Light and Shadow

Standard

This story was inspired by a series of events, though by no means exactly chronicles those events. Note that this was a writing exercise.

The lake rippled in the faint breeze, moonlight silvering the waves and leaves of the nearby trees. The smell of water and weed and fish and mist drifted toward the five figures on the creaky docks, the scents mingling with the exhaled breath of conversation. It was a night to remember with the moon lighting up the sky as it was, a twin to the brilliant sun. It was a night of light and shadow. It was a night of peace and calm. It was a night of death.

Alexa closed her eyes as the moonlight warmed her skin, beating against her eyelids. She was tired—so tired. The fever had ravaged her body, burning through her like the storms that tore across Beacon Hill in early winter from the sea. And yet she was alive. Her eyes flickered open as the murmur of conversation continued around her, as comforting as the gentle rock of the dock in the water. Antigone’s blonde hair, so like her own, gleamed in the light as her laughter mingled with Quincy’s voice.  Alexa could almost imagine she was back home near the marshes, near the sea.

They didn’t notice them until it was too late. The sound of crunching gravel and sand came first, footsteps that hid in the shadows made darker by the contrast with the moon’s light. Alexa stood with the others, drawing her sword. The metal gleamed faintly as a group wandered down the path, their clothes faded and ripped and patched with darker stains. Most of them carried weapons, blunt clubs or branches, spears made of stone and sinew. All of them were women; and then they screamed.

The calm night was shattered, broken by the sound of clashing metal and rapid breathing and shifting feet. Alexa ducked beneath a spear, stepping to the side of another as she swung with her sword; blood spattered the sand in thick drops as the strike cut home. She didn’t have time to think, time to consider. She just moved, trying to keep calm as the women pressed closer and closer, separating her from Quincy—from Antigone.

Then there was blinding pain. Alexa staggered, her breath wheezing as she glanced down at the blade suddenly embedded in her side.  It twisted and she felt her legs go out from under her, slamming onto her knees. Then there was agony—the feel of a knife cutting into her from behind, lancing across her back like fire. She gasped as her vision blurred, her body no longer responding as she crumpled fully to the ground.

She could hear the cries around her still, the sounds of crashing metal and shifting feet, the chaos of what was happening. Antigone’s voice was drifting further down the path, receding into the night. She tried to lift her head slightly as pain wrapped itself around her like a cocoon, trying to pull her into the blackness.

That’s when she saw him. Quincy was on the ground, blood soaking into the sand around him, pumping from his body while his heart still beat. His blue eyes were wide, staring up the path as he called for help.

Out of the corner of her eye, Alexa saw one of the women approach him, blade in hand. She felt her heart clench for a moment, the rush of adrenaline forcing a cry to rip from her throat. “Get away from him!”

The woman turned for a moment, eyes glassy in the moonlight before kneeling down next to Quincy in the sand. Alexa cried out again–trying to drag her ruined body across the beach, trying to reach her blade.

The woman pulled his head back with a brutal motion and ran her knife across his throat.

Blood poured down his neck as his body thumped to the ground, unmoving, lifeless. A scream shattered the air, a scream that Alexa didn’t recognize as her own. It tore from her throat, leaving her hoarse as his body slowly sunk into the ground. His lifeless eyes stared toward the moon as he disappeared from sight.

Alexa shuddered, her bloody fingers gripping the sand as she looked toward the path. She struggled to inhale, to breathe, to stay alive. Just one more breath; just one more heartbeat. One of the women approached her, black, lifeless eyes boring into hers as she crouched down next to her. For a moment, they stared at one another, unmoving, unblinking.

Then the woman grabbed her blade and cut her own wrist. Blood surged from the wound, spattering the sand around her as she grabbed the back of Alexa’s hair, jerking her head upward. Alexa cried out, struggling for a moment as the woman forced her lips to the wound. Salty, metallic liquid suddenly filled Alexa’s mouth. She choked, trying to spit it out as it continued to flow, covering her mouth and teeth as she swallowed and gasped for air.

Then the second one approached her.

And the third.

And the fourth.

All she could taste was metal, the sickening sweetness of it coating her tongue and making it thick. A lot of it ended up on the beach as she spat and choked. More of it ended up down her throat.

Five.

Six.

She lost count, her stomach roiling as red liquid dripped from between her lips. Light and shadow blurred together, forming a grey haze as she heard a voice from further up the path. Her heart quickened briefly as a shape ran down the slope, the gleam of a blade flickering. There was a moment where she had hope, a moment where she thought…

Then the others came from the bushes, surrounding him, cutting him down. Alexa watched dully as a blade stabbed into his back, piercing his heart as his eyes rolled into the back of his head. His body slumped to the ground, more blood staining the sand as he disappeared into the earth.

Others approached her, giving her more blank stares. More blood, more pain.

Seven.

She could hear Antigone’s voice—faintly. It drifted past the lake’s water, mingling with the sound of the wind and the waves. Her eyes turned upward to stare at the moon, the less-bright twin—the one that was rarely noticed. Yet it was luminous tonight; if she squinted, she could almost imagine it was the sun.

The light blurred, forming indistinct shapes as pain throbbed through her body, lancing across her as she breathed in and out. One more breath. One more heartbeat.

The moon winked out. There was only darkness.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s