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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17. I Know Places

 

Keda's evil: everybody knows that. She's evil, nothing more, nothing less, from her crown topped head to her diamond heeled toes. And this letter - this stupid, made up letter - is nothing but a carefully constructed lie, built on the foundations of her own self pity and demolished by the reality of the rest of the world's minds. Keda is evil, no matter what she wants us to think.

 

I curl my fist around the piece of paper, scrunching it into a ball. I'll burn it at the first opportunity, it's not like it's important. I just need to forget about it now, push it to the back of mind and concentrate on what really matters right now - beating her. Nothing should be allowed to stop me now. I'll make sure the world sticks to that rule.

 

Keda's evil: everybody knows that. She's evil, nothing more, nothing less, from her crown topped head to her diamond heeled toes. And this letter - this stupid, made up letter - is nothing but a carefully constructed lie, built on the foundations of her own self pity and demolished by the reality of the rest of the world's minds. Keda is evil, no matter what she wants us to think.

 

I curl my fist around the piece of paper, scrunching it into a ball. I'll burn it at the first opportunity, it's not like it's important. I just need to forge abput it now, push it to the back of mind and concentrate on what really matters right now - beating her. Nothing should be allowed to stop me now. I'll make sure the world sticks to that rule.

Now I need to assure myself, more than anybody else, that I am in the right with everything I have done. It scares me a little, what Keda wrote in her little letter to an unnamed friend that probably doesn't exist except from in her twisted, messed up little mind, full of magic and mystery and death an destruction and the saccharine sweet promise of utter, utter perfection. A promise that is always broken.


But I know I'm in the right. Why wouldn't I be? She attacked us, she destroyed our sacred bond with the world, used her power that we once thought was beautiful to created a jarred and broken landscape of our own despair. Sad, really. We had fires in our hearts, the five of us, we all did. We were an incendiary poison laced with sugar, and we blew the world apart when we were set alight. We blew the world apart. We were set alight.


And, oh gods above, for the burden that was on all our shoulders after she'd forced her betrayal onto us, we might as well have taken the sky from Atlas, let him roam free and stab splinters into our wooden hearts. Keda thought she would be stuck with us forever, I suppose, but we took her pain (though I doubt she ever felt it) and magnified it a thousand times in our own bodies.

Me especially. And as our internecine minds want up in flames that day, a thousand stars weeped with tears of iron and golden light.


That's all in the past, now.


By a thin stretch of the word, I am safe. After the trail, neither Adrien or Lara spoke to em or each other, just nodded to one another as they walked down the corridor, escorted by guards who were strong enough to defend themselves, but not too weak to try and hurt me. I couldn't be bothered trying anything, just let them lead me into the bright spectrum of the outdoors and to laugh as I left for home, hundreds of miles away.

Home was no longer the little island with the tree and the houses and the bitter reminders of times gone past. Adrien, Lara and I, in the time since we'd had our immortality stripped from us and the time we were set for trial, had all moved into my old little house.


At first Lara had slept with me, but as the months dragged on she'd began to live with Adrien in the attic, saying she felt closer to the sky up there. I couldn't blame her. I wouldn't want to go to sleep near me, either.

After the trial, they haven't spoken at all, at least not in front of me.

It was just yesterday, when I had spent a particularly long period of boring, boring time in my old cupboard, looking at the names I had scrawled on the walls, that Lara came through to my room, sat down on the edge of the fluffy blue blankets, and said "We're sorry." I have to admit, she took her time.


"Of course you are," I'd replied, with not the faintest ounce of sincerity in my voice. "That's why you haven't bothered talking to me since the trial when I singlehandedly saved you both from exile. It makes sense."

Lara sighed. "Why do you always make it so hard for us, Darla? We're your friends, we always have been. Stop pretend like we exist only to serve you and go along with all your stupid plans."

"I do not! You're being selfish, you're not speaking to me because you can't face the fact that you are always relying on me, for everything. I don't get it, Lara. I just don't." My breath shakes. "Just leave me alone."

And she did. She just walked out of the room without a word, and crawled her way back upstairs to the attic. I flopped down again onto my own bed and sighed.

I can't believe how long it has taken for me to reach the point that I actually need to go to them. I never had before, but I suppose that just goes to show how little they care for me now, how they just take me for granted. They're too wrapped up in each other and it sickens me. I'd thought maybe they'd managed to grow up and get past the point of fawning over each other like a pair of doves and deer, but clearly they're unable to. 

I could burn them, I think to myself, with those burning embers of their love like autumn leaves, consume them in the raging flames of lust and desire and everything I've ever warned them against. This world has no place for love, and love has no heart to give to this world. And though I would never, ever admit it to anyone but myself, I'm tired of it, of the rules that hold me like a cage of broken words and bones. I don't want to face it, but it's true, and maybe it's not that I am without a heart, but that nobody has space in their heart for me and yet I am still a fool, still blind to what is around me, for what holds people closer than love? That's the true evil here - love. My old love for Kaden, his new love for Keda and her love for taking away everything dear to me. 

The world is for the mortals, and though I am one of them now, I am one mortal too many. 


A shudder runs through my body as I stand from where I was sitting on the bed. I take a shuddering breath, clenching my fists with a hard glare in my eyes. It's as though I just float downstairs, ripping the cupboard door away from the frame. All the names on the wall seem to glare at me, and my head pounds like there is a tiny, hammer wielding warrior inside of it. There is a can of spray on paint at my feet. It's black. I smile.


I uncap it, and toss it from hand to hand. I smile again, and press down on the nozzle. A stream of blackness flows from the can like a swarm of wasps, coating the wall in the shiny, beautiful darkness and I dance in it, in the flecks of black that have landed in my hair and I've never felt so free, free, free.

When the can is empty I laugh again and hurl it at the wall, like I could break it and the walls will come crashing down eight the houses, pulls alarm and Adrien with them and now I'm running, running from he wreck that I've made off of whatever it was I had left in the world. My neighbours stare as I scream, but I don't care, and I don't care because they don't know me, they have never known me and by the gods, I am finally happy. 


The sun above me looks like it's tired of my antics, retiring to let the moon take over and dance the night away with the stars, all waltzing across the sky like something straight out of a fairytale. It could be beautiful in someone's mind. Not mine. I hate fairy tales.


I'm not sure where I should go. Maybe to America, to New York for a new start like I tried all of those years ago. Maybe not. Too many memories. No, I need somewhere completely new, where I've never been before. Not too far away, though. I can't be too far away. 

A smile crosses my face, a plan forming in my mind. I've gotten so strong, no one can possibly stop me from doing what I want to do now, they'll die if they even try. "To James," I whisper into the cooling air, and the darkness envelopes me for a moment. I'm not sure if I want to let it go. But I do, and, wonderfully, Jamie screams.

Apparently, my face is too horrible for him to look at, because he turns away almost immediately, shielding himself from me. "That's a bit of an over reaction, honey," I laugh. "Didn't you miss me."

"Go away!" he cries, shaking. "You - you're going to kill me. You're evil! You're going to kill everyone and now you're here for me, please please leave me alone!" I take a step towards him, painting my face a shade of calm. "Keda! Keda please help me - it's her!"

There is a great thundering of feet towards me, a small army bursting out of the forest. Their blades all face me. I guess the point of this is to scare me. It's not working - however it does make for a great pun.

"Greetings, idiots," I laugh. "It's great to see you all today, but you see, I've just come for a friend, the lovely James over here, and I'm sure you won't mind sparing him. Just for my sake?" I bat my eyelids, and a few gazes falter, confusion flitting over the crowd. 

"Don't let her take me!" James sobs. "Where's Keda?"

"I'm here, Jamie," says a voice from behind the army, rushing towards him with open arms and a closed heart. "It's okay, I'm here. I won't let her hurt you."

"I'm not going to hurt him!" I shriek. "Just let me speak to him. I still love him - it's more than that, even, I need him, he's part of my soul. I'll die without him." It's a lie, but a convincing one. Daggers of ice fall from James' eyes, and Keda wraps her arms around him like a cage. Blind.


"Don't touch me. You're evil, you'll kill me, I - I can't let you, and you'll hurt Keda and I love her, I love herald you're evil and you'll kill us both and I love her." He's crying now. I almost feel sorry for him. He must have been brainwashed, compulsory into believing that I'm some kind of a monster, but I'm not, I'm not, it's Keda who's the monster and I don't see why he's so blind. Even with her power, I'm stronger and I'm telling the truth. She isn't. Is he thick or something?


It's so simple for him to work out that she's a liar, that's she's a mad, mad psychopath who doesn't care about anybody but herself and oh great she's trying to kill me now, it's lovely of James to be so concerned for my wellbeing. He should love me. I made him to love me, and I know that deep down somewhere, he does love me, of course he does. He loves me. I know he does.


"Please James," I plead. "I don't know what Keda's done to you, but she's a liar, and you need to trust me on this, even if it's just on this and nothing else. We love each other, and it's cruel that's she's taken you away from me for so long, but I'm here now and I need you to come with me. If you don't" I take a shaky breath "I might die."


"What's so bad about that?"


The question almost makes me laugh. "Nothing."

I grab James' arm and before he can protest, we disappear.

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