-in which the darkness ends them-
do you remember the times when we used to
explore the woods when we were kids?
i tripped over and burst into tears because
i was so scared,
but you held me in your arms
and told me that you would
protect me from the monsters.
funny thing is,
we're all monsters.
but you don't remember that.
There were no stars in the sky.
She looked up to find nothing but a blanket of inky shadows covering the heavens in oblivion and solitude, like a barrier blocking them from freedom. Even the moon remained hidden, seeming to abandon her in her time of need. The sky was empty, a void of nothing staring back at her. It threatened to choke her with darkness, drench her in the loneliness that came with it. If it wanted, it could throw her into the depths of hollow silence and all would laugh as she plunged to her inevitable fate.
Well, let it. She had just about given up on everything.
A sigh escaped her lips and she closed her eyes, letting the cold stir her hair, tickle her face, and raise goose bumps along her skin. It was cleansing and for a second, she could just about forget all of her troubles. Just about.
Behind her, he shuffled against their bindings. She could hear him cursing as he tried to loosen the rope but obviously, it was no use. Her wrists burned as he struggled and she just wanted to tell him to stop, to just give up and face the truth.
They were going to die.
Both of them stood there in the field full of withering, dead plants. Around them, the air stank of smoke and death, so strong that they could almost taste it. They had their backs to each other, bound to a wooden pole between them. Constricting ropes secured them onto the splintered pole, allowing neither chances of escape nor even the slightest movement.
Finally, he gave up and grew limp. She opened her eyes, blinked one, twice, three times, and then tried to crane her neck to look at him. She couldn't. So, she kept her eyes forward, staring at the crowd in front of them.
Yes, the crowd. The people. Commoners. Peasants. Monsters.
She used to think so highly of them – after all, they had once been on her side. It seemed an eternity ago when they would bow down to her, worship her and send warm smiles along her way.
Now, they just held their weapons at her. On their faces, they wore lethal glares that dug deeper than any sword. Just look; there they were right now, standing next to one another with the same expression on all their faces. Hatred.
She stopped looking at them, and dropped her eyes onto her worn feet.
His voice was quiet but she heard it as if he had just screamed down her ear. It was filled with regret, guilt and so much pain. In fact, it hurt to listen to him. Why did he sound as if he were about to cry? He had never shown weakness before; often being too stubborn to even admit having a weakness.
"It's not your fault," she shook her head, then remembered that he couldn't see her. "It was mine as well."
He didn't reply.
Instead, she felt him struggling again. She bit her lip to stop the whimpers that threatened to escape. He would never give up, would he? No, he was strong. Unlike her.
However, she felt something warm brush her fingers, it was almost tickling, the way they immediately clung onto her. His fingers. It was him.
"I'm so sorry," he said again, squeezing her fingers tighter. "You never should have gotten into this mess."
She gave a sniff, so childish and weak and yet she didn't care. "I got myself into this mess."
"But you have nothing to do with this."
There was silence after that. She wanted to deny it, but he was right. She was the one who had tried to help him out of the palace dungeons. It was her decision to risk her own life to save him despite not knowing the full situation completely. If she had chosen to leave him, she would still be safe right now. But what would the point in that be? She didn't think it was fair for him to be left alone.
But truth was, she just didn't want him to leave her.
Despite being in a horrid position right now, she still didn't regret trying to help him. At least they would go together. At least there was that.
"I miss how things used to be," she whispered, her voice breaking twice. She had no idea why she was speaking of such things, but truth be told, she really couldn't care less.
"So do I." It sounded as if he were smiling, she wasn't entirely sure.
"Remember when we always used to sneak out of the palace and my mother would always blame you for it all?"
"Even though it was always your idea, yes."
They were grinning now, clinging onto their last moments desperately. Her hand was clutching his so tightly that it begun to feel numb, but she would never ever think of letting go.
She tried to ignore the growing pain in her heart. To think; they had been through so much, and now it would all be over. She missed the days when they were free to roam their homes without the fear of being caught. Yes, she knew those days couldn't have lasted forever, but it was all too soon. Too quick.
"You never should have come with me." Behind her, she could almost imagine his face scowling deadly at the crowd. His grip on her fingers grew tighter and hostile.
"I know, but I am glad I did-"
"Are you insane?"
She shook her head, not caring whether he saw her or not. "You would have been on your own. I'm just glad we're together… I suppose."
He gave a bitter grunt. "We're about to be burnt to death."
She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "I think I gathered that fact, love."
"Well, I just felt the need to remind you, love. Forgive me for questioning your sanity for the minute there."
This was the problem with her friend. He was often too easily annoyed and the slightest words could turn his mood the other way around. Right now, she could almost imagine his pale eyes practically sending daggers at whatever he was staring at.
"Let's not argue," she told him softly. "What I meant was… I'm just glad that we could spend our last moments together. It's better than being alone."
The response she received was a small mumble that she barely heard. "I suppose."
They fell into silence after that, each of them lost in their own thoughts. She closed her eyes and squeezed his hand, listening to the stillness.
Then, it began. They raised their arrows, burning with everlasting flames, poised straight for the pile of wood beneath them.
And she realised just how much she didn't want to die. She was too young and inexperienced and naïve - and this was too soon. She didn't want to die, not yet – not ever. The prospect of dying seemed so empty and quick. She was still alive right now, but it scared her to think that she wouldn't be by the next minute. And her thoughts, what would become of her thoughts? Would they fade into the wind, never to become relevant ever again?
She didn't want to die. Tears leaked out of her eyes as she watched the crowd, advancing closer and closer until she could no longer breathe. This wasn't fair. This wasn't right. They had no right to decide whether she could die or not. She had done nothing wrong, nor did her friend. They didn't deserve this.
As her mind drifted to thoughts about her friend, she craned her neck to try and see his face for one last time. She felt like she needed to say something amazing and beautiful that would somehow numb the pain of death. But no words formed at her mouth.
Her breath hitched and she felt his hand clutching onto hers as if it was the only thing keeping them alive.
A rush of heat and flames and-
a partial shadow, an eclipse.
the point in which light and darkness blend.
a half shadow.
Update 21/02/12: I changed the genre of this story from Fantasy to Romance. Despite the fact that this story has a complex fantasy plot, it focuses a lot on the slow developing relationship between the two main characters. So, yeah. Anyway, if this is your first time reading, then I hope you enjoy the story and don't forget to review! :)