Thursday, May 7, 2009

Your Cheesy Bookstore Romance Pt. NINE

That night Andie walked out on the beach to bring in the lounge chair, but ended up sitting in it to watch the moon rise again. Its reflection on the water, shifting back and forth, was ethereal, the color of melted vanilla ice cream. She leaned forward, resting her elbows on her crossed legs, breathing in deeply the sweet ocean air. Her years of numbness had begun to fall away like so many leaves in autumn, and she reveled in the simple act of enjoying a warm night without thinking too much about the change. The sound of waves lulled her once again, and she fell asleep on the beach.

She was pacing in a small, dark building, one candle in the corner barely lighting the walls. It was a hut of mud and straw, and she was not alone. Two other women huddled together on a pallet on the floor, weeping quietly. Why was she not crying too? She felt a burning need to get outside somewhere. There was somewhere she needed to be. Why wasn’t she already there?

“I’m going,” she said.

“Alayne, no!” The younger of the two women leapt up and ran to stop her. “You cannot! You KNOW that! He forbade you to go! And with reason!”

“But how can I stay here?! There’s got to be SOMETHING we can do!” And at that, she fell against the wall and did cry, clutching her stomach. For she knew there was, truly, nothing. After a moment she gathered her composure; he was counting on her to remain strong. He would know. She stood again and moved into the dim light. There was no window from which to watch the night; they could not risk being seen. She leaned over and blew out the candle.

The other women fell asleep. She looked with fondness toward where they slept in the darkness; they had been through so much, this mother and daughter who had welcomed her into their family with gladness and warmth. And now their son and brother was being killed as a sacrifice to some god their people had never even heard of until a short time ago. Now they cowered in fear at the mention of the name Balaam. Balaam. There were stories of gods times past who demanded the sacrifice of human blood. But no life had been given in the years since the eldest could still recall, and the stories were myth for all she cared. Enter the sorceress Talar, who dazzled them with flashes of fire and windstorms even the birds could not anticipate.

Something made her stand quickly, like a whisper in her ear. She listened for the breath of her companions; they were sleeping soundly. She slipped out the door and looked around. The forest was quiet. Too quiet. No owls, no insects chirping, no wind rustling the leaves. She stood straight and still for a moment with her eyes closed to her surroundings, then slipped soundlessly through the trees till she came to a small clearing. She climbed onto a rock within the protection of the forest where she could crouch and peer unseen over the heads of the fearful crowd gathered there, and saw him then, bloody, chest heaving. She clenched her teeth against a crashing wave of emotion and watched.

He turned his head then toward the audience, such as it was, and looked over them to the trees where she waited. An eternity passed in seconds and Alayne rose and stood on the rock, having no fear of being seen any longer, knowing no one would turn to catch her. The sorceress was chanting incoherent syllables that gradually came louder and faster till she raised her arms to the sky and lightning shot out of the clouds, felling a tree beyond the altar.

She saw him look to the sky a heartbeat later, never giving her away, and close his eyes to gather strength for what was to follow.

Then he opened them to the stars.

A moment later she was running back through the forest, every fiber of her existence pushing her forward and quelling the scream that was building from the bottom of her very soul. At the same time she wanted nothing more than to run back to the scene of fire and hold his limp body in her arms forever. She stayed away from the hut, in case a sound broke through her silence, heading for the safety of nowhere in particular. An hour later she was in another valley. Near a rock wall she fell to her knees in a cry that tore the night apart and knocked a star from the sky.

Andie shot forward in the lounge. Her heart was pounding.

“Are you all right?”

She looked up. The man from Cravings.

“Yes,” she put her hand to her forehead. “I’m sorry; how do I know you?”

“UPS at your service, ma’am,” he smiled. Recognition broke over her face.

“Of course. Out of place I can never remember …”

“It is Andie?”


“I don’t think we’ve really met yet. I’m Gryphon.” He reached his hand out, and she shook it. “Are you OK? You don’t look so good.”

“Yes, thank you, I’ll be all right. I just had a strange dream.”

“That’s some dream to shake you up like it looks like you’ve been.” He cringed at his own words. “Did that make ANY sense?” he laughed.

She smiled. “Yes.”

“Maybe you can tell me about it sometime.” He smiled and began to walk away. He turned back once more and waved a little wave.

Andie looked at the water a few more minutes, still groggy from sleep, before going in to bed.

Did that mean he’d be back?


Soda and Candy said...

Oh. My. God.

I've just found this via The Monster Apathy.

Does it make me a philistine if I am actually enjoying this story that you've written as a parody?

: )

Moonkee said...

The problem became that I was actually enjoying it too. Glad you liked it :)

Soda and Candy said...

Girl, where's my next chapter?!

Moonkee said...

well here's the thing: i'm not sure i like where it goes after this. granted, i was just supposed to be posting what i wrote before with no substantial edits, but ... i'll get you something this week. hang on. and thanks for caring.