Two Sides of a Coin

[Competition entry for the "Penpals" competition. By Rodrigo.R.R. Goldlight and Sparrow 3183.]

One boy. One girl.
A typical love story.
But when the boy lives every moment of his life in fear of remembering what used to be?
When the girl slowly destroys herself to adapt to a dying world?
When there is no hope of escape, no end or respite to the lives they are stuck in?

That's not love.
That's war.


3. (♀) Bloodstained Shoes

Her feet clapped on the pavement, making funny slapping sounds that echoed off the stone walls of the buildings around her.

Surrounding her.

Enclosing her.

Slowly, they enveloped her, closing tighter and tighter. She curled into a ball, rocking back and forth. "Don't hurt me! Don't kill me! Please..."

The grinding of stone on stone stopped, and the girl looked around. The walls had retreated to their original positions.

"Ha!" she cheered, looking at each in turn. She grabbed her sword and pitched it at one of the walls, where the handle bounced off harmlessly.

"Ha-ha!" She scrambled over to it and flung it again, this time at the other side. This time, the metal struck first, producing a resounding clang.

"Ooh," giggled the girl, scampering over to it once more. She picked it up and started running, laughing at the sound of her feet, then fell into a stony silence, focusing on her sprint. She ran and ran and ran, skidding down corners at random, not caring where she went. Sometimes, she would run past a broken window, and the resulting shards would leave gashes on her feet. Her claret footprints traced her route, but nothing seemed to faze her.

She continued running until she collapsed, rolling onto her back. She lay there for some time, gasping and staring at the cloudy sky, waiting for her heart rate to lessen.

Eventually, she deemed it stable and got up to explore. Somehow, she'd made it back to where she'd met him. She pulled out her sword and mimicked her steps, twirling it around in slow motion. When she got to the place she saw him, she paused. Instead of a boy, a raggedy pair of Converse sat in the middle of the ring of bodies.

She gasped. "They're his!" She looked closer and was disappointed. Instead of the dark red fabric, there was only a slight tan, as if they had been bleached, and the shoelaces had the same effect, but they weren't his.

They weren't his.

They weren't.

Weren't his.



























They had to be his. They must be his.


In a manic frenzy, she hurled the shoes anywhere, everywhere, she didn't care. They splashed into a puddle of blood, one of many remnants of earlier. She scrabbled for them, ready to launch them into some other untold corner of the universe, but she noticed how the blood had burgeoned out, staining the fabric, making it a deep vermilion. It wasn't quite the same shade, but it would have to do.

She'd thoroughly soaked the shoes and sopped up most of the puddles before she declared the shoes finished. "Now for the laces," she announced. She remembered them, black as soot. He'd always leave them untied, and they'd smack listlessly on the ground as he ran. She giggled, remembering how she'd always have to tie them for him.


No. She had to stay on track. But what would she use? She looked around in the dim light- everything lost its color, and she had trouble distinguishing what was which.

A slow breeze blew a rank odor across her nose- of course! She turned and marched toward the messy pile of undead. Surely they'd have enough of what she needed. She ripped out the shoelaces ungraciously, measuring their length against her arm.

The next few minutes were filled wit the unearthly sounds of ripping flesh as the girl worked to create her prize. Cadavers flew across the road in the craze. Partway through, she found a discarded, bloodied knife lying on the road. She grinned. She remembered him, fruitlessly fighting against the horde of dead that attacked him, again and again. He was so braaaaave. He'd used that knife, and then he hadn't, and here it was! She giggled again. "I can give it back to him with his shoes once I'm done!"

Half an hour later and still giggling, the girl left the shoes, dripping and complete with new black laces, at the boy's door, along with his bloodstained knife. She wasn't sure how she knew where the house was... perhaps she had been there before... before. Perhaps she had spent hours looking for it, sobbing. But she'd never do something like that. She walked off, her questions already lost to the dark recesses of her mind, the thoughts whisked away, and the answers with them. So she did not think that maybe it was that, somewhere deep in her soul, she still cared for him.


She did not think that, perhaps, that was the one part of her that was sane.

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