Forever Young

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  • Published: 22 Dec 2015
  • Updated: 27 Jul 2016
  • Status: Complete
Darla is most definitely not a human.

She's one of the Ashki, an immortal race who have lived alongside humans from the very beginning. But friendships don't survive that long, and her contacts with her fellow Ashkine people are practically non existent, humans just tiny little pieces in the jigsaw of time. And an old enemy is back, proposing changes to the way their society has run and developed, and destroying the Ashki in the process.

Now Darla must gather her friends together to save themselves and their souls. But after so many millennia, is time finally running out for the Ashki?

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19. Gone

My head hurts. I'm lying on someone's black couch, with a bottle of water on the glass table beside me and a pink blanket laid over my body. There is a light above me - it's too bright - and I shield my eyes.

 

 

A large woman bustles into the room, a smile painted pale pink on her lips. "Oh, you're awake, dear," she says, heaving herself onto the seat opposite me. "I did wonder when you were going to come to - we were worried that we'd have to take to the hospital."

 

 

"We?"

 

 

"My husband and I, dear. We brought you here about three hours ago - found you passed out in the middle of the street and it's not even a weekend night. My husband said he thought he recognised you, though he's always saying that, don't look so shocked. My sister reckons he'd recognise a martian on the spot if he ever saw one., and not just as in 'that's a martian', he'd think it's name was Charlie and take it home for tea like they'd been friends all their lives, I tell you. But anyways, dear, I thought we'd better bring you inside before you got ill, poor thing."

 

 

The woman leans forwards, still smiling. It's unnerving, the way that she's caring for me here, someone she's never even met.  "Um, thank you," I say timidly, still slightly unsure of this woman. "I really appreciate your help."

 

 

"Oh, it's no bother dear, you looked so small out there on your own in the cold, and I hadn't seen you around here before, you seemed so lost, dear. We thought about taking you to the school, but it's such a long walk to up there, and we weren't sure if you even went to Darwood, dear."

 

 

"Darwood?"

 

 

"The school, dear, in the town. I didn't think you went there - I've never seen you when I've been with my daughter, Sarah's her name - and I've seen jus about everybody that goes there at some point or another. What school is it you go to? Not that I think you'd want to go back for the day, since it's nearly over anyway - you still look rather pale dear, have a drink of some water if you need it - but if you want to be brought home or something, will your parents be in?"

 

 

"I'm twenty three." I try not to laugh as her mouth rounds into an o shape.

 

 

"Oh goodness, dear, you look so young!" she exclaims. "I thought you were around Sarah's age."

 

 

"No," I laugh. "It's horrible, I still have to show ID everywhere. Sometimes I'm told that my ID's fake, it's incredibly annoying sometimes."

 

 

The woman laughs. "Well, it's better than people thinking you're older than you are, rest assured."

 

I try to laugh, but I can't. In a way, it just seem like I can't do anything right now. Something is holding me to the ground, and I can't move myself. 

A man walks through the door - the woman's husband, I presume. His dark, chocolate hair flops over his brown right eye, his body strong and tanned. I can hear Keda's voice whispering in my ear, like a snake. "You know him," her voice is hissing. "You know what you have to do to him."


My heart begins to pound. Beads of sweat gathers on my palms. I watch as the woman's husband frowns at me.

"Lillian," he says, in a voice that is deep and smooth, but I can hear a slight intonation of fear in it. "You didn't tell me she'd woken up yet."

"Well, it was just a few minutes ago, Kay. I didn't exactly have the time."

"Did you have time to ask the poor girl her name?"

Lillian laughs uncertainly. "This is - oh, what did you say your name was agin, dear?"


"I didn't," I reply shortly, then scold myself mentally. "But it's Darla."


I recognise now where I knew the man from - he is the business man who I'd found on the island back home. It can't have been a coincidence that we had met twice now. 


"That's a lovely name." Something like recognition flashes across his familiar face. "Are you one of Sarah's friends? We weren't sure, but I did think you looked familiar,"


"She doesn't even know Sarah, Kay, doesn't even go to her school or anything. You must just be thinking you know her - as always." They both laugh, and I pull my knees up to my chest. "Oh, dear, are you cold?" Lillian frets. "I could turn the heating up if you like, you know, it's really no bother,"


"No, really, I'm fine. In fact, I should probably be going, if I'm to find my way back home,"


"Do you want us to take your home, dear? It's really no problem if you do, though we may have to wait on Sarah getting back from school, but I doubt that she'll be long, dear,"


"No, I am fine, honestly,"


"Are you sure? I know you are old enough to look after yourself, dear, but really it's no trouble and you looked in such a bad way earlier, dear, we're just concerned for you,"


"I'm fine, honest." To prove it, I try to stand up, and find that my legs were burning with a pain I couldn't quite name. I hope I'm not showing it. 


"You're just a child, pet," Kay says. "We could show you to the police station, if you'd feel safer being there."


If I could only get away from stupid mortal eyes and manage to do SOMETHING, fly or call or anything. But not with mortals here. Trying not to roll my eyes, I reply with a forced laugh, "I'm not a child, I'm twenty three years old. And, I don't mean to be rude, you've been so nice, but I do need to get going."


"You're not twenty three, pet." He seems to be shaking slightly. "You look like you're seventeen, we can't just let you go on your own in this state." He turns to Lillian. "Imagine if it was Sarah. We wouldn't want anybody to let her go on her own if she's ill."


"And I don't think we'd let her be in a house with strangers saying they'll look after her. She says she's twenty three - why would she lie? We could show her to the train station, she can be on her way then." She turns to me. "Would that be okay, dear, just to be shown to the train station? They come around about every quarter of an hour or so, dear, go to King's Cross, you can get anywhere from there. I mean, presuming you can get your ticket, that is, dear?"


"Of course, I can, I'll be fine. If you could just give me directions to the station, I'll be fine on my own."


The man, Kay, looks worriedly at Lillian, but still hemanages to smile. "Of course, pet. It's just out the door to the right until you reach the high street - you'll know it when you see it - then behind the library and follow the path way down to the platform. It's about five pounds for the ticket to King's Cross, I'm not sure where you're headed, but if there isn't anywhere in the station that'll take you there, there're a load of stations around about, they'll get you there."


"Um, thanks," I say weakly. "I'll just go now, catch it in time hopefully. Thank you so much for all your help."


"Oh, it's no problem, dear. Here." She scrawls something on a piece of paper. "If you need to get in touch or are lost or anything, dear, just call us, these are our numbers. Top one's Kay's, bottom's mines. Okay, dear?"


I smile. "Thank you. I'll just be going now, thanks so much again."


As I make my way to the door, I feel a shiver run up my spine. Keda's face appears in the mirror in the hall, stained with her tears. Good.


Lillian and Kay wave to me as I closed the door. They're smiling like they could be the perfect couple - like Romeo and Juliet, only without all the deaths.


As soon as I am far enough away that they won't be able to see me, I try to will myself straight to London - I figure it'd be easier to choose a destination if I have some kind of list to choose from. It takes a while longer than usual - probably because I was 'in such a bad way earlier, dear' but I manage to get myself to the station. 


There is a strange buzz around me, and I clench my fists, digging my nails into my palms. People chatter about nonsense around me, while others stand around a shop at the station's other end, and some stare at the timetable board above us. I join them, noting that the time is exactly one minute past three o'clock. According to the board, there is a train leaving for Glasgow at quarter past three, one for Paris at half past three, and two others for Edinburgh and Cardiff, both leaving at ten past four. For a moment I consider, before deciding to try and get tickets for the train to Paris. The further away from where I'd left my 'friends', the better. 


Making my way to the tickets office, I am jostled a few times in the crowd, stopped in my tracks a couple of times by mothers and fathers with crying babies in prams who asked me if I knew how safe the underground was for young children - to which I resisted replying with a curse and instead said I didn't know. There is only a short queue for the office, and I bounce back and forth on the balls of my feet. 


Once I've bought my tickets, I make my way to the ticket barriers. The train is to leave from platform eight, apparently, and I find it quickly enough. Thankfully, the train is already there, and I take a seat on it once the doors are opened. According to the clock on my phone (which I have actually charged for once) it was twenty past three, so I have around ten minutes before it left. I consider phoning Kay to tell him and Lillian that I'd gotten on a train home safely, but decided it would probably be suspicious with the timing. Instead, I smile, and typed out a text to Lara - the first one I'd ever sent her since she gave us her number. 


Hi, Lara, I type. Just wanted to let you know that you don't have to worry about where I am. I've left you guys - not that you'd care - and I'll take care of Keda. Just don't worry. x

For some reason, I feel like I could be going to cry there, on the train, but I stop myself. I'm not the kind of person who should cry. I'm just not.

 

I gaze out onto the platform. There are so many mortals there, just chattering and walking and bustling about in a hurry, like whatever they do is of the utmost importance to the world. With a shudder, I remember that death had made me one of them, a silly child soldier running around like there was a war to win for the toys so treasured by the eternal children of this world.


"Can we sit here?" a woman asks me in a heavy French accent, a bright red smile plastered on her face. She is holding hands with another woman, with ginger hair and a scar underneath her chin, both of whom are gesturing to the two seats opposite me. 


"Yes, of course," I reply, faking a smile. 


"Merci." The two women take their seats opposite, and I pull a pair of blue earphones from my jacket pocket, where the rest of my money lies. I plug them into the phone and 'shuffled' my music. Killer Queen comes on, and I smile to myself, resting my head against the train's cool window. The couple across from me are talking to each other in French, probably assuming that I don't know what they were saying. I try not to laugh at their discussion about why Disney's Hercules should not be taught in history lessons. After all, I was there at Hercules' - or rather, Heracles' - time, and he most definitely was not he same as he had been portrayed in any of his films.


The hours between London and Paris takes to long for my liking, but I didn't wanted to stretch myself by willing myself there earlier, just in case what had happened last night had really affected my power. 


Besides, if I was going to meet Keda or one of her allies, which is almost inevitable, I really will need all my powers. 

Unlike Keda's these are solely mine.

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