight, as always. He always paid his debts.

 

AN: Read at your own risk! Might include bad language or disturbing images. The 6th story of the 10 small stories. You can find the rest at my blog. Enjoy and comment! 

 

He woke up with sweat all over his face. His breath came out rigid and shallow. He tried to get up, but a gentle and yet firm hand pushed him back to sleep.

“Do not be afraid. It was a dream, you have to always remember that. It is always a dream” said Mellaria’s voice.

Yes a dream, only a dream. I was not her, I was dreaming being her.

“Now drink that” she placed a large cup in his hand. It contained the smelly liquid he used to drink before dreaming in the dessert. The liquid was green, sticky and smelly and he hated it with all his heart. But it made it possible for him to dream. And dreams made him special, useful. Made him complete.

Before he could even complete his thought he fell asleep again.

Darkness lay ahead. He could see nothing. He begun moving forward, as forward was the only way he could go. He walked for some time, for two minutes, two hours, two days; he could not tell. At last he saw a small white light in front of him. He picked up his pace. Soon he broke into a jog, and as the light became bigger and bigger, he run faster and faster, until he could not breath, until his ribs ached him so much he thought he would vomit.

 Finally the light became large enough for him to fit and squeeze himself through it. Half blind, he pushed his way forward. More time passed. How long it was? He could not tell, he could not know. Not so soon afterwards, he reached a huge chamber where he could stand and see.

 The chamber was huge and airy. No fool smells existed here, as far as he could tell. When his eyesight became adjusted to his new environment, he saw huge pillars with no end and a great hoard of gold, gems and stones. But all was on fire, everything was burning together. The fire was glistening white and was the only source of light. It was so beautiful, mesmerizing. Enchanted, he approached the huge fire. However he stopped abruptly when he saw a huge dragon sleeping in the midst of it.

 Leo opened his eyes again. This time he had no difficulty breathing even though he was covered in sweat.

“What are you doing in your dreams?” Mellaria asked in her low, soft voice. She refilled his cup with the same hideous stuff.

He eyed it with caution. “Mellaria, my sweet Mellaria, do I have to consume more of it?”

“Yes, you have to dream thrice, or the magic won’t hold. How many times have you dreamed tonight?”

“Two” he admitted reluctantly. It was no good use to lie; without doubt she was counting his dreams. He reached for the cup. “The old witch cannot put something in it to make it taste better?”

“Ask her when you go downtown again. Now have you come all your way in the desert to talk or to dream?”

He flinched at her reproach. He emptied the cup for the third and last time that night and went back to dream. “Remember, it is only a dream” she heard her whisper just before he was lost into the vague world of dreams.

He was not alone. He could smell the other man’s sweat. He could feel his warmth radiating from his body. He tried to move his body to his right and see him, look who his companion was, but he found out that he was in bonds. He could hardly move his neck. He focused on his hands. They were cold and heavy. They bit his skin without mercy as cold as ice and as unforgiving as death. They were iron chains, the worst kind of chains he could be into.

Suddenly someone arrived. He was a tall and cruel man, with a nasty face full of pox marks. He protested as much as he could when the man grabbed him from his long hair. Another equally hideous guy grabbed his companion. They moved outside from a building, his best guess was a barn. With violent movements, the man positioned him on top of a barrel. He had a bad feeling about that. The man made his decent from the platform, not before he gave a good squeeze to his huge breasts. On a similarly arranged platform they positioned his companion as well. He could smell his soil.

Suddenly the platform opened and he fell onto the barrel. The barrel was full of a toxic fluid that ate his flesh. Pain struck his head through his nerves. He opened his mouth to scream but the toxic liquid filled his lungs and now it was eating him from inside too.

For the second time tonight he woke up screaming and sweating. He felt feverish. He tried to focus around him and made abrupt moves as though he was trying to swim.

“Hush, now. Remember, it is only a dream” Mellaria said to him while moving the hair out of his face. “here, eat this… don’t be afraid. It was only a dream”.

“I was a woman…” he said weakly.

“Yes, when you are dreaming of others deaths you could be anyone; a man, a woman, a child, an elder. It doesn’t matter what or who you are. It doesn’t matter if it is today, yesterday in a thousand years from now”.

“She… was thrown into some kind of toxic waste…”

“Toxic waste?” she asked curiously. She shook her head as he took a bite from the sweet pie she had given him. “No, no, it doesn’t matter. For now you only have to remember that it is only a dream”.

“Yes it is only a dream”. He finished his pie in silence. Mellaria said nothing else and demanded no explanations from him. He would report his result to the head of the order of the mages, the old man that collected the details of his dreams. The young boy was not sure what he did with all those details, even after he explained to him that is for the greater good. He envied him, he sat all day on the sands listening, just listening, while he had to dream and live the deaths of all these people. It was so painful.

But he could not help it. He was a mage, unlike the old crone downtown who prepared his poison. She was an alchemist, and poor Leo was a dreamer of deaths. If he had to be a dreamer, couldn’t he be dreaming of something else?

Exhausted he lay back down. However this time he consumed no magic poisons. He looked up to Mellaria’s huge golden eyes as she tucked him into bed. She kissed him goodnight. That was the only part of those nights that he truly cherished. He had to dream, once you develop an ability, you have to exercise it or it eats you away like the worms eat the corpses. It was inevitable.

Mellaria moved towards the exit. There she stood fast. She turned around and looked at him for a while. “What else did you dream of?” she asked in a whisper.

“My second dream was of a man devoured of a dragon”

She nodded. “And the first one?”

“I dreamed of her again. Of her and her death” he answered with a voice filled with emotion.

A tear tricked down from the corner of her eye. “Remember, it is only a dream. Always dreams.” Without another world she switched off the lights and moved out.

AN: Read at your own risk! Might include bad language or disturbing images. The 5th story of the 10 small stories. You can find the rest at my blog. Enjoy and comment! 

“You are a nice guy”. That phrase was the one that hurt the most. You are a nice guy. Her trying to convince him that dating a coworker is a bad idea did not matter. Her reassurance that she was just not interested in having a relationship right now didn’t register to his heart. It hurt that he was a good guy.

He laughed when he thought of her face when she would see the results of his plan. You are a nice guy, he thought.

Matti had met Lena when he was hired the first day. She was gorgeous. Tall and light coloured with long, heavy hair and stunning green eyes. Her beauty was what caught his eye, but what made him mad for her was her intelligence. She was quick witted and with a sharp eye that could catch every small error in a code within minutes. Lena could outsmart everyone in their group. She was their brightest star, the one who convinced all the big pharmaceutical companies to fund them. And Matti was just the nice guy.

He always hated Christmas parties. This time he got an extra reason to hate them. Who wouldn’t hate them if they had been humiliated like that? Matti opened up his heart to his lady, he offered her his soul, and what did he get in return? You are a nice guy. It sucked being the nice guy. All his life he was the nice guy, the one who would be kind and helpful and understanding. In high school Maria rejected him for Janne, the cool guy who played football. During university, the gorgeous Elina dumbed the biology geek for the cool pilot. All his life had been the nice guy. But no more.

Matti would not be the nice guy. For once in his life, he would be the cool guy. He would be the badass guy.

Matti’s thoughts were interrupted by a soft whistle. He turned around to see a young boy, around the age of fifteen years. He was scrawny, with boyish features in his face that every teenage boy hated to notice on the mirror. He had started growing a moustache, but he still needed a couple of years before being able to do it properly. Matti passed his hand through his greyish hair before he continued talking.

“Are you Ikka’s friend?” They had to go on as fast as possible, but he had to make sure that the boy at the docs’ pubs did not play him for fool. Especially since he abandoned him.

“Yes. Where is him?”

“He left. He met a veiled woman and joined the fucking procession”. The boy’s face darkened at his disrespectful tone, no one talked like that about ancient traditions. But he gave no shit for silly superstitions. He was a man of science and he did not believe in curses.

“Do not talk like that! The procession is pure and important. All the souls truly are happy when they see their flaming shops sail down the river. Matti felt a pinch of remorse at his words, but he did not apologize. He would not be the nice guy anymore, whatever the serious eyes of the teenage guy said.

“And how do you know?” he passed his hand through his hair once more, hoping to hide the shake of it.

“The same way I know what you want. I dreamed of it” came the answer in a whisper. He waved a paper in front of his face.

“Dreamed? Seriously? And how do I know that I will get the real deal? Science is principles, is the foundation of the word. It is the only thing that can lead us to the truth of life. The rest is stupid and ignorant lies!”. Matti really hated dreamers, witches and their lot. They pretended they knew everything, that they hold the mystery of the world in their palm. That was a lie for fools.

“Dreams are always true. Dreams never lie” answered the boy in a weird tone. He looked like a huge burden was rested on his shoulders that he could barely lift. Matti almost asked him about it, but he mentally slapped himself. He was not that guy. Not anymore.

“If the code is not true…”

“It is”.

“How do I know you do not lie?”

“You have no other choice. You take it, or I go. For me it is the same. But I do not lie.” Silence fell between themselves.

“How much do I owe you?” Matti finally asked. He had to try, he had no other choice. And if the boy had lied, there was no way he would have made himself a worse fool than already was.

“Nothing, just tell Iikka the debt has been paid. Do not forget”. And with these words he left as silently as he had come, leaving behind a piece of paper. Matti snatch it up, what if he has lied to me? Oh well at least I did not pay him anything. After a quick look it looked like the real thing. It would have been so much easier if he had used Notepad++ and then brought a memory stick. It was too much code to type and it was already 1AM.

The scientist drove like crazy. Had he stopped for the red lights? Did he obey the traffic law? He could not remember. None of that matter. What mattered was to reach the lab on time. He had passed through the whole town like a ghost, with the code as his passenger and her words as the background music. You are a nice guy. You are a nice guy. You are a nice guy. And for some reason each repeat was more painful than before, harsher than ever intended to be. He could not take the phrase out of his head. It had grown like a tumor, it was now the motto of his life. You are a nice guy.

Now he was standing in the growth chambers. In front of him there were long rows of young trees, all cared by Lena’s competent hand. All those plants that helped rule the company and his heart. But no more. He said no more to her magic, her rule over his heart. Matti approached the small computer at the edge of the room. There he started writing the code that Iika’s friend had given him to a special program they had in order to control the plants’ growth. Everyday Matti tried to focus on his work , he tried not to do a mistake, but it was so hard to be perfect. He could hear her words as an echo to the back of head; You are a nice guy, was now the drum of his heart.

After fifteen very long minutes Matti finally stopped typing. He thought he should check the code again, see for possible mistakes, but he shook his head. That was the geek’s way, the cool guy just did not care. He pressed the magic button and waited. He would have liked to see green fluorescence water be sprayed upon the trees, he would have liked to hear the plants screech, break their roots, fireworks to be fired and drums to echo in a triumphal song. But this was biology, even though it was revenge biology obtained by a dream, and so he had to wait in order to see the results; if there were any.

As the clock passed, Matti dozed off in his chair. High humidity in the air and high alcohol concentration in his blood could be blamed. He found himself lost in some  very weird dreams. He saw trees moving. The earth was trembling and the water drops sounded as her words; You are a nice guy.

When he opened his eyes he found out that the reality was not so different, except for the silence.

The rest however were true. All around him the young pine trees had arisen from their pots and were moving around, silent as ghosts. Their roots had turned into legs and they could move their branches as hands. Or so Matti understood, he could not be sure what was that he saw, it could the other way around and never know it.

What have I done? Was his first thought. He had created a monstrosity. He had created something that only God should be able to be. Monsters…or evolution? He watched the moving pine trees and felt strange. He could define it, could not describe except with one word, God. He must have felt the same when he created the world. Matti was not really religious, but after seeing his babies walk outside from their roots, he felt like there was a God. If he could do it, someone else could, right?

He laughed like a maniac, he laughed and laughed till a thought came into his mind. A smile formed into his face as the thought took form. Yes, that should do, that should win all their hearts and all their minds. But first he had to control them.

How do you control trees? Do you play the flute? Do you call them by their secret names? Uncertainty crept into his heart, maybe… but he would not give up so easily.

“Trees? Pine trees?” he asked softly. There was some steering among the trees but he could not understand if they listened to him. I will not give up! Not now! He tried calling them by their scientific name and other two of the most closely related species. He called them by the common names in all the languages he knew, he even googled some more. He made up new names. He read to them Darwin’s masterpiece, he read them from the bible. He played the lute for them and sung Bohemia Rapsody. He was so focused to his task that he never paid attention that dawn had arrived.

He was looking through internet to see more details about pine’s phylogenies when he heard the trees move together behind him. He raised his eyes and saw her. She was there. Lena was standing there, right next to the door with a sock look in her face. He wanted to say that he felt satisfaction on her horror, but he felt hollow.

“What… is going on?” her voice was barely heard.

“Behold the trees!” said Matti, showing the trees all around him with a broad movement of his hands. “These are my creation, my millestone for science!” a fit of cough made him stop his speech.

“What did you do to my babies?” Lena asked terrified. The trees seemed to recognize her, they were driven by her voice. The pines were sensing her mood and unrest rose among them. They respond to her. They just saw her for the first time, and yet they charmed.

“What did you do to my plants! You no right!” now her voice was screeching, her eyes glittering with anger. “I wish you were done!”

“I…” he could not find the correct way to say anything, he was lost. He thought he had to respond somehow, but damn this woman, she had a huge effect on him. It did not matter though, it would never matter again. Well, Lena always gets her wish. He thought as one tree started beating him with his branches.

AN: Read at your own risk! Might include bad language or disturbing images. The 4th story of the 1o small stories. You can find the rest at my blog. Enjoy and comment! 

 

The Veiled Woman walked through the stinking roads of the port without taking notice of the filth. She looked as if she originated from another planet, with her silk slippers, her long red dress in the color of blood made by the finest silk, ornate with complex details of golden thread. But what caught the eye was the same thing that made men to keep their distance; it was her veil. She wore a long black veil made by the same lace as the dress. It covered her head completely; only by imagination you could tell where the eyes were. It was so long that it reached her elbows. That veil was the most expensive and exquisite thing that was ever worn in that miserable place of town. If it was another day of the year she would have been killed for it.

But not today. Today she was safe as it was the Ship Soul Day. That day was the holiest day of the year for the city, not because it linked to a religion or because the government said so. The Ship Soul Day stemmed from those days in the past when everything was dust and stone and low grass. When people lived in small huts and fished in the river to eat and not sell. That day was the last day of the one hundred days long trip of the gypsies. They used to cross the whole dessert to reach this place in a procession of veiled faces. When they reached the riverbed they would release to the water small wooden ships, and they would whisper to them the sweet words they wished their loved ones to hear. They believed that the ships, once on fire, could find their way to the palace of the dead and there the dead could hear about them.

As the years passed, the villagers would join the silent procession and would put fire to their own ships. If the burning ships could find the way to the palace of the dead gypsies, why not to the palace of their own? That day every year, for thousands of years, the Veiled Faces would be under the protection of the souls. And no one ever dared to enrage the souls of the dead. Once, the Bishop of the Cursed, tried to hunt down the Veiled Faces, he tried to kill them, or put them in prison, but he never succeeded. He was burned alive by his daughter who then turned into a ship herself and sailed into the dusk ablaze.

Nowadays the procession happened without the authorities or the clerks daring to interrupt them. No one wanted a second Bishop of the Cursed and moreover, many of those people joined the procession themselves. Like the Veiled Woman. She walked by a couple drunk men outside a very suspiciously looking tavern. They smelled like alcohol and they were barely standing. She would have never looked them twice if not for a stretched hand that tried to grab her by the elbow. She pulled away, but there was not real need for that. His companion with the warm hazelnut eyes and the tired face of a middle aged person had stopped him.

“Fool!” he said in a harsh tone “Can’t you see she is a Veiled Woman? Leave her be!”

“I… just…” the other man tried to explain his actions, but he stammered. He was not able to find the correct words to explain himself to her, the older man, or himself, she could not tell.

“Yes?” she asked the Veiled Woman a bit coldly. She wasn’t offended by him, once she was used to men like him.

“I… wanted to touch you. Only touch to see if you are real or my mom’s ghost had discented from heaven” his voice was barely a whisper and suddenly he looked like he was even younger.

Something moved into her heart and a tear found its way from her eye to the base of his neck. A tear that only see knew it existed and only she knew why. The offender was not even a man, a fresh boy of seventeen years old. His green eyes told the truth, there drunkness there but also honesty and pure pain. She could tell, she had learned to read the eyes since very young.

Without a word she caressed his cheek with two gloved fingers and kissed him on the forehead. She wanted to say something to him, something to comfort him. She was so good in comforted people when they arrived in her church, stranded by a sea of problems, but now she could not even find her voice. She continued her way.

Memories have a bad habit. Once they find a crack in the chest she had locked them away in the darkest corners of her soul, nothing could stop them from pouring out. And they then hit her as vivid and alive as when she actually lived them. Twenty years had passed and still she could remember every little detail. She could remember the voice of her stepfather telling her that she was beautiful, that men would lust over her. She could remember the feeling of his hard fingers running up and down her spine, the sour smell of his breath exhaled close to her face could still make her gang. If only he was the first and the last one. At her thirteen years she had been exposed to more men like him than any woman should ever be. Hot tears run down on her cheeks, as many as the coins her stepfather would receive after all those men were done using her on the rough bed.

But what could she do? She was young with no mother to protect her. She was bad at school and had not friends to protect her. She never had time to study so she knew that she could never hope to go to college, so she didn’t even dream of it. With no friends, family and dreams she was left at his mercy and his clients’ pleasure. Her only sanctuary was the silent church. She was not religious, if God existed she would not suffer all these things in the first place. She went there because she was alone and peaceful, she could stay there feeling alone and safe, till the priest came along and then she run away, fearful of all men.

After a year, maybe more, she was not sure for how long she lived in that hell, she understood that she had no menstrual cycle. She looked for answers to her biology book and she understood she was pregnant. She panicked. What would she do? It was so unfair. Why did life had to be so mean to her? Why to her, only? Why couldn’t she be like the girls at school with long pink dresses and dolls to play with? She asked that to the God as well, but no answer came to her.

For the rest of the next month she cried often causing her stepfather to be more and more angry, beating her angrily. “If you cry, bitch, no one will want you, except the old perverts. Do you want them? Trust me, you wouldn’t like them any better”.

One day after school, she was sitting silently on the back rows of the church trying to think of how to get rid of the baby. She was thinking so hard that she never heard the nun sitting next to her. “Why are you crying child?”

“I am not crying” she lied.

“Surely, you shouldn’t be unhappy at the House of God.”

“Why not?”

“Because God can help us, if he hears our problems”.

“You are lying!” she accused the old nun and left the place as fast as she could.

The next day the nun was there again, sitting two seats from her. The little girl didn’t try to approach her, but her words echoed in her mind God can help us, if he hears our problems. The next day she was there again, as every day of that week. And all the little girl could think was of her words, repeated in her head like a song.

After a week she decided to try to speak to the nun. After all, she was working for God, so she should have answers. “If God exists, how can he hear us?”

“Through his servants. He entrusts us to be his ears to listen and his hands to act.” The old nun said nothing else. The little girl left without another word.

The next day she sat next to her. “Good morning”.

“Good morning” answered the nun but she did not press her to talk. Nor she commented on her freshly split upper lip. She just sat there, peaceful like the trees.

“I want help, I need help. Can the servants of the God help me?” she whispered finally, her heart racing in her chest with fear.

“Speak and you will find out” the nun answered calmly.

The little girl started telling the story of her life slowly in the beginning, with a lot of pauses and half pronounced words. Slowly though her fear turned to anger, and she started hissing the details of her stepfather’s clients and their acts, wishing she could claw their eyes out and sacrifice them to the God. And then after a few minutes that seemed to her like eternity, she finished the tale of her miserable life crying and out of breath.

The old nun stood up and extended her hand. “Follow me, child.”

After a small hesitation she took her hand. She had told her all her secrets and now she was at her mercy. Would she help her? Maybe. Would she extort her the same way as her stepfather? Maybe. She could not tell but at least she had hope.

All those years that passed, she never regretted taking the hand. The nun led her out of the church and out of the town, into the desert where an old monastery lay there. The monastery became her home, the sworn nuns her family. She became one of them and she nursed to health, sanity and then groomed to be a Nun that Listens. She never saw her stepfather’s face but she heard years later that he had died in a weird accident. The Veiled Woman thanked the Sworn Nuns for that. She had come to learn that they could advice with gentle tongues but when their hands where forced were not gentle at all.

Her only sorrow had been that her baby boy had died three days after his birth. When she was safe and sane, she wished she could have kept him. He would have been seventeen today and they would have been eating ice-cream together. Instead, she was a Veiled Face and she was lighting a wooden boat in his memory. The Veiled Woman watched the boat burn to ashes as it disappeared in the sunset. Maybe her memories would burn with it as well.

On her way home she passed outside the same old tavern. The young boy was alone now, sleeping next to the door. The Veiled Woman woke him up as gently as she could.

“Come on. Let us go and eat some ice cream. Then we can talk about your mom.”