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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9. Release

 

There was an ethereal glow around the trees, like the stars above that were crying tears of spectral light. "That hurts," I groaned, rubbing my aching shoulder. I was what I presumed was alone below the fir tree, lying flat out on my back.

 

 

"I know the feeling," says a grunting voice, a pair of green eyes flashing from the shadows. "Need a hand up?" A pale white face emerged from the bushes, followed by a body of limbs and a wickedly saccharine smile. It was a girl, her lips a messy sort of red, like she'd just been feasting on a particularly juicy strawberry.

 


"Who are you?" I asked cautiously, narrowing my eyes. "Did Keda send you or something?" Her hand was stuck out towards me, but I kept my arms safely behind me. Just in case.

 


She laughed, her smile widening. "You're smarter than she told me, you know. And ki suppose flattery won't get me anywhere with you, will it?"

 


"Absolutely not," I said, even though I did quite like that compliment. "You can go now, if you want?"

 


She laughed again, but it wasn't evil, like I would have presumed coming from lips like her. It was more just a genuine, happy laugh, like a mortal child, happy and smiling, still under the illusion that life is for the means of one's own enjoyment and nothing any more complicated. "Thank you." The girl turned away. "Although, if you change your mind, she'll be waiting for you here. Just so you know."

 


"I'll remember," I told her, though I was really more just speaking into the smoke of her eventual departure. The remnants of her body danced through the trees, leaving a lingering campfire to burn my soul over. I could smell the decaying of flesh that she had left in her shimmying wake, the ringing of church bells coated in blood and shaking over me.

 


Picking myself up fully from the ground, I looked around. A couple of trees looked like they'd been burnt - probably while I was out, for they weren't smoking anymore - and my old house had been hit by something. The top of it had fallen down, to create a pile of rubble below it, on the ground. I could taste mud coating my lips, and wrinkled my nose. It wouldn't hurt me, obviously, but it tasted like the devil had cooked it himself, and not very well at that.

 


I picked my way through the rubble, coating my fingers in dust. I'd painted them just the night before I met James. They were chipping now, and my pinkie finger on my right hand was bare, not a sign that there had ever been any paint there. There was a cut on one of my fingers too, and I wasn't entirely sure where it had come from.

 


"Shit," a voice choked out, and I nearly stood on my own hand. "I think I'm going to die or something, would you mind trying to get me out?"

 


Shivers crawled over me like spiders. "Well you might want to tell me who you are first," I told the rocks, and the same voice laughed nervously.

 

 

"Please can you just get me out. My head hurts, really, really bad. I just need help! Please!"

 

 

It irked me that an immortal would need help with such a trivial thing as getting out of a pile of rocks, or that one of us would say such a thing as they thought that they were going to die. Still, I couldn't see the harm in helping them. Shifting the rocks, I got dirt stuck in my nails, which looked quite dreadful if I'm honest. I caught a glimpse of a pair of brown eyes, and smiled, feeling hope well in my chest.  "You're nearly out," I said. "Just stay calm and do as I say."

 

 

It wasn't even all that difficult. After maybe a minute or so he popped out of the rubble, perfectly fine physically, and asked me "Where is this?"

 

 

"It's... an island," I replied. "In the Mediterranean. Do you recognise what I'm saying here?"

 

 

"Yeah, I guess. Are we in Greece or something?"

 

 

"Actually, we're closer to being in Africa right now. How did you get here? Do you know?" I really doubted that he did, or that he was even the reason that he was here in the first place. In fact, I was close to screaming Keda's name, getting her here, punching her in the face and asking what in the world was going on. That would have actually been quite fun, I think, but sadly, that's not what I did.

 

 

"I think there was someone that brought me here, I was on a business trip, you see. I was supposed to be having a meeting with a Greek fellow, was told to come to this island, but I don't think there's any Greek people here, unless you're that Greek fellow, which I doubt seeing as you're a woman." he thought for a moment, before continuing, "Did Lillian put you up to this? My wife, Lillian?"

 

 

"No, sorry," I said. "And just so you know, none of this is a joke. It's all real, and it's all dangerous." I clenched my fists, and stared him dead in the eye. "Do you want me to take you somewhere, away from here? You clearly aren't capable of doing it yourself."

 

 

He ignored the jab, which was annoying. "Thanks. You're a life saver." His smile went crooked. "I mean it."

 

 

"That's cheesy and corny and completely cliché. Don't speak to me."

 

I think he muttered something, but I blocked his sound out. There was just a monotonous wave of noise which should have been words, dull and boring and simple and with no actual meaning whatsoever. "Take my arm, don't say a word, just think 'home'. Don't let go of my arm until I tell you to. No matter what." He nodded.

 

We spun into nothingness, and arrived in what looked like Britain, judging by the rain pouring down and plastering my hair onto my face, and the flag hanging from an upstairs window. "Is this your house?" I asked, and he nodded again. "Good. Let my arm go now." He obliged. "Now go in there, great your wife, make an excuse as to what happened and forget all of this. Okay?"
 

"Thank you," he said, and turned away from me to push open the gate, take his keys from the pocket he'd somehow managed to keep sealed all this time. He unlocked the door, and called out the name "Lillian."

 

I turned away, walking down the street, and it was only later, once I'd found my friends again, that I remembered I hadn't caught his name.

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