1 – Lost
“Someday, in a last minute, in a last breath, we will all fly away to meet the ones we lost”
Ma met father years ago. He was on the brink of death and she was the only one brave enough to approach him when no one else would. After his strength had been restored he never left her side. He was always there for her. Soon enough I arrived. Shortly after father disappeared. Leaving a path of destruction and turmoil behind him. Death weighed heavy on our shoulders. The stench of rot clung to the air. The rage of broken hearts soon followed.
Mother protected me as much as she could but her love could not keep me safe from the human demon form for long. Her mind failed to keep up. Her heart filled with fury. When mother wasn’t around the townspeople called me all sort of names.
Those are the only names that really stuck with me. The one that really stung though was when they would shout “abomination!” And grab their children like I was a dangerous criminal. Which I was not. I was six years old. What kind of six year old deserves to go through that? I just wanted it to all end. What a silly wish. 13 years later and I’m still living in this damn cycle.
I opened my eyes slowly as the sun peeked through my window. A single tear squeezed through my lashes, making it’s way down my cheek. I hate that I still dream of mother and father, of when father disappeared. Leaving ma to pick up the pieces. I made a tight fist to stop my hands from shaking. Taking a few breaths I got out of bed and quietly crept to ma’s room. She was sleeping peacefully. I tiptoed to her bedside. Careful not to wake her.
“Ma” I whispered “I’m heading to the market, I’ll be back shortly. Sleep well.”
I walked quietly back out of her room but stopped when I heard her voice.
“Athena…please,” she was cut off by a cough, “come home safe.”
I smiled as I silently promised her I would. I sat down on the stairs and blindly put on my shoes. Once I left the warmth of the house I was thankful I brought my scarf for it was cold out.
I arrived at the market shortly, and repeated the rules I made for the market years ago.
1. Don’t stare
2. Don’t listen
3. Don’t stop walking
“Excuse me, ma’am?” A little girl’s voice rang out behind me.
Forgetting my rules, I turned around. The little girl looked be 5 years of age. She had golden brown hair that was twisted in braids. She seemed like she wouldn’t judge me so I decided that this one time I could help her. That is…if she needed it.
“Do need something, girly?” I tried to sound friendly but my tone came out as bored. She hesitated but eventually nodded. She waved her hand as a way to say follow me. I walked with her until we stopped at the base of a giant evergreen tree. Looking up, I saw a little blue ball caught in the midst of the vibrant green branches. I looked at her and mumbled “Idiot” before grabbing a branch. Quickly, but surely I climbed the tree. Reaching the ball in no time. “Hey kid! Catch!” I hollered before throwing the ball down to her. As I threw the ball my foot slipped off a wet branch and I wasn’t able to grab another quick enough. Shit! I braced myself for impact. I landed in a pile of snow which I guess softened my fall. I sat up quickly causing my hood to fall. The little girl’s eyes widened. Here it comes. I prepared myself for her to run away screaming.
“Y-you’re…pretty!” Her eyes sparkled. I stared at her. What?! She mustn’t have heard the stories these bastards spread about me. She was as pure and innocent as they come. I smiled a little. “Thank you!” She said before running off.
A hand appeared suddenly. I looked up to see who it belonged to. “Go away.” I said through clenched teeth. The man just laughed.
“You look like you could use a hand.” His smile was big. Just how I remembered.
I swatted away his hand. Anger and sadness flowed through my veins. I hate the man standing in front of me. Hated the act he put on in front of others. Hated how he just left me. I remembered the day I met him…
It hurt. Everyday but after awhile it just stopped. Until he came. “Do you want it to stop?” He had asked me one day. I stared at him as I thought of my answer.
“Of course.” I said quietly.
“Because it hurts.”
“Do you deserve the hurt?”
“Then stop acting like you do.”
“What?! I don’t!”
His red eyes bore into mine.
“I saw it. Every time they hurt you. I could see it in your eyes. The fact that you didn’t even try to make it stop. Makes me think you don’t want it to” His voice took on the tone of pity.
“I don’t want to keep running.” I wiped away the tears spilling down my face along with the blood from fresh wounds.
He offered me his hand, and I took it. I smiled because smiling helped me forget the pain I cause every day.
He protected me from the townspeople and I protected him from everything else. It was…better but I was a fool to believe it would last. A fool to have trusted him. Only to be thrown away like a rotten banana peel. I shouldn’t have stopped running. I shouldn’t have believed the lies he spewed. He used me to make his life better and I walked right into his trap.
Reality came back to me like a harsh slap to the face. I pushed past him but he grabbed my wrist.
“Athena wait-” he said softly.
I yanked my wrist away, shaking my head. Afraid that if I listened or said another word that I would fall once again for his lies.
“You don’t get to do that.” He said noting my silence, “You don’t get to play the victim.”
That’s it. I whipped around and stabbed my finger into his chest. “Noah, you idiot!” I spat, “You threw me aside years ago and now have the audacity to come back and blame me for playing the victim?! Me?!” His red eyes became saucers as he was surprised by my sudden outburst. I learned to channel my pain through anger. Unfortunately for him, my anger was directed towards him. His smile only angered me more.
“Idiot.” I punched his chest. “I hate you.”
“I know you do.” His voice was as sweet as honey.
“You good-for-nothing” Another punch.
“I know” He sounded happy.
“Stupid.” Once again another punch and another “I know.”
He pushed a few stray strands of hair away from my face. I glared at him.
“Later I’ll explain. Please just don’t go.”
“I- I can’t. Just…trust me. Please.”
“Fine. Don’t make me regret this.” I said.
I would just have to keep my guard up at all costs. There was no way that I would fall for his trap. Not again. I waved goodbye and began the walk back home. Well at least I tried tried to. Noah caught up with me and grabbed my hood. I choked as I was yanked backwards. I turned around, offering him a death stare. Did he really think that I was about to let him keep me away from home? Ha! He’s got another thing coming.
“What was that for?!” I practically shouted. He shrunk back but stood his ground. “You’re not safe.” He said with an unusual tone. He sounded scared…for once. I raised an eyebrow. What does he mean by that? I studied his face before speaking. “What does me going home have to do with that?” I asked him. He just looked down at the ground. Fear took hold of me. Grabbing the front of his shirt I questioned him once more. “What did you?” My voice was like venom. Hurtful. His eyes looked up finally meeting mine.
“It’s not safe.”