NOW EXTENDED - THREE PART SHORT STORY.
BETA'D BY KATIEKITTEN. :'D
AN/ a small shot in the dark, as I used to say. While most are surprised that life isn't as peachy as they expected it to be, some predict their own end with remarkable accuracy.
The song 'Damn these Vampires' is by the Mountain Goats, who I recommend listening to. <3
m o n s t e r s .
She was only a few miles away from her hometown when it happened. Her friends' last words hung in the air, comforting her with their friendship – but also leaving her with a warning. It had been a long journey, a long few years, which she knew had attuned them all keenly to each others' emotions – but despite her best efforts at masking her edginess, the long, dark stare of the professor had lingered as they'd parted, concern dancing in the fading light across the expressive lines of his face, the definitions smoothed by age. For the last few, long seconds, their gazes had held.
“Come back soon, Lily. Some need you… more than most.”
It seemed ridiculous really, now, her refusal to return to their company.
The earth rumbled beneath her feet, the temperature of the small space increasing until the stone behind her cracked, and she was out of time. Holding her breath in a vague prayer to whatever god was listening that this would work, she counted three seconds before she rushed out, arm raised to shield against the flare of the flames.
Her lungs burned, and she counted one step; two steps, before the onslaught of heat paused, and her steps broke into a run, gaze narrowed on the next rocky outcrop as her arms moved to pump at her sides. Please, oh please, if she could just make it to the next outcrop- The cries of her friends crested in a wave in the brief pause, one sharp yell cutting across the maelstrom of sound before it was lost in the next snarling roar: “Lily!”
Somehow managing a dive that skimmed the skin off of both her knees and elbow, her body rocketed into the cave, the fire blinding in the corner of her vision. Heart racing, her arms tucked in tightly, frantically patting down her clothes, her hair, anything that could be on fire, before her quivering limbs gave out on her, sending her collapsing into the cavern wall.
One glance back confirmed her safety -the entrance was narrower than the dragon's jaw, and if the national 'dex’s information was anything to go by, it preferred to roast its victims alive, and individually. Her shudder was smothered by a flood of intense relief, lightening the heavy weight of her fear; she was safe, for the time being.
Her hands trembled in her lap, the heat flushing into her cheeks as her face pushed into the steady solidity of her knees.
It seemed it didn’t matter how many times she had dealt with these situations, the repercussions were always the same. After the first rush of adrenaline, she crumbled, dissolving into this mess.
Gasping in air – as if it was going out of fashion, a small voice sounding remarkably like her old school friend Buffy, commented- she waited, back tensed, the pounding of her heart steadying.
After several long moments, the small, keen eyes of the young girl blinked upwards. Her gaze was assessing, scanning the surroundings from her seat, the muffled silence calming her. Her initial glean of her environment wasn’t far off; the cave was small, cone shaped, and tapered at the end. Empty.
Ignoring her shiver at the idea of what would have happened if it weren’t, she made a few hard breaths, nudging a knee further into the darkness. A stop, a quick glance made backwards to the small bright circle behind her – nothing. Glancing back forward into the darkness and stone, she hardened her nerve, in preparation for what she had to do next. Safety was at the back of the cave, and if she could only just reach it.
The small shuffled motions edged her closer to the back of the cave, moving blindly as the light faded and her eyes closed - it was too faint to make anything out, anyway. Raising her bruised arm, she reached out her hand forward to touch the cool stone at the back- colliding with a softer, warmer surface.
Startled eyes shot open immediately, shooting up into a fiery, burning amber gaze. The hiss was low, and filled with such hatred, that she couldn’t help the burn of tears that rushed to her eyes, her shattered nerves crumbling under the pressure. Who was she kidding? She had known when she had left that she could never have managed this lifestyle for long, anyway, and this conclusion was as brutally abrupt as she had ever imagined it.
With a whisper, her eyes closed with shaking finality.
PART TWO. - a question of what hides in the very dredges of the earth.