Frost crusted over a window pane, shivered an ice white that blew and cut, scattered like glass tarnished to the wind. It remained turgid and she drew circles over a blackened floor, ignored torch-light that wavered, just barely, trickling over the surface like crystalline water too pure to the touch.
Everything chimed from the outside, wrapped blistering cords over her wrists and cut off a circulation that remained frozen at the peak of time and was beginning to slowly, so slowly, melt away to be replaced by something softer –a liquid that refused evaporation.
Lia drew in a breath, leaned against the wall and pulled her legs to her chest. The tears had stopped long ago, tears that until now had remained buried at the deepest chasms of a casket, sunk to the depths of a bottomless well with no rope to pull it out. It all came back, washed over her in one awesome wave that lashed out beneath a heavy storm and refused control.
Time felt like sand, trickling through gaps beneath her fingers and Lia cast her gaze toward the small window which shone a mocking white. Up until now there had been hope, hidden at the back of her mind and hundreds of plans that filtered through her subconscious, waiting to be carried out.
But now, for some reason, there was nothing.
The detachment that up until now had served her so well, had been a part of her that refused dissipation had gone, vanished, to be replaced by one big bleeding gash that stung and bled anew. Or had it always been there to begin with, only she hadn't realised it?
Everything washed over in a flood of pain and hurt that left her crying and choking with some sort of half-noticeable detachment that still teetered on the edge of her subconscious. Lia felt cold, so cold but at the same time it all felt so hot and stifling. Time was going by so slowly, dragging on and reaching for the next day but by now she had lost sense of all time and what came next because it didn't feel as though anything would come next.
When something happened, anything happened, there was always shock and grief and pain and tears but no-one ever talked about that detachment that came afterwards and if you suddenly silenced then that meant it was all over and all the pain was just over. But time didn't heal like wounds that scabbed, clotted over, before breaking out in a new layer of skin, because wounds like these stayed forever and bled again when broken.
For most people, time made the pain lessen but by lessening everyone else presumed that it was all gone and that you were over it but how could you be over it if you had never faced it to begin with?
And why, whenever anything happened, did she forget it so easily as if it had never happened? Why couldn't she be like everyone else and face it at the time instead of dwelling on it five years later when there was no one left because at the time everyone was there for you but later on they just…weren't.
Because people are only there at the start and later on they get on with their own lives and forget.
They can't wait for you forever.
No one waits forever.
Guns…death…hatred. Maybe it had been, was, some sort of release, some way of controlling everything that was going on around her and actually doing something instead of just waiting and watching it be done. She hated sitting there and watching everything happen and not doing anything about it.
But sometimes, she realised, sometimes there was nothing you could do about it. Sometimes you just had to watch everything run its course and just…wait. Patience was something so hard, though. Something so foreign and difficult and it all had to be done and over with so that there would be no stressing and dwelling.
Lia hated to dwell. Because dwelling made you think, think about things you would rather pretend were not actually there.
But had that been what she had been doing all along, pretending that nothing had really happened and telling herself she was over it, only to have it all come back in one big rush that piled and piled and buried her beneath tumults of choking sand.
And then there was Carmon.
He had always needed her, always reached out to her, ever since Dan died. Because he had been alone, she realised. Because he had so desperately needed someone to talk to and the only way that he had thought he could do that was to make her talk first, then him next.
Why hadn't she realised it before?
She felt the coldness wash over again, the necessity not to think. Whatever had happened to him, whatever was going on, it wouldn't do anyone any good if she dwelt on it. That was how it had been with her parents, and Dan…and Lacey. If she dwelt on it, if she thought about it, what good would it do her? It would just make her cry and feel upset and that didn't help anyone.
Embrace it, accept it, and only then can you move forward…
But by not dwelling on it, by not thinking about it, was she truly accepting it?
The answer rang out clearly, a realisation that ripped out from a bottomless pit in one great beam of light that danced and reflected, reached out to glittering stars that burned with an eternal fire.
Up until now, she hadn't thought about them at all. Up until now, she had pretended that they had never existed because it had all felt as if her time with them had been another life, but it hadn't and she had forgotten that. It was real, all of it; and the only way she could move forward was to accept it.
But for that she needed time. Loads of time.
Lia gazed out at the torch, watched fire flicker and tears fell again, freely, tingeing with age old dust.
She had killed Fallock and actions…actions always had consequences. And these consequences were reinforced by the law, by her morals. The penalty for murder…
She new she had no chance.
A hand tugged at his arm, drew him nearer and Cal winced at the contact. Fingernails dug into his flesh and dragged him down onto the seat; a face smiled, toothily, pristine white teeth glinting under the dull lights.
Why was everything so white?
"I'll have some water," she ordered, then turned her attention to him. "You're paying, remember."
Why would he pay for water?
She began to sip at her straw, drink it all in slowly. Dark hair and white skin, so white, that glistened and looked pale under torpid light.
So why did it look so dull to him; why didn't it appeal to him?
"Aren't you going to have anything, Cal?" she asked, her voice chip.
"I'm not thirsty."
"No need to be such an asshole about it…"
"Okay," she replied, and began to sip at her drink again.
Cal leaned back in his seat, drew in a deep breath and cast his gaze over the ceiling. It had been a while since he had been off work, since he had been able to relax and get out and do something and he had thought it would lighten his mood. But it hadn't.
And he couldn't figure out why it hadn't.
It was all so…annoying.
"What kind of a word is Spiky?"
What kind of a name is Leanora?
"Is that the best you can come out with?"
"Come out with what?" She was regarding him, quizzically.
He had spoken aloud. Cal shrugged off the thoughts. "Nothing."
She regarded him for a moment, fiddled with her straw as if by staring at him long enough she would figure out what he was thinking. Was she trying to analyse him?
You couldn't just analyse and figure out what a person was feeling by looking at them. Unless the person was really temperamental, that is. That usually made it easier, if you tried really hard.
Temperamental people, like Lia.
"I think I'll have some water, too."
The girl ––Alex? –– shot her gaze toward him again, obviously confused. "You don't usually have water," she stated, as if it actually meant something. Was this her method of trying to figure out what was wrong –make him talk? Or was it some sort of statement that made her feel clever, as if she had actually hit on something?
What. An. Idiot.
"I feel like it." Why did he feel the need to justify himself? And why was she looking at him like that?
"Is –" She hesitated, fiddled with the straw, "–is something wrong?"
"Just because I asked for water," he replied, "it doesn't mean that something's wrong."
This was the part that Lia would have started to get angry.
The girl shrugged. "Okay."
Was that all she could say?
"Okay," he echoed and brought the glass to his lips, took it in. There was a spider-web on the far wall, he noticed, hidden under a mat of dust. Cal ran his eyes over the wall, searched for the spider, then spotted it, dead, on the floor.
"I'm leaving," he stated, bored, and stood up, pushed back the stool.
The girl stayed seated, nodded. "Okay." He made to the door, and then she added, "I'll see you tomorrow, then."
Would she be seeing him tomorrow?
For some reason, he just didn't feel like it. "Doubt it."
Before she could reply he was out of the bar, into a busy street that absolutely beamed and reeked with life. It made him want to be sick. Cal made to his car, revved the engine and he was off.
A figure stood, wavered in the doorway and it lay ajar, a thin beam of light cutting out from its edges and into the cell.
She didn't notice.
Lia dug her hands into her pockets, desperate for warmth, for comfort, for something. Because now she was ready, she was ready to talk and let it all out and move on and make something, do something with herself.
But there was no time.
Why was there no time?
There was so much she still wanted to do, so much she still wanted to see and all that time that she had just used and taken granted of and wasted was just piling up and screaming and mocking her.
There was something damp, crusted in her pocket and she pulled it out, brought it to light.
A single blade of grass.
Lia opened her mouth to say something but he leaned forward and put a finger to her lips, then outstretched his second hand. A blade of grass glinted in his palm, wet with dew.
He cocked his head to the side. "A new piece of grass."
Lia laughed and took it from his hands, then put a hand to her chest. "I shall hold it close to my heart for all eternity."
Eternity, forever…Nothing lasted forever.
She crushed it beneath her fist.
And the figure stood in the doorway, his key glinting, catching light. He took a step forward, the intention clear, then stopped. A jumble of emotions flashed, met and commingled then a decision, and consequences, so many consequences. And there was contradiction, too, contradiction of so much that had up until now remained set in stone, engraved and cut into pristine marble that refused erosion.
How could something that had lingered and stayed and been built upon for so many years simply disappear and change in a moment? And that was the thing, it couldn't. Because to have change, to have progression, you needed time.
But his decision was now.
And there was no time.
Cal turned, pivoted, and walked away.
And the grass crumbled to dust.
The bed creaked under his weight and Jack leaned into the warmth, closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. The room was bathed a dark blue and white seeped out from unopened curtains. Jack cast his gaze toward the window, the dark-blue shroud that remained still, immobile.
Throughout all of the time he had stayed here –– been here –– he hadn't really had the time to open the curtains, look at the view. Now that he thought about it, he hadn't had time for anything.
But now, now he had too much time.
He fingered the fabric, drew it aside and white light spilled in, set the room aglow. It was snowing outside. That was the first thing he noticed, one spiralling blizzard that washed past in a whirlpool of ice white. Jack squinted, trying to make out the figures beneath his window.
Children, having a snowball fight.
Even in such terrible weather they were out there, outside, trying to have fun –embracing it – while he stayed inside and just…watched. But why wasn't he outside, why didn't he go and have some fun, just like them.
I'm not a kid anymore…
And there's nowhere for me to go.
Damien, Damien hated him with a passion and he had every right to, Jack thought, after all, what he had done to him was far from right. And then there was Melan, who right now lay in the recovery unit of the hospital, a few wires all that separated her from death.
The word sounded so brutal.
…all you can do now is pray…
Pray? Jack scoffed. What would he pray for? Pray that she recovered, then hated him for the rest of his life for pulling her into this mess? Or pray that, if she didn't recover, he would be able to get on with his life as if nothing had happened?
Next was Lia, Lia who, right now, sat rotting away in the corners of a prison cell. He had long since given up any hope of getting her out. After all, what could he do?
Nothing. Absolutely, nothing.
Just like he couldn't do anything for Melan. Just like he couldn't do anything for Seb, Seb who had helped him through everything that had happened. Just like he couldn't have done anything for his parents…
"It's only for a couple of weeks," said Lessandra reassuringly. "Once your father has cleared up a couple of things, we'll be back in Cadlia in no time. Anyway, you did say that you always wanted to go on a holiday to Elonsica, so here's your wish…"
"But you were part of that wish, mum," he whispered. "You and Dad and Lia and my little baby brother or sister, because we were meant to be together, forever."
Jack gripped the ledge and a swirl of white hit the window, then slipped down. A snowball, probably from the children. And he had promised himself he wouldn't cry; he had promised himself that he would never cry.
So why was he crying?
Jack made his way to the window, wrenched it open and let ice-cold air wash through the room. Wind shook at it and he held it firm, tried to keep it open. The air was cool, calm, relaxing.
And I feel so alone, mum.
I feel so alone…
Snow swept in, suddenly, causing him to fall back. Wind shuddered, shook the glass.
Silence fell. A crack.
And then the window slammed shut.
End of Hunter
It's finished, finalli. my sister said the ending's way too...ambiguous. but this was the plan from the beginning, realli --i always planned to make it an open ending. and it's open to interpretation. also, i've thrown in a few thingz in this chap that, if you look reallirealli closeli, they'll give stuff away. but tcha. i doubt anyone'll figure them out. one of the reasons it's open is just in case, one day, i decide to write a sequel. -shrugz- only time will tell.
There're a thousand and one faults in this fic overall and it'll probabli cause offence in loads of places. but i started writing it when i was thirteen and maybe, one day, i'll come back and edit it. i probabli will, actualli. but for now i need a biggg break from it. If anyone wants to read any of my stuff, id be supergreatful if you checked out either of my one-shots or my other fic, cath. first few chaps (first three or so) are gritty but it gets better. and ive had people say its better than hunter. cause tcha, it so is.
Thanks for reviewing, guys. it's been a long journey and you don't know how much it means to me that some of you have actualli gotten far enough to read this note. I hope to hear from you in the future and, if not, i'd like to say that every review means a hell of a lot to me especialli since this was my first fic, and i needed all the encouragement i could get.
DragonPrincessNikki: Heya and thanks for reviewing. Np on the long waits. it's been superchaotic around my end, too. but im grateful that you got round to it and thanks for sticking through it all.
Yisa: Haha. you got round to it -applaudz- and ty. it's cool to know that you're speechless. but trust me, this is sh-t compared to cath. not saying that cath's that good, but just HINTING that you should be nice enough to read it -sticks out tongue-
DeathPrincess: i just did, biach.
mina: hiiii. np on you not reviewing the others. i onli ever review one chap, anyway. Cadlians and Elonsicans? haha. i didnt realli make that that clear, did i? errm. ohklie. rite. There're Cadlians, Elonsicans, The Gredge, Devinear and Lycani. Lia is a Cadlian, as is Jack, meaning they're tanned. Cal and Emilie and Elonsicans, meaning they're white. Damien is from the Gredge, meaning he's pasty white -kinda irish looking. Devinear is for the people who aren't black, but chocolate brown and Carmon&Jude are mixed (a mix of Gredge and Devinear) which is why their (Devinear) dad committed suicide --he couldn't handle it. Lycani are black, our example being Lacey. Hope that cleared it up for you and it sucks that you caught it right at the end. -frownz- hope to hear from you again in the future and ty for reviewing!
hatespinnerbait: haha. welcome back. it was nice to hear from you again and thanks for reading.
Doray: Heyaz. well, actualli, ive posted my profile now. -stickz out tongue- yeah, carmon's death was the most important thing that happened. and i think cal explained something, too. kant remember.... i didnt notice that lacey and dan'z deaths were similar. but now that i think about it...lol. i feeeel clever. thankz for sticking through this, doray. if it weren't for you i probabli wouldnt have finished it cause half the time you were the onli one who was reviewing and that means alotlot to me. luv ya to pieces, girl. and iso havent forgotten about your christmas present, btw. haha. just been tootoo busy recentli. but ive got an idea of what im gonna do for ya. -hugz- thanks again.
Well, for the sake of being posh, i'll make my parting words....posh.
And until next time, guys.