Ahhh! I’m finally doing BlogBattles again! To be fair, they only just started back up again, courtesy of the totally fabulous Rachael Ritchey, and now only held once a month! I’ve been dying to try out flash fiction again, and got the idea for this one the other day while I was playing my favorite game of “see how long I can stay in bed before I panic and am late for work”. (fyi – I’m a champ at that game.)
Anyway….here you go!
#BlogBattle rules and regs! (Also check it out if you love writing flash fiction and meeting other awesome writer people!)
Heart In the Darkness
Straining. Twisting. I tried to break free. I’d lost the voice again. I wanted to see who it was. I’d been in the darkness for…I didn’t know how long. But three days? Nights? ago, the voice had started. Crying out for me. It haunted me. I had some idea of who it was, but the full memory was just out of reach.
“Angelica!” It whispered. Weaker than before, but no less determined. “Fight this. Please come back.”
I tried harder, tugging at the bonds that held me back. A sting prodded my neck, and my strength began to wane.
“Angelica!” The voice screamed, gaining power, tearing at my heartstrings. I knew that voice.
The power of the name sent some light tingling back into my fingertips, bringing me the strength to open my eyes. I lifted my eyelids with an effort, then almost wished I hadn’t.
In the darkness I’d forgotten where I was.
A cave closed about me, tendrils of webs floating down from the ceiling to tangle with one another. They layered upon each other, gaining thickness and strength. And I? I was trapped among them like a small fly.
Bits of light came from somewhere – cracks in the cave ceiling perhaps, poorly sealed with web. It gave me enough to see a few feet around me. And I saw Nico.
He hung opposite me, soot black wings tangled in the same webs that restrained me. A smile broke over his pale and pain filled face when he saw my eyes open.
“Angelica.” My name came out a whisper.
I remembered how to smile, even as feeling rushed back with my consciousness. My arms were twisted above me, my feet pinned tight. My neck stuck as I tried to look behind me, but the deep ache told me that my wings were similarly bound.
“It’ll be back soon,” he whispered. “We have to get out.”
“How are you here?” My voice sounded creaky, rusty, like it had been a long time since I’d used it. Maybe it had.
“I came trying to find you. Good thing I did.”
My heart lurched painfully. He’d braved the dark for me. But he couldn’t bear it much longer. I could see it in the way he strained against the webs. The panic that lurked in the creases around his eyes. The scars that covered his face and body had happened in the dark. The cruelty that had sapped his light and left his golden-red wings black, had left him a poor vessel of our magic.
But he’d come for me.
I could see all his fear, but the look on his face and dark eyes still said that he’d tear apart this cave with his bare hands for me.
Maybe he didn’t need to. I’d started to remember. The ancilla had attacked me, knocked my weapons away, stung me before I could reach what I’d come for. But it was here.
His attention returned to me.
“The spear. It’s here.” I exhaled slowly as every new movement brought more painful realization of my body.
His eyes widened as he turned his gaze down to the ground beside his feet. He tugged against the webs, but they held fast. A breath caught hard in my chest. The spear would be our only hope. Here and in the battlefields beyond this cave.
He began wriggling his leg, tugging up and down. His face set in concentration at the methodical movements. Finally his foot began to come free of the boot. I forced another breath.
A horrifying scraping echoed off the cave walls behind me. He tensed and looked past me, his features paling even more.
I flexed my fingers, the tingling building strength. Perhaps I had enough.
“Keep going,” I whispered.
The scraping came faster as the ancilla heaved its scaled bulk through the tunnels. Nico reached his foot towards the spear, managing to snag it and drag it closer. I almost laughed at the sight. Our five year old selves would have been proud of his efforts.
A breath of wind whispered across my neck. The ancilla bringing it curved stinger up. Not again.
A glow gathered around my hands, pulsating brighter as I focused my little strength into it. The ancilla hissed. I closed my eyes, drawing from the well of light buried deep within my exhausted self. The light crept under my eyelids. Stronger. The ancilla loosed a bubbling scream. My binds began to loosen.
I lurched to the side as its bulk slammed into me. I opened my eyes, turning the force of my light onto it, slowing it as it tried to rush toward Nico. He’d fed the spear up to his hand. His fingers closed around it and a shockwave pulsed through the cave.
His eyes began to glow, white light pouring from them. The same light filled him up, leaking from his scars, somehow making him seem whole even as it illuminated his brokenness. He turned blazing eyes to the ancilla. It backpedaled.
The webs around him snapped and he dropped lightly to the floor, wings spread wide to steady him. He twisted the spear in his hand, bringing the blade to face the ancilla. It shrieked and rose up on hind legs to try and crush him. He thrust and the spear punched through the ancilla’s carapace. Dead.
He wrenched it free and slammed the butt of the spear against the ground. Light flashed out, lashing through the webs, severing them and shoving them back to reveal the tunnel openings. I dropped to the floor, my wings fluttering weakly, unable to stop my fall.
But he was there in a moment, scooping me up into his scarred arms.
“How long?” I asked.
“Seven months, two weeks, and four days.”
So long. Our war could have been won or lost.
“Someone was counting,” I managed a tease.
“You’re my anchor. I’ve been adrift since you didn’t come back to the garrison.” His lips left a warm spot on my forehead.
A tear leaked from my eye. I tried to move, but my withered limbs couldn’t hold me. I bit back a moan as he shifted me further into his arms to carry both me and the spear.
“Come. This time, let me carry you.”
Except now I want to explore this whole world and concept more. Halp.
Go check out the other entries! And if you want to join the link-up, you have until Dec 30 to write and post a story on your blog! Seriously, the #BlogBattle community is fab. Do iiit!