Runic - Sempiternal Solo

Young violinist Lola Pern is starting to realize how far one can go in order to perfect something, in every sense of the world. A song from the past haunts every corner of her life, one that has made for a dramatic turmoil as she gets thrown into a whimsical nightmare of violence and beauty. With only one way out, she revisits a point in time when every mistake was met with travesty in hopes of bringing closure. However, altering such forces is bound to be dangerous, and with a childhood as fragile as hers, the risks can cost dearly.

Novel Website - https://www.crimsos.org/sempiternalsolo

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6. Chapter 6 - Faerie

 

 

 

“Let them sing, for they speak about my forgotten desires left in fantasy. Anything is better than silence everywhere you go.”

-Sigit-

...

“How do you feel right now?”

“Tired, I think. My hand still hurts.”

“What were you doing before this happened?”

“Going to class. Or, at least thinking about going to class.”

“Why were you just thinking about it?”

“Something happened before. It’s a long story.”

“Alright, so can you tell me what happened today?”

Lola’s pores rose. The temperature had dropped twenty degrees from that question alone. “I blacked out because the pain was too unbearable. That’s when my dream began, only I was still fully aware of everything going on, as if I was never asleep that whole time.” Her fingers laced tight. “This all sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?”

“It sounds like you need to be sent home. Here, take this with plenty of water, and get plenty of rest.”

It was a kick right to the teeth, being sent away with more pills and a note saying this baleful illness was all normal, just a simple chemical imbalance birthed by stress.

During the next week, Lola’s relationship with time gradually obscured. She took long walks back from Sandy’s Diner, stopping by lone benches to indulge in the night’s pleasant concert of stray cats and crickets, letting early fall spring lull her from existence. Being this drenched in aimless thought made her temporarily forget all the calamity the world had brought, like injecting a small dose of surrealism into her bloodstream and waiting for something to come, anything to forget the nightmare. Each day was an apparition that floated by with hardly a greeting. She often woke up in the dead of night expecting hordes of button eyes, only there was nothing. At one moment, Her inner clock had been sabotaged by past phantoms, and these current drugs were just wasting time and money.

Lola shoved another empty pill bottle back over the desk, asking one last time if Dr. Hane had any magic cure for the symptoms. He pulled a bottle of dark blue tonic, warning of its side effects, as he pushed it across the table.

She hurried home ignoring everyone who waved or said a friendly hello. The medicine smelled of dense vinegar and its taste was just as bitter. Treatments for mental trauma were as worthless as chasing ghosts. It wasn’t working. Lola hurled the bottle hard. The mirror shattered apart killing her reflection.

What was I doing when this started? Her question hung like a wraith as she laid in bed that night. Maybe making a physical record could possibly be a good start. After all, memories kept only in the mind were prone to vanishing.

She grabbed some paper and wrote an exhaustive log on all she could remember during her time under, notating everything from the grand ocean expanse to the old barren house. Tracing back made her feather quill shiver as she feverishly worked in fright of losing precious details. But this wasn’t enough. She also described the time frame extensively, what occurred before and after the nightmare. Before long, Lola had inscribed ten paragraphs of airtight detail, a testament that could be referred to when memory failed. Her lapis glare spilled over the lines in search of gaps or errors in continuity.

She leaned back and pressed her tired eyes shut. I just want to sleep, however long I can.

Fear of being plagued by past specters had her saying little to those who walked by, as if they were all eidolons from a fabled realm. This vital urge to find clarity consumed her. Anything else was just a far away illusion. Gerenham’s campus had become a Neverland. She had pretty much opted out of future classes, at least for now.

Iris slowly walked up. “I hear what people are saying. Is there anything I can do?”

“Don’t worry about me. I’m figuring it out.”

Again, Lola’s first task after getting home was to record any abnormalities. Dull reels of pain continued on coiling her muscles. Other than that, nothing. She was like a prisoner trapped in an illusionary asylum, fearing the daylight.

The next day, Lola went home wearing clothes soaked by rainwater. Thinking only of impending threats prevented her from feeling the rain as it pounded the sidewalks. She was losing touch, going deaf to reality. This was a sign. It had to be. And when the familiar head throbbing brought its ice stinging chills, it was a matter of time until spirits would come to haunt once again. The universe sunk into mysticism. Water lifted between her toes as cloud filled skies reined in from above. Waveless glass spread before a horizon seemingly endless. Finding the house’s tiny brown speck was easier this time. It hadn’t moved from its spot foundationed in the sand.

Lola headed that way instantly and covered better ground than before. But she had to stop anyway. Another speck had risen eastward, this one smaller than its partner straight ahead. A second house? Anything was possible here. Dreams were designed that way.

She trudged on and made the speck grow taller like casting a slow magic spell. Just when the shape’s spiral of blue and white ribbons focused in, a white flash pierced her eyes. Sunlight glinted off a harsh metal surface rusted by history. The lighthouse had refused to give up its color even after years of oxidation and corrosion. This colorful oddity was bizarre in a land laid bare of wonderment. But why here of all else?

After taking a long moment in awe, she treaded up the stairs that weaved around the tower. Each step rang as metallic pongs in uneven rhythms. Halfway up, however, sound took leave and slowly drifted out. The world wavered away in sharp distorted flickers, then suddenly, the steps were no longer corroded, and the lighthouse dazzled as soft beams poured over its glossy surface. Normally, Lola would have been caught off guard at such a dramatic shift, but she kept on, unfazed at whatever change this environment had in store. A new, more alluring sound played from up above, it’s echoes pulling her closer -an all too familiar call sung solely by hummingbirds.

Waiting on top was a circular room of glass allowing pink and peach colored rays to shimmer through. This time, the girl didn't fluster or even flinch as Lola sat delicately by her side. Their eyes met in calm blue symbiosis, unfazed by each other’s presence. They stared mutely abroad the troposphere, watching pastel clouds roll across a sky speckled by small flocks of Avocets and Jacanas. Waves crashed softly. Breezes whirled around a salty aroma.

“You come here to escape them, don't you?”

The girl nodded simply.

“You know, I forgot what it's like being up here after all this time.” Lola thought about spending an eon here in this lighthouse, allowing this warm body of metal and glass to hold her in a lucent stasis. Still, staying forever was impossible. Soon the world would again dissolve back into reality.

“Why do you keep seeing me?” The girl asked first.

Lola’s composure melted instantly. “Honestly, I hoped you might have an idea about why all this is happening.”

She was handed a confused set of eyes.

“I’ve been meeting doctors about our, well, encounters. They don't take me seriously, no one does. Nobody really knows how someone can talk to their past self, and how a dream can be this real.” Her hands cupped together. “All I get in return are pills, lots of pills, and sometimes a note saying everything will work out.”

“Ma won’t believe me when I say you’re real, and my pa just laughs.”

Lola hardly smiled. “They were never ones for superstition.”

“It’s like we’re Faeries,” they said in unison, and awkwardly laughed. They existed in theory. Everyone else perceived them as just another medical instability.

Now, Lola’s voice adopted a more silken texture, solemnly hopeful. “Well, asking questions of our own is a decent start. What were you doing right before I appeared?”

“I was playing through ‘hummingbird’ again. Ma and Pa don't let me play it, so I sometimes go up here when they're not around to hear me.”

“I’ve always been amazed that just you and Yercy ever knew about this old abandoned lighthouse. It’s so far down the shoreline that no one ever goes here.”

“That’s why I like it.”

“I know.” Lola smiled even more. “That’s why I like it too.”

For a fantasy’s time they talked nostalgically about what their lives were like, reminiscing over events in hopes of finding a pattern, anything that could explain their plight. To Lola, it was strangely odd hearing her younger self describe events that seemed so familiar yet utterly unreachable. This wonderment worked in reverse. The girl was mystified upon hearing that, during her adolescent years, she would come to love and ride sailboats across the summer ocean bays, watching fish swarm about while Yercy tagged along, laughing. Perhaps it was dangerous revealing future endeavours, rather those memories be benevolent or malicious in nature. Timelines had tendencies to meld or distort when brought together.

Before Lola lost way in thought, the girl mentioned something perplexing, an obscure detail previously overlooked.

“You know, I was playing our song just now right before you showed up.”

“That’s interesting,” Lola said distantly. “You were playing Hummingbird’s Verse that last time I saw you, in our parents’ house, remember?”

“Yes, that’s when pa electrocuted me.”

There was an awkward pause.

“Come to think of it, I was practicing that same song with my music teacher Mr. Krayble just half an hour before you appeared in my apartment.” Lola rose confidently only to pace around haphazardly. “It’s a hunch, and an absurd one at that. Could a song actually do this? I mean, we’re talking about altering time just by playing a violin. This sounds straight from fiction, but here we are.”

“And no one believes us!”

They plopped down beside each other and sighed, both fatigued from unanswered questions. Their sight floated up towards a metal canopy, at oceanic silhouettes flowing across the hard metal canvas. One could simply lay down and watch this panoply play on forever.

“I like music though, I really do,” the girl whispered. “Hummingbird's Verse is amazing and playing it is also amazing. My hands...my hands can't take much more. My tutor says complaining is pointless.”

Lola rolled over. “Maybe there’s something to my odd little idea, about how this song we play puts us together.” She cradled the girl’s discolored hand like holding a small bird. “Listen, I’ve been recording our meetings to try and learn why this keeps happening. I need more time. When will you be alone tomorrow?”

“Early morning, I think. Yercy and I like to play on the beach before my tutoring sessions. The water is always chilly though.”

“...so we built sandcastles instead,” Lola finished.

“Yeah, that’s how it goes usually. Yercy’s the only one my age who knows what’s happening. She keeps telling her parents, but my parents make her parents scared, so all of our parents don’t talk now.”

“Well,” Lola said, “now you’ll have someone else to spend time with.” She felt the girl’s hand squeeze around hers, not wanting departure anytime soon. “I’ll see you soon, just play our song when no one’s looking.”

Instead of worrying about the dreamworld crumbling or fading away into vapid nullity, they simply remained calm, laying their, watching the world from afar until reality pulled them back once again.

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