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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11. Thief

It amazed me as to how I could possibly  be such a poor judge of character. I was such a poor, ignorant soul that I simply could not understand that  after all these years, after everything that had ever happened to us, non e of us meant anything to Kaden, at all. Even since I had given him everything when we were younger, even when I still had, when I trusted him with all the trust I could muster, he could just betray us like that. Betray me like that.

 

The thought turned my stomach, bile rising in my throat.

 

"Where do we go?" Adrien asked me, standing on a small strip of pavement. "Kent, Manchester?"

 

"No," I disagreed. "Too close by. Preferably another country."

 

"Another country?"

 

"Yup."

 

"But what country?" Lara asked. "I mean, are we going to go up to Scotland again, or are we going to stay in Europe, or what? Also, if we stay in Europe, please can we be North, the South's more likely of a place where she'd expect us to be."

 

 

"No, I don't think we should stay in Europe at all. There's far too many memories here, reasons that's where we'd go. We need to go somewhere we've never been before, somewhere she wouldn't actually suspect." Adrien and I exchanged glances, his blue eyebrow raised, though the black one looked a bit like a dead rat that was stuck in place there, just above the eye. "But, I don't know if New York is the actually best place to go."

 

"Wait, who said about New York?" Lara looked like she'd gone into shock or something. "I can't handle New York, no way. It's massive!" We stared at her for a moment, before she went on. "And it's so loud, too, I mean I could barely handle this, but New York is crazy, and I've never even been to America, and they have such weird accents and their currency isn't the same as anything we've used, and they're always going on about freedom and eagles and I've heard they don't have proper tea either!" She started breathing heavily. "Please. We can't go there."

 

"Okay. Not New York."

 

"No, not anywhere in the USA! At all! Please! It freaks me out."

 

"But she won't expect us to be anywhere in the states," I argued. "Which is why that's where we should go."

 

"Then at least somewhere that isn't too overpopulated, please. Somewhere quiet."

 

"Like where?"

 

"I don't know, maybe Alaska or somewhere?"

 

"Alaska. You want to go to Alaska, where it's freezing cold, we'll probably end up falling off of a glacier, and there is literally nobody around who could help us if we needed it, or show us where to go? Great idea."

 

"I think she's right," Adrien said. "She won't exasctly think we'll go there either, because of all of that."

 

"But she knows we usually like secluded place, though! And that we'll probably go to America, too, because it's the least likely place, and we are pretty smart, and she knows that Lara hates big cities, and I love the cold and that you've lived in most of the states for a while at least, so she'll think we'll go to somewhere you've not been and she'll know!"
 

 

"Darla, please," Adrien huffed. "We have to go somewhere, and we have to go quickly, too. So why don't we just go?"

 

"Fine!" I cried, throwing my hands up. "Fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, all just fine. Let's go, this will be all fine, absolutely, completely fine. Come on!"

 

The two of them smiled, their teeth glistening white against the fading sunset. "Think Mineral Creak Canyon," Lara smirked. "See you." She wiggled her fingers in a manner that some would see as flirtatious, and we disappeared from the London streets.

 

My legs shook. The view of the stark white mountains shuttered like camera shots against my eyes. Lara was down on the ground, already pale, and Adrien was nowhere to be seen. Crap.

 

The lake before us rippled slightly every couple of seconds, like there was a great tremor beneath it, quaking through the mind. I winced, my vision growing spotty with tendrils of fire leaping across my head, burning it to a crisp. My breath began to get shaky, and I thrust my hands out in front of me, trying to hold my landing stronger. The grass tickled my face upon contact, the boggy mud clouding my vision. A bird screeched above me, and I felt the sick taste in my mouth beginning to subdue. I felt numb, but I was too scared to panic. The stench of the mud disappeared from my nose, and I felt as though I was floating, up, up, upwards, only the songs of the land carrying me as the wind.

 

Then it all left me.

 

It was funny, I thought, the way that humans always embraced lives. They came into this world fearlessly, letting the earth take them into its embrace, cocooning them in a web of lies. Humans don't realise what happens when they leave go of that cocoon, when they become the butterfly that they think will fly and soar above all the pain, in their clouded vision of goodness. The mortals, once so protected, so safe and content, could so easily turn monstrous, so sad and broken inside that it could rage like a storm for days, never truly blowing itself out.

 

 

The worst thing was, it was so easy to justify what they did. Words streaming out of a lawyer's mouth, pressing against such broken hearted victims that it could shatter them even so further, breaking them, breaking them into nothing, stabbing them in the heart, once, twice, so many times it was impossible to keep count. So easy it was to then pretend that everything was fine, like someone's world hadn't just fallen down around them again, like they weren't on the verge on letting everything rush out of them, to let the river of their pain burst its banks and flood the once peaceful plain.

 

The sun's heat could turn the water to steam, infect the air with the plague of hollow emptiness. It would be the only friend that the plain would have, the only chance it could have at something near to happiness. Humans would weep and see at the famine of purity, would lunge at the thin and spidery tendrils of sanity, grab at what little their minds could comprehend as real. They've never even realised what has happened, never even guessed.

 

Sure, they've had their vampires, their werewolves and fairies and angels, but by gods they have no idea what is really happening right beneath their noses. Us, the harens, our friends, cardlens, wiccs, rerats. They have no idea what's happening in their world, and it would be a thing of laughter if I could laugh then.

 

 

I was sprawled out on a table now, my head hitting of off its metal just like my own inner bubble of laughter. Gradually, the feeling began to return to me, the taste like blood on my tongue, the scraping feeling of my nails moving over the shivering metal, the sight of an eerie grey veil draped around me.

 

Again.

 

"Well, sugar cookies," I huffed, having to bite my tongue to keep back the curses. I didn't want children hearing such vulgar things, of course. Swinging my legs over the edge of the table, I stood up trying not to fall in doing so. This place had changed since I'd been there last.

 

For one thing, there were a lot more people, and they were all older. Quite a good few grandmas who looked about ninety, wrinkled old bats in long dresses that didn't at all go with their matching beige shoes. A tired looking mother with two wailing babies in her arms, one girl and one boy if I was judging by the colour of their hats. My eyes scanned the crowd of tears and tragedy, before they landed on Lara and Adrien, huddled in a corner together.

 

Now, don't get me wrong, I obey the rules of Death, I'm not a bad girl. But there was a little baby on her own next to me, crying, and it was pretty obvious she didn't have anyone with her, and that she wasn't going to shut up anytime soon. So, trying to ignore her annoying squeals of pitiful humanity, I crossed the grey room to my friends.

 

"This sucks," I hissed, earning nods of agreement from the two of them. "I hate dying."

 

"Same," Lara huffed. "It takes so freaking long, too. Like, Death really should give our sorts special treatment, it's not even our fault."

 

"Well, technically, we should have worked out that we didn't have enough strength to get there without dying, but -"

 

Lara and I cut him off with a sharp look. "It was Kaden's fault. Not ours."

 

"Well, actually, I mean, it's not like-" he tried to touch Lara's hair, his usual annoying way of trying to charm his way into getting his way. Really, he should have worked out by now that it didn't work on us.

 

Lara grabbed his arm, and judo flipped him onto one of the tables. There were audible gasps from the crowd, and I spotted two of the grandmothers fanning their face with their hands. "It. Was. His. Fault," she growled, her hands dangerously close to Adrien's throat.

 

"Lara, get off," I said quietly, feeling the stares of my fellow dead people on my back. "People are staring."

 

I could sense her shuddering, but she withdrew her hands, still with a snarl streaked across her face.

 

"Idiots," she hissed. "If they stare, it's not my fault."

 

"Yeah, I know. But just don't give them anything to  stare at."

 

"They shouldn't be staring anyway!"

 

"Just don't do anything that could cause them to stare at you."

 

"They're still staring."

 

"I know. Just don't let them have anything to stare at, okay?"

 

She glared at me for a moment, before turning to Adrien. "We should probabaly get back to our station," he said nervously. "I think death's coming."

 

We nodded, though Lara did so grudgingly.

 

Adrien stayed where he was at the number '97345-13082015', while I hurried to my own station, '97632' with the same ending, and Lara to somewhere in between us.

 

I heard the clicking of heels on a steel path springing up from below. A great shudder ran collectively through the group of us, and a slim woman appeared.

 

Her dress was as black as the night, the sequins sparkling like she plucked out the stars from the sky with her very own hands. Her heels were at least eight inches, equally as black, and her hair fell down around her dark shoulders. Her eyes glowed red, though a seductive smile spread across her face.

 

"Lovely group here," she drawled. "Some of the last of the day, if I think so correctly." She clapped her hands, eyes glazing over us all. "You should all have numbers on the side of your tables here, if the first part is 90000 to 100000, please come with me. If not, get back to life, please, I don't need you right now." Death smiled again, jumping in melancholy merriment.

 

The group of us fell into a line behind her almost automatically, in a river of sorrow flooding through the steel gates of death's lair. "Please, do not look over the sides of the bridge," she instructed us in a bored tone. "If you do so, it is highly likely that your soul will be lost. Once we have crossed, get into groups and give your numbers to my secretary. Do be polite, for your own sakes, and she will show you in as soon as she can. Thank you."

 

And we crossed the bridge into death. Insert sarcastic smiling emoticon here.

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