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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20. On Top of the World

The sun streaks across the sky like oil across a canvas, illuminating the cavernous train station as we pull up to the platform. The woman with the scar across from me groans slightly as she rises from her seat, and lightly shakes her partner's shoulder.   

"Nous arrivons, Lucie," she says, which, as I understand it, roughly translates to 'we've arrived'.  


“Ah, merci, Emilie. Ma mere plaisira." The woman, Lucie, laughed, and took  Emilie's hand as she stood up. 

  They both turn to me, smiling. "Madame," Emilie begins, "do you need any directions to where you are going? We know the English people like you are often confused by our language and customs, it would be our pleasure to assist you."  

I smirk.

"No thank you," I say. "I understand the language just fine, though I do agree that the custom of assumptions based on my accent are quite confusing to me." The woman, Lucie, rolls her milky blue eyes. "Merde toi," I spat as they leave in front of me.   

Emilie turns around, her eyes blazing. A string of French curses bubbles from her lips, and I hold back a laugh. She clenches her fists tightly, and anger seemed to radiate off of her body. The lights in the carriage begin to flicker. A baby starts crying.  

"This is a warning to you, daughter of Tana." My hands are shaking slightly: I can feel my face growing hot. "We are only the first to test you."   As if they'd never been there at all, they disappear, but I can still feel them lingering in the air. Still, I force myself to move onwards, to clear my head. Maybe they were from Keda, but it doesn't seem likely. If they were, they would have attacked me already, surely.   

There are a load of taxis outside the station. I hail one, and clambered inside. It smelled slightly of smoke, but I didn't care. "Tour Eiffel, s'il vous plait," I told the driver, who nodded.     

"On coûta douze euro, madame,"  

"Merci, monsieur." Twelve euros, station to the Eiffel Tower. Yeah, that'd be fine. Once I get there, I'll just find a cheap hotel somewhere, I can use my 'family's' bank fund. I haven't withdrawn from it for years, so I'm sure I'll have plenty of money in it.  

The driver doesn's say much on the road, but for small talk about where I I' headed and where I am from. Naturally, I just give him vague answers: a bit far away, going to the tower, just seeing sights. Nothing that would be of significance to him, nothing he'd remember.  

He drops me off just a few metres away from the base of the tower, and I wave him a goodbye as I turn away. I've been to Paris before, of course, and the Eiffel Tower isn't exactly a new attraction. Still, I can admire the engineering and architecture that's gone into it - and from the top, I can see nearly the whole of the city. That's what's important.    

See, the thing is, meeting 'Lucie' and 'Emilie' on the train kind of shook me up. There was a sort of buzz about me, like a gentle hum of electricity, and it felt like a warning, the world's way of telling me something is wrong.   

There's a little girl sitting on the cobbled pavement over the road, staring at me. Her pale blonde hair is in pleats, and she wears a light pink dress, which fans out around her on the ground. There is a bag on the pavement next to her, a book poking out of it. A car speeds past her, nearly catching on her stick-thin legs.    She doesn't flinch.

I don't know why she's staring - my clothes seem fashionable enough, and I know I don't look too different to the others here - but I'm staring back at her, too. Little girls in pink dresses don't scare me, even if they're staring. It's just that there's something about her, something I can see in her eyes that unnerves me, like the shadow of another soul.    

Shit.

I drag my eyes of off hers, shaking my hair off of my face. My legs are weak, but I bite my lip, focusing my mind. I take a deep breath and start walking away, trying not to let myself go too fast, not wanting to show my fear.   I quicken my pace, striding towards the tower. There's a queue, but it isn't as long as I'd expected. When I look back over my shoulder, the little girl is gone. A sigh of relief escapes me.   

When I reach the front of the queue, I begin to clamber up the stairs, running as fast as I can. I need to see the city. I need to see the city.  

I can see the city.    

It's laid out before me like a frenzied kind of masterpiece. A work by the likes of Picasso, on display in the Louvre.    I remember once, a long time ago, Kaden and I were here together, when the great empires of Europe seemed unstoppable, before the wars, before the world we knew was reduced to rubble. He held my hand as we stood up here, gazing out over the city, which was smaller but in a way seems bigger than what I see today. Kaden told me that he loved me, that even though millennia had passed since we first met, that no matter what he would never leave me, that our love was stronger than any other force.   

I wish he'd been telling the truth, if it weren't for the fact that I'd never have believed him. He was always there, always, and I didn't know that he wasn't permanent. But really, I don't know if there is anything permanent in this world.  
Even I'm not permanent, really.

See, the first time - the first time I died,  that is - I was killed by a woman in a really, really bad mood. She had all manner of poisonous kisses at her disposal, shattered lies, broken hearts, glass cut lips, but the weapon she used on me was one of the simplest she could find in the moment. My very own diamond stilettos. It was a shame, really, for both of our lives to be ruined by a stupid man's stupid mistake, but I suppose that's just how things work. Men are eternal idiots; women are eternal bitches. Nothing's going to change that, or at least not while I'm alive to see it. 



You see, there's a lot that ordinary humans don't know about the way that our society truly has been functioning all these years. Sure, they have thoughts and theories and junk like that, but as my old friend Lara used to say, you can't understand even half of the world if you haven't lived for at least half of the world's history, so then the older you are the more that you know. Which is pretty good for me, because, like the rest of them, I'm older than the pyramids - Djoser was actually pretty cool, although his wife was a bit of a nuisance sometimes. Although, come on, no one could deny the fact that he was smoking like Ra on fire. 

 

Damn, I'm supposed to be talking about dying here, not getting carried away and daydreaming about the sun. Focus.


But still, the thing about knowing everything, is the fact that you know you know pretty much everything, so when someone tries to invent a new method of murder and it is made readily available to all, you get caught a tad bit off guard, and then voila! You're half dead for a few months, good luck getting back to life.


Anyway, I recovered, which I'm quite proud of myself for. My most recent was my fifth death in the last hundred years, and I'm still not looking too bad for it, which has to mean something. In fact, even my old home is still mine, complete with all its quirks and nooks and crannies and the floorboard that just doesn't co operate at all. The wall too, with all the pictures and memories hidden behind the most normal of things, but bursting with life when you see it.



It's an odd sentiment, but I like to think of love as a universal thing. It exists in everything, from the planets and their maternal sun, to the children of Verona, who would do most anything for a love that lasts forever. No matter where or what you are, you can see love, just around the corner or even right beside you, whether you can find it for yourself or not. And, in darker times, swhen one begins to doubt the existence of love and happiness and the sun and the universe, if one can just open their eyes, perhaps one can open their hearts, too.



See, it sounds quite narcissistic of me to say, but I count myself as a person who knows quite a good thing or two about love.


Hate, too.


Most of what I know of hate came from that first night - when I was killed the first time. I'd be lying if I said the memory didn't haunt me. 


I mean, I can't quite remember every detail of that night, given I was, well, sort of tipsy. It wasn't my fault, really, but one thing led to another and I ended up in a bed with someone whose face I can barely even remember. Sure, I knew him - I'd actually quite liked him for a while - but faces tend to just merge together after a while, and he was kind of irrelevant compared to everything else that happened that night, anyway.


To Dorothy Parker, though, he probably wasn't so much. For one thing, they were engaged (I didn't know this until right before I died, so don't blame it on me, please!), and for another they'd known each other just about their entire lives, so I guess seeing him with another girl wasn't exactly the best thing that could have happened to her, especially when she'd just managed to get rid of the moonshine she was being chased about. 


But anyway, I'm getting off topic, and I seriously need to keep a record of what I'm actually remembering somewhere, but I can't really be bothered. 


I suppose I should get the facts straight about this, really - my mind is still all messed up by what little I actually remember and what torturous horrors my nightmares have thrown my way. I didn't actually go into that room planning to get together with that boy, and nor did I even totally expect to, even if that was a bit naive of me. I'm not a cruel person, a fiancé stealing bitch or anything, just as much as I am a mortal human being. It's what I tell myself sometimes, when it gets dark, when I think that maybe, after all these years, I deserved my deaths. It can be hard to believe myself that I didn't deserve this, or that the cold murders are fair, but at least sometimes it works.


None of this can undo what happened. Whether I deserved it or whether Dorothy was just in a bit of a crap mood that day, she went a bit sort of psychopathic on me, and then bam, diamond stilettos, bam, dress chucked at me, bam hit so hard my make up seemed to fall off of me like raindrops. 


And then, bam, dead.



It's actually a highly accurate description of human life nowadays, and I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Probably bad.  

 

I'm snapped out of my daydream by the little girl, the one with the blonde hair in pleats. She smiles sinisterly, and I shiver as she hands me a letter.

 

Locronan, it says. Midnight, don't be late. You will have your fight, darling, don't you worry.

 

Love eternally, Keda

It was sealed with a black lipsticked kiss.

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